Clean Energy and Climate Change Highlights
The switch from fossil fuels to clean energy is at the forefront of the climate change debate. From local to international policy, our projects’ efforts are getting international attention and paving forward a new era of renewable energy for our future. Coalswarm’s world coal plant database built by a team of international researchers is being used by policy makers and organizations like Greenpeace to curtail the development of new coal plants. In an effort to hold governments accountable to their fair share of commitments to curb climate change, think tank EcoEquity developed a unique equity calculator that featured at this year’s COP meetings in Paris and Morocco to assess each nation’s pledges.
Along with our projects’ research and publications that are gaining attention, others are joining the national movement across the country to orchestrate youth led divestment campaigns in California to get dirty coal money out of their universities. Persistent legislative and advocacy efforts by our team in Missouri helped that state shine in energy-efficiency advancements building upon prior huge strides to improve energy efficiency in buildings and implement consumer renewable energy rebates.
California Student Sustainability Coalition’s divestment campaign contributed to the partial divestment of coal and tar sands companies to the tune of $200 million by the University of California.
Center for Safe Energy brought a delegation of young Ukrainian energy activists and grassroots leaders to the Bay Area this past year, where they met with local experts to study energy efficiency, renewable energy, and methods to develop a millenial-focused energy movement.
In the past year, key organizations including the International Energy Agency, Climate Action Tracker, and Greenpeace have released studies based on CoalSwarm’s Global Coal Plant Tracker. This tool has increased the visibility of their work and is now serving as a powerful analytical tool for governments and institutions.
Eco Equity came together with coalition partners to publish Fair Shares: A Civil Society Equity Review of the INDCs, the only Paris report that systematically assessed the fairness of all national pledges to present to leaders at this year’s climate negotiations.
Renew Missouri’s legislative and advocacy programs successfully negotiated the expansion of $250 million in energy efficiency programs in the Kansas City & St Louis areas.
Environmental Education & Leadership
Earth Island Projects have collectively impacted thousands of young people and adult lives this year through programs that get people outside and learning to care, connect with, and protect their environment. Just as the environmental challenges we face grow in number and complexity, so does the innovative work of our projects. They are doing everything from creating community action plans to reduce toxic substances in neighborhoods, to training women in clean water technology and livelihoods. The mosaic of approaches employed by projects in the sector includes using art, activism, animal welfare, education and science, growing food, hiking and camping, in order to connect people to nature. The results are hundreds of new leaders trained, thousands of students outside and educated about the natural world, dozens of lesson plans developed and gardens grown, animals freed from suffering, and over a million pieces of trash collected. It’s been a big year.
All One Ocean’s programs resulted in the removal of more than one million pieces of trash from California, Hawaiʻi, and Iowa beaches by thousands of beachgoers and 300 regular volunteers.
The ALERT Project launched their Toxic Trespass Program which engages community residents in a collaborative process of creating and conducting science-based community action plans to reduce toxic exposures from oil-chemical activities. They developed and field-tested their first training module with four partners in Houston, Texas, and Mobile, Alabama.
Armenian Environmental Network improved the situation for animals in Armenia this year by helping to rescue and relocate two bears and three lions from the Gyumri Zoo in Armenia, which had announced they could no longer care for the animals. Because of all of the media attention and new support, one of AEN’s partners built a wildlife rescue and rehabilitation center in Armenia to care for future animals in need.
Bay Area Wilderness Training broke its own records this year with 8400 youth served, 205 new teachers trained, 196 community partnerships, 18,133 campnights out, 314 camping trips using BAWT Gear, and 85% youth of color served.
The Children in Nature Collaborative is actively working with other regions across the country to provide space and support developing healthy networks and leadership aligned with nature. They are collaborating with the Children & Nature Network on a three-part webinar series "Network Building for Social Change". Two of the webinars have already taken place with open access to the webinar presentation, slides and toolkit.
EcoVillage Learning garden has been busy connecting people to nature through the creation of increased opportunities for people to participate in outdoors activities; such as, farm tours for local school kids, community work days at the farm, helping to develop new parks and community gardens such as Unity Park and EcoVillage Farm Pollinators Garden.
Since 2013, EFC West has developed and delivered innovative leadership workshops to rural water systems and public officials around the country. During this time, EFCWest has successfully introduced storytelling, communications and systemic thinking approaches to change the way trainees view their environmental challenges, and to help them engage their communities. As of 2016, workshops for small community water systems have taken place in 21 states.
After a year of incubating a new curriculum into their solar training for Global Mammas, Friends of Barefoot College trainings worldwide now integrate health, rights, environmental stewardship, and occupational skills.
