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Hillary Institute announce 2014 global Hillary Laureate

Hillary Institute announce 2014 global Hillary Laureate

The Hillary Institute of International Leadership today announced its 2014 annual, global Hillary Laureate,

MICHAEL BRUNE of the Sierra Club (USA).

From a global watch-list on Leaders in mid-career whose leadership is exceptional and inspirational, the Institute’s international board has selected Sierra Club Executive Director, Michael Brune as its 6th Annual , Global Hillary Laureate awardee forLeadership in Climate Equity. Former Hillary Laureates are Jeremy Leggett (UK-2009), Peggy Liu (China-2010), Aimee Christensen (USA-2011), President Anote Tong (Kiribati -2012) and Amazon Watch founder Atossa Soltani (2013).

Says Institute Chairman David Caygill:

The Hillary Governors are delighted with this year's choice of Hillary Laureate. Michael Brune’s ongoing leadership work exemplifies the Institute's current focus on climate equity, particularly in terms of intergenerational change. We hope our unique, global award will further enhance Mike’s remarkable efforts to accelerate progress on this issue."

Adds Hillary Institute Governor Joan Shapiro (USA):

“Mike is a superbly able strategic thinker: within every organization he works, he identifies a core issue and develops a large-scale, long-term campaign to implement change. In addition to influencing production and operational policies of major corporations, he mobilizes his membership and environ-mental partners not just to mount but to win policy battles that change our laws. Mike is a visionary in the best sense of the word, converting words to action.”

Says Brune, “I am truly honored to be among such a distinguished and accomplished group of Hillary Laureates. Whether it’s fighting the climate crisis or working toward economic justice, one of the most important tools we have in our efforts to secure progress is to create new bonds with new allies that grow and strengthen our movement. With that in mind, I am convinced that we can achieve great things together.”

Mike Brune’s first time out West was on a family trip in 1985. “I was almost 14 and had never been west of the Appalachians. I still remember walking to the rim of the Grand Canyon and being blown away. The next day, we hiked to the bottom and my life was changed." Brune would go on to earn dual degrees at West Chester University in Pennsylvania in Economics and Finance. After graduation, he set off with a friend on a road trip that took them through the Great Plains, the California and Oregon coasts, Mt. St. Helens, the boreal forests of Alaska and Canada, the Grand Tetons, Yosemite, and back to Grand Canyon National Park. He then worked for Greenpeace and immediately knew he'd found his calling. With four years of grassroots organizing and campaigning under his belt, Brune moved on to the Rainforest Action Network, where under his leadership, RAN secured a commitment from Home Depot to phase out the selling of wood from endangered forests. Time Magazine called the victory the most important environmental story of 1999. RAN went on to win more than a dozen other key commitments from America's largest corporations, including Citi, Goldman Sachs, Bank of America, Kinko's, Boise, and Lowe's.

While at RAN, Brune wrote Coming Clean: Breaking America's Addiction to Oil and Coal, (Sierra Club Books), which addresses climate disruption and lays out an ambitious plan for moving America to a clean-energy economy. An updated edition was published in 2010 . In March that year Brune left RAN to become executive director of the Sierra Club. One month later, Americans witnessed the worst environmental disaster in U.S. history. BP's Deepwater Horizon oil rig in the Gulf of Mexico exploded, killing 11 workers and sending millions of gallons of oil into the ocean. More than 2,000 Sierra Club members and friends volunteered for the cleanup. Brune surveyed the devastation first-hand. Congress did little to address the disaster, and the Sierra Club launched the Beyond Oil campaign to prevent another disaster by decreasing oil dependency with better gas mileage and smarter transportation options. The campaign's hard work paid off when, two years later, the Obama administration put in place a car standard of 54.5 miles per gallon by 2025, projected to cut U.S. climate pollution by 10 percent and save Americans billions at the pump every year.

In October 2012, the need to solve the climate crisis became was brought into sharp relief when "superstorm" Sandy ravaged the East Coast, including Brune’s hometown, Chadwick Beach, New Jersey. The storm flooded his parents' home, which had been built by his father and uncle nearly fifty years before. "I've been working on solutions to the climate crisis for a long time, but I never really expected that it would hit home for me quite the way it did," he said.

The Sierra Club's Beyond Coal campaign celebrated a huge milestone in 2011 when it received a $50 million donation from Bloomberg Philanthropies that would go toward helping phase out coal energy in the U.S. and replacing it with a clean-energy economy.More than 160 coal plants either have been retired or are scheduled to retire in part because of the Beyond Coal campaign.

"So here's what I want everyone to remember. The world is a wonderful place. In just 90 minutes, enough sunlight strikes this planet to provide our planet's entire energy needs for one year. The contiguous United States has enough potential wind energy to provide all of our nation's electricity -- nine times over. Renewable energy has become economically competitive faster than anyone imagined just a few years ago -- in many places it is already beating all fossil fuels and nuclear power on price alone. Our progress toward a prosperous society powered by 100 percent safe, secure, and sustainable energy is unstoppable. We will get there -- the only question is how soon. The answer? The sooner the better.”

The Hillary Institute will work with Mike throughout 2014 to further enhance his work and he will honour us by leading the Institute’s 7th Annual Leadership Dinner later this year.


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