Posts tagged: Wildlife and Places

unEARTHED. The Earthjustice Blog

Wildlife and Places


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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.

ABOUT EARTHJUSTICE'S 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.

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View Liz Judge's blog posts
04 June 2012, 11:28 AM
Stories and inspiration from the fight to end mountaintop removal mining

Over our years of working to stop mountaintop removal mining, we at Earthjustice have met so many brave and dedicated people fighting for their communities, mountains and waters. In 2010, Earthjustice launched our “Mountain Heroes” campaign to share their inspiring stories and show that this is not just a fight for the environment—it’s a fight for justice and a fight to save communities, families and Appalachian culture.

Through this campaign, we shared the stories of a few true heroes and created a public photo petition, asking the public to share their own stories—and tell us why they want to save mountains, protect clean water, and fight for justice in Appalachia.

What we got back was astounding and inspiring.

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View Jessica Knoblauch's blog posts
01 June 2012, 1:53 PM
Fukushima fish, two-faced corporations, corn sugar fail
(Photo courtesy of fortherock)

Taking a hike may boost your brainpower
Spending time outside doesn’t just make you happier and calm your frazzled nerves, reports the Wall Street Journal. It can also improve creativity. According to a yet-to-be-published paper by University of Kansas researchers, a group of hikers that spent four days in the woods outperformed another set of hikers that had yet to hit the trails on a standard creativity test. This wasn’t just a meager boost in creativity, though. The test results showed a nearly 50 percent increase in performance from the hikers who were already on the trails. In addition to boosting creativity, previous studies have shown time spent in nature (or even having a window that looks out into a grassy area) can improve everything from short-term memory to how you handle life’s major challenges.

 Fukushima fish swim their way to California waters
U.S. scientists recently announced that Bluefin tuna contaminated with low levels of radiation from last year’s Fukushima meltdown were found along the California coast five months after the disaster, reports Mother Jones. The finding comes on the heels of Japan’s own announcement that it’s preparing to restart one of the nation’s nuclear plants, which were idled after the Fukushima meltdown. Despite the stigma that radioactive fish will no doubt entail, the scientists maintain that radiation levels found in the fish is lower than what occurs naturally in the environment and therefore doesn’t pose a risk to human health. Unfortunately, these days radiation isn’t the only contaminant that people have to worry about when ordering a tuna fish sandwich. Many fish, including Bluefin tuna, also contain mercury, a toxic chemical linked to impaired neurological development and having other harmful effects. But unlike nuclear radiation pollution, which tends to happen only when there’s a meltdown, mercury is willingly created every day by industrial sources like coal-fired power plants. Find out how we're shutting them down and cleaning them up.

View Sam Edmondson's blog posts
29 May 2012, 3:59 PM
Air pollution penetrates the heart of California's wild places
A giant ponderosa pine. Photo: USFS.

Over this past long weekend, spent backpacking in California's Sierra Nevada mountains, I was reminded of a memorable method for distinguishing two of our stateliest trees. Though these two specimens are similar in many respects, the pine cones of "prickly ponderosa" have small spikes that point outwards, while those of "gentle Jeffrey" curve inward. (The bark of Jeffrey pines additionally smells like butterscotch or vanilla, which makes ID'ing them doubly delicious.)

But lo, after a string of days spent with these gentle giants, I returned to some sobering news. The Associated Press reports that smog pollution is weakening the growth of ponderosa and Jeffrey pine stands in California's Sequoia National Park. Ozone, the primary component of smog, inhibits the trees' ability to perform photosynthesis, evidenced by a yellowing of their bundles of long needles.

If you need a refresher, photosynthesis is the process by which plants harness energy from the sun and convert it into cellular energy. That energy is conferred to us animals when we eat plants. So, you know, it's really important.

View David Lawlor's blog posts
25 May 2012, 11:19 AM
Authorities called in to detain 27 animals
A bison, but not one of the 27 bison transported back to Yellowstone.

