Susannah Gelbart

  • Take the pledge and help end plastic pollution

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    GOAL: 207 signatures

    Over the past 50 years, the use and disposal of plastic has increased dramatically, causing a world-wide pollution issue. The use of plastic is attractive because it is lightweight, strong, water-resistant and inexpensive, but it is coming at a very high cost. It is estimated that at this rate, by 2050, we are expected to accumulate more plastic than fish by weight. Over a third of plastic packaging does not make it to a collection system and ends up polluting oceans and clogging infrastructure. 

    The degrading process for plastic is extremely slow, and the majority of the world’s glutinous consumption of plastic has led to the over pollution of our lands and oceans. When plastic breaks down into smaller particles, it’s toxins and material are consumed by animals, contaminating food chains and environments. 

    There are ways to help reduce your plastic usage: 

    1. Use less disposable plastics

    2. Avoid microbeads 

    3. Purchase items secondhand

    4. Recycle 

    5. Support and encourage bag taxes or bans

    6. Buy in bulk 

    7. Bring your own bags and containers while shopping or dining

    8. Reuse durable, non-toxic plastic for as long as you can

    9. Put pressure on manufacturers and governments to help make change

    Take the pledge and make an effort to refuse, reduce, reuse and recycle! 

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  • Close the loopholes, now!

    Tell Congress: Close Tax Loopholes!

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    GOAL: 1,815 signatures

    For every 1,000 signatures, NationofChange will send a letter to Congress, asking them to pass legislation that will close tax loopholes for the ultra-rich.

    [Update: We have surpassed 500 signatures! NationofChange is sending the first letter to Congress with your signatures attached, asking them to close the tax loopholes for the ultra-rich. We will continue to send letters for every 1000 signatures.]

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    Senator Bernie Sanders will introduce a new bill in the 115th Congress, which begins next year.

    The proposed bill, if passed, would close all of the tax loopholes that Trump exploited in his 1995 tax returns. These loops holes do nothing to boost the economy, but continue to allow real estate investors like Trump to get out of pay millions of dollars in taxes.

    “Special tax breaks and loopholes in a corrupt tax code enable billionaires and powerful corporations to avoid paying their fair share of taxes while sticking the burden on the middle class,” Sanders said. “It’s time to create a tax system which is fair and which asks the wealthy and powerful to start paying their fair share of taxes.”

    Sanders’ legislation would close the following loopholes:

    Exemption for the real estate from passive loss rules (Section 469): This loophole allows for an exception for real estate so that real estate investors can use losses to offset any other income, regardless of if it has to do with their business.

    Exemption for real estate from at-risk rules (Section 465): An exemption for real estate investors that allows them to claim losses exceeding what they actually invested.

    Like-kind exchanges (Section 1031): Allows real estate owners to swap pieces of property of the same type in order to claim they have no gain to report to the IRS because technically there was no sale.

    Debt and Depreciation: Allows for investors to combine tax breaks for for borrowing with tax breaks when an investment rapidly loses value, allowing them to borrow money to make an investment, take deductions for the interest they pay on the debt and then take deductions as the property depreciates.

    Stand with Senator Sanders and NationofChange and tell Congress to close the tax loopholes that rich investors are using to dodge taxes.

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  • Ban fracking now!

    Ban Fracking Now

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    GOAL: 392 signatures

    For every 1,000 signatures NationofChange will send a letter to the EPA and Congress demanding that they pass legislation that bans fracking nationwide, permanently.

    Fracking, the process of releasing natural gas by injecting huge amounts of water, chemicals and sand into shale rock formations, has become highly controversial due to its connections to multiple health problems.

    The process of fracking has been found to contaminate local water supplies . Fracking has also been linked to earthquakes, such as in Oklahoma, can worsen asthma for nearby residents, and puts infants and children at risk for developing heart and lung problems. 

    Only 30-50% of chemicals used in fracking are recovered after the job is done. Which means the rest are left in the ground, leeching into our soil and potentially our groundwater. 

    Despite all this, the use of fracking continues to spread across the United States. 

    Fracking is causing serious health problems. Help NationofChange tell Congress that fracking needs to be banned now.

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  • Sign the petition: It's Time the FDA Completely Bans BPA

    It's Time the FDA Completely Bans BPA

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    GOAL: 1,508 signatures

    For every 1,000 signatures, NationofChange will send a letter to the EPA demanding that they completely ban BPA from all food and drink packaging.

    [Update 12/10/2016: We have surpassed 1,000 signatures! NationofChange has sent the first letter to the EPA. We will continue to send a letter with your signatures for every 1,000 signatures we receive.]

    The primary source of exposure of bisphenol A or BPA is through the diet, yet the FDA allows this toxic chemical, which is linked to cancer and other diseases, to be used in most food and drink packaging. While the FDA banned the use of the chemical in baby bottles and children's cups, the FDA must protect the American people in its entirety.

    BPA is an endocrine disruptor, which interferes with the processing of natural hormones within the human body, and is determined to be very hazardous to human health, according to Medical News Today (MNT).

