A Brighter Future for WildlifeAmericans gave hope for a brighter future for wildlife by electing a President and Senate-majority who acknowledge the unfolding climate crisis, and have stated their intentions to lead America towards reducing carbon pollution and conserving wildlife habitats.
The devastation that Hurricane Sandy brought to the East Coast was a strong reminder of the action needed to combat the impacts to wildlife of climate-fueled disasters by addressing climate change and protecting wildlife habitat.
The superstorm destroyed communities and wildlife habitats–including crucial habitats for piping plovers and many other shorebirds.
Wildlife Supporters Making a Difference
Wildlife advocates like you pledged to “vote for wildlife” when you went to the polls and made sure that your friends voted as well.
You urged the candidates and presidential debate moderators to ask about climate before the elections, and kept the pressure on to make the connection between superstorm Sandy and the increasingly frequent and devastating extreme weather that scientists see worsening because of climate change.
In key states where conservation-champions were in tight races, supporters of the NWF Action Fund, the political wing of NWF, helped get our message into the media, air TV ads, and get voters to the polls. That support made the difference between winning and losing.
In fact, all of the Democratic and Republican candidates endorsed by the National Wildlife Federation Action Fund won their important races, thanks to the support of NWF Action Fund members.
The success of candidates endorsed by the NWF Action Fund shows that the financial resources of Big Polluters are no match against strong grassroots support for candidates who are on the right side of important conservation issues.
Successes for Wildlife
What does the election mean for wildlife?
When it comes to climate change–the greatest threat to wildlife today–if President Obama’s campaign acts on his statements about our warming planet, we can look forward to continuing to tackle pollution from power plants. Right now, we are working with the Obama Administration to finalize limits on carbon pollution from new power plants and now have the opportunity to push for pollution limits on the biggest single source of carbon pollution in the country–our nation’s already-existing power plants.
The Keystone XL tar sands pipeline was a big loser. In race after race including in Florida where Senator Bill Nelson was victorious, Senators opposing Keystone were rewarded by voters. We are now counting on President Obama to reject the pipeline that would set us in the wrong direction climate change.
We must reach a fair and balanced budget. Voters sent conservation champions to Congress who will help make sure future budgets do not further endanger wildlife with deep and disproportionate cuts to conservation programs that have already faced damaging cuts. These investments are small–less than 1 percent of all federal spending–and deliver huge benefits to wildlife by keeping our waters clean and taking care of public lands where our panthers, bison, wolves and polar bears live.
Clean Water Act
With the strong leaders in the Environmental Protection Agency continuing their work, river otters and fish across our nation have hope that our small streams and rivers that have lost the protection of the Clean Water Act will once again be safeguarded from destruction and pollution. The Environmental Protection Agency and other agencies can also continue their efforts to restore the Great Lakes, the Chesapeake Bay, the Mississippi River Delta and other cherished waterways.
What Happens Next
Exactly what happens next depends on whether Democrats and Republicans will work together to make progress on the important conservation issues facing America–and whether the GOP decides to return to the party’s Teddy Roosevelt conservation roots.
As Larry Schweiger, President and CEO of the National Wildlife Federation, said today in response to the election results:
The election should be a wake-up call for any politician who doesn’t have a responsible plan for conservation, particularly on the heels of superstorm Sandy. Along with the extreme droughts and wildfires of the past summer, Sandy has not only increased the urgency of tackling climate change, but also thrust the environment back into the spotlight.
Winning More Fights for Wildlife
The devastating impacts of Hurricane Sandy are the latest in a long string of extreme weather events fueled by climate change that continue to threaten our wildlife. This year alone, record wildfires in the west forced moose to flee their burning mountain habitats and extreme droughts left many black bears searching desperately for food.
Now that the elections are over, it’s up to us make sure our elected leaders will take action to get critical policies passed to protect these and many more wildlife from climate change–before it’s too late.
It might not be easy–and we know Big Polluters and special interests will be a strong opponent–but together we can win more critical fights against Big Polluters and continue to create a brighter future for plovers, moose and black bears.