We rely on wilderness not only to inspire and enjoy but also to protect our watersheds, clean the air we breathe, and provide a home for the diverse species that enrich our world.

NRDC protects wildlife and unspoiled lands from the threats of industrial development, commercial exploitation, pollution, and climate change. We partner with ranchers, farmers, energy companies, and the government to promote solutions that help wild predators coexist with livestock and people. We push for international agreements that shield polar bears, elephants, rhinos, and other animals from being killed for trade. And we fight to keep reckless oil and gas drilling out of wild areas, from the Atlantic Ocean to the Boreal Forest.

Our Priorities

Wildlife Conservation

99 percent of plants and animals protected under the Endangered Species Act still exist today.

Wildlife Trade

Every year, tens of thousands of animals are killed for trade of their parts.

Wilderness Protection

Only 11 percent of land under the Bureau of Land Management is protected from drilling.

What's at Stake

What you can do

Tell Interior Secretary Zinke to defend our national monuments

Be a good neighbor to struggling pollinators by turning your backyard into a welcome pit stop

Stop Trump and Pruitt’s escalated anti-environment assault

Voices
Public Lands Are Not a Partisan Issue
The Trump administration’s review of national monuments threatens America’s culture and natural beauty.

The following is a transcript of the video:

Audrey Peterman, author & public lands advocate: Our national monuments, to a great degree, protect the places of history, of culture, of natural beauty. If we were to lose monuments, then that's like taking out a piece of our soul.

Robert Garcia, founding director & counsel, The City Project: To attack national monuments undermines the precious natural heritage of the people and the nation.

A.P.: The current administration is undertaking an effort to review national monuments created since 1996. To me, that is fairly odious, shall we say.

Hillerie Patton, public lands advocate: In the simplest terms, the basic threat is destruction of the area. If it doesn't have the protections, then it can be destroyed.

Angel Peña, regional director, Conservation Lands Foundation: It's about the people and the ties to the land that these people have had for hundreds and thousands of years in some cases. It really is like a history book that you can walk in and touch and experience and learn from.

H.P.: When I was a kid in the first grade growing up in Kansas, we learned "This Land is Your Land." When I go out on the public lands, I always think of that song. Think it's important that all of us take an active interest in making sure that these areas are here for all of us to enjoy.

A.P.: The effort to "review" national monuments that are already in the public lands system, to my mind, is really reprehensible.

R.G.: It's wrong on environmental grounds, it's wrong on social justice grounds, it's wrong because it violates the will of the people.

H.P.: We don't want to make our public lands a partisan issue. It's something that all Americans can enjoy.

A.P.: Presidents add monuments, they don't subtract them.

Tell Interior Secretary Zinke to stop the assault on our national monuments

Voices

As America’s national monuments come under attack by President Trump, Los Angeleno Robert Garcia shares the story of his personal connection to San Gabriel.

Voices

As our national monuments come under attack by Trump, park conservationist Audrey Peterman reminds us that protecting our monuments is also about protecting the legacy of America’s people.

Voices

For archaeologist Angel Peña, this national monument is more than just home to cultural and geological artifacts—it’s where memories and history are made.

Voices

Former BLM employee Hillerie Patton describes this Nevada landscape as the essence of “This Land is Our Land”—and how preserving wildlife, archaeological sites, and recreation is about quality of life.

Policy Primer

This month’s National Park Service centennial presents an opportunity to create a parks system that is reflective of—and accessible to—all Americans.

onEarth Story

The latest executive order takes aim at iconic public places that store carbon, protect ecosystems, and keep fossil fuels in the ground.

onEarth Story

Donald Trump’s choice to head the Interior Department says he opposes giving away America’s wilderness. But he voted to make doing so much, much easier.

What's At Stake

The administration’s assault on our environment and health is unlike any threat we’ve ever faced.

NRDC in Action

NRDC’s chief counsel explains the best way to beat back the Trump administration’s attack on our health and environment: sue.