    Evidence proves the chemical to be harmful and links it to infertility, depression, ADHD and autism among several other diseases, but BPA is consistently present in plastic water bottles, epoxy resins that coat the inside of cans, some dental fillings and sealants and paper receipts. We can't avoid it.

    According to a study conducted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 95 percent of adult urine samples contain BPA. This shocking statistic confirms the need to completely ban this chemical from daily exposure for the health and safety of humans.

    It is time Americans are protected from "unwittingly consuming a dangerous chemical."

    Let's take action and tell the FDA to completely ban BPA from all food and drink packaging.

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  • Raise the Federal minimum wage.

    Raise the Federal Minimum Wage for Tipped Workers

    Raise the Federal Minimum Wage

    GOAL: 1,317 signatures

    For everyone 1,000 signatures, NationofChange will send a letter to the Department of Labor demanding a raise for the federal minimum wage for tipped employees.

    [Update 1/25/17: We are sending the first letter to the Department of Labor with 1,000+ of your signatures. We will continue to send letters every 1,000 signatures. Thank you!]

    Tell the Department of Labor to Raise the Federal Minimum Wage for Tipped Employees

    While other federal minimum wages have increased throughout the years, the minimum wage for tipped employees remains the same.

    Since 1991, the federal minimum wage for tipped employees is $2.13 per hour, according to the Department of Labor.  While servers struggle to make ends meet earning poverty-level wages, discrimination and inequality continue to plague the restaurant industry. 

    The Department of Labor justifies the minimum hourly wage with tips claiming that servers will make up the difference in their wage to that of the current federal minimum wage. And the National Restaurant Association is doing nothing to support the tipped employees; instead the association is reaping the benefits.

    With more than 13 million restaurant workers in the U.S., most tipped employees are living below the poverty line while the National Restaurant Association is pocketing around $660 billion in revenue.

    Employment in food services has been growing at a much faster rate than employment in general and the restaurant industry has continued hiring despite the recession.

    Let’s get with the times and make a change – tell the DOL to raise wages for tipped employees!

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  • We will send a letter to Congress, urging them to draft a new law requiring disposable kitchenware to be biodegradable.

    Tell Congress: Ban Plastic Kitchenware!

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    GOAL: 888 signatures

    For every 1000 signatures, NationofChange will send a letter to Congress, urging them to draft a new law requiring disposable kitchenware to be biodegradable.

    This month, France became the first country to ban plastic silverware, plates, and cups. Companies who produce these products will have until 2020 to make sure their products are biodegradable.

    It is time for the United States to follow suit. 

    Plastic has become a huge problem for the earth. It takes an incredible amount of time to break down, causing high levels of plastic pollution all over the world, including places not normally inhabited by humans

    Over the last ten years we have produced more plastic than during the whole of the last century. 50 percent of plastic we use once and throw away. It is time for this to change.

    Help us tell Congress to follow France’s lead and ban all plastic kitchenware.

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  • Sign the petition: Tell Congress to Regulate Prescription Drug Prices

    Tell Congress to Regulate Prescription Drug Prices

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    GOAL: 2,567 signatures

    For every 1000 signatures, NationofChange will send a letter to Congress, demanding that they pass legislation to regulate prescription drug prices and end price gouging. 

    [Update: We have surpassed 2000 signatures! NationofChange is sending a letter to Congress with your signatures attached, asking them to regulate prescription drug prices. We will continue to send letters for every 1000 signatures.]

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    Americans pay, by far, the highest prices for prescription drugs in the entire world. 

    Access to health care is a human right, and that should include affordable prescription drugs. Yet we have companies like Mylan, Turing Pharmaceuticals, and Ariad Pharmaceuticals that love to hike drug prices up. This means that many life saving drugs have become unaffordable for the average American family.

    Last year, the former CEO of Turing Pharmaceuticals raised the price of an AIDS drug from $13.50 per pill to $750.00 — overnight. 

    Prices for drugs overall have increased more than tenfold between the year 2000 and today. The average price of cancer drugs is increasing by over $8,000 a year.

    It is time for Congress to pass legislation to regulate pharmaceutical drug prices and end price gouging. This should also include things such as allowing Medicare to negotiate drug prices, allowing the importation of cancer drugs across U.S. borders for personal use, legislation that prevents drug companies from delaying access to generic drugs and extending the life of drug patents, and creating an FDA approval group or mechanism that can estimate and propose a fair price for new treatments.

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  • Susannah Gelbart

    Tell the USFWS: Don’t Abandon the Red Wolf

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    GOAL: 855 signatures

    For every 1000 signatures, NationofChange will send a letter to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service demanding that they continue the red wolf recovery program instead of opting for captive breeding programs.

    The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) is taking heat from scientists for their September 12th decision to abandon the wild red wolf population in North Carolina in favor of captive breeding programs.

    USFWS based their decision to remove 32 of the 45 remaining red wolves left in the wild on a population viability analysis (PVA) conducted by a team of scientists — the same scientists now rebuking the USFWS for that decision.

