Giving the Earth’s Species a Fighting Chance
As another Earth Day approaches, the world faces a climate and biodiversity crisis. Scientists predict that between one third and one half of all species could be extinct by the end of this century. Their disappearance, which could upend ecosystems and destabilize human civilization, puts us all in danger.
The situation is dire. But many of the threats to imperiled species — from mining to logging to fossil fuel development — take place on public lands and waters. In the U.S., we have powerful legal tools to ensure that these public places, which belong to all of us, remain intact and hospitable to life, not polluted and destroyed by extractive industries.
Earthjustice uses legal tools like environmental laws and pollution regulations to keep entire ecosystems — and the species that depend upon them — healthy and intact. Here are just a few of our cases and ways you can join our fight.
The Fossil Fuel Fight
Many public lands targeted by fossil fuel drilling are rich in biodiversity. The American West, for example, contains over 150 million acres of sagebrush habitat that provides shelter for animals such as the greater sage-grouse, pronghorn antelope, and pygmy rabbits. In 2020, a federal court invalidated the Trump administration’s attempt to increase oil and gas drilling in the West’s “sagebrush sea,” bringing more than 330,000 acres under protection. Earthjustice represented a diverse coalition of conservationists and sportsmen who came together to protect the sage-grouse and its habitat.
Other highlights of our fight against fossil fuels:
- We’re defending a rare Florida wetland.
- We preserved polar bear habitat in the Arctic.
- We’re working to protect an incredibly rare whale species in the Gulf of Mexico.
Protect our public lands and waters from fossil fuels
Big Ag Pollution
Industrial agriculture is a major polluter, imperiling wildlife by dumping untold amounts of toxic pesticides and fertilizers into the ground. The Florida manatee, for example, is threatened because manure, sewage and fertilizer runoff spark deadly algae outbreaks that shade out the seagrasses that the sea cows eat. Earthjustice has put the Environmental Protection Agency on notice that we will sue if the agency does not address the water quality problems that are killing manatees.
Other highlights of our fight against Big Ag:
- We’re pushing for stronger protections against slaughterhouse pollution.
- We’re stopping the conversion of native grasslands to farmland.
Demand a National Biodiversity Strategy
Forests are a source of food and habitat for countless threatened species. They also serve as the “lungs of the earth” by sequestering carbon and cleaning the air. That's why Earthjustice, in partnership with an ever-growing coalition, is calling on the Biden administration to make protection of these unique forests a central pillar of its national climate strategy. In Alaska, we’re closer than ever to stopping large-scale old-growth logging in the Tongass National Forest. The Tongass’ trees sustain an endless variety of wildlife, including salmon that travel the streams that run throughout the Tongass and provide a hearty meal for grizzlies, bald eagles, black bears, and other creatures.
Other highlights of our fight against industrial logging:
- We’ve helped launch a new campaign to protect Climate Forests — mature and old-growth trees that store vast amounts of carbon.
- We’re protecting critical Northern spotted owl habitat.
- We’re upholding the Roadless Rule.
- We’ve stopped roadbuilding projects in the Flathead National Forest.
Restore the Endangered Species Act
Mining for gold, copper, and other precious metals can scar the earth, contaminate the environment that species depend on, and harm Indigenous communities. Earthjustice is fighting reckless mining projects around the country and pushing for total bans on mining in critical areas like immediately next to Minnesota’s Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness. There, the surrounding Superior National Forest holds 20% of the freshwater in the entire national forest system and provides habitat for imperiled species such as lynx, moose, and wolves.
Other highlights of our fight to stop harmful mining:
- We’re working with Native tribes to stop the Donlin Gold Mine, which threatens salmon habitats.
- We stopped a silver-copper mine proposal in Montana’s Cabinet Mountains Wilderness.
We need stronger protections from mining
Our oceans, rivers, and streams once teemed with creatures as big as the blue whale and as small as a minnow. But decades of overfishing have stripped our waterways of life. On the West Coast, Earthjustice is pushing federal regulators to enact responsible, science-based management of northern anchovy — a critical food source for dozens of ocean animals, including whales, sea lions, brown pelicans, and salmon.
Other highlights of our fight to stop overfishing:
- We’re pushing for stronger protections for oceanic whitetip sharks.
- We’ve stopped commercial aquarium collection in Hawaiʻi.
- We’re pressuring fishery managers to better protect migratory birds.
We need stronger protections for North Atlantic right whales
- Your voice is needed on these issues. Learn how to take action — and why it matters.
- Stay up to date on our lawsuits and victories, including alerts, monthly curated stories, and more. And receive our text alerts to hear about big news as it happens.
- We use the power of the law to protect our communities, our climate, and the natural world we value so deeply. Make a tax-deductible gift today and help us take on the fights ahead!