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IslandWire: March 18, 2021

Dear Readers,

This week our country experienced yet another incidence of mass violence. Six of the people killed in Georgia were of Asian descent and all but one were women. This shooting comes at a time when Asian, Asian American, and Pacific Islander communities have been experiencing and traumatized by increasing violence against them. Earth Island stands in solidarity with the AAPI community and against racism and violence in all their forms. We've included some resources below for more information on ways to help the AAPI community at this time.

Asian Americans Advancing Justice
National Asian Pacific American Women’s Forum
Asian Women for Health
Bystander Intervention to Stop Anti-Asian/American and Xenophobic Harrasment


photo of a press conference at a recycle center

Plastics Lawsuit Heads to Court

After a yearlong delay, Earth Island’s groundbreaking lawsuit against the top corporate plastic polluters, including Coca-Cola, PepsiCo, and Danone, is finally heading to court. When the case was filed last year, lawyers for the defendants attempted to move the case to federal court. Similar tactics have been used by Big Pharma and Big Oil to try to delay or derail lawsuits against them. But on February 23, Judge Haywood S. Gilliam Jr., of the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California, granted Earth Island Institute’s motion and ruled that the lawsuit belongs in state court. Stay tuned as this unprecedented case unfolds, and find out more here. Photo of Earth Island General Counsel Sumona Majumdar at last year’s press conference when the lawsuit was filed. Photo by Mark Palmer of Earth Island’s International Marine Mammal Project.


photo of young people happy together

Applications Open for Brower Youth Awards

Applications are now being accepted for Earth Island’s annual Brower Youth Awards. Now in its twenty-second year, the Brower Youth Awards, run by Earth Island’s New Leaders Initiative, honors youth leaders ages 13 to 22 living in North America. The deadline for submitting applications is May 14, 2021. Each of the six recipients of the award receives a $3,000 cash prize in addition to ongoing support through professional development programs and networking opportunities. Please help us spread the word about this award — the premier environmental youth award in the country. More information can be found here.


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Discount Tickets for Wild & Scenic Film Festival

In celebration of Earth Day, Earth Island Institute will be cohosting the Wild & Scenic Film Festival taking place virtually through the David Brower Center in Berkeley, where Earth Island’s offices are located. This year’s festival, launching on Earth Day, April 22, and available on-demand through April 27, will feature 20 outstanding environmental films that intersect with many of today’s environmental justice issues. Earth Island is able to offer a $5 discount to its audiences, and ticket-sale proceeds will be donated to Earth Island. Please feel free to share this discount with your community as well. Earth Island wishes to acknowledge the South Yuba River Citizens League, which produces the film festival, and to thank Elyce Klein and the Citizens’ Climate Lobby for inviting us to participate in this event. Find out more about the films and purchase your tickets here using the discount code WSFFEI.


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Protecting a Biodiversity Hotspot in Southeast Asia

Two of Earth Island’s projects, Stop Fish Bombing USA/Malaysia and Shark Stewards, are part of an international coalition working on a multifaceted campaign to protect the waters off Sabah, Malaysia, part of the ecologically important Coral Triangle marine area. Stop Fish Bombing USA/Malaysia works to prevent the destructive practice of fish bombing, which decimates coral reefs and kills marine life. Shark Stewards works on shark conservation and stopping the shark fin trade. The two projects are joining efforts with BluHope, in Malaysia, and its recently launched Fish-Bomb-Free-Sabah campaign, BluHope Sharks campaign, and Sabah Plastic Neutral campaign to combat plastic pollution. Stronger together, the groups hope their collective efforts will deflect the damaging forces that are impacting this biodiversity hotspot. Photo by Alex Lindbloom.


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Campaign against Wildlife Killing Contests

Most people are shocked to learn that a majority of states allow the wanton killing of wildlife as part of organized wildlife killing contests that promote the mass slaughter of coyotes, wolves, bobcats, foxes, prairie dogs, and other species, for fun and prizes. Earth Island’s Project Coyote has been working to abolish this appalling practice, most recently through the release of a powerful new film as well as a petition to ban wildlife killing contests on federal public lands. To date only seven states have enacted bans prohibiting wildlife killing contests (AZ, CA, CO, MA, NM, VT, WA). Several other states are considering bans. Project Coyote is currently working in Nevada, where the issue is being deliberated; in New Mexico, which is considering a ban on wildlife traps and poisons on public lands; and in Oregon, where the state legislature is seeking to end coyote killing contests. More information on Project Coyote’s work in Nevada here, New Mexico here, and Oregon here.


