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IslandWire: August 20, 2020

BYA 2020 poster

Registration Now Open for the Brower Youth Awards

Registration is now open for Earth Island’s 21st annual Brower Youth Awards, a special two-part virtual event to honor the accomplishments of six youth leaders in the environmental movement. The first part, the Brower Youth Awards ceremony, will take place October 15, 2020, 5:30 to 6:30 p.m. Pacific Time. The second part, a Meet the Winners Q&A, will take place October 20, 2020, 5:30 to 6:30 p.m. Pacific Time. Get your tickets in advance, help us spread the word, and join us as we celebrate our future environmental leaders. Free registration here.

Orca Hour Event poster

Event to Address Orcas in Captivity

Whales and dolphins have long captured the imagination and awe of people around the world, and for more than 35 years Earth Island’s International Marine Mammal Project has been working to keep them wild and free. On August 27, 6:00 to 7:00 p.m. Pacific Time, Earth Island’s Executive Director David Phillips and General Counsel Sumona Majumdar will present Orca Hour, a virtual event addressing Free Willy and Keiko’s journey to freedom; the evolution of public attitudes, due in part to the CNN film Blackfish, toward marine mammals held in captivity; and IMMP’s legal efforts to end orca captivity, in particular through its landmark lawsuit against SeaWorld. Free registration here.


Logging Bill Threatens Forest Ecosystems

On August 4, Senators Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) and Steve Daines (R-MT) introduced S. 4431, the Emergency Wildfire and Public Safety Act, purportedly to reduce the threat of wildfires and improve forest health. Not so, says Earth Island’s John Muir Project, which is urging the public to voice opposition. This bill would in fact roll back environmental regulations and interfere with federal courts in order to increase logging on public lands, devastating ecosystems and biodiversity, exacerbating the climate crisis, and ultimately failing to protect communities from fire. More information here, Californians take action here, others here.

photo of a woman in a chef's apron, in front of a Jamaican restaurant

Caribbean Food Story Closes “Listening to Black Leaders” Series

On September 3, 6:00 to 7:30 p.m. Pacific Time, Earth Island’s Real Food Real Stories will be virtually hosting San Francisco native Shani Jones for an evening of story and connection. Jones is the chef and owner of Peaches Patties, one of San Francisco’s few Caribbean-cuisine catering companies. Free registration here. While this is the last gathering in RFRS’s “Listening to Black Leaders” series, you can follow @rfrstories to tune in to additional conversations with Bay Area food leaders on Instagram Live.

photo of plastic trash on the ground

Plastic Pandemic: Strategies and Solutions in Times of Covid-19

On August 27, Earth Island’s Plastic Pollution Coalition will be hosting a webinar on strategies for reducing plastic pollution during and after the global pandemic, including preventing plastic pollution in our daily lives and advocating for local governments and businesses to help reduce plastic pollution. Panelists include Eve Fox of Beyond Plastics, Cassia Patel of Oceanic Global, Lindsey Hoell of Dispatch Goods, and moderator Jackie Nuñez, founder of the Last Plastic Straw and program manager at Plastic Pollution Coalition. Free registration here.

photo of a young person near a tent

Short Film Documents Outdoor Program for Kids

Outdoor experiences offer children a range of benefits and help foster environmental stewardship. With this in mind, a group of San Francisco Bay Area organizations, including Earth Island’s Bay Area Wilderness Training, created the Oakland Goes Outdoors program, providing thousands of students throughout the Oakland Unified School District with direct experiences in nature. A short documentary created by the Redford Center in San Francisco shares the delightful story of a group of these students as they head out for an overnight camping trip and gain important insights. Watch the film here (password: OGO2019).


