Environmental Whistleblowers

Picture this: while at work you become aware of conduct that you believe is unethical, illegal, or qualifies as government waste, fraud, or abuse. You decide you want to blow the whistle. But before you act, be careful! Most corporate and government networks log traffic. Your work computer and phone are not private. When you use a company or department computer, assume everything you do is monitored. These computers are an easy way for your employer to determine you are the whistleblower.

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At a meeting last week, the Chemical Safety Board (CSB) announced that it would reverse its recommendation to institute whistleblower protections to workers on offshore oil rigs. This unfortunate turn will be bad for workers, destructive to the environment, and quite possibly even harmful to the energy industry.
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Part of the “Quick Peek” Series, exploring the NEW edition of Stephen Kohn‘s Whistleblower’s Handbook.

Whistleblowers are the key to ending wildlife trafficking and Stephen Kohn, the executive director of the National Whistleblower Center, knows it. There are over forty U.S. wildlife protection laws with Whistleblower rewards built into them. Unfortunately, for over 30 years no one has used reward provisions to activate whistleblowers to report wildlife crime (the first such provision was added the Lacey Act in 1981).
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The illegal wildlife trade is wiping entire species from our planet, and causing irreparable damage to our biological ecosystems. Despite all of the national and international government regulations and anti-poaching measures by nonprofit groups and other organizations, wildlife trafficking is an incredibly lucrative trade that continues to thrive, valued at $7 – 23 billion per year.

If there is any hope of tackling the global wildlife trafficking epidemic, we must turn to practical, proven methods to find a sustainable solution. Harnessing the power of whistleblowers to combat wildlife crime would be an absolute game-changer (Stephen Kohn, Monetary Rewards for Wildlife Whistleblowers).


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World Ocean Day (June 8th), is a global celebration of the vast, and largely unexplored, underwater world that makes up the majority of our planet. It’s also an annual opportunity to highlight the action needed to preserve the ocean’s extraordinary ecosystems, of which we still haven’t even scratched the surface of understanding.

In the spirit of World Oceans Day, the National Whistleblower Center’s (NWC) executive director, Stephen M. Kohn  presented a webinar, “Using U.S. Whistleblower Laws to Fight Illegal Fishing and Marine Pollution and Fund MPAs” on June 6, to discuss the impact whistleblowers have in protecting our oceans from oil pollution, and how whistleblower reward laws can be successfully applied to illegal, unreported, and unregulated fishing (IUUF).
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Today, on Endangered Species Day, we bid farewell to yet another beautiful species decimated by human activity: the vaquita.  With less than a handful of these small porpoises left in the world, experts have concluded there is no option but to pursue a risky, last-ditch attempt at preserving vaquitas by removing them from the wild and placing them in captivity. The question is: was the extinction of the vaquita preventable?

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The Rethinking Animals Summit 2017 will be held May 6-7 addressing the massive global exploitation of animals and ways to create sustainable initiatives – including wildlife whistleblower laws.

As humans continue to exploit animals and their resources for economic activities their existence becomes increasingly threatened. The summit aims to assemble “science, health business, conservation, animal welfare, security and ethics leaders and concerned citizens” to address protection and conservation of wildlife.


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Earth Day Texas, or EDTx 2017, will take place Friday, April 21st – Sunday, April 23rd, 2017, in Dallas, Texas.  EDTx is notably “the world’s largest annual forum for sharing the latest initiatives, discoveries, research, innovations, policies and corporate practices that are reshaping the future.”

This year’s agenda is packed with presentations from over 225 experts and thought leaders and 850 exhibitors.  The National Whistleblower Center’s Chief Operating Officer, Ashley Binetti, will speak on the Global Wildlife Defense panel this Saturday, April 22nd from 4:00pm – 5:00pm. The panel will showcase global efforts that support wildlife habitat and defend their existence against human interference of any kind.  Binetti will discuss how empowering wildlife whistleblowers is the key to combating the global extinction crisis.


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Last year, Steve Kohn informed the world about dormant whistleblower provisions in wildlife protection laws that, if activated, would effectively combat wildlife trafficking. While several branches of the U.S. government have committed to addressing trafficking activities that have pushed many iconic species such as tigers and elephants to the brink of extinction, federal agencies have yet to use all the tools available to them in this fight.

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