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Storyslam to Reflect on Community Resilience

Join Earth Island’s Real Food Real Stories for its fourth annual Storyslam, Recipes for Resilience, taking place on March 25 at 5:00 p.m. PDT in living rooms across the country! An evening of celebration and reflection in the midst of what has been a trying year for the food community, all proceeds will directly benefit food changemakers facing the devastating impacts of the pandemic and California wildfires. With Jocelyn Jackson as emcee, listen to the moving personal stories of visionary food leaders, including chef Sarah Kirnon of Miss Ollie’s, organizer Vinny Eng of SF New Deal, farmer and farmworker advocate Rudy Jimenez, Nomtipom Wintu medical herbalist Sage LaPena, and volunteer firefighter and shepherd Ruthie King. Good stories, good cause, good way to spend a Thursday! Get your tickets here.


photo of a geometric bench outdoors

Student Fellowship at Herbicide Free Campus

Earth Island’s newest project, Herbicide Free Campus (HFC), is excited to announce the launch of its 2021 one-year fellowship program for students at six schools across the country, including Brandeis University, Indiana University, Grinnell College, Loyola Marymount University, Sarah Lawrence College, and Emory University. HFC staff will be coaching fellows and providing support as they work with their groundskeepers and peers to reduce synthetic herbicide use on their campuses. Students at Emory University have already broken ground on an organic study space (seen in the photo here) that will feature a living wall, native plants, and herbicide-free signage.


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Kinship with Our Living Earth

Earth Island’s Seeding Sovereignty recently launched the Ancestral Acres Farm and Garden project in Tiwa Territory, known as Albuquerque, New Mexico. The project has been designed for those who desire to be in kinship with the living earth, seeking to see and honor the land as a connection point toward working through the tribal, environmental, resource, and community issues experienced as guests on stolen Tiwa land. Stewarded by Queer and Trans kin, the plants and herbs grown on the quarter acre of land will provide food and medicine to community members in need of ongoing mutual aid support in Albuquerque, and a fundraising effort in conjunction with new project aims to provide tools and other support for the farm.


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Awarding Oregon Farming HEROs

Join Cultivate Oregon, a project of Earth Island Institute, and Friends of Family Farms in celebrating Oregon’s HEROs (holistic ecological regenerative operators) through the 2021 Living Soil Awards! This award will honor Oregon farmers and ranchers of all scales who are putting a premium on soil health through their practices and philosophies, and encourage others to follow in their footsteps. Nominations are open until April 1. Awards will be presented in a virtual ceremony on April 21. Those interested in participating or receiving more information should contact Rhianna Simes or visit Cultivate Oregon’s event page.


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Ethical Traveler’s Ten Best Ethical Destinations

We realize we’re in a pandemic, but it’s OK to dream of travel, right? Despite a difficult year, Earth Island’s Ethical Traveler has announced its annual “Ten Best Ethical Destinations Award,” which is based on a review of the world’s developing countries for their commitment to human rights, social welfare, and environmental protection. The ten destinations with the most impressive records are Belize, Jamaica, Benin, Mongolia, Cabo Verde, Nepal, Costa Rica, The Gambia, Ecuador, and Uruguay. Ethical Traveler created this annual award because it believes that visiting these destinations, when we are able to, will reward these nations for their efforts and motivate other countries to do the same. More information here.


Spring 2021 Issue of Earth Island Journal

The Spring 2021 issue of Earth Island Journal has just been released — featuring stories on the water wars in Florida, Scotland’s community-owned clean energy, a safer circular economy for e-waste, and introducing our new columnist, Carolyn Finney. Annual subscriptions to this award-winning journal are only $20. Consider subscribing for a year of excellent stories from the front lines of the environmental movement.

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