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Environmentalists Honored For Extraordinary Efforts

By Gina Hall

  [Gina has a Film Degree from USC Film School and works with Global Green USA. She 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. 

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.

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. 

“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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Mark Ruffalo and Orlando Bloom For Global Green USA, June 4, 2011 Santa Monica

<p>Mark Ruffalo and Orlando Bloom For Global Green USA, June 4 2011 Santa Monica from Greening Hollywood on Vimeo.</p><p>“Be The Change” - Ghandi :  This past weekend  Orlando Bloom, Mark Ruffalo, Ed Begley Jr., Adrian Grenier, Mary Leslie (LABC), Jamie Lee Curtis, Kevin and Mrs. Bacon, and many more turned out for the 2011 Global Green USA Millennium Awards in Santa Monica this June in support of environmental efforts.</p>

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Film Review: Scarred Lands and Wounded Lives

By Gina Hall

[Guest Blogger Gina Hall has a Film Degree from USC. Her day job is with Global Green USA in Santa Monica]

The documentary Scarred Lands and Wounded Lives: The Environmental Footprint of War is a shocking revelation of the long-term environmental impact of America’s wars over the past century and isn’t for those with a weak stomach or who want to pretend we’re always the good guys. From hundreds of sunken World War II ships slowly leaking oil, to Agent Orange, to land-mines and cluster bombs that still litter a landscape, the film highlights America’s lasting legacy in the war zones we’ve left behind after declaring “mission accomplished.”

Filmmakers Alice and Lincoln Day feature several expert talking-heads who guide the narrative matter-of-factly through our various assaults on the lands in which we wage war. It’s not an entertaining documentary, it doesn’t use animation or clever editing to engage. It has facts and visual evidence on its side. And if the melted faces of children affected by Agent Orange or the landmine-mangled foot of an elephant doesn’t viscerally affect you, then you have a harder heart than mine.

A statistic the film cites is that prior to the past hundred years 90 percent of war victims were combatants and 10 percent were civilians. Now it is the reverse, with 90 percent of victims being civilians to 10 percent actual combatants. The total body counts may be lower, but the documentary makes clear the human costs of spreading “freedom.” In addition there’s the toll on our coral reefs, water supply, soil, air and just about everything else we need to sustain life on Earth. There’s a cringe-worthy moment of footage of a U.S. armed forces official selling the natives around Bikini Atoll on their important contribution to humanity in allowing nuclear bomb tests near their homes.

It becomes clear that people in these conflict areas don’t hate us, as Bush said, because of our freedom, they hate us because we’re assholes. We seem to have a bad habit of bombing, consuming resources, salting the earth and moving on. The film doesn’t look to place blame on our men and women in the armed services, but does shine a light on economic policies that put them there. With documentaries like this, it’s getting harder and harder for our government to sell war as the humanitarian act of liberation.  If you have to see the proof for yourself, the images are here and they’re not easy to look at.

The film is being aired locally around the country, is available for screenings and on DVD. For more information visit
Photo Credit: Scarred Lands and Wounded Lives
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Leonardo DiCaprio narrates this Water Video. March 22nd was World Water Day. Video brought to you by Global Green USA.


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