Press Release

Earth Island Institute Expands Its Project Support Team and Adds New Board Director

Berkeley, CA (July 17, 2023) — Earth Island Institute recently added Ernesto Arévalo and Bridget Hughes to its Project Support Program as senior program advisors while Pia MacDonald newly joined the organization’s board of directors.

Earth Island Institute is a leading nonprofit environmental organization that has been at the forefront of efforts to protect the environment and its inhabitants for more than forty years. Earth Island supports grassroots activists through a powerful network of approximately 80 fiscally sponsored projects working in the United States and around the world. Earth Island’s projects safeguard forests, oceans, and wildlife; support youth and women’s environmental leadership, and underserved communities; combat climate change; and promote environmental justice, sustainability, and resilience. The organization further advances, informs, and inspires action through the New Leaders Initiative and its annual Brower Youth Awards, which provides youth leadership recognition and support; Earth Island Journal, which provides unparalleled coverage of global environmental news and perspectives, both in quarterly print issues and in daily stories online; and Earth Island Advocates, which uses the law to fight for the planet and its inhabitants.

Born and raised in Oakland, California, Ernesto Arévalo experienced the impacts of disinvestment and pollution by growing up in the environmental justice community of East Oakland. Inspired by their family’s love of nature and long-time engagement on climate change, they received a B.S. in Environmental Policy Analysis and Planning from the University of California, Davis. Prior to joining Earth Island, they worked with environmental justice organizations to challenge the impacts from refineries, discriminatory urban planning practices, local polluting industries, and climate change.

Bridget Hughes has worked for more than 30 years with social, environmental, economic, and racial justice organizations and public agencies. She holds a Masters in Social and Cultural Anthropology from the California Institute of Integral Studies and is a certified professional coach with a focus on healing-centered, trauma-informed, somatic-based coaching.

“To say that we are excited to welcome Ernesto and Bridget to our growing Earth Island team is an understatement,” said Earth Island CEO Sumona Majumdar. “Together they bring significant experience in community organizing, coalition building, and capacity building, which will further enhance our ability to serve our expanding project network.”

Pia MacDonald, PhD, MPH, CPH, is a scientist with a background in health and environmental sciences. She currently works at RTI International, a nonprofit research institute, and has more than 25 years of experience in domestic and international epidemiological research and public health. Dr. MacDonald has roots in environmental sciences and especially the intersection of climate and health, including, more broadly, planetary health. She serves as principal investigator and/or project director of large contracts and grants funded by the National Institutes of Health and U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and is an adjunct associate professor in the Department of Epidemiology at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

“We are delighted that Pia is joining Earth Island’s Board,” said Board President Josh Floum. “She brings many strengths, and her background in epidemiology is particularly vital given the urgent need to focus on public health and the wellbeing of our planet.”