Robert Redford

Robert Redford is somewhat of an anomaly in the entertainment industry. Though he has been world-famous for some 30 years, he remains a highly private individual. He is an ardent conservationist and environmentalist, a man who stands for social responsibility and political involvement and an artist and businessman who is a staunch supporter of uncompromised creative expression. His life-long passion for nature and issues of justice has resulted in Redford being widely acknowledged as a highly effective and dedicated political and environmental activist. He is recognized the world over for the roles he has played and the projects he has directed or produced throughout a distinguished stage and film career. His passion remains to make films of substance and social/cultural relevance, as well as to encourage others to express themselves through the arts. Believing that it is the unexpected and uncommon, which ultimately enlivens the cultural ecology of a society, Redford has nurtured more than a generation of innovative voices in independent film through his non-profit Sundance Institute and Film Festival. Harvard Business Review observed, “Sundance has become to Hollywood what Silicon Valley has been to the high-tech industry.”

Robert Redford on clean energy and the presidential debate

Article: Robert Redford on clean energy and the presidential debate

This piece was originally published on The Huffington Post yesterday.

So, the first 2012 Presidential debate starts in a few minutes. I’m fairly sure Mitt Romney thinks he has an ace in the hole by using the Keystone XL tar sands pipeline against President Obama. In fact, he and his running mate, Paul Ryan, have said they’ll approve it on day one of their administration.

Stop public handouts to oil, gas and coal companies. Now.

Article: Stop public handouts to oil, gas and coal companies. Now.

Join mass action today, Monday, June 18th– Tweet & Facebook #endfossilfuelsubsidies

Every year, around the world, almost one trillion dollars of subsidies is handed out to help the fossil fuel industry. Who came up with the crazy idea that the fossil fuel industry deserves our hard-earned money, no less in economic times of such harsh human consequence? We fire teachers, police and firemen in drastic budget cuts and yet, the fossil fuel industry can laugh all the way to the bank on our dime? Something doesn’t add up here.

Keystone XL: 24 hours, 800,000 voices

Article: Keystone XL: 24 hours, 800,000 voices

Image credit: chesepeakeclimate

The Keystone XL tar sands pipeline was dealt a big blow in the 24 hours during which you asked your friends, family and neighbors to weigh in on it.  In 24 hours, 800,000 of us raised our voices on this matter and yesterday all of your letters – that’s right, all of them – were hand delivered to Capitol Hill.

24 hours to stop the pipeline – be the solution

Article: 24 hours to stop the pipeline – be the solution

Every once in a while an opportunity comes along for all of us to be the solution. This is one of those times. We’re collecting a half million messages to stop the Keystone XL tar sands pipeline in the next 24 hours.

This dirty, dangerous tar sands pipeline is not in the national interest. It’s that simple. And the United States Senate, officials of both parties, need to hear that message loud and clear and fast because some of them are threatening to push a bill as soon as Tuesday, to approve it.

Keystone XL Tar Sands Pipeline: the facts deserve repeating

Article: Keystone XL Tar Sands Pipeline: the facts deserve repeating

Joe Nocera’s

President Obama stands up to big oil

Article: President Obama stands up to big oil

Photo by Emma Cassidy, licensed under a Creative Commons license
Let’s face it: Big Oil is used to getting its way. But not today… and we have President Obama to thank for standing up to them in spite of the political risk.

President Obama has just rejected a permit for the Keystone XL tar sands pipeline — a project that promised riches for the oil giants and an environmental disaster for the rest of us.

His decision represents a victory of historic proportions for people from throughout the pipeline path and all across America who have waged an uphill, years-long fight against one of the most nightmarish fossil fuel projects of our time.

But make no mistake: Big Oil is going to fight back hard and fast.

Congress and Keystone XL: A national disgrace

Article: Congress and Keystone XL: A national disgrace

Photo credit: tarsandaction

The Congress is ending the year much as it began — playing politics with our nation’s future and putting American families at risk to score partisan points.

In the closing act to a shameful year of paralysis and indecision on the issues that matter most, House Republicans held common-sense tax relief for American families hostage to a holiday gift to Big Oil.

After the GOP-led House welded the Keystone XL tar sands pipeline rider onto the tax-relief bill, the Democratic-led Senate went along for the ride, passing a bad piece of legislation rather than being accused of blocking a needed tax cut.

When the United State Congress intentionally ties these two things together, though, it’s not a joke: it’s a national disgrace.

Keystone XL and jobs: just more pipe dreams

Article: Keystone XL and jobs: just more pipe dreams

Photo credit: EcoWatch

This week the GOP leadership, once again, has sided with Big Oil against the will of the American people. They are trying to circumvent President Obama’s decision to further investigate the impacts of the controversial Keystone XL tar sands pipeline. GOP leadership is instead advocating for granting the permit now, or else they will hold up important legislation meant to benefit real people’s real lives.

They want you to believe it’s about jobs, but that’s not what the facts bear out. Just take a look.

