Michael Rubin

  • Ban Fracking Now

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    GOAL: 400 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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  • Tell Trump Not to Abandon Climate Progress

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    GOAL: 584 signatures

    For every 1,000 signatures, NationofChange will send letters to President Trump and Scott Pruitt demanding that they reinstate the Clean Power Plan and continue providing funding for climate science.

    Since being sworn into office, President Trump has issued numerous Executive Orders that have rolled back progress on climate change. 

    Among these are orders directly to the EPA and other government agencies to abandon climate research and roll back policies put into place to combat climate change.

    Agencies are being ordered to ignore the impacts of carbon pollution and begin leasing coal mining rights on federal land. The EPA is being ordered to dismantle its landmark climate protections, the Clean Power Plan. 

    Trump is also pulling funding from projects that would help us learn more about climate change and our effects on it, such as NASA’s climate science department.

    We can’t let the Trump administration get away with this. It has been shown that an outpouring of public outrage can have a profound effect on policy. Public response and activism has helped combat the Muslim ban and prevented Republicans from passing a disastrous health care plan. 

    Now we need this same outrage to keep Trump from obliterating all climate action and protections. 

    Tell President Trump and EPA director Scott Pruitt to reinstate the Clean Power Plan and continue funding climate science.

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  • End the Dickey Amendment: Tell Congress to Allow Research on Gun Violence

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    GOAL: 1,258 signatures

    For every 1,000 signatures, NationofChange will send a letter to Congress, demanding that they repeal the Dickey Amendment and allow for more research on gun violence.

    [Update 2/16/17: We have sent your 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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    Gun violence kills nearly 100 Americans every day. But Congress refuses to move forward on gun control legislation claiming that there is not enough evidence and not enough research to move forward.

    The number of mass shootings has increased dramatically over the last several years. This is the time for action.

    We are concerned about the influence NRA has on Congress. In 1996 the NRA passed the Dickey Amendment, preventing the Center for Disease Control from studying the effect of gun violence on the American public. Now, 20 years later, even the author of the amendment, Congressman jay Dickey, believes it should be repealed.

    Not only has Congress not allow any new gun control measures to pass, or in some cases even be voted upon, but they are also working hard to keep anyone from doing any serious research on gun violence.

    Now the most powerful medical association in the United States has called gun violence a “public health crisis.” If the American Medical Association is calling for changes to gun control it is time we, and Congress, listen.


    Sign the petition now and tell Congress to take the first step – repeal the Dickey Amendment and allow for more research on gun violence.

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  • Tell Governor Pat McCrory to Officially Repeal North Carolina's Anti-LGBT Law

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    GOAL: 421 signatures

    For every 1000 signatures, NationofChange will send a letter to Governor Pat McCrory demanding that North Carolina officially repeal its anti-LGBT law.

    North Carolina recently passed HB2, causing them to become the most anti-LGBTQ state in the country. The measure revoke local gay and trans nondiscrimination ordinances throughout the state, effectively legalizing anti-LGBTQ discrimination. It also forbids trans people from using the bathroom that aligns with their gender identity.

    North Carolina Republicans claimed that the measure was created in response to the city of Charlotte passing a LGBT nondiscrimination law. Although the Charlotte measure was just a generic nondiscrimination measure, Republicans declared that HB2 would remain on the books until Charlotte repealed its law.

    Charlotte's response was repealing every provision to which Republicans had objected on the condition that the legislature repeal HB2 by the end of the year.

    But then Republicans claimed Charlotte had “lied directly to the people” and broken its promise by retaining provisions of its code that prohibited the city from hiring contractors who have discriminated against subcontractors on the basis of race, religion, sexual orientation, or gender identity. This provision was never mentioned previously and Republicans never showed any objection to it.

    Charlotte again complied, even holding an emergency meeting in order to formally repeal the entire ordinance. This still wasn't enough for Republican legislators. Instead of repealing HB2 entirely, as promised under the circumstances, the new bill includes moratorium on local nondiscrimination ordinances for six months. Because Republicans hold a supermajority in the legislature, this “cooling off period” could easily be extended in six months’ time. The original compromise agreed to did not include such a moratorium.

