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Reasons to Rewild the Wolf

The two places I have called home are at pivotal points in restoring gray wolf populations. As gray wolves are on the ballot in Colorado this November, Wisconsin wolf populations are threatened with the consideration of removing them from the endangered species list. 

When I petitioned to get wolves on the Colorado ballot in 2020, it was clear that a certain percentage of people detested wolves, but they couldn’t say why. Others were indifferent to their struggle. When I started a conversation, offering facts about the benefits of gray wolves to our ecosystem, many people changed their minds and signed the petition.

The general public needs to shed their false beliefs that wolves are dangerous to other wildlife, humans, and livestock. The species, like so many others, is a delicate part of our ecosystem in the United States. The Yellowstone wolves are a prime example of this, having helped to restore rivers, flora, and fauna, and allowing other animals, such as the beaver, to flourish.

The gray wolf is widely misunderstood. Humans have devastated wolf populations since European colonization, and those numbers have only very recently been recovered, if just a bit. Wolves used to roam the United States in numbers up to 450,000 (Colorado Wolf & Wildlife). Now there are just a couple of thousand. That pales in comparison to their former numbers, and, in my opinion, still merits extreme protections.

Photo courtesy of Luemen Carlson via Unsplash.

Here are a few crucial things to consider:

  1. Wolves are not a threat to livestock, as some may claim. Predators only account for 0.23% of livestock deaths (WildEarth Guardians). By killing off elder wolves that teach young wolves what to hunt, we are only increasing the possibility of young wolves attacking livestock (The Wisdom of Wolves). Wolves are much smarter than we think. Their brain capacity is much larger than domesticated dogs and comparable to that of a 5-year-old human’s. They are truly remarkable creatures. 
    Older wolves and alphas are often the first wolves that are killed by hunters, as they are the most likely to investigate danger. Hunting is a learned behavior in wolves. Without elders to teach younger wolves how and what to hunt, those traits die off. Killing even one wolf in a delicate pack structure can threaten the livelihood of the entire pack.
    In the book, The Wisdom of Wolves, the author notes that the wolves they observed didn’t even touch a dead steer that was donated to the monitored pack. They were unfamiliar with it, and therefore uninterested (The Wisdom of Wolves). Ranchers have noted wolves wandering around their cattle uninterested, only to pursue deer that were amongst the cattle grazing, which leads me to my next point.
Photo courtesy of Eva Blue via Unsplash.

2. Wolves are not only great to keep ungulate (deer, elk, moose) populations in check, they are overall great for an ecosystem. They move grazing animals along and help plants, water, and other species in the area. See Yellowstone’s wolf reintroduction study: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ysa5OBhXz-Q.

Without the gray wolf to keep coyotes in check in Colorado, they have been wreaking havoc on other threatened species like the kit fox. The kit fox, along with many other species in Colorado, would benefit greatly from the gray wolf’s reintroduction and the restoration of the natural balance that once existed in our ecosystem prior to human intervention.

3. Wolves are much more similar to humans than we think. Most myths about wolves are engrained culturally and entirely untrue. It is thought that the “fear of wolves” started from Grimm’s fairytales and has stuck since then. In fact, there have been ZERO reported human deaths from wolves in the U.S.’s lower 48 states (Colorado Wolf and Wildlife).

Wolves are pack animals. They are one of the only predatory species that care for other’s young. If a male takes over the pack, instead of committing infanticide like some predatory animals (i.e. lions, great apes), they care for the young as their own. “Fun uncles” and aunts even appear with their own personalities, some dragging found items like buffalo skulls for miles only to present the prize as a toy for the pups to play (The Wisdom of Wolves).

Our relationship with wolves was thought to have started as a mutually-beneficial hunting partnership. Wolves and dogs are some of the only other animals with whites on the outside of our eyes. Though canine’s are smaller and harder to see, they still exist, which makes us able to communicate with just a look. It is thought that humans and wolves were able to hunt together by reading each other’s facial expressions (The Wisdom of Wolves). 

