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Ask your senators to support conservation funding

The House of Representatives passed its funding bills for the coming year—and it has rejected proposals to cut key global conservation programs, and even increased funding for some of them. Next up, the Senate needs to pass its own bills and meet the House on funding levels for these programs.

Tell your senators you want them to protect and grow global conservation programs over the coming year. We encourage you to personalize your message below, and further emphasize to your senators why this issue is important to you.

Dear your U.S. senators,

As you work to advance appropriations bills through the Senate for the coming year, I want to encourage you to reject any cuts to global conservation programs. Where possible, I hope that you will support increasing funding for them. These programs are vital for protecting our planet's tropical forests and oceans, as well as populations of iconic wildlife species, including elephants, rhinos, and tigers. They also have a critically important role to play in preventing pandemics—COVID-19 is just the latest disease to spillover from wildlife to humans, and programs to prevent illegal and high-risk wildlife trade and protect forests and other wildlife habitats are key to addressing the root causes of these types of outbreaks.

In addition, many of the conservation successes that the US has helped to achieve overseas are now under serious threat. The COVID-19 pandemic and resulting economic downturn has also cut off one of the main sources of revenue that sustains conservation programs around the globe: tourism. Many parks, protected areas, and community conservancies rely on entrance fees and the money spent at local lodges and on local guides to keep their operations afloat. Without travelers visiting them, many of these places face the prospect of a surge in poaching and other illegal activities. In places like Namibia, where the US government has invested strongly in local conservation efforts through USAID and other agencies, this could mean the loss of decades of progress in both restoring wildlife populations and creating economic opportunities for communities.

These pressures come on top of an already growing global biodiversity crisis, driven by over-exploitation, illegal trade, and increasing pressures from human development. Now is the time to double down on US efforts to stop nature loss and to help developing countries use their natural resources responsibly and sustainably. It's also time to recognize that human health and the health of nature are inextricably linked, and that by working with developing communities to conserve nature abroad, we are also helping to strengthen our own security and prosperity here at home.

I thank you for supporting funding for international conservation programs in the past. I hope you will continue to do so this year, including as part of the US government's efforts to respond to the current pandemic and prevent the root causes that can lead to future ones.


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