Indecent proposal? Redford rails against eco-village
The Hollywood legend is feted as an 'environmental superhero' but he's acting like a Napa Valley nimby
Sunday 10 May 2009
He is one of Hollywood's original environmentalists, who was promoting the virtues of renewable energy and eco-friendly design long before it was fashionable. But Robert Redford takes a dim view of sustainable development in his own leafy backyard.
The Oscar-winning actor, whose decades of pioneering green activism saw him elevated to Time magazine's list of "environmental superheros," has prompted talk of pots and kettles by joining a crusade to prevent the development of a new "eco village" in northern California's picturesque Napa Valley.
Redford, 72, has joined Save Rural Angwin, a pressure group dedicated to opposing the development of several hundred "green" family dwellings, together with a retirement home, on 63 rolling acres near a secluded wine-country estate he bought eight years ago.
The 275 proposed low-energy homes could scarcely be more environmentally sensitive. They will get energy from solar panels, use recycled water, and support an organic farming co-operative. Residents will be automatically enrolled in an electric car-sharing scheme
Redford's lobby group is concerned that the development, near the village of Angwin, will destroy several fields. Its environmental benefits will be cancelled out by increases in traffic in the area, they argue.
"I believe that the citizens of Napa Valley care about preserving our beautiful agricultural and rural heritage," Redford said in a statement. "That is why I am happy to join Save Rural Angwin in its efforts to preserve this naturally carved land-basin from development."
To some, Redford's complaint hits a sharp nail on the head: many activists believe that projects like Angwin eco-village represent little more than a cynical attempt by canny developers to use "green-washing" to get permission to build homes that would never otherwise be allowed.
To others, however, the campaign he has joined is at least partly misguided: thousands of new homes must be built in California over the coming years so, while all development represents a blot on the landscape, "green" projects may eventually represent the best option for the environment.
Either way, his decision to oppose the eco-village may feel a little rum to residents of rural Utah, where, in 1969, Redford bought 6,000 acres of mountainside and proceeded to turn it into the world-famous Sundance ski resort.
Redford also invited talk of pots and kettles last month by writing an article for the Huffington Post website arguing against the nimby-ism that often stands in the way of environmentally friendly building projects. "We can't begin the new energy future by only saying where we can't build renewable energy projects," he argued then. "We also have to agree on where we can."
Meanwhile the developers of Angwin's proposed eco-village, which involves a partnership between a firm called Triad and the cash-strapped local college, responded to Redford's comments. "I don't want to use the hypocrisy word here," Curt Johansen, the executive vice president of Triad, told the New York Times. "[But] I don't think he'd be in opposition to this if he knew the whole story."
- 1 Woman falls to her death as she celebrates marriage proposal at the edge of Ibiza cliff
- 2 Saudi preacher who 'raped and tortured' his five -year-old daughter to death is released after paying 'blood money'
- 3 Dad attempts revenge on teenage daughter, plan backfires spectacularly
- 4 Ball pool for adults opens in London
- 5 Amal Clooney gives excellent response to fashion question at European Court of Human Rights
Isis 'throw man off a building for homosexual affair' and beat him to death when he survives
Woman falls to her death as she celebrates marriage proposal at the edge of Ibiza cliff
Boris Johnson claims porn-obsessed Islamic jihadists are 'literally w*****s'
Saudi preacher who 'raped and tortured' his five -year-old daughter to death is released after paying 'blood money'
Ball pool for adults opens in London
9 reasons Greece's experiment with the radical left is doomed to failure
Have we reached 'peak food'? Shortages loom as global production rates slow
Greece elections: Syriza and EU on collision course after election win for left-wing party
British grandmother Lindsay Sandiford faces execution by firing squad in Indonesia
Liberal Democrat minister defends comments suggesting immigration causes pub closures
King Abdullah dead: We can't afford not to hold Saudi Arabia's royals to account
Negotiable: Tradewind Recruitment: My client is an excellent, large partially ...
£90 - £140 per day: Tradewind Recruitment: I am currently working in partnersh...
£100 - £150 per day: Tradewind Recruitment: Year 3 Teacher Birmingham Jan 2015...
£45000 - £50000 per annum + Excellent benefits: Ashdown Group: Lead Web Develo...