The UCLA Institute of the Environment and Sustainability (IoES)-an organization dedicated to generating knowledge and solving regional and global environmental problems, presented its 2nd Annual Gala, An Evening of Environmental Excellence, at the Beverly Hills home of Jeanne and Anthony N. Pritzker. The event recognized the environmental accomplishments of Al Gore, Former U.S. Vice President and Nobel Peace Prize Laureate, along with Lyn Lear, Co-Founder of the Environmental Media Association.
The event was chaired by Lawrence Bender, Sydney Holland, Alexandria Jackson, Anthony N. Pritzker and Tina Quinn. It was also supported by more than 350 guests including L.A. Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa and celebrities Barbara Streisand, Warren Beatty, Annette Bening, Courtney Cox, Sumner Redstone, Jeff Goldblum, Zach Braff, Larry King, JJ Abrams, Alan and Cindy Horn, Jason Mraz, Sara Silverman, along with actress Amy Smart and Carter Osterhouse who also served as masters of ceremonies. Simultaneously during the event, auctioneer Grant Snyder hosted a live auction which featured a one week stay in a private villa hosted by the Amanpuri resorts-in Thailand. Among other valued treats, an autographed Fender Sting Guitar with a meet and greet Sting concert package, an autographed Bruce Springsteen guitar, and a Verengo Solar custom installed solar system.
Al Gore’s speech and insightful remarks by Glen MacDonald and Lyn Lear, highlighted the night’s celebration. “Last year was the warmest year in the history of North America,” Gore said, “We have spent $110 billion in climate-related disasters in the U.S. last year, smashing all the previous records. “Some of the damage has been done and will continue to unfold,” Gore added, “but it is nothing compared to what would happen if we do not say, “All shoulders to the wheel- We are going to change this.”
Glen MacDonald, director of the institute, added a neutral political touch when he said that the party featuring Gore and famous faces was not a Democrats-only affair. “I firmly believe that these challenges transcend politics,” MacDonald said. “They transcend to Republican-Democratic divide.” His message conveyed his wish to make the audience aware that in order to continue the fight for a more sustainable environment, corporations, republicans and democrats would have to forget differences and focus on a better planet for all.
Lyn Lear-Co- Founder of the Environmental Media Association, accepted her award recognizing her environmental contribution, she acknowledged the difficulty the world faces in confronting climate change. “When President Kennedy decided we would put a man on the moon, there was very little science on how we would actually achieve that, but JFK had a vision, and he understood the most powerful statements in the English language: ‘I will,’ ‘We will’ and ‘It shall be done,’ Lear said. “Solving climate change is our moon landing. From what I understand, this is the most difficult challenge we human beings have ever faced … So let’s remember JFK, and let’s remember the words ‘I will,’ ‘We will’ and ‘It shall be done.”
The gathering raised more than one million dollars to benefit the IoES and the crowd was also treated to a performance by musician Jason Mraz and a standup routine by Sarah Silverman. Silverman provided a comedic spin to climate matters stating-“I believe in miracles they’re obviously science-based, but they’re beyond my comprehension, so to me, they’re miracles,” in what seemed like a possible segue to discussing climate change. Instead, she launched her humor routine making the audience burst in laughter.
Global warming has already impacted our climate all over the world. Working towards a more sustainable environment is everybody’s job, it is the politicians who determined the future of our planet but we as citizens get to live the consequences. If we get more educated and involved in supporting programs such as the Institute of the environment and sustainability, then we will be able to understand and support our own environmental practices, community leaders and business alike.
The mission of the UCLA Institute of the Environment and Sustainability is to generate knowledge and solve regional and global environmental problems. The IoES educates the next generation of professional and scientific leadership committed to the health of the planet and drives interdisciplinary environment and sustainability initiatives on campus.
For information, visit www.Environment.UCLA.edu.