    It is clear that the USFWS values the concerns of private land owners over the future of the red wolf. According the the USFWS’ decision memo:

    “Acknowledging growing concerns from private landowners regarding management of Service’s Red Wolf NEP project in eastern North Carolina, the Service and North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission met to discuss and develop a canid management strategy.”

    These landowners’ concerns do not match those of the majority of North Carolinians, who actually support efforts to enhance the wild red wolf population, according to a poll.

    Unless the USFWS can revise it’s protection plan and make good on its mission to “conserve, protect, and enhance” these animals and their habitats, the future for the red wolf looks bleak.

    Please join NationofChange in telling the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to not abandon the Red Wolf population and to continue their Red Wolf recovery program, rather than opting for captive breeding.

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  • STOP POACHING!

    Tell Congress: End Tiger Poaching

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    GOAL: 1,917 signatures

    For every 1,000 signatures, NationofChange will send a letter to Congress asking them to draft legislation that will put protections for wild tigers in place.

    [Update 1/25/17: We are sending the first letter to Congress with 1,000+ of your signatures. We will continue to send letters every 1,000 signatures. Thank you!]

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    Did you know that there are only 3,200 wild tigers left on Earth? Poaching is the number one threat to wild tigers. They are hunted for everything from wallets to medicines.

    Currently there is legislation that can help put a stop to most of the trade of tiger products. If Congress were to pass the Eliminate, Neutralize, and Disrupt Wildlife Trafficking Act there would be serious consequences and protections put into place against poachers and traffickers, thus seriously limiting the illegal trade of tiger products.


    Sign the petition and help us tell Congress that you want this legislation, and future legislation for the protection of wild tigers, put into place.

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  • Sign the petition: Protect the Bats from Lethal Wind Turbines

    Protect the Bats from Lethal Wind Turbines

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    GOAL: 1,066 signatures

    For every 1,000 signatures, NationofChange will send a letter to the American Wind Energy Association, asking them to adopt new voluntary guidelines to help prevent bat deaths from wind turbines.

    [Update 3/16/17: We have sent the first letter to the American Wind Energy Association with 1,000+ of your signatures. We will continue to send letters every 1,000 signatures. Thank you!]

    In the last ten years there has been a major epidemic of bats disappearing due to fatal white-nose syndrome and wind turbine fatalities. 

    Scientists believe that bats are having a hard time confusing wind turbines with trees. Last year the American Wind Energy Association (AWEA) announced “voluntary guidelines to halt turbines at low wind speeds, when bats are most active, which would save lives.” These new changes were expected to help reduce fatalities by 30 percent.

    However, there could be more done. If the industry can hold the blades in check just a little longer bat fatalities could be reduced by 90 percent. To do this there only need to be two minor changes: feathering, or "turning the blades parallel to the wind so the turbines do not rotate," and implementing higher cut-in speeds, ideally between 5 and to 6.5 meters per second.

    Please sign the petition to tell the AWEA to make these changes so that we can save 90 percent of the bats rather than just 30 percent.

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  • Susannah Gelbart

    Save the Irrawaddy Dolphins from Extinction

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    GOAL: 2,151 signatures

    For every 1,000 signatures, NationofChange will send a letter to the Laos government asking them to halt construction of the dam that threatens the lives on the Irrawaddy dolphins.

    [Update 2/2/17: We are sending the second letter to the Laos government with 2,000+ of your signatures. We will continue to send letters every 1,000 signatures. Thank you!]

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    We are concerned about the impending extinction of the Irrawaddy Dolphins.

    “The alarming decline of Mekong Irrawaddy dolphins in Laos that we have witnessed this year is tragic,” Teak Seng, WWF Conservation Director for the Greater Mekong, said in a statement. “At this stage, we fear that in a year or two, there may be no more dolphins in Laos.”

    The biggest threat to these beluga-like dolphins is gill net fishing. These large bodied mammals frequently get entangled in the long lines of unmanned nylon gill nets that are hung vertically to catch fish, and drown as a consequence.

    Cambodia has banned the use of gill nets in the Mekong River. But in Laos, gill net fishing is prohibited only in the deepest parts of the Cheuteal pool off Hangsadam Village, where the dolphins usually reside. These nets, however, can be used immediately outside of the pool. So when the dolphins venture out of the pool, they run the risk of being trapped.

    Thousands of tourists visit the dolphin pools in Laos every year. In fact, dolphin-watching tours have more than doubled since 2008, according to WWF. So the disappearance of the Irrawaddy dolphins from Lao waters could significantly impact eco-tourism in the area, the team says.

    Therefore, NationofChange is asking the Laos government to extend the gill net ban to two kilometers radius around the Cheuteal Pool, expandable to four kilometers in the rainy season. We also ask for increased enforcement of gill net bans in other Mekong River dolphin pools to protect the remaining dolphin populations.

    As Teak Seng said, “The loss of this iconic species for Laos is even more tragic given that it was entirely preventable through strict enforcement against gill net fishing.”

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