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Water rights heroes John and Rose Marie Duey at home in ‘Īao Valley.

Co-authored by Isaac Moriwake and Kapua Sproat

It was like a horrible dream: Native Hawaiians fined for growing food and practicing their culture.

For decades, Native Hawaiian kalo (taro) farmers have fought to restore water flows to rivers and streams that plantation companies have drained dry for over a century. No one ever imagined these farmers could be penalized for trying to carry on the vital and sacred practice of growing kalo to feed their families and communities.

An Irrawaddy dolphin

Around the world, concerned people are using “Keep it in the Ground” as a rallying cry to protect the Earth’s climate. This campaign calls on governments and corporations to stop mining and burning the fossil fuels that are the primary source of global warming pollution. While there have been both successes and setbacks everywhere, the fight against coal in Bangladesh is particularly urgent and distressing.

Portrait of a coal miner

Last month, my colleague Ramin Pejan, a staff attorney in Earthjustice’s international program, and I traveled to Cape Town and Pretoria in South Africa. We went to deepen our collaboration with lawyers from the Centre for Environmental Rights—a non-profit working to defend South Africans’ right to a healthy environment—and to meet with activists working to protect their communities against the ravages of mining.

Artist and educator Mary Ting has been an ardent supporter of Earthjustice and a variety of environmental causes for more than 25 years.

This is a guest blog post by Mary Ting. Mary is an NYC-based visual artist working on installations, drawings, sculptures and community projects that reflect on grief, memories and human interactions with nature. She currently teaches at CUNY John Jay College in the studio art department and the Sustainability/Environmental Justice program. Mary is a member of Earthjustice’s Amicus Society, which honors Earthjustice supporters who have given for 25 years or more.

Earthjustice is representing Restore the Delta to oppose a massive diversion of fresh water from California’s Delta for Governor Jerry Brown's proposed “Twin Tunnels” project.

Like the roots of an ancient oak tree, California’s two largest rivers, the Sacramento and the San Joaquin, carve twisting, gnarled channels into the Central Valley as they converge to form the Delta. The Delta occupies over 1,000 square miles of the state’s interior, connecting water flowing from the mountains that surround the valley to the Pacific Ocean via its vast network of channels, sloughs and marshes. The Delta hosts wetland and aquatic ecosystems critical to the well-being of the state’s wildlife and human inhabitants.

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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.