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Gore to Receive Sierra Club's Highest Award

SAN FRANCISCO, California, September 24, 2007 (ENS) - Former Vice President Al Gore, who has spent 30 years making the world aware of the dangers of global warming, will receive the Sierra Club's top award this year, the environmental group announced today.

Between his earliest political career in 1976 as a representative of Tennessee's Fourth District, and his two-term vice presidency beginning in 1993, Gore helped set the political and popular stages for prime-time environmentalism, the Sierra Club said today.

He was one of the first politicians to grasp the seriousness of climate change and to call for a reduction in emissions of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases. He held the first congressional hearings on the subject in the late 1970s.

Since then, he has presented the science behind global warming and its predicted catastrophic effects more than 1,000 times. His message reached the general public with the 2006 documentary, "An Inconvenient Truth." The film has won numerous awards, including two Academy Awards. His paperback book of the same name reached number one on the New York Times Best Seller list.

On July 7, 2007, Gore reached a global audience with his Live Earth Concerts, when he orchestrated 24 hours of concerts on seven continents asking for each person watching to make a pledge to take action for the environment. He has been nominated for the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize for his work on climate change.

The award Gore will receive, the John Muir Award, commemmorates Sierra Club founder John Muir, who lived from 1838 to 1914. His letters, essays, and books about the Sierra Nevada Mountains of California are still read today. His direct actions helped to save the Yosemite Valley and other wilderness areas.

"Al Gore is the embodiment of the principles for which John Muir passionately devoted his life: to protect a place for its own sake, for our sake, and even in spite of us; a place we call Earth," said Sierra Club President Dr. Robbie Cox.

Tom Friedman, foreign affairs columnist for the New York Times, is receiving the David R. Brower Award, which recognizes a professional journalist for stories pertaining to the environment. In the past year, Friedman has devoted many of his columns to the environment, particularly international environmental issues such as global warming.

Fabian Nez, who serves as speaker of the California Assembly, is receiving the club's Distinguished Achievement Award for pushing through the Global Warming Solutions Act of 2006, the strongest measure ever enacted in the United States to curb global warming.

Another California legislator also will be honored by the Sierra Club this year. Congressman Mike Thompson, who represents California's first congressional district, is receiving the club's Edgar Wayburn Award. Thompson helped pass national legislation in 2006 that guaranteed protection for 431 square miles of wilderness in Northern California.

The awards will be presented September 29 during the Sierra Club's Annual Dinner in San Francisco.

Copyright Environment News Service (ENS) 2007. All rights reserved.

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