Redford & the NRDC to demonstrate against Big Oil in D.C.

Article: Redford & the NRDC to demonstrate against Big Oil in D.C.

Before President Obama entered office he promised to stand up to big oil. Now it’s up to him and his administration – not Congress – to stick to his promise and stop the Keystone XL tar sands pipeline once and for all. The pipeline will increase our dependence on foreign oil, create more pollution and threaten our land, water and climate. We’re going to rally in Washington D.C. on November 6th to let Obama know that he has the people’s support on this decision. If you’d like to do something about this, click to join the rally on November 6th, 2011.

Redford urges resistance to the dirtiest oil on the planet

Article: Redford urges resistance to the dirtiest oil on the planet

When you challenge Big Oil in Houston, you can bet the industry is going to punch back. So when I wrote in the Houston Chronicle earlier this month that we should say no to the Keystone XL pipeline, I wasn’t surprised when the project’s chief executive weighed in with a different view.

The corporate rejoinder, written by Alex Pourbaix, president for energy and oil pipelines for the TransCanada Corp., purported to cite “errors” in my oped. Let’s set the record straight, point by point.

First, the Keystone XL, as proposed, would run from Canada across the width of our country to Texas oil refineries and ports. It would carry diluted bitumen, a kind of crude oil, produced from the Alberta tar sands. On those points, we all agree.

I say this is a bad idea. It would put farmers, ranchers and croplands at risk across much of the Great Plains. It would feed our costly addiction to oil. And it would wed our future to the destructive production of tar sands crude…

Is the Obama administration putting corporate profits above public health?

Article: Is the Obama administration putting corporate profits above public health?

One reason I supported President Obama is because he said we must protect clean air, water and lands. But what good is it to say the right thing unless you act on it? Since early August, three administration decisions – on Arctic drilling, the Keystone XL pipeline and the ozone that causes smog – have all favored dirty industry over public health and a clean environment. Like so many others, I’m beginning to wonder just where the man stands.

As Companies Gather for Shareholder Meetings, Opposition to Bristol Bay Mine Mounts

Article: As Companies Gather for Shareholder Meetings, Opposition to Bristol Bay Mine Mounts

As Companies Gather for Shareholder Meetings, Opposition to Bristol Bay Mine Mounts

Bidder 70

Article: Bidder 70

In 2008 a young environmental activist named Tim DeChristopher bid on 13 parcels of land quietly put up for auction by the U.S. Bureau of Land Management (BLM) in the waning days of the Bush Administration. This land was part of a larger offering by the BLM of federal public land in an attempt to open it up to oil and gas exploration. The majority of the land was near national parks in southern Utah.

Utah Approves a Mine Next to Bryce Canyon for Coal America Doesn't Need

Article: Utah Approves a Mine Next to Bryce Canyon for Coal America Doesn't Need

Bryce Canyon National Park, Utah. (Photo credit: AFP/Getty Images)
Imagine: A massive open-pit coal mine next to a wilderness jewel. A scenario like that might have been routine in the past, but this is the 21st century, when many cleaner, more sustainable ways to power our economy abound. We no longer have to sacrifice an iconic landscape in order to burn some dirty rocks.

And yet a mining company got approval last month to open Utah’s first-ever strip mine for coal in the small community of Alton. Few new coal mines have opened in the West in the past decade since most developers focus on expanding existing mines, not reaching into untouched wilderness. And that’s what makes this mine so troubling: it will be located 10 miles from Bryce Canyon National Park.

The truth is we don’t need this coal. The developers claim they have a contract with a Utah utility, but they won’t disclose which one. It’s questionable whether local utilities even have the need for such sizeable quantities of coal. Instead, rumors indicate that a lot of the coal will be hauled to a West Coast port for shipping, possibly overseas. If the company is so confident there is a market for its product, it should name its buyers.

The West has a long history of outside companies extracting local resources, selling them elsewhere, and leaving nearby communities to clean up the mess often at taxpayer expense. No matter what they might tell you, there is no reclamation plan that can return an open pit mine to a natural, wild state. Once that untamed spirit is gone, it’s gone for good.

Some places are simply too special to industrialize. Bryce country is one of them.

'The Fix:' Dirty Energy's Undue Influence on American Political Life

Article: 'The Fix:' Dirty Energy's Undue Influence on American Political Life

The glove-covered hands of Dan Howells, deputy campaign director with Greenpeace, are coated with a layer of oil after he dipped them in oil floating on the surface in the Gulf of Mexico following the BP Deepwater Horizon oil spill near Grand Isle, Louisiana, June 10, 2010. AFP PHOTO / Saul LOEB (Photo credit should read SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images)
Like most Americans, I am horrified by the unending catastrophe in the Gulf of Mexico. Even with the latest containment cap in place, oil is likely to hemorrhage from BP’s ruptured well until August or beyond.

