05/25/2012 - THE ENVIRONMENT
Protecting Roadless Forests
The 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals unanimously reversed a lower federal court decision that the 2001 Roadless Area Conservation Rule was illegal. Now this policy, which protects 58.5 million acres of undeveloped national forests, is the law of the land. Pew was not a party to the litigation, but led the decade-long campaign to engage governors, members of Congress, and the public to save these forests from numerous court challenges.
Exposing Discrepancies in Bluefin Tuna Trade
The Global Tuna Conservation campaign
released an analysis of worldwide trade in Mediterranean bluefin tuna
that showed that trade in this valuable species has exceeded quotas every year since 2004, reaching 141 percent above the quota in 2010. After the analysis was released during a meeting of the International Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tunas, member governments committed to developing a pilot program for electronic catch documentation in time for the 2012 fishing season, a key goal of Pew’s campaign.
A “Grand” Victory for Mining Reform
The Obama administration ordered a long-awaited, far-reaching ban on new mining claims outside Grand Canyon National Park
, protecting one of America’s most visited national parks, its fragile ecosystems, and the Southwest’s primary water source. More than 1 million acres of public lands surrounding the park have been withdrawn from the reach of the 1872 law that governs the mining of gold, uranium, and other metals for the full 20 years allowed under the Federal Lands Policy and Management Act. The Pew Environment Group (PEG)
spearheaded the push for the ban with campaigns that generated record-setting public comments, reports, and analyses of the public lands impacted by mining.
Efforts in Shark Conservation Advance
The European Commission published a long-awaited proposal for closing the loopholes in the EU shark-finning ban
, which is one of the world’s weakest. The proposal is expected to be adopted by the European Parliament and Council of Fisheries Ministers in 2013. Before the proposal’s publication, the Pew-led Shark Alliance
held European Shark Week, in which 120 aquariums across the EU participated in activities and collected thousands of signatures to a petition to protect Europe’s sharks.
Three Australian Rivers Gain Vital Safeguards
Australia’s Queensland government protected three of the world’s healthiest rivers
—Cooper’s Creek, Georgina, and Diamantina—and their wetlands under its Wild Rivers Act. The declarations safeguard 11 million acres of wetlands from destructive activities and ensure that the rivers will continue to run unfettered. In addition, 13 million acres of wetlands downstream of Queensland now have guaranteed inflows of clean water. PEG’s Outback Australia
program created a partnership of Aboriginal, conservation, and rancher organizations to secure this significant win.
Outback AustraliaPEG’s Outback Australia
program achieved another significant victory for marine conservation with creation of a new coastal marine park in Western Australia
. The Western Australia state government declared more than 1.7 million acres as the new Camden Sound Marine Park, with 20 percent to be held in the most protective category as “no-take” sanctuaries. With this designation, the world’s largest nursery grounds for humpback whales in the southern hemisphere as well as globally important coral reefs will be protected from commercial and industrial activities.
Making Krill Count
As Pew’s krill conservation
campaign draws to a close, several key policy wins were secured at a meeting of the Commission for the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources (CCAMLR), which manages fishing in the Southern Ocean. CCAMLR agreed on funding to monitor krill predators such as penguins, whales and seals (krill are key to the Antarctic food chain). It kept in place a system that helps manage krill and prevent local depletions. CCAMLR also strengthened oversight by observers on commercial vessels. These developments are a direct result of Pew’s scientific research and advocacy efforts in coalition with the Antarctic Krill Conservation Project.
Win for Wilderness
The Campaign for America’s Wilderness (CAW)
helped persuade Congress to adopt language in legislation that gives the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) clear authority under the Federal Land Policy Management Act to conduct inventories of lands with wilderness character, and to provide them interim protection until Congress decides whether to include them in the National Wilderness Preservation System
. This success provides a boost to efforts by CAW and PEG’s new Western Lands Initiative to secure lasting protection to BLM lands, either legislatively or administratively. CAW staff met with officials in the administration and on Capitol Hill to ensure this language was included.
Major Steps Taken to Prevent Overfishing in the U.S. Southeast
Fisheries managers took dramatic steps to prevent overfishing in the Gulf of Mexico, along the U.S. Southeast coast from North Carolina to Florida, in the U.S. Virgin Islands, and in Puerto Rico. Science-based catch limits were established for more than 150 species—the first caps placed on the number of fish that can be caught annually. PEG’s Southeast Fish Conservation Campaign
analyzed scientific reports, attended dozens of meetings, and wrote recommendations to influence important plan details and ensure that as many species as possible were included.
Two Large Parts of Canadian Boreal Forest Preserved
The International Boreal Conservation Campaign
had two important breakthroughs. As part of a long-term effort to create a 10-million-acre UNESCO World Heritage Site in the Canadian provinces of Manitoba and Ontario, the Bloodvein First Nation signed a land-use agreement with the government of Manitoba that permanently protects more than 500,000 acres of intact boreal forest. In northern British Columbia, the Kaska Dena First Nation struck a similar deal with the provincial government, protecting 1.5 million acres from industrial development. These designations are part of Pew’s longstanding work to support and advance aboriginal-led conservation initiatives in the boreal forest.
