The 2005 Millennium Ecosystem Assessment reported unprecedented degradation of ecosystems and the services they provide to human well being which, if allowed to continue, could adversely affect human health, security and welfare. Our environmental legal authorities and policies, however, are not well designed to protect the health of our nation's ecosystems focusing instead on clean air, clean land and clean water as single medium, often referred to as the silo approach to environmental protection. Protecting ecosystems requires that we move away from this silo approach to a multi systems approach to environment and ecosystem management in both policy and law. How can we motivate the necessary changes in our legal constructs and political systems? This is a question posed by a number of communities and states struggling with the concept of ecosystem protection. Applying a Modified Destabilization theory this research explores whether and under what conditions the strategic use of litigation by environmental social movements can destabilize established legal constructs to protect ecosystems. Using the Mono Lake and Everglades' restoration event histories the Modified Destabilization Model is used to examine the role law played in struggles to change the political and social systems necessary to protect, restore and rehabilitate ecosystems. This analysis increases our understanding of the elements necessary to move to change the political and social structures to achieve systems approach to ecosystem management and the ability of social movements to mobilize law and litigation to accomplish the political and social change necessary to protect ecosystem.