We once had a symbiotic, mutually beneficial relationship. We once respected wolves and nature, and, unfortunately, we have neglected our responsibility to the natural world. Through our treatment of wolves now and in the future, The United States has the opportunity to set a positive example for the future of our planet and the creatures with which we share our land.

Photo courtesy of Marc Olivier Jodoin via Unsplash.

References:

Colorado Wolf & Wildlife Center. 18 June. 2019. Tour.

“Gray Wolf.” Defenders of Wildlife, defenders.org/wildlife/gray-wolf

“Livestock Losses.” WildEarth Guardians, wildearthguardians.org/historical-archive/livestock-losses/.

“Red Wolf.” U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, www.fws.gov/southeast/wildlife/mammals/red-wolf/.

Sustainable Human – “How Wolves Change Rivers.” YouTube, YouTube, 13 Feb. 2014, www.youtube.com/watch?v=ysa5OBhXz-Q.

Wikipedia contributors. “Big Bad Wolf.” Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia, 5 Jun. 2019. Web. 24 Jun. 2019.

An Empire in its Fall

So often we carry about our day – our life – without questioning why we do what we do. Why the world is structured the way it is. How we came to this exact moment in time – a moment that, in an instant, joins countless others in history.

The National Geographic series, Origins, takes a look at all that has occurred to create humanity as we know it today. There are so many pivotal moments that have shaped society. We’ve learned, grown, corrected – evolved.

With news of pandemic, climate crisis, systemic hate, and a raving lunatic in office, the world today seems bleak. A majority of people are marginalized. There are food deserts across the world, even in the most developed countries like the United States. Native people have been stripped of the last of their land and culture. For most living beings beyond our species – from farm animals to threatened wildlife populations – one could argue that existence has never been more unfair or unfree.

At the same time, the plant-based diet is surging in popularity. Cities like Paris are recognizing their responsibility to their citizens – rich and poor – and are providing access to free spring-fed water across the city. Iceland is working with thermodynamic energy as they continue to power their country without the use of fossil fuels. People are continuing to evolve – to face the greatest threats to life and to our only home.

It’s difficult to see this progress when you’re surrounded by a culture that values greed and designs its infrastructure to tailor to consumerism and convenience. The United States has failed to address the coronavirus crisis and has taken active steps to roll back progress on the climate crisis. The policies that this administration has adopted towards immigration, healthcare, and our remaining natural spaces & threatened species, have one common denominator.

A main driving factor in this administration is greed and monetary gain. Now especially, our main focus should be the well-being of humanity and our planet. Money itself is a made-up construct – created to make trade easier and, initially, to give selfish leaders control and unlimited wealth. Our natural resources, however, and the life that has evolved for millions of years before we began to destroy and enslave it for our own gain – those are our precious resources. Our focus should be on protecting what we can never get back once it’s destroyed. That destruction could be the end of the purest beauty ever known. It could not only mean the end of all other beings not under human control, it could very well mean the end of humanity itself.

The job of government should be to protect its citizens. To ensure our health through clean water and air. The “Gangster Gardener”, Ron Finley, says it so well. Cities aren’t built for the people, but for commerce. We need to re-shift our priorities – feed people and plant in otherwise empty spaces to heal ourselves and the planet. We need to re-design cities to prioritize human health and the health of the planet – both of which go hand-in-hand.

The United States is far behind other countries in innovation. Instead, we’ve focused on creating negative policies and rolling back progress. People are fighting to hang onto their right to hate. Americans are thinking small when we need to think big. There is no “greater good” existent in this presidency. No altruism or benefit to humanity as a whole. Only reassurance for those cowards that stand behind his hate. Only stripping away of human rights, environmental & animal protection, and our own humanity.

