- Executive Director of Earthjustice
- Seeks to form alliances with other environmental law firms throughout the world
Vawter “Buck” Parker is the executive director of Earthjustice, which describes itself as a nonprofit “law firm for the environment” that works through the courts to “safeguard public lands, national forests, parks, and wilderness areas; to reduce air and water pollution; to prevent toxic contamination; and to preserve endangered species and wildlife habitat.” The organization’s professed raison d’etre is “Because the earth needs a good lawyer.” Founded in 1971 as the “Sierra Club Legal Defense Fund,” Earthjustice has regional offices in Alaska, California, Colorado, Hawaii, Montana, Washington, DC, and Washington State. Earthjustice brings lawsuits against U.S. government agencies and corporations it believes are breaking or attempting to roll back federal and state environmental laws. “Environmental litigation,” says Earthjustice, “has been key to preserving threatened natural resources and protecting people’s environmental rights.” This watchdog group seeks to place severe restrictions on how U.S. public land and waterways may be used. It opposes virtually all mining and logging initiatives, commercial fishing businesses, and both the practical and recreational use of motorized vehicles in undeveloped areas. According to Earthjustice, lawsuits alone have protected “millions of acres of wilderness.”
Parker graduated from Stanford University in 1967 and from Harvard Law School in 1972. For eight years, he practiced law in Portland, Oregon, doing pro-bono work for conservation and environmental advocacy groups. He joined Earthjustice in 1980, and has been the group’s executive director since 1998. One of his goals in this position is to form alliances with other environmental law firms throughout the world.