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Earth Island News

Making Waves: EII in the News

The Borneo Project was instrumental in a High Court victory in Sarawak, a Malaysian state on the island of Borneo. The court ruled that the Iban villagers of Rumah Nor had customary rights to the rivers, streams and communal forest around their village, and not just the cultivated land. The court also ruled that the Borneo Paper and Pulp company had no right to log Ruman Nor’s rainforest. The ruling, if upheld, may have broad implications for the native land rights struggle in the developing world because case law established in one British Commonwealth country, such as Malaysia, may be applicable in others. The Borneo Project can claim credit for training the mapmaker who drew the map used in the case.

The Circle of Life Foundation’s Julia Butterfly Hill helped launch a new 2002 California state ballot initiative to save California’s last remaining ancient and old-growth trees. “These trees are part of our heritage, not only as a state, but also as a nation and a planet,” said Julia. “Our government should be the ones protecting this international heritage but because they’ve failed, we, the people, have decided to protect the last of this living legacy.” A coalition of social, religious, civic, business and conservation organizations is leading the ballot initiative that calls for the preservation of every remaining tree that existed at the time California gained statehood in 1850. []

Global Service Corps (GSC) is completing its first season in Tanzania with a new HIV/AIDS training program. More than 80 teachers from six Tanzanian secondary schools and 30 student peer counselors were taught counseling skills and attended seminars on integrating HIV/AIDS concepts into their curricula. Although AIDS has affected most people in Tanzania, young, low-income women are particularly at risk. GSC reached out to this group through an existing course called “homecraft” that teaches domestic skills and basic reading and writing skills to young people too poor to attend secondary school.

The West Africa Rainforest Network-US [WARN-US,], one of Earth Island’s newest projects, is dedicated to protecting the 10 percent remaining West African rainforests from the actions of unscrupulous individuals and corporations. Initially focused on Nigeria, it hopes to prevent the last frontier forest from being turned entirely into wood chips. Working in partnership with local communities and environmentalists, WARN-US provides support to African activists while raising international awareness of the threats to one of the most biologically diverse places on Earth.

Earth Island Institute commemorated Saturday June 30, 2001, by staging the first annual Brower Day in downtown Berkeley, California, Dave’s home town. A crowd of around 3,000 visited stalls from around 45 local non-profit groups, 15 green businesses, craft tables and food vendors. Youngsters celebrated Dave’s legacy by participating in a “Restoration Decathlon” – 10 events ranging from solar cooking to paper-making. Young decathletes videotaped their own Public Service Announcements, wrote poems about the Earth and the braver ones climbed the “Brower Route” on a 30-foot-high climbing wall. That evening, Earth Island hosted the Party for the Planet, a fund raising feast at the University of California Berkeley’s International House. The stylish throng enjoyed organic wines and a selection of organic appetizers while watching videos documenting Dave’s life and work.

Climate Solution’s new special 12-page report, “Rising to the Challenge: The Northwest’s Clean Energy Leadership,” salutes a number of clean-energy success stories including: Seattle City Light, the first US utility that aims to eliminate all greenhouse emissions; the Bonneville Power Administration, the power agency on track to become the nation’s largest wind energy supplier; and Xantrex, the first 100 percent green-powered manufacturing plant in North America. The full report is available online at

Restore Hetch Hetchy, an organization of which David Brower was a founding director, has been lobbying the San Francisco Board of Supervisors to remove O’Shaughnessy Dam and restore the valley. The water system is in urgent need of repair and earthquake retrofitting and the city is contemplating raising money for the work through an upcoming bond issue. For up-to-date news on the status of the ballot proposition, visit

International Marine Mammal Project’s Mark Berman, in the company of Paul McCartney, Jane Goodall and Anita Roddick, is part of a new book called Speaking out for Animals [Lantern Books, One Union Square West, Suite 201, New York, NY 10003]. Mark’s section details the story behind the return of the Keiko (the orca star of the Free Willy movie) to his native waters off Iceland. Visit to order a copy.

The Brower Center. Just two weeks before he died last November, EII founder David Brower learned of plans for a David Brower Center, a world-class facility to house environmental groups that also relates the story of environmental activism to the public. EII staff has been working closely with Brower Center founder Peter Buckley to make the dream a reality and the City of Berkeley has been extremely generous in offering a site close to both UC Berkeley and the Berkeley BART station. The Brower Center would be part of a new mixed-use building incorporating a theatre, an art gallery, retail space and affordable housing. In the near future, an architect and developer will be chosen for the building. The Brower Center will be a substantial undertaking, and EII welcomes all forms of involvement from the public. Please contact: John Knox, Executive Director at EII [].

The Brower Legacy Site (“BrowerWeb”) has been revamped with new photos, quotes and updates. Coming soon: streaming video and audio of the Archdruid in action, courtesy of our friends at Ecostream. If you have films or videos of Dave please contact Mikhail Davis []. Visit for more Brower magic.

Green Goods. Check out EII’S online store featuring 100 percent organic cotton t-shirts, a wide array of classic and new environmental books, planet-friendly apparel, home and garden items, music, computer software, health and beauty goods, special gifts and more. A portion of each purchase is donated to the Institute. Log on to and click on “EII store.”


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