Environmental Champion Robert Redford Wins New Award

NRDC Trustee Robert Redford has received the new LEAF award from Duke University's Nicholas School of the Environment. The award honors Lifetime Environmental Achievement in the Fine Arts, and I think Redford is great inaugural recipient.

Robert Redford has been an anchor for NRDC for over 30 years. Way back in 1974, he turned the premiere of All the President's Men into a benefit for NRDC. It was a huge, sold-out success, both for Redford's film and for our fledging non-profit that welcomed the support.

Since then, Redford has been an insightful, informed, and dedicated NRDC member. He has been our voice to the public and helped mobilize our activists to send millions of messages to lawmakers on behalf of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge and other irreplaceable wildlands. His commitment to public lands, particularly in Utah, the state he loves so much, was absolutely critical to NRDC's success in beating back the egregious practices of the Bush administration.

But as the LEAF award demonstrates, Redford doesn't limit his passion for the environment to advocacy. He channels it through his artwork as well. From The Milagro Beanfield Wars to A River Runs through It and the Horse Whisperer, Redford's films are infused with the beauty and power of the natural world.

Redford has wisely urged NRDC to better communicate our work through visual imagery as well. He has guided us in using photography, video, and film to illustrate the splendor of the places we strive to protect.

A few years ago, NRDC decided to honor Redford in our own way. We named our Southern California office the Robert Redford Building. When the space was opened in 2003, it was the greenest office in the world. I am happy to say it didn't stay that way: other buildings have since been built following equally rigorous design standards. To me, that makes at an even better tribute to Redford: it is a green place that inspires others to protect our natural resources.