Imagine having the vision to create a non-profit, public interest, membership organization that supports people who are creating solutions to protect our shared planet. For over 34 years, this Institute has been a hub for grassroots campaigns dedicated to conserving, preserving and restoring the ecosystems on which our civilization depends. One example is their Project Support program. It acts as an incubator for start-up environmental projects, giving crucial assistance to groups and individuals with new ideas for promoting ecological sustainability. In other words, they support programs that might just help to create healthier, more sustainable futures for all of us. Please join me as I ask John to share the vision of Earth Island Institute and to inform all of us about the myriad of great projects they help bring to life. This show made possible due to the generous support of The Fairfax Companies.
– “Polite conservationists leave no mark save the scars upon the Earth that could have been prevented had they stood their ground.” – David Brower, Founder, Earth Island Institute
– “Pay attention to Mother Earth. There’s all this political division, but we really need to pay attention to the system that support us all – through food, air, and water. This is not a partisan issue. This may be something people can come together to talk about over their holiday dinner.” – John Knox, Executive Director
– Earth Island Institute (EII) was founded in 1982 by David Bower, who was the first executive director of the Sierra Club. His vision was to provide an organizational home to activists/people making a difference. General idea was to provide a home for people who have an interesting new strategy for saving the earth, to encourage them, offer administrative help, process grant money, give advice when asked for it, and to create a new kind of service organization.
-When starting out, environmentalists were mostly concerned with preserving natural landscapes but NOW, the movement has become so complex. In addition to preservation, we recognize that environmental justice intersects with social justice and economic justice.
– We are Community Builders. In the beginning we just wanted to make sure we were a home for these activists. They were doing their own thing and we were decentralized. In the past few years (partly due to rise in technology and social media) we have increased our collaboration among people and projects.
– One of David’s strengths was listening to youth. David was always hanging out with young people, listening to them, and saying, ‘Yes!’ We focus on Youth Recognition and Mentorship.
– Dolphins were being killed by the tuna industry, they got involved and started the International Marine Mammal Project and helped us get Dolphin-Safe Tuna. Issues are ever evolving!
– “There is still work to be done.” As Bower would say “In our field, there are no permanent victories.” We want more people to know about Earth Island and help us shape how we’re able to be of service in the future.
GET INSPIRED! SOME PROJECT HIGHLIGHTS MENTIONED:
– Sacred Land Film Project: telling the stories of Native Peoples’ struggle with land for over 30 years!. They were at Standing Rock the day we recorded! Mission is to deepen public understanding of sacred places, indigenous cultures and environmental justice.
– Food Shift: Led by Dana Frasz, her passion is to make sure food is getting to the people it needs to get to. She is working on a kitchen to train people who’ve been homeless in culinary skills. They take perfectly good (ugly) produce and turn them into a useable food product to sell to businesses.
– Alter Terra: Oscar Romo leads the Alter Terra project. “Environmental issues do not respect borders!” The Tijuana River is a mess due to pollution from both sides of the border. Alter Terra looks for upstream solutions to the pollution in the Tijuana River.
– Climate Wise Women: Environmental justice intersects with social justice, a global platform for the promotion of women’s leadership on climate change.
– The Green Life: Prisoner reintegration program at San Quentin State Prison in Marin County. Find out more about their project efforts on their Facebook page.
– Junior Wildlife Ranger: Brower Youth Award recipient started a project to create Jr. Wildlife Ranger programs at National Wildlife refuges. She currently runs the project out of her Harvard dorm room!
– Transition Earth: empowering women, supporting voluntary family planning, addressing overconsumption and redefining economies.
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Talk about this at your holiday gatherings!
Earth Institute Project Directory to learn about all their projects!