This past Saturday night I attended the 21st Environmental Media Awards ceremony (the longevity of which is in itself is a major feat). Debbie Levin, the president of the Environmental Media Awards Association, has done an incredible job coordinating this event every year and deserves kudos for the having brought so many personalities from Hollywood and the entertainment industry on board. The presenters were “A list” celebrities such as Nicole Richie, Norman Lear and Amy Smart, while the award winners were movers and shakers ranging from Phil Conserva, producer on CSI to Justin Timberlake. But while this is a very influential group, and although there were some 500 people present on the Warner Bros. lot for the presentations, it struck me that it really hasn’t made that much progress in reaching the public.
While the event itself was most certainly one in which “fun and fame” held center stage, the themes and the language used were basically no different than they have been for the past 21 years of the EMAs – simply more of the same “guilt and shame.” As I thought about it, I started to become somewhat disappointed both with the fact that there has been no “10X factor” here, and with myself for having been a part of that failure. So at the party that followed, which was “organically catered” by local restaurants, and as the drinks started to flow, I began chatting with Phil Conserva, a biodiesel advocate, who kept making the point that we have to do more. I concurred, as did Jeff Skoll, founder and chairman of Participant Media and a philanthropist with the wherewithal to make a major difference. I also talked with Lyn Davis Lear, Norman’s wife and another prominent activist, who sits on the EMA board, about making the 10X factor a goal of next year’s ceremony.
So in the end, I believe it was well worth the $500 for a ticket, if for no other reason than having the opportunity to try to redirect the message of this “fun and fame” ceremony away from the themes of guilt and shame that I believe have turned off so much of the public. In fact, next year, if I have anything to say about it, RecycleBank will be a major player in transforming this event into a megaphone for a “remake” of the Green Movement – one that allows ordinary participants to derive as much fun and recognition from participating as do celebrities.