Category Archives: Santa Monica

Environmentalists Honored For Extraordinary Efforts

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By Gina Hall
[Gina is a USC Film School Graduate. She works with Global Green USA and is a guest blogger for the Green Blog Network.]
Environmental nonprofit Global Green USA celebrated its 15th annual Millennium Awards at a star-studded fundraising gala at the Fairmont Miramar Hotel & Bungalows in Santa Monica on Saturday. Celebrity guests and presenters included Kyra Sedgwick, Kevin Bacon, Jamie Lee Curtis, Christopher Guest, Orlando Bloom, Miranda Kerr and Adrian Grenier. 
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One of the evening’s high-profile honorees was actor Mark Ruffalo, recently nominated for the Best Supporting Actor Oscar for The Kids are Alright. Actress Laura Dern presented Ruffalo with his honor for his work to eliminate the controversial hydraulic fracturing, a.k.a., “hydrofracking,” a chemical process that fractures shale in order to retrieve oil and natural gas. The process, as seen in the Oscar-nominated documentary Gasland, has been shown to contaminate water supplies to the point of becoming flammable. Ruffalo has testified before Congress, arguing for a ban on the practice and has started his own foundation, Water Defense, to educate the public on the dangers of hydrofracking.

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Ed Begley, Jr. was also among the honorees, for his work to inspire others to create a more sustainable world. Featured on the reality program, Living with Ed, the actor and Studio City resident has become associated with the ultimate in green living – even going as far as generating power for his home via stationary bicycle.  Other honorees included the Los Angeles Business Council for their work to encourage the use of solar power in the city, and Wendy Schmidt, founder of the Schmidt Family Foundation and the Wendy Schmidt Oil Cleanup X Prize. 
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“Thanks to our sponsors, including Sprint, 360 Vodka and dozens more, Global Green raised over $470,000 to support our local and national initiatives,” noted Global Green’s Communications Director Ruben Aronin. 

“We are so excited to celebrate the impressive achievements of our 2011 Millennium Awards Honorees,” said Global Green President and CEO Matt Petersen. “It’s particularly auspicious to celebrate these leaders as World Environment Day approaches and we mark the one-year countdown to the Rio Earth Summit in 2012, when our global leaders will gather to make commitments to make our world more sustainable. Global Green will be marshaling its supporters to call for local and community-based approaches to solving climate change, including creating greener cities, schools and affordable housing for families.”
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>Paris Announces Autolib’ Car Service On Demand

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Modeling itself after the successful Autolib’ service already in practice in Lyon, France, Paris announced earlier this week that by March 2012, at the latest, their Autolib’ service will be fully in play.

AutoLib’, the electric car rental program, is modelled after the wildly popular Velib’ program, whereby citizens, tourists and visitors alike can pick up a bicycle at numerous points around the city, use it for a half an hour, half a day or longer, and then drop it off at another station when they’re finished with it. The pick-up and drop-off stations, which function as one and the same, are nearly as numerous as Metro stations. 

The program is designed for short-term use for both the bicycle and Auto usage. They’re available 24/7. And it is ridiculously cheap. To use an Autolib’ car in Lyon prices start at 2,10 Euro for basic car models from Citroen, Peugeot, Toyota. You first purchase a membership for a minimum of one year and on top of that you pay a deposit to cover any possible damages. But you can even take a car between the hours of 11pm and 7 am for free. 

On this program, Paris is worlds ahead of, for example, Santa Monica, a city in California, the nation’s greenest state, that prides itself on its green transportation policies.

On December 16th the California Air Resources Board (CARB) voted in favor of California’s nation leading Cap-and-Trade program under AB 32. 

Here is what California’s Governor had to say about it: 

And I’m so proud of this team here because it’s one thing when the legislators get together and say AB 32  and here’s the bill  and they give you these documents that are 1,000 pages long and all this stuff. And then the governor goes out and talks about it and I sign it and we have bill signing ceremonies and all of those things that we had. But then someone has to follow through and make it become a reality  and the people you see in front of you here are the people that make this become a reality. I know today, even though we are 10 years away from 2020 but I know today that we will have a reduction of 25 percent of greenhouse gases by the year 2020, only because I have such an excellent team here.

I am thinking that California may just need to take some pages from Paris’s playbook on public transportation policy. Especially in cities such as San Francisco, Santa Monica, Pasadena and other such coastal cities that are already readily adaptable to something like the Autolib’ and the Velib’.

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>Heal the Bay’s Bring Back The Beach 25th Anniversary Gala

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      WHAT: Southern California’s leading environmental group celebrated 25 years of healing the bay with a gala under the stars on Santa Monica Beach. Nearly 1,000 guests dug their toes in the sand and enjoyed open-air mingling, sustainable fine dining and a special performance by singer-songwriter Jakob Dylan.

WHERE: The Jonathan Club

WHEN:  It took place on Thursday, May 20th. The following pictures are courtesy of Heal The Bay.

      WHO: Among the notables attending the beach-chic party: Heal the Bay board members and actresses Julia Louis-Dreyfus and Amy Smart; TV personalities Chad Lowe, Dule Hill, Hall Sparks, Donna Mills, Shay Mitchell, Kali Hawk and Lindsay Wagner; trailblazing surf legend PT Townend; state legislators Fran Pavley and Julia Brownley; former California Speaker of the House Willie Brown and philanthropists Tom Unterman, Mark Attanasio and Kelly Meyer.

      This year’s “Bring Back the Beach” honorees included actor-director Nicolas Cage, a key supporter of Heal the Bay; corporate partner The Walt Disney Co., and longtime board members Luann Laval Williams and Jack Baylis

      MORE:  Heal the Bay is a Santa Monica-based environmental group dedicated to making Southern California coastal waters safe, clean and healthy for people and marine life.