James Hansen And David Foster Share Inaugural Peter A. A. Berle Environmental Integrity Awards

Published: Apr 30, 2009
New York, NY - 
James E. Hansen, director of the NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies, and David Foster, executive director of the Blue Green Alliance, are the first recipients of the Peter A. A. Berle Environmental Integrity Award, established to recognize demonstrated courage and integrity in defense of the environment. 

Audubon President John Flicker said, "Peter Berle was a mentor for so many of today's environmental leaders, and his vision lives on in their work." Mr. Berle was president of the National Audubon Society from 1984 to 1994.

James E. Hansen receives the award for his pioneering role in helping the world begin to confront global warming. His testimony before Congress in 1988, in which he declared that mounting scientific evidence showed that human activities were warming the planet with possibly dangerous consequences, was pivotal. When President Bush repudiated the Kyoto Protocol after taking office, Dr. Hansen continued to press for concerted action, even when speaking out threatened his position as a federal employee. Hansen continues to press for urgent government and private action before global warming the consequences of current practices become irreversible.

David Foster receives the award for being a transformative force in social justice and environmental sustainability. The Blue Green Alliance, which he leads, is dedicated to expanding the green economy and advancing workers' rights around the globe. Under his leadership, the Blue Green Alliance unites more than six million people in pursuit of good jobs, a clean environment, and a green economy with a focus that includes global warming, clean energy, fair trade, and reducing toxins in the workplace.

In announcing the award winners, Richard C. Leone, President of The Century Foundation, said "Peter Berle's life demonstrated a level of courage and integrity in defense of the environment that is all too unusual in public life in the United States today. David Foster and James Hansen represent the values that Peter Berle lived by."

In addition to his leadership at the National Audubon Society, Berle served in the New York Legislature and as New York State's commissioner of environmental conservation, as president of the City Parks Council, as chairman of the Joint Public Advisory Committee to the North American Commission on Environmental Cooperation, as vice-chairman of the New York Independent System Operator (which manages New York's electric power grid), and as president of the Stockbridge Land Trust. He helped establish the Adirondack Park Agency, wrote a guide on how citizens could influence public policy, was a leading environmental lawyer from the inception of modern environmental law, and provided trenchant environmental commentaries on National Public Radio for more than ten years after he retired from Audubon.

"Peter Berle lived by his principles both as a private citizen and as a public servant," said Mr. Leone. "He believed the environmental challenges facing our nation require creative thinking, straight talk, and principled action and that environmental progress also requires the rule of law and social justice. These are the qualities that our country needs today, and that the Berle Environmental Integrity Award is intended to foster."

The Peter A. A. Berle Environmental Integrity Award is given annually to up to two U.S. citizens who, through action or scholarship, provide innovative leadership in helping the United States and the world confront the challenges of climate change, renewable energy, depletion of the oceans, species extinction, air, water and soil contamination, and the urban environment. The winners were selected by a panel that included representatives from The Century Foundation and the leading environmental organizations that joined in announcing the award.

Read a tribute to Peter Berle published in Audubon magazine.

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The Century Foundation conducts public policy research and analyses of economic, social, and foreign policy issues, including inequality, retirement security, election reform, media studies, homeland security, and international affairs. The foundation produces books, reports, and other publications, convenes task forces and working groups, and operates seven informational Web sites. With offices in New York City and Washington, D.C., The Century Foundation is nonprofit and nonpartisan and was founded in 1919 by Edward A. Filene www.tcf.org
For more information about the award, contact Carol Starmack at starmack@tcf.org or (212) 535-4441.

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The National Audubon Society saves birds and their habitats throughout the Americas using science, advocacy, education and on-the-ground conservation. Audubon's state programs, nature centers, chapters and partners have an unparalleled wingspan that reaches millions of people each year to inform, inspire and unite diverse communities in conservation action. Since 1905, Audubon's vision has been a world in which people and wildlife thrive. Audubon is a nonprofit conservation organization. Learn more at www.audubon.org and @audubonsociety.

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