    This means that “No local government in this State may enact or amend an ordinance regulating employment practices or regulating public accommodations or access to restrooms, showers, or changing facilities.”

    We must not support this as an adequate substitute for HB2. By doing this, North Carolina Republicans are allowing for discrimination against LBGT people. Please join us in telling Governor Pat McCrory to remove the moratorium and allow local governments in the state to enact measures to protect members of the LGBT community.

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  • Tell Congress: Let Borrowers Refinance Their Student Loans

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    GOAL: 623 signatures

    For every 1000 signatures, NationofChange will send a letter to Congress asking for student loan refinancing legislation.

    Americans are more than $1.2 trillion in student debt. Many of them are failing to pay even the minimum on their student loans, with no hope of refinancing. 

    Currently homeowners and corporations have the opportunity to take advantage of historically low interest rates. Student loan borrowers should be able to do the same, yet are stuck paying sky-high interest rates. The impacts their ability to purchase homes, save for retirement, and more.

    We need new legislation that will not only allow for, but make it easy for student loan borrowers to refinance their student loans. We stand with groups such as Generation Progress and Take Part in moving forward to urge Congress to pass new legislation to allow for student loan refinancing. 

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  • Tell Congress: Keep the pre-existing condition clause for health insurance

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    GOAL: 844 signatures

    For every 1000 signatures, NationofChange will send a letter to Congress demanding that they keep the pre-existing condition clause in their new health care plan.

    Before Obamacare it was nearly impossible for individuals with pre-existing medical conditions to find health insurance coverage.

    Now that President Trump and the Republican Party are in power and want to repeal Obamacare and replace it with their own health care system, millions of people are once again in danger of not qualifying for health insurance coverage because of a pre-existing condition.

    Even those that do qualify may face extremely expensive and/or limited insurance coverage.

    Please join us in demanding that Congress retain the pre-existing condition clause for whatever health care system they plan to replace Obamacare with so that millions of Americans with pre-existing conditions can maintain their level of health care without their price skyrocketing.

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  • End unregulated healthcare pricing

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    GOAL: 299 signatures

    For every 1000 signatures, NationofChange will send a letter to Congress asking them to enact legislation that will end unregulated healthcare pricing.

    Did you know that billing rates are not set nor regulated in the healthcare industry?

    Billing is determine on a case by case basis. A simple blood test can range from $10 to $400 at the same lab. Hospitalization can result in a bill that varies by thousands of dollars for the same services. 

    We are asking Congress to force providers to show transparency and publish legitimate pricing. This allows for healthcare providers to still set their own rates but prohibits them from charging different rates for different patients.

    Hospitals especially are known for overcharging patients - especially those with no insurance. In a recent study it was found that fifty hospitals in the United States were charging uninsured consumers more than 10 times the actual cost of patient care. 

    We need a system in which the public can search for a medical procedure online and see pricing for all providers in their area. This will save patients thousands of dollars as well as get rid of the “in network” and “out of network” system that causes confusion and costs an enormous amount of money and administrative burden every year.

    Tell Congress to stop unregulated healthcare pricing, thus allowing for lower healthcare costs and an end to restrictions on patient choice.

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  • 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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  • Tell Canada to Stop the Commercial Seal Hunts

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    GOAL: 3,505 signatures

    For every 1,000 signatures, NationofChange will send a letter to Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, asking him to help stop commercial seal hunts. 

    [Update 3/16/17: We have sent a letter to Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and the Minister of Fisheries and Oceans with 2,000+ of your signatures. We will continue to send letters every 1,000 signatures. Thank you!]

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    Baby seals are dying for no reason. Every spring, seal pups anywhere from 3 weeks to 3 months old are killed, their bodies left on the ice or in the ocean.

    Most commercial sealing in Canada can only exist with government subsidies. Seal products are not in demand, but sealing continues.

