Actors, activists, politicians and other eco-minded supporters flocked to the Fairmont Hotel in Santa Monica, California for the Global Green Millennium Awards honoring leaders at the forefront of sustainability. “We’re seeing more people realize that climate change is a major challenge and take actions in different ways. Tonight is all about honoring people that are tackling the problems in their own way,” said Global Green President and CEO Matt Petersen before the ceremony. On stage, he talked about the organization’s efforts to rebuild storm-ravaged communities with affordable, energy-efficient housing and solar power and give schools green makeovers. “We can all be a part of making a difference,” he said. We can all take responsibility for our world and take part in the bigger solution.”
Honorees included Ben Goldhirsh, founder of media company Good Worldwide, recipient of the Community Environmental Leadership Award; philanthropist Tom Steyer and Sen. Kevin de Leon, who received the California Environmental Leadership Award for their efforts to promote green energy, jobs and schools; yoga guru Seane Corn, the International Environmental Leadership Award honoree for her efforts in fostering sustainable projects via her Off the Mat, Into the World organization; and Danny Kennedy, founder of solar energy company Sungevity, recipient of the Corporate Environmental Leadership Award.
“It’s amazing how far solar has come,” said Kennedy, pointing out that there “are now more solar industry workers in the United States than there are coal miners.” Los Angeles Mayor-elect Eric Garcetti expressed his commitment to greening schools, promoting sustainable energy and creating green jobs in the city. “If we want to make Los Angeles the greenest city we have to dream big but start small. We tackle the problem one block, one neighborhood at a time. We’re committed to a better city and a better world,” he said. “I hope all of us as environmentalists look towards the day when we no longer call ourselves environmentalists, because it’s just the way we live.”
Ed O'Neill and Fran Drescher at the Global Green event.
Other speakers included sisters Vanessa (“Switched at Birth”) and Laura (“Austin & Ally”) Marano, who announced the 10 finalists for this year’s Green School Makeover competition, and Fran Drescher (“Happily Divorced”), a cancer survivor who pointed out the link between environmental toxins and diseases like cancer. “We and the planet…are one living organism. If it’s bad for us it’s bad for the planet. If it’s good for us it’s good for the planet. It’s clear with every superstorm, every deadly tornado and every melting ice cap that our actions today are putting the planet and the next generation at extraordinary risk,” she said. Ed O’Neill (“Modern Family”) concurred, stating, “Man must not live at the expense of nature because when we plunder nature we steal from ourselves.”
Longtime Global Green supporter Ed Begley, Jr. was also on hand, and gave MNN a progress report on the LEED Platinum home he’s been building for almost two years. “It’s coming along, should be done in January. We took our time, we’re doing it right,” said Begley, now on screen in “Arrested Development” on Netflix and “Family Tree” on HBO, with the movie “You’re Not You” due later this year and the Amazon.com comedy series “Betas,” about “kids who write code and software,” slated for fall.
The evening featured a performance by recording artist Spencer Day and a live auction of five VIP experience and travel packages that raised a total of $32,750.
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