Presenting the 2011 Planet Defenders

Thanks to thoughtful input from Rock the Earth members and friends, we present our 2011 Planet Defenders! The winners in the three categories are:

Artist: Pearl Jam
Community Leader: Robert F. Kennedy, Jr.
Grassroots Activism: Josh Fox

This year's winner in the ARTIST category, Pearl Jam, has over the course of a 20 year career, not only set the bar high in the world of rock music, but also in their dedication to environmental activism. Lead singer, Eddie Vedder, often participates in fundraisers and benefits for environmental groups like the Kelly Slater Foundation and Jack Johnson’s Kokua Hawaii Foundation. He and the rest of Pearl Jam have donated money to groups that focus on climate change and other environmental concerns. Vedder is also a surfer and active in surf-related conservation efforts, most notably Surfrider Foundation. Guitarist Stone Gossard has been active in environmental pursuits, and has been an advocate of Pearl Jam's carbon neutral policy, offsetting the band's environmental impact. Spearheaded by Gossard, the band established a Carbon Portfolio Strategy, Pearl Jam’s ongoing efforts to advance clean renewable energy and carbon mitigation. Through this Strategy, the band has donated more than $150,000 to nine organizations doing innovative work around climate change, renewable energy, and the environment. By working with these organizations to mitigate carbon emissions, Pearl Jam ultimately hopes to become 0% net emissions for all tours and band businesses. A committed environmentalist, Stone has quietly worked to use this influence to effect change locally and internationally through direct involvement in many environmental issues through his work with the Wild Salmon Center, Conservation International, Cascade Land Conservancy, New Apollo Energy Project, and Honor the Earth. In 2010, the band announced they would mitigate carbon emissions from their 2009 Backspacer Tour by donating $210,000 towards planting trees in the area of Puget Sound, Washington. RtE applauds Pearl Jam for setting a stellar example of how to Rock the Earth in a conscientious manner.

Robert F. Kennedy, Jr.'s reputation as a resolute defender of the environment stems from a litany of successful legal actions. Mr. Kennedy was named one of Time magazine's “Heroes for the Planet” for his success helping the environmental advocacy organization Riverkeeper lead the fight to restore the Hudson River. The group's achievement helped spawn more than 130 Waterkeeper organizations across the globe. Mr. Kennedy serves as Chief Prosecuting Attorney for the Hudson Riverkeeper and President of Waterkeeper Alliance. He is also a Clinical Professor and Supervising Attorney at Pace University School of Law’s Environmental Litigation Clinic and is co-host of Ring of Fire on Air America Radio. Earlier in his career he served as Assistant District Attorney in New York City. He has worked on several political campaigns including the presidential campaigns of Edward M. Kennedy in 1980, Al Gore in 2000 and John Kerry in 2004. A tireless advocate, his commitment to the environment has earned him the Planet Defender award as COMMUNITY LEADER.

Kennedy says, “I am honored to accept Rock the Earth’s Planet Defender award for Community Leader. In a time when corporate interests buy and sell political influence, grassroots organizations along with every-day citizens who risk their lives and livelihoods are the last lines of defense to ensure that our children and our grandchildren have access to clean water, clean air, and some of the most majestic and threatened places on Earth. I, along with groups like Rock the Earth are not protecting nature for nature's sake. We're protecting it because it enriches us, it enriches our economy and ultimately, will define us as a civilization for generations."

Director of the film, Gasland, Josh Fox is the founder and Artistic Director of International WOW Company, a film and theater company that works closely with filmmakers from around the world to create new work that addresses current national and global social and political crises. Josh's work is known for its mix of gripping narrative, heightened imagery and its commitment to socially conscious themes and subjects. Most recently, Josh wrote and directed GASLAND his first documentary feature, which premiered at SUNDANCE film festival in the U.S. documentary competition. The film is about the largest domestic natural gas drilling boom in history that has swept across the United States. What is uncovered is truly shocking: water that can be lit on fire right out of the sink; chronically ill residents of drilling areas from disparate locations in the U.S., all with the same mysterious symptoms; huge pools of toxic waste that kill cattle and vegetation; well blowouts and huge gas explosions – all consistently covered up by state and federal regulatory agencies. Josh's commitment and passion to bring this to light on the large screen garners him Rock the Earth's Planet Defender award as GRASSROOTS ACTIVIST.

Fox says, "It's a great honor to receive the Planet Defender Award. I appreciate all the attention given to Gasland, the film. Hydrofracking is an issue that continues to affect Americans. I encourage everyone to get involved with grassroots organizations like Rock the Earth if they want to continue to have their tap water."

This year's Planet Defenders join last year's recipients, Artist Bonnie Raitt, Community Leader Laurie David of Stop Global Warming, and Grassroots Activist Louie Psihoyos of "The Cove," as those we honor as individuals who embody Rock the Earth's mission to Defend the Planet One Beat at a Time. Each Planet Defender recipient will receive a one-of-a-kind award collectively created by artists Joe Benvenuto, Jason Garrett and Chico Raskey (Chico Artglass).

Bookmark and Share(( back to to Rock the Earth Notes ))