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Press Room:  For Immediate Release 
Explore, Enjoy and Protect the Planet

For Immediate Release:
April 3, 2008

Contact:
David Willett, 202-675-6698
Stephen Mills (India mobile) +91 97 489 54284


*Sierra Club in India*
Announces $100,000 “Green Energy and Green Livelihoods Award”
for Outstanding Environmental Success by NGOs in India

Mumbai: The Sierra Club, the oldest and largest grassroots environmental organization in the U.S., today announced a new $100,000 “Green Energy and Green Livelihoods Achievement Award” to recognize “outstanding environmental success in India” by civil society organizations NGOs, cooperatives, small businesses and labor unions working at the grassroots level in India.

The announcement was made by Mr Carl Pope, Executive Director of the Sierra Club, at a news conference here today.  The winner of the first “Green Energy and Green Livelihoods Achievement Award” will be announced in early 2009 in Mumbai. The award will be worth Rs 40 lakhs at the current dollar:rupee value.

“The purpose of our award is to build public support for community organizations in India that are helping the country leapfrog past polluting and inefficient technologies in order to create green livelihoods and a green economy. Effective grassroots organizations deserve more credit for helping to promote positive societal change. That’s why the Sierra Club has created this award. Our environment doesn’t protect itself civil society must actively be involved in the process,” Mr Pope said.

Center for Green Livelihoods

In addition to the award, Pope also announced that the Sierra Club would be establishing a Center for Green Livelihoods in India and partnering with other civil society organizations to explore other ways of creating a robust dialogue on developing a green economy.

“Western lifestyles, typified by the wasteful, inefficient use of the most polluting energy resources, have set a poor example for citizens in developing economies eager to improve their quality of life,” said Sunil Deshmukh, a founding member of Sierra Club’s India Advisory Council. “However, the reliance of both India and America on carbon fuel does not come without a steep long-term price for both countries. Hence, the importance of recognizing those working at the grassroots to cut carbon emissions in innovative ways,” he added.

Communicating India’s success to America and vice versa

“Our new award is only part of the new Sierra Club effort we are developing in India,” said Pritpal Singh Kochhar, another founding member of the Sierra Club’s India Advisory Council. “We are also eager to develop strategic regional partnerships with India’s exceptional environmental organizations to promote two-way communications. We want to inform Americans about India’s environmental successes and Indians about America’s environmental achievements.”

The award will be given annually to one exemplary environmental or environmentally-related organization that satisfies predetermined criteria for constructive community-based work.

“And in case there is any confusion on this point, our new India initiative will in no way lessen the vigor of the Sierra Club’s U.S. campaigning to push both the American public and our government to drastically reduce America’s overconsumption of natural resources,” said Stephen Mills, Director of the Sierra Club’s International Programs. “We are very aware that industrialization in America and in Western Europe created the climate crisis, but the fact is the impact of global warming will be felt globally, particularly in India. We must collaborate on both the economic and environmental solutions.”

The award process will occur in close consultation with an Indian nominations board and a Sierra Club Prize Jury drawn from prominent Indian, American NRI and environmental experts.  Sierra Club staff and representatives from the India-based recommendation committee will carefully research each nominee, perform due diligence with respect to each organization’s authenticity and history of performance, and review the qualifications of staff and financial viability of each organization before recommending three semi-finalists to the Sierra Club prize jury.

The jury will examine recent community-based organizational achievements that have broadened public support for green livelihoods. Grassroots initiatives rather than scientific, academic or governmental activities will merit greater consideration. The jury will look at efforts to promote green economic empowerment, the creation of green jobs, adaptation of renewable energy alternatives and initiatives that have inspired others in the green movement. Organizational leadership in a grassroots campaign that seeks to have, or results in, a significant impact at the regional, national or global level will play a major role in selection of the award.

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For more information
email Stephen Mills at Stephen.Mills@sierraclub.org  or india.program@sierraclub.org
India mobile: +91 97 489 54284
or
R&PM:Edelman
Allwyn Fernandes allwyn.fernandes@edelman.com : +91 98 200 48601
Sushil Sharma sushil.sharma@edelman.com : +91 98 210 23469

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