Pressure Russia to Honor its Environmental Protection Promises

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Target: Thomas Bach, President of the International Olympic Committee

Goal: Pressure Russian government to uphold its promise to protect its nature reserves.

Russia is backtracking on the environmental protection promises it made with the International Olympic Committee in 2014 before the Winter Olympics in Sochi. A recent vote in parliament will make it easier for infrastructure to be built and expanded in environmentally protected areas, putting 103 nature reserves at risk.

In the area around Sochi, a proposed ski resort is causing the biggest upset. The development of a ski resort in the city will jeopardize the environmentally fragile and mountainous Caucasus region and perhaps even lead to its placement on the UNESCO list of endangered world heritage sites. Just recently, three rare Persian leopard cubs were released in the mountains around Sochi in the hopes of increasing the leopard’s dwindling population. However, should the proposed ski resort be constructed, the leopard’s habitat with be isolated and their migratory route used for breeding will be broken, placing their population at risk.

The vote in Russian parliament is a breach of the commitment the nation made with the International Olympic Committee when it hosted the winter games in 2014. Before hosting the games, the nation promised to add new territory to its expansive list of naturally protected areas and promised to monitor closely and protect the areas around the Sochi National Park. However, by rescinding that promise two years later, Russia has set a dangerous precedent for future nations seeking to hold the Olympic Games, challenging the idea of commitment and putting infrastructure and the economy above the protection of the environment.

Sign the petition to urge the International Olympic Committee to pressure Russia to maintain its 2014 environmental protection promise so that the rare animals that call Russia home, like the Persian leopard, will be protected and future nations hoping to host the Olympics will understand the important duty of environmental protection that comes with the honor of hosting the international games.

PETITION LETTER:

Dear Mr. Bach,

In 2014, as part of its agreement to host the Winter Olympic Games in Sochi, the Russian government promised to protect its rare nature reserves and the species that call them home. However, the Russian parliament has recently passed a vote that downgrades its environmental protections and makes it easier for infrastructure such as ski resorts to be built on once-protected lands, including the Caucasus regions around Sochi. Such an act goes against the promise the Russian government made with your organization.

I urge you to put pressure on the Russian government and let it know that its most recent actions stand in sharp contrast to its 2014 environmental promise. By pressuring the nation to maintain its commitment, you would not only be protecting the rare species that live within these protected areas, you would also highlight the importance of environmental protection for all other nations seeking to host future Olympic Games.

Sincerely,

[Your Name Here]

Photo Credit:  Shaman17

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