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Ladies Who Lunch (And Conserve): The Fourth Annual Rachel Carson Awards

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The Fourth Annual Rachel Carson Awards, sponsored by the National Audubon Society, were held at the Metropolitan Club in New York today. The high-society luncheon, held just a week short of what would have been Carson’s one hundredth birthday, recognized the accomplishments of four women, each of whom has done extraordinary work on behalf of the environment: Frances Beinecke, president of the National Resources Defense Council; Majora Carter, founder and executive director of Sustainable South Bronx; Laurie David, global warming activist and producer; and Deirdre Imus, founder and president, Deirdre Imus Environmental Center for Pediatric Oncology. Also in attendance was comedian Chevy Chase and his wife, Jayni. Mrs. Chase was an honoree at the 2004 lunch and she resumed her spot on the dais again today, this time as the event’s emcee.

Each of the honorees delivered a brief speech and though all of the remarks were compelling, Carter, an advocate for what she calls “environmental justice,” stole the show when she pondered what her late parents might be thinking as they looked down on her from above: “Those white ladies must be pretty special if they’re getting the same award you’re getting!”

Laurie David, who helped bring An Inconvenient Truth to movie screens in 2006 and—seemingly—has not had a free day since, called her involvement in the eco-movement: “The most selfish thing I do,” explaining,” I’m working on behalf of all the things I care about.”

The Audubon Society, founded at the turn of the nineteenth century, was established by a group of enterprising women from Boston who were outraged by the number of birds being killed for their feathers, which were in high demand as decoration on ladies’ hats. Fortunately, no hats (feathered or otherwise) were in evidence at today’s ceremony. Proceeds from the event will go to benefit study and cleanup of the Long Island Sound.

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