Kirsten Patel

  • Sign the petition: Save the Irrawaddy Dolphins from Extinction

    Save the Irrawaddy Dolphins from Extinction

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    GOAL: 2,150 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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  • Sign the petition: Protect the Bats from Lethal Wind Turbines

    Protect the Bats from Lethal Wind Turbines

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    GOAL: 1,072 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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