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IslandWire: March 19, 2020

We Must Keep on With Our Work for a Healthy Planet

photo of a path through trees

As we send this issue of IslandWire to you, we're in the midst of a shelter-in-place order here in the San Francisco Bay Area because of the COVID-19 pandemic and its drastic effects on us all.

The months ahead — and maybe longer — are going to be difficult here and around the world. But we can get through this, and we will continue our efforts to press for the protection of public health, for oceans free of plastic pollution, for the preservation of wild places and animal habitats, and for a sustainable environment. Earth Island's programs and the 80 projects it supports are a testament to what can be done when we all pull together and support one another. As one of our project directors recently wrote, "Each one of us is an integral part of the mission for a healthy planet. We are a family."

We are working remotely, but we are not letting it interrupt our critical efforts. We will keep you posted. In the meantime, keep up with us via Twitter, Facebook, and our new LinkedIn account. The Earth Island family sends you strength and support for the days and months ahead.



David Phillips
Executive Director
Earth Island Institute

Earth Island and Projects Take on Big Plastic

photo of plastic garbage in a watercourse

Last month, Earth Island filed a first-of-its-kind lawsuit against ten big corporations — including giants like Coca-Cola, PepsiCo, Proctor & Gamble, and Nestle — for their contribution to the plastic pollution crisis. Earth Island filed the suit on behalf of itself and four of its projects — Plastic Pollution Coalition, Shark Stewards, International Marine Mammal Project, and 1000 Fountains — that are fighting to stop plastic pollution and protect marine environments. It seeks to hold corporations accountable for their claims that plastic packaging is recyclable and accuses them of creating misinformation campaigns to hide the harms plastics can cause to public health and the environment. The suit has received widespread media coverage in outlets including Los Angeles Times, Reuters, The Guardian, and San Francisco Chronicle. We now await a response to our complaint from each of the defendants. For more information on the lawsuit, go here. (Photo courtesy of Bill McDonald, Algalita Foundation.)

Food Shift Is Hiring: Chef and Culinary Educator

photo of people working in a kitche

Food Shift is hiring a Chef and Culinary Educator who will work closely with the Food Shift team and Food Shift community partners to execute the culinary training program. The Culinary Educator works primarily with community members and supports them through outreach, enrollment, training, and support in job placement. This position plays a critical role in the Earth Island project's mission to reduce waste, feed communities, and create jobs as part of a holistic vision for healthy and sustainable communities and individuals. The full job description can be found here.

Schoolyards as Green Space

photo of a paved, prison-like schoolyard

Green Schoolyards America seeks to transform asphalt-covered school grounds (such as the one seen here) into park-like green spaces that improve children's well-being, learning, and play while contributing to the ecological health and resilience of our cities. The Children's Outdoor Environments Professional Practice Network of the American Society of Landscape Architects recently published a two-part interview with the Earth Island project's founder and CEO Sharon Danks (part one, part two). The interviews focus on the urgent need to green our school grounds in California and across the United States.

App Helps Track Fish Bombing in Malaysia

underwater photo of a reef, before and after bombing

Earth Island's Stop Fish Bombing USA recently adapted ShotSpotter, an urban gunshot location system, to deter the illegal and destructive practice of using explosives to catch fish in Malaysia. A small bottle bomb can destroy an area of coral more than six feet in diameter. Fish-bombing is affecting nearly half of the reefs in Southeast Asia. The ShotSpotter app, which displays blast locations, resulted in the first arrests of fishers using bombs in marine parks in Sabah, Malaysia. Sabah Parks has officially recognized SFB's efforts in protecting marine parks in Sabah. More information here.

A Month of Action on Oil Spills

photo of a woman presenting a lecture

ALERT, a project of Earth Island, is planning a month of action to commemorate our nation's largest oil disasters, the Exxon Valdez spill and the BP Deepwater Horizon spill. Each Tuesday, from March 24 to April 21, ALERT will feature live streaming interviews with Riki Ott, a marine toxicologist with ALERT, and Gulf residents who will share stories of their long-term illnesses that were likely caused by oil-chemical exposures from the BP disaster. Information about the streaming service and schedule will soon be posted on ALERT's website and on its Facebook page. (Photo courtesy of Imke Lass.)

The Best of Earth Island Journal

Get the latest environmental news from Earth Island Journal. Here are our favorite stories from the last month

underwater photo of a fish near the surface of the sea

Most Popular: Where the Arctic Cod Goes, Marine Mammals Follow. Reporter Austin Price unpacks a new study that shows increased ship traffic in the warming Arctic is driving fish away, and explains how that portends larger impacts on the marine food web and the communities that depend on it.


Editors' Pick: Dis-ease. Climate researcher Kate Olson's haunting essay on documenting change and nurturing young life in a climate-uncertain world in the Journal's new Spring 2020 print issue is bound to resonate at this moment in time.

Keep Up With the Journal

Did you know Earth Island Journal has its own newsletter? Every other Friday, go beyond daily headlines with Earth Island's award-winning magazine and get the lowdown on thought-provoking reports and features that explore the environment from social and cultural perspectives often overlooked by the mainstream press. Sign up here.

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