Clean Water. Clean air. The simple things we take for granted every day.
But because our world is facing an array of environmental challenges – from climate change due to fossil fuels and deforestation, species extinction, and pollution – some of the most basic things we take for granted are under threat.
From rock stars, movie producers, to politicians, extraordinary heroes are standing up – and being recognized for taking a lead in the fight for a better world.
As a global leader in environmental advocacy and education, UCLA’s Institute of the Environment and Sustainability (IoES) honored some of the most influential change makers pivotal for making a difference.
The institute presented its Evening of Environmental Excellence third annual gala on Friday at a 49,300 square foot Beverly Hills estate offered by Tony and Jeanne Pritzker.
Hosted by Cheryl Hines, the event honored the remarkable accomplishments of Lawrence Bender, producer of An Inconvenient Truth, U.S. Representative Henry Waxman, and Linkin Park, founders of Music Relief.
“We're celebrating a community that has come together and is really trying to do something for the environment,” says Glen M. MacDonald, UC Presidential Chair and Director at IoES.
After accepting the Emerald Award for Environmental Advocacy, Chester Bennington and Mike Shinoda of Linkin Park received a standing ovation for a special acoustic performance of “Shadow Of The Day” and “What I've Done.”
After returning home from their first tour of Southeast Asia in 2004, the band was shocked seeing the devastation caused by the Indian Ocean tsunami. In response, they created Music Relief and have since raised $6 million for disaster relief and environmental programs.
Bender, also a Board member of the IoES for more than five years, was awarded for his influence in creating environmental awareness through filmmaking.
“All it takes is courage. Courage to act,” says Bender. “It’s time to stop talking and start doing.”
And of the easiest way we can all do our part is to, “Change our personal habits and live less energy-intensive lives,” states Bender.
Congressman Waxman received an award for his dedication to environmental advocacy presented by Robert F. Kennedy, Jr.
“Since the time of Watergate, Waxman has been in Washington,” MacDonald tells us. “Our air is cleaner because of his work.”
Other celebrity guests in attendance included Courtney Cox and Anjelica Huston, among others.
Proceeds from the gala will benefit the UCLA Institute of the Environment and Sustainability's research and education efforts.
Jessica Blotter, M.A.Ed., is founder and publisher of Kind Traveler, a new digital platform that empowers travelers to become a force for good every time they travel. As a writer, she has a column with CBS Los Angeles and Examiner and contributes regularly to Fast Company and Hospitality Design. Follow her on Twitter @TravelKindly
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