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Today—Earth Day—I was trying to figure out what kind of angle to write about, when I remembered a column I wrote last year, reflecting on the first Earth Day in 1970.

What struck me about that column is how it revealed that recycling, which we now take for granted as a cultural and financial institution, didn't exist on any kind of public scale just 41 years ago. The first Earth Day brought about this remarkable social change. Thus, in the spirit of recycling, I offer up last year's column, with its reflections on what it was like when it all began.

(This week, in connection with the launch of our campaign Fracking Gone Wrong: Finding a Better Way, we’ve invited some of the movement’s most prominent advocates to guest blog  Today's guest blogger is Josh Fox, an Oscar-nominated director whose award-winning documentary GASLAND has helped ignite a national outcry against the dangers of the controversial gas drilling technique known as fracking.

A few months ago, Earthjustice campaign manager Kathleen Sutcliffe came to me with an interesting request—she wanted to tell an uplifting story about fracking. Hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, is a drilling technique that involves blasting chemically treated water into the earth to release oil and gas trapped in underground rock formations.

The symmetry is just eerie.

Exactly one year after the BP disaster in the Gulf, natural gas drilling company Chesapeake admitted that a well it was hydraulically fracturing (or “fracking”) for natural gas went out of control in LeRoy, Pennsylvania late Tuesday, spilling thousands and thousands of gallons of frack fluid over containment walls, through fields, farms – even where cattle continue to graze – and into a stream.

As Chesapeake Energy Corp. struggles to contain a massive spill of toxic, hydraulic fluids yesterday at a natural gas fracking site in Pennsylvania, it also is struggling to explain how this dangerous event happened and how they are handling it. I mean, how do you explain away the poisoning of water supplies, waterways and farmers' fields?

(This is the fourth in a series of Q & A's on the Crown of the Continent, a 10-million-acre expanse of land in northern Montana and southern Canada. Earthjustice is currently working to protect several wild creatures in the Crown like the wolverine. To learn more about this wild place and how Earthjustice is working to protect it, check out our Crown web feature.)

Last week we wrote about an effort by three Republican members of the House of Representatives to repeal the Roadless Area Conservation Rule that protects nearly 60 million acres of unspoiled lands on the national forests and to deny the Bureau of Land Management's authority to declare its unspoiled areas "wilderness study areas" and protect them until Congress can decide whether to give them permanent protection.


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.