Month: June 2020

Bald Eagle removed from list of threatened species

On June 28, 2007, the United States removes one of its most commonly-used national symbols from its List of Endangered and Threatened Wildlife. The de-listing of the bald eagle, which had been close to vanishing from North America around the middle of the 20th century, was one of the most notable wildlife rehabilitation efforts in American history. Sacred to some indigenous American cultures, the bald eagle is the national bird of the United States and features prominently in its iconography. Despite its significance, the bird’s population declined rapidly over the first half of the 20th century. Use of the common pesticide DDT, which negatively affects bald eagles’ fertility and the strength of their egg shells, was a major factor in this decline, but there were a variety of others, including hunting, poaching, electrocution by power line, pollution, and the destruction of large swathes of their natural habitat. The overall population in the lower 48 states, estimated to have been around 400,000 in the 1700s, had declined to fewer than 1,000 by the 1950s. READ MORE: How Did the Bald Eagle Become America’s National Bird? Congress banned the commercial trapping and killing of bald eagles in 1940, strengthening restrictions in the 60s and 70s. The ban of DDT use in the U.S. in 1972, and its heavy restriction in Canada, also helped revive the species, as did the protective powers...

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Activist Bree Newsome removes Confederate flag from South Carolina State House

On the morning of June 27, 2015, activists posing as joggers signal to one of their comrades that the police have momentarily turned their attention away from the flagpole outside the South Carolina State House. Having received the signal, Brittany “Bree” Newsome scales the pole, takes down the Confederate flag that was flying there and is placed under arrest. Newsome’s actions reverberated across the nation and eventually resulted in the state of South Carolina permanently removing the flag from its capitol. Newsome’s civil disobedience came just ten days after a white supremacist murdered nine African Americans in a bible study at a historically black church in Charleston, South Carolina. Newsome heard President Barack Obama‘s eulogy for one of the victims, the Rev. Clementa Pinckney, as she drove to Columbia. In preparation, she practiced climbing and received advice from Greenpeace activists with experience scaling trees. As she held the flag in her hands, a police officer ordered her to come down, to which she responded, “You come against me with hatred and oppression and violence. I come against you in the name of God. This flag comes down today.” She recited Psalm 23 as she was taken to jail. READ MORE: How the US Got So Many Confederate Monuments  Although the flag was flying again within an hour, Newsome’s actions had an immediate and lasting effect. Civil rights leaders and other...

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