We Won the LWV of Texas 2010 Environmental Business Award!

Tom Kemper is the President and Founder of Dolphin Blue

It was indeed a pleasure to have been awarded the League of Women Voters of Texas 2010 Environmental Awareness Corporate Business Award.

From the introduction by Mary Vogelson, long-time LOWV member and past-President, who interspersed pseudo-Madonna lyrics “not like a virgin”, into her introductory words, referring to Dolphin Blue providing ONLY office supplies made of post consumer recycled materials (not virgin), to getting to see and hear from the other categories’ recipients, I was honored to receive such a coveted award from  such a distinguished group of politically-active women.

I was particularly impressed by my fellow recipients of The League’s Annual Environmental Awards, notably, one long-time activist from Houston, Terry Hershey, who has been advocating for the environment at least 50 years. Ms. Hershey has wrestled with the Army Corps of Engineers, enlisting support from the likes of George H.W. Bush (daddy Bush) when he was a congressman, and Houston oilman George Mitchell (Mitchell Energy). After hearing Terry speak upon receiving her award, I’d be hesitant to take her on, even at her tender age, which appeared to be well into her 80’s. her credentials in environmental volunteerism and activism are impressive.

Congratulations to my fellow recipients, in the following categories:

  • The Catherine Perrine Award — Dr. Melanie Barnes, LWV Lubbock
  • Individual Award — Terese “Terry” Hershey, Houston
  • Corporate/Business Award — Dolphin Blue, Dallas
  • Media Award — EnviroMedia, Austin
  • Nonprofit Award — Texas Master Naturalist Program
  • Public Policy Awards (Individual) — Karen Hadden, Austin
  • Public Policy Awards (Organization) — Downwinders at Risk Education Fund, Midlothian

The League of Women Voters, a nonpartisan political organization, encourages the informed and active participation in government

and influences public policy through education and advocacy.

2010 ENVIRONMENTAL AWARENESS AWARDEES

Catherine Perrine Award: Dr. Melanie Barnes is a Senior Research Associate and member of the Graduate Faculty in the Department of Geology at Texas Tech University in Lubbock.  Dr. Barnes has been involved in environmental issues on a national, state, and local level for 25 years.  Through her positions as Natural Resources Director and Hazardous Waste Chair of the LWV-TX, she lobbied legislative bodies as a public citizen and a scientist.  Melanie brought the issue of a proposed high level nuclear waste site in Deaf Smith County before the citizens of West Texas by arranging a panel discussion with the U.S. Department of Energy, giving presentations at civic organization meetings, and taking field trips to the site.  Melanie was also a leader in addressing the issues associated with a low level radioactive waste site in Andrews County, Texas.  And, she was LWV-TX’s point person on nuclear energy.  Melanie’s scientific credentials give more weight to her educational and lobbying efforts, thus making her a more effective League spokesperson.

Individual: Terese “Terry” Hershey of the Houston area has devoted the past 50 years to community service, particularly centered on environmental issues. Much of her focus has been on the greater Houston area, and she was a founding board member of the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center and former member of the Texas Parks and Wildlife Commission.  On a national level she was a member of the Citizens Advisory Committee on Environmental Quality, National Recreation and Park Association (1979-1980 Vice-President), board member of the National Audubon Society (1977-86), and board member of the Trust for Public Land (1979-1992).

Business: Dolphin Blue is a Dallas-based, online retailer of ONLY environmentally responsible office supplies and printed paper products. Thomas Kemper started this business because he realized that recycling would not be successful unless a market was created for the recycled material. All papers provided by Dolphin Blue are post-consumer recycled, and most papers offered are 100% post-consumer recycled, being made of only waste paper fibers using NO tree fiber. Most papers offered are FSC-certified, processed chlorine free and made carbon neutral with Green-E certified renewable wind energy.

Media: EnviroMedia is a social marketing firm headquartered in San Marcos, committed to delivering authentic, ethical campaigns for clients who want to tell true environmental stories, including the Don’t Mess with Texas litter prevention campaign which achieved a 33 percent reduction in litter from 2001 to 2005.  They also directed advertising campaigns for Green Mountain Energy Company, leading to a 70 percent sales jump in 2006, and the Water IQ campaign for the North Texas Municipal Water District, which helped curb projected peak-day water consumption by an estimated 200 million gallons of water per day in 2006.  They oversaw the Dell Inc. electronics recycling strategy and in 2004, which transformed Dell from being publicly called a “laggard” to being named a “leader.” Related recycling events set records, keeping nearly 1,000 tons of unwanted computers out of landfills.

Nonprofit Education: Texas Master Naturalist Program is a network of 37 chapters with 5,300 volunteer members who work to improve public understanding of natural resource ecology and management. Originally started in 1997, it was adopted as a state program by Texas Parks and Wildlife and the Texas AgriLife Extension Service.  In the 10 years between 1998 and 2008, Texas Master Naturalists have volunteered over 1 million hours to natural resource and environmental projects in the state. They have impacted 90,000 acres and developed/maintained 996.5 miles of interpretive trails.  Michelle Haggerty, Naturalist Program Coordinator, Texas Parks and Wildlife, is accepting the award.

Public Policy Individual: Karen Hadden, Executive Director of the Sustainable Energy and Economic Development (SEED) Coalition, has worked tirelessly to educate the media, citizens, and local and state officials about the need for coal plant cleanup and the health impacts of toxic mercury. She built a coalition among mothers, doctors, and fishermen regarding mercury emissions. She led the grassroots advocacy effort throughout Texas against 19 proposed coal-fired electric generation plants in Texas. As a result, SEED got party status in many of the cases and got reductions in mercury emissions from coal burning power plants.  Karen envisioned and created the Solar Austin Campaign that led to Austin developing the most ambitious solar goal of any municipal utility in the country.  This program served as a model for programs in the DFW area and San Antonio.

Public Policy Non-Profit: Downwinders At-Risk Education Fund is a diverse grassroots citizen organization dedicated to reducing toxic industrial air pollution in North Texas.  Although their main focus remains on reducing the toxic emissions of the cement kilns in the Midlothian industrial complex near Dallas-Ft. Worth, they have also served over the past 12 years as a resource for citizens’ groups nationally and internationally, including Puerto Rico, Great Britain, Mexico, Montana, South Carolina, Pennsylvania, Oklahoma, New York, and Michigan. Their 2007 Campaign for Green Cement persuaded the cities and schools in the Dallas Ft. Worth area to buy cement from newer cleaner kilns. This regional boycott was a factor in TXI shutting down its four wet kilns and Ash Grove pledging to reduce pollution from its wet kilns by 300 tons a year.

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