Generation Waking Up led WakeUps for 1500 incoming freshman at UC Santa Cruz, helping to ignite their fire for social engagement at start of their University career.
Global Women’s Water Initiative trainees implemented 107 rainwater harvesting systems and tanks; 700 latrines; 427 water filters. These technology implementations impacted a total of 30,600 people.
A Junior Wildlife Rangers program was launched at Desert National Wildlife Refuge, the first site in Nevada to adopt the program. This program was also translated into Spanish, the first of their programs to be translated into another language.
KIDS for the BAY has provided a vital, environmental education service to 77,178 students and 3,220 teachers since 1992. KIDS for the BAY (KftB) programs provide professional development for teachers and academic enrichment for students, using the local environment as a living laboratory for hands-on science learning and for environmental action.
Los Angeles Wilderness Training led 14 trips, consisting of 296 attendees in total last year.
Plastic Pollution Coalition’s "Open Your Eyes" video, featuring Jeff Bridges, reached over 80 million people.
Rooted in Community held their tremendously successful National Youth Leadership Summit in Olympia, Washington.
Sustainable World Coalition launched its second year of the Planet Earth Arts New Play Festival, which involved more than 60 Bay Area and Los Angeles playwrights. Performances were given at Berkeley Repertory Theatre, Stanford University and the Zephyr Theater in LA in association with PlayGround, the Bay area’s leading playwright incubator.
The Ultimate Civics curriculum Rethinking Democracy! taught lessons on Constitutional Rights and art activism to 150 middle school students, which inspired 50 students and 10 teachers and/or parents to pack the courthouse during the March hearing of the Atmospheric Trust Litigation, a lawsuit concerning the breach of public trust responsibilities to protect the climate for their generation.
The only program of its kind in the district, West County DIGS distributed 5,000 seedlings grown in Growing Strong Starts Greenhouse program to 30 school garden programs and 23 schools received free, donated garden tools, classroom materials and supplies from our Spring Garden Giveaway. Two hundred forty teachers from seven schools registered for eight Professional Garden Workshops resulting in a core of teachers who are better prepared to take their school garden programs to the next level.
YEA Camp leadership program trains 12-17 year-olds from all over the country to make a difference on a cause they care about – all while having one of the best experiences of their lives. The summer camp trained 100 teens to get active on causes from climate change to homelessness, animal rights to racism.
International & Indigenous Communities Highlights
Ensuring that all people, particularly women and native peoples, have a voice at the table is a driving force behind our network of international projects. These projects have been instrumental in preserving the livelihoods and land of communities and regions most affected by climate change around the world. Through strategies like grantmaking, network building, skill training, advocacy and storytelling, our projects leverage partnerships with grassroots organizations on the ground to support communities in strengthening conservation initiatives and biodiversity protection, preserving traditional knowledge and lifeways, and empowering women to be environmental leaders in their communities.
Climate Wise Women from Papua New Guinea, the Maldives and other island nations dealing with sea level rising were front and center at the COP21 climate debate in Paris this year that helped to bring attention to women’s voices and today’s climate refugees. We also saw big wins by projects and their allies to protect key animal habitats and preserve indigenous land by stopping mega infrastructure projects like dams, gas pipelines and highways that would threaten some of the most pristine and biodiversity rich mountains and forests in the Altai Mountains of Russia and Borneo, Malaysia.
In countries like Zimbabwe and Madagascar, our initiatives are supporting the use of traditional wisdom and resourceful technologies to capture and store water for small-scale irrigation and access to water, while restoring the land through permaculture and regenerative agriculture practices.
As a member of The Save Ukok Coalition, The Altai Project played a critical role in the indefinite postponement of the Altai gas pipeline project this year.
Having spent the last eight years supporting an indigenous-led network in Sarawak to stop a series of 12 mega-dams from being constructed, the Borneo Project celebrated the news in March that the Baram Dam – the next dam in line to be built – would be cancelled.
Climate Wise Women had a significant presence at COP 21 resulting in media coverage from the NY Times, CNN and Public Radio International and invitations to a number of speaking engagements.
Friends of Muonde grants to partners on the ground in Zimbabwe supported 600 water harvesting projects, increasing the quality and use of water harvesting/household ponds for gardening, small scale irrigation and other practices in drought stricken communities.
Numi Foundation launched a new partnership with another EII-sponsored project, Women’s Earth Alliance, to conduct a clean water assessment on India’s largest organic tea farm, which teed up their next H2OPE project with the goal of helping all 6,000+ residents access clean, safe drinking water.
Sacred Land Film Project’s Standing on Sacred Ground Series expanded its outreach this year launching on Netflix DVD distribution and appearing on 850 public television broadcasts around the U.S. in 2015, and hundreds more in 2016; new short films continued to be released on their YouTube channel.
