J. Huston

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

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    GOAL: 842 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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  • 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 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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  • Save the Renewable Fuel Standard

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    GOAL: 466 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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  • 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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  • 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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  • Tell the Trump Administration to stop Big Oil from Completing the Dakota Access Pipeline

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    GOAL: 7,552 signatures

    For every 1000 signatures, NationofChange will send a letter to the Trump administration, demanding they stop big oil from completing the Dakota Access Pipeline.

    [Update 3/16/2017: We have sent the next letter to President Trump with 7,000+ of your signatures, demanding the Dakota Access Pipeline be abandoned. We will continue to send letters every 1,000 signatures. Thank you!]

    UPDATE: The Army Corps of Engineers has denied the permit for the Dakota Access Pipeline, but Energy Transfer Partners insists that they will go ahead with the project.

    3,000+ signatures sent to Obama

    1,281 professionals from institutions like the Smithsonian and the Association of Academic Museums and Galleries claim that the construction work from the pipeline destroyed “ancient burial sites, places of prayer and other significant cultural artifacts sacred to the Lakota and Dakota people.”

    The letter reads further: “The destruction of these sacred sites adds yet another injury to the Lakota, Dakota and other Indigenous Peoples who bear the impacts of fossil fuel extraction and transportation. If constructed, this pipeline will continue to encourage oil consumption that causes climate change, all the while harming those populations who contributed little to this crisis.”

    President Obama halted temporarily construction on the the $3.8bn, 1,170-mile pipeline after the Standing Rock Sioux tribe legally challenged the project. The pipeline is supposed to funnel oil from the Bakken oil Fields in the Great Plains to Illinois and run next to the Standing Rock Sioux reservation.

    We need to ensure the company abandons the pipeline on American Indian land. Sign the petition and stand with the thousands of professionals, and the Standing Rock Sioux, to tell the Trump administration to stop big oil from completing the Dakota Access pipeline for its destruction of Standing Rock Sioux lands, burial sites, and ancient artifacts that are crucial to our understanding of American heritage. 

     

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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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  • End Whaling in Japan

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    GOAL: 2,471 signatures

    For every 1000 signatures, NationofChange will send a letter to the Trump Administration, demanding they take real action to end whaling in Japan.

    [Update: We are sending the first letter to the Trump Administration with 2,000+ of your signatures. We will continue to send letters every 1,000 signatures. Thank you!]

    In 2014 the International Court of Justice (ICJ) ruled that Japan’s Southern Ocean whaling was illegal. But the government of Japan continues to kill hundreds of whales each year. This is a direct violation of the ruling, which stated that the country could not continue whaling until it could prove it was for scientific purposes. The new plan for whaling in the Southern Ocean will kill almost 4,000 minke whales over 12 years, for ‘scientific’ purposes.

    Japan's scientific whaling program is widely recognized as a cover for its ongoing commercial whaling operation. Additionally, a new study shows that countries that participate in lethal scientific whaling do not produce superior scientific research.

    Japan has already killed 333 minke whales in the Antarctic during its 2015-2016 whaling season – including more than 200 pregnant females – as part of this year’s Antarctic whale hunt, according to the country’s Institute for Cetacean Research.

    The National Atmospheric and Oceanic Administration fear the population of minke whales may be smaller than current estimates owing to surges in modern whaling from countries such as Japan, and that the reason for the population being currently stable is due to the hunting of other whale populations, which has created less competition for food sources.

    The President of the United States has power to apply sanctions against Japan for the continued hunting of whales under the Pelly Amendment and the Packwood-Magnuson Amendment, but as of now has taken no action to prevent the needless slaughter.

    Help us tell President Trump to take real action to prevent Japan from resuming whaling. Sign the petition today.

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  • Pledge to Buy Non-GMO

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    Take Back Our Food System from Big Food—Sign the Pledge to Buy Non-GMO

    Have you ever asked yourself why our food is being produced and modified by the biotech industry?

    While the government isn't doing anything about it, it's up to consumers to take back our food system from "powerful industries with bottomless pockets." We have been made into science projects and it's time we take matters into our own hands. With no national mandatory labeling laws for GMO foods, both lobbyists as well as food companies are paying millions of dollars to make sure that it stays that way.

    GOAL: 1,721 signatures

    With H.R. 1599 or Denying Americans the Right to Know Act (DARK) close to Senate approval, consumers' Right to Know what's in our food under a GMO-labeling initiative is at stake. Our health is being compromised as our government sells out to "multi-million dollar public relations and lobbying campaigns built on lies and deception."

