Conservation - Preservation - Restoration


David Brower's 92 nd Birthday


Ceasar Chavez Park - Berkeley, California - July 1, 2004



YMCA LEARNING ACADEMY students at the proposed site of Spaceship Earth learn and appreciate the value of parks and open space with Shirley Richardson Brower, Executive Director of the Berkeley-Albany South Branch YMCA . . .






Berkeley Mayor Tom Bates visits the Learning Center which emphasizes
Summer learning and environmental awareness . . .


Sculpture to land in Berkeley

Environmentalist honored with "Spaceship Earth" globe at Marina

By Kristin Bender, STAFF WRITER

BERKELEY -- Four years after the "Spaceship Earth" sculpture for late environmentalist David Brower was commissioned, it looks like the 175-ton stone globe will land permanently at the Berkeley Marina.

Brower was the first executive director of the Sierra Club and founded Friends of the Earth and Earth Island Institute. He also was one of the formative rock climbers in the United States. He lived most of his life in Berkeley and died at age 88, Nov. 5, 2000.

That year, Finnish-American sculptor Eino was commissioned by the late Brian Maxwell, the founder of PowerBar, to create the 15-foot by 20-foot polished, rare Brazilian blue quartzite globe. Eino called the sculpture "the most technically challenging piece" he had ever done.

But finding a home for the hefty work may have been the bigger challenge.

The sculpture weighs 350,000 pounds, as much as 175 baby elephants or about 70 military Humvees. It was designed in 88 separate wedges and includes more than 1,400 individual pieces of cast bronze that will be affixed in seven clusters to represent the world's continents.

A bronze likeness of Brower -- with arms outstretched to protect the globe -- will be affixed near its top.

According to background information, the piece shows the progress Brower has made throughout his life. The term "Spaceship Earth," often used by Brower, refers to all humanity traveling through life within a common vehicle.

"Spaceship Earth" is awaiting its final landing pad at a San Francisco warehouse.

Several other cities expressed interest in accepting the sculpture, said David Phillips of the Earth Island Institute.

And Eino himself was once partial to a site in the Marin headlands because he felt Brower would have wanted to be near the ocean and surrounded by barren hills. Washington, D.C. was also considered because Brower's environmental work was felt throughout the nation.

Later this month, the Berkeley City Council is scheduled to direct the Civic Arts Commission, the Waterfront Commission and the city manager to accept the piece, free of charge, from the Maxwell family and place it in the Berkeley Marina or another suitable location, said Mayor Tom Bates.

"This is where David Brower is from," Bates said. "He lived in the hills, was a rock-solid member of our community, supported candidates in every election and took positions in every election. He is a Berkeley person."

Bates said the city is considering a turnaround circle on Spinnaker Way near Csar Chvez park for its final home.

There may be some challenges because the area is on fill.

Jennifer Maxwell, Brian Maxwell's widow, said she wants to see the sculpture in Berkeley, according to a recent letter to Bates. The Maxwell family has financed the sculpture and will back its completion and installation, the letter states.

In May, the council gave developers a green light to draw up plans to replace a downtown parking lot with a $47 million green building complex honoring Brower. But don't expect to see Eino's Earth-shaped sculpture there.

"The problem is the plaza is not big enough to take it," Bates said. "It wouldn't fit ... otherwise that would be my first choice."

The idea for the project came in 2000 while Maxwell and the late Galen Rowell, a well-known nature photographer and adventure, were running in the East Bay hills.

They were discussing nature and conservation when Rowell proposed the idea to honor Brower -- known as one of the most influential conservationists since John Muir and Teddy Roosevelt. Maxwell approached longtime friend Eino about doing the piece, then Brower gave his blessing to the idea.

Eino flew to Berkeley and visited with the ailing Brower for hours. The two talked about everything, even what his likeness should be wearing.

But the two never determined where the monument should go. That was left to future leaders. "We are going to get a wonderful treasure for our city," Bates said. "I want to find the proper place for it."

Argus - Monday, July 12, 2004 - http://www.theargusonline.com