Not boring, not befuddling

  Somewhere there is a school that teaches those who work for government agencies and environmental groups to write press releases. The school's core curriculum consists of courses in Boasting in Print and Bad Writing; it also offers seminars in Boring and Befuddling the Reader, Grazing the Truth, and Tunnel Vision. Even in peacetime, those who must read the daily flood of these sorry things deserve Purple Hearts.


So it's a shock to discover Earthlaw - a public interest law firm whose press releases are well-written and concise 300- to 600-word essays. They even contain humor.


And while the press releases are not shy about describing the good work Earthlaw does, they only become truly boastful when it comes to the students who work for the University of Denver Law Clinic. And who can blame Earthlaw head Mark Hughes? How often does a law student successfully argue a case before the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals? Or become the first legal practitioner anywhere to haul the U.S. government before the NAFTA environmental commission? Or do the research that helps persuade U.S. Supreme Court J. Antonin Scalia to let a logging ban stand on the national forests in the Southwest?


But readers will most appreciate Earthlaw's ability to create a context before plunging into the details of a lawsuit. Its press release on Preble's meadow mouse, for example, starts this way:


"When folks from other parts of the country think of the Denver area, they envision snow-capped mountains and green woodlands stretching from foothills to plains. They may imagine themselves moving to Denver, spending their days striding across high mountain ridges, the cool breeze rustling their Gore-Tex parkas ...


"A more accurate picture of the area around Denver would show a sea of bland suburban tract homes stretching from foothills to plains, punctuated now and again by a clump of factory outlet stores ..."


Having set the stage, Earthlaw can now talk about the mouse, and its potential for preventing the Front Range from becoming less livable. It's no longer a technical case about the Endangered Species Act - it's about the impact development has on human and non-human habitats and lives.


Earthlaw also does something few other groups and no agencies do: It mocks itself. When Earthlaw won a case reducing the number of Atlantic sharks that fishermen could catch, the group downplayed its victory. "We only took the case as a professional courtesy."


The press releases, appeals for financial support, and a primer on filing your own NAFTA-based appeal can be found on Earthlaw's Website: www.earthlaw.org. You can also reach the group at the University of Denver-Forbes House, 1714 Poplar St., Denver, CO 80220-1878; 303/871-6996.


*Ed Marston


High Country News Classifieds
  • MEMBERSHIP DIRECTOR
    Job Announcement: Membership Director Job Title: Membership Director Supervisor: Executive Director Classification: Full-time exempt Location: Boise, ID Job Overview Winter Wildlands Alliance is seeking a...
  • IMPROVED LOT
    Private road, hillside, views. Well, pad, septic, 99 sq.ft. hut. Dryland permaculture orchard. Wildlife. San Diego--long growing season
  • STEWARDSHIP SPECIALIST
    San Isabel Land Protection Trust seeks experienced person to manage its 133 conservation easements in south-central Colorado.
  • EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR
    Executive Director Position Announcement POSITION TITLE: Executive Director ORGANIZATION: Friends of Cascade-Siskiyou National Monument REPORTING TO: Board of Directors LOCATION: Ashland, OR POSTING CLOSES: March...
  • ARIZONA CONSERVATION CORPS PROGRAM DIRECTOR
    Arizona Conservation Corps is seeking a Program Director in Flagstaff or Tucson
  • UNIQUE INVESTMENT OPPORTUNITY
    Profitable off-the-grid business located 2 miles from Glacier National Park. Owner has 6 years operating experience. Seeking investor or partner for business expansion and enhancement....
  • NEW MEXICO PROPERTY - SILVER CITY
    20 acres, $80,000. Owner financing, well, driveway, fencing possible, very private, sensible covenants, broker owned. Contact - 575-534-7955 or [email protected]
  • GRANT WRITER
    "We all love this place we call Montana. We believe that land and water and air are not ours to despoil, but ours to steward...
  • COMMUNICATIONS COORDINATOR
    ABOUT US: "This thriving citizens organization exemplifies the ideal of public involvement in public processes." - Billings Gazette At Northern Plains, we believe that true...
  • ST. LAWRENCE UNIVERSITY - ASSISTANT DIRECTOR IN THE OUTDOOR PROGRAM
    To view the complete position description please visit: http://employment.stlawu.edu. St. Lawrence University is an Equal Opportunity Employer.
  • TRAIL CREW & ASSISTANT TRAIL CREW LEADERS
    SEEKING TALENTED TRAIL WORK LEADERS The Pacific Crest Trail Association, headquartered in Sacramento, California is dedicated to protecting, preserving and promoting the Pacific Crest National...
  • SEASONAL SAN JUAN RANGERS
    Seeking experienced crew members to patrol Colorado's most iconic mountain wilderness.
  • REMOTE SITKA ALASKA FLOAT HOUSE VACATION RENTAL
    Vacation rental located in calm protected waters 8 miles from Sitka, AK via boat with opportunities to fish and view wildlife. Skiff rental also available.
  • DEVELOPMENT AND ADVOCACY DIRECTOR
    Provide stewardship and protection for the Great Burn wildlands along the Montana-Idaho stateline. This position is based in Missoula, MT, where a river runs through...
  • LISA MACKEY PHOTOGRAPHY
    Fine Art Gicle Printing. Photo papers, fine art papers, canvas. Widths up to 44". Art printing by an artist.
  • WILDERNESS CONSERVATION CORPS - OREGON
    The Siskiyou Mountain Club is hiring interns for the 2020 Field Season. Interns utilize non-mechanized tools to complete trail restoration and maintenance while gaining job...
  • EXPERT LAND STEWART
    Available for site conservator, property manager. View resume at http://skills.ojadigital.net.
  • CONSERVATIONIST? IRRIGABLE LAND?
    Stellar seed-saving NGO is available to serious partner. Package must include financial support. Details: http://seeds.ojaidigital.net.
  • CANYONLANDS FIELD INSTITUTE
    Colorado Plateau Natural & Human History Field Seminars. Lodge, river, hiking options. Small groups, guest experts.
  • WESTERN NATIVE SEED
    Specializing in native seeds and seed mixes for western states.