Protect Special Places in the Western Hemisphere

August 10, 2015

Spanning from the Boreal Forest in Canada to the glacier-capped mountains of southern Chile, the Western Hemisphere is home to some of the world’s most spectacular natural places. Yet many of the area's unspoiled wilderness is under imminent threat of destruction from ill-conceived projects and industrialization that would clear-cut ancient forests, ravage pristine coastlines, and sacrifice extraordinary ecosystems and wildlife.

NRDC fights to protect wild places and wildlife around the world. In the Americas, we work closely with local partners and harness the power of citizen activism to defend some of the Western Hemisphere’s remaining wild places from environmental destruction.

Pehoe Lake in Patagonia

Patagonia, Chile

At the southernmost tip of South America, Chile’s Patagonia is one of the world’s last untouched expanses of land. But its rugged terrain and free-flowing rivers are threatened by destructive construction plans, such as hydroelectric dams that would devastate irreplaceable wildlife habitat. With a coalition of local and international organizations, we succeeded in defeating the HidroAysén project—a proposal to build a 1,200-mile-long transmission line and five massive hydroelectric dams on two of the region’s wildest rivers—and now continue to work for the long-term protection of Patagonia’s spectacular waterways and landscapes.

Baja California Peninsula, Mexico

For more than 20 years, NRDC has worked to safeguard this region's critical marine and coastal habitat, which is home to numerous endangered species, such as whales, dolphins, and sea turtles. Since successfully defending the peninsula’s pristine Laguna San Ignacio gray whale nursery, we have remained committed to working with local communities and groups to secure a long-term sanctuary for the animals. Farther south, near the tip of the peninsula, we also collaborate with partners to protect the thriving coral reef of Cabo Pulmo National Park—and the local community that depends on it—from unsustainable tourism and real estate projects.

Boreal Forest, Canada

Vast stretches of the Boreal Forest are undisturbed by development, providing refuge on a grand scale for caribou, gray wolves, and millions of songbirds that nest in the dense woods. It’s also home to the traditional territories of several First Nation communities. NRDC is working to protect the wildest stretch of this great forest—its very heart—from the threat of tar sands extraction and unsustainable forestry practices.

Spirit Bear Coast, Canada

The land of the Spirit Bear is a primeval wilderness that once stretched unbroken from Canada to California. Filled with towering 1,000-year-old trees and salmon-filled rivers, its coastal waters are home to orcas, humpbacks, fin whales, and Steller sea lions. The native people of these lands have depended on this rich ecosystem for millennia. To stave off oil spills that could destroy the Spirit Bear Coast in a matter of days, NRDC is working to stop proposed pipelines that would bring tar sands oil and supertankers into this unspoiled paradise.