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Attention Young Eco-Activists: Brower Youth Awards Applications Due May 16
And There’s a New Book that Will Help You Green Your Scene

By Gar Smith
Wednesday May 04, 2011 - 01:23:00 PM

If you know — or are — a budding, up-and-coming young environmentalist, Earth Island Institute has just published an essential tool that you might want to pass along to your local Green Teen. 

The Young Activist’s Guide to Building a Green Movement and Changing the World is Earth Island’s first book. This 217-page handbook of essential action strategies was written by Sharon J. Smith, EII’s program advisor for the annual Brower Youth Awards. In keeping with the local vibe, the book was published by Berkeley’s own Ten Speed Press. 

Here in one book is a trove of practical tips on how to grow-the-grassroots by planning a solid campaign, recruiting committed supporters, raising necessary funds, attracting positive media coverage, lobbying sympathetic politicians and finally, making change happen by passing revolutionary legislation. 

Environmental activist and champion tree-sitter Julia Butterfly Hill writes in her foreward that the Guide has “the power to support you in changing your life and changing the world” and invites young people to “enjoy the journey and celebrate the victory that happens every single time you choose to care.” Author Smith further waves the banner of optimistic activism by noting “we are on the verge of some of the most significant societal changes in human history. We have to be. We can’t continue on our current path any longer.” 

The Young Activist’s Guide teaches and inspires by example, focusing on the successful campaigns mounted by more than a dozen winners of the Brower Youth Award ( — founded in 2000 in honor of Berkeley’s David Ross Brower, the legendary “Archdruid” of the modern environmental movement who headed the Sierra Club, founded Friends of the Earth and, in 1982, created Earth Island Institute (now housed in the Dave Brower Center in downtown Berkeley). 

BYA Application Deadline Is Looming  

The book couldn’t be more timely. The deadline for this year’s applications to the 12th annual Brower Youth Awards is fast approaching. Applications must be received by 9pm Pacific Standard Time on May 16. The competition is open to young activists ages 13-22. Each winner will receive a $3,000 grant, an all-expenses-paid trip to the awards ceremonies in San Francisco, beaucoup media coverage and a promise of “year-round support.” 

Applications can be filled out online at For more information on the awards, you can call Anisha Desai at (510) 859-9144, email, or visit 

To make the process more inviting, Earth Island is hosting a Webinar on May 11 to prep prospective applicants on the history of the BYAs while providing useful tips on how to “submit the best application possible.” The May 11 Webinar will be held at 1pm PST. To join in, go to and dial 1-866-740-1260 toll-free and use the access code 8599141. 

Gar Smith was the Art Director and a Contributing Writer at Friends of the Earth and is Editor Emeritus of Earth Island Journal.