About Earth Island

Earth Island Institute provides support to environmental action projects and to the next generation of environmental leaders in order to achieve solutions to the crises threatening the survival of life on Earth.

Earth Island Institute was founded in 1982 by legendary environmentalist David Brower. For almost four decades, Earth Island has been the organizational home to more than 200 grassroots environmental action projects and currently has a vibrant network of more than 75 projects. This is the largest, most diverse, and most skilled team of established and new leaders that we’ve ever had. Our project leaders work in communities spanning the globe to protect marine life, confront plastic pollution, preserve forests, help Indigenous leaders protect their sacred sites, restore wetlands, green schools, and get kids outside into nature, to name just a few endeavors.

Our New Leaders Initiative and its Brower Youth Awards recognizes and supports incredible youth leaders who bring creativity and drive to an evolving environmental movement. Earth Island Institute is widely recognized as running the premier youth environmental awards program in North America. Brower Youth Award winners exemplify the best of the younger generation’s environmental leaders – poised, thoughtful, fearless, articulate, and outspoken – taking on the environmental challenges we’re all facing.

We are also proud that our Earth Island Journal continues to inform and empower action both in print and through daily online postings by providing tough investigative news coverage of crucial environmental issues worldwide that are often ignored by the mainstream press. The Journal serves our movement like no other.

In 2017, we launched our legal arm, Earth Island Advocates, to offer legal protection for irreplaceable resources, wild spaces, and wildlife that are critical to a healthy planet. Advocates combines the knowledge and expertise of our grassroots project network with the pro bono resources of law firms, legal clinics, and nonprofit organizations. This model creates a unique and highly-effective relationship between the lawyers who advocate in the courts, and the environmental activists who dedicate their efforts to a wide array of specific issues.

Earth Island Institute continues to be a gutsy, efficient, and effective organization that, in the spirit of our founder David Brower, knows how to get things done!

Our Name

The name Earth Island came from the famous anthropologist Margaret Mead, who urged respect for “the Island Earth.” She also wrote these words that continue to inspire us, and could be Earth Island’s motto:

“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.”

Our LogoEI logo

In 2018 Earth Island adopted a new logo. The design, a spiral, is found throughout the natural world — from submicroscopic organisms to massive galaxies. Spirals are complex, yet simple; miraculous, stable, and strong. They are widely used in art and architecture and are a sacred symbol for many cultures. We wanted our logo to reflect the themes of interconnectedness, diversity, growth, and emergence. Our design evokes the formation of a fractal fern, a shell, the curl of a wave, a fossil, a storm, a spiral galaxy, and more. It has hints of the “golden ratio” of a Fibonacci spiral. The colors chosen are bold, organic, and prominent in the natural world. Lastly, the design leaves room for your own interpretation.

Our Role as a Fiscal Sponsor Organization

nnfs logoEarth Island Institute is a founding member of the National Network of Fiscal Sponsors, serves on the NNFS Steering Committee, and helped to craft their Guidelines for Best Practice of Fiscal Sponsorship. NNFS is a professional association focused on promoting the understanding and professional practice of fiscal sponsorship. Fiscal sponsorship has been a key strategy for Earth Island since its founding, and we share NNFS’s belief that fiscal sponsorship is an important tool for starting new nonprofits, seeding social movements, delivering public services, and advocating for change. You can find more information about Earth Island’s fiscal sponsorship program by looking at the Project Support Program page of this website.