unEARTHED, the Earthjustice Blog

unEARTHED. The Earthjustice Blog


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Everyone has The Right To Breathe clean air. Watch a video featuring Earthjustice Attorney Jim Pew and two Pennsylvanians—Marti Blake and Martin Garrigan—who know firsthand what it means to live in the shadow of a coal plant's smokestack, breathing in daily lungfuls of toxic air for more than two decades.

Coal Ash Contaminates Our Lives. Coal ash is the hazardous waste that remains after coal is burned. Dumped into unlined ponds or mines, the toxins readily leach into drinking water supplies. Watch the video above and take action to support federally enforceable safeguards for coal ash disposal.


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.

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View Martin Wagner's blog posts
09 December 2008, 2:30 PM
The world is now meeting in Poland to tackle global warming

Yesterday, Erika wrote about negotiations to reduce global warming from deforestation and related activities, which contribute 20% of all human-emitted greenhouse gases. Tomorrow is the 60th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the foundational document for modern-day protection of fundamental human rights around the world. Today, the two issues came together in a shameful fashion and, unfortunately, the United States played a major role.

View Erika Rosenthal's blog posts
08 December 2008, 10:18 AM

The world is now meeting in Poland to tackle global warming - and Earthjustice is there. Read our daily dispatches.

Saturday was Forest Day at the climate negotiations in Poznan. Many people think of forests in terms of the CO2 that they absorb, or "sequester"– the rainforests of the Amazon, Congo and Indonesia are known as the lungs of the planet. But every year an area of forest the size of Greece is cut down or burned releasing enormous amounts of CO2 into the atmosphere – a tragedy for indigenous forest-dwelling communities, biodiversity and the planet. Take a moment to think of the scale of the crisis: satellite images show that an area roughly the size of Connecticut was deforested in Brazil alone in the 12 months through July, 2008.

1 Comment   /  
View Martin Wagner's blog posts
05 December 2008, 6:42 PM
The world is now meeting in Poland to tackle global warming

The media have reported some doubt about whether the nations of the world will be able to meet the December 2009 deadline to reach a new climate agreement. Even the head of the UN climate agency, Yvo de Boer, has said that the negotiators might not be able to meet the deadline set for new greenhouse gas limits to take the place of those in the Kyoto Protocol that expire at the end of 2012. (The 2009 deadline was set to give governments and industries time to make the changes necessary to comply with new limits.)

But much depends on meeting this deadline. In language cited repeatedly at this conference, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), the United Nations-appointed group of over 2500 climate scientists, explained last year that the best science suggests that, to have a better than even chance of avoiding catastrophic climate change, industrialized nations like the United States must reduce our greenhouse gas emissions by 25 to 40 percent below 1990 levels by 2020. That's at least 35 percent below current U.S. levels.

View Erika Rosenthal's blog posts
05 December 2008, 10:23 AM

The world is now meeting in Poland to tackle global warming - and Earthjustice is there. Read our daily dispatches.

More than 10,000 people have gathered in Pozna?, Poland this week for the United Nations Climate Change Conference, to advance negotiations that aim to set the world on a path toward a lower carbon future and minimize global warming and its effects on people and the planet. This conference is the critical mid-point between the break-through decision last December to adopt the "Bali Road Map" for an international agreement on climate change, and the 15th Conference of the Parties in Copenhagen next December when the governments are scheduled to seal a deal to address the climate crisis.

View Tom Turner's blog posts
03 December 2008, 12:21 PM

As faithful readers will recall, we’ve been reporting on the saga of the Roadless Area Conservation Rule for a very long time. Put in place at the end of the Clinton administration and immediately hamstrung by Bush operatives, the rule, which bans most roadbuilding and logging on roadless areas of the national forests, has bounced around a dozen courthouses, with Earthjustice lawyers defending the measure from attacks by states and the timber industry as the new government talked out of four sides of its mouth. Though there have been both wins and losses, the national forests have remained largely protected.

View Patti Goldman's blog posts
02 December 2008, 12:42 PM

Earthjustice Vice President for Litigation Patti Goldman offers these fond memories of Joan Bavaria.

A bounty of acclaim has come in the passing of Joan Bavaria, who served eight years as an Earthjustice trustee. Many speak of her as their hero, a visionary, and a pioneer. For me, as for many at Earthjustice, Joan was an inspiration.

When she joined the Board of Trustees, she brought unbounded insights and energy. She challenged Earthjustice attorneys to embrace shareholder activism as one of the tools for environmental progress. She led by example, engaging personally with all around her, lending her deep knowledge to common challenges, and sharing her spark.

Joan spearheaded socially responsible investing with her founding of Trillium Asset Management, the first socially responsibly investment firm, and with her co-founding of Ceres, which developed the 10-point environmental code of conduct against which the environmental record and commitment of corporations can be judged. Her many accomplishments and honors are chronicled at www.ceres.org/joan. In addition, The Boston Globe wrote this remembrance.

Those of us who had the good fortune to know Joan will continue to be guided by the gift of her wisdom.

View Tom Turner's blog posts
01 December 2008, 3:29 PM

The Guardian, over there across the pond, has just published a splendid piece that should help put to rest some misconceptions about the ease, expense, and possibility of converting the world to a sustanable/green/you name it energy system. The writer is Chris Goodall, author of Ten Technologies to Save the Planet. He lays it all out succinctly and clearly, and I hope he gets a wide audience.

View Ted Zukoski's blog posts
28 November 2008, 8:39 AM

One of the good things about the Web is that it increases accountability.  Those questioning the so-called "mainstream media" (MSM) don't have to hope that a stingy editor will find a few column inches to publish an op-ed to have their views heard.

So while I'm a regular reader of The New York Times, I was happy to see this article at grist.org  panning the Times' story on the beetle epidemic which is killing off hundreds of thousands of acres of pine forest in the Rocky Mountains.  The "Newspaper of Record" omitted the key fact that global warming is playing a key role in the beetle epidemic.  That's because beetles are typically killed off when subzero temperatures last for days in the forest, something that hasn't happened for years.

It's a key aspect of the beetle story.  And kudos to grist.org for telling it.

View Brian Smith's blog posts
27 November 2008, 7:00 AM

Joe Klein (author of Primary Colors, the scathing send-up of the Clinton years) gives President Bush quite a valedictory send-off today in the pages of TIME magazine.

Besides distaste for President Bush's "intellectual laziness," Klein lists a number of environmental actions that could be taken now in the final weeks of the Bush administration. Sadly, none of these are expected to happen.

View Tom Turner's blog posts
26 November 2008, 10:44 AM

It appears that Compassionate Conservatism, the muddled sound bite that was supposed to guide activities early in the reign of George II, has made a comeback, at least insofar as it applies to killers of wildlife.

On November 24, right before Thanksgiving and right after Sarah Palin pardoned a holiday turkey and then proceeded to be interviewed on TV with full-scale turkey slaughter raging right behind her (I'm not putting in a link; it's just too gory), the president (can we say "lame-turkey" president?) issued 14 pardons. Here's the Associated Press And here's USA Today.