Target: Gina McCarthy, Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency
Goal: Advocate for the changes necessary to protect North America’s bird species from the threat of extinction.
The Scientific American, a popular science magazine, reports that urgent action is required to protect North American bird species. Without action, as much as one third of the continent’s birds face extinction. Sea and tropical birds are among the most threatened.
The pressing threats faced by sea and tropical birds are said to stem from declining populations and limited ranges. According to a study from the North American Bird Conservation Initiative (NABCI), those threats can be ameliorated by removing predators from nesting islands and reducing plastic debris, which is known to injure and kill birds, from oceans. In addition, the report calls on North American governments to live up to existing treaty obligations and undertake new ones. In particular, the NABCI calls for signing the Agreement on the Conservation of Albatrosses and Petrels, which suggests fishing practices that are friendly to sea birds.
Tell the Environmental Protection Agency to escalate its protection efforts to suit the threat facing bird life in the Americas. They cannot act alone, but we can call on them to advocate for the species and environments they are tasked to protect.
Dear Gina McCarthy,
A recent study by the North American Bird Conservation Initiative (NABCI) classified 37 percent of North American bird species as under threat of extinction. Sea and tropical birds are the most threatened. According to the Scientific American’s report on the study, those bird populations would be best aided by the removal of predators, which include rats and cats, from their nesting sites, as well as healthier oceans.
Our planet’s biodiversity is an invaluable resource. Canada, the United States, and Mexico recently joined together to form the NABCI, and have signed on to various international agreements like the Paris Agreement, which protect the forests, wetlands, and pastures that birds call home. Those commitments — to study North America’s birds and protect their habitats — are an important first step in our stewardship of the environment, but they are not enough.
Over one third of the continent’s bird species faces extinction despite the measures we have already taken. Fortunately, the NABCI’s report provides a list of specific measures to avert ecological disaster. One of those steps is signing the Agreement on the Conservation of Albatrosses and Petrels. While focused on two specific species, that measure helps advocate sustainable fishing practices to ensure that the ocean’s bounty continues to support diverse bird populations. The agreement has received broad support internationally, but no North American countries are signatories. You cannot change that on your own, but you can begin the important and difficult work of advocating for changes that will protect threatened bird species.
[Your Name Here]
Photo Credit: Barbara Walsh