Washington, D.C. — At its annual dinner in the nation’s capital Wednesday night, the League of Conservation Voters (LCV) presented awards to actor and activist Adrian Grenier, conservationist and philanthropist Hansjorg Wyss, and the New Jersey League of Conservation Voters.
National Environmental Visionary Award presented to Hansjorg Wyss, chairman of the Wyss Foundation
As an active philanthropist, Mr. Wyss’ giving fosters new ideas, new tools, and new collaborations in areas from land conservation to education and the arts, to economic opportunity and conflict resolution. Mr. Wyss currently serves as Chairman of The Wyss Foundation, which he established in 1998 with a main focus on the protection of public lands in the American West. Since its creation, the Foundation’s support for locally-driven conservation initiatives has led to the protection of more than 20 million acres of public lands for the benefit of current and future generations. Thanks to Mr. Wyss’ philanthropy, the Wyss Foundation has recently broadened its efforts to help conserve wild places around the globe. For example, in 2016, it made a landmark $65 million commitment to African Parks to support the protection and management of four existing parks in Rwanda and Malawi and to enable the non-profit organization to conserve up to five new protected areas in other countries.
John Podesta, who presented the award said, “In my mind, Hansjörg’s most powerful and lasting contribution to the health of our planet is not any single place he has protected, but a principle that he has defended and enriched. It is the idea that our lands, waters, and wildlife should be conserved not behind fences or for the benefit of the few. The wild wonders of the world—the geography of hope, as Wallace Stegner put it— can and should be conserved by the people, for the people, and for all time.”
“Conservation, of course, is not an American invention,” said Wyss. “There were royals and nobles in Europe who had wild game locked behind their castle walls. But the idea of conserving lands and waters and wildlife for the benefit of all people is as radically American as it is intrinsically democratic.”
LCV’s Platform for Progress Award presented to Adrian Grenier, Actor, filmmaker, and UN Environment Goodwill Ambassador
The Platform for Progress award is given to a public figure who has used their prestige to elevate today’s most pressing environmental challenges. This year’s recipient, actor and activist Adrian Grenier, is a dedicated environmental activist who has been influencing environmental progress for nearly a decade. In 2015, he greatly expanded his environmental work by co-founding the Lonely Whale Foundation, which uses creative marketing and radical collaboration to highlight the devastating effects of pollution on our oceans and its inhabitants. In 2017, he was appointed as a UN Environment Goodwill Ambassador to advocate for drastically reducing single-use plastic straws, an initiative that would protect marine species and encourage eco-conscious consumer choices. Grenier is as passionate about embodying compelling characters as he is about developing successful business ventures and leading a global evolutionary shift: a campaign for environmentally conscious living.
Reverend Lennox Yearwood, LCV Board Member and President of the Hip Hop Caucus, presented the award and said, “I’m truly pleased to present this award to Adrian Grenier, an actor and activist who has connected with us on screen—won our hearts, inspired our minds, dazzled our sensibilities—and found a way to translate this talent to activism, to better this place we all live.”
“Now, more than ever, is a time to take responsibility into our own hands,” said Grenier. “From our personal lives to board rooms to every level of elected office, we need the environment to be a part of our routine, a part of our decision-making.”
The John Hunting Winning for the Environment Award presented to the New Jersey League of Conservation Voters, Ed Potosnak, Executive Director
This award was created to honor LCV Honorary Board Member John Hunting’s legacy of service and expertise to the Conservation Voter Movement and to recognize the growing power of the state affiliates. The New Jersey League of Conservation Voters worked tirelessly to win big on the environment in 2017 and secure a safe and healthy environment for all citizens of New Jersey. Before the 2017 gubernatorial election, the NJLCV asked all candidates “Will you commit to 100 percent clean energy in New Jersey by 2050?” Over six months, the campaign won commitments from every Democratic candidate in the primary to support a move to 100% clean energy by 2050. After Governor Phil Murphy’s victory, Ed Potosnak, NLCV Executive Director, served on his transition team, helping to ensure that New Jersey was ready to tackle our ambitious clean energy goals. New Jersey is back in the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative. With New Jersey having high potential for offshore wind energy, the state has also committed to producing the largest amount of offshore wind energy in the country.
New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy appearing via video said, “Because of the leadership and passion shown by the New Jersey League of Conservation Voters, residents of other states who share our values and vision now have an example of what is possible when we work together. To Ed and everyone at the New Jersey League of Conservation Voters, thank you and congratulations.”
“I’m incredibly proud of what New Jersey LCV accomplished this last year—we truly had an exceptional year,” said NJLCV Executive Director Ed Potosnak. “For me, these accomplishments reminded me of the hope and progress that elections can bring.”