Linkin Park, Lawrence Bender Honored with UCLA’s Environmental Excellence Award

Linkin Park's Mike Shinoda, Chester Bennington, U.S. Rep. Henry Waxman and producer Lawrence Bender at An Evening of Environmental Excellence presented by the UCLA Institute of the Environment and Sustainability
Jason Merritt/Getty Images

The UCLA Institute of the Environment and Sustainability (IoES) honored Linkin Park, producer Lawrence Bender and U.S. Representative Henry Waxman for each of their environmental accomplishments.

“Curb Your Enthusiasm’s” Cheryl Hines hosted the event Friday held at the 49,300 square foot private estate owned by Tony and Jeanne Pritzker in Beverly Hills.

Linkin Park, who recently announced their summer tour with Jared Leto and 30 Seconds to Mars, began their work for the environment in 2005 after the band returned from Asia and the Indian Ocean tsunami hit.

Mike Shinoda said they saw the images on the news of the cities they’d just played being completely destroyed.

“At first we were just involved with relief efforts,” Shinoda said. “We realized within the first year that we wanted to do something preventative.”

They created Music for Relief to provide relief to victims of natural disasters and to bring awareness to global warming. Music for Relief has also funded the planting of over one million trees and has raised over $5 million in donations.

Bender was also honored as a climate change activist who is on the Board of Advisors for IoES.

“Climate change is not a next century thing, it is not a theoretical thing, it is right here, right now — fact,” Bender said.

“My little boy right here, Misha, when he’s my age the average temperature in L.A. is going to be four to five degrees warmer,” he told Variety while holding his son in his arms. “For me it’s the number one issue facing us in a lifetime and it’s my mission to help.”

Before his film career, Bender was a ballet dancer, and as he finished his speech and accepted his award, he celebrated with two pirouettes for the crowd.

Robert F. Kennedy Jr. attended the event to present the award to Congressman Waxman for his advocacy for the environment.

“If there was any justice he’d be on Mount Rushmore,” said Kennedy, “He’s been the most effective leader in the congress for 40 years.”

Guests were treated to an acoustic performance of  “Shadow Of The Day” and “What I’ve Done” by Linkin Park and a stand-up routine by Bryan Callen.

Other guests who came to support “An Evening of Environmental Excellence” included Courteney Cox, Johnny McDaid, Anjelica Huston, Scottie Thompson, Linda Benaddi, Alexandria Jackson and Lisa Sheldon.

(Pictured: Linkin Park’s Mike Shinoda, Chester Bennington, U.S. Rep. Henry Waxman and producer Lawrence Bender)