    Genetically-modified organisms have caused years of damage—recent studies show GMOs cause a multitude of health risks including tumors and organ damage, and contribute to climate change.

    As GMOs continue to invade our food system, you can do your part by buying certified organic products with the USDA Organic seal as well as looking for products that bear the “Non-GMO Project” stamp of approval (these products have been through a non-GMO certification process).

    So don’t be kept in the dark about what you're eating and misled by bogus marketing claims from Big Foods and the Grocery Manufacturing Association. It's our right to know what's in our food. 

    Starting now, we ask you to take the pledge to avoid Big Food companies and products that contain GMOs. It's time we vote with our wallets to take back our food system and our health.

    Please, click here to sign the pledge to Buy Non-GMO and use the list below for non-GMO product and brand verification:

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  • Don't Let the Government Keep Us in the DARK

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    GOAL: 10,192 signatures

    Don't Let the Government Keep Us in the DARK—Take the pledge to demand support for mandatory GMO labeling and tell your Senators to the new bill introduced by Senator Pat Roberts.

    The U.S. needs a national labeling law for genetically modified foods. While it won't undo years of damage from genetically modifies organisms, it will give us the right to know what's in our food and give states the power to facilitate consumer choice.

    For years we have been kept in the dark about our food system and misled by bogus marketing claims from big food's Grocery Manufacturing Association. And while the government's role in regulating genetically modified foods has been kept aloof by "powerful industries with bottomless pockets," human and environmental health has suffered.

    Now we are faced with a legislation developed by some food companies in response to states' efforts to label GMOs. Dubbed Denying Americans the Right to Know or the DARK Act, this bill has passed through the House of Representatives and will soon be introduced in the Senate. 

    The DARK Act supports the likes of companies, such as Monsanto, within the biotech and junk food industry over consumer's rights and would undercut meaningful efforts to label GMOs. If passed, the bill would:

    • Void state legislation requiring GMO food labels.
    • End the FDA’s efforts to produce a national GMO labeling system.
    • Create a GMO “safety” review system based on industry science.
    • Allow GMO ingredients in so-called “natural” food products.

    The Senate has two choices: to side with states who are helping to facilitate consumer choice or sell out to "multi-million dollar public relations and lobbying campaigns built on lies and deception." 

    We need to take immediate action and urge Congress to oppose the DARK Act. Contact your Senators, Representatives and Congressmen and women and take back your right to know!

    Be part of the growing movement, backed by science and motivated by human and environmental health that's up against "powerful industries with bottomless pockets" and stand with NoC as we continue the fight for federally mandated GMO labeling.

    Please sign the pledge to demand support for mandatory GMO labeling and find your Senator's contact information to tell them to oppose the DARK Act.

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  • Stop Oprah from Featuring Monsanto Ads in Her Magazine

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    GOAL: 10,992 signatures

    As one of the most influence people in the world, it was once thought that Oprah Winfrey was an advocate for the organic and GMO Free Movement. After recently learning about her "growing affinity for organics"—not only does she own an organic farm on Maui, Hawaii, Oprah recently branded her own organic food line called “Oprah’s Organics”—it was thought that she could "propel the organic and GMO Free movement to the next level."

    But this all surprisingly changed when the talk show host and media mogul became part Monsanto's "burgeoning multi-million dollar advertising campaign" inside her best-selling, worldwide magazine, O. While Oprah didn't come out in support of Monsanto, we can't help but think she sold out to one of the "biggest land polluters and most hated companies in the world."

    It's time we call her out on it and ask where her true allegiances lie.

    In a campaign to get Oprah to reconsider the ads, which are slated for publication in 2015, we must pressure her to pull the ad from her magazine. Oprah's decision to accept a GMO ad after the magazine extensively cover GMO labeling and potential health risks associated with GMOs is absurd. With “more than 100 species of fruits, vegetables and herbs growing" on her organic farm, why are Monsanto’s suicide seeds gracing the pages of Oprah's magazine?

    We need to pressure Oprah to put her money where her mouth is and help rid the world of GMOs.

    We thought Oprah was on our side! "This is definitely out of character for a woman who owns an organic farm" and has "discuss the dangers of GMOs."

    Join our campaign to stop the biotech giant from being featured in the pages of Oprah’s magazine.

