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Pelosi Remarks at the Goldman Environmental Prize Luncheon

Washington, D.C. – Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi delivered remarks at an awards luncheon in recognition of the recipients of the 2013 Goldman Environmental Prize in the Capitol Visitor Center.  The prize honors international grassroots heroes who make sustained and significant efforts to protect and enhance the natural environment.  This year, the honorees come from the United States, Colombia, Indonesia, Iraq, Italy, and South Africa.  Below are the Leader’s remarks:

“Thank you very much John Goldman for you, to you, to Doug Goldman, to Lisa, who are here, to Suzie.  Oh my goodness, all these years we’ve come together to celebrate the bravery, the courage, the imagination, the success of these champions of the environment, who receive the Goldman Environmental Prize.  So, congratulations to all of you, who have won this year.  You join and bond with a very distinguished array of courageous, and imaginative, and successful protectors of God’s given planet to us and we congratulate you and we thank you.

“Yes, the Goldman family is very dear to us in our community.  On a day to day basis, any good thing that happens there has their mark, but their reach is global, and that was what John and Doug’s mom, mother and father, had in mind when they established this award.  It was large, it was significant, it was discerning, and you really had to reach a high level in order to receive it.  And that is why I’m so pleased that so many of our colleagues are here today.  Some have come and gone because we are in the voting mode, but I want to acknowledge them.  First, our Chair of the [Democratic] National Committee, Debbie Wasserman-Schultz of Florida.  Debbie, thank you for being here.  A former Chair of our National Resources Committee, now on Education and Labor, George Miller – he had to go get a plane, but not before he came by to say hello.  Representative Kirkpatrick of Arizona, still with us, thank you Ann.   Mike Thompson of California – is Mike, he was just here, just left.  Mike is the Chair of our Gun Prevention, our Gun Violence Prevention task force.  So, he’s very busy at this time reacting to what happened yesterday and being proactive.

“Jerry McNerney, a champion of the environment, I know he’s still here.  Jerry, thank you for being here.  And, I know that Chris Van Hollen spent time meeting the honorees, he’s our Ranking Member – he’s our top Democrat on the Budget Committee, so he’s back into the budget fight.  I said we are dealing with guns and budget here, these last couple of days, harkening back to when we were studying guns and butter.

“I understand that Senator Blumenthal was here, what a nice honor.  What a nice honor that he came.  One of the relatively new Members, Congresswoman Bonamici of Oregon is still here with us, thank you, another Italian-American Member of Congress – you and me – I said [to] Congressman Miller.  Chairman Rangel – a distinguished gentleman from New York, part of the New York delegation was here.  Representative Lowenthal, a brand new Member from California, a champion for the environment; and Tulsi Gabbard, a brand new member from Hawaii.  So, we, as you see, we have some new Members who are joining us.  I want to thank the Sierra Club, Allison.  Thank you, Allison – right here in front of me, Allison Chin for – oh, we’ve been joined by Julia Brownley, also of California, an award winning environmentalist.  Lawrence Selzer, President and CEO of the Conservation Fund.  Thank you two, for all of this.

“But most importantly, to the honorees.  How special are you?  I mean, I know that in many other settings, you would go over all of the accomplishments that these honorees have achieved, and how wonderful.  And you know what, because I’ve traveled the world and I’ve met great people doing great work throughout the world on this subject, the competition for this award is very keen, right?  So, if you rise to the top here, it was – when I say elite, I mean it in a good way – ­ it really is.  So, to Azzam, to Aleta, to Jonathan, to Rossano, to Nohra, to Kim – congratulations to all of you.

“At the start of his remarks, John Goldman referenced that we are in the Gabe Zimmerman Room.  Two days ago, we dedicated the room; we had all the families from Tucson in this room, many of the families from Tucson, the mother of the little girl, Christina Green, who was killed.  In another room, here, we had some of the families from Newtown and the President; Vice President came for the dedication of this room, and to visit those families.  But I made the point in my remarks, that it was called the ‘Gabriel Zimmerman Meeting Room,’ it’s not just called the ‘Gabriel Zimmerman Room,’ it’s called the meeting room.   And, with the hope that people would come here to meet, and have a meeting of the minds,  and recognize each other’s views and have compromise, and get a result.  That we would meet the high expectations of Gabriel Zimmerman because he was so idealistic and cared so much about people in every possible way.  One of the reasons we have the Gabriel Zimmerman Meeting Room is because Debbie Wasserman-Schultz insisted that we have it.  And she was – she was a real force in making sure it happened because there is no room in this whole visitor center named for anybody.  And, that was general a rule, we’re not naming rooms.  But we made the exception here, and it was wonderful to see Gabby Giffords and Mark Kelly, her husband, here on that occasion with the Vice President.

“But so, I mention that, because you come at a time that we can’t separate ourselves from – we had the tragedy in Boston a few days ago; the ceremony is just coming to an end in Boston now, to mourn, to celebrate the lives of those who were lost and to pray for those who are wounded and the families of all of them.  You come at a time, with us last night; the Senate disappointed the world for a lack of courage in not voting for background checks for assault weapons.

“You come at a time, where we fight over the budget as to what is important to us as a nation, and not to engage you in that particular fight.  But to say that in all of that, the most refreshing thing that we have done in the last few days, was to be able to come here and be so inspired by each and every one of you.  So invigorated by your courage, your success, your imagination to get the job done.  So, we thank you for your contribution to the world.  For those of us who believe, we think that this is God’s creation, and we have a moral responsibility to protect it.  If you don’t, you at least know that we have a moral responsibility to future generations to leave it in the best possible way.  Thanks to each of you for your leadership in helping to achieve that.  Thank you to the Goldman family over, and over, and over again for being – champions is too minor a word for the difference that you have made.  Thank you all for being here.”