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Keeping Our Promise to Preserve Endangered Wildlife for Future Generations

Ten years ago, my family saw firsthand the power of the Endangered Species Act in action. We were backpacking in the Grand Canyon and a California condor soared overhead. The sheer size of his wingspan was awe-inspiring. As we rounded the next bend, there sat the condor at the side of the trail, a marvel to behold.

The return of condors to the Grand Canyon is a testament to our nation's commitment to protect the heritage "we hold in trust to countless future generations of our fellow citizens," as President Nixon proclaimed when he signed the Endangered Species Act 40 years ago.

But the Endangered Species Act did not miraculously save imperiled species as a matter of course. In its wisdom, Congress included citizen suits in the law to make sure the law would be followed. Earthjustice lawsuits by the dozens on behalf of hundreds of clients have made the law's promise a reality.

That reality includes endangered species protections for grizzly bears, orca whales and Pacific salmon and steelhead to name just a few of the species we have brought into the law's protections. Putting the law to work for these species has meant fewer roads that bring people into conflict with grizzly bears and more space for the bears to roam.

It has meant:

By enforcing the Endangered Species Act, Earthjustice is making sure this country is fulfilling its trust to future generations. We are acting on the wise words often attributed to Chief Seattle:

We do not inherit the earth from our ancestors;
we borrow it from our children.

About the Earthjustice Blog

unEARTHED is a forum for the voices and stories of the people behind Earthjustice's work. The views and opinions expressed in this blog do not necessarily represent the opinion or position of Earthjustice or its board, clients, or funders. Learn more about Earthjustice.