    Please sign the petition and help us tell Canada’s Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau, to put an end to commercial seal hunting.

    As Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau can work with the Minister of Fisheries and Oceans to buy out commercial sealing licenses and end commercial sealing.

    Sign the petition and help us end this cruel practice.

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  • Tell Congress: Close Tax Loopholes!

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    GOAL: 1,818 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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  • Tell the FDA to Ban Artificial Sweeteners

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    GOAL: 1,238 signatures

    For every 1000 signatures, NationofChange will send a letter to the FDA asking them to ban the artificial sweetener aspartame until conclusive studies can be done on its effects on human health.

    [Update 2/2/17: We have sent first letter to the FDA with 1,000+ of your signatures. We will continue to send letters every 1,000 signatures. Thank you!]

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    Introduced into the European food supply 25 years ago, aspartame is in just about “every component of most diet beverages, sugar-free desserts and chewing gums in many countries around the world.” But no matter its name – AminoSweet, Equal, Splenda, Sweet-N-Low – the artificial sweetener’s health risks have long been debated.

    Aspartame has a particularly sketchy history as an artificial substance.

    Said to cause neurological brain damage, cancerous tumors and endocrine disruption, among many other health risks, aspartame was banned by the FDA before a Reagan appointee rigged a committee to approve it as a food additive in 1981. Aspartame, which was an accidental discovery by James Schlatter, a chemist who was trying to invent an anti-ulcer pharmaceutical drug back in 1965, is comprised of two amino acids—methanol and phenylalanine.

    But according to some studies, ingesting these chemically produced amino acids can lead to excess levels of phenylalanine causing emotional disorders, such as depression, while methanol is broken down into formaldehyde in the body, which is a toxin. Researchers studied the “adverse effects of aspartame” and found it to “trigger” or “worsen” brain tumors, multiple sclerosis, epilepsy, chronic fatigue syndrome, Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s, mental retardation, lymphoma, birth defects, fibromyalgia and diabetes.

    Furthermore, the hyper-sweet additive has had adverse effects in the fight against obesity. Research proved that by creating foods with aspartame, it tricks our brains into over consuming and training the brain to crave sweets. Therefore, aspartame is contributing to the obesity problem that many countries face.

    As consumers, we need to be aware of the potential dangers of artificial sweeteners and know the heath risks associated with such products. It's time to stop aspartame from entering our foods. Join the fight against artificial sweeteners and tell the FDA to ban aspartame and protect the health of human beings!

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  • Tell Congress: Save the giraffe from extinction

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    GOAL: 1,688 signatures

    For every 1000 signatures, NationofChange will send a letter to Congress asking them to draft legislation that will provide funding and political help to prevent the extinction of giraffes.

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

    Over the past 30 years, the giraffe population has dropped nearly 40%. With illegal hunting, habitat loss and environmental changes these mammals are being slowly pushed to extinction. 

    This decrease in giraffe population will continue until we do something to stop it. With funding and political help, these animals could be preserved. There is currently no legislation to help prevent this extinction. 

    “Whilst giraffes are commonly seen on safari, in the media and in zoos, people – including conservationists – are unaware that these majestic animals are undergoing a silent extinction,” said Julian Fennessy, co-chair of the IUCN’s giraffe and okapi specialist group. “It is timely that we stick our neck out for the giraffe before it is too late,” he said.

    Sign this petition and help us tell Congress that the people want the protection of giraffes put into place.

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  • Help Protect Rhinos from Becoming Extinct

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    GOAL: 2,788 signatures

    For every 1,000 signatures, NationofChange will send a letter to the South African government asking them to crack down on Rhino poaching.

    [Update 3/16/17: We are sending the first letter to the South African government with 2,000+ of your signatures. We will continue to send letters every 1,000 signatures. Thank you!]

    Rhino poaching is on the rise and if the trend continues, the species could face extinction. Poaching has hit a new annual record, according to South Africa’s Department of Environmental Affairs (DEA).

