This holiday season, I'm celebrating by expressing my gratitude to one of the environmental movement's great trailblazers - Peter Berle. I encourage others to show their appreciation for great environmental leaders of today by nominating them for a new award in Peter's name.
Peter Berle was a pioneer and leader of the modern environmental movement locally, nationally and internationally. He appreciated more profoundly than most the importance of environmental safeguards in shaping our society. He led a law firm specializing in environmental protection decades before this was common; he led the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation; he led the Audubon Society. His advocacy for effective and tough health protections and the creation of the majestic Adirondack State Park continue to benefit all New Yorkers and others around the world. He was also a terrific person who lived with great passion; for a while he lived near me and whenever I saw him he seemed to radiate energy.
Peter passed away a year ago. We are grateful for his legacy and mindful of all that he did to our mutual goals. In his honor, the Century Foundation - in cooperation with the Natural Resources Defense Council, the National Audubon Society, the Environmental Defense Fund, the Environmental Law Section of the New York State Bar Association and former colleagues of Peter A. A. Berle - has established a new award intended to recognize environmental integrity demonstrated by public officials and private citizens in the United States.
The Peter A. A. Berle Environmental Integrity Award will be given annually to one or two U.S. citizens who, through action or scholarship, provide innovative leadership in helping the United States and the world confront the challenges of climate change, renewable energy, depletion of the oceans, species extinction, air, water and soil contamination, and the urban environment. The first award will be presented in the spring of 2009. The deadline for submissions is February 1, 2009, and it includes a prize of $2,000.
So join me and get into the holiday spirit this year by nominating the environmental leaders you are grateful for: http://www.nrdc.org/about/berle-award-application.asp.