Photo of the Earth as seen from space and the words: Earth Island Institute; You are here.Earth Island Institute

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International and Indigenous Communities


glyphEnsuring that all people, particularly women, communities of color and native peoples, have a voice at the table is a driving force behind our global environmental work. Today, few will deny the interconnectedness of environmental and socio-economic issues – consider the topical struggle for land and water rights at Standing Rock, or the many mega-energy and mining projects threatening the livelihoods, health and survival of frontline communities and countries around the globe.

But there is hope in unity. Our projects listen to grassroots leaders on the ground, collaboratively launching impactful, community-driven campaigns and programs. Through strategies such as grantmaking, network-building, skill-training, digital advocacy and storytelling, we help communities strengthen their conservation initiatives and biodiversity protection, stop large-scale development projects, build women’s environmental leadership, and preserve traditional knowledge and lifeways.

photo of people of various ethnicities and various modes of dress

For over 30 years, Sacred Land Film Project has used media to deepen public understanding of the importance of sacred places, indigenous cultures, and the environmental justice issues affecting their land. In 2016, Director Toby McCleod joined leaders from two other Earth Island projects, The Altai Project and The Borneo Project, to send a delegation of 25 sacred-site guardians from around the world to the World Conservation Congress. This influential global forum of policy makers, scientists and civil society groups has been criticized in the past for failure to include indigenous on environmental perspectives in their forum. Along with the other leaders, Earth Island Institute projects were part of a united voice of indigenous leaders and international allies enacting the passage of Motion 26, a monumental declaration that all protected areas – including World Heritage Sites and indigenous sacred land – are to be "No Go" areas for mining, logging, dams and other destructive industries.

The Altai Project
The Altai Project will protect natural landscapes and wildlife and support indigenous cultures and traditional lifeways in and around Russia and the 4-nation Greater Altai region that also includes Mongolia, Kazakhstan, and China through community collaborations and targeted campaigns. We will work…
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The Borneo Project
The Borneo Project provides US-based support for ongoing campaigns to promote indigenous rights and conserve the forest in Indonesian and Malaysian Borneo. We do this through providing small grants, online actions, sign on letters, and international advocacy on forest and climate issues.…
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Climate Wise Women
Climate Wise Women is a global platform for the promotion of women’s leadership on climate change. Through powerful personal narratives, Climate Wise Women gives a human face and voice to an issue that sits squarely at the nexus of the conversation on…
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Friends of Muonde
Friends of Muonde supports locally driven efforts to foment creativity and development in the Mazvihwa and neighboring areas of south central Zimbabwe. Through educational, agricultural and community extension programs, and a healthy dose of action research, we back local development efforts that…
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Guias Unidos
Guias Unidos works to inspire community based, conservation-minded tourism, by unifying local and international expertise and resources. Our project is based in Ometepe Island, Nicaragua where we: Work with local guides to establish curricula for training in English language, visitor services, tour…
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Numi Foundation
Numi Foundation’s mission is to nurture and empower thriving communities: we envision a world where all basic human needs are met and people have the resources to fulfill their greatest potential. Globally, we provide Numi Organic Tea’s fair trade farming communities with…
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The PGM ONE summit convenes hundreds of emerging and established professionals of the global majority to lead the racial equity and inclusion movement in the outdoor and environmental sectors. During the three-day multidisciplinary and intergenerational summit, participants will share, learn, collaborate, heal,…
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Sacred Land Film Project
Sacred Land Film Project is a community dedicated to protecting the Earth's sacred places through media, education and action.
Project Focus
glyphAgriculture & Food Systems glyphClean Energy & Climate Change glyphConservation, Preservation & Restoration glyphEnvironmental Education
glyphInternational & Indigenous Communities glyphLeadership Development glyphOcean & Water glyphPollution & Toxics
glyphSustainability & Community Resilience glyphWildlife Protection glyphWomen’s Environmental Leadership glyphYouth Empowerment