Jan 152015
 

Biodiversity has been defined as the variety of plant and animal species found within an ecosystem. Biodiversity is threatened by the loss of species habitat often caused by human activity –and this activity has taken a huge toll. Since 1970, it is estimated that half the world’s vertebrate species have sharply declined. Nearly 40% of all marine and terrestrial populations as well as an astonishing 76% of all freshwater species have been compromised. Advocates say this is not good news since the health of wildlife populations is a good indicator of the overall health of our planet’s ecosystems.

Indonesia is one of Earth’s most biologically diverse and ecologically threatened regions. Its 17,508 islands not only contain 10% of the world’s rainforests, but also many coral reefs, atolls, mangrove swamps and ice field ecosystems as well. Indonesia is home to 17% of the world’s bird species, 25% of its reptiles and 12% of its mammals. It is also home to more endangered species than any other country, with a third of its species listed. The world’s demand for hard wood and palm oil is responsible for destroying much of Indonesia’s ancient forests. Logging has traditionally taken the heaviest toll on these forests but recently, much forest land has been cleared to make room for Indonesia’s massive oil palm plantations. The oil palm can produce fruit for 30 years and yields more oil per acre than any major oilseed crop. The UN predicts that 98% of Indonesia’s forest area could be destroyed by 2022 if this trend is not reversed. Advocates say international buyers such as China, India and the Middle East will continue to buy palm oil regardless of its environmental or social costs.

Much like its forests, Indonesia’s coral reefs are also in trouble. Indonesia is home to 16% of the world’s coral reefs, second only to Australia. Ocean acidification, overfishing, pollution and climate change are some of the daunting challenges facing not only Indonesia’s coral reefs, but those the world over. Perhaps one quarter of all ocean species are dependent on these ecosystems for food and shelter. Already more than a quarter of these reefs have been destroyed and it is feared all coral reefs could disappear in 20 years. Advocates say we need to study this problem and devise ways to counter these dire threats.

Pending Legislation:

S.839- Coral Reef Conservation Amendments Act of 2013

I oppose reforming current biodiversity policy and wish to defeat S.839

I support authorizing a national coral reef action study to include the effects of coastal uses and management, including land-based sources of pollution and climate change; and directing the Commerce Secretary to give priority to community-based local action strategies when awarding certain grants for conservation projects that include monitoring and assessment, research, pollution reduction, education, and technical support. Revises the project proposal approval process by directing the Secretary to consider criteria, including coral reef ecosystems (current law refers only to coral reefs) and biodiversity, international ecosystems, mitigation of coral disease, ocean acidification, and bleaching; and support for community-based planning with local governmental and nongovernmental organizations, and wish to pass S.839

I support establishing a long-term campaign to fund the protection of Indonesia’s rainforests and slow the expansion of its timber and palm oil industries

 Posted by at 12:00 am
Jan 152015
 

Earth’s population has recently surpassed 7 billion people. Over the last 6 decades, our population has increased by about one billion people every 12 years. It is estimated that our planet can safely sustain a maximum of about 9 billion people before it becomes overpopulated. However, there are many definitions of overpopulation. Most definitions relate to the amount of resources available to a population and the sustainability of the land on which that population resides. A United Nations report blamed overpopulation and over-consumption as the main causes of damage to Earth’s ecosystems. Population control proponents say many people in developing countries want help controlling their fertility. Many opponents of birth control are opposed to providing this assistance because of religious or ethical reasons. Among other things, the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) works in developing countries improving women’s reproductive health. It provides birth control supplies and services to those in need and also treats HIV and sexually transmitted diseases. The UNFPA has recently been recognized for its worldwide campaign against obstetric fistula and female genital mutilation.

Pending Legislation: None

I oppose reforming current overpopulation policy

I support international population control programs and wish to contribute to the United Nations Population Fund

 Posted by at 12:00 am
Jan 152015
 

Covering only 6% of the planet’s surface, rainforests are tropical rain-soaked regions that are home to half of Earth’s plant and animal species. Latin America contains nearly 60% of all tropical rainforests, one third of them in Brazil alone. Southeast Asia, the Pacific Islands and West Africa contain the remainder. Some rainforests have existed for 100 million years. Several plants identified as promising cancer treatments are found only in these areas even though less than 3% of all rainforest species have been chemically analyzed. About 25 million acres of rainforest are destroyed each year, and at present rates of destruction, this valuable resource will vanish by 2040. Many forces such as logging, farming, ranching, mining and oil extraction contribute to worldwide deforestation. Climate change is also having a powerful effect. Several efforts to protect rainforests have been successful, including those that have significantly reduced the rate of destruction of Amazon’s rainforests. Purchase-to-protect and adopt-a-forest programs have had mixed results at preventing logging and farming. One reason is that rainforests provide subsistence to a growing number of indigenous people. Advocates say community-managed natural forests may hold the best promise for rain forest preservation. Applying this method, native people own their own land and manage it sustainability. Restrictions are placed on the age and type of trees that may be harvested. Invested in their environment, local owners fight forest fires, reduce illegal wood and wildlife trafficking, and harvest non-timber products such as pepper, date palm and gum.

Pending Legislation: None

I oppose reforming current rain forest protection policy

I support rain forest preservation and wish to identify advocates who can help manage rainforest protection programs including the use of community management programs

 Posted by at 12:00 am