2016 Earth Day Network Climate Leadership Gala: A Celebration and Further Motivation
May 11, 2016
On May 10th, Earth Day Network’s 2016 Climate Leadership Gala was held at the Mayflower Hotel in Washington, D.C. This year, we brought over 300 leaders from civic groups, government, and NGOs to celebrate achievements and leadership in the international environmental movement.
Kathleen Matthews was our Master of Ceremonies for the gala. She opened with remarks about her experience as the former Marriott International Executive VP of Global Communications and Public Affairs. Kathleen Rogers, President of Earth Day Network, spoke about how EDN has been devoted to the environmental movement since its inception. The night also included Karuna Singh, the Country Director of Earth Day India. She spoke about the over 10,000 Earth Day events in India this year as a sign of the increasing influence of Earth Day and other environmental movements throughout India.
Next, Gerald Torres, Earth Day Network’s Board Chair and the Jane M.G. Foster Professor of Cornell University’s Law School introduced Rachel Kyte, who was honored with this year’s Women and the Green Economy (WAGE) Leadership Award. Rachel Kyte held a significant role in the success of the Paris Agreement as the World Bank Group’s Special Envoy for Climate Change. She gave a speech on the pivotal role of women as the future leaders of the global environmental movement. As Special Representative of the United Nations Secretary-General and CEO for Sustainable Energy for All, Rachel Kyte is devoted to combating poverty and climate change through technological advances and the increased availability of sustainable energy technology for all communities.
The Gala also included a speech by Virginia Tech’s Dr. Amy Pruden and her student assistants/volunteers. They were part of the group that worked to uncover and provide scientific evidence for the nationally circulated lead contaminated water crisis in Flint, Michigan. Dr. Pruden talked about her group’s extensive work in Flint and applauded her graduate students for their dedication to their work and the community of Flint, and for going above and beyond the call of duty.
The next speaker was Mindy Lubber. As the current President of Ceres, an organization devoted to furthering sustainable practices and investments in business, Lubber spoke about the role of economics in the global environmental movement. While technological advances are important to the success of the environmental movement, without businesses, nations, and individuals that embrace these advances, there will be no progress. Lubber also spoke on the effects that climate change will have on future generations, stating that unless we act now, our children, grandchildren, and countless future generations will face the devastating environmental consequences.
Overall, this year’s annual Climate Leadership Gala was an overwhelming success. Earth Day Network would again like to congratulate those honored, and thank everyone that was able to attend. We hope to see you all next year!