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Alaska

The uplifting movie Big Miracle, opening this weekend, has the power to educate people across the country about America’s Arctic Ocean, along with the people and wildlife that call it home.

This is the same place Royal Dutch Shell is planning to drill in our Arctic waters this summer—with no viable method to clean up an oil spill in these extreme conditions. And President Obama has the power to stop them.

Fans of unEarthed know Earthjustice has been sharing (and sometimes breaking) news on our blog this year. Which stories posted in 2011 generated the most reads?

Here is our Top Ten Countdown for the year:

It’s not easy to get the President’s attention. He’s a busy guy, and despite sending him thousands of comment letters and making hundreds of phone calls, he just doesn’t seem to understand that Americans don’t want oil drilling in the fragile waters of the Arctic Ocean. These waters are home to polar bears, walrus, bowhead whales and other endangered species. They provide bounty for Native subsistence communities. A spill in these waters would be an environmental disaster unlike any other.

This is the fourth in a series of Q and As on Earthjustice’s oceans work, which works to prevent habitat loss and overfishing, as well as reduce the impacts of climate change on the ocean. Earthjustice attorney Andrea Treece is part of a core oceans litigation team whose work helps protect forage fish species like herring, anchovies and sardines, which serve as the building blocks of the ocean food web.

Intro: This is the first in a series of Q and As on Earthjustice’s oceans work, which works to prevent habitat loss and overfishing, as well as reduce the impacts of climate change on the ocean. Earthjustice’s Oceans Program Director Steve Roady has been litigating cases that help protect our oceans for more than a decade. Check out earthjustice.org/oceans for more information.

<In a major victory for Earthjustice and its supporters, today the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals reinstated The Roadless Rule, which protects nearly 50 million acres of National Forest lands against exploitation. Tom Turner, who literally wrote the book ("Roadless Rules") on the case, provides some background here.>

The Palmyra Atoll is a tropical coral reef island in the heart of the Pacific Ocean. It’s warm, tiny and far from the vast, frigid Arctic. And yet these distant, disparate places are as alike in one sense as any two places on Earth.

Each is an early victim of humankind’s addiction to fossil fuels and our constantly affirmed determination to stay addicted.

Recently, Earthjustice staffer Jessica Knoblauch spoke with Gershon Cohen, project director of the Campaign to Safeguard America’s Waters. In June, Earthjustice successfully defended an Alaskan ballot initiative that Cohen co-authored, which called for cruise ships to stop discharging waste into Alaska’s pristine waters.

JK: How did you first learn about cruise ship pollution? 

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