LOS ANGELES, Nov 19 (Reuters) - Hollywood star and
environmentalist Robert Redford lent his name on Monday to a new
nature conservancy at a Southern California college, saying he
hoped the research institute could help the environmentally
The 12-acre Robert Redford Conservancy for Southern
California Sustainability at Pitzer College, endowed with $10
million from Hyatt hotel heir Nicholas Pritzker and his wife
Susan, will house research and education facilities for
environmental issues in Southern California, the college said.
Redford, 76, a Los Angeles native, said watching the city
grow at break-neck speeds with little regard for nature after
World War Two had influenced his environmental advocacy.
"This is the city I grew up in, and it's the city I grew
disappointed in because I saw it disappear," the actor and
director told Reuters. "I saw the city that I grew up in, that I
loved, disappear because of uncontrolled development and greed,
and it lost itself.
Los Angeles County, the nation's most populous at 9.9
million, is notorious for its sprawl, smog, traffic congestion
and energy consumption.
California emits the second-highest volume of greenhouse
gases among all U.S. states after Texas, according to World
Resources Institute, an environmental think tank.
Pitzer College, located 30 miles east of Los Angeles in
Claremont, California, said the conservancy aims to influence
policymaking, and Redford said his role will be in part to
document its research through his Sundance television channel.
"The real question is going to be how can this move from
here to other places?" said "The Sting" actor.
"And to me that gets into storytelling. ... The
entertainment industry can play a role in this by helping
increase the distribution of this idea."
The conservancy is scheduled to open to students in autumn
(Reporting By Eric Kelsey, editing by Jill Serjeant and Todd