Ask Mitt Romney and Barack Obama how they will protect endangered species

The Presidential debates are just weeks away and we need your help to make the protection of endangered species an issue.

Despite the fact that the decline of fish, plants, and wildlife costs the world's economies trillions of dollars annually1, there is little mention of this crisis in coverage of the Presidential race. We believe that this is an issue of resounding worldwide importance and deserves an answer from the individual that would be leader of the United States. Addressing species loss will require sometimes difficult choices and it is of absolutely vital importance that the country know how these candidates would proceed if elected.

We know the costs of inaction. Per a recent United Nations study, trillions of dollars are lost as plant and animal species dwindle around the world. We see the costs at home, in imbalanced ecosystems and depleted resources upon which entire communities depend. This issue is not something that came from the fringe, rather something that touches each and every one of our lives.

Please join us in urging that the preservation of endangered species and their dwindling habitats be an issue in this fall's elections.

Dear Mr. Lehrer and members of the Commission on Presidential Debates,

I urge that you ask President Obama and Governor Romney how they would respond to the biodiversity crisis impacting our world's environments and economies.

When he signed the Endangered Species Act in 1973, President Nixon stated: “Nothing is more priceless and more worthy of preservation than the rich array of animal life with which our country has been blessed. It is a many-faceted treasure, of value to scholars, scientists, and nature lovers alike, and it forms a vital part of the heritage we all share as Americans.”

The worldwide loss of biodiversity is happening up to 1,000 times faster than it should be by some estimates, due largely to human impacts. These losses do not simply affect wildlife and habitat, but have far-reaching impacts including costing world economies trillions of dollars annually 1.

I would like to know how both candidates would address this urgent issue and offer the following suggested question from the Endangered Species Coalition:

Habitat loss due to global climate change, land development, and over-fishing, are driving many of America's most cherished species closer to the brink of extinction every day. This crisis impacts the long-term health of our clean air and water and it costs the world economies trillions of dollars annually.

As President, what specific measures would you take to protect America's threatened and endangered wildlife and the places they call home and how would you address the increasing rate of species extinction globally?

Thank you for your consideration.


1 The Economics of Ecosystems and Biodiversity (TEEB)

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