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IslandWire: May 21, 2020

photo of a eagles interacting

Fight to Protect Chilkat River Gets a Boost

The US Supreme Court's April ruling that the federal Clean Water Act applies to pollution of groundwater that flows into nearby lakes, streams, and bays will have a positive impact on the efforts of one of Earth Island's projects in Southeast Alaska. Alaska Clean Water Advocacy has been fighting for years against a Canadian company developing a copper and zinc mine near the headwaters of the Chilkat River, home to a bald eagle preserve. With the new Supreme Court ruling at its back, ACWA's challenge to the company's groundwater discharge permit should now be upheld. Using the correct (and stricter) pollution standards will make the mine much more expensive to operate and possibly too expensive to move forward. More information here. Photo courtesy of Joe Ordonez.

Top US Scientists Urge Congress to Protect Forests

photo of a clearcut in a forest

As multiple legislative proposals attempt to shoehorn measures that would increase logging, or funding for logging, into Covid-19 stimulus packages, more than 200 top US scientists recently submitted a letter to key members of Congress asking them to avoid using the pandemic as a means for stripping away forest protections. Spearheaded by Earth Island's John Muir Project, and signed by another Earth Island project, Public Lands Media, the letter urges members to adopt more scientifically sound policies that increase forest protections to mitigate the climate crisis. More information here.

Two Victories for Wildlife Protection

photo of a young coyote in a grassland

Earth Island's Project Coyote and a coalition of wildlife advocacy groups were recently handed two environmental victories in their efforts to protect wildlife in California and Colorado. First, in response to a lawsuit filed by the groups, a San Francisco federal court settlement restricts the US Department of Agriculture's Wildlife Services program from using traps and poisons to kill animals in Northern California. Then, in Colorado, the Colorado Parks and Wildlife Commission voted to ban wildlife killing contests for furbearers and certain small game species in the state, including coyotes and prairie dogs. Colorado is now the sixth state in the country to ban these cruel events. Photo courtesy of Linda Delano.

Earth Island Develops Its Own Brand of Distance Learning

photo of a child holding up an artwork

As traditional education shifts to a digital platform, so to do Earth Island's projects that for years have been teaching children and adults about the environment. Below we share the latest developments in distance environmental learning.

  • Junior Wildlife Ranger will soon be releasing printable activity pages that children can complete while exploring the wildlife in their own neighborhoods. The organization is also partnering with a park in Oakland, California, to offer an interactive digital badge program for children who complete the activities in a downloadable booklet.
  • KIDS for the BAY is providing online lessons and videos in addition to creating environmental science, nature-based at-home activities. The activities are being widely used and shared by families, schools, teachers, and partner organizations, and are helping children stay connected with nature, learn hands-on science, and be environmentalists.
  • For the future changemaker in your family, YEA Camp has designed the Changemakers Challenge, a series of weekly classes for youth, ages 12-17, who want to connect with a community and learn about progressive issues, such as environmental sustainability and animal protection.
  • The Wild Oyster Project has created an online resource guide with activities for children interested in learning more about mollusks and other saltwater creatures. For engineers, landscape architects, policymakers, and other professionals wanting to learn about native oyster restoration, the organization is offering online presentations upon request. Contact the project for more details.

Survey on Nature's Role During the Pandemic

photo taken out a window into a garden

Earth Island's Children & Nature Collaborative recently partnered with the University of Minnesota on a survey to collect information to understand how participants in the broad movement to connect people to nature are thinking about changes in their attitudes and behaviors, as well as societal changes, in response to the pandemic and shelter-in-place orders. The research partners are also interested in understanding how people anticipate long-term changes in their own and others' behavior. This information could have important implications for program and policy priorities in the months ahead. Take the survey.

The Fight Against Plastic Pollution Continues

photo of a shoreline buried in plastic waste

The plastics industry isn't backing down during the pandemic, and neither are we. The Plastics Industry Association recently requested that the US Department of Health endorse the idea that "single-use plastic products are the most sanitary choice," despite the fact that recent studies show that the coronavirus lives longer on plastic than on many other surfaces. Earth Island's Plastic Pollution Coalition has been working to set the record straight on that front. Meanwhile, the defendants in Earth Island's lawsuit against Big Plastic are trying to move the case to federal court; Earth Island recently filed its motion to stop that tactic. More information here. Photo courtesy of Bill McDonald, Algalita Foundation.

Covid-19 Support Reaches East African Women's Groups

photo of women in a field

When strict quarantines were put in place in East Africa, two Earth Island projects — Climate Wise Women and the Women's Climate Centers International — pivoted to provide soap and hand sanitizer-making supplies for rural women. The women in the photo here are producing soap for their community in Kenya. As part of its holistic approach to climate resilience, WCCI's network of local women's groups ramped up production of these items and is distributing them in communities where water access is poor.

Launch of 2020 Women Environmental Leaders Program

photo of a women social-distancing

Now in its second year, Earth Island's Women's Earth Alliance and the Sierra Club's US Grassroots Accelerator for Women Environmental Leaders will convene a powerful group of women leaders working at the helm of community-driven initiatives to protect our water, food, air, forests, land, sacred sites, indigenous lifeways, and future generations. The accelerator, starting in August and ending in December, will bring these leaders together through an interactive, virtual curriculum to create a global platform from which to rise. Applications and nominations are open until June 8. Pictured here at last year's accelerator are (left to right) Brynn Foster, Corrina Gould, Camille Hadley. Photo courtesy of Paige Green.

Clinical Herbalist Laura Ash Joins Storytelling Series

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On June 11, Earth Island's Real Food Real Stories will be virtually hosting clinical herbalist Laura Ash for an evening of story and connection. Ash is the founder of the Herbal Anthropology Project and owner of The Scarlet Sage Herb Co. in the Mission District of San Francisco. During the last gathering in RFRS' season Responsibly Trending, Ash will share her journey of becoming a clinical herbalist and small business owner, her approach to thoughtful sourcing, and how she is navigating these current times. Free registration available here.

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 a man near a mine and watercourse

Most Popular: Why "Planet of the Humans" is Crap. Climate activist and author Tom Athanasiou reviews the controversial new documentary produced by Michael Moore and says it winds up carrying water for people who want us to believe renewable energy is an illusion, or even a con.

refinery photo

Editors' Pick: Years that Ask Questions, Years that Answer Them. A "virus with no brain" that has set off this "wild, uncontrolled global experiment" is teaching us important lessons "about the best way to live on Earth," writes philosopher and climate activist Kathleen Dean Moore.

Follow the Journal's Covid-19 Coverage

We are publishing regular reports and op-eds exploring the links between this unprecedented pandemic and the environment. Read our coverage here.

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