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The burdens of climate disruption are borne disproportionately by those least responsible for them: poor and marginalized communities.  Frequently, these communities already contend with environmental pollution, resource depletion, and unequal access to land.  The best and most equitable responses to the climate emergency begin in these communities, and people need legal support to do the work. 

What We Do

Climate Defense Project (CDP) offers free, comprehensive, movement-aligned legal support to climate justice and anti-extractive campaigns, and to community-led efforts that intersect with these issues.   We support front-line communities, connect attorneys with experts and community members, and provide direct representation to those criminalized for protest, direct action, and resistance efforts.
In the fight for climate justice, we need lawyers who are on tap, not on top; who reject harmful hierarchies and center movements instead of themselves; who are zealous and skilled advocates; who balance urgency with efficacy and care; who engage generously in information-sharing and collaboration; who value creativity and a willingness to advance novel legal theories; and who bring to their practice anti-racist, anti-colonizer, anti-carceral, and anti-capitalist values.

Co-founders Alex and Ted met in law school, where they led the filing of a fossil fuel divestment lawsuit against Harvard University.  CDP began in 2016. In 2023, Claire, Kira, and Jonathan joined CDP to support land and water defenders in Minnesota, New England, Appalachia, and elsewhere.  Our attorneys are currently licensed to practice in Colorado, the District of Columbia, Maryland, Minnesota, New Hampshire, New York, Ohio, and Washington State. 

Meet the Team

Meet the Board

Here is CDP’s Form 1023 application for tax-exempt status as a 501(c)(3) organization and our IRS exemption letter.