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Dossier

A publication providing succinct biographical sketches of environmental scientists, economists, "experts," and activists released by The National Center for Public Policy Research


Environmental Scientist: David Brower

David Brower, founder of Friends of the Earth and the first Executive Director of the Sierra Club, is the founder of the Earth Island Institute. An environmental activist since 1938, Brower is widely credited with preventing construction of dams in the Grand Canyon and the Dinosaur National Monument during the 1950s and 1960s.

In 1982, Brower started the Earth Island Institute to encourage cooperation between environmental and "peace and justice" groups and to help "globalize" the environmental movement. He serves as chairman of the group's International Green Circle project, a concept inspired by former Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev, who called for an international effort to restore environmentally-damaged areas.

Brower founded the Earth Island Institute shortly after resigning as president of Friends of the Earth, a move prompted in part by increasing friction between Brower and the group's professional staff and board of directors. Friction between Brower and other Friends of the Earth leaders eventually became so severe that Brower was expelled from the group's board (1984). Brower founded Friends of the Earth in 1969 after he was fired as Executive Director of the Sierra Club. Reportedly, Brower was ousted from the Club because his increasingly extreme methods and extravagant spending practices threatened to bankrupt the organization. In 1966, the Club lost its tax-deductible status because the group had engaged in lobbying, in violation of the law. Club revenues dropped. Brower's attitude on financial matters was probably best summed up in a statement he made during a dispute with the Friends of the Earth leadership: "It's nice to be in the black, but it's more important to be in the green."

Selected Brower Quotes

"More is a four letter word... I'd like to declare open season on developers. Not kill them, just tranquilize them." - Quoted by Catherine Foster of The Christian Science Monitor, April 8, 1991

"Childbearing [should be] a punishable crime against society, unless the parents hold a government license... All potential parents [should be] required to use contraceptive chemicals, the government issuing antidotes to citizens chosen for childbearing." - Quoted by Dixy Lee Ray in her book Trashing the Planet (1990)

"While the death of young men in war is unfortunate, it is no more serious than the touching of mountains and wilderness areas by humankind." - Quoted by Dixy Lee Ray in her book Environmental Overkill (1993)

"The Sierra Club made the Nature Conservancy look reasonable. I founded Friends of the Earth to make the Sierra Club look reasonable. Then I founded Earth Island Institute to make Friends of the Earth look reasonable. Earth First! now makes us look reasonable. We're still waiting for someone else to come along and make Earth First! look reasonable." - Quoted by Ron Arnold and Alan Gottlieb in their book Trashing the Economy (1993)

"Loggers losing their jobs because of Spotted Owl legislation is, in my eyes, no different than people being out of work after the furnaces of Dachau shut down." -Quoted by Dixy Lee Ray in her book Environmental Overkill (1993)


Version Date: September 7, 1993





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