Personal Action

President Trump and the Republican-led Congress are poised to wipe out crucial environmental safeguards. Here’s how you can join the fight.

Personal Action

Turn your city into a climate sanctuary, rally on Main Street, and other ways to make change globally by acting locally.

We are not holding our breath that President Trump will start backing up his administration’s environmental agenda with scientific facts. But we are holding him accountable for what he says.

The Real Lowdown: The Trump and Congressional Republican Assault on Our Environment, Vol. 23
NRDC

Scientists warn that the world is already experiencing the effects of climate change as Trump officially withdraws from the Paris Agreement.

iStock

In his first seven months, President Trump has done just about everything imaginable to try to roll back, reduce, and ridicule actions to address climate change.

But reality—for a former reality TV star—bites.

This past week, two major scientific reports have sounded the warning bell with a fire and fury of urgency and facts that climate change is dramatically underway.

An international study led by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration reported that 2016 marked the third consecutive year of record-breaking temperatures for the earth—the hottest in 137 years of recordkeeping.

Just three days earlier, on August 7, the New York Times published a draft U.S. interagency climate change report showing how dire is the threat of climate change. The report, awaiting approval by the Trump administration, notes, “Many lines of evidence demonstrate that human activities, especially emissions of greenhouse (heat-trapping) gases, are primarily responsible for recent observed climate change.”

The question now is, what will Trump do? He once tweeted that climate change was a hoax cooked up by the Chinese. But how much longer can he avoid his duty to protect Americans from the the central environmental threat of our time, climate change?

Setback on HFCs

One opportunity for him to show leadership is to address heat-trapping gases called hydrofluorocarbons, or HFCs. On August 8, a divided panel of U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit voted 2 to 1 to toss out a 2015 Environmental Protection Agency ban on certain HFCs. The decision scrambles an array of industries’ plans to transition to climate-friendlier alternatives to HFCs in compliance with approaching deadlines. But it may not be the last word, says David Doniger, director of the Climate & Clean Air program at NRDC.

Trump’s U.S. Environmental Protection Agency defended the HFC rules in court, so the decision is a loss for the administration as well as for the industries investing in less-damaging chemicals—not to mention the planet. The EPA could step up and continue to defend the HFC rules by seeking a rehearing. “We’re hopeful,” Doniger says, “that EPA will do the sensible thing and fight for this important rule.”

Another Hold on CPP Case

Also on August 8, the court of appeals delayed legal action on the EPA’s Clean Power Plan. The court issued its second order holding litigation on the case in abeyance for 60 days. NRDC’s Doniger notes some good news in the order: Two judges on the panel wrote a concurrence that helps “underscore EPA’s legal duty to act on climate,” and the court thus far hasn’t given the EPA the indefinite abeyance it asked for.

Tell President Trump to restore America's leadership on climate change

Trump Further Isolates Himself on Climate Change

On a more discouraging note, the Trump administration gave unofficial notice to the United Nations on August 4 that the United States intends to withdraw from the Paris Agreement on climate change “as soon as it is eligible to.” The notice also specified that President Trump is open to reengaging on more “favorable” terms. While no surprise, NRDC international experts note that “it reinforces how President Trump intends to walk America away from global leadership on climate change and further isolate ourselves from the international community.”

The U.S. cannot submit its formal intention to withdraw from the Paris Agreement—the climate pact that virtually the entire world signed on to―until November 4, 2019. And the withdrawal won’t be effective until one year later—the day after the next presidential election.

Tell Trump we won't stop fighting global climate change

Zinke Spares One Monument, but Many More Still Face the Ax

U.S. Department of the Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke announced on August 4 that he was sparing Arizona’s Grand Canyon–Parashant National Monument from Trump’s hatchet. Trump signed an executive order earlier this year calling for review of 27 national monuments created since 1996, with an eye to downsizing or eliminating some. Zinke is under an August 24 deadline to finish his review.