All of the greatest empires of the past have lasted about 200 years, give or take. From what I’ve seen these past four years, that may very well be true for the United States. And if this hateful, small-minded, irreversibly destructive, self-centered, greedy minds continues to poison our country, I hope that’s the case. Our planet needs progressive ideas, thoughtfulness for each other and for the planet, and the sacrifice of greed for the greater good. Humanity is evolving to meet the needs of the planet. There exists innovation, strong leadership, and biocentrism. There is a path to a brighter, healthier, greener future. There are countries creating the future as we fight for our comfortable space in the past.

Stepping Back to Step Forward

There is something freeing about camping. All of your belongings in one place, no running water, not even a toilet. Everything is more difficult – from making dinner to setting up your bed, but that makes it all the more rewarding (in the end, at least). And once you’re back at home, you appreciate those things you took for granted before. Electricity seems so simple, yet without it you are left in the dark. At first, the dark may seem scary, for with its unfamiliarity comes potential unforeseen threats. But once you become familiar with the darkness, you regain the shadow side of your nature. You can hear the faint sounds of creatures emerging and settling for the night. Under the light of the moon, you dance with windblown trees. You crane your neck to look at so many stars that have been staring back at you your whole life, but made invisible by the city’s ambient lights.

You gain a fundamental shift in perspective, away from the man-made concepts and material things that society has deemed important. Strip that away, you realize the insignificance of the everyday monotony. You are able to survive – to thrive – without the constant hum of civilization and the heavy burden of the material. You re-shift your focus to drop what is no longer serving you and put your energy towards what’s truly important.

Most things we come across in our everyday life are made up by humanity ourselves. We’ve created this superficial world within the natural world from which we came. So much of our angst and anxiety, especially today, stems from our inability to see that fundamental truth. The best thing that you can do for yourself is to step away from those constructs and recognize that we are not the center of life on this planet, and our planet is a speck in this infinite universe. While that may sound overwhelming, it can be empowering. We are part of something much greater, much more powerful, and much more beautiful than just ourselves. We are a part of a precious web of living things and immense feats of nature that were created long before we existed and will hopefully withstand millennia more.

Our world, and humanity, are hurting terribly. It is vital that we evolve past our old, stuck, destructive, self-centric ways. We must adopt mindfulness and respect for ourselves, each other, all creatures, and for our planet as a whole. We must be willing to grow and learn and change. The future of humanity, the planet and all of the creatures that we share it with, depends on our evolution.

The fundamental flaw of humanity is that we think we know everything and we think that we are the most important living beings on this planet. That fact is disproved simply by looking at the past. We continue to evolve and to correct previously held notions. The next human evolution need not be agricultural or industrial. We need to switch from consumption-based progress to an enlightened period of awareness, kindness, and restoration.

BLACK LIVES MATTER.

I’ve been grappling about what to say for days as it relates to the protests and the movement in the light of the killing of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, and so many more innocent Black people. 

I’ve felt helpless and depressed about it all. I have no idea what it is like to experience racism, let alone carry the incredibly heavy weight of other’s judgement and preconceived notions throughout life. I have no idea what it’s like to be stopped by police because of the color of my skin. I have no idea what it’s like to fear my own life after being stopped by police. I wasn’t educated on how to avoid run-ins with the police from childhood. The systemic racism in our country has only been a silent helper in my life, my parent’s and grandparent’s lives, and up the family tree from there. Therefore, I have had the luxury of ignoring systemic racism in my day-to-day life, instead of having no choice but to face it head-on like so many do. For me, it’s existed as a headline or a page in our country’s appalling history to mourn – up until now. We all need to make the conscious decision to face racism directly, see our faults and our inherent biases, and work to suck the poison out bit by painful bit.

With my schpiel said, I now realize that I can’t find more to say on this gut-wrenching topic because it’s not my turn to speak. It’s my turn to step back and to listen. It’s my turn to be an ally in the movement. It’s my turn to learn and absorb as much as I can. We need to use every platform we can to amplify Black voices and hear their stories – throughout this movement and well into a brighter future for all people.

