Pitzer College in Claremont, Calif.
is creating the Robert Redford Conservancy for Southern California
Sustainability, which will combine art, media and environmental sciences as part
of its research and studies.
Redford appeared at the Los Angeles Press Club
in Hollywood on Monday to announce the launch of the new conservancy, which is
being funded via a gift from Susan and Nicholas Pritzker. The conservancy will
be based at a former infirmary on 11.88 acres on the Pitzer campus, with the
building repurposed and renovated with sustainable construction methods. The
first academic programming will take place in fall 2014.
Redford serves as a special adviser to Pitzer
President Laura Skandera Trombley, who said that part of the thrust will be to
incorporate documentary filmmaking as a way for students to communicate about
environmental issues. The institute will work to shape policies on water and
energy use, health , air and food quality and transportation
The actor and activist recalled growing up just
east of Santa Monica in a landscape of communities surrounded by green spaces,
only to transform into the sprawling, never-ending city that he compared to a
“giant machine made up of buildings and concrete and pavement.”
“It no longer felt like home,” he said.
He said that with the conservancy, he was
“really excited about the idea that, before it is too late for Los Angeles,
there is something that can be set aside or set up that would not only honor
what was, and what could still be, but also could honor the younger people
coming in to the world.”
He called the most recent election “pretty
scary,” but even though “we got through it the way we did,” “that doesn’t mean
it is the end. That doesn’t mean we quit and go home. It is really kind of a
beginning,” he said, pointing to the influence of women and younger