The Progressive


A project of Common Dreams

For Immediate Release

Kieran Suckling, (520) 275-5960

Alaska Governor Sarah Palin Wins 2008 Rubber Dodo Award

Palin Has Sought to Remove Endangered Species Act Protection for the Polar Bear, Suppressed and Lied About State Global Warming Studies, and Denied That Global Warming Is Caused by Greenhouse Gas Emissions


The Center for Biological Diversity today awarded Alaska Governor Sarah Palin the 2008 Rubber Dodo Award. Last year's award,
which inaugurated the prize, went to Interior Secretary Dirk Kempthorne
for setting a new record in refusing to add imperiled plants and
animals to the endangered species list. This year's award goes to
Governor Palin for fighting Kempthorne's designation of the polar bear
as a threatened species.

The 2008 Rubber Dodo Award goes to Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin. (For a high-resolution version of this image, click here.)

Palin has waged a deceptive, dangerous, and costly battle against the
polar bear," said Kieran Suckling, executive director of the Center for
Biological Diversity. "Her position on global warming is so extreme,
she makes Dick Cheney look like an Al Gore devotee."

Palin has waged a deceptive public relations campaign, asserting that
the polar bear is increasing. But many populations (including Alaska's
southern Beaufort Sea) are in decline and two-thirds (including all
Alaska bears) are projected to disappear by 2050 by the U.S. Geological

Palin has repeatedly asserted that Alaska
Department of Fish and Game scientists found fatal flaws in the sea ice
models used by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to determine the
polar bear is threatened. When challenged, Palin refused to release the
alleged state review. Independent scientists eventually obtained a
summary through the federal Freedom of Information Act, revealing that
Palin had lied: The state mammalogists concurred with the Fish and
Wildlife Service determination that Arctic sea ice is melting at an
extraordinary rate and threatens the polar bear with extinction.

"All global warming deniers are eventually forced to suppress
scientific studies, and Palin is no different," said Suckling. "To
maintain her ludicrous opposition to protecting the polar bear in the
face of massive scientific consensus, Palin stepped over the line to
lie about and suppress government science."

has since filed a frivolous lawsuit against the Bush administration to
have the threatened listing overturned. Meanwhile, the U.S. Geological
Survey announced on September 16th that the 2008 summertime Arctic
sea-ice melt was the second greatest on record, nearly matching the
extraordinary melt of 2007.

"Palin's insistence
that Arctic melting is 'uncertain' is like someone debating the theory
of gravity as they plunge off a cliff," said Suckling. "It's hopeless,
reckless, and extremely cynical."


In 1598, Dutch sailors landing on the Indian Ocean island of Mauritius
discovered a flightless, three-foot-tall, extraordinarily friendly
bird. Its original scientific name was Didus ineptus. (Contemporary scientists use the less defamatory Raphus cucullatus.) To
the rest of the world, it's the dodo - the most famous extinct species
on Earth. It evolved over millions of years with no natural predators
and eventually lost the ability to fly, becoming a land-based consumer
of fruits, nuts, and berries. Having never known predators, it showed
no fear of humans or the menagerie of animals accompanying them to

Its trusting nature led to its rapid
extinction. By 1681, the dodo was extinct, having been hunted and
out-competed by humans, dogs, cats, rats, macaques, and pigs. Humans
logged its forest cover and pigs uprooted and ate much of the
understory vegetation.

The origin of the name dodo is unclear. It likely came from the Dutch word dodoor, meaning "sluggard," the Portuguese word doudo, meaning "fool" or "crazy," or the Dutch word dodaars meaning "plump-arse" (that nation's name for the little grebe).

The dodo's reputation as a foolish, ungainly bird derives in part from
its friendly naivete and the very plump captives that were taken on
tour across Europe. The animal's reputation was cemented with the
1865 publication of Lewis Carroll's Alice's Adventures in Wonderland.
Based on skeleton reconstructions and the discovery of early drawings,
scientists now believe that the dodo was a much sleeker animal than
commonly portrayed. The rotund European exhibitions were accidentally
produced by overfeeding captive birds.

At the Center for Biological Diversity, we believe that the welfare of human beings is deeply linked to nature — to the existence in our world of a vast diversity of wild animals and plants. Because diversity has intrinsic value, and because its loss impoverishes society, we work to secure a future for all species, great and small, hovering on the brink of extinction. We do so through science, law and creative media, with a focus on protecting the lands, waters and climate that species need to survive.

(520) 623-5252