So much needs to change that it’s overwhelming. But the best starting point is yourself – what you choose to absorb and the actions you choose to take.

Photo taken from @sir_twitch_alot on Instagram

Here are some resources I’ve found helpful:

  1. LEARN
  2. ACT
    • Donate, sign a petition, or join your local peaceful protest. See Section #4 for a few more ideas on where to donate. Above is a great chart from Stephen (tWitch) Boss on how to take action.
  3. FOLLOW
    1. Note: These are just a few of my Instagram account suggestions. I am still working to educate myself and find great POC to follow. I suggest you do your own research as well.
    2. Patrisse Cullors-Brignac @osopepatrisse. She’s the founder of another great account (and incredible movement) @blklivesmatter
    3. Phoebe Robinson – @dopequeenpheebs
    4. Know Your Rights Camp – @yourrightscamp – a campaign for youth founded by Colin Caepernick
    5. Ibram X. Kendi @ibramxk – Author of NYT’s bestselling book How to be Antiracist
  4. DONATE
  5. DO YOUR RESEARCH
    • Support local Black and minority-owned businesses.
    • Unfollow accounts and don’t support businesses that are not taking a stand or, worse, continuing to post irrelevant content.
  6. LISTEN
    • Listen to what people in the Black community have to say. Hold space for them and support them. For white folks out there like myself, DO NOT make yourself the center of this movement. You are an ally and you can show up to support Black Lives Matter but you are not directly affected by this issue like the black community. You can practice sympathy, but empathy is impossible in this case because there is no way for you to truly take on the struggle that so many black people have to carry throughout their lives.
    • Do NOT correct the Black Lives Matter movement by saying “All Lives Matter”. WE KNOW that all lives matter. The focus is on black lives and the fact that for the last 400 years, this country and society have perpetuated the idea that black lives are somehow worth less. THAT is the point of this movement.

Imperfection is better than Inaction

It might seem daunting to think about all of the changes we need to make in order to help our planet. Do you need to sell your car, give up meat, swear off plastic? In an ideal world, humanity would get to a point of causing no damage to the ecosystem. Unfortunately, that is an impossible goal. But that doesn’t mean we can’t work towards a more positive relationship with the environment.

What is possible is to reassess how we consume, travel, and go about our lives day-to-day. The key is awareness. As a collective society, we’ve gone from thoughtlessly using paper and plastic bags to at least considering the use of reusable bags every time we shop. Younger workers in cities are reported as the most likely to bike to work. “Meatless Monday”, a trend propelled largely by social media, has become a weekly tradition for some. Dairy substitutes have been adopted by vegans, lactose-intolerant, and conscientious shoppers alike. 

During the pandemic, we’ve started to order our groceries online and pick them up in the store. I’ve had to accept the haul of a couple dozen plastic bags. I reuse them to pick up my dog’s poop in the yard, but I still feel a pang of guilt. 

Six months ago, I stopped eating meat. I’ve gone back and forth from a pescatarian diet for years, but this time it’s sticking. This time, I feel strong in my conviction. I truly don’t feel like I’m missing anything. I’ve given up milk for non-dairy substitutes. But I still eat cheese and fish occasionally (I know, shame on me).

I know seafood can be worse for the environment than meat. I am working to educate myself on the most sustainable sources of seafood and even then I limit my consumption to about once or twice a week. 

I also know how inhumane the dairy industry is, which is why I still try to cut my cheese consumption as much as I can. It’s much harder for me personally to cut than meat was, being the Wisconsinite cheesehead that I am. While researching just now, what I didn’t know is that cheese is the third biggest environmental offender behind lamb and beef. Now that I know this, I am going to try to heed author Lisa Hyma’s advice if and when I do choose to eat cheese: buy minimally, buy locally, and choose soft, unaged cheeses that cause less of a strain on the environment.

