"Revelry by the River" Honors Some, Inspires All

On a balmy summer night this week, the kind perfect for reflecting on the beauty and vitality of nature, supporters of Solar One gathered to champion just such a vision at the "Revelry by the River" event.

On a balmy summer night this week, the kind perfect for reflecting on the beauty and vitality of nature, supporters of Solar One gathered to champion just such a vision at the Revelry by the River event.

Solar One stands as a center for environmental conservation and learning, and since 2004 has been reaching out to students in the city to promote green learning and living. "Solar One is a leading environmental organization that addresses issues of sustainabiliy in the urban environment through the many programs we offer. These include our K-12 enrichment courses that focus on renewables, sustainable design, water ecology and horticulture; our green collar job training programs in building performance, PV (solar) installation, deconstruction, horticulture and youth green entrepreneurship; our solar advocacy program; and our solar powered arts festival" said director Christopher Collins in a statement made to ENN.

The fundraising efforts held on Tuesday June 2, 2009 were in support of the Solar Two project, Solar One’s big brother. Solar Two will be New York’s "Green Energy, Arts, and Education Center", the city’s first carbon- neutral, net- zero energy use building. "Solar 2 will showcase state-of-the-art green building design and technology while operating as a thriving center for diverse environmental activities" outlined executive director Christopher J. Collins in a Director's Letter given to attendees. In the same address, Collins also noted that "Solar 2 will embody our organization’s mission to provide people of all ages with the vision, knowledge and resources to achieve an environmentally sustainable future."

Chaired by H. Hartley du Pont and Jane Steiner Hoffman, the event brought together leaders from the conservation community as well as the most environmentally committed of the New York glitterati. Among the attendees were Governor George Pataki, actresses Lake Bell and Brooke Shields, and Real Housewives of NYC's Alex McCord. "Revelry By The River" took time to hand out three honors to outstanding contributors to Solar Two and other environmental causes.

First, bank HSBC was honored for its $100 million contribution to a variety of environmental causes as well as its commitment to being carbon neutral (it reached this goal in 2005). Accepting the Sustainability Achievement Award, Vice President of Human Resources Suzanne Brienza thanked Solar One for introducing HSBC as a "corporate leader in doing the right thing".

Actor Matthew Modine accepted the Environmental Stewardship Award in recognition of his founding of the Bicycle For A Day initiative, a foundation committed to promoting increased bicycle use for the dual benefit of reducing auto emissions and promoting human health and fitness. Said Modine in his acceptance speech, "there should not be a building in the US that does not incorporate the technology and knowledge that we have today" in order to promote green living.

Kathleen "Kick" Kennedy, granddaughter of Robert Kennedy, charmed the supportive crowd with her lighthearted acceptance of the Young Environmentalist Award for her work with the Waterkeeper Alliance and her recent appearance in the film Grand Canyon Adventure. Opening with a joke to illustrate that "solar power is no laughing matter", Kick thanked her family and the audience for their support in her environmental efforts. ENN spoke to Kick before the ceremony, where she expressed her ardent support of public officials who encourage environmental conservancy in legislation and noted that “there should be more stringent laws” to prevent air and water pollution.

As the sun set over the New York City skyline, guests departed with the themes of the night in their minds: Education, conservancy, and the inspiration to do the right thing. The event was a "huge success, both financially and in terms of our overall mission of education on the issues of sustainability in the built environment" remarked Chris Collins.

Photo shows Solar-Powered DJ Mikey Palms.

Solar One is a new Affiliate of ENN.  For more information on Solar One:  http://solar1.org/