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Development and Pollution

Pollution and Climate Change

In Brief

Pollution is one of the leading threats to wildlife, human health, safety and global security. A clean environment and stable climate are essential to the welfare of birds, people and sustainable economies. Join Tucson Audubon in support of strong regulations and incentives to clean up our act in support of a healthier future.

Summary

Pollution is one of the leading threats to wildlife, human health, safety and global security. A clean environment and stable climate are essential to the welfare of birds, people and sustainable economies.

From the DDT-caused egg shell thinning that nearly resulted in the extinction of our nation’s symbol, the American bald eagle, to contamination of our waterways from abandoned mines like the Gold King Mine that polluted 3 major rivers in the Southwest in 2014?, to poisons in our aquifers and water supplies and a rapidly changing climate that affects us all indiscriminately, pollution is as problematic as it is pervasive.

There are currently tens of thousands of unregulated/under-regulated chemicals are being produced every day. Regulations have failed to keep pace with the outputs of our modern industrial complex.  And, existing regulations in the U.S. threaten to be unraveled by a Trump administration.  It is crucial that these chemicals be regulated, including greenhouse gasses that are risk destabilizing our climate system.

Southeast Arizona is ground zero for climate change impacts, with hotter, drier and more variable weather conditions projected in the coming decades.  Humans are undeniably the primary agent that is unleashing and transforming earth’s raw materials into products, food and energy – all of which involve toxic substances and byproducts.

Given the increasing scale of consequences of pollution, the issue of pollution remains one of the central environmental issues for the livability of our planet. If one desires to see the potential consequences runaway climate change, one need look no further than the desolation of Mars.

Position Statement

Tucson Audubon supports strong, effective regulations and incentives to curb and eliminate dangerous pollutants and toxins that poison our planet, birds and human communities.

What We Do

  • Tucson Audubon advocates for a rapid shift to responsibly-sited renewable energy technologies, energy conservation, and strong regulations to protect habitats and human health and safety. Tucson Audubon also supports a more decentralized, “distributed energy generation” model, which does not rely as much on centralized power generation and long, inefficient and impactful transmission lines to deliver energy.
  • Tucson Audubon supports research and strong regulation of toxic chemicals and other pollutants, and the careful consideration of pollutants in the assessment of impacts from industries, development proposals and projects upon the human environment and wildlife.
  • Tucson Audubon tracks pollution-generating development proposals affecting Important Bird Areas and areas of unique biological wealth; we engage in public processes, and work to increase public awareness and engagement.
  • Tucson Audubon supports a strong Clean Water Act, and opposes efforts to gut this bi-partisan, landmark legislation.
  • Tucson Audubon supports a strong Clean Air Act, and opposes efforts to gut this bi-partisan, landmark legislation.
  • Tucson Audubon supports the implementation of the Clean Power Plan. This plan is the primary mechanism to support the U.S. commitment for the Paris Climate Accord. Tucson Audubon supports strong federal regulation of greenhouse gas emissions and creating incentives for rapidly curbing and sequestering this harmful emissions.
  • Tucson Audubon calls for phasing out and banning the use of neonicitinoids, a class of chemicals increasingly used for pest control. Non-target species and pollinators such as bees, insects, aquatic animals and birds are poisoned and put at risk by their dangerous toxicity.
  • Tucson Audubon advocates for reform of the antiquated General Mining Act of 1872, which should include tighter controls on toxic chemicals, byproducts and human health and safety measures associated with mining operations and refineries.
  • Tucson Audubon advocates for maximal avoidance, minimization and mitigation to address the adverse impacts mining has upon wildlife, water supplies, local economies and human health and safety.
  • Tucson Audubon works in partnership with partner conservation organizations in opposition to mining proposals affecting Important Bird Areas and areas of unique biological wealth, and we strive to elevate agency and public awareness of the potential consequences of these proposals.
  • Tucson Audubon highlights the economic and societal values of tourism associated with watchable wildlife. Tucson Audubon advocates for developing and maintaining a restoration-based economy and sustainable economic development that is not subject to boom-and-bust cycles associated with mining and other extractive industries.

Background

 

Updates

  • Any developments re: the EPA, clean air, clean water or regulation of pollution or chemicals should be inserted here

External Resources

Fossil Fuels
Pesticides

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Tucson Audubon Society
300 E University Blvd. #120 Tucson, AZ 85705

Mason Center
3835 W Hardy Rd.
Tucson, AZ 85742

Paton Center for Hummingbirds
477 Pennsylvania Ave.
Patagonia, AZ 85624
520 415-6447