I know that a vegan diet is one of the best things we can do for our planet. Maybe one day I will get to that point. But for now, I am accepting my imperfection. I am choosing to be proud of myself for going in the right direction. I am doing what I am comfortable with and I am still trying to make the conscious choice when and where I can. In my humble opinion, I think that offering a gentle approach to diet and lifestyle changes are more practical, more sustainable, and more likely to produce a positive net result.

I admire people who eat fully plant-based and who grow their own vegetables (I am still learning how to keep plants alive). I admire people who cut their yearly waste down to fit inside a mason jar. I admire people who don’t rely on a car and bike or take public transportation everywhere.

I have allowed the guilt of my imperfection to push my deepest knowing down for years. I have told myself that I am not one to help the earth because I am not dedicated enough.

I am realizing that in order to make a difference, we need everyone to make a fundamental change. It is far more impactful to influence the majority than it is to alienate people who aren’t doing “enough”. From the top down, we need to practice sustainable and conscious consumption. From the inside out, we need to consider our individual choices day-to-day.

I am not suggesting you sell your car, give up meat, or swear off plastic (entirely). I am suggesting we consider our daily habits and start to add environmentally-conscious decisions to our lives. Take public transportation, walk or bike on occasion, or plan out your errands so that you are making a smaller footprint. Try out some plant-based recipes, non-dairy milk, and great egg substitutes like JUST eggs – who knows, you might actually like the change. Plant-based burgers like the Beyond Burger and the Impossible Burger are so realistic you might be fooled! My meat-eating husband, Garth, actually prefers them to meat-based burgers!

Imperfection is better than inaction. Instead of “subtracting” things from your life, think of it as adding something. Add positivity as it relates to your habits and as you relate to yourself. Don’t tell yourself that you can’t or don’t want to give up your lifestyle. Don’t compartmentalize the climate crisis in the far reaches of your mind as a problem for someone else or for a later date. And don’t guilt yourself for the things you do wrong or imperfectly. Take each day consciously and with positivity – for yourself, for others, and for our planet as a whole.

Peace & Love to all things Wild,

Taylor

COVID-19 Effects on the Environment: The Good & The Bad

Meat processing plants are experiencing slow-downs due to COVID-19 restrictions. While people panic about their pork butt going up in price, I’m smiling and hoping that this is the push they need to eat less meat.

As crowds are dispersed and people are confined to their homes, animals have come out from their hiding spaces to roam and live as they did before human influence reached every corner of the globe.

With factories shut down, skies are clearing and Mother Earth is taking a deep, long-deserved breath.

This freedom from destruction is temporary. But scientists have reported that even this brief hiatus from pollution and intrusion has already shown positive effects on the planet.

With that said, as the tourism industry is shut down, wildlife refuges around the globe are suffering. People in surrounding communities struggle to get by without the economic hub that tourism brings. Some areas, like the Bwindi Impenetrable National Park on the border of the DOC, Uganda, and Rwanda, are now without the protection of foot traffic from armed rangers and visitors to the park, raising the potential threat of poachers to the just over 1000 remaining endangered eastern mountain gorillas. This population has bounced back from nearly extinct in the 1960s and was recently upgraded from “critically endangered” to “endangered”. (Nat Hab Webinars: Mountain Gorillas on the Rise: A Conservation Success Story).

Photo courtesy of Leila Boujnane on Unsplash

Mark Jordahl, the webinar’s key speaker, had a few tips on how to help conservation areas like Bwindi Impenetrable. In order to protect wildlife across the globe, it is also vital to support local people†b in the area and their economies, especially in times when much of their revenue from environmental tourism is lost.

