Following a year of devastating fires throughout the Amazon rainforest and the forests throughout Indonesia, as well as continued degradation of boreal forests throughout North America, Assemblymember Ash Kalra (D-San Jose) and bill co-sponsors, Peace 4 Animals, Friends of the Earth, Natural Resources Defense Council, and Social Compassion in Legislation, announced the introduction of Bill AB 416, The California Deforestation-Free Procurement Act.
“By introducing this bill, we’re giving California the opportunity to take real leadership in the fight against tropical and boreal deforestation and primary forest degradation by making our purchases – and our global impact – more transparent, more sustainable, and more ethical,” Assemblymember Kalra, said in a statement sent to WAN. “AB 416 asserts our California values and extends environmental leadership to the protection of tropical and boreal forests, sending a powerful signal to global markets that illegal and destructive commodity-driven deforestation will no longer be tolerated.”
If passed, all California state contracts involving commodities that put tropical and primary boreal forests at risk, such as palm oil, soy, cattle, rubber, paper/pulp and timber, would require contractors to maintain a No Deforestation, No Peat, No Exploitation (NDPE) policy, and provide evidence that their operations in sensitive tropical and boreal regions are not linked to forest destruction and degradation or abuses of indigenous peoples’ rights.
Environmental advocates and industry leaders alike agree that such policies are the best way to prevent ongoing forest destruction. A version of the bill introduced in 2019 achieved strong bi-partisan support but failed to pass the Senate Appropriations Committee.
The world’s forests are in crisis. Tropical forests cover roughly 7% of the Earth’s surface but harbor close to half of all species on Earth. An estimated 18 million acres of forest—an area one-fifth the size of California—is lost every year, largely due to the expansion of agribusiness plantations. Tropical deforestation and related land-use changes are responsible for nearly a quarter of global carbon dioxide emissions, and are a major contributor to the global biodiversity crisis.
Boreal forests account for one-third of the world’s forested areas and, after mangroves, are the most carbon-dense forests on earth. The Canadian boreal forest alone stores twice as much carbon as the world’s oil reserves and is the nesting ground for billions of migratory birds. Logging in primary forests is one of the major contributors to carbon emissions and the decline of critical species. In North America, only 15 of 51 boreal caribou herds have sufficient habitat to survive long-term, primarily due to industrial logging, while 33% of boreal birds have declined in the last 50 years.
“I have seen first-hand the heartbreaking effects of tropical deforestation while traveling and filming throughout Indonesia,” stated Katie Cleary, Founder and President of Peace 4 Animals. “We will lose vital species such as endangered orangutans, tigers, and rhinos if we do not take meaningful action to end the destruction of our rainforests. The Deforestation-Free Procurement Act will help to aid in the protection of critical habitat thus preserving species and forests for future generations.”
“The loss of our forests is not just damaging for us, it’s also a loss of habitat for countless species of animals,” stated Judie Mancuso, CEO and Founder of Social Compassion in Legislation. “We caused the devastation, which means we need to do everything in our power to protect all the vulnerable and endangered species. The Deforestation-Free Procurement Act is a powerful step forward to begin the healing and end the destruction.”
“California’s Deforestation-Free Procurement Act is a visionary but extremely pragmatic and direct contribution to halting the global deforestation crisis,” said Jeff Conant, Senior International Forests Program Manager at Friends of the Earth. “This bill is not merely timely, it’s long overdue.”
“The actions of the marketplace in California and across the U.S. will critically define the fate of forests around the world, from the lush tropical rainforests to the majestic boreal,” explained Jennifer Skene, an Attorney with the Canada Project at the Natural Resources Defense Council. “This Act recognizes that interconnectedness and moves toward ending the wasteful destruction of the forests that are the ancestral homelands of many Indigenous Peoples and play such a vital role in protecting our climate and the world’s biodiversity for future generations.”
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The post Peace 4 Animals, SCIL, NRDC & FOE Introduce California Anti-Deforestation Bill To Protect Critical Rainforest Habitat & Endangered Species appeared first on World Animal News.
Peace 4 Animals works every day to generate positive change for animals, our health, and our environment. The following is a sampling of some of the many ways the noted nonprofit organization is helping to make the world a better place.
Peace 4 Animals helps to protect and save endangered species from around the world, including working with and supporting numerous anti-poaching partners and rescue groups on the ground throughout Africa, Indonesia, and India.
The Peace 4 Animals team continues to work with their legislative partners in California to help pass critical landmark animal welfare bills throughout the state.
Currently, Peace 4 Animals is finishing its second documentary titled ‘Why On Earth’ which shines a light on many of the brave and compassionate people who dedicate their lives to saving animals worldwide. Peace 4 Animals previously produced the award-winning documentary ‘Give Me Shelter’ which premiered on Netflix in 2015.
Working to inspire, educate, and affect the critical change that is necessary in the world today, Peace 4 Animals also creates thought-provoking and impactful billboard campaigns, including ones that promote a plant-based diet in order to save the lives of millions of animals on factory farms.
On this Giving Tuesday, please consider donating to Peace 4 Animals to help support their continued efforts to improve and protect our worlds’ most sentient beings, HERE!
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Last week marked the completion of a collaborative effort aimed at removing abandoned fishing gear from the habitat of the critically endangered vaquita porpoise.
