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ESA Advocate: Kari Birdseye

Q&A with
National Press Secretary
Kari Birdseye
On the 40th anniversary of the Endangered Species Act, Earthjustice staff members share experiences from their work involving the landmark environmental law.

ESA Advocate
Kari Birdseye

Title

National Press Secretary /
Associate Media Director

Office

Headquarters

Year Started at Earthjustice

2011

Ecosystems & Endangered Species Working to Protect

All those that Earthjustice attorneys work to protect from habitat loss, climate change and attacks on the Endangered Species Act

Quote

"Protecting wildlife is significant in the bigger picture because we don't want to be the keystone species that collapses our own ecosystem with arrogance."

My name is … Kari Birdseye.

I first knew I wanted to be an environmental communicator when … I was a journalist working with scientists and realized the need for clear, non-technical communications to reach out to and educate broader audiences.

Species I have worked to protect include … marine mammals and birds, especially those living in or migrating to the Arctic Ocean. I divide my time between all of the animals our attorneys work to protect from habitat loss, climate change and attacks on the Endangered Species Act. I'm especially fond of the puffin right now, upon return from a recent trip to Alaska.

Protecting wildlife is significant in the bigger picture because … we don't want to be the keystone species that collapses our own ecosystem with arrogance.

How You Can Help
Speak up to protect wolves from state-led hunts! Submit your comment by December 17—keep gray wolves on the federal endangered species list.

Take Action Today

One thing most people don't know about the ESA but should is … that way back in 1973, the House Committee Report on the bill that eventually became the ESA said it best, almost poetically: "Man's presence on the Earth is relatively recent, and his effective domination over the world's life support systems has taken place within a few short generations. Our ability to destroy, or almost destroy, all intelligent life on the planet became apparent only in this generation. A certain humility, and a sense of urgency, seem indicated."

My toughest ESA fight is … going on right now with the federal proposal to delist the gray wolf and strip protections from this majestic creature.

Wolves have made gains since being reintroduced in Yellowstone, but their position is tenuous to nonexistent in the vast majority of their former range. National Park Service

Ringed seals rest on the ice near a breathing and escape hole at Alaska's Beaufort Sea. If the sea ice begins to melt much earlier in the year, ringed seals will lose their resting platforms. Florian Schulz / visionsofthewild.com

The best I've felt after getting a story placed was … when I read my own writing in the Op Ed page of the Sacramento Bee, my hometown paper, which I read regularly from age 11 to 21.

Working with the media to create awareness of ESA issues and attacks on the Act is … rewarding, especially when the governing agencies take notice and do the right thing. Industry has so much money to spread misinformation for their gain that when we can reach millions of people through earned media, it seems to even things out.

The most enjoyable part of working on ESA advocacy is … working with colleagues who care about wild spaces, critters and the big picture—together creating the collective drive to make a difference.

Kari Birdseye is Earthjustice's National Press Secretary and Associate Media Director. Read more about her work on our blog, unEARTHED. This Q&A was conducted in October 2013.

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