Indigenous Leaders Radicalize the Vote

On August 29, Earth Island’s Seeding Sovereignty will present a 12-hour online Radicalize the Vote registration telethon with the virtual attendance of Indigenous leaders, artists, and culture bearers, who will speak, sing, and dance. Radicalize the Vote is a groundbreaking campaign led by Indigenous womxn with the goal of building a centralized Indigenous voter-registration list, inspiring first-time Indigenous voters with a national youth-led digital street team, and getting Indigenous folx to register and vote in the 2020 presidential election. Attend the telethon here.

photo of a young person outdoors writing on paper, she is wearing a mask

Media Coverage of Outdoor Classrooms Increases

As schools across the country struggle to educate children in the midst of a pandemic, Earth Island’s Green Schoolyards America has been convening a coalition of working groups to create frameworks, strategies, and guidance around repurposing outdoor spaces as an alternative to indoor classrooms. Several media outlets, including the PBS NewsHour, the Associated Press, the Atlantic, and more, have been covering this important work. Aside from providing a safer classroom experience, being outdoors often helps children relieve mental stress. More information here.
(Photo: Drew Kelly Photography)

photo of San Quentin

Organization Shifts to Fight Covid-19 Prison Outbreak

San Quentin State Prison in California has been battling a severe outbreak of the coronavirus. Prisoners there are describing inhumane conditions, grossly overpopulated areas, and a lack of personal protective equipment. Responding to the crisis, Earth Island’s Green Life, which runs an environmental education program at the prison and an environmental leadership program for people returning to community life, has organized weekly support groups to address the concerns of prisoners and their families, in addition to providing funds for technical support and basic needs. Green Life is also collaborating with a coalition of organizations fighting to keep the prisoners alive; 24 prisoners have so far died of the virus.


Announcing the U.S. Grassroots Accelerator of Women Environmental Leaders

Women’s Earth Alliance and the Sierra Club recently announced that a powerful, diverse group of 26 women leaders from the United States, Guam, and Puerto Rico will be joining the U.S. Grassroots Accelerator program this fall to exponentially increase the reach and impact of their critical initiatives. From ensuring food sovereignty for Indigenous and people-of-color communities to halting the construction of polluting landfills in Black communities and advocating for policy change to address legacy mining waste, these leaders are drawing from their lived experiences and devoted activism to create intersectional, long-lasting, and just solutions for our communities and the world.

photo of a person in a kitchen

Food Justice Begins at Home

Who creates the largest amount of food waste? Those of us in our own homes. To assist with this dilemma, Earth Island’s Food Shift is developing virtual cooking classes focused on food waste reduction. Food Shift’s Culinary Director, Jen Franco (pictured), will share techniques and recipes to help class participants make the most of their grocery runs. Stay tuned for more details. Separately, as part of its internal goals, Food Shift has announced justice, equity, diversity, and inclusion training for its volunteers and staff, and plans to offer this to partner nonprofits and members as well.

photo of a boat at sea, explosion in the water nearby

Fish Bomber Provides Insight into Destructive Practice

A volunteer working in Malaysia with Earth Island’s Stop Fish Bombing USA recently spoke, in a rare interview, with a fish bomber who was unrepentant about the destructive practice. Fish bombing employs the use of explosives to kill or stun fish. In order to deter bombers, SFB deploys ShotSpotter technology to detect, locate, and alert marine-enforcement authorities within minutes of a bomb detonation. But enforcement alone will not stop this practice. SFB recently granted $45,000 to the Semporna Islands Project for work within the community to find alternative livelihoods beyond fish bombing.

photo of young people in a forest

Internship Program Documenting Ansel Adams Wilderness

The John Muir Trail Wilderness Conservancy’s first group of interns from Stanford University are currently completing an eight-week tour in the Ansel Adams Wilderness. As the interns move through the area, they survey and map environmental damage, including illegal campsites, meadows and wetlands that are degrading, damaged and degrading stream crossings, and deeply rutted and braided trails. While working, they look for and map any artifacts indicating the presence of Indigenous cultures that have lived, traded, and traveled in the region for thousands of years. The curation of this heritage is an integral part of the JMT Wilderness Conservancy’s broader environmental mission.

The Best of Earth Island Journal

Get the latest environmental news from Earth Island Journal. Here are our top readers' and editors' choices from the past month:

photo of an elephant seal, scientist in the background

Most Popular

Antarctic Researchers to Hitch Ride with Film Crew to Keep Longterm Study Going Amid Pandemic. Reporter Petro Kotzé writes about a determined group of scientists who have been monitoring seals and whales around Marion Island for nearly 40 years.

underwater photo of a whale shark

Editors' Pick

Waiting on a Whale Shark. Journalist Rachel Sturges explains how scientists are using biological markers from atomic bomb testing on a recently discovered whale shark specimen to learn about these mysterious marine creatures.

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