The Global Environmental Citizen Award, which is awarded annually to individuals who have worked to raise awareness of global environmental change, was given to Gore at a reception in New York. Previous winners of the award include Harrison Ford and Jane Goddall.
“Al Gore made strides to address environmental issues during his political career and is now addressing climate change in speeches he is making around the world.” Kathleen Frith, the director of outreach and communications for the center, wrote in an e-mail.
During his political career as a congressman and vice-president, Gore played a major role in cleaning toxic waste sites and encouraging businesses to adopt environmentally friendly technology.
As vice president, Gore was instrumental in drafting the Kyoto Protocol, a global initiative designed to limit carbon wastes.
Gore is currently the chairman of Generation Investment, a London-based investment firm with a focus on environmentally responsible firms.
He also speaks throughout the country on the consequences of environmental risks, and has been a critic of what he sees as President Bush’s lack of concern for global warming.
“I think the work that he did on the Kyoto Protocol was almost revolutionary.” said Michel Nischan, who is on the Center’s advising board and also served as a chef at the event.
“It is an honor to receive this award from the Center,” Gore said in a press release Friday. Gore, through a spokesperson, declined to comment further.
The event, which took place at the Carriage Hill in New York City, had an eco-friendly theme. The dinner, prepared by award-winning chefs Nischan, Peter Hoffman, and Nora Pouillon, featured locally and organically grown food.
Meryl Streep, who is also a member of the Center’s board and presented Gore with the award at the ceremony, modeled clothes made from sustainable material.
VIPs were driven to the ceremony in a gas and electric hybrid Toyota Prius, while goodie bags filled with environmentally-friendly products were distributed to guests.
“It was great that the message was built in to the evening.” said Hoffman. “It made it all the more resonant.”
“We see these layers of the event as helping promote a healthier environment by showcasing choices that we can make that support sustainability” Frith wrote in an e-mail.