Scientists Seek New Protections for Arctic
The International Arctic campaign
released an open letter from more than 2,000 scientists from 67 countries calling on Arctic leaders to develop an international fisheries agreement in the Central Arctic Ocean
. Timed for the first day of the International Polar Year conference in Montreal, the story was advanced by a half dozen Pew experts who attended the gathering to speak on a variety of Arctic issues.
THE ECONOMYBank Disclosure Forms Adopted
Chase Bank, Pentagon Federal Credit Union, TD Bank, Inland Bank (IL), University of Illinois Employees Credit Union (IL), Eastman Credit Union (TN) and North Carolina State Employees’ Credit Union voluntarily adopted Pew’s model checking-account disclosure form
. Following the Safe Checking in the Electronic Age Project’s
research finding that the median length of checking account disclosures was 111 pages, Pew created a concise summary document to help financial institutions provide account terms and conditions in a consumer-friendly format
. Project staff worked with these institutions to develop summary disclosure information that clearly lays out all fees, as well as practices that can affect processing of consumer transactions.
Subsidyscope wraps up ambitious look at government spending
With the release of data on the last six economic sectors, Subsidyscope
completed its unique compilation of government data on federal subsidies, including a searchable database that enables users to query grant or contract information. At least $964.9 billion was spent on grants and tax expenditures in FY 2010 in agriculture; education; health; national defense; natural resources and environment; and science, space, and technology sectors.
HEALTHDraft Regulations to Implement Sunshine Act
The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services issued draft regulations for implementing the Physician Payments Sunshine Act, which would require pharmaceutical and medical-device companies to disclose gifts and payments to doctors. This move toward implementing the law followed advocacy by the Pew Prescription Project
, including White House visits with industry and a joint letter with PhRMA, Advamed, and the Biotechnology Industry Organization—the major pharmaceutical and medical-device trade associations—and consumer groups, such as Consumers Union and Community Catalyst.
Pew Biomedical Scholars
- Nine former members of the Pew Scholars Program in the Biomedical Sciences were named fellows by the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS). This is the largest group of Pew Scholars to receive this honor in a single year, bringing the number of Scholars who are AAAS Fellows to 37. AAAS Fellows are named annually in recognition of their efforts to advance science or its applications.
- Additionally, 1996 Pew Scholar Carolyn Bertozzi of the University of California at Berkeley was elected to the Institute of Medicine (IOM). She is the 11th Pew Scholar to earn this designation. Election to the IOM is one of the highest national honors in the fields of health and medicine, and is bestowed by the current membership. Bertozzi’s research focuses on cellular changes associated with cancer, inflammation, and bacterial infection, and on the development of diagnostic and therapeutic approaches.
- Paul Rothman, a 1992 Pew Scholar, has been appointed dean of the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine and chief executive officer of Johns Hopkins Medicine. As an assistant professor at Columbia University in the 1990s, Rothman developed, with Pew’s support, groundbreaking molecular methods for studying asthma and other inflammatory diseases, and he was the founding chief of Columbia’s division of pulmonary, allergy, and critical care medicine.
IN THE STATESHome Visiting Funding to Be Evidence-Based in Maryland
The Home Visiting Campaign
partnered with advocates in Maryland—the Maryland Family Network and the Home Visiting Alliance—to help pass the Home Visiting Accountability Act of 2012, which was signed into law by Gov. Martin O’Malley. The legislation will require a minimum of 75 percent of home visiting funding be dedicated to evidence-based approaches, set clear standards for child and family outcomes, and rigorously monitor programs for effectiveness.
Children’s Dental Health Campaign Successfully Promotes Fluoride
The Children’s Dental Health Campaign
helped secure a major win in San Jose, Calif., where the board of the Santa Clara Valley Water District voted 7 to 0 to fluoridate the water it supplies to the city and several neighboring communities. More than 280,000 additional Californians will gain access to fluoridated water. Pew’s team worked closely with its California partner, the Health Trust, and other allies to build awareness of the importance of fluoridation. The campaign and its partners also worked with policy leaders in Tennessee, Oklahoma, Louisiana, and West Virginia to adopt policies reimbursing pediatricians through Medicaid for applying fluoride varnish on children’s teeth. Pew’s efforts have helped increase the number of reimbursing states from 29 in 2008 to 44 by the end of 2011.
Pew Testifies in South Carolina About Online Voter RegistrationElection Initiatives
director David Becker
testified before a South Carolina House judiciary subcommittee on the benefits of online voter registration, sharing research on the impact of systems in other states that already have it in place. Following his testimony, which emphasized the improved accuracy and cost savings other states have seen, the subcommittee approved a bill that would allow state voters to register online and ease the path for eligible citizens to register to vote efficiently and accurately.
