Terrance Balun

  • Fight Pollinator Decline: Tell the EPA to Save the Bees

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    GOAL: 4,941 signatures

    For every 1,000 signatures, NationofChange will send a letter to the EPA demanding it "blocks the increased use of thiamethoxam and sulfoxaflor and get all neonicotinoids out of U.S. agriculture as soon as possible."

    [Update: 12/11/2016: We have reached over 4,000 signatures! We have sent a letter to the EPA. NationofChange will send a letter for each 1,000 signatures we raise.] 

    Pollinating insects and animals are vital to the world. Not only do bees, birds, butterflies, bats, beetles and many other such pollinators support the ecosystem, they provide healthy watershed and maintain terrestrial productivity.

    Yet pollinators are in a state of decline, especially the bee, which puts human life in danger, threatens global food webs and concerns the integrity of biodiversity. And the EPA is doing nothing to save the bees and stop companies, such as Bayer, Monsanto, Dow and Syngenta, from increasing the use of pesticides on crops that rely on pollination. 

    There is a great deal of evidence that uncovers the dangers of genetically modified crops, which release Bt toxins, require increased pesticide use and demand neonicotinoid seed treatment, to both bees and human. But the EPA is letting biotech companies get away with murder.

    While more people are becoming aware of the decrease of bees and are concerned about the link between GMOs and toxic pesticides in the environment, it is time we stand up to the EPA and demand it "blocks the increased use of thiamethoxam and sulfoxaflor and get all neonicotinoids out of U.S. agriculture as soon as possible."

    We must take down the companies that are contributing to the pollinator decline and help save the bees.

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  • Tell the Trump Administration to Stop Pulling Federal Government out of Public Education

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    GOAL: 415 signatures

    For every 1,000 signatures, NationofChange will send a letter to President Trump demanding that the federal government not pull their funding for public schools.

    On April 26, 2017, Donald Trump signed an executive order to begin pulling federal money and government out of K-12 public education in an attempt to return school control back to state and local responsibilities. This executive order is being called “Education Federalism Executive Order” and will be reviewed and modified/repealed by Education Secretary Betsy DeVos

    Trump has also overturned a series of Obama’s education-related actions recently that could hurt public education. His administration has ended a grant program that was implemented to help local districts boost socioeconomic diversity within their schools, an order stating federally funded teacher preparation programs be evaluated based on the academic outcomes of those teachers' students and a program that would help identify failing schools and what can be done to improve them.

    We need to make sure our public schools are getting the funding and attention they need from federal government, and not place the responsibility of public schools solely on state and local shoulders.

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

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    GOAL: 610 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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  • Tell Congress Not to Sell Our Wilderness to the Highest Bidder

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    GOAL: 3,320 signatures

    For every 1000 signatures, NationofChange will send a letter to Congress asking them to block any legislation that would allow for America’s shared public lands to be eligible to be sold.

    [Update: We have surpassed 2,000 signatures! NationofChange is sending a letter to Congress with your signatures attached, asking them not to sell our wilderness. We will continue to send letters for every 1000 signatures.]

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    New findings have shown catastrophic declines in Earth’s wilderness over the last 20 years.

    Researchers reporting in the journal “Current Biology” have presented new findings that show an area twice the size of Alaska and half the pie of the Amazon has disappeared from Earth’s wilderness since the 1990s. This is equal to about 10% of global wilderness.

    As Dr. James Watson of the University of Queensland in Australia states, “Without any policies to protect these areas, they are falling victim to widespread development. International policy mechanisms must recognize the actions needed to maintain wilderness areas before it is too late. We probably have one to two decades to turn this around.”

    Although there has been efforts to preserve the loss of specific species, there are few policies that actually deal with large-scale lose of entire ecosystems and wilderness areas that haven’t been studied heavily.

    Dr. Watson says that “If we don’t act soon, there will only be tiny remnants of wilderness around the planet, and this is a disaster for conservation, for climate change and for some of the most vulnerable human communities on the planet.”

    In the United States wilderness areas have been given to states to do with what they want. Many times this means that our recreation lands are sold to mining, oil and gas and other development - in other words the “highest bidder.”

    We must take action before this gets further out of hand. Tell Congress that you do not support legislation that will allow America’s shared public lands to be sold to the highest bidder.

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  • End the U.S. Policy of Perpetual War

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    GOAL: 1,831 signatures

    For every 1,000 signatures, NationofChange will send a letter to President Trump, telling him to end the U.S. policy of perpetual war.

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

    As Michael Payne puts it, “The War on Terror is not a war unto itself; it is just one facet of the larger agenda of perpetual war that this government, filled with bloodthirsty war hawks, has conducted for far too long.”

    For the last 15 years America, has been engaged in perpetual war.

    Our government tells us to be afraid, and that terrorist groups pose a great threat to our country. But America has played the largest role in the origin, spread, and cultivation of these terrorist groups with our constant aggressive military policies.

