Last night in San Francisco, the Julia Morgan Ballroom at the Merchants Exchange Building was the site of an incredible celebration: the California League of Conservation Voters’ 28th annual Environmental Leadership Awards. More than 300 environmental champions from the business, political, advocacy and nonprofit communities gathered together under the theme of “Building a Greener California” to honor some of California’s inspiring “green” leaders: Applied Materials, Environmental Entrepreneurs (E2) and Justice William A. Newsom.
These environmental champions have been dedicated in their efforts to ensure that California leads the nation in bold and innovative approaches to environmental stewardship:
• Environmental Entrepreneurs (E2), Bob Epstein and Nicole Lederer: The Independent Business Voice for the Environment. Working with the Natural Resources Defense Council, the E2 network proves that sound environmental and economic policies are necessary partners in the 21st Century. E2’s effort in passing and defending California’s groundbreaking Global Warming Solutions Act (AB 32) makes this network a truly important champion for California and the world.
• Applied Materials, Mike Splinter, CEO: A genuinely green Silicon Valley—and national—powerhouse. For over forty years Applied Materials has made energy efficiency the core of their work as they transform our lives through bold technological advances. Their innovation in solar technology alone has been a vital force in our state’s dramatic shift from fossil fuels to renewable energy.
• Justice William A. Newsom: A lifetime advocate for the environment, Judge Newsom has served on the boards of the Environmental Defense Fund, the Sierra Club, and Earthjustice. As administrator for the Gordon P. Getty Family Trust, Judge Newsom has worked to save Lake Tahoe, preserve and protect California’s wild rivers, and save the endangered California mountain lion.
CLCV’s Chief Executive Officer Warner Chabot kicked off the program with a compelling reminder that California is the birthplace of the modern environmental movement. He issued a call to action to all of the attendees to defeat the oil industry’s “dirty energy proposition” to overturn the state’s landmark global warming law, and to help elect CLCV-endorsed environmental champions like John Laird for Senate District 15, San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom for Lieutenant governor, SF District Attorney Kamala Harris for Attorney General, and the “greenest” candidate for governor.
Warner introduced CLCV Board member Ann Notthoff, the California advocacy director for the Natural Resources Defense Council, who in turn awarded Nicole Lederer and Bob Epstein from E2 the first Environmental Leadership Award of the evening. CLCV Board member Carl Guardino, the President and CEO of the Silicon Valley Leadership Group, awarded the Environmental Leadership Award to Mike Splinter the President and CEO of Applied Materials. Finally, San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom and Hilary Newsom Callan awarded the Byron Sher Lifetime Achievement Award to their father, Justice William A. Newsom.
In one of the evening’s most humorous moments, Justice Newsom told the crowd that he had decided to forgive Sher, who was once his law professor (and who was also in attendance), for giving him his only ‘D’ of law school. He became serious when he asked everyone in the crowd to call the White House and tell the Obama Administration to pull any plans to drill for oil off the Alaskan coast.
Justice Newsom concluded with the lines of a poem by Gerard Manley Hopkins:
”What would the world be, once bereft,
Of wet and of wildness? Let them be left,
O let them be left, wildness and wet;
Long live the weeds and the wilderness yet.”
More than two dozen attendees, including Mayor Newsom and the Honorable Byron Sher, recorded video testimonials for CLCV about what’s unique about California’s environment, and why we should fight to protect it. Those videos will be posted on CLCV’s campaign Web site to “Build a Greener Governor,” and will help send a message to all the candidates for governor that they should (like our amazing honorees) commit to a green path forward for the Golden State.
CLCV thanks our honorees, attendees, and all CLCV members for their role in making the 28th annual Environmental Leadership Awards a night to remember.