Green Inaugural Ball: 'Yes We Can' Be the New Green Economy
Former Vice President Al Gore served as the event's Honorary Chair and was joined by more than 75 environmental, conservation, labor, civil justice, youth, and business groups who are promoting clean and efficient energy, bringing the technologies to market, protecting America's natural heritage and creating the green jobs that will be at the heart of America's economic recovery. The sold out event was Executive Produced by Kevin Wall and Live Earth and featured musical performances by renowned artists will.i.am., Melissa Etheridge, Maroon 5, John Legend and Michael Franti. VIP guests included Blair Underwood, Lisa Ling, Paul Reiser, John Cusack, Bon Jovi, Paulina Rubio, as well as political heavyweights including House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Robert Kennedy, Jr.
Click here to view/print the full press release . "Solar, wind and other clean renewables are ready now to power our new energy economy and help us achieve national energy security.
The Green Ball is an important way to showcase how with the right policies, partners, and immediate reinvestment in America, we can bring about the change we need for our energy future," said Rhone Resch, president and CEO of the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA).
"This event celebrated the Big Green Tent – an ever expanding group of concerned citizens who know that restoring America's economic health is linked to restoring the health of our natural resources and reducing the impacts of global warming. Tonight we celebrated together the leadership of this network and the excitement we have to work with the new Administration and Congress to advance the green economy," said Larry Schweiger, President and CEO of the National Wildlife Federation.
"We are truly at a historical moment for our nation, on the environmental front as on so many others, and we are blessed to have a President who has an ambitious vision for restoring and building up our economy in a big, green way," said AWEA CEO Denise Bode. "The Green Ball celebrated President Obama and Vice President Biden's inauguration with gusto, hope, and with a determination from all of us to work in every possible way to bring about the new green economy."
"Throughout his campaign for President, Barack Obama demonstrated his commitment to the environment, clean energy, and protection of our nation's natural treasures. The Green Ball celebrates his election by bringing together the environmental, labor, civil justice, youth, religious, and business communities who are working together to design the policies, invent the technologies, and create the green jobs that will be at the heart of our economic recovery and long-term health and wealth of our country and the world," said Aimee Christensen, a National Co-Chair of Cleantech and Green Business for Obama and a member of the Green Ball Organizing Committee.
To ensure the event was a green as possible, a Greening Subcommittee looked at all the diverse elements that go into producing an event of this size. In partnership with Native Energy, 100% of the carbon footprint of the event is being offset with high quality carbon offsets from five different projects. Other greening elements include limited signage, efficient lighting, a green carpet by Bentley Prince Street, made with 100% renewable electricity, and through source separation, the event will recycle, reuse and compost as much material as possible. Renowned chef Nora Pouillon advised on the event menu, catered by Grand Cuisine and Chef Bradley Nairne. Chef Nora is the chef and owner of two of Washington, D.C.'s most popular restaurants (Nora and Asia Nora) and is a pioneer and champion of organic, environmentally conscious cuisine who promotes and embodies healthy, sustainable living. The menu included locally-sourced, organic, and seasonal food. All acceptable leftover food was donated to DC Central Kitchen. For more information on greening efforts, go to http://www.greenball2009.org/event_background.cfm.
In support of President-elect Obama's National Day of Service, a number of the 2009 Green Inaugural Ball sponsors and attendees participated in service projects in Washington DC including:
Repower a School and Neighborhood: The League of Conservation Voters Education Fund partnered with the DC Department of Public Schools, the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW), Standard Solar, Wal-Mart Inc. and Councilwoman Yvette Alexander to Repower a School and Neighborhood. This service event elevated the importance of building a clean energy economy to create good jobs and help consumers reduce their energy bills with efficient products. Standard Solars donated a solar system to Sousa Middle School, located in Southeast, DC. The system was installed by IBEW Local 26. The 2 KW system will help Sousa Middle School reduce its energy costs, generate revenue from renewable credits, and serve as a great education tool for the students and the community.
Volunteers distributed energy efficiency kits, donated by Wal-Mart Inc, to nearly 1,000 households in the neighborhood surrounding the school. The kits included three CFL bulbs, weatherization packs, surge protectors, and efficient showerheads. River Clean Up and Tree Planting: Volunteers from the National Wildlife Federation joined the Earth Conservation Corps and other partners along the shores of the Anacostia River in Southeast Washington DC in a river clean-up and tree planting project.
The morning river clean-up was followed by the planting of 44 trees along the banks of the river in celebration of the Presidential Inauguration, the country's National Day of Service and Martin Luther King Day. Highlights featuring Green Carpet arrivals, speeches, behind-the-scenes footage and interviews with special guests will be available for embedding on sites including http://www.greenballblog.com and http://www.greenball2009.org.
The Green Inaugural Ball was made possible by the following sponsors: Alston & Bird LLP; American Gas Association; American Wind Energy Association; Clean Tech & Green Business for Obama; Google; LiveFuels; Organic Soul, Inc.; Sierra Club; Solar Energy Industries Association; The AES Corporation; National Wildlife Federation; Sonnenschein Nath & Rosenthal LLP; U.S. Green Building Council; Activate; American Council on Renewable Energy; Capstone Turbine Corporation; Clean Power Campaign; Climate Change Capital; C-Quest Capital LLC; EcoAmerica; Enviance; Fenton Communications; First Solar; Hull Family Foundation; Hunton & Williams; KPMG LLP; MacGillivray Freeman Films Educational Foundation; Mariner Asset Management Services, LLC; Milbank, Tweed, Hadley & McCloy LLP; National Hydropower Association; Sand Hill; Group; Schott Solar; Solon SE; SunPower; Tom Soto of Craton Equity Partners; Trust for Public Land; Wind Capital Group; 1Sky Education Fund; Alliance for Sustainable Colorado; André Heinz; Bergeson & Campbell, P.C.; Beveridge & Diamond P.C.; Calpine Corporation; Chicago Climate Exchange; Christensen Global Strategies, LLC; Defenders of Wildlife; Dell; Devine Tarbell & Associates, Inc.; Dow Corning; Dunlap Browder; Earth Day Network; EarthJustice; Environmental Defense Fund; Esty Environmental Partners; Eurus Energy America Corporation; Gregor Bailar & Virginia Boyd; GroSolar; Island Press; Ken Berlin; League of Conservation Voters; Natural Resources Defense Council; NextLight Renewable Power; Nickelodeon; PG&E Physicians for Social Responsibility; Proteus Environmental Technologies; Rocky Mountain Institute; Sieben Energy Associates; SunWorks LLC; The Wildnerness Society; Wal-Mart; William & Diana Conway; Winning Connections; Zenvironment. All photos courtesy Getty Images.