On April 1, 2022 Roxy’s Law, a ban on trapping on New Mexico public lands more than a decade in the making, goes into effect after Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham signed it last year. Nearly 32 million acres of public lands, including state-owned parcels, national forests, and Bureau of Land Management holdings will be free not only of cruel leghold traps, which can amputate and maim, but also from strangulation snares, body-crushing traps, and deadly poisons like sodium cyanide bombs. From the beautiful Latir Peak Wilderness to the incredible Florida Mountains, vast amounts of New Mexico will be safer for people, pups, and wildlife alike. Along with Roxy’s Law, New Mexico has recently taken other meaningful steps toward protecting wildlife.
We are animals. While human beings often repress this basic fact, the novel coronavirus has revealed our connection to and dependence on the well-being of other creatures. In various ways, our disregard for other species led to and worsened this pandemic. To mount an adequate response—and to prevent future disasters—we need to start taking animals into consideration. Like countless fearsome diseases, including Ebola and AIDS, COVID-19 is zoonotic in origin, meaning it jumped from one species to another (likely from bats to humans).
The two Lummi Nation tribal members working for the release and return of the captive orca Sk'aliCh'elh-tenaut (also known as Tokitae or her stage name, Lolita) announced today that they will be legally represented by Earth Law Center. The virtual press conference will be live streamed, and available at http://facebook.com/pg/OurSacredSea. "Our Lummi term for orca is qwe'lhol'mechen, which means our relations under the water," explained Squil-le-he-le (Raynell Morris), one of the Lummi women involved. "Sk'aliCh'elh-tenaut is part of our community, our family. It's our Xa xalh Xechnging (sacred obligation) to bring our relation out of captivity at Miami Seaquarium, to bring her safely home to Xw'ullemy (the Salish Sea)." Last July, Squil-le-he-le and Tah-Mahs (Ellie Kinley) announced their intent to sue Miami Seaquarium. Sk'aliCh'elh-tenaut is a member of Sk'aliCh'elh, which is the Lummi family name for the Southern Resident Killer Whale population. The Lummi people are bound by culture and kinship ties to Sk'aliCh'elh, and have been in a reciprocal relationship with them since time immemorial. "She was taken from her family and her culture when she was just a child, like so many of our children were taken from us and placed in Indian boarding schools. Reuniting her with her family, reuniting her with us, helps make us all whole," explained Tah-Mahs. “We are humbled with the trust that's been placed in us.” said Michelle Bender, Ocean Rights Manager at the Earth Law Center. “At the foundation of Earth law and the Rights of Nature movement is the Indigenous worldview that we are a part of, not separate from, Nature and all of its species and elements. By legally representing our sisters and brothers, we hope to shed light on this truth that has been lost from Western society." Dr. Kurt Russo, who has spent decades working to Indigenize policy frameworks, said, "This is a game changer. We're meeting Miami Seaquarium where they are, in the Western legal sphere. Earth Law Center is perfectly positioned to represent Tah-Mahs and Squil-le-he-le in their efforts to repatriate their relation." "We're at a time when we all need healing," Tah-Mas added. "We're all family, qwe'lhol'mechen and Lummi people. What happens to them, happens to us." # # # Earth Law Center (www.earthlawcenter.org) is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit environmental law organization working around the world to transform the law to recognize, honor and protect nature's inherent rights to exist, thrive and evolve. ELC partners with frontline indigenous people and communities to challenge the overarching legal and economic systems that reward environmental harm, and advance governance systems that maximize social and ecological well-being. For more information on Sk'aliCh'elh-tenaut, go to www.sacredsea.org
A federal court in Montana invalidated 440 oil and gas leases sold across the West, ruling Friday the Trump administration did not properly follow a plan to protect sage grouse habitat. U.S. District Court Judge Brian Morris said the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) under the Trump administration “undercut” the 2015 plan the agency created under the previous administration that set aside land for the threatened bird. The decision strikes down a 2018 memo that sought to change that plan, meaning the government will have to return millions of dollars for oil and gas contracts spread over some 336,000 acres. “The errors here occurred at the beginning of the oil and gas lease sale process, infecting everything that followed,” Morris wrote. Environmentalists are hopeful the decision will lead to reversals on more oil and gas leases in other states.
Las Vegas - Conservation groups say Nevada eventually could lose its Desert National Wildlife Refuge north of Las Vegas if Congress approves a request from the U.S. Air Force to expand its sprawling military range. Russell Kulhman, executive director of the Nevada Wildlife Federation, said the proposal to add acreage to the Nevada Test and Training Range would dramatically shrink the number of acres for recreation, and possibly threaten the area's bighorn sheep population. He said every couple of decades, the Air Force requests more space on the refuge, reducing the public's access to bird watching, hiking, backpacking and camping. "In another 20 or 40 years, there really won't be a refuge," he said. "Obviously, the mission comes first for their priorities and wildlife will be secondary."
The world’s wildlife is in danger of dying off, and inevitably taking humanity out with it. Humans have destroyed enormous portions of the planet’s natural spaces, and caused a climate disaster as well as the unprecedented acceleration of mass extinction events. Among the many species struggling to stay afloat are the butterflies, birds, bats, bees, and other pollinators we depend upon in order to grow basic food crops. People cannot live without the Earth’s diverse, wild plants and animals. Scientists agree that continued disruption of the Earth’s ecosystems threatens the future survival of humanity as much as climate change does. And, the two aren’t entirely separate issues; healthy forests and soil systems, for example, sequester carbon naturally. As they are destroyed, there is increased carbon in the atmosphere.
TUCSON, AZ – On January 31st, United States District Judge Rosemary Márquez reversed the convictions of four No More Deaths volunteers. The volunteers were convicted in January 2019 of multiple misdemeanor charges stemming from their humanitarian aid work on the Cabeza Prieta National Wildlife Refuge (CPNWR) during the summer of 2017 in an area known as the “trail of death.”
Orange County NY Residents who oppose Millenniums 7.8 Mile pipeline called VLP or Valley Lateral Project staged a Vigil after learning that yesterday the stay of construction was lifted for the VLP Millennium Pipeline Project. The Millennium Pipeline was planning on cutting down trees feet from a protected Nesting Bald Eagles nest, even after they requested and were provided with footage of the Eagles in the Nest this Month. 24 hours after the stay was lifted Millennium Employees were found on Ridgebury road in the Town of Wawayanda with chain saws and hardhats.
By Zoe Loftus-Farren for Earth Island Journal. Northwestern United States - After more than a decade of negotiating, and waiting, and negotiating again, it looks like four dams on the lower Klamath River may finally be removed. On February 2, a coalition of state governments, the US Department of the Interior, and dam-owner PacifiCorp reached a tentative agreement to demolish the dams, which are located in Oregon and Northern California. The group has set February 29 as the target date for signing the “agreement in principle.” The new agreement in principle comes after years of congressional delay on an earlier set of agreements, which addressed not only dam demolition, but also water allocation and habitat restoration along the Klamath.