As I try to convey in my new video, “The Fix,” I am appalled by what this spill is doing to Gulf fishermen, families, communities and wildlife. But I am also disgusted by what it reveals about the oil industry’s role in American political life.

With their deep pockets, oil companies have purchased loose safety regulations, slack oversight and support from key lawmakers. Last year alone, the industry spent a $168 million on lobbying — $16 million of which came from BP. The blowout on the Deepwater Horizon is a symptom of this undue influence.

It is time for the collusion to stop. As long as it continues, Americans will pay the price in the form of devastated ecosystems and a fossil fuel addiction that benefits oil companies, not ordinary citizens.

Joe Berlinger vs. Chevron: Why We Must All Defend Independent Filmmaking

Article: Joe Berlinger vs. Chevron: Why We Must All Defend Independent Filmmaking

I have devoted a significant part of my life’s work in support of the independent artist — independent referring not to the size of a project, its funding or subject matter; rather, to the singular vision and voice of that artist. I founded Sundance Institute 30 years ago out of the belief that it is…

Robert Redford: "Mr. President, now is the time for clean energy."

Article: Robert Redford: "Mr. President, now is the time for clean energy."

Thursday, May 20, 2010, marks one month since BP’s oil rig exploded in the Gulf Coast, killing 11 people and unleashing one of the worst environmental disasters our nation has ever seen.   Since then, millions of gallons of oil have gushed into the ocean, poisoning marine life and threatening hundreds of miles of coastal…

72 hours for clean American energy

Article: 72 hours for clean American energy

The news out of Washington has grown discouraging lately. Lawmakers are bickering and Congress is in gridlock. Corporations, meanwhile, have been given license by the Supreme Court to purchase more political influence than ever before.

The green economy is dawning

Article: The green economy is dawning

Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham recently said at a news conference that “the green economy is coming.” I couldn’t agree with him more. The signs are all around us, from studies that show green jobs are growing 2.5 times faster than conventional jobs to the fact that California’s clean energy industry attracted $6.5 billion in venture capital in the past three years.

These are just the signs from our own shores. From China to Germany, there is no doubt that nations are beginning to see the financial wisdom in preventing the exorbitant costs of global warming by putting clean energy solutions in place now.

The only question that remains is: Will America be a leader in the green economy?

A New Book Offers Common Sense for the Climate Debate

Article: A New Book Offers Common Sense for the Climate Debate

Frances Beinecke, president of the Natural Resources Defense Council, has penned a modern classic in revolutionary thought. Titled Clean Energy, Common Sense, this book calls on us, as a nation, to rise to the challenge of climate change while there’s still time to act.

The Red Rock Wilderness Act: Our Chance to Be Present at the Creation

Article: The Red Rock Wilderness Act: Our Chance to Be Present at the Creation

This week marks an historic turning point for people who love the wild canyon country and sweeping mesas of Southern Utah. For the first time, the U.S. House Subcommittee on National Parks, Forest and Public Lands will consider a bill designed to protect millions of acres of spectacular Utah lands as wilderness.

All of these lands—some of the last great places on earth—are owned by the public, but most of them remain vulnerable to industrial development. America’s Red Rock Wilderness Act would protect them from oil and gas development, uranium mining, and off-road vehicle use. Meanwhile, hunters, anglers, hikers, and families could continue to enjoy them, including the renowned Cedar Mesa, San Rafael Swell, and the Book Cliffs.

This is our chance to be present at the creation. If we pass the Red Rock Wilderness Act, we can tell our grandchildren we helped birth the latest Yellowstone. We can say we preserved treasures equal to Zion, Arches, and Canyonlands National Parks. We can add to the wilderness inheritance of future generations, and they will thank us for it.

Why We Need a Bold New Vision for Preserving Our Nation's Wilderness

Article: Why We Need a Bold New Vision for Preserving Our Nation's Wilderness

I have welcomed several promising signs coming out of the Obama Administration, from the president’s push for clean energy to Interior Secretary Salazar’s efforts to block oil and gas leasing near some of Utah’s most stunning landscapes. But there is still something I am waiting to see: a bold new vision for preserving America’s wilderness.…

Iran: Open Letter to the Sundance Community

Article: Iran: Open Letter to the Sundance Community

This weekend, Iranian-born artist Shirin Neshat, a Sundance Institute Artist Trustee, sat at our annual Board Retreat and described in terrifying detail a situation we all know about, but perhaps not in enough detail. Among many others recently arrested in Iran’s post-election demonstrations are Iranian artists, journalists, filmmakers and human rights leaders, including some filmmakers…

Time to transform Utah's energy-producing future

Article: Time to transform Utah's energy-producing future

image credit: the russians are here
used under a creative commons license
Anyone who knows Utah knows the power of wind, water and sun. You can see that power in Utah’s sculpted arches of stone, in our majestic mountains capped with snow, and in the cracked earth of our deserts.

Nature’s power is so obvious that you have to wonder why we’ve mostly ignored it as a source of energy to run our homes and businesses, and to propel our cars and trucks.