  1. Buy products to support local economies
    1. I.e. Gorilla Conservation Coffee
      *I just bought six bags. I hope to have products exactly like this in our Conscious Store! https://gorillaconservationcoffee.org/
  2. Take the trip!
    When we can travel again, visit conservation areas like this one and buy local products from the surrounding communities.
  3. Buy Responsibly
    1. Even wood that claims to be sourced “responsibly” can still do damage. Don’t buy exotic woods like mahogany or rosewood, which are taken directly out of already pressured habitats. Research wood before you buy. Obvious areas to stay away from are those with crucial wildlife populations like Brazil, areas of Africa, and areas of Asia. Burma and Malaysia are notorious for over-harvesting their forests. Visit the Forestry Stewardship Council for more information on sustainable wood: https://info.fsc.org/
    2. Overall, consume less. Think twice before you buy a new iPhone or computer. Materials need to be mined or taken from the earth. The less we consume, the less we need to take from the earth.

(Nat Hab Webinars: Mountain Gorillas on the Rise: A Conservation Success Story)

Animal lovers alike panicked when we heard that, in extremely rare cases, cats and dogs can contract COVID-19. But gorillas share 98% of their DNA with us. According to Jordahl, a gorilla can die from something as simple as the common cold. The mountain gorillas, who live in elevations over 10,000 feet, are especially susceptible to respiratory illnesses. As people begin to travel again, we need to take into consideration not only the spread amongst humans but also amongst endangered populations like the eastern mountain gorillas. Practice the same preventative measures around wildlife that you would around other people – wear masks, keep your social distance (which you may want to do anyways in the case of a gorilla), and maintain hygienic practices like washing your hands religiously.

These last few months have been a huge challenge for the human race, one that has been filled with incredible losses. And even when we do recover, it is creating and already has created scars that will surely be felt for years to come.

For the environment at least, I am holding onto hope. The hope that if we as conscious humans collectively alter our habits, consumption, and thoughtfulness as it relates to our planet, we can make a fundamental change for the environment, animals, and the earth as a whole.

Sources:

“Mountain Gorillas on the Rise: A Conservation Success Story” Webinar (April 27, 2020). Hosted by Natural Habitat Adventures.

Pebble Mine would Devastate World’s Largest Salmon & Brown Bear Populations

Photo courtesy of Brent Jones via Unsplash
Author’s Note

Author’s Note: Happy Earth Day, everyone! 🌎 It’s a weird one as much of the world sits isolated in quarantine. I saw my neighbors pick up trash this morning as they walked their dog and I am inspired by creative ways to honor the earth today (and every day).

For my first post on Conscious Human Collective, I would like to shed light on a matter that was brought to my attention through wildlife photographer Brooke Bartleson (Instagram: @brookelittlebear) and a webinar entitled “The Digital World Premiere: Pebble Redux”, hosted by Natural Habitat Webinars (a subsidiary of World Wildlife Fund). As I launch this idea to create a platform for conscious collective thought as it relates to the environment, threatened species, and native cultures, I hope to rely on and eventually partner with experts, organizations, and individuals doing positive and powerful work.

I have never been to Alaska, but it’s at the top of my list of places to travel for its unique and beautiful environment and rich abundance of wildlife. If you feel a connection to the Alaskan wilderness, whether you have a personal connection or experience as a resident or visitor, or if it simply calls to you from deep in your soul, please read on.

Peace & Love to all things Wild,

Taylor

The proposed Pebble Mine in Bristol Bay, Alaska, would cause irreversible devastation to some of the world’s largest salmon and brown bear populations by directly impacting the world’s largest salmon run. This iron ore mine would include a disposal site to hold 1.4 billon tons of toxic waste within the now untouched Alaskan waters, creating a Superfund site that would have to be managed, with taxpayer’s dollars, in perpetuity (The Digital World Premiere: Pebble Redux). For scale, the Pebble Mine is so large that you could fit all other mines in Alaska inside of it. It would be the largest mine in North America, and one of the largest mines in the world (Levit & Chambers, 2012). The EPA declared the toxicity would have “significant and unacceptable adverse effects” to the Bristol Bay waters and many other connected waterways.

