The Cooper Union’s Service to Sustainability Awards recognize people and organizations that share the Institute’s commitment to enhancing public understanding of sustainable environments and green building design and construction, and work to promote the adaptation of sustainability on local and global levels.

This year’s recipients have provided outstanding leadership in the drive to protect New York City’s drinking water, which faces dangerous levels of contamination from gas drilling, including hydrofracking, in the watershed region.

YOKO ONO—Artist/Activist
The life’s work of Yoko Ono has been in the service of world peace, which is threatened by our addiction to fossil fuel consumption. Through her art, activism, and the Lennon/Ono Grant for Peace, she strives to build a more sustainable world. The award was accepted by Josh Fox, director of GASLAND, on Yoko’s behalf.


My dearest friends:

I am sorry that I cannot be with you to accept this Service to Sustainability award- but I am with you tonight in spirit.

I have asked Josh Fox to accept this award on my behalf. When I watched the film GASLAND, I knew that Josh and I shared the vision that we can achieve a cleaner, safer, and more peaceful planet by spreading the truth. It takes a lot of courage to share the truth. Truth is power. With truth in our hands, we will all stand together and protect our planet earth.

We, the people of the world, are getting very wise very fast because we have to, for our survival.

We are starting to see the truth of where we stand. The game politicians and corporations have been playing for the longest time to keep people away from truth is not working anymore.

Those people who witnessed pieces of truth of what has really been going on are now starting to speak out – for the good of the global village we live in. We are slowly realizing what has been true all this time. And that in this global village, everything that happens affects all of us right away.

Imagine a world where we have clean land and clean drinking water we share with all lives on Earth.

The future is in our hands.

A dream you dream alone is only a dream. A dream you dream together is reality.

I love you!

Yoko Ono
14 April 2011
Read and accepted by Josh Fox


Rebecca Wodder, president—The American Rivers Foundation
Under Ms. Wodder’s leadership, the American Rivers Foundation has generated highly important visibility about the catastrophic impact that hydrofracking and mountaintop removal pose to our fragile river systems, notably the Upper Delaware River, named this year’s “#1 Most Endangered River in America.”

Amy Goodman—Journalist/founder of “Democracy Now!”
As a leading news organization with a non-corporate cultural perspective, Ms. Goodman and the Democracy Now! staff work hard to protect our constitutional rights. In doing the work of the “fourth estate,” her reporting on hydrofracking, peak water, and other energy-related issues offers citizens around the world the accurate information required to make well-informed decisions.

The festivities are presented by The Cooper Union Institute for Sustainable Design in partnership with and in support of the following conservation organizations: NYH20, Earth Justice, Catskill Mountainkeeper, Natural Resources Defense Council and Damascus Citizens for Sustainability. The event is being produced by Water-Aid USA, in partnership with SkyDog Projects, ISSUE Project Room, International WOW Company, and The Cooper Union.

Founded in 2009, The Cooper Union Institute for Sustainable Design facilitates inter-disciplinary research and scholarship and links academic engineers, architects, and artists with practitioners in the field to foster improved understanding of and catalog best practices in the sustainable design of the built environment. One of the founding principles of the Institute is to promote innovative, cutting-edge technologies and methods that are compatible with the natural environment to ensure that buildings are energy, water, and materials efficient.

Water-Aid Mission
Water-Aid USA Inc. is a not-for-profit foundation with a mission to ensure Americans have continued access to pure water. A national initiative for a “Water Resource Amendment” to the U.S. Constitution is a primary goal.

For more information please contact [email protected]
Event participants please contact [email protected]

About The Cooper Union
Through outstanding academic programs in architecture, art and engineering, The Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art prepares talented students to make enlightened contributions to society. The College admits undergraduates solely on merit and awards full scholarships to all enrolled students. The institution provides close contact with a distinguished, creative faculty and fosters rigorous, humanistic learning that is enhanced by the process of design and augmented by the urban setting.

Founded in 1859 by Peter Cooper, industrialist and philanthropist, The Cooper Union offers public programs for the civic, cultural and practicable enrichment of New York City.