Earth Island News
CSAW successfully beat back an attempt to weaken Alaska’s cruise pollution law in the recently completed legislative session. The cruise lines amassed a huge fleet of lobbyists to try and strike from Alaskan law the ban on mixing zones for cruise ship discharges. The statute remains intact, albeit with the establishment of a temporary waiver program for ships that cannot fully comply. However, every ship applying for the waiver must demonstrate a level of performance that is at minimum equal to the best ship in the fleet. Since some of the ships are already approaching full compliance at the point of discharge, this best available technology requirement will force all ships into full compliance within the near future.
In February, Big Wildlife, Alaska Wildlife Alliance, and Raincoast Conservation urged eBay to halt the sale of trophy hunts of lions, leopards, bears, and other large predators on its Web site. The online auction and shopping site regularly permits postings of guided hunts of carnivores throughout the US, Canada, and abroad. Unfortunately, eBay Vice President and Deputy General Counsel Tod Cohen says the company has no intention to halt its sales of trophy hunt.
In his letter, Mr. Cohen clarified that eBay has refused to post the sale of items that the company and the general public find “offensive.” Big Wildlife believes trophy hunting of majestic animals for “sport” is not only scientifically indefensible but also offensive. Expansive hunting of top predators also ignores the importance these species play in natural systems. As “keystone species,” they help sustain ecological integrity and preserve species diversity.
Urge eBay to immediately stop posting sales of trophy hunts of top carnivores and other predators. For a list of eBay employees to contact, visit www.bigwildlife.org.
The helicopter poaching incident reported by The Altai Project in the Spring issue of EIJ became the subject of a federal criminal investigation on May 4. Oleg Mitvol, the former deputy head of Russia’s nature protection oversight agency, Rosprirodnadzor, questions the reasoning behind an investigation at such a late date, when prosecutors already have sufficient evidence to prosecute three criminal cases related to the helicopter’s crash. “Even back in February, several NGOs requested that the Prosecutor General’s Office open an investigation. In light of that, this attempt [to open a criminal investigation] by Rosprirodnadzor looks even stranger,” says Mitvol. He also stated that the investigation unearthed evidence that the helicopter contained a tripod-mounted Kalshnikov machine gun and that the helicopter had entered Mongolian airspace. “I got the impression that, with today’s announcement, Rosprirodnadzor’s spin doctors are setting up their leadership for a fall.”
In April, The Adaptation Network co-sponsored a one-day seminar on adjusting to climate change entitled “Plan to Protect: How Communities Can Prepare for Climate Change.” The workshop showcased examples from communities that are engaging in adaptation planning. Those case studies served as models and will help decision-makers learn about including changing climate in their future planning. From the issues presented, participants extracted transferable lessons and practices relevant to their own communities.
KIDS for the BAY recently received its third national award: the 2008 “Outstanding Service to Environmental Education Award” from the North American Association for Environmental Education. KIDS for the BAY is thankful for this national recognition of their quality programming and best practices in environmental education.
Project Coyote led a successful effort in Maine to amend a hotly contested bill – LD 303 – by removing the portion of the bill that would have extended coyote night hunting in the state by three months. In its efforts to foster respect for and understanding of America’s native wild “song dog,” Project Coyote jointly co-launched a new documentary film, American Coyote: Still Wild at Heart, which is being screened at festivals and conferences nationwide. Project Coyote, in collaboration with the Animal Welfare Institute, will lead an urban coyote session at the International Symposium on Urban Wildlife Ecology and Management in Amherst, MA from June 21 to 24, 2009. For more details, visit www.ProjectCoyote.org.
Bay Localize has made tremendous strides recently working in partnership with allies to advance strong energy efficiency and local clean energy goals in the cities of Berkeley and Oakland. Thanks in part to the advocacy of Bay Localize, the City of Oakland is actively pursuing the adoption of an energy efficiency financing program for local property owners to assist them with the up-front costs of energy-saving home retrofits – a strategy that holds incredible promise for creating quality green jobs while slashing global warming pollution. This fall, both cities will hold public workshops to explore an exciting new program called Community Choice Energy, which would pool the buying power of area residents and businesses to dramatically scale up renewable energy use in the Bay Area.