    With a 5,000 percent increase in rhino poaching in the recent year, rhino’s horns are a big commodity on the black market. Rhino horns sell for up to $100,000 a kilo, which surpasses the price of gold. And selling at this hefty price, rhino poachers are attracting more impoverished people to join in the crime syndicate.

    Rhino poaching greatly increased after a story that a Vietnamese politician’s relative was cured of cancer from the horn even though science doesn’t support the claim. Cultural traditions in Vietnam, Thailand and China also make rhinos’ horns popular and therefore, increase their demand. And many of the poachers are cross the Mozambique border into Kruger National Park in South Africa where rhino killings are putting the animal in jeopardy of extinction.

    If no “effective measures are taken” to stop the criminal poaching, the South African government confirms the world’s rhino population will be close to extinct come 2026.

    Help StopRhinoPoaching.com in their global campaign to raise awareness about illegal poaching and help support provincial and private reserves in South Africa as their efforts toward protection before extinction.

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  • Raise the Minimum Wage: Join the Fight for 15

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    GOAL: 454 signatures

    For every 1,000 signatures, NationofChange will send a letter Congress demanding that they pass legislation to raise the minimum wage for all low-wage workers in the U.S. to $15 an hour.

    With income inequality at an all-time high and worker's rights at an all-time low, it's time Congress does something to mandate corporations raise the minimum wage and stop poverty wages from crippling workers and communities across the nation. Not only have corporations been maximizing profits at the expense of workers, Congress has only passed legislation to increase the minimum wage just three times in the past 30 year.

    It's time state and national lawmakers commit to raising the minimum wage for all low-wage workers in the U.S. to $15 an hour.

    While the state minimum wages range from $7.50 in Arkansas, Maine and New Mexico to $9.47 in Washington state, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures, there are about 20.6 million people that are considered “near-minimum-wage” workers. And the restaurant and food service industry is the single biggest employer of near-minimum-wage workers, according to Pew Research Center.

    As Robert Reich puts it, the "first step toward making work pay is to raise the federal minimum wage to $15 an hour, pegging it to inflation" because no full-time American worker should be living in poverty. The cycle is unacceptable and must come to an end.

    We must stand in solidarity with low-wage workers and wedge the income inequality gap by supporting the Fight for 15. Let's start by building a movement for shared prosperity and eventually "give all Americans a share in future economic gains."

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  • Stop Tax Breaks for the Rich: Create a New Tax System that Doesn't Favor the Wealthy

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    GOAL: 1,310 signatures

    For every 1000 signatures, NationofChange will send a letter to Congress, urging them to adopt a tax plan that will end tax breaks on the wealthy.

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

    Tax breaks for the rich are completely out of hand. 

    When Bill Clinton was elected president the 400 highest-earning taxpayers in America paid nearly 27 percent of their income in federal taxes, according to I.R.S. data. By 2012 that figure had fallen to less than 17 percent. This number is even lower now, and doesn’t include the loopholes and other ways the rich have used to their advantage to decrease their taxes paid.

    Now House Speaker Paul Ryan has rolled out a new “consensus” republican tax plan full of rate cuts for the 1% and corporates, including repealing the estate tax and making it easier for companies to hide profits overseas.

    Donald Trump’s proposed tax plan would be no better, also providing additional tax cuts for the wealthy.

    A Citizens for Tax Justice analysis found that 60 percent of the tax breaks in the Ryan plan would go to the top 1% of Americans, compared to 37 percent under Trump’s plan.

    It is time for us to speak out and do something about the tax breaks for the wealthy. Help us write to Congress to tell them to pass a new tax plan that stops major tax breaks for the rich and helps close the wealth gap.

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  • Tell the Federal Elections Commission to Make Tax Return Disclosure a Requirement

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    GOAL: 942 signatures

    For every 1000 signatures, NationofChange will send a letter to the Federal Elections Commission, asking them to make tax return disclosure a requirement for all future presidential elections.

