Mayor of San Francisco Gavin Newsom rocked the green house
this weekend at the Global Green Millennium Awards in Los Angeles. Everyone was chatting at the
dinner in an impossible-to-quiet-down way, and the second Gavin took the stage
to accept his California Environmental Leadership Award – silence. Mayor Newsom
gave a fantastic speech about the importance of going green in San Francisco and cities in general, since
over two-thirds of us are now urban dwellers.
Gavin showed true leadership by emphasizing that now is the time to think bigger and bolder than ever before to meet the global warming challenges ahead. He is right. He finished by saying, “The best is yet to come.” He received a thunderous applause and made us proud to represent San Francisco. Afterwards, many Angelenos in the ladies room asked me when Gavin was going to run for Governor of California and even President!
In a first, the Global Green Millennium Awards were made 110% climate neutral by Climate Clean which offset all six greenhouse gases, not just carbon dioxide. A whopping 36,000 pounds of offsets in all. Move over carbon neutral, here comes climate negative.
Pierre Andre Senizergues was inspiring as the winner in the Corporate Environmental Leadership category, but he was the antithesis of corporate. Pierre was originally homeless upon immigrating to the U.S. from Paris. He become a famous professional skateboarder and then started the company Sole Technology, maker of popular footwear for action sports including skateboards, surfing, and snowboarding. Get your X Games shoe on. He believes in giving back to the environment and succeeds in running a truly sustainable company complete with solar panels and an eco line of sneakers. Pierre is one cool dude and a role model for young people and business owners everywhere. If business can become regenerative for the planet, rather than wasteful and destructive, we will all win long-term.
David Orr won for Individual Environmental Leadership for his work in ecological design at Oberlin and nationwide. David was really outstanding in the new movie The 11th Hour, which we screened in the afternoon. He spoke eloquently of the need for true leadership to lift the planet out of its spiral. One shining example of this leadership was award recipient Jena King who gave a passionate speech about saving Mother Earth for all children.
Speaking of mothers, Irmelin
DiCaprio gave a touching speech while accepting the Community Environmental
Leadership Award for running the Leonardo DiCaprio Foundation. She spoke humbly of growing up in
The 11th Hour does an extraordinary job of illuminating
what is happening to every ecosystem on the planet from a 30,000-foot view. We
grasp the sequence of how we got here and where we are going. It is
captivating, stunning, and motivating.
The Earth seems vast, but in reality it is becoming quite small relative to our ability to change it rapidly. For example, 95% of old-growth forests
have been chopped down and 90% of the large species in the ocean are near
soil is eroded due to conventional agriculture. Peak oil is here or near. And then there is that little thing called
global warming. We learn that nature provides $35 trillion worth of
services to the planet, compared to the aggregate $18 trillion GDP of all
countries combined, i.e. we can’t order a replacement for nature on the
We also hear from Thom Hartman, author of The Last Hours of Ancient Sunlight, about how society used to be based on current sunlight (supporting a maximum of 500 million people) and then moved to harvesting ancient sunlight in the form of fossil fuels during the Industrial Revolution. This has driven our planet’s population to over 3 billion, on its way to 9 billion. And for all of you Leo fans, there is lots of dashing Leo face time in the film.
As I was flying home looking out the airplane window, I could really see the state of the Earth clearly thanks to The 11th Hour. The film does an excellent job of highlighting the Green Solutions that are putting us on a sustainable path including solar power, biomimicry, green leadership, eco-consumer buyer power, and regenerative design that minimizes waste and leaves the planet healthier than we found it. I highly recommend seeing The 11th Hour when it opens in theaters early this Fall. Stay tuned for film party plans and invitations. I promise that they will be positively eco-glamorous and positive. No doom and gloom here!