Robert Redford has received international acclaim for his work as
an actor, director and producer, as well as for his efforts as a
champion of independent film and as an advocate of environmental
protection and social change.
Redford has used his clout to
advance environmental causes and his wealth to acquire Utah property, which
he transformed into a ranch and the Sundance ski resort. In 1980, he
established the Sundance Institute for aspiring filmmakers. Its annual film
festival has become one of the world's most influential.
Looking back on Redford's
movie career, you can't help but notice the number of films he's made
socially conscious themes. In The Candidate he plays an
idealist who runs for the Senate
to help make the world a better place but loses his moral compass
as he gets caught up in the mendacity of politics. In
All the President's Men he portrays Bob Woodward one of
the Washington Post reporters who broke the Watergate case. In
Brubaker he's a reform-minded warden to dares to uncover skeletons
in a corrupt prison system.
Tell Them Willie Boy Is Here a tale of
a massive manhunt for a Native American who killed, but in self defense.
The Milagro Beanfield War, Redford directed a modern day fable of a poor man
who decides to stand up to big money developers
who plan to milk his neighbors' land for all its worth.
But Robert Redford's true passion is our endangered environment.
He starred in nature-honoring films like
Jeremiah Johnson and
The Horse Whisperer and narrated the poetic A River Runs Through It,
which was not just about fly fishing, but about the beauty of unspoiled
natural places. Even Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid was not just
an incredibly popular and entertaining movie but a tribute to
the last days of the wide open spaces of the old west.
Redford has been a noted environmentalist since the early 1970s.
He is a founding board member of the Natural Resources Defense Council
and has been very involved in educating the general public and government
officials about local and national environmental issues and current
Congressional proposals to weaken environmental laws. He is the recipient of numerous awards for his work in the environmental and arts arenas as well as his advocacy on behalf of Native Americans. These include the 1987 United Nations Global 500 Award; the 1989 Audubon Medal; the 1993 Earth Day International Award; the 1994 Nature Conservancy
Award and others.
Robert Redford has been concerned with solar power issues since 1975. He
has criticized the Bush administration for remaining virtually silent about our long-term dependence on fossil
fuels and has said that wasteful consumption of fossil fuels creates political liabilities
overseas as well as air pollution at home. He said that drilling for oil in the Arctic and other fragile habitats is costly, dangerous and self- defeating. American rooftops should be the Persian Gulf of solar energy.
A economy based on solar energy would reduce air pollution and create jobs at home.
Prolonging our dependence on fossil fuels guarantees homeland insecurity.
Redford said if we want energy security, we must reduce our appetite for fossil fuels.
The measure of our success will be the condition in which we leave the world for the next generation.
He said: "Weaning our nation from fossil fuels should be understood as the most patriotic policy to which we can commit ourselves."
This address from Robert Redford was recorded by Janet Clark of the Toxics Use Reduction Institute University of Massachusetts on December 2, 2002