Nearly 40% all species may face extinction by the end of this century. Here’s how we can save them.
Other species make the earth habitable for humans
This biodiversity crisis has two pieces:
1. We’re losing species altogether.
2. Even species that aren’t at immediate risk of extinction are thinning out, and that imperils other species that depend on them. Scientists estimate that vertebrate species have declined by an average of 70% in the last half century.
Other species make the earth habitable for humans. Say there’s a species of insects that eats pests on our crops — if you destroy half the individuals of that species, you’ve got a whole lot less pest control going on.
There’s also the intrinsic value of non-human life. These are living beings that we have shared the planet with for millennia. They have just the same right to existence that we do. They are species that our parents and their parents stewarded and cared for, looked at in wonder, and enjoyed. Ours could be the first generation that fails in that stewardship duty.
Failing to protect all species is a planetary injustice, in addition to being potentially lethal.
Habitat destruction, overutilization, chemical pollution — and climate change
We have a long-term commitment to protect ecosystems across the nation
In 2021, Earthjustice launched its Biodiversity Defense Program, which focuses its attention on confronting the biggest drivers of biodiversity loss, including habitat destruction and over-exploitation of wildlife. The program has hit the ground running with its efforts to protect the iconic gray wolf from persecution; ensure the threatened red knot migratory shorebird has adequate food supply in Delaware Bay; and save starving manatees from unchecked water pollution that threatens their food supply.
We also continue to litigate against former President Trump’s attempt to lease our public lands to fossil fuel companies. We’ve filed and won a series of lawsuits that throw out hundreds of federal oil and gas leases that Trump tried to issue illegally — some of which contain essential habitats for imperiled species like the greater sage-grouse.
We have a long-term commitment to protecting ecosystems across the nation against anyone who might hurt them. If you’re a resource-extractive industry and you want to do something that might harm the Greater Yellowstone ecosystem in the Northern Rockies, or the Grand Canyon ecosystem in the Southwest, or the Tongass National Forest in Southeast Alaska, you’re going to have to deal with Earthjustice in court.
We continue to hold the government accountable to its duty to protect endangered species. We’re leading the fight to reverse Trump’s rollbacks to the Endangered Species Act, our most effective environmental law. In addition our litigation has helped restore protections to imperiled species that help hold entire ecosystems together, like the Yellowstone grizzly bear and the Northern Rockies gray wolf.
Plenty, like creating a national biodiversity strategy
Add your voice to get involved:
Drew Caputo, then-VP of Litigation for Lands, Wildlife and Oceans, led Earthjustice’s expansive docket of litigation to protect the nation’s public lands and cherished wild places, irreplaceable species, and ocean fisheries and habitats.
He was interviewed by Alison Cagle, a staff writer at Earthjustice who tells the stories of the earth: the systems that govern it and the people who are fighting to change them.