A group of 27 bison occupying privately owned grazing lands outside of Yellowstone National Park’s western border were detained by authorities on May 24. The group of animals included 12 newborn calves, 12 mothers, and three juveniles.

The Montana Department of Livestock led the raid with support from the Montana Department of Fish, Wildlife, and Parks; the National Park Service; the U.S. Department of Agriculture Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service; and the Gallatin County Sheriff’s Office. The bison were rounded up into a trap, placed on livestock trailers, and transported back inside park boundaries. They were released on their own recognizance into the Fountain Flats area. The raid was conducted following six weeks of surveillance and hazing that had been unsuccessful in persuading the bison to peaceably disperse and acknowledge the private property rights of landowners in the Yellowstone region.

All joking aside, whatever happened to wild animals being, you know, wild? And, for that matter, when did being a wild animal become illegal?

View Jessica Knoblauch's blog posts
25 May 2012, 8:46 AM
Cruel pizza toppings, superweed takeover, Hollywood bags the bag
(Cambridge Brewing Company)

Breweries worry that extreme gas drilling will frack their beer
It turns out that hydraulic gas drilling or fracking doesn’t just contaminate the air and water; it could also mess up your favorite brew, reports Mother Jones. Brewmasters like Brooklyn Brewery and upstate New York’s Ommegang Brewery are raising the alarm about toxic fracking chemicals like benzene making their way to America’s beers through weak fracking regulations that don’t protect an area’s water supply. After all, beer brewing takes a whole lot of water and places like the Brooklyn Brewery often get their water from local watersheds. The Brewery’s founder, Steve Hindy, says that fracking threatens the purity of his beer. New York has promised to ban high-volume fracking in areas where the city sources its water, but environmental groups like Earthjustice say that the state’s rules are weak and leave aquifers vulnerable to contamination by fracking chemicals. Find out how we’re helping breweries like Ommegang to keep their beer from being fracked.

Domino’s pizza’s meat policy makes little piggies cry
Domino’s may have recently had an artisanal makeover, but the pizza giant still isn’t budging on its policy to continue serving pork from pigs raised in gestation crates, reports Grist. For the uninitiated, gestation crates are cages about the same width and length of a pig’s body, a space so small that the pigs are unable to even turn around in the crates. Given that pigs are extremely smart animals capable of feeling fear, pain and stress, many food vendors have been successfully pressured into working with its pork suppliers to eliminate the cruel practice, but not Domino’s, which is one of the last holdouts in the industry. It looks like Domino’s new “artisan toppings,” meant for food-conscious customers, is just lipstick on both the proverbial and the literal pig.  
 

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View Doug Pflugh's blog posts
21 May 2012, 2:00 PM
Water pipeline permit denied, Endangered river spared for now
The Green River has been listed as one of the "most endangered rivers" in the country. (NPS)

It’s been a tough spring for rivers in the Rocky Mountain West. After a winter that never really got started, the snow pack—our primary source for water in our rivers—is historically low in Colorado and throughout the region. Runoff from snow melt is sparse and came early, leaving behind disappointing river peak flows. The last time we were in this situation the river life suffered and it looks like we’re heading that way again.

Despite this dark outlook, we received some great news (along with some refreshing heavy spring rains) here in Denver last week—news that gives us hope for one of our favorite rivers, the Green.

View Kari Birdseye's blog posts
18 May 2012, 5:23 PM
California's only "official" gray wolf runs with the coyotes
OR7, well camouflaged.
(Richard Shinn / DFG)

Oh, Journey, we know you are lonely. We know you have been searching for that special girl, maybe even from California. The search has been long—months long. We know you broke the pack rules, crossed the state of Oregon and then the California state border looking for love and made national news doing it.

But recent reports say you’ve been hanging out with the wrong crowd. They say you’ve traded in your lone wolf status and are hanging with … the coyotes.

