When you think about it…nature should come first.

Thousands of plants and animals are at risk because of recreational activities of humans.

Natural areas are at risk of destruction as recreational activities of humans are on the rise.

Recently, a group of environmentalists expressed concern about opening up natural areas to off-road vehicles. Too often motorized vehicles whether on land or in water are of great concern to those who wish to protect the flora and fauna of an area. How do we balance one need with another? But is off-roading really a need? Shouldn’t our first priorities be toward the land, the natural environment, the animals, insects, fish, etc.? If the decision is one between preserving natural resources and giving a few people (compared to the total population of the United States) a chance to go roaring off over sand dunes, down mountain slopes, or churning up water ways, shouldn’t the natural trump the unnatural? Shouldn’t the lives of thousands of plants and animals be of more value than the stunts of a few humans? When you think about it… nature should come first.

Preserve Natural Lands

Under HR 1187, certain National Forest System and public lands will have designated protections with the Northern Rockies Ecosystem Protection Act.

Under HR 1187, certain National Forest System and public lands will have designated protections with the Northern Rockies Ecosystem Protection Act.

Whenever we can preserve wilderness and wild and scenic rivers, we protect nature and the inhabitants of an area. The House Committee on Natural Resources has before it HR 1187, the Northern Rockies Ecosystem Protection Act. This vital piece of legislation will designate protection for certain National Forest System lands and public lands in several Western states now under the jurisdiction of the secretary of the Interior.

Protecting wilderness areas in this country is critical to the preservation of a natural environment and the many species who inhabit that environment. Therefore, contact your representative and ask that he or she support this bill when it comes to the floor of the House for a vote. You can also contact the committee and urge the bill be reported out to the full House for a vote this legislative session.

When you think about it…pollinating insects rule the world.

Pollinating insects, such as the honeybee, are at risk from dangerous pesticides.

Pollinating insects, such as the honeybee, are at risk from dangerous pesticides.

Without bees and other pollinating insects, we would be dead. Bees, especially, are essential in helping plants reproduce. If plants don’t reproduce, they die. Without bees and other pollinating insects, who will pollinate the trees whose shade we enjoy, the flowers whose fragrance soothes us, the shrubs around our home, and the crops that we need to survive? Without them, we would have no sources of food to feed ourselves and our animals. We would die.

Today, many bees and other pollinating insects are dying in large numbers and from a variety of causes. One such cause is the overuse of pesticides. Some of these dangerous pesticides have been taken off the market; however, lethal ones are still available. All pesticides need to be use with caution and used sparingly. The more we kill off “pests,” the more we may be killing off ourselves.

When you think about it…a world without insects at first seems wonderful—no fleas on our animals, no roaches in our bathrooms…but then we wouldn’t have animals or bathrooms if pollinating insects didn’t rule the world.

When you think about it…why should we have an Endangered Species Act?

Protecting endangered animals and protecting natural areas often goes hand in hand.

Protecting endangered animals and protecting natural areas often goes hand in hand.

People sometimes question why wolves need to be protected, or why a fish found nowhere else but in Utah’s Virgin River (the woundfin) deserves to be listed on the Endangered Species List. When we have so many formidable problems in the world, why are we concerned about the survival of a few animals, insects, fish, and plants?

When a species begins to fail to thrive in its environment, something is terribly wrong. Maybe the environment has been paved over, cut down, blown up, or burned. Maybe the environment has become too polluted to support the species. As each species is lost, the environment becomes less and less habitable for all living beings, humans included.

Along with the loss of species comes the loss of parkland, forests, beaches, and waterways that form our national and local parks. Given that the National Park Service often plays host to over 200 million visitors a year, that loss is inestimable as a source beauty and serenity.

By protecting species through the Endangered Species Act, we protect their habitat as well. We reverse the destruction and pollution and attempt to return the area to a healthy environment for all—including us.

When you think about it…how could we not have an Endangered Species Act?

Protect Hawai’i’s Coral Reefs

Colorful tropical fish, like this yellow tang, are often taken from Hawai'i's coral reefs.

Colorful tropical fish, like this yellow tang, are often taken from Hawai’i’s coral reefs.

One of Hawai’i’s most treasured natural resources is its coral reefs, home to colorful species of fish and coral. However, the multi-million dollar exotic fish collection industry is taking thousands of these creatures from Hawai’i each year. The Hawaiian government needs to follow its own mandates for environmental review before issuing permits to those who want to harvest the beauty that is Hawai’i’s coral reef colonies.

Urge the governor and the head of the Department of Land and Natural Resources to protect Hawai’i’s natural resources before those resources are gone for good.

The Honorable Neil Abercrombie
Governor
Executive Chambers, State Capitol
Honolulu, HI 96813
Tele. No.: 808-586-0034
Fax: 808-586-0006

William J. Aila Jr., Chairperson
Department of Land and Natural Resources
Kalanimoku Building
1151 Punchbowl St.
Honolulu, HI 96813
Tele. No: 808-587-0400

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Secretary of the Interior Needs to Hear from You

Cetaceans such as this humpback whale are endangered by intense sound waves.

Two issues are before the Department of the Interior that require our attention. The first issue has to do with the use of high-intensity airguns in the exploration of offshore oil and gas along the Atlantic Coast from Florida to the New Jersey border. The constant dynamite-like blasts will occur around the clock for weeks and possibly months. All sea creatures within this area will be subjected to the noise. Dolphins and whales, in particular, will suffer as they rely on sound for feeding, communication, and navigation.

A second issue facing the Department of the Interior is whether to uphold the 1976 Point Reyes Wilderness Act. When the act was passed, an existing commercial oyster operation within Drakes Estero was given a 40-year lease to operate within the park. The lease expires this year at which time Drakes Estero would revert to a wilderness area. The secretary of the Interior needs to uphold this agreement. The Drakes Estero is the West Coast’s only marine wilderness area and is the home to harbor seals, white pelicans, leopard sharks, and bat rays.

The Honorable Ken Salazar
Secretary
Department of the Interior
1849 C Street, N.W.
Washington DC 20240

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When you think about it…the ocean seems vast, indestructible, and bountiful.

Ocean treasures such as coral reefs are endangered by wasteful habits and industries.

Whether you’ve sailed across an ocean or just stood on the seashore, the oceans seem endless, incomprehensible, majestic. Unfortunately, according to scientists from around the world, the oceans are in trouble. So much trouble, in fact, that by the middle of this century, there could be a collapse of all the creatures currently being fished.

Factory farming fish is clearly one cause of this potential collapse. Misuse of critical sea habitat is another. Pollution and garbage dumped into the sea a third. Eventually, if we do not change course, the planet’s oceans may become vast grey zones, not quite dead but little able to provide much sustenance.

The oceans cover two-thirds of our planet and are home to untold numbers of flora and fauna. Losing any species of plant or animal weakens a system. If many species are lost, the system is no longer healthy and is vulnerable to potential catastrophic changes.

As individual nations realize the importance of their coastal regions, more and more species are going to be protected, breathing life into what could have, and may still, become a lifeless wasteland.

When you think about it…all living, breathing organisms can be destroyed; oceans are no exception. What can you do to protect the waters of this planet?

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