    It is time for the United States to end this state of perpetual war, to bring our troops home, and to cease our aggressive military policies.

    Please join us in telling President Trump to stop the war on terror. We need to promote peace and communication between countries, not aggressive foreign policy and military practices.

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  • Take the pledge and help end plastic pollution

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    GOAL: 448 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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  • Tell Trump Not to Abandon Climate Progress

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    GOAL: 1,040 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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  • Stop Monsanto: Support Mandatory GMO Labeling

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    GOAL: 2,551 signatures

    For every 1,000 signatures, NationofChange will send a letter to the Trump administration demanding mandatory GMO labeling and the right to know what we're eating.

    [Update 1/20/2017: We have surpassed 2,000 signatures! NationofChange has sent the first letter to the Obama administration with your signatures and will continue to send a letter for every 1,000 signatures we receive.]

    Stand up to Monsanto and tell the Trump Administration to Support Mandatory GMO Labeling

    Genetically engineered foods stock the shelves in grocery stores. But consumers' rights to know what they are eating and feeding to their families is being blocked throughout the U.S. by the biotech companies that manufacture the GE ingredients. 

    Sixty-four countries, and counting, currently require labels on genetically engineered foods, including Australia, Russia, China and Japan. And while the U.S. is trying to follow suit and "require transparency in genetically engineered food labeling," the FDA has yet to act. 

    According to the White House, a recent survey revealed that "nearly all Democrats (93 percent), Independents (90 percent) and Republicans (89 percent) support labeling of GMOs. So it is time we stop biotech companies, like Monsanto, from paying off the FDA and deceiving the public, and support mandatory labeling of genetically engineered foods. 

    Sign the petition and tell the Trump Administration we have the right to know what we're eating.

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

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    GOAL: 1,044 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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  • Raise the Federal Minimum Wage for Tipped Workers

    Raise the Federal Minimum Wage

    GOAL: 1,316 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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  • Sea Turtles: Stop the Illegal Poaching in Mexico

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    GOAL: 8,061 signatures

    For every 1,000 signatures, NationofChange will send a letter to Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto, demanding that Mexico promote and support coastal communities’ ecotourism and sustainable travel.

    [Update 12/11/2016: We have sent our first letter, with over 7,000 signatures to President Nieto]

    Poached and hunted for their shells, meat and eggs, sea turtles are considered a lucrative commodity on Mexico’s black market.

    With more than 35,000 “slaughtered” off the coast of Baja California Sur each year, six out of the seven subspecies of sea turtles are endangered, according to WILDCOAST—an international ecosystems and wildlife conservation team. 

    But we can stop the illegal harvesting of sea turtles through ecotourism. We need to focus on supporting sustainable travel companies, who aim to bring people to the center of conservation and make local people the “solution to long-term environmental issues.” 

    As sea turtles continue to decline at an “alarming rate,” we must create sustainable economic alternatives to poaching and hunting sea turtles in local communities before they go extinct.

    Take action and help protect sea turtles against illegal poaching by asking the Mexican government to promote and support coastal communities’ ecotourism and sustainable travel.

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  • Overturn Citizens United

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    GOAL: 1,408 signatures

    For every 1000 signatures, NationofChange will send a letter to Congress, demanding that they create a constitutional amendment to overturn Citizens United.

    [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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    In 2010 the United States Supreme Court voted 5-4 in the case Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission. The ruling said that freedom of speech prohibited the government from restricting independent political expenditures by a nonprofit corporation.

    The principles articulated by the Supreme Court in the case have also been extended to for-profit corporations, labor unions and other associations.

    The case of Citizens United allows for dark money, the funds given to nonprofit organizations that can receive unlimited donations from corporations, individuals, and unions, and spend funds to influence elections, but are not required to disclose their donors.

    The Supreme Court's decisions in Citizens United and other cases opened the gates to a flood of billions of dollars that threatens to undermine our democracy.

    What we need now is a constitutional amendment to overturn Citizens United.

    Sign the petition to tell Congress to create a constitutional amendment to overturn Citizens United.

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  • Stop the Yulin Dog Meat Festival

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    GOAL: 1,316 signatures

    For every 1000 signatures, NationofChange will send a letter to Chinese Ambassador of the U.S. Ambassador Cui Tiankai and the Governor of Yulin GuangXi Province Mr. Chen Wu.

    Every year thousands of dogs are butchered for the Yulin Dog Meat Festival. The festival is due to start again this year on June 21, 2017.

    Many of the dogs are stolen, put in disgusting conditions in cages, and starved before being beaten to death or having their throats slit.

    Over the years the Yulin Dog Meat Festival has lost a lot of support. Most Chinese citizens do not support it, and Yulin authorities themselves have stated they would no longer support the festival.

