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While the annual Global Green Gala has always had its finger on the pulse of environmental issues, the recent political climate has heightened the importance of a pre-Oscars fete raising awareness for global warming and matters that contribute to the demise of our planet.
This sentiment was shared by Hollywood greats like Jane Fonda, Orlando Bloom, Jeff Bridges and Oliver Stone, who all took the stage at the brand new TAO Hollywood to present awards to those leading the charge on behalf of the environment.
Fonda, there to present an award to Standing Rock Sioux Tribal Council Chairman David Archambault II, passionately recounted her own experience in North Dakota in November.
“It’s very hard to describe what it was like to be there. I’d never experienced anything like this — it was cold, people were living in tents, teepees, yurts, in sleeping bags on the ground and you could tell there was no danger, no violence, no weapons,” said the actress. “I’ve never been hugged so much, and it wasn’t just me. Everyone who went there experienced the same thing. And we needed to be hugged.
“We’re in an existential crossroads right now,” continued Fonda, her voice breaking. “We don’t have a lot of time. There is going to be a tipping point beyond which the planet and the climate won’t be able to heal. And these people, over 300 tribes, have been telling us colonizers for over two centuries how we’re supposed to live in relation to the earth. And we have not listened.”
Although the majority of protesters have now vacated the riverside camp, Fonda reminded the audience that their impact was a lasting one. “Standing Rock happened and they can never take that away from us. And that spirit of Standing Rock is now going around the country — Arizona, Texas, Florida, all the places where the extractors are trying to rape the earth,” she said. “The way the ‘predator in chief’ feels about women is how these extractors feel about the earth.”
Bloom joined Fonda onstage to further describe Archambault’s role as a diplomat in a complicated dance between protesters and his tribe. “While recent federal decisions and the national political winds brought setbacks, the fight and the long-term battle for Standing Rock is just beginning,” said the actor. “Throughout the peaceful process, Chairman David Archambault II has demonstrated the strength and resolve of the Standing Rock Sioux, and we owe him and his people a debt of gratitude for reminding us all that we can and must stand up for what we know to be right.”
The award was received on behalf of Archambault by tribe Councilman Chad Harrison. Other awards of the night went to the Plastic Pollution Coalition, Earth Day Texas, 4Navitas and Douglas Chandler Stoup.
Bridges, who presented Plastic Pollution Coalition CEO Dianna Cohen with an award, spoke of the individual’s responsibility to take action in times like these: ”Buckminster Fuller made a wonderful metaphor using giant ocean tankards. They have a big rudder. And the engineers that were designing these large vessels found that it took too much energy to move this boat, so they created a very, simple, beautiful solution: a little rudder on the big rudder. That little rudder’s called a Trim-tab. This is a great metaphor for how the individual is connected with society.”
Continued the Hell or High Water Oscar nominee: “We’re all Trim-tabs, and we’re all connected to people who we might think of as more powerful. We all affect each other. We affect society. It’s important to do what we think is right. And like The Dude says, there’s a lot of different opinions. So it’s important for each of us to get our opinions out there.”
The charitable evening also included performances by Estelle, Cody Simpson and Taylor Dane.
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