I know they are fun. I hear them often, laughing and carrying on all hours of the night. But, Journey, you are not going to find that special gal hanging with those California cavorters. If you aren’t careful and officials see hybrid babies of yours and one of those coyotes, the California Department of Fish and Game has to kill them.

View John McManus's blog posts
17 May 2012, 4:08 PM
Bison are returned to their ancestral plains
Bison at Fort Peck, with one of the newest herd members. (Bill Campbell)

Home on the range, where the deer and antelope play? Forget about it. How about buffalo (yeah, I know they’re really bison).

After years of dreaming about getting one of the original Americans back out on the prairie where they belong, we’re a big step closer to seeing it happen.

After killing every last buffalo they could find, and starving the native folks who relied on them for food, 19th century market hunters missed a couple of handfuls of buffalo deep in the high country that would become America’s first national park, Yellowstone. The offspring of this small herd are among the last genetically pure buffalo (most other buffalo scattered across the country carry some cow genes).

Native tribes in northern Montana for years have sought to reestablish herds using Yellowstone stock. Until this year, they were blocked by cattle interests. But then the state agreed to move approximately 60 buffalo to the Fort Peck Indian reservation in far northeastern Montana. The Fort Belknap reservation, located in north central Montana, has asked for some buffalo and will hopefully get them soon.

Earthjustice attorney Tim Preso has worked for years on behalf of wild buffalo. Most of this work has been to ease rules unnaturally restricting buffalo to the confines of Yellowstone National Park. Outside the park, buffalo have for years been set upon by federal and state agents in helicopters, snowmobiles and on horseback—all intent on driving them back into the park.

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View John McManus's blog posts
17 May 2012, 12:57 PM
Coastal training kills, injures more than thought
A Navy vessel with research ship and orca pod, in the foreground. (Center for Whale Research)

Last week, the U.S. Navy came out with a shocking confession. They now admit that their coastal training exercises kill or harm more marine mammals than previously acknowledged. Apparently, new data led to a recalculation about how many whales, dolphins and seals are hurt by the mid-frequency sonar and explosions the Navy routinely use in training off our coasts.

Earthjustice is challenging a permit by the National Marine Fisheries Service allowing the Navy to train in the Pacific Northwest, off the coasts of Washington, Oregon and northern California. The challenge aims to get the Navy to move its training a short distance to deeper waters off the continental shelf where marine mammal populations quickly thin out, and away from other areas where marine wildlife congregate.

Note of clarification: We agree that warfare is more sophisticated than ever before, meaning the Navy has to use more sophisticated measures to make sure enemy subs and the like don’t get close enough to the U.S. to harm us. Unfortunately, they choose to train in the same coastal waters where ocean food production is high and are thick with marine mammals.

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View Jared Saylor's blog posts
15 May 2012, 1:02 PM
Polar bears, walrus, sandpiper, 150 activists deliver comments to White House
Campaign Director Jared Saylor and Policy & Legislation intern Adriane Underwood carry letters from more than 50,000 Earthjustice supporters who support protecting the Arctic.

On a muggy Tuesday morning, two polar bears lumbered south on 17th Street in Washington D.C. A walrus waved at drivers honking their horns. A sandpiper flapped its wings as it passed food trucks and coffee shops. And, 40 representatives from more than a dozen environmental groups wore bright blue shirts emblazoned with the logo “SAVE THE ARCTIC.”

Paws, wings, shirts and all, they headed towards the White House with a few things to tell the president. Joined by a few hundred activists, they gathered to deliver more than one million comments from concerned citizens, asking President Obama to stop plans by Shell Oil to drill in the remote, fragile waters of the Arctic Ocean this summer.

Comments being delivered to the White House.

The waters of Alaska’s northern coast are home to threatened polar bears, endangered bowhead whales, walrus, seals, birds that range through every state in the Union. Drilling in these waters threatens these species and the vibrant indigenous Alaska Native culture that depends on a healthy Arctic Ocean, both already under stress from rapid climate change.