The program, which is funded by the Government of Mexico, has been operating since 2016. Every year, a group of small-scale fishers from the community of San Felipe in the Upper Gulf of California undertakes seasonal ghost net removal operations in the Vaquita Refuge. Sea Shepherd provides support by recovering the nets located by the fishers, ensuring that they never find their way back into the marine ecosystem.
“Ghost nets” are abandoned fishing nets that have been discarded or lost at sea. These inactive nets pose a deadly threat by continuing to kill marine wildlife for as long as the nets remain in the ocean. Whales, turtles, dolphins, and vaquitas are all vulnerable to entanglement in these deserted nets.
A group of 35 local fishers, working from 17 small boats, systematically search the Vaquita Refuge in a grid pattern to locate discarded fishing gear. Following GPS coordinates, the boats drag modified hooks under the water to detect submerged nets. As the vessels move over the nets, the hooks become entangled in the fishing gear. Once a net is detected, the fishermen mark the area, and Sea Shepherd’s Sharpie moves in to retrieve the gear.
This season, the operation successfully retrieved 20 nets from the Vaquita Refuge between September 12th and October 31st, 2020.
“There are many more nets in the water than vaquitas,” said Andrea Bonilla, Sea Shepherd’s Ghost Net Project Coordinator in a statement.
Scientists estimate that only 6-19 vaquitas remain in the wild, and the primary threat to the survival of the critically endangered species is entanglement in fishing gear. The rare species of porpoise is endemic to the Upper Gulf of California, an area rife with poaching due to the illegal totoaba trade.
The Vaquita Refuge is a UNESCO-recognized and federally-protected area in which gillnet fishing is banned.
Sea Shepherd’s Sharpie remains in the Vaquita Refuge upon completion of this operation and is working with Mexican authorities to monitor the area, prevent poaching, and remove both active gillnets and ghost nets from the region.
“The last days of the Ghost Net Project turned up no nets, which means that the area has been effectively cleared of these abandoned, invisible curtains of death,” said Peter Hammarstedt, Sea Shepherd’s Director of Campaigns. “Thanks to the work of local fishermen, the Museo de la Ballena and Sharpie crew, we are starting Operation Milagro VII with a blank slate, ready to confiscate any new illegal fishing gear set to target the totoaba – and indirectly, the vaquita.”
The post Sea Shepherd Carries Out Critical Operation Retrieving Ghost Nets To Save Less Than 10 Vaquita Remaining In The Wild; The World’s Most Endangered Marine Mammal appeared first on World Animal News.
Governor Gavin Newsom just signed Bill AB 1788, The California Ecosystems Protection Act into law, placing greater restrictions, with limited exceptions, on the use of second-generation anticoagulant rodenticides to protect the state’s native wildlife.
The bill, introduced by Assemblymember Richard Bloom (D-Santa Monica), requires state regulators to reduce the threats to nontarget wildlife before the restrictions on second-generation anticoagulant rodenticides can be lifted.
“We can protect public health without threatening California’s wildlife,” Jonathan Evans, Environmental Health Legal Director at the Center for Biological Diversity, said in a statement. “We applaud Governor Newsom and Assemblymember Bloom for their leadership in protecting California’s mountain lions, bobcats, and kit foxes.”
Rodents that consume these long-lasting poisons are in turn consumed by other wildlife, resulting in secondary poisoning and contamination of the food chain. Developed in the 1970s, second-generation anticoagulant rodenticides have higher potency than earlier compounds. A single dose has a half-life of more than 100 days in a rat’s liver.
“These ‘one-feeding-kill’ poisons are devastating California’s wild animals, including some of the state’s most beloved species like mountain lions,” said Stephen Wells, Executive Director of the Animal Legal Defense Fund. “California has taken a critical step towards safeguarding these animals from unnecessary suffering and death.”
Despite a 2014 ban on consumer sales, rodenticides continue to be heavily used by commercial operators. The California Department of Pesticide Regulation’s 2018 analysis of 11 wildlife studies determined anticoagulant rodenticides are poisoning a wide range of animals, including mountain lions, bobcats, hawks, and endangered wildlife such as Pacific fishers, spotted owls, and San Joaquin kit foxes.
“Anticoagulants are wiping out the very wildlife that helps control rodents naturally. There is a groundswell of support for this bill, which takes a giant step to reduce secondary poisoning,” said Lisa Owens Viani, Director of Raptors Are The Solution.
There are many safer alternatives to anticoagulant rodenticides. Exclusion and sanitation are the best approach to managing rodents. Sealing buildings, eliminating food and water sources, and trimming foliage and tree limbs from the sides and roofs of houses are also important steps to reduce the presence of rodents. When physical exclusion is not possible, there are dozens of safer rodent control options including providing owl boxes in rural areas to encourage natural predation and using traps that don’t involve these highly toxic chemicals.
The harm caused by second-generation anticoagulant rodenticides in California is well documented. More than 70% of wildlife tested in California in recent years has been exposed to dangerous rodenticides, including more than 25 different species.
For more information on nontoxic rodent-control methods, visit: SafeRodentControl.org.
You can help all animals and our planet by choosing compassion on your plate and in your glass. #GoVeg
The post Breaking! California Governor Gavin Newsom Signs Critical Bill Protecting Mountain Lions & Other Species From Toxic Rat Poisons appeared first on World Animal News.