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Olga Santos returns to the strawberry field where, as a young girl, she was sprayed with toxic pesticides while eating lunch with her family.

Olga Santos was only six when she started working in the fields. When she was sprayed with toxic pesticides while eating lunch with her family, help was nowhere to be found.

“They would spray pesticides near us over and over and there was nothing that could be done,” Santos said in an interview with Earthjustice. “As a child, there is not much you can do other than try to speak up as loud as you can. My parents were fearful of losing their jobs, so they wouldn’t say much.”

With more Washington farmers moving from barges to rail to ship crops, the call grows to remove dams on the Snake River and restore the dwindling salmon population.

It’s harvest time, and Bryan Jones’ farmhouse is filled with guests who have traveled to eastern Washington to lend a helping hand.

“We’re harvesting winter wheat,” he says.

It’s a hot, dry mid-July day. Thanks to extra sets of hands from family members, Jones guesses the wheat will be harvested in just a couple days. Soon after, they’ll start collecting the mustard crop.

Tony Webster/CC BY-SA 2.0 https://flic.kr/p/LrrLn7

In North Dakota, thousands of people are now encamped on the banks of the Cannonball River to oppose the Dakota Access pipeline with the Standing Rock Sioux.  Routed through sacred sites, the $3.8 billion pipeline would transport Bakken oil under the Missouri River, where a break or leak would poison water for Standing Rock and potentially millions of people downstream.  Members of at least 280 tribes and First Nations have come from around the U.S. and Canada to peacefully demonstrate, making this the largest gathering of tribes in generations.

The lame duck Congress looks to take a few last swings at wolves on its way out the door.

As the upcoming presidential election consumes our attention, the most anti-wildlife Congress in U.S. history is entering its final stretch and quietly working to pass members’ last pet pieces of legislation. Much of the proposed legislation would have damaging and lasting impacts on America’s wildlife and wild lands. These include measures that could prove devastating to a variety of wolf populations.

Maroon Lake, White River National Forest

A recent article in The Denver Post described in glowing terms the Bureau of Land Management’s new plan for dealing with 65 illegally issued oil and gas leases on the White River National Forest. The article referred to “ranchers arm in arm with mountain bikers” and “hunters and tree-hugging hippies joined by ATVers, small business owners, conservationists and cattlemen” in a triumph for supposedly “balanced” public lands management.

The FDA received an outpouring of comments from the public voicing concern about phthalates, harmful chemicals used in food packaging and processing equipment.

No matter how healthy your diet, it’s nearly impossible to steer clear of toxic chemicals called phthalates. These hormone-disrupting chemicals are used in the plastic packaging covering meats and cheeses whose fats can promote leaching of the chemicals into the food. Phthalates are also in plastic tubing and equipment in food processing plants and in the plastic gloves worn by food workers.

School bus in Molokai

The Hawaii Department of Agriculture (HDOA) and the Agribusiness Development Corporation’s (ADC’s) failure to limit pesticide exposure disproportionately harms Native Hawaiians in West Kauai and on Molokai, who live in great numbers and proportions near spraying operations. These pesticides pollute the air, soil and water resources that these communities rely upon.

HDOA requires no buffer zones between large-scale pesticide spraying operations and schools.

The Food and Drug Administration has failed to crack down on the abuse of life-saving medicines on factory farms.

If you’ve ever had kids in preschool or daycare, you know they’re going to get sick. In those early years, kids are still learning about personal hygiene and germs spread fast. So we do our best to keep schools clean while we teach our kids how to cover their sneezes, wash their hands, wipe their noses and learn the good sanitation habits that will keep them healthy. If they get sick, we treat them.

What we don’t do is put antibiotics in their morning cereal to ward off disease. 

Otters are more than just furry faces—they also help keep coastal ecosystems alive.

Happy Sea Otter Awareness Week! As zoos and aquariums across the country educate the public about otter conservation, it’s important to remember that otters are an essential part of California’s coastal ecosystems, on top of being charismatic little mammals. Once numbering almost 16,000, the California sea otter’s three-year population average was just 2,792 in 2012.

Destiny Watford, above, organized a movement opposing the nation’s largest trash-burning incinerator slated for her neighborhood in Baltimore, Maryland.

In April, 20-year-old Destiny Watford became the youngest recipient of the prestigious 2016 Goldman Environmental Prize for grassroots activists. Watford organized a student and community movement to oppose the nation’s largest trash-burning incinerator, planned for her neighborhood in Baltimore, Maryland. Energy Answers, the project backer, applied for government subsidies, claiming that the incinerator would be a source of clean energy.

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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.