We have been blessed the last 8 years to have a president in office that cares about the environment, animals and their well-being. A president that chose a tough and effective EPA administrator in Gina McCarthy — an expert in environmental health and air quality. A president that believes that “no challenge poses a greater threat to our children, our planet and future generations than climate change — and that no other country on Earth is better equipped to lead the world towards a solution.” President Obama and administration, thank you for all you have done for our planet!
To recap, here are some of the amazing things accomplished in the last 8 years by the Obama Administration:
February 2009: Provided $90 billion in subsidies for green energy through signing the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA). A tax credit was also established to help homeowners make energy-efficient improvements to their homes.
March 2009: Signed the Omnibus Public Land Management Act, which the White House calls the “most extensive expansion of land and water conservation in more than a generation, designating more than two million acres of federal wilderness, thousands of miles of trails and protecting more than 1,000 miles of rivers.”
April 2010: Established the Great Outdoors Initiative with projects in all 50 states working to enhance recreational access to outdoor areas, raise awareness of the value and benefits of the outdoors, establish urban parks and green spaces, encourage youth to take interest in conservation, and conserve and restore federal lands and waters.
July 2010: Established a National Policy for the Stewardship of the Ocean, Coasts and Great Lakes. The policy acts to improve communication and coordination between federal agencies around the world in effort to more efficiently and effectively protect our waters.
November 2010: Designated more than 187,000 square miles of land in Alaska as critical habitat to protect polar bears.
July 2011: Negotiated with 13 major automakers to increase the fuel economy of cars and light-duty trucks from 29.7 to 54.5 miles per gallon by 2025. This will save consumers more than $1.7 trillion at the gas pump and greatly reduce carbon emissions.
November 2013: Increased funding for chimpanzee sanctuaries to accelerate the transfer of government-owned lab chimps into safe and healthy environments.
March 2014: Expanded the California Coastal National Monument to include the shoreline — rocks, islands, reefs and pinnacles — along 1,100 miles of the California coast.
June 2014: Established the Pollinator Health Task Force to promote the health of honey bees and other pollinators. The plan aims to restore honeybee colony health to sustainable levels by 2025.
September 2014: Expanded the Pacific Remote Islands Marine National Monument (PRIMNM) to encompass more than 490,000 square miles — six times its original size. It is now the largest marine reserve in the world.
June 2015: Established the Clean Water Rule, protecting streams and wetlands through which we source our drinking water. Animals live in these protected ecosystems and rely on clean water just as much as we do.
August 2015: Worked with the EPA to introduce the Clean Power Plan. By 2030 carbon pollution from the power sector will be 32% below 2005 levels.
November 2015: Rejected the construction of 1,179 mile Keystone XL oil pipeline from Canada to the Texas coast, protecting numerous ecosystems from habitat destruction and potential oil spills.
December 2015: Put a law in place to halt the use of microbeads. Microbeads — tiny plastic exfoliating beads found in many beauty products, cleansers and toothpastes — find their way into the waterways where they are consumed by fish and other marine life. On July 1, 2017 producing certain microbeads will become illegal.
January 2016: Denied six permits for seismic testing to search for oil in the Atlantic Ocean. Not only did this prevent potential oil spills, it protected countless marine organisms from the loud and disorienting seismic blasts that have been known to result in hearing loss, unusual changes in habit and even death.
June 2016: Announced a near-total ban on the trade of African elephant ivory in the United States. A huge win for endangered African elephants who are poached at an alarming rate for their ivory. Since 2011 over 17 countries have destroyed stockpiles of confiscated illegal ivory, several in the months following the Administration’s announcement.
June 2016: Signed a measure to dramatically reduce animal testing. A revision to the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA), the measure aims to minimize animal testing and develop alternate methods and strategies.
August 2016: Quadrupled the size of Hawaii’s Papahānaumokuākea Marine National Monument — home to more than 7,000 species of wildlife. Now the world’s largest ocean sanctuary, the total protected area includes 582,578 square miles.
December 2016: Banned oil drilling in federal waters from Virginia to Maine and along the majority of Alaska’s coastline. The measure will be effective 2017 through 2022 — all the way through the term of President Trump.
December 2016: Created the Bear Ears National Monument in southern Utah, protecting 2,000 miles of the beautiful desert ecosystem.
Barack Obama was a champion of the environment and animals throughout his presidency. He protected millions of miles of land and water, worked to reduce carbon emissions in the coming years, protected numerous species and raised awareness of climate change amongst the American public.
DID YOU KNOW? Obama used the Antiquities Act more than any other president in history? The Antiquities Act of 1906 allows U.S. presidents to create national monuments from public lands to protect significant natural, cultural or scientific landmarks.
Although Obama has taken great strides towards protecting land, water, air and animals for future generations, many would argue — including Obama himself, we would think — that not nearly enough has been done to combat the effects of climate change.
It is unfortunate to see an incoming administration headed by climate skeptics and an EPA administrator that is funded by large oil companies. We can only hope that the environment and our animal friends will be kept in mind when it matters most. Please join the International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW) in urging Donald Trump to take climate change seriously as he heads into office.
Looking for some things YOU can do to help animals and the environment in 2017? Here are 9 ways you can make a difference! At Cause You Care, all products are designed with the environment in mind and donate 25% of profits to IFAW to help animals in need. Shop our Endangered Species Collection and give back!
Help us honor Obama’s environmental legacy and share the infographic below: