The National Wildlife Federation

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Environmental Threats

Healthy environments support healthy wildlife. Twenty-first century threats to our environment—including invasive species, diseases, pollution, and a warming climate—are putting wildlife populations at risk. The National Wildlife Federation unites Americans addressing these environmental threats and protecting our wildlife and their habitats. By doing so, we're not just helping our wildlife to flourish—we're helping people live healthier lives too.

Rachel Carson brought widespread attention to the ecological dangers of pesticide use in 1962, sparking a concern for our environment that reverberates into present day. As our nation's population continues to grow, our environment faces increasing strain. The National Wildlife Federation is fighting for more assertive policies to address modern threats and restore healthy wildlife populations, from curbing greenhouse gas emissions and increasing carbon sequestration, to protecting at-risk populations from toxic chemicals, contaminants, and non-native invaders. We’re also seeking innovative ways to solve current problems and prevent new threats from emerging.

Confronting Climate Change

Climate change is exacerbating many of the environment issues we currently face. It poses a significant long-term threat that demands our collective action to prevent its root causes and cope with its impacts.

Pollution from harmful greenhouse gas emissions, most notably carbon dioxide, is the leading cause of climate change. The National Wildlife Federation’s vital efforts include the reduction of greenhouse gas pollution through wildlife-friendly clean energy policies and projects, as well as reducing deforestation both nationally and internationally. Beyond our borders, we promote sustainable production methods through the development of market-based solutions and strategies for important agricultural commodities such as palm oil, soy, and biomaterials.

In addition to deforestation, burning fossil fuels contributes significantly to greenhouse gas emissions. The National Wildlife Federation addresses this issue by reducing the reliance on fossil fuels and advocating for renewable energy sources such as solar and wind power. In addition to preventative measures, the National Wildlife Federation is a leader in "climate-smart conservation," looking ahead and integrating new challenges created by climate change into our conservation efforts.

Combating Invasive Species

Harmful invasive species—which disturb the balance of already delicate ecosystems—are second only to habitat loss in their systematic threat to native wildlife. The National Wildlife Federation promotes the control, management, and eradication of invasive species, as well as the narrowing or closing of pathways for their spread. This includes the Asian carp, which poses a huge threat to wildlife in the Great Lakes ecosystem. The National Wildlife Federation also works to prevent the introduction of new invasive species by advocating for restrictions around ballast water from ships, which introduce invasive species into our waterways through the water it discharges.

In addition to our current work, the National Wildlife Federation's strategic plan lays out goals to:

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Where We Work

More than one-third of U.S. fish and wildlife species are at risk of extinction in the coming decades. We're on the ground in seven regions across the country, collaborating with 52 state and territory affiliates to reverse the crisis and ensure wildlife thrive.

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Regional Centers and Affiliates