Earth Island Project Reports

Francis Macy

Earth Island News

It is with great sadness that we announce the passing of Francis Macy. The dedicated environmentalist, energy activist, and citizen diplomat, whose groundbreaking work inspired fresh collaborative ventures with the former Soviet Union, died unexpectedly of an apparent heart attack in Berkeley on January 20th at age 81.

photo of three people smiling, minarets in the background Francis Macy (L) was especially gifted with the
ability to make strong connections with colleagues
all around the world.

The founder and co-director of the Center for Safe Energy since 1995, Macy trained hundreds of activists in Russia, Ukraine, Georgia, and Kazhakstan to address the environmental legacy of the nuclear arms race and the Chernobyl disaster. Initiating scores of professional delegations and exchanges between Americans and their counterparts in the former Soviet Union in the areas of psychology, environment, and citizen organizing since 1983, Macy empowered the rise of non-governmental organizations – a strong contribution to the health of post-Soviet life. In 2005, he was awarded the Nuclear Free Future Lifetime Achievement Award.

Macy “pioneered as a citizen ambassador linking Russians and Americans in shared concern for the environment, at a pivotal time when environmental activism was just emerging in the Soviet Union” and “led in the formation of permanent protection and restoration efforts, such as Earth Island’s Baikal Watch project,” says John Knox, co-executive director of Earth Island Institute. Earth Island’s founder, David Brower, was “particularly grateful for Macy’s leadership” in engaging him with Russia’s foremost environmental leaders.

Macy complemented his organizational trainings with experiential teachings in Deep Ecology. He served as director of the Institute for Deep Ecology from 1995, and led transformational workshops around the world with his wife of 56 years, Joanna, a leading Buddhist and systems theory teacher. Together they trained people to become leaders in the broader environmental movement.

Macy was considered by many who knew him to be an extraordinary man who deeply affected people’s lives with his love of life and the natural world and with his great ability to listen and inspire those around him.

His work will be forever appreciated, and our loss forever mourned.

The Brower Center, new home of Earth Island Institute, will have its grand opening on May 10, 2009. The new office space will utilize the latest in energy-saving technologies and recycled building materials, allowing us to more deeply reflect our commitment to the planet. As of April 1, Earth Island Institute’s new address will be 2150 Allston Way, Suite 460, Berkeley, CA 94704.

The Brower Youth Awards has launched its search for outstanding grassroots environmental leaders. Since 2000, the annual Brower Youth Awards have honored six young people for their outstanding activism and achievements in the fields of environmental and social justice advocacy. Each winner is awarded $3,000 and is brought to San Francisco for the award week and a backcountry camping trip. The Brower Youth Awards not only promote the accomplishments of these young leaders but also invest in their continued success by providing ongoing access to resources, mentors, and opportunities to develop their leadership skills through Earth Island Institute’s New Leaders Initiative. Applications are available at and are due no later than May 15.

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