Slowing Prison’s Revolving Door
The Public Safety Performance Project
held a National Recidivism Conference in Washington, DC, at which corrections leaders from all 50 states shared effective policies and practices to slow the revolving door of prisons. The conference was co-hosted by the Council of State Governments, the Bureau of Justice Assistance, the Association of State Correctional Administrators, and the Public Welfare Foundation. Pew Center on the States research manager Ryan King presented data from the project’s landmark report, State of Recidivism
, and a video was presented that outlined four core strategies to reduce recidivism.
PEW RESEARCH CENTERStudy of Mobile Charitable Donations
With support from the Knight Foundation, the Internet & American Life Project
released a first-of-its-kind study of charitable giving
, based on a survey of people who texted a donation to Haiti relief after the 2010 earthquake. (An estimated $43 million was raised for Haiti assistance and reconstruction efforts by text messaging.) The project found that among those donors, text giving was done on the spur of the moment and without much background research on the organization to which the contribution was made. Seventy-three percent of text donors for Haitian relief contributed using their cellphones on the same day they heard about the campaign, and 76 percent said that they did so without conducting much in-depth research. More than half of the donors surveyed (56 percent) had made text-message contributions to other relief efforts since their Haiti donation.
State of the News Media
The Project for Excellence in Journalism
released its ninth annual State of the News Media
report, which found that while mobile technology is increasing news consumption and strengthening the appeal of traditional news brands, news organizations continued to lose ground economically. Technology companies (rather than news organizations themselves) are strengthening their grip on profits from online advertising. In 2011, five technology giants, led by Google and Facebook, accounted for 68 percent of all digital ad revenue. In a related report, based on proprietary data from newspapers and detailed interviews with news executives, PEJ found the industry struggling to replace losses in print ad revenue with new digital revenue.
Hispanics and Their Views of Identity
A survey by the Pew Hispanic Center
found that while federal agencies have been using the terms “Hispanic” or “Latino” since the 1970s to describe Americans whose roots are in Spanish-speaking countries, Hispanics have not fully embraced these terms
. About half said they identify themselves most often by their family’s country or place of origin (Mexican, Cuban, Puerto Rican, Salvadoran or Dominican); just 24 percent said they prefer a pan-ethnic label. Among other findings, 87 percent believe that adult Hispanic immigrants need to learn English to succeed in the United States, while an even greater number (95 percent) believe it is important for future generations of Hispanics in the U.S. to be able to speak Spanish.
Religion and Migration
Christians make up nearly half--an estimated 106 million, or 49 percent--of the world’s 214 million international migrants. According to a study by the PRC’s Forum on Religion and Public Life
, Faith on the Move
, Muslims make up the second-largest group: almost 60 million, or 27 percent. The other migrants are a mix of Hindus, Buddhists, Jews, adherents of other faiths, and the religiously unaffiliated (those who identify as atheists and agnostics or say they have no particular religion). About one-quarter of Jews have left the country in which they were born and live elsewhere, the study found.
Tablets and News
The Project for Excellence in Journalism, in collaboration with the Economist Group, released a groundbreaking survey of how people consume news and information on tablet computers
, such as the iPad. The study found that 18 months after the iPad was first introduced,11 percent of U.S. adults owned a tablet computer, and consuming news was a popular activity: About half (53 percent) got news on their tablet every day. But the report found the revenue potential for news on the tablet could be limited. Just 21 percent said they would spend $5 a month if that were the only way to access their favorite source on the tablet.
PHILADELPHIAThe State of the City
Philadelphia is “a city in transition on a number of fronts,” with an increase in young adult residents despite an economy still in recovery and fears about crime, a report from the Philadelphia Research Initiative
found. The 2012 update to Philadelphia: The State of the City
showed unemployment dropped one percentage point, to 10.5 percent, but 42.1 percent of people over age 16 were not in the labor force, one of the highest rates of any major city. Although violent crime as a whole fell 2 percent, the homicide total increased for the second year in a row, from 306 to 324.
A Report Card on Philadelphia Culture
The Greater Philadelphia Cultural Alliance
has published Portfolio 2011
, the third of its biannual reports on the city’s cultural landscape. The report, based on 2007–2009 data gathered by the Pennsylvania Cultural Data Project from 405 organizations, is the first comprehensive analysis of the impact of the recession on the nonprofit arts and cultural sector in the area. It finds that investment losses, along with declines in corporate, foundation and government support, contributed to a 43-percent overall loss of cultural revenue. Individual giving increased by 20 percent, revenue from tickets and tuition increased 11 percent, and fees for memberships and subscriptions rose 8 percent. In contrast to declines nationally, the Philadelphia region’s arts and cultural attendance grew 5 percent over three years.
Report informs effort to reform Philadelphia workforce development system
The Philadelphia Research Initiative
released a comprehensive report on the city’s workforce development system
, which spent nearly half a billion dollars in public funds over the past four years and is used by about 100,000 Philadelphians annually. The study analyzed the system’s performance and compared it with similar workforce organizations in Pennsylvania and in metropolitan areas around the country. It concluded that the system suffered from a cumbersome leadership structure, low utilization by local employers, and average or below-average performance in helping job seekers get jobs and keep them.