Protect Natural Treasures

Great Bear Rainforest, British Columbia, Canada Pete Ryan/Getty Images

North and South America are home to some of the most expansive and beautiful ecosystems on the planet. These one-of-kind places sustain rare and endangered wildlife and providing our last vestiges of untamed nature in a fast-changing environment. But many of these areas are under threat from logging, mining, and drilling. If industrial projects—especially those focused on extracting dirty fossil fuels that cause climate change—proceed in old-growth forests, Arctic plains, rushing rivers, and redrock deserts, what makes these places special will be lost forever.

NRDC works to secure long-term protection for exceptional wild places. In the United States, we work with regional partners to seek additional wilderness protections for at-risk landscapes. We build support for these proposals in Congress while encouraging the White House to designate new national monuments to shield wild landscapes from incompatible industrial development. We analyze important ecosystems and looming threats and build public support for preserving wildlands everywhere from Utah’s Greater Canyonlands to Alaska's Tongass rainforest to California’s Mojave Desert.

As we work to establish permanent protections, we also fight to stop imminent threats. We challenge reckless industrial projects in court, in government ministries, and in public campaigns throughout North and South America. For example, we've successfully blocked multiple attempts to open the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge to oil and gas drilling, and we've taken Shell Oil to court over its dangerous bid to drill in the Arctic Ocean.

Many of these battles take years to win. In British Columbia, we helped stop destructive logging in the Great Bear Rainforest in 2001, and now we are working with First Nations and other groups to preserve the Spirit Bear Coast from tar sands oil pipelines and supertankers—and the devastating spills they could bring. After blocking a massive saltworks project slated for a gray whale nursery off Baja California, Mexico, in 2000, we continue to work with local communities to spur sustainable industrial development and create a sanctuary for whales.

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