Climate change threatens brown pelicans, a bird on the brink of extinction mere decades ago

Climate change threatens brown pelicans, a bird on the brink of extinction mere decades ago

July 27, 2022 0 By Ellen Novack

Campaign Action

By simply existing on barrier islands, birds provide a boost of fertilizer to plants whose roots further weaken storms that come through the region. A study of barrier islands by the U.S. Geological Survey finds a host of factors to blame for why they may completely vanish by the end of the century—and much of the blame rests on humans, from the ways we’ve hastened climate change with fossil fuels to how we’ve quite literally changed the flow of the mighty Mississippi River. While efforts to restore barrier islands have been ongoing, those projects are largely funded by environmental disaster. In fact, it’s the settlement BP paid in the wake of the Deepwater Horizon disaster that keeps restoration efforts going.

I’m not content to have the bad actions of Big Oil pay for restoration if it means suffering the worst environmental disaster in U.S. history. And it’s not good enough to have badly needed repairs finally underway in places like Grand Isle only because the $122 million allocated to the Army Corps of Engineers suddenly appeared as experts, community members, and anyone concerned with coastal communities watched Grand Isle’s berms, jetties, and levees get battered by storms but rarely brought back to being able to protect the narrow barrier island itself. If the U.S. is serious about not just reaching net-zero goals but ensuring vulnerable communities are able to thrive instead of drown by our own negligence, something must be done—and immediately.

Climate change has been a national emergency for decades. It’s time President Biden call the climate crisis what it is and use his power as president to declare a national emergency.