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IslandWire: April 15, 2021


photo of a tarantula in leaf litter

Win a Blue Tarantula Print

The stunning blue tarantula (Birupes simoroxigorum) seen here was discovered in 2017 in the rainforests of Sarawak, Borneo, by celebrated naturalist and photographer Chien C. Lee. The spider turned out to be a new species, and spider enthusiasts were thrilled with the discovery. Researchers weren’t far behind — and neither were poachers involved in the capture, breeding, and sale of rare spiders. Sadly, this species went from discovery to availability on the market in a matter of months. Nonetheless, the blue tarantula remains a testament to the countless wondrous new species that still remain undiscovered in the tropical regions of the world. Earth Island’s Borneo Project is working with local communities to study and safeguard the largest remaining unprotected primary forests of Sarawak. Enter here to win a print of the blue tarantula from Borneo Project.


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Earth Day Feminist Climate Action

As the climate emergency intensifies, women who have been the bedrock of the “care economy” for generations — nurturing our families, laboring to better our societies, and stewarding the Earth and its precious resources — face an even greater burden. Yet from these frontlines, women leaders are designing solutions from the ground up. Join the Sierra Club and Earth Island’s Women’s Earth Alliance (WEA) on April 21 for Who CAREs? A Conversation on Feminist Climate Action. The event will include panelists from the Sierra Club and WEA’s 2020 U.S. Grassroots Accelerator, and Julia Jackson of Grounded, diving into what CARE (Collective Action, Agency, Resilience, Equity) looks like in our communities and climate justice movements. Register here.


photo of someone sorting through a mountain of plastic discards

Earth Day Plastics Action

Did you know the petrochemical industry and the pollution it creates disproportionately harms people of color and low-income communities? Every year, the United States alone burns or buries in landfill 32 million tons of plastic, impacting the health, wealth, and well-being of frontline and fenceline communities. In fact, the U.S. produces the most plastic waste per capita, and exports much of this waste to the Global South. An astounding 91 percent of plastic is never recycled. This Earth Day, Earth Island's Plastic Pollution Coalition encourages you to send a letter to your members of Congress, asking them to support the Break Free from Plastic Pollution Act of 2021. Photo courtesy of The Story of Plastic.


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Earth Day Wild & Scenic Film Festival

In celebration of Earth Day, Earth Island Institute will be cohosting the Wild & Scenic Film Festival, which will take place virtually through the David Brower Center in Berkeley, where Earth Island’s offices are located. Launching on Earth Day, April 22, and available on demand through April 27, this year’s festival 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 festival, and to thank 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.


photo of people by the bay with buckets

Earth Day Shark Action

In the ongoing battle to protect both marine life and human life from plastic pollution, Shark Stewards will be hosting two California marine-debris surveys and beach cleanups, one in San Francisco on April 18 and the other in Newport Beach on April 25. More information here. Also, at the 18th annual International Ocean Film Festival, Shark Stewards will be premiering Jin Yu (Metal Fish), a short film about mercury content in fish. Tickets and information here. Photo of beach cleanup at Aquatic Park in San Francisco, taken pre-Covid.


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photo of young people on a campus outdoors

Prairie Grass Revival

At Grinnell College in Iowa, fellows with Earth Island’s Herbicide Free Campus (HFC) have been hard at work on a native prairie restoration project. Often in prairie restoration, glyphosate (a probable carcinogen that is a popular herbicide in nonorganic land care) is used as a way to eradicate invasives. HFC fellows conducted research, met with experts, and came to a consensus with the college’s groundskeepers, a botanist consultant, and other student groups working on the project, to try an organic method that will most likely include a sod cutter (used to remove the current turf) and compost amendments (to promote healthy soil for the native prairie grass). This effort has demonstrated the effectiveness of student advocacy in shifting traditional practices toward a more ecological approach. Photo of Grinnell students planting prairie grass seeds.


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Applications Open for Brower Youth Awards

Applications are currently being accepted for Earth Island’s annual Brower Youth Awards. Now in its 22nd 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.


Garden Classrooms

At the Mira Vista Elementary School in Richmond, California, Earth Island’s West County DIGS has been busy clearing the school garden to make way for outdoor classrooms. In schools across the country, outdoor spaces are being used to create Covid-safe environments while continuing to play an essential role in promoting academic, physical, and mental well-being. Even though the gardens have been repurposed, West County DIGS continues to engage with students through its online gardening program, and it recently revamped its website to better support the digital experience with activities and information. Adaptability has been a key quality during the pandemic, and West County DIGS has been an excellent model of this.

photo of a masked person gardening

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Wildlife Protection Increases

Thanks to the tireless efforts of Earth Island’s Project Coyote and other wildlife advocates, Maryland is on track to become the eighth state to ban the widespread yet little-known blood sport of wildlife killing contests, and New Mexico recently implemented a ban on traps, snares, and poisons on state public lands. In Wisconsin, Project Coyote and concerned citizens there are using billboards to bring attention to wildlife killing contests. Join almost 60,000 others and sign the petition to end wildlife killing contests on public lands; you can watch the film about these cruel events here. Photo of Wisconsin billboard message.


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Summit on Toxics

Earth Island’s Save Our Soil is part of a group of individuals and organizations that will be hosting the Northwest Toxic Communities Coalition Summit on April 24. Cohosted by the University of Washington Superfund Research Program, the summit will present for general audiences groundbreaking new research on chemical mixtures and synergistic effects. The virtual gathering of community activists, academic researchers, and government regulators aims to connect and empower communities impacted by toxic waste, and to share resources, information, and support for toxic cleanup efforts throughout the American northwest and the rest of the nation.

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