Elon Musk, Richard Branson Headline Climate Leadership Gala in D.C.





EARTH DAY NETWORK

 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:

May 22, 2012

 

Contact: Bryan Buchanan (202) 518-0044 x 14, buchanan@earthday.org

 

Elon Musk, Richard Branson Headline Climate Leadership Gala in D.C.

 

Global Entrepreneurs Join Sec. Moniz, Melanne Verveer, Yves-Francois Blanchet, James Balog, Ed Begley, members of Congress and Hundreds of Green Economy Leaders at Annual Event

 

WASHINGTON – Earth Day Network held the fourth annual Climate Leadership Gala today, bringing together hundreds of green economy leaders in business, government and the NGO community to celebrate achievements and share ideas for forging the path to a post-carbon future. This year’s event was headlined by remarks from Elon Musk, CEO of SpaceX and Tesla Motors, and Sir Richard Branson, founder of Virgin Group.

Over the last four years, the Climate Leadership Gala has become a premier event for those that are defining the new green economy. It serves not only as a networking event for movers and shakers in the sustainability movement but also as an ideas forum where leaders advance bold visions for expanding emerging sectors of the green economy.

“Earth Day Network reminds us of the wonderful, miraculous qualities of our planet – the home that gives us so much, that we take so much from every day – but it does not do it in a doom-and-gloom kind of way,” said Branson. “Instead, Earth Day Network celebrates the many individuals, organizations and innovative partnerships that are working tirelessly to give back what the planet has given us: life.”

Branson presented Musk with Earth Day Network’s 2013 Climate Visionary Award during the event for Musk’s extensive work in advancing renewable energy technologies.

This year’s event featured a diverse list of speakers and participants, including Sec. Ernest Moniz, U.S. Secretary of Energy; Melanne Verveer, executive director of the Georgetown Institute for Women, Peace and Security and former U.S. Ambassador for Global Women's Issues; Yves-Francois Blanchet, Québec Minister of Sustainable Development and Environment; James Balog, founder of Extreme Ice Survey and star of Academy Award® shortlisted documentary Chasing Ice; Kathy Calvin, president and CEO of the UN Foundation; members of Congress; actor John Corbett, and many more. The evening was hosted by actor and green living expert Ed Begley, Jr.

Earth Day Network also honored Verveer with the 2013 Women and the Green Economy (WAGE®) Leadership Award. WAGE is a program of Earth Day Network that engages women in business, government and NGOs to promote the green economy, secure educational and job training opportunities for women, and channel green investment to benefit women.

“Like the industrial revolution in the 19th century, the transition to a green economy in the 21st century will be an historic global transformation,” said Verveer. “It’s critical that women – currently underrepresented in the businesses and institutions that that define and design our economy – are given the necessary opportunities to use their unique skills to hasten this necessary change and ensure that it is just.”  

The evening included a discussion of current climate science and the state of play for some of the planet’s most vulnerable regions.

“Climate change is altering our planet faster and in more dangerous ways than most climate scientists had predicted,” said Balog, whose photographic work documenting the decline of arctic ice was on display. “The people in this room are leading the way to an environmentally sustainable future, and it’s going to take everyone working together – business, government, NGOs, and ordinary citizens – to create change on the scale we need.”

There was also an exploration of forward-thinking climate policies.

''Quebec has laid the necessary groundwork to make the imperative transition to a more sustainable future,” said Blanchet. “We are also proud to play an active part in several alliances of like-minded states that believe that economic growth and the fight against climate change are not mutually exclusive, au contraire.”

Kathleen Rogers, president of Earth Day Network, “Earth Day Network is proud to support the work of these innovators and policymakers not just at this even. We’re proud to bring entrepreneurial activists together to strengthen the fabric of our movement and share cutting-edge ideas for creating a clean environment while creating jobs.”

The event was sponsored by Jour de la Terre, Quebec, Southwest Airlines, Tesla Motors, and University of Phoenix.

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Earth Day Network mobilizes over one billion people in 192 countries through year-round advocacy, education, public policy and consumer campaigns to protect the environment. www.earthday.org