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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: 1,462 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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  • Tell Cruise Lines to Clean Up Their Act and Reduce Carbon Footprint

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    GOAL: 1,162 signatures

    While cruises are popular vacations for many Americans, the negative impact they have on the environment goes otherwise unnoticed. The carbon footprint cruise ships carrying up to 7,000 passengers have on the environment can be measured in air and water pollution along with sewage treatment.

    Friends of the Earth, a federation of independent local groups striving for a more environmentally sustainable future, evaluated 10 cruise lines on three environmental factors—sewage treatment, air pollution reduction and water quality compliance—and determined that many of the cruise lines failed each category.

    Among the cruise lines evaluated yearly by the Friends of the Earth are Holland America Line, Norwegian Cruise Lines, Princess Cruises, Cunard Cruise Line, Regent Seven Seas Cruises, Celebrity Cruises, Carnival Cruise Lines, Silversea Cruises, Royal Caribbean International and Disney Cruise Line. A grading scale of A through F, including plus and minuses, is used to determine the report card. 

    We need to hold cruise ships accountable and insist they adopt a sewage treatment system to protect the health of humans and marine life. One of those many methods could be marine sanitation devices, advance sewage treatment technology or, the most environmentally friendly way, hold the treated sewage onboard and not dump it into the ocean.

    Also, cruise lines need to reduce their carbon footprint. Since the ships’ engines release harmful toxins that impact human health and climate change. There are ways to manage air pollution and cruise lines must start the reduction by adopting the method of cold ironing—plugging into shoreline power rather than sitting with the cruise ships’ engines idling—to keep the ships operating while in port. 

    As consumers, we should be aware of these environmental factors contributing to climate change and choose a greener option when planning a cruise vacation.

    Tell cruise lines to clean up their act and stop polluting the air and water throughout the world.

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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 the FDA to Cut Animal Cruelty Out of Cosmetics

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    GOAL: 2,445 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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  • Help California End Killer Whale Shows and Entertainment

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    GOAL: 14,866 signatures

    A comprehensive protection for captive orcas in the U.S. by State assemblyman Richard Bloom, D-Santa Monica, introduced the Orca Welfare and Safety Act, a bill that would make it illegal for facilities to keep wild-caught or captive-bred orca for entertainment purposes.

    “There is no justification for the continued captive display of orcas for entertainment purposes,” Bloom said in a press release. “These beautiful creatures are much too large and far too intelligent to be confined in small, concrete pens for their entire lives.”

    With more than 500 orcas, dolphins and other members of the dolphin family held in captivity in the U.S., according to the organization Born Free USA, it is time to end the captivity of orcas for human amusement.

    Much research proves that forcing orcas and dolphins to live in groups dictated by humans disrupts the dynamics of the natural hierarchy, which in turn upsets their natural behavior, according to Born Free USA. Because keeping wild animals in captivity for human amusement is not only cruel but it deprives them of instinctually interacting in their natural habitat.

    On top of it all, surveys show that people would rather view animals in the wild than watching them perform certain tricks or stunts.

    Let’s help California join India, Croatia, Hungary, Chile and Costa Rica in outlawing cetacean captivity altogether.

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  • 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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  • 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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  • Gun Control: Amend the Constitution

    Gun Victim

    GOAL: 801 signatures

    Gun Control: Second Amendment Needs to be Updated to Reflect the Growing Danger of Guns

    The Second Amendment guarantees our right to bear arms. It gives way to personal defense. But the law is highly misunderstood.

    When the Second Amendment was written, it referred to a number of weapons, such as knives, bow and arrows, etc., because few people owned guns since the cost of importing them was so expensive. But now days, guns are easily accessible and relatively affordable that the U.S. has the highest rate of legal gun ownership compared to the rest of the world.

    So while the context of the Second Amendment remains the same, over time, it’s become flawed.

    And today, guns are overwhelmingly being used to offend rather defend.

    According to a study published in Business Week, it estimated defensive gun use at 300,000 times per year. Contrastingly, Slate.com reported around 500,000 instances of gun use by criminals, which puts the U.S. at more than double the death rate by guns than that of any other developed nation.

    It’s time we rewrite the law to reflect this day and age and address the growing epidemic guns pose on society. Because of “their accuracy and relatively attainable price,” we need a stricter interpretation of the Second Amendment.

    Take action today and sign the petition telling Congress to update the law.

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