Preservation and Restoration Highlights
The important work of restoring and protecting habitat remains a core focus within the Earth Island network. Through hands-on restoration, monitoring and research, legislative and legal work, projects have protected sensitive resources such as public forests and urban greenways winning both significant recognition and political will. Most of these projects and wins reflect years of hard work fundraising and building support among stakeholders. This year alone, through public and private partnerships, dozens of fish habitat barriers were removed restoring historic fish runs to rivers in Central California and in New England.
In some of the most hostile places to environmental protection, projects have been able to pass bills against bad logging practices. They have trained hundreds of park rangers and interpreters in Russia and Mongolia. The preservation and restoration work of projects impacts future generations of humans and wildlife dependent on these lands and water, which, thanks to Earth Island, will be here long after we are gone.
Thanks to Baikal Watch’s eco-education and nature interpretation programs, they have certified some 60 local Russians and Mongolians as interpretive trainers, allowing them to return home and formalize their own local eco-educational courses, while providing in-depth training to nearly 800 regional park rangers, tour & museum guides, NGO experts, and university professors and students.
Center for Ecosystem Restoration completed engineering and permitting for two dam removals in Massachusetts last year, clearing the way for demolition of both dams and the restoration of herring and shad runs to the lower Shawsheen River for the first time in about 150 years.
The John Muir Project was strategic in helping stop an extremely bad logging bill in U.S. Congress in December 2015 that would have dramatically increased logging, and post-fire clear cutting on our National Forests and other federal public lands.
Nature in the City’s Green Hairstreak Corridor received the San Francisco Beautiful 2015 Golden Gate Award.
South Coast Habitat Restoration has, going back to 2005, removed a total of twelve barriers from the Carpinteria Creek watershed. SCHR installed a total of six bridges over the creek as part of these removal projects. SCHR has also planted hundreds of native plants and trees at the restoration sites. Other project types in the watershed SCHR has implemented include bank stabilization and non-native plant removal projects. To date, SCHRS has restored 36 miles of stream to fish passage.
Sustainability and Community Resilience Highlights
Intersectionality, social justice, and equitable communities are popular buzzwords in the environmental movement, but for many Earth Island projects these ideas form the basis of our work. By partnering with communities to discover and implement solutions to the environmental issues they face, our projects have helped increase access to healthy food, clean water, and environmental education leading to healthier communities. Empowering communities to take back their right to grow their own food in Oakland, campaigning for legalized industrial hemp cultivation in Wisconsin, and protecting the Chilkat River in Alaska are a few examples of the impacts our projects have had in 2016. While the effects and foci of these projects vary, their strength in creating partnerships is common throughout these projects and clearly illustrates that the creation of sustainable and resilient communities is only truly effective when done together.
Alaska Clean Water Advocacy, formerly CSAW, worked with the Village of Klukwan to nominate the Chilkat River to be Alaska’s first “Tier 3 - Outstanding National Resource Water,” which would prohibit any degradation in water quality of the Chilkat and its major tributaries.
Alter Terra planted 2,000 trees in its Tijuana Tree Canopy Project.
Changing Gears Bike Shop offered parking and “touch up” services to an average of 40 bikes per market at three farmers markets (per month) in Oakland and Alameda, resulting in an increase to the number of market patrons riding their bicycles to the markets.
Cultivate Oregon emerged from the GMO Labeling campaign in Oregon in 2014, and since then, they have joined forces with a coalition working on legislative advocacy to play a more active roll in shaping bills related to transgenic food issues that are submitted to the legislature.
Food Shift launched the The Alameda Kitchen, a social enterprise that processes fruits and vegetables that would otherwise be wasted into products for the local community, while training formerly homeless individuals in culinary skills. The kitchen is the first pilot in the area of processing perishable food, a pervasive challenge for the food recovery community.
This year the Green Life peer educators have facilitated a year-long environmental education class in San Quentin Prison featuring an array of speakers, lectures, and classes for inmates, covering everything from waste management and recycling to green building, energy resources, water and air quality, parks and open spaces, biodiversity, environmental justice, and public policy.
After extensive research in Washington, DC and in historical archives around Wisconsin hemp farming and processing prior to Prohibition and during World War II, Hempstead Project HEART launched ROHAS: Renewing Our Hemp Alliance Sustainably, a Wisconsin statewide campaign to legalize industrial hemp and support the Menominee Nation in cultivating a commercial crop.
Oakland residents have earned a landmark win: the City of Oakland adopted Oakland Food Policy Coalition’s community-based land use policy recommendations, upholding that the growing and selling of food is a basic human right throughout the city. This win is a clear example of how an activated public can create the policy solutions that meet our needs and continues to foster the conversation around the power behind controlling our food systems.
