The theme, “Honoring Environmental Stewardship,” rang loud and clear at the Lindbergh Foundation’s 31st annual Lindbergh Award Celebration. The foundation presented its annual Lindbergh Award to Ted Turner and the Corporate Award for Balance to The Jacoby Group, on May 17 at The Ritz-Carlton, Buckhead hotel in Atlanta, Ga.
“We at the Lindbergh Foundation celebrate and embrace a philosophy of stewardship of our little spaceship earth that is optimistic and pragmatic—and celebrates our collective ingenuity,” said Miles O’Brien, foundation board member and CNN correspondent, who served as the master of ceremonies during the event. “The Lindberghs believed that technology and protecting the environment are not at odds. To the contrary, they believed—and we agree—that our bright ideas are our salvation.”
Pointing to Ted Turner’s most recent bright idea, O’Brien explained that Turner’s restaurant chain of 55 Ted’s Montana Grills recently announced its plan to “go green.” According to a USA Today article entitled, “Can Eateries Go Green, Earn Green?” restaurants are the retail world’s largest energy user, at nearly five times more energy use per square foot than any other type of commercial building. Turner is helping fund a green restaurant program to encourage restaurateurs to control energy use and curb waste at their establishments.
“Imagine the implications for global warming if we get the whole restaurant industry to go green,” Turner said in the article.
In an effort to reduce his restaurants’ carbon footprint, the straws at Turner’s restaurants are now made of biodegradable paper, the menus are printed on 100 percent recycled paper, disposable cups are made from cornstarch, and low-voltage light bulbs are used.
The annual Lindbergh Award honors individuals who, through their work, have made significant contributions toward achieving a balance between nature and technology.
“Mr. Turner has been extraordinarily successful in his business ventures. His efforts on behalf of the environment have been equally monumental,” said John King, foundation chairman and co-chairman of King Schools Inc. “Mr. Turner’s focus on economically sustainable and ecologically sensitive land management and support of scientific research through his other foundations makes him an ideal recipient for the Lindbergh Award.”
Much like Lindbergh, Turner’s love of the natural world began in his youth. As a boy, Ted Turner was fascinated with the natural world. He read books on everything from animals in Africa to whales in the ocean deep. Today, Turner believes that protecting the environment is central to the very survival of human life, an opinion that closely mirrors Charles Lindbergh’s statement that “all the achievements of mankind have value only to the extent that they preserve and improve the quality of life.”
During his acceptance remarks, Turner stated that he was honored to receive the Lindbergh Award.
“I have tried, in the latter half of my life, to use the time I have left to make the world a better, safer, more equitable place to live,” he said.
He outlined the philanthropic work he has been committed to over the past two decades, including the preservation of natural habitat, endangered species and ecosystems through the Turner Foundation and the Turner Endangered Species Fund. Turner closed by saying his work has given him “a lot of pleasure and satisfaction.”
“Particularly when we get recognition like we are tonight,” he said. “It really is the icing on the cake.”
Corporate Award for Balance
The Jacoby Group was selected to receive the foundation’s Corporate Award for Balance, which is given to corporations or organizations whose concern for and dedication to the environment and improving our quality of life is demonstrated through their business practices.
Through years of working with community leaders and economic partners throughout the country, Jim Jacoby has come to understand that the nation’s environment and economy are linked.
“Jim Jacoby is an outstanding example of what the Lindbergh Foundation is trying to accomplish with the Corporate Award for Balance,” said King. “The company’s move from being a typical strip mall developer to one that transformed a decrepit and hazardous brownfield into a vibrant city within a city has earned Jim Jacoby a reputation as a “business-savvy developer with a social conscience.”
The Atlantic Station project in Atlanta was a “19th century steel mill—abandoned, rusting, filled with toxic waste,” said O’Brien as he introduced Jacoby. “Today it is the gleaming site of condos, offices, restaurants, retail and theaters, all built with recycled materials and the environment in mind.”
“I am deeply honored to receive the Lindbergh Corporate Award for Balance and extremely humbled to be in the company of companies like Patagonia and Google,” Jacoby said, upon accepting his award. “Sharing this moment with you tonight is tremendously meaningful to me and The Jacoby Group team because it is a validation of our efforts to move beyond the bricks, mortar and convention of commercial real estate and focus on sustainable green projects.”
Jacoby then highlighted several projects his company has worked on over the years, including a public-private partnership with the state of Hawaii using all alternative energy, as well as a project that wasn’t developed and is now an extension of the Ding Darling Wildlife Center in Florida. Among his favorite projects is Florida’s Marineland, the world’s oldest oceanarium.
“We’re creating what we hope to be a Woods Hole for people interested in issues of the ocean to come together,” said Jacoby, adding that Cornelius Vanderbilt Whitney and Juan Trippe of Pan American Airways founded the original Marineland in 1938, and that Charles Lindbergh worked for Pan Am starting in 1928. The Marineland property is now undergoing an expansion in partnership with the Georgia Aquarium. When completed, it will be the first dolphin, manatee, and whale rescue center on the East Coast where injured animals can rehabilitate and be released back into the wild or have a permanent home.
Looking to the future, Jacoby discussed his idea for an “aerotropolis”—a central business district for the airport—at Airport Station, complete with green art.
“One of the things we are trying to do is green the airport,” Jacoby said. “With some of our technology, we’re looking at taking the garbage of the airport and using our plasma technology to create a gas to run turbines to create green electricity from the airport. I think that’s something Mr. Lindbergh would have liked to hear. We have a great opportunity to do a green project using and showcasing alternative energy and green materials.”
Other aviation notables in attendance
Aviation luminaries in attendance included Patty Wagstaff and Jamail Larkin. Wagstaff flies one of the most thrilling, low-level aerobatic routines in the world. She’s a six-time member of the U.S. Aerobatic Team and has won medals in Olympic-level international aerobatic competitions. She’s the first woman to win the title of U.S. National Aerobatic champion and one of the few people to win it three times.
Larkins is the first ambassador for Aviation & Space Education for the Federal Aviation Administration and is a national spokesman of the EAA Vision of Eagles Program. He founded the DreamLaunch Tour, a nationwide tour designed to educate students about career opportunities in the aviation industry.