Earth Island Institute

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The Earth Island Institute is non-profit environmental group founded in 1982 by David Brower.[1] Located in Berkeley, California, it supports activism around environmental issues through fiscal sponsorship that provides the administrative and organizational infrastructure for individual projects. As of 2010, Earth Island Institute's total net assets were $7.1 million.[2]

Earth Island Institute logo.

Earth Island Journal[edit]

Earth Island Institute publishes a quarterly periodical entitled Earth Island Journal, edited by Maureen Nandini Mitra. Content is largely dedicated to investigative pieces and showcases environmental grassroots movements. The publication has received industry awards for "uncovering stories ignored by larger media outlets," including a 2019 Izzy Award for independent media.[3] Funding for the journal is sustained through subscriptions and the Institute’s Green Journalism Fund.[4]

Earth Island Journal has been published by the institute for over 35 years.[5] It includes environmental reporting and commentary from around the world.

Brower Youth Awards[edit]

Earth Island has presented the Brower Youth Awards, named for founder David Brower, to six young environmental leaders since 2000.[6]


The Borneo Project[edit]

The Earth Island Institute has taken on a number of projects, one of which is The Borneo Project, at the helm, director Jettie Ward.[7] The goal of the project is to provide international support for indigenous and locally led campaigns to protect rights in Borneo and to advocate for mechanisms that will support communities in conserving their forests.

The Borneo Project does not initiate its own campaigns, instead it responds to the needs of its local partners, to provide whatever support best suits their programmatic and campaign needs. This comes in the form of providing small grants, online actions, sign on letters, and international advocacy on forest and climate issues. The local partners and allies in Malaysia and Indonesia that The Borneo Project is in contact with include the Borneo Resources Institute (BRIMAS), Partners of Community Organisations (PACOS), Sahabat Alam Malaysia (SAM or Friends of the Earth Malaysia) and Uma Bawang Residents Association (UBRA).[8]

Borneo REDD program[edit]

One of the ongoing programs of The Borneo Project is conservation of the Earth's climate by supporting and working on international policy for Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD). In Borneo, forests are being destroyed through logging and burning, releasing the climate-changing greenhouse gas carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. The destruction of forests is responsible for up to a fifth of the world’s greenhouse gas emissions – more than every plane, car, truck, ship, and train on the planet combined.[9] The Borneo REDD program is an effort to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in Borneo and alleviate poverty in the communities that live in and rely on the forests of Borneo.

REDD is currently only a small part of the global market for carbon, and REDD carbon credits are mostly sold to companies and people who are interested in reducing their emissions voluntarily.[10]

Dolphin-safe labeling[edit]

Earth Island Institute is the standard-bearer for dolphin-safe tuna labeling in the United States. The organization works to verify or reject domestic tuna as dolphin-safe.[11][12][13]

Incubator projects[edit]

Earth Island Institute sponsors a number of fledgling activist groups which it refers to as Incubator Projects. Many have gone on to become independent 501(c)(3) organizations while others remain under the umbrella of the institute. For example:

  • The Mangrove Action Project was originally part of the Earth Island Institute, but became a separate organization in March 2007.
  • In reverse, the Center for Safe Energy was an existing organization founded in 1989 that was subsequently assumed into the Earth Island Institute umbrella in 1995.

[6] As of March 2017, projects include:

Alumni projects[edit]

As of March 2017, the following organizations were projects of Earth Island Institute before leaving to continue their environmental work as independent organizations:


2013 Solomon Islands dolphin massacre[edit]

In January 2013, Fanalei villagers on the island of Malaita in the Solomon Islands slaughtered close to 900 dolphins in retaliation for a payment dispute with Earth Island Institute. The dolphin slaughter occurred after villagers refused to renew a memorandum of understanding with Earth Island Institute that expired in April 2012.[14] Villagers claim EII promised them $2.4 million Solomon Island Dollars (about $335,000 U.S.) to stop trading dolphins and dolphin-derived products for two years, but only received $700,000.[14]

Chairman Atkin Fakaia of a local villagers' association claimed that villagers had to kill the dolphins to trade the meat and teeth for money to survive in the local economy. Earth Island Institute Director Lawrence Makili accused the association of mishandling the first $300,000 invested under the original MOU. Makili accused the villagers' association of seizing funds and failing to distribute them.[15]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "About Earth Island". Earth Island Institute. October 30, 2006. Archived from the original on 2008-04-29. Retrieved 2008-04-28.
  2. ^
  3. ^ "2019 Izzy Awards Honor Earth Island Journal, Laura Flanders, Aaron Maté & Dave Lindorff". Democracy Now!. Retrieved 2020-01-05.
  4. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2014-02-10. Retrieved 2014-01-07.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  5. ^ Earth Island Journal Archives from winter of 2002
  6. ^ a b "New Leaders Initiative : Award Winners". Earth Island Institute. Archived from the original on February 12, 2009. Retrieved May 7, 2009.
  7. ^ "Earth Island Institute : Borneo Project". Earth Island Institute. Retrieved September 14, 2011.
  8. ^ "Who We Are : How We Work". The Borneo Project. Retrieved September 14, 2011.
  9. ^ "Why Borneo : Conserving our Climate". The Borneo Project. Retrieved September 14, 2011.
  10. ^ "Our Work Ongoing Programs : Forest and Climate Policy". The Borneo Project. Archived from the original on August 31, 2011. Retrieved September 14, 2011.
  11. ^
  12. ^
  13. ^
  14. ^ a b
  15. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2013-05-29. Retrieved 2013-08-02.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)

External links[edit]