Target: Sergey Donskoy, Minister of Natural Resources and Environmental Protection, Russia
Goal: Step up the fight against global warming in order to save starving reindeer and the indigenous populations that rely on them.
Reindeer are being found dead, frozen and buried in Siberia’s arctic snows. The animals are showing signs of starvation, likely brought on by lack of food caused by changing climates. In November of 2013, 61,000 of the animals were found dead from starvation in what is being called the largest reindeer die-off seen in Siberian history. These 61,000 reindeer account for a quarter of the entire area’s population.
Scientists are saying that abnormally thick layers of ice are cutting off access to lichen and other vegetation that the animals rely on to survive. According to the researchers, unusually warm temperatures in nearby seas caused evaporation and excessive precipitation in Siberian tundras, which then froze solid after dips in temperature. While reindeer can usually use their hooves to chip through ice to find food, this unusually thick ground cover became impenetrable.
Not only is this phenomenon effecting wild reindeer, but could prove detrimental to indigenous Siberian reindeer herding tribes. The indigenous Nenets people live lives closely intertwined with the reindeer, and rely on them for many facets of their livelihoods. They use their meat for food, their skin for clothes, and their bones and antlers for tools. Without these reindeer, the Nenets people are cold and starving.
The heavy ice cover is only expected to get worse in upcoming years as global warming continues to progress. Data from the National Snow and Ice Data Center in Russia suggests that another mass famine event like the one seen in 2013 could soon hit, leaving reindeer and the indigenous communities that rely on them to starve. In order to save these vulnerable populations, we must act now to address global warming. Sign the petition below to demand that Russia amp up its climate change goals to protect them.
Dear Mr. Donskoy,
Reindeer are being found dead en masse in the Siberian arctic due to starvation brought on by changing climates. Warming in nearby seas is causing excessive precipitation which is making ice cover too thick for the animals to reach the vegetation underneath.
If something is not done, both the reindeer and the indigenous communities that rely on them will continue to starve. We, the undersigned, ask you to step up your fight against climate change to protect these vulnerable populations.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: Michiel van Nimwegen