Heinz: When It Comes to Awards, It’s Got to Be Green


I’m sure you’ve heard of the Heinz food company. It’s been around since 1869, providing generation after generation with ketchup, baked beans and hundreds of other food products.

But have you heard of the annual Heinz Awards?

Set up in 1993 by the Heinz Family Philanthropies to honor the memory of US Senator John Heinz, these awards celebrate and acknowledge the achievements of extraordinary individuals in the five areas: Arts and Humanities,  Economy and Employment, the Human Condition, Public Policy, and Technology, and the Environment.

This year’s Heinz Awards, however, are all about the environment.

In announcing the 2009 Heinz Award recipients, Teresa Heinz, chairwoman of the Heinz Family Foundation (and widow of Senator John Heinz), stated -At this unique time in history, when the environment is more important than ever to our lives, our economy, our national security and our future, it is only fitting that we focus exclusively on this critical topic,”

Scientists make up the bulk of the award winners which makes sense given they are on the forefront of trying to understand, explain and slow down global warming.

But they weren’t the only winners. Online media got a nod with the founder and publisher of Grist one of the ten.

These 10 Americans, leaders and innovators in environmental achievement, have been chosen as the 2009 Heinz Award recipients:

  • Chip Giller, 38, Grist magazine (Seattle, Wash.)  – for creating an innovative media platform for delivering environmental information to new audiences.
  • Robert Berkebile, 72, BNIM Architects (Kansas City, Mo.) – for his green building advocacy and promotion of sustainable design and planning.
  • P. Dee Boersma, Ph.D., 62, University of Washington (Seattle, Wash.) – for developing greater understanding of the impact of humans on marine ecosystems.
  • Christopher B. Field, Ph.D., 56, Carnegie Institution for Science and Stanford University (Stanford, Calif.) – for his leadership and innovation in carbon cycle and climate science.
  • Ashok Gadgil, Ph.D., 58, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory and the University of California, Berkeley (Berkeley, Calif.) – for his work as an inventor and humanitarian.
  • Deborah Rice, Ph.D., 61, Maine Department of Health and Human Services, Environmental and Occupational Health (Augusta, Maine) – for research yielding new understanding about exposure to toxins during human development.
  • Joel Salatin, 52, Polyface Farm (Swoope, Va.) – for creating alternative, environmentally friendly farming techniques.
  • Kirk R. Smith, Ph.D., 62, University of California, Berkeley, (Berkeley, Calif.) – for  exposing the relationships among household air pollution, fuel use, climate and health.
  • Thomas Smith, 59, Public Citizen – Texas (Austin, Texas) – for his advocacy of wind and solar energy efficiency.
  • Beverly H. Wright, Ph.D., 61, Deep South Center for Environmental Justice (New Orleans, La.) – for her work as an environmental justice advocate.

Congratulations to them all.

Image: spisharam