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It wasn’t especially charismatic, just a small rodent, scurrying around on an extremely limited patch of habitat on a low-lying island on the surface of the Great Barrier Reef. Yet the disappearance of the Australian Bramble Cay melomys made headlines this summer—because scientists deemed the critter, also known as the mosaic-tailed rat, to be the first mammal to go extinct as a result of manmade climate change.

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Last month, with the stunning backdrop of Yosemite National Park behind him, President Obama described the havoc climate change is wreaking on national parks and other cherished natural areas. He called out those who talk about tackling greenhouse gas pollution, but do nothing to stop it:

“This planet belongs to all of us.  It’s the only one we’ve got.  And we can’t give lip service to that notion, but then oppose the things that are required to protect it.”  

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When I was a kid, processed cheese was a family camping staple. It tasted great, melted beautifully and, most importantly, didn’t spoil easily. We didn’t think of it as “processed cheese food,” or wonder what exactly it was made out of. And we certainly didn’t suspect that the plastic it was wrapped in might be leaching hormone-disrupting chemicals into our campfire dinners.

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[Editor’s note: This week, the U.S. House of Representatives passed H.R. 5538, the federal spending bill that funds the Department of the Interior, the EPA and the U.S. Forest Service. The bill initially contained over 30 anti-environmental rides. When it reached the floor, more than 35 new anti-environmental riders were added as amendments.

Robert Marschelewski/CC BY-NC-ND 2.0 / https://flic.kr/p/arJkYQ

While 90 percent of Americans support mandatory labeling of genetically engineered (GE) foods, certain members of Congress want to hide this information from consumers. This past week, the House of Representatives passed a weak GE labeling bill that will nullify stronger state labeling laws—including a GE labeling law passed in Vermont.

Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area

Este blog está disponible en español aquí.

As we celebrate the 100th anniversary of the creation of the National Park Service and its mission to “conserve the scenery…unimpaired for the enjoyment of future generations," it’s important to remember that all national parks and monuments are worth defending—large and small, urban and wild, accessible and remote.

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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.