Target: Admiral Jonathan William Greenert, Chief of U.S. Naval Operations
Goal: Protect mammals off the coast of southern California and Hawaii by restricting naval sonar testing and exercises.
According to its own estimates, the United States Navy figures that over the course of the next five years nearly 16,000 mammals will endure permanent hearing loss as a direct result of its underwater sonar testing and training exercises off the coasts of Hawaii and southern California. Because mammals like dolphins and whales largely depend on their inner ear functions (as well as their ability to hear) to hunt, communicate and see, there is no doubt that this testing will result in numerous unnecessary deaths.
What is more, the Navy also projects that over 5 million instances of temporary hearing loss and almost 2,000 deaths will occur during this same five-year period. The purpose of these sonar exercises is for the Navy to test its methods in gathering an accurate idea of the underwater environment—taking sonar devices to hunt for underwater submarines and other immersed objects.
As can be imagined, activists are already up in arms about the Navy’s newest revelations and are demanding that these sonar tests be halted or, at the very least, restricted to areas in which there will be the least amount of damage. Zak Smith of the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC), who attended a public meeting hosted by the Navy in San Diego, predicts that if the projected tests go on unchallenged then nothing short of a massacre will be in store.
“There aren’t other government agencies out there proposing activities that will have anywhere near this level of impact on wildlife, much of which is endangered,” Smith explains. “The Navy seems very proud of the fact that it has conducted such a ‘comprehensive’ (in its opinion) analysis of impacts. But where’s the pride in its development of alternatives that allow it to achieve its training and testing needs, while dramatically reducing the impact to whales and dolphins?”
Dear Admiral Greenert,
Tests and exercises scheduled to take place off the coasts of Hawaii and southern California over the next five years are projected (under the Navy’s own estimates) to injure and kill thousands of animals within the areas. There is no denying the damaging effects that sonar blasts have on cetaceans like dolphins and whales; already these activities are believed largely responsible for the deaths of thousands of dolphins off the coast of Peru—among other places.
In order to lessen the impact on the environment, I urge you to seek alternative methods for testing these sonar devices. By steering clear of areas densely populated by the animals, the harm can be minimized.
With your resources, it is possible to adequately continue with the routine exercises as well as ensure the safety of animals in the area; I urge you to do what is necessary to protect these animals.
[Your Name Here]