Global Green USA is honoring the University of California for the environmental commitment the university has demonstrated through its academic, research and sustainability practices.
The California Environmental Leadership Award recognizes the UC system for its 32 LEED green-certified buildings, more than any other university in the country, and its leadership in research and educational programs focused on climate change, clean energy and other sustainability issues.
UC President Mark Yudof said winning the award is a "tremendous honor" that recognizes students, faculty and researchers who are transforming the University of California into a national leader for sustainable development.
"We view the university as a living laboratory," Yudof said. "Not only are we generating the research into sustainable ways of living, we are finding culture-shaping ways to apply it."
Yudof is accepting the award on behalf of UC at Global Green 's annual Millennium Awards ceremony on Saturday (June 12) in Santa Monica at the Fairmont Miramar Hotel.
Global Green advocates for smart solutions to climate change. It is the American arm of Green Cross International , an organization former Soviet Union President Mikhail Gorbachev founded to foster a global value shift toward a sustainable and secure future.
"Inspired by their students, the UC system has demonstrated increasing leadership on climate change — as one manifestation of that growing commitment, the UC campuses have more certified green buildings than any other university in the country," said Global Green President Matt Petersen. "Constructing a green building is not enough — thankfully, the UC system has supported sustainability practices and academic initiatives on climate change and clean technology at each and every campus, becoming a significant part of student life, campus operations and extracurricular offerings."
UC's systemwide sustainability policy includes mandates on energy efficiency, use of renewable resources, recycling, waste reduction, environmentally friendly construction methods and campus foodservice guidelines.
UC is a leader in the sustainability movement in higher education. Along with its LEED buildings, UC is at the forefront of green practices such as using clean energy sources, cutting carbon emissions, trayless dining halls and composting programs that divert waste from landfills. UC campuses are routinely in the top of green university rankings by organizations such as the Sierra Club and Princeton Review.
Research in areas such as developing biofuel made from algae, super energy-efficient LED lighting, next generation solar cells and other solutions that can mitigate climate change is being conducted on all UC campuses. Hundreds of classes and academic programs at UC are training the next generation of sustainability experts.
This is the 14th year for the Millennium Awards, which acknowledge people and organizations that exemplify Gorbachev's call to reconnect humanity to the environment. The awards ceremony raises funds to support the Global Green's initiatives to rebuild a green New Orleans, to create green affordable housing and green schools across the country and to advocate for policy initiatives to combat climate change.
Actors Leonardo DiCaprio and Salma Hayek are among the co-chairs of the 2010 Millennium Awards, and DiCaprio is also a member of the Global Green board of directors.
Other Millennium Award honorees are: