BOOKS: Justice on Earth
From ANIMAL PEOPLE, October 2003:
Justice on Earth:
the people it has served
by Tom Turner
Chelsea Green Publishing
(distributed by Earthjustice,
416 17th St., Oakland, CA 94161), 2002.
224 pages, hardcover. $40.00.
Originating from a 1971 internal split within the Sierra
Club, Earthjustice called itself the Sierra Club Legal Defense Fund
until 1997. Essentially an environmental law firm structured as a
nonprofit activist group, Earthjustice mostly sues government
agencies to seek enforcement of legislation including the habitat
protection provisions of the Endangered Species Act and Migratory
Bird Treaty Act.
Facing controversy, bureaucrats often to do nothing until
compelled by the courts to act-and sometimes, especially in ESA
cases, political pressures all but prevent effective action until
judges rule. Many organizations pursue such cases, but
Earth-justice, now emulated by several others, was the first to
file lawsuits as its chief program function.
While still called the Sierra Club Legal Defense Fund, the
organization published a previous historical resume of its activities
in 1989, entitled Wild by Law. Justice on Earth updates that volume
and adds coverage of new issues.
Of particular note is that author Tom Turner describes
labyrinthine court cases in a succinct and lucid manner. Justice on
Earth is not quite a crime-thriller, but it won’t lose anyone with a
serious interest in the issues, especially the serious donors who
are the target audience.