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IslandWire: November 19, 2020

Building a Better World

When the election was decided on November 7, many people in the United States took a moment to breathe a sigh of relief. After four long, dark years, come January we can look forward to a president and vice president who believe in science, who understand that climate change needs urgent attention, who see strength in diversity and inclusivity, and who recognize the need for justice, both social and environmental.

That there will be a Democratic president in the White House does not signal an end to the fight on these issues, particularly when so many people are still struggling for basic rights and when our environment is suffering so greatly. We need to step up our efforts to reverse the disastrous executive orders and policy changes implemented by the Trump administration.

It won't be easy work. As environmental activists we are well aware of how incredibly difficult it is to hold our politicians accountable when so many of them are beholden to corporate billionaires who, in turn, promote and profit from government policies that allow them to continue destroying our planet and its inhabitants.

Earth Island's power lies in our diverse program areas and our network of more than 80 projects working on comprehensive, holistic approaches to solving the many environmental problems we face. These projects are building grassroots coalitions and creating models for clean, healthy, vibrant, safe communities that can be accessed by everyone, communities in which women and people of color lead climate change initiatives and educators inspire the environmental stewards of tomorrow. These models are what will sustain us in the long run.

In this coming year, Earth Island will continue the important work of healing and connecting with people in communities in the U.S. and around the world. Regardless of how you voted, we look forward to finding common ground about the things that matter most to us. We are grateful for those who are joining us as we strive to create a better world for all of us.

photo of a spotted dolphin swimming

Offshore Oil Drilling Threatens Bahamas

The government of the Bahamas is pushing forward with a plan for offshore oil drilling in that country's pristine ocean territory, home to one of the longest continuous studies of wild dolphins. Earth Island's International Marine Mammal Project (IMMP) is working with local grassroots groups to fight the proposal. The critical threats posed by oil drilling in our world-renowned oceans, reefs, and beaches cannot be exaggerated. Several congressional representatives of communities along the Eastern Seaboard of the United States have expressed opposition. Sign the petition and learn more here. Read IMMP's blog post here. Photo of spotted dolphin in Bimini by Mark Palmer.

photo of a bear

Campaigns for Bear Protection

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) has proposed two rollbacks on the hunting of Alaska's iconic brown bear in the Kenai National Wildlife Refuge. One would allow the practice of baiting bears, and the other would relax the rules around the use of cruel steel-jawed leghold traps. While the public comment period on these proposals ended in late October, Earth Island's Project Coyote urges the public to remain vigilant as we await USFWS's decision. In Missouri, the state's Department of Conservation is permitting the hunting of black bears, reversing decades of progress in restoring the bears from near extinction. Project Coyote is urging Missouri residents to oppose this practice. Read Project Coyote's op-ed here. Photo of grizzly bear by Niela Von Till.

artwork depicting a runner through autumn leaves

Join a Truthsgiving Day Run

Everyone is welcome to support and participate in a virtual four-mile Truthsgiving Day Run organized by Earth Island's Seeding Sovereignty. In preparation for the run, Jordan Daniel, the project's Missing and Murdered Indigenous Womxn advisor and prayer runner, is offering a training plan and wellness events throughout November, which is recognized as Native American Heritage Month. "Four is a sacred number for many Indigenous peoples. As I run, I send my prayers to the four directions so that they reach everywhere, everyone, and everything," said Jordan. Take the time to be in community and celebrate Indigeneity by uplifting Native existence through movement. Proceeds will go to Seeding Sovereignty's Indigenous Impact Community Care Initiative, which continues to support Indigenous peoples and communities during this global pandemic. Learn more and register here.

artwork depicting people

Resilience Is Community in Motion

Responding to the needs of its community, Earth Island's Real Food Real Stories (RFRS) is launching this week a Resilience Fund to provide financial assistance to the organization's alumni whose businesses, homes, or livelihoods have been impacted by the Covid-19 pandemic or 2020 wildfires. Many alumni are on the front lines of community food support programs, and their stories have been featured in the organization's events and presentations over the years. Drawing on some of RFRS's core beliefs regarding community resilience and responsiveness, the Resilience Fund aims to practice reciprocity with people who are building food solutions to shift from the current impersonal and extractive food economy to a regenerative, caring economy. Learn more about the new fund here.

poster of a city, words

American Public Health Association Food Tour

Earth Island's Food Shift was honored to be included recently in the 11th Annual American Public Health Association Food Tour, which featured Food Shift's social enterprise kitchen and its Covid-19 relief initiative that has provided its community with more than 85 tons of food that otherwise would have been wasted. Based in Washington, DC, the American Public Health Association (APHA) is a policy organization that works nationally to improve public health, and sponsors regional food tours highlighting the work of successful community food groups. Aside from Food Shift, the San Francisco Bay Area–based tour presented other local food-system changemakers, such as Urban Tilth, Ceres Community Project, La Cocina, and Planting Justice. To learn more about groundbreaking food justice work across the Bay Area, view the tour here.

Youth Leaders Organize Cleanup

photo of a PPE-masked family collecting litter

Taking initiative on their own, 12 young environmentalists with Earth Island's KIDS for the BAY decided to remove 100 pounds of trash from their neighborhoods in the San Francisco East Bay, in an effort to protect their watershed. “We are so proud of all the students who organized their own trash cleanups with their families. They became teachers and showed incredible leadership and inspiring environmental stewardship,” said Mandi Billinge, executive director of KIDS for the BAY, which connects children and students with nature and inspires environmental action. Read more about the cleanup here. Also, KIDS for the BAY has just released its annual report, highlighting the organization's accomplishments over the past year.

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