    However this hasn’t resulted in the festival being cancelled, but rather just a smaller event with fewer dogs. Meat traders that help put on the festival are committed to putting on the event regardless of official support.

    Please join with us in urging the Yulin authorities to take direct action in ending the festival for good and ending the slaughter of thousands of dogs a year.

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  • Tell the FDA to Cut Animal Cruelty Out of Cosmetics

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    GOAL: 2,452 signatures

    For every 1,000 signatures, NationofChange will send a letter to the Food and Drug Administration, demanding they ban animal testing for cosmetics.

    [Update 2/16/17: We have sent another letter to the FDA with 2,000+ of your signatures. We will continue to send letters every 1,000 signatures. Thank you!]

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    While “cruelty-free testing” is mandatory in Europe, in the U.S., there are no regulations regarding the testing of cosmetics. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA), who oversees the industry, does not approve such products before they go on the market. And according to the FDA, cosmetic authority is solely the responsibility of cosmetic manufacturers.

    Therefore, to see to it that their products and the products’ ingredients are safe for human use, a majority of cosmetics are tested on animals. But as a country, we must ban animal-tested cosmetics.

    Not only does moving away from animal testing make good economic and trade sense since the EU recently banned the sale of animal-tested cosmetics, it is time we protect animal rights.

    With many alternatives to the commonly required safety tests, animal testing is no longer necessary.

    There are sophisticated non-animal research methods which are more accurate, less expensive and less time-consuming than certain animal-based research methods. Alternatives include computer simulators and imaging techniques, epidemiological studies (studies of human populations), clinical research, in vitro research (in a test tube) and replacing animals with human cells in safety tests.

    While three states—California, New Jersey and New York—passed laws mandating that available alternatives to animal tests be used, the U.S. currently has no federal law prohibiting animal testing.

    With many toxic and carcinogenic ingredients found in cosmetics, not only are animals' health at risk their rights are in question. It is time we protect animals and encourage modern science in response to the interests of consumers. Tell the FDA to ban animal testing for cosmetics.

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

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    GOAL: 1,606 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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  • Raise the Minimum Wage: Join the Fight for 15

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    GOAL: 455 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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  • It's Time the FDA Completely Bans BPA

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    GOAL: 1,517 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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  • Tell Congress: Save the giraffe from extinction

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    GOAL: 1,686 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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  • Get the Fossil Fuels Out of Climate Policymaking

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    GOAL: 2,212 signatures

    For every 1,000 signatures, NationofChange will send a letter to the Trump administration, demanding that the fossil fuel industry play no role in climate policymaking.

    [Update 2/16/17: We have sent your letter to the Trump administration with 1,000+ of your signatures. We will continue to send letters every 1,000 signatures. Thank you!]

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    Corporate influence has pervaded climate negotiations over the years in an effort to protect corporate profits. And now, the climate crisis is closer to the brink.

    Not only has the fossil fuel industry interfered with climate progress, these big polluters have pushed false solutions and committed numerous environmental and human rights violations.

    Scientists have warned of the “irreversible damage to our plant due to climate change” and it's time world leaders take bold action to ensure we stop extracting fossil fuels and reduce greenhouse gas emissions among other solutions.

    But with the fossil fuel industry and other transnational corporations standing in the way, we must remove fossil fuel industry lobbyists from climate policy.

    Take action today and sign the petition to create a “precedent-setting treaty mechanism” to get a behemoth industry out of the way. Help us save the planet!

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  • End Dark Money: Tell the FEC to Require the Disclosure of Secret Donors During Political Campaigns

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    GOAL: 1,555 signatures

    WATCH THE VIDEO

    It's no secret that dark money is taking over our elections. And the result: "America's government is bought."

    With corruption seeded in Watergate, it grew to take over the next generation with McCain-Feingold and eventually led to the Supreme Court's decision—limiting campaign spending violated the First Amendment—in 2010, according to National Journal.

    "You shouldn't have to buy access to your own government." —Represent.Us

    Five years after the Supreme Court's decision in the Citizen's United case changed the landscape for money in politics, we are faced with the worst—our leaders are answering to lobbyists and special-interest groups rather than we, the people. From buying access to and influence over Democratic and Republican candidates' campaigns with little transparency to reaping the benefits when it's all said and done, dark money has "perverted" the election process and changed our political system. 

    Now more than ever, American's have little confidence in their government. And 2016 is set to be the next big wave of dark money as the Koch brothers "pledged" to spend nearly $889 million in the upcoming presidential election.

    It's time, as Americans citizens, to fight back and "put the power back in the hands of the people." 

    We must demand greater transparency and accountability. Many leaders claim to back an "open and honest government," now it's time we hold them to it. Let's get money out of politics and force people to vote their conscience.

    Tell the FEC to write a new set of rules that better fit with the time and require the disclosure of secret donors during political campaigns—it's time we get money out of politics.

     

     

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