    Every U.S. Presidential candidate since Richard Nixon has voluntarily released copies of their tax returns to the public so that voters can assess the amount and sources of income, taxes paid, charitable contributions and other data which can affect our propensity to elect them.

    This election cycle is the first time a presidential candidate has refused to do so. Donald Trump, despite enormous public pressure, has refused to release any of his tax returns.

    Recently someone leaked one year of Trump's tax returns to the New York Times. This one year suggest that Trump may not have paid federal taxes for almost two decades.

    We should insist on transparency from all presidential candidates. Help us tell the Federal Elections Commission that not only do we want Trump to have to release his tax returns, but we want tax return disclosure to be a requirement in all future elections.

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  • Save the Renewable Fuel Standard

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    GOAL: 469 signatures

    For every 1000 signatures, NationofChange will send a letter to the EPA asking them to keep the Renewable Fuel Standard.

    The Renewable Fuel Standard is a current policy that helps strengthen our national security and lowers our dependence on foreign oil. The Environmental Protection Agency is considering gutting it.

    Purchasing oil from foreign countries increases funding to groups that fight against our military. The Renewable Fuel Standard currently limits by requiring a minimum number of renewable fuels are used for transportation in the United States.

    Getting rid of the policy would not only increase funding for weapons in the hands of dangerous militia, but would remove funding for thousands on jobs in the United States and would cause worldwide oil prices to be out of control.

    Help us tell the EPA to keep the Renewable Fuel Standard and keep the United States moving away from dependence on foreign oil.

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  • Tell President Trump to Address Food and Agriculture in His Climate Action Plans

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    GOAL: 522 signatures

    For every 1000 signatures, NationofChange will send a letter to President Trump, asking him to address food and agriculture in his upcoming climate action plan.

    The theme of this year's World Food Day is "Climate is changing. Food and agriculture must too."

    The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations is calling on countries around the world to focus on climate change and food security. According to the FAO:

    "One of the biggest issues related to climate change is food security. The world’s poorest - many of whom are farmers, fishers and pastoralists - are being hit hardest by higher temperatures and an increasing frequency in weather-related disasters.

    At the same time, the global population is growing steadily and is expected to reach 9.6 billion by 2050. To meet such a heavy demand, agriculture and food systems will need to adapt to the adverse effects of climate change and become more resilient, productive and sustainable. This is the only way that we can ensure the wellbeing of ecosystems and rural populations and reduce emissions.

    Growing food in a sustainable way means adopting practices that produce more with less in the same area of land and use natural resources wisely. It also means reducing food losses before the final product or retail stage through a number of initiatives including better harvesting, storage, packing, transport, infrastructure, market mechanisms, as well as institutional and legal frameworks."

    NationofChange is standing with the FAO in asking President Trump to address food and agriculture in his climate action plan and invest more in rural development.

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  • 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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  • Tell Congress: Don’t Cut Important School Lunch Programs for Poor Children

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    GOAL: 1,409 signatures

    For every 1,000 signatures, NationofChange will send a letter to Congress asking them not to pass The Improving Child Nutrition and Education Act.

    U.S. lawmakers are quietly debating an important piece of legislation that greatly affects meals for schools.

    As it is now, funding allows for providing free lunches and after-school meals to every student enrolled in a public school where at least 40 percent of its student body live in low-income households. The program has had “lasting positive outcomes” and “critical benefits.”

    Yet now Republican lawmakers in Congress, led by Representative Todd Rokita, want to introduce The Improving Child Nutrition and Education Act that will severely cut the availability of federally subsidized lunches to hungry children in public schools.

    Even with the funding provided now, lunch programs are underfunded. The $13 billion allocated to them equals out to just over a dollar per meal for cafeteria administrators to spend on ingredients.

    Changing the law now would provide less funding, would remove eligibility for over 7,000 schools and 3.4 million students, and would create additional burdens of paperwork and administration work.

    Please sign the petition now to tell Congress we must not cut school funding but instead increase it, to continue to provide at least some proper nutrition to the over 15 million children that lack access to consistent nutrition at home.

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