Let the mountains talk, let the river run. Once more, and forever. David Brower
Berkeley native David R. Bower is considered by many to be the father of the modern environmental movement. Eighty-eight years of courageous, contentious, and joyful activism made Brower one of the most successful advocates the Earth has ever known.
A world-class mountaineer with more than 70 first ascents to his credit, Brower served as the first executive director of the Sierra Club (1952 – 1969). Under his tenure, the Club’s membership expanded tenfold, from 7,000 to 70,000 members, and became the nation’s leading environmental membership organization.
While with the Sierra Club, he pioneered the use of media advocacy, including taking out full-page newspaper ads to dramatically communicate conservation issues. Brower also initiated an aggressive publishing program that produced over 70 books over his lifetime – including oversize formats with stunning high-quality nature photographs.
David Brower later founded Friends of the Earth, a worldwide environmental network now active in 52 countries, and co-founded the League of Conservation Voters, the nation’s most influential environmental political action group. In 1982, Brower founded Earth Island Institute, an incubator organization that fosters and supports activist projects around the world.
Brower successfully fought to stop dams in Dinosaur National Monument and Grand Canyon National Park. He led campaigns to establish 10 new national parks and seashores, including Point Reyes, the North Cascades, and the Redwoods. He was instrumental in gaining passage of the Wilderness Act of 1964, which protects millions of acres of public lands.
Twice nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize, Brower was also instrumental in leading environmentalists to rethink their early support of nuclear power.
David Brower joined the environmental movement before it was even a movement, which forced him to do a little of everything: organizing, lobbying, speaking, teaching, advertising, writing, publishing, filmmaking. He created a legacy of activism that made the environmental movement not just one part of our everyday lives, but as a way to engage the world as a whole.