Keeping Our Promise to Preserve Endangered Wildlife for Future Generations

Earthjustice and our clients have made the law's promise a reality

This page was published 10 years ago. Find the latest on Earthjustice’s work.

Ten years ago, my family saw firsthand the power of the Endangered Species Act in action. We were backpacking in the Grand Canyon and a California condor soared overhead. The sheer size of his wingspan was awe-inspiring. As we rounded the next bend, there sat the condor at the side of the trail, a marvel to behold.

The return of condors to the Grand Canyon is a testament to our nation’s commitment to protect the heritage “we hold in trust to countless future generations of our fellow citizens,” as President Nixon proclaimed when he signed the Endangered Species Act 40 years ago.

But the Endangered Species Act did not miraculously save imperiled species as a matter of course. In its wisdom, Congress included citizen suits in the law to make sure the law would be followed. Earthjustice lawsuits by the dozens on behalf of hundreds of clients have made the law’s promise a reality.

That reality includes endangered species protections for grizzly bears, orca whales and Pacific salmon and steelhead to name just a few of the species we have brought into the law’s protections. Putting the law to work for these species has meant fewer roads that bring people into conflict with grizzly bears and more space for the bears to roam.

It has meant:

By enforcing the Endangered Species Act, Earthjustice is making sure this country is fulfilling its trust to future generations. We are acting on the wise words often attributed to Chief Seattle:

We do not inherit the earth from our ancestors;
we borrow it from our children.

Patti is a senior attorney of the Northwest regional office in Seattle, where she works to fight efforts to turn the Pacific Northwest into a fossil fuel export hub. She also leads Earthjustice's pesticide work and efforts to preserve access to the courts and legal remedies. Her litigation experience includes notable successes in safeguarding the region’s old-growth forests, restoring Pacific salmon, and more.

Established in 1987, Earthjustice's Northwest Regional Office has been at the forefront of many of the most significant legal decisions safeguarding the Pacific Northwest’s imperiled species, ancient forests, and waterways.