The monthly Audubon Eagle Eye Advocacy Updates will provide you with simple actions you can take to help foster a cleaner, healthier planet along with local and national environmental news. Advocacy to protect birds and wildlife is a top Audubon priority and this work goes beyond testifying on their behalf on Smith Hill. Year round, we are working with our community partners and Rhode Island leaders to ensure the environment is a priority. These updates will keep you informed and ready to take action when the legislative session is upon us. As the newsletter continues, we are very interested in your suggestions and questions. Please send them to Audubon Senior Director of Policy Meg Kerr at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Assess the contents of your garbage and recycling bins. What are you discarding most frequently? Ask yourself if the items can be reduced or even eliminated.
- Adopt sustainable practices in the kitchen. Plan out your meals to reduce unused food. Eliminate paper napkins and paper towels and use cloth instead. Use reusable containers for food storage instead of plastic wrap and aluminum foil.
- Minimize waste around the house. Choose your purchases carefully and select items with less packaging.
- Minimize yard waste. If you can, compost your biodegradable waste.
- Bring containers with you when you are out and about. Plan ahead and bring a reusable water bottle, cloth napkins, containers and utensils when you are away from home.
Good luck! Every little bit helps!
Tell your State Representative and State Senator to Support Funding for the RI Department of Environmental Management and the 2020 Beach, Clean Water and Green Bond
Photo courtesy of RI DEM
After months of hiatus, the Legislature is back at work and will be considering the 2021 budget in July. Members of the House Finance Committee have a huge task ahead of them, finding ways to craft a balanced budget with significantly reduced revenues. We have been reminded of the importance of nature and open spaces over the last few months. The budget that Governor Gina Raimondo submitted to the legislature in January includes key features that will help to protect the green spaces we all value so much.
Please reach out to your legislators and ask them to support the following items in the 2021 budget:
- The $64 million 2020 Beach, Clean Water and Green Bond invests in our state beaches and parks, outdoor recreation, farmland and forested land, water quality and community resilience. When passed by the legislature, the bond will go to the voters in November. Download the factsheet.
- Funding for the Department of Environmental Management and the Coastal Resources Management Council to continue their work to protect our land, water and health. Environmental agencies have been cut over and over again during the past few years. And the 2021 budget will necessitate additional cuts. Let your representative know that maintaining strong environmental agencies is critical.
File your comment on the draft EIS for narrowing the scope of the Migratory Bird Treaty Act.
The Trump administration continues their attacks on key environmental laws. They are now taking steps to roll back Migratory Bird Treaty Act protections. The draft environmental impact statement (EIS) released in June recommends ending federal protections for harassing, trapping or killing birds or taking nests and eggs, unless it can be proven that the intent of the action was only to kill birds, or the species is an endangered species. The loss of birds by these actions, also called incidental take, kills millions of birds every year. Removing these protections will accelerate the loss of birds, already in steep decline nationwide. Comments on the EIS are being taken until July 20.
Take a minute to file your comments opposing the proposed elimination of incidental take protections for birds. Let federal officials know you support Alternative B to restore the Incidental Take provision.
California Representative Alan Lowenthal (D-CA-47) introduced the Migratory Bird Protection Act in January. The bill will prohibit the incidental taking of migratory birds by commercial activity unless the activity is allowed by a permit or is identified as posing little or no risk to migratory birds. If passed, the bill would negate the efforts to narrow the application of the Migratory Bird Treaty Act. Rhode Island Congressman Cicilline (D-RI-1) signed on as a co-sponsor on June 22. Representative Langevin (D-RI-2) has not yet signed on. Send a message to your Congressman, thanking Congressman Cicilline for his support and urging Congressman Langevin to sign on as a cosponsor.
On June 17, the U.S. Senate passed with bi-partisan support the Great American Outdoors Act, which will fully fund the federal Land and Water Conservation Fund. This is a great step forward. The legislation will ensure that the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF) receives its annual $900 million allocation and also sets aside $9.5 billion over five years to tackle a longstanding maintenance backlog in the national parks system. Congress created the Fund in 1965 to develop and maintain a nationwide legacy of high-quality recreation areas, but in recent years LWCF has been beset by insufficient funding, which has endangered its mission.
The Audubon Society of Rhode Island has supported full LWCF funding for decades alongside other partners in the environmental community.
Send a thank you note to Senator Reed and Senator Whitehouse and let them know you appreciate their leadership on this important issue. And contact Congressman Cicilline and Congressman Langevin and urge them to support passage of the bill in the House.
June 22-28, 2020
Pollinator Week was established to raise awareness of the horrific decline in pollinators and beneficial insects in this country and across the globe. For decades, Audubon has worked to protect pollinators by enhancing their habitat on our wildlife refuges, creating beautiful pollinator gardens like at the Nature Center and Aquarium in Bristol, and by using little or no pesticides on our properties.
Pollinator decline is a serious danger to our ecosystem. While there are many causes for the population decline, one critical factor is the rampant use of neonicotinoid pesticides or “neonics.” Neonics have made U.S. agriculture 48 times more harmful to insects since their introduction, and contaminate food, soil, plants, and water across the country on an almost unprecedented scale.
Before the pandemic, Audubon was working hard on legislation to ban neonics. The bill, like practically all bills before the legislature, has been stalled. But you can still let your legislators know that they should care about pollinators, and that you expect them to take action on neonics soon. Let’s all celebrate Pollinator Week!