Earthjustice

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Earthjustice
Earthjustice Logo
Founded 1971
Headquarters
Focus(es) Environmentalism, Public Health
Employees Approx. 150[1]
Motto "Because the earth needs a good lawyer"
Website earthjustice.org

Earthjustice is a non-profit public interest law organization based in the United States dedicated to environmental issues. It is headquartered in San Francisco, has nine regional offices across the United States, an international department, a communications team, and a policy team in Washington, DC.[citation needed]

Earthjustice was named one of America’s 100 best charities by Worth magazine[2] and receives the highest 4 star rating from Charity Navigator.[3]

The organization is recognized for its tagline "Because the earth needs a good lawyer", which was chosen in a 2009 online contest as one of the best nonprofit taglines out of 1,702 entries.[4]

In 2010, Earthjustice launched an innovative fundraising campaign using the popular location-based social networking app, foursquare. The ad campaign, which ran in billboards in San Francisco's BART system, gained national recognition as one of the first successful nonprofit uses of foursquare, and was featured in media outlets such as the New York Times, Mashable, and MacLife magazine, as well as books such as Carmine Gallo's The Power of Foursquare.[5][6][7][8]

Organization[edit]

The organization was founded in 1971 as the Sierra Club Legal Defense Fund, though it was fully independent from the Sierra Club. It changed its name to Earthjustice in 1997 to better reflect its role as a legal advocate representing hundreds of regional, national and international organizations. As of January 2009, the group had provided free legal representation to more than 700 clients ranging from the Sierra Club, World Wildlife Fund, and the American Lung Association to smaller state and community groups, such as the Maine Lobstermen’s Association and the Friends of the Everglades.[9]

Earthjustice is a nonprofit and does not charge any of its clients for its services. Funding for the organization comes from individual donations and foundations. It does not receive any funding from corporations or governments.

Programs[edit]

Earthjustice’s work is divided into three major program areas:[10]

Health and Toxics focuses on cases that fight for healthy communities.

Climate and Energy focuses on cases that advance clean energy and promote a stable climate.

The Wild focuses on cases that preserve our wildlife and wild lands.

Earthjustice also partners with organizations from other regions, including Latin America, Russia, Japan, and China to promote the development of environmental law in their respective countries. Every year, Earthjustice submits a country-by-country report on Human Rights and the Environment to the United Nations.[11]

Impact on U.S. environmental law[edit]

Earthjustice has been a critical player in a number of important, precedent-setting cases regarding environmental protection in the United States.

In the 1972 Supreme Court case, Sierra Club v. Morton, Earthjustice (then known as the Sierra Club Legal Defense Fund) helped establish the right of citizens to sue for environmental damages. The case ultimately forced the Walt Disney Corporation to drop its plans to develop an enormous ski resort in the Mineral King valley in California’s Sierra Nevada Range. The valley was preserved and has since been incorporated into the Sequoia National Park.[12]

In the 2006 Supreme Court case, Massachusetts v. Environmental Protection Agency, Earthjustice attorneys helped a coalition of state governments and conservation groups force the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to fight global warming by limiting greenhouse gas emissions. It was the first Supreme Court case to ever address the issue of climate change.[13]

In 1998, Earthjustice helped local community groups convince the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission to withdraw an approval to construct a uranium enrichment plant between two low-income, predominantly African-American communities near Homer, Louisiana. It was the first time a government agency had formally embraced the principle of environmental justice in its decision-making.[14]

Legislative positions[edit]

See also[edit]

Bibliography[edit]

  • Tom Turner, with photographs by Carr Clifton, Wild by Law: The Sierra Club Legal Defense Fund and the Places It Has Saved (San Francisco: Sierra Club Legal Defense Fund and Sierra Club Books, 1990) ISBN 0-87156-627-3
  • Tom Turner, Justice on Earth: Earthjustice and the People It Has Served (White River Junction, VT: Chelsea Green Publishing Co., 2002) ISBN 1-931498-31-8

References[edit]

External links[edit]