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NASA/NOAA via NOAA Environmental Visualization Laboratory

The stroke of a pen has been known to shape the course of history. On Earth Day, more than 170 countries signed the global climate deal reached in Paris last December. Do their signatures herald a turning point? Will our children’s children learn to revere the Paris Agreement as the global charter that secured their future? It depends on what we do—or fail to do—in the next two years to implement and strengthen the agreement.

Mostovyi Sergii Igorevich/Shutterstock

Over a year ago, mothers, students and asthmatics reminded the EPA that its job is to protect public health and the environment and to make sure the air we breathe is clean. Some of them traveled six hours by bus to tell their stories.

For example, Anne Morton attended a hearing last January and made an impassioned plea to the EPA:

“We don't have anybody else. We depend on you. Who is our advocate if you're not?”

Aigars Reinholds/Shutterstock

On April 22, Earth Day, world leaders from more than 170 countries gathered in New York City to sign the historic Paris climate treaty. With their signatures, they committed their governments to limit global temperature rise to 1.5 degrees, the level scientists say is crucial for sparing us from the worst impacts of climate change.

Flint, Michigan, during the lead contamination crisis in January 2016.

Earlier this year, the nation woke up to the serious problem of lead in our drinking water when news broke that the town of Flint, Michigan had been exposed to high levels of lead in their drinking water. A breakdown at all levels of government led to the poisoning of more than 8,000 children when the city, in an effort to save money, stopped purchasing treated water from Detroit and began using untreated water taken directly from the Flint River.  


Weighing in at 2,000 pounds and stretching 7 feet long, the Pacific leatherback sea turtle is the largest turtle on earth. Boasting the widest range of any reptile on the planet, it traverses the globe, swimming nearly 7,000 miles from its nesting beaches in Indonesia, Papua New Guinea, and the Solomon Islands across the Pacific Ocean to feeding grounds off the U.S. West Coast.

In a pioneering decision made last week, the National Marine Fisheries Service finalized a rule to protect dozens of species of small fish and squid that are an important part of the menu for seabirds, whales and bigger fish. The decision marks an important first step in shifting away from the too little, too late approach to fisheries management that too often results in overfishing and collapsed stocks.

Glenn Nagel/iStock

Scientists believe it takes around two million years for a new species to come into existence. Species extinction, on the other hand, can occur in the comparative blink of an eye. Unfortunately, North America’s imperiled flora and fauna aren’t getting the help they need from congressional leaders in Washington, D.C., putting more and more species under threat.


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.