2018: A Look Back at an Epic Year
An Environmental Article from All-Creatures.org


Center for Biological Diversity
December 2018

This article highlights some wonderful wins for animals and our environment in 2018.

Safeguarding Environmental Health

The Center's work to make the country, and the world, safer from dangerous toxics continues to expand. We reached a $17 million settlement this year protecting wildlife and reducing harmful pollution from Southern California freeways. We accomplished bold things for bees and butterflies, filing for Endangered Species Act protection for the imperiled Mojave poppy bee — our first native bee petition — and releasing groundbreaking reports on pesticide spraying in national wildlife refuges and herbicide spraying in monarch habitat.

We also sued the Trump administration to protect 26 million people in 12 states from dangerous air pollution.

Fighting to Curb Climate Change

Our Climate Law Institute filed dozens of climate cases this year challenging Trump rollbacks, corruption and secrecy. We prevailed in an early case challenging Trump's attacks on fuel-economy standards for cars and trucks. In California our powerful campaign to shut down dirty fracking and oil production organized massive opposition to the state's approval of more than 21,000 new oil wells during Gov. Jerry Brown's tenure.

And in the Arctic, we won victories for bearded and ringed seals and filed suit to protect Pacific walrus, which are under alarming pressure from sea-ice melt.

Preserving the Urban Interface

In our advocacy to keep sprawl and pollution from destroying crucial endangered species habitat in California, we closed a loophole this year that would have allowed a developer to evade environmental review and build a massive warehouse called the "World Logistics Center" that threatened birds, from golden eagles to burrowing owls.

We also successfully challenged a planned sprawl city called Grapevine that was poised to block wildlife corridors and clog L.A. freeways. We halted the Harmony development, which aims to pave over sensitive habitat for more sprawl in San Bernardino County, and in the courts achieved key protections for two endangered fish, Southern California steelhead and Santa Ana suckers.

Protecting Oceans

Our work to protect the vast frontier of the planet's oceans and their creatures had some important wins this year: a freeze on fracking offshore oil and gas wells along Southern California coast, won in federal court; an agreement to protect critical habitat for endangered humpback whales in the Pacific Ocean; and a new California law directing wildlife officials to better regulate the crab fishery to prevent whale entanglements.

We also organized widespread opposition to expanded offshore oil leasing across the state, including rallies, garnering major media coverage and spurring on 100 local resolutions opposing the destructive and dangerous practice.

Addressing Population and Sustainability

Advocating for a crucial cultural dialogue on our runaway population and overconsumption crises, the Center's Population and Sustainability program launched an initiative to build resources and support for advancing community solar and energy democracy.

We published an in-depth report grading the biggest U.S. grocery sellers on their efforts to address the food-waste crisis, which fall short of what's needed across the board. We released our first-ever special edition Endangered Species Condoms, which highlighted the Global Footprint Network and Earth Overshoot Day. And we partnered with Planned Parenthood Arizona in hosting community conversations across the state on reproductive justice and environmental protection.

International Action

This year the reach of our International program was greater than ever as we took action for species from Japan to Mexico to Africa. To save vaquitas, the world's smallest and rarest porpoises, barely clinging to survival in the Gulf of California, we won a court order banning import of Mexican seafood caught with the dangerous nets that threaten them. And we tackled the protection of Africa's iconic species, including elephants and giraffes, on several fronts.

To combat Interior Secretary Zinke's efforts to ramp up trophy hunting of imperiled wildlife, we filed three separate court cases seeking greater transparency on trophy-import decisions and challenging the stacking of advisory councils with representatives of hunting interests. We won a case forcing the Trump administration to disclose critical wildlife import and export data, which it has avoided sharing with the public. And we sued under the Endangered Species Act to protect giraffes threatened by habitat loss, poaching and trade.

Mobilizing the People

Our work to organize grass-roots resistance to the onslaught of attacks on American's civil rights, natural heritage and climate yielded exciting results this year, and we continue to increase the geographic range, staff and capacity of our national Ignite Change campaign.

Our work produced more than 189,000 personalized texts that got sent to get out the vote among progressives in the midterm elections. We hosted 400 events nationwide to protect wildlife and wild lands, led the Amendment 9 campaign in Florida that banned offshore drilling in state waters, organized 70 visits to representatives and hundreds of calls to help oust corrupt EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt, and held 50 "Brews for Bears" events nationwide to save Yellowstone grizzlies and stop grizzly trophy hunts.

Investigating, Informing, Inspiring

The extinction crisis, climate change and the machinations of the Trump administration are just a few of the topics covered this year in The Revelator, the Center's environmental news and ideas initiative. We tackled the most pressing issues in conservation, interviewed top experts around the world, and presented thought-provoking ideas for change — stories you won't find in other publications. Along the way we gave voice to the people and species most in need of protection.

Return to Environmental Articles