Academy Award Leonardo DiCaprio wants each of us to wake up and face the challenges of climate change while there is still time.
“Climate change is real, and it’s happening right now,” DiCaprio said. “It is the most urgent threat facing our entire species, and we need to work collectively together and stop procrastinating. We need to support leaders around the world who do not speak for the big polluters or the big corporations, but who speak for all of humanity, for the indigenous people of the world…and for those people out there whose voices have been drowned out by the politics of greed.”
Washington State is symptomatic of what can go very wrong even in a state that treasures the natural environment when obstructionist legislators are granted access to our country’s highest lawmaking body – and we are just one state of fifty…a fraction of governments worldwide.
Washington Conservation Voters reports:
“Despite the strong environmental ethos in much of the Washington delegation, overall 2015 will go down as the most anti-environmental Congress in our history.”
…“Once again, too many members of Congress were complicit in extreme attacks on both bedrock environmental laws and more recent progress to protect our air, water, public lands and wildlife,” said Shannon Murphy, President of Washington Conservation Voters.
“Despite last year being the hottest year on record, Congressional leaders put polluters’ agenda ahead of the health of Washingtonians, environmental protections and climate action. This is particularly disappointing from members of the Washington delegation, where we have long had a bipartisan tradition of environmental protection.”
Washington State Delegation Scores On Environmental Issues:
1 DelBene, 94
2 Larsen, R., 94
3 *Herrer-Beutler, 6
4 *Newhouse, 3
5 *McMorris-Rodgers, 0
6 Kilmer, 94
7 McDermott, 100
8 *Reichert, 6
9 Smith, Adam, 89
10 Heck, D., 97
*Up for re-election in 2016
Washington State representatives Newhouse, McMorris, and Reichert all voted to support the odious Sportsmen’s Heritage and Recreational Enhancement Act (H.R. 2406). Herrera cast no vote. All four are up for re-election.
Leonardo DiCaprio in The Revenant. Photo Source
Washington Conservation Voters continues:
One of the most devastating provisions [of the ‘Sportsman heritage’ resolution] contains several alarming rollbacks of long-standing federal environmental and public land laws including the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), the Wilderness Act, and the National Forest Management Act.
In the process, it reduces or eliminates important protections for America’s public lands that have been in place for decades.
The African Elephant Conservation and Legal Ivory Possession Act, rolled into H.R. 2406, would halt efforts by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) to crack down on the illegal ivory trade, particularly by undoing the restrictions on U.S. ivory imports and exports. African elephants are facing the greatest poaching crisis since the 1980s: more than 100,000 were killed from 2010 to 2012 – an average of one every 15 minutes.
The appalling scale of poaching is intertwined with violent militias, organized crime, and government corruption in Africa. A crucial element of halting this ongoing slaughter is addressing the demand for ivory within our own borders.
The regulations proposed by the FWS prohibit most imports and exports, and limit other commercial actions to ivory that was lawfully imported prior to 1990 (the date that elephants’ endangered status was elevated by the Convention on the International Trade of Endangered Species). Prohibiting FWS from implementing these vital regulations would be an enormous step backward in the U.S.’s response to the wildlife trafficking crisis.
“Other provisions in this huge bill would prevent the public from having a say in National Wildlife Refuge decisions, and waive important environmental reviews for this system as well.
Such blind dedication to implementing recreational killing is detrimental to both conservation efforts and the public interest.” Washington Conservation Voters
It is up to you whether or not efforts to halt climate change in the next legislative term will be blocked and existing environmental protection will be undone.
You can volunteer, vote, make contributions, raise money, educate – what ever you do, you will make a difference. The choice is yours.