Real Food Real Stories’ mission is to humanize the food system and uplift local changemakers through authentic storytelling to connect and inspire eaters to social actions. In this year alone, RFRS has raised $11,000 directly for our storytellers and helped raise $48,000 for storytellers in crowdfunding and loans.
In efforts to ban toxic sludge discharge, Safe Food & Fertilizer secured and analyzed samples from toxic sludge piles waiting to be spread on farms; from soils to which sludge has been applied; from rivers and streams in the Yakima watershed, and from the forests in Washington.
Rooted in Resilience’s Map Your Future/Build Your Future toolkit was replicated in four cities and counties. Resilient Community Initiative’s Regional Resilience Academy successfully launched, engaging over 90 government agencies, Alameda County Community Choice energy, City of Oakland Planning Commission accepts Equity Checklist for Priority Conservation Areas, over 2000 leaders trained in Community Resilience.
Transition Earth wrote and published over 20 articles on their blog, covering topics from biodiversity loss to reproductive health to climate change. Their article about linking conservation and health initiatives, titled Forest Guardians and Discount Clinics: Rethinking How to Save the Environment in Kalimantan, appeared on Huffington Post.
Urban Pharmacy consulted and co-organized the first Farm to Fork Expo in SF. We also consulted Hip-Hop is Green on their organizational development and event planning. Hip-hop Is Green provides cultural and educational events and programs, empowering community leadership, and connecting communities to health and wellness resources.
Viva Sierra Gorda’s Carbonneutralplanet.org has become the number one provider for certificates of carbon compensations to the Neutralízate program run by PRONATURA in Mexico City.
Wholly H2O is deeply engaged in educating all sectors on water conservation and water reuse. Our two primary avenues are policy advocacy (BAWS - Bay Area Water Stewards - watchdog group for SFPUC, CA State Water Plan, BARR - Bay Area Regional Reliability Advisory group, GreenCA) and direct education through interactive art and educational events and activities.
Women’s Earth Alliance and Native Youth Sexual Health Network held a Week of Action to End Environmental Violence and launched a report and toolkit entitled “Violence on the Land, Violence on our Bodies: Building an Indigenous Response to Environmental Violence”.
Wildlife Protection Highlights
From your backyard to the depths of the ocean, Earth Island projects have continued their efforts to protect and advocate on behalf of wildlife. This work comes in the form of habitat restoration and protection, education, and litigation. Our projects have employed a variety of strategies including bus advertisements connecting the use of rodenticide to wildlife deaths, a short film on the lives of mountain lions, and a magazine showcasing messages of hope in the protection and rehabilitation of wild creatures and spaces. The impact of this work can be seen in the restoration of over 10,000 acres of Burrowing Owl grassland habitat, the creation of the Sabah Shark Protection Association in Malaysia, and the end of captive orca breeding at SeaWorld. Wildlife protection has been a cornerstone of the environmental movement, and our projects have continued that legacy of stewardship and safekeeping through their tireless efforts to fight for wildlife.
International Marine Mammal Project’s litigation activities had some big wins this year. Their efforts in supporting a successful ban on breeding of orcas before the California Coastal Commission, led to SeaWorld banning all breeding of captive orcas nationwide.
Project Coyote and allies settled a lawsuit with Mendocino County in California, requiring the county to immediately suspend its contract with the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Wildlife Services agency that administers its predator control program pending a full environmental review as required under the California Environmental Quality Act.
Raptors are the Solution completed a public outreach campaign in Sacramento bus shelters that was seen by an estimated three million people.
Serengeti Watch is partnering with two outstanding journalists from the UK to conduct an intensive two-day conservation workshop, concluding with a field trip to Tarangire National Park.
SAVE International has helped to bring renewed attention to the near-total destruction of the Songdo Tidal Flats (Incheon, South Korea).
Shark Stewards founded the Sabah Shark Protection Association in Malaysia with other NGOS and local groups committed to protecting important marine habitat and sharks and rays in Sabah Malaysia, influencing federal law regarding shark fishing and the shark fin trade.
Urban Bird Foundation has led and assisted in the restoration of 10,074 acres of open space and grassland habitat across the Western U.S.
Wildfutures produced a six-minute video, “The Secret Life of Mountain Lions”, which received over 107,000 views and was accepted into National Geographic’s Short Film Showcase.
Wild Hope has reached an audience of 2,500 people with their message of hope. Three stories that they were particularly pleased to have published were "For the Birds," "Ambassadors of Hope," and "Flowers for the Blues."