This week, NRDC released a comprehensive report showing that Trump’s monuments hit list threatens jobs, local economies, and the national heritage. “These breathtaking places belong to you and me,” says Rhea Suh, NRDC president. “Millions of Americans have urged the government to protect them. They are not mere pieces of real estate the Trump administration can sacrifice to industrial ruin.”

Tell Interior Secretary Zinke to stop the assault on our national monuments

All Hat and No Sage Grouse Guardian

On August 7, Zinke unveiled a new strategy that limits states from protecting the iconic sage grouse—whose population has plummeted—while allowing unrestrained access by logging, mining, and oil and gas industries, chiefly in the West.

“Secretary Zinke may ride a horse and wear a cowboy hat, but his sage grouse order shows he’s not acting in the best interest of western states or the rest of America,” says Rebecca Riley, senior attorney in NRDC’s Land & Wildlife program. “Secretary Zinke is selling out the sage grouse―and western states―to oil and gas developers.”

NRDC Poll: Americans Love Environment, Clean Energy, and Climate Solutions

Ahead of hard budget battles this fall, NRDC released a national poll on August 10 showing that a strong majority of Americans don’t want cuts to funding for environmental protection.

“This poll has an unmistakable warning,” says NRDC’s Suh. “Americans stand firmly against cutting protections for clean air, water, and lands or jeopardizing clean energy gains. They won’t support infrastructure plans that sell off community assets and reduce federal investment in public transit. And they reject opening public lands to oil and gas development.”

That’s this week’s Real Lowdown. NRDC has prepared a list of other far-ranging threats. And we’re vigilantly reporting on the administration’s assault on the environment through Trump Watch.

Trump Watch: NRDC tracks the Trump administration’s assaults on the environment.

Blog Post

Hundreds of safeguards that protect Americans are now in jeopardy and a court allows the EPA to continue putting kids at risk from a toxic pesticide.

Blog Post

The rollback of the Clean Water Rule has officially begun, a wildlife refuge is at risk from Trump’s border wall.

Blog Post

Courts put the brakes on the administration’s rollbacks while the House heads home with nothing to brag about.

World Elephant Day: A Year in Review
Elly Pepper

Tomorrow is World Elephant Day, which always makes me reflect on what the past year brought for elephants. As usual, it’s a mix of good and bad. The bottom line: the situation is improving, but not quickly enough.

Here's some of the highlights—both good and bad—from the past year.

Good News

Bad News

  • Elephants populations continue to decline. Indeed, the Great Elephant Census found that African savannah elephants declined by over 30% between 2007-2014.
  • Poaching is still rampant. A study published in PNAS last fall shows that illegal ivory is coming from recently-killed elephants--not old stockpiles. And the CITES MIKE Monitoring Program found that “estimated poaching rates overall remain higher than the normal growth rate of elephant populations” meaning the elephant population will likely continue to decline.
  • Even if poaching stopped now, it would take a LONG time for elephants to recover. As shown here, since forest elephants are one the slowest reproducing mammals in the world, it will take almost a century for them to return to pre-2002 levels.
  • Not only do some countries still maintain ivory stockpiles, but we don’t even know how much they have due to their failure to report this information. Not knowing how much is out there (and not being able to test it) makes it 
  • Most countries where large seizures occur are failing to produce itemized inventory lists of the contents of these seizures and other details, foregoing critical opportunities to determine where the ivory came from and what poaching networks (and other seizures) they may be linked to.
  • President Trump’s support for elephants is questionable. He’s unlikely to approve the current petition to uplist African elephants from threatened to endangered under the Endangered Species Act and could undo some of the elephant protections President Obama implemented (tell him to maintain such protections here!). And the Republican Congress is no fan of pro-elephant policies either (see, e.g., this bill). This means we are going to have to fight tooth and nail to defend our nation’s ivory ban and other elephant safeguards. 

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