The Oakland Tribune
Ecologists mark birthday
of Sierra Club's Brower
By Elvira Viveros, CORRESPONDENT
Thursday, July 03, 2003
Late environmentalist and political
activist David Brower would have celebrated his 91st birthday
His dream of seeing young people care
for the environment was evident at a birthday
celebration July 1 at Oakland's Arrowhead Marsh on the Martin
Luther King Jr. Shoreline.
Sponsored by the Earth Land Institute,
Save The Bay and Earth Team, the event was held in homage to
the man who was a pioneering force in the environmental movement.
His annual birthday event was a chance
for young environmentalists to help transplant native plants
and remove garbage along the shoreline.
After the work was done, kids enjoyed
cake and ice cream.
Brower served as first executive director
of the Sierra Club in 1952 and founded Friends of the Earth in
1969. He also started the League of Conservation Voters.
He helped create nine seashores and
national parks in the North Cascades mountain range in Washington,
the Northern California redwoods, at Point Reyes, Alaska and
on Cape Cod.
When the Grand Canyon was at risk of
being dammed by the federal Bureau of Reclamation, he persuaded
the Sierra Club to take action and was successful in saving the
In his later years, Brower turned to
cyberspace, and with his son, Bob, started The
Wildness Within Us, a Web site dedicated to conservation
efforts and environmental news.
"It was such a blessing to have
had him as a father," said Brower. "He cared genuinely
about the well-being of the planet."
Aisha Pierre, 13, came to Tuesday's
event to celebrate along with the other young people from Berkeley-based
South Branch Learning Center, an after school summer program
of the YMCA.
"I know he helped our center a
lot and I know he helped the environment," she said.
While living in the Midwest in the early
1990s, Cindy Arch of Earth Island Institute learned about Brower's
work. After she moved to the Bay Area, she decided to dedicate
her time to environmental causes.
"He was very accessible and possessed
a vibrant charismatic personality," she said. "I've
seen him inspire so many people and our job is to carry on that
Brower was nominated for the Nobel Peace
Prize three times and used the media to spread word about the
Sierra Club around the world.
"He was ahead of his time and he
understood that wetlands are the kidney of the planet and the
forest are the lungs," said Arch.