Friday, February 27, 2009

Central for Biological Diversity: legal eagles getting the job done

So recently, I put up two postings (Fri. 2/20 & Sat. 2/21) on different conservation organizations, commenting on the different strategies or tactics taken by groups who feel their efforts would be best served by either educating the next generation or partaking in eco-terrorist activities. In the end, nature is best served when there are concrete results.

One organization that I have mentioned in the past, is gaining more and more influence and attention by focusing on the strategy of legal engagement, through legal petition or law suit. The Center for Biological Diversity has been affecting change through legal means and their results to date have been impressive. Cases in point, from their latest e-newsletter:

For the threatened Canadian Lynx, its federally protected habitat in the U.S. was increased from 1,841 to 39,000 square miles. CBD, along with Defenders of Wildlife, filed suit to protect the lynx under the Endangered Species Act (it's limited protection was initiated by a now disgraced former official influenced by commercial timber interests).

CBD and other organizations filed numerous suits regarding the 11th hour moves by the previous administration to gut the Endangered Species Act. A bill has now been introduced in Congress that will allow the Obama administration to more quickly rescind those moves - in particular those that denied the use of global warming as a cause for listing a species, like the polar bear, as endangered.

Even the little guys get some attention: the Northern Rockies Fisher, a rare relative of the weasel whose numbers have dwindled due to logging and trapping is receiving CBD support with a scientific petition filed to gain protection under the Endangered Species Act.

CBD, along with over 20 other groups, submitted a petition with over 19,000 signatures in support of measures to protect Arizona's Verde River from proposed pumping for new large development projects. Petition requests the consultation of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to determine and counter potential negative ecological effects.

The Center for Biological Diversity is one of a growing number of organizations that are taking a decidedly proactive position and do so not by fighting the legal system but by getting it to work for them. The challenges can be clearly identified, the actions can demonstrable, and the results can be clearly measured. Now that's progress.

Go get 'em, CBD!

No comments: