robert redford
by Ali Berman
Categories: Causes, Environment
Tags: .
Photo: ChinellatoPhoto /

Environmentalist Robert Redford has teamed up with Pitzer College to create the Robert Redford Conservancy for Southern California Sustainability.

The program aims to “prepare students to create solutions for the most challenging and urgent sustainability problems facing the planet today. Research and studies from the Conservancy will influence regional, national and global policymaking.”

Redford has been a passionate advocate for environmental issues for decades, so it’s no surprise he’d attach his name to a program that hopes to create the future leaders of the movement. The program is still in the preparation phase and won’t have students enrolled in courses until the fall of 2014.

While at the press conference to announce the Conservancy, Redford also talked about his take on how the current political landscape will impact the environment. He told The Hollywood Reporter, “Now I’m hopeful that [Obama] is going to take what his words were and put some teeth behind them.”

On climate change, the actor and activist said, “It’s been tied up for so long, it’s been bottled up for so long, it takes awhile to undo things. Particularly when you have elements still in play there that are living in the 1950s. And their points of view are so narrow and so ideologically driven that it’s not likely you’re going to see much change there. As a matter of fact, it might provoke them to be even more contentious. So I guess I put my hope more in the people, not so much in current government.”

As many environmentalists know, if you wait for the government to lead, you’ll end up sitting in one place. Throughout history the people have taken the lead on social and environmental issues and watched the government lose its breath trying to catch up. As long as they get there, right?

About Ali Berman

Ali Berman is the author of Choosing a Good Life: Lessons from People Who Have Found Their Place in the World (Hazelden) and Misdirected (Seven Stories Press). She works as a humane educator for HEART teaching kids about issues affecting people, animals and the environment. Her published work can be found on her website at In early 2012 Ali co-founded flipmeover, a production company with the mission to use media to raise awareness of social issues.

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