Animals and the natural habitat are not the only things to suffer consequences of the proposed mine. This development would endanger Alaskan’s way of life, food sources, and commercial fishing & tourism economies. Alaskans rely on the Bristol Bay region for food to get through the winter and for commercial fishing. Fishermen come from all across the world to fish in the area. The region’s fishing industry is valued at $350 million/year and fuels 14,000 jobs, outnumbering the Pebble Mine’s proposed job opportunities nearly 100 to one (savebristolbay.org). The plentiful salmon populations also attract brown bears, creating an unparalleled bear-viewing tourism industry, which brings in an additional $50 million/year and creates 500 jobs (Nat Hab Webinars – The Digital World Premiere: Pebble Redux).

Photo courtesy of Wild Salmon Center

Roads are proposed as close as 250 feet from iconic bear-viewing sites that historically have only been accessible by foot, creating a disturbance to wildlife, and additional runoff pollution into the waters (The Digital World Premiere: Pebble Redux).

This area has remained untouched to development. It is sacred to the Native people in the region and it is critical for the Alaskan economy. It is a precious resource that tourists are allowed to share in with a lottery on permits to the McNeil River State Game Sanctuary & Refuge. Land management up to this point has been conscious and sustainable in order to maximize the well-being of the wildlife while allowing tourists and locals to glimpse the pristine beauty of an environment that is vital for salmon, brown bears, and other creatures (Nat Hab Webinars – The Digital World Premiere: Pebble Redux).

As of now, the Army Corps is planning to issue an environmental statement on the project this summer, which is one of the final steps before issuing a permit. According to the EPA, the Corps is relying on inadequate science that “likely understates harm to the bay” (Anchorage Daily News). During the coronavirus pandemic, the Corps is, and should be, focusing its energy elsewhere. The window to gather accurate science on the mine’s true environmental impact is closing.

For the bears, the salmon, for Alaska’s untouched wilderness and for the people of Alaska, send a letter to your senators to ask the Army Corps of Engineers to postpone this project amidst the Coronavirus pandemic. Visit www.defendbristolbay.com/bears to comment.

Spread awareness on social media by posting your bear photos with the hashtag #shareyourbears

Photo courtesy of Paxson Woelber via Unsplash

Additional notes: In 2014, the EPA proposed protections for the area under the Clean Water Act, and the company proposing the mine, the Pebble Limited Partnership (a Canadian company), filed to block this protection (National Fisherman). The EPA withdrew their proposal in 2019, after Trump’s visit to Alaska’s governor, Mike Dunleavy. This decision has been fueled by politics, lobbying, and profit. Decision-makers have chosen to ignore much of the science that the EPA had previously published showing the project’s devastation to the environment.

““Meanwhile, Pebble is spending more than any other mining company in D.C., focused singularly on getting their federal permit before the end of 2020,” said Commercial Fishermen for Bristol Bay in a release issued Monday, April 20. “In spite of the fact that all of Bristol Bay and its fishermen are focused on preventing the spread of covid-19 and working to protect residents and fishermen from both physical and economic harm, the U.S. Army Corps of engineers remains on track to meet Pebble’s requested timeline.”” (National Fisherman).

Sources:
“The Digital World Premiere: Pebble Redux” Webinar (April 22, 2020). Hosted by Natural Habitat Adventures.
Levit, Stuart, and David Chambers. Center for Science in Public Participation, 2012, pp. 1–12.
https://www.adn.com/business-economy/energy/2020/04/20/pebble-mine-opponents-lose-court-case-over-2014-epa-report/
www.defendbristolbay.com
https://earthjustice.org/features/alaska-s-bristol-bay-the-pebble-mine
https://www.nationalfisherman.com/alaska/corked-again-bristol-bay-coalitions-pebble-mine-lawsuit-dismissed/
http://www.savebristolbay.org/in-the-news/2017/1/31/new-study-bristol-bay-fishing-jobs-outnumber-pebble-mine-jobs-nearly-100-to-one
https://www.wildsalmoncenter.org/2011/02/01/epa-bristol-bay-study/