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IslandWire: February 18, 2021

Environmental Action in the Biden-Harris Era

Following four long years of the Trump administration’s attack on the environment, the environmental movement is more than ready to undo the damage and ensure that the Biden-Harris administration keeps its environmental promises. At Earth Island, several initiatives to address these issues are underway.


Earth Island’s Seeding Sovereignty has been on the frontlines of the Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL) battle since 2016, bearing witness to broken treaties and brutalized protesters. DAPL is sending millions of barrels of crude oil through unceded Lakota lands illegally as it continues to operate despite a revoked permit. The pipeline runs under the river Mni Sosè, threatening the oldest Lakota spirit, known as Unci Maka (Grandmother Earth). Seeding Sovereignty has set up a petition to urge President Biden to shut down the pipeline immediately and put an end to this yearslong battle. #NoDAPL!

poster art

In California, Earth Island’s Sacred Land Film Project is advancing several aims: federal recognition for the Winnemem Wintu and Confederated Villages of Lisjan Ohlone; national monument status for the West Berkeley Shellmound and Village Site on Ohlone sacred grounds; and a reversal of the Trump administration’s efforts to raise the height of Shasta Dam, a project that would destroy Winnemem Wintu sacred sites, harm fish and wildlife, and in return provide few water-supply benefits.

Public lands took a beating from the Trump Administration, as did efforts to combat climate change. Earth Island’s Wild Heritage is part of a diverse coalition of conservation and Indigenous groups calling on the Biden administration to reinstate 9.3 million acres of roadless area protections in the Tongass National Forest in Alaska. Wild Heritage is also partnering with Woodwell Climate Research Center in mapping millions of acres of carbon-dense forests in the United States, which will support coalition efforts to encourage the Biden administration to end old-forest logging and create the nation’s first “strategic natural-carbon reserve” as the U.S. rejoins the Paris climate agreement. Wild Heritage is proposing the designation of new protected areas as “climate sanctuaries” in response to President Biden’s “30x30” executive order to protect 30 percent of lands and waters by 2030.

photo of a whale flukes at sea

Concerning the water aspect of the 30x30 executive order, Earth Island’s Shark Stewards will be advocating for the creation of additional marine protected areas to further safeguard marine life, and Earth Island’s International Marine Mammal Project (IMMP) applauds the Biden administration’s temporary moratorium on oil and gas activity in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR). As part of a coalition of environmental groups, IMMP is encouraging President Biden and the Democratic-controlled Congress to preserve ANWR’s Coastal Plain as a wilderness area and phase out offshore oil drilling in U.S. waters.

As one of the world’s top emitters of greenhouse gases, the United States must pay its fair share of the climate change burden it creates in poorer countries. Working to address this economic inequity, Earth Island’s EcoEquity is a lead member in the U.S. Climate Fair Share campaign urging the Biden administration to begin to repair the global harm caused by decades of U.S. inaction and obstruction on climate policy. The time is now for climate justice. Sign the petition here.

One driver behind climate chaos that can’t be overlooked is food waste, an issue tackled by Earth Island’s Food Shift. When Project Drawdown analyzed what it would take to limit warming to 2 degrees Celsius, food waste reduction emerged as the top solution, curbing more than 87 gigatons of carbon dioxide over the next few decades. By upcycling surplus food into critical food assistance in the San Francisco Bay Area, Food Shift is tackling food insecurity and wealth inequality locally, and climate change globally.

artwork depicting a wave, made from disposable plastic items

Eliminating plastic pollution has been one of Earth Island’s lead campaigns and includes our lawsuit against 10 corporate plastic polluters. We are now calling on President Biden to take eight executive actions to stop the plastic pollution crisis. Sign the petition here. Earth Island’s Plastic Pollution Coalition (PPC), a convening member of the #PlasticFreePresident campaign, is working in California to reduce plastic waste by calling on Governor Gavin Newsom to sign an emergency executive order to make foodware accessories available only upon request. Sign the petition here. PPC is also urging President Biden and Congress to invest $1.3 billion in congressional stimulus and funding bills to address the plastic pollution crisis. Read more here. Illustration of plastic tsunami by Pushart.


In Other News

  • Brower Youth Awards application now open. Applications are now being accepted until May 14 for Earth Island’s annual Brower Youth Awards — the premier environmental youth leadership award in the country. Application instructions here.
  • New film exposes wildlife killing contests. Project Coyote released a powerful film this week on the cruel sport of wildlife killing contests, and has launched a campaign to help put an end to this practice. Watch the trailer here and sign the petition supporting a ban on wildlife killing contests on federal public lands here.
  • Storyslam set for March 25. Featuring live stories from visionary food changemakers, Real Food Real Stories’ fourth annual Storyslam will reflect on and celebrate what resilience means in this moment. More information here.

photo of a mural

Black History in the Making. Kamala Harris has broken ground as the first female, first Black, and first South Asian Vice President of the United States. Vice President Harris is included in a mural celebrating female leaders on a wall at Thousand Oaks Elementary School, where she went to school, in Berkeley, near Earth Island’s office. This image of the mural was shared with Bay Area school students by Earth Island’s Kids for the Bay, which inspires young environmentalists with stories of leaders who are making an impact.

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