Anna Cederstav's Blog Posts

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Anna Cederstav's 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.

Learn more about Earthjustice.

Anna Cederstav, a staff scientist with the Earthjustice International office, leads Earthjustice's collaboration with the Interamerican Association for Environmental Defense (AIDA), which works with environmental groups throughout Latin America to protect key ecosystems and human communities severely threatened by environmental degradation. A Ph.D. chemist, Anna was inspired to work at Earthjustice after recognizing that developing nations are decades behind the U.S. in institutional environmental protections, and that using a combination of science and law is one of the most effective tools for advancing those protections. Born in Sweden and now happily living in Berkeley, CA, Anna enjoys baking, traveling in the mountains and eating Swedish pancakes. Her motto? Never underestimate the opposition.

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13 December 2011, 4:02 PM
Central and South American nations risk loss of freshwater access
In 2010 Colombia suffered its most devastating floods in 40 years. (Flickr Creative Commons/Mr. Faco)

Consider this: the United States has contributed 28.75 percent of historical, cumulative greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, while all Central and South American nations combined have only contributed 3.58 percent. And that, although the population of Latin America is nearly double that of the United States.

Of course, the tricky thing about climate change is that we all share the same atmosphere and the same planet. So, even though Central and South American nations can rightly claim that they didn’t start the fire, they’re now being bombarded with all manner of smoke and smoldering embers.

Thus are the findings of a new report released by Earthjustice’s partner in international law, the Interamerican Association for Environmental Defense (AIDA). The report, Principal Human Rights Impacts of Climate Change in Latin America, was presented by AIDA last week to the delegates at the 17th Conference of the Parties (COP17) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) in Durban, South Africa.

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07 October 2011, 3:27 PM
Mining threatens or wipes out sensitive ecosystems
Marlin Gold Mine in Guatemala

Many of us wear gold jewelry, and almost all of us use electronic devices that contain small amounts of gold. And of course, people who invested in gold have reaped a nice profit as the price of gold has almost doubled during the past three years. But do we ever think about what that gold is REALLY worth – what the true human and environmental costs of that gold are?

Gold mining may seem like a thing of the past in many parts of the United States, but in Latin America the industry is booming, with mines proposed for places we would deem inconceivable. Gold mines are being developed in protected areas or ecosystems such as wetlands and glacial regions that provide water for millions in the Andes, forest reserves in the otherwise desert region of Baja California Sur, Mexico and even official Natural Protected Areas in various countries.

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23 November 2010, 5:31 PM
Ban is a result of work by Earthjustice, AIDA and allies
Bellavista open-pit mine, Costa Rica

In a bold and precedent-setting move, Costa Rica has prohibited all future open-pit metal mining! Environmentalists are celebrating the passage of the new law, which—approved unanimously by the Costa Rican Congress—establishes Costa Rica as a country that is "free from open-pit metal mining."

Costa Rica is the first country in the Americas to recognize the severity of the environmental and economic harms caused by open-pit mining, and to say no to future open pit mines.

Earthjustice and its partners are thrilled with this development, as we have been working for years to highlight the threats posed by mining in Costa Rica. Helping communities fighting the Bellavista and Crucitas mines, we have documented the failure of the government to comply with national and international laws for environmental protections, the inadequacy of government efforts to control mining impacts, and the need for much stricter regulation. The new law goes one step further and simply says no to all new open-pit mine projects.

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08 June 2009, 2:11 PM

Two weeks ago I had the opportunity to meet Don Federico, a Panamanian fisherman who has spent more than 26 years at sea and has thousands of stories to share. He told us what it was like when he first began fishing:

"We saw dolphins, whales, sharks and turtles everywhere. Out of ignorance, the fishing boats would catch and kill upwards of 300 dolphins per day, and the children would play with turtle eggs on the beaches."

Now, less than three decades later, Don Federico explained that there is none of that.

Even in isolated areas, it's a huge event when tourists spot a whale or a dolphin. Turtles no longer come to nest on our beaches, and shark finning is decimating local populations. The fish you could previously catch in a couple of hours, now take weeks of time for a fishing boat to collect.

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23 October 2008, 2:39 PM

Most environmentalists believe that nature has a right to exist for its own sake, but that's not how the law works in our country.

In the United States, nature is defensible only if a human will miss the forest, species, or clean water when it is gone. To use the law, a human must first prove harm to their person.

If that proverbial tree falls in the woods and no human cares, no laws were broken. But if a tree falls and the hiker who depended on its shade is harmed, the U.S. legal system may provide some relief.

Breaking with tradition and establishing a bold legal precedent, Ecuador recently decided that nature should have rights of its own. Just for the sake of protecting nature and the intricate web of life that depends on it.

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