Brower Youth Awards

Earth Island News

photo of demonstrators outside the US capitol, arranged into a human banner reading '80% by 2050'John Quigley/Spectral QStep It Up supporters asked Congress to cut carbon emissions.

Since 2000, Earth Island Institute’s Brower Youth Awards (BYA) has recognized and supported 43 young leaders for their important work in conservation, preservation, and restoration.

The former BYA recipients are continuing their initiatives, winning campaigns on local, state, and national levels, and generating substantial mainstream press coverage for their efforts. We congratulate them for their impressive impact on critical environmental issues. Here are a few examples:

May Boeve (BYA 2006) helped coordinate Step It Up 2007, the country’s largest national day of action on climate change. The event was held April 14, 2007, with tens of thousands of Americans gathering at more than 1,400 locations in all 50 states asking Congress to cut carbon emissions by 80 percent by the year 2050. Boeve and Step It Up organizers have partnered with to send out a national e-petition that will be delivered to Congress.

Press coverage was abundant, with the day’s events covered by the Associated Press, The Philadelphia Inquirer, The New York Times, The Boston Globe, BusinessWeek, and others.

photo of demonstrators in a forest, one holding a sign that reads 'this mountain is sacred in my religion' Save the Peaks Native communities in Arizona fight to protect their sacred mountain.

Alberta Nells (BYA 2006) recently celebrated a huge victory in Arizona. On March 12, the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals issued a ruling to protect the San Francisco Peaks, a mountain held holy by more than 13 Native nations.

The nations, helped by Nells’s organization, Youth of the Peaks, had challenged a ski resort owner’s plans to use treated sewage to make artificial snow for the mountain. They successfully argued that the plan violates the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, which protects the free exercise of religion.

Nells was quoted in Indian Country Today as saying, “This mountain is our mother, she is our grandparent and we’re the children, the grandchildren; We hear it in our songs, in our prayers and now we can leave from this area knowing that we have made a difference in this world today. Now we can continue to walk life in beauty.’’

Shadia Wood and Billy Parish (BYA 2004) were featured in Vanity Fair’s annual Green issue for their work supporting youth organizing at college campuses and high schools to address global climate change.

They both work with Campus Climate Challenge, a coalition of more than 30 leading youth organizations throughout the US and Canada. The Challenge – the brainchild of the Energy Action Coalition, founded by Parish – unites young people in high schools and on college campuses to work toward 100 percent clean-energy policies at their schools.

Wood views climate change as a social justice issue, and strives to empower students and other youth of color to make bold improvements in their communities and at their schools in the name of the campus climate

This year’s annual Brower Youth Awards ceremony will be held in San Francisco’s historic and elegant Herbst Theater on Wednesday, October 24. We invite you to join us for this powerful and inspiring event. To find out more about sponsorship opportunities, in-kind donations to the Awards, or advertising in the Awards program please contact Kevin Connelly at or (415) 788-3666 ext. 155. For free ceremony and post-awards dessert reception reservations, visit the Web site or e-mail

Get the Journal in your inbox.
Sign up for our monthly newsletter.

Subscribe Now

For $15 you can get four issues of the magazine, a 50 percent savings off the newsstand rate.