Annually at Earth Island Institute’s Brower Youth Awards (BYA) celebration — Tuesday, October 15, 2019, our 20th year — we gather our six winners for a Leadership Week. The week precedes the Tuesday night, high-energy, public Celebration of their activist work, held at San Francisco’s elegant and historic Herbst Theatre, before an assembled audience of 900.

Our cherished Earth Island friend and former Board member Michael Hathaway died in January 2019. Michael was a lifelong activist, always following a broad range of issues. Each year, he eagerly got to know the BYA winners — as exemplars of the kind of boldness he experienced when he was a young activist mentored by David Brower. For some years, he served as Brower’s assistant at Friends of the Earth and then Earth Island Institute, before serving many years on the EII Board of Directors.

This year we are celebrating Michael Hathaway BYA Leadership Week, both informally with the winners in the days leading up to the Ceremony and at the Ceremony itself. We will have written information as well as projected slides at the Ceremony, celebrating Michael’s legacy as a mentor for environmental leadership. 

Leadership Week includes a range of orientation, training, and coaching experiences that serve to build bonds among the six, help them prepare for their public acceptance speeches at Herbst Theatre, give them media interview experience, introduce them to the Earth Island circle of organizations and experienced staff members, and help them to plan for their next steps in the environmental movement. We view these experiences as the first in Earth Island’s ongoing relationships with these emerging leaders, and, in a low key way, we seek to offer mentorship and guidance under our wider New Leaders Initiative.

With this year’s winners, we now have a total group of 123, whose stories are told vividly in video at Over the years we have seen friendships and collaborations grow among these remarkable innovators. As of June 2019, we have one BYA winner from 2002 on Earth Island’s board of directors, and we have another 22-year-old winner as director of one of Earth Island’s sponsored projects. Many BYA winners have gone on to major roles in our movement; the list is inspiring.

We welcome memorial donations in the name of Michael Hathaway, as we recognize him in conjunction with Brower Youth Awards 2019, to further promote environmental leadership development. Because Earth Island Institute is a public interest, charitable organization, donations are tax-deductible to the full extent of the law.

For more information, contact Earth Island Institute Executive Director Emeritus John Knox at [email protected] and 510-859-9108.

Online donations may be made at When you click through to donate, please indicated on the Comments line “In memory of Michael Hathaway.”

Donation checks designated “Michael Hathaway Leadership Week” may be sent to:

John A. Knox

Earth Island Institute

2150 Allston Way, Suite 460

Berkeley, CA 94704