(1st Add: Includes reaction from Chris Horner of Competitive Enterprise Institute).
Washington (CNSNews.com) - Actor/activist Robert Redford told liberals attending a political conference on Monday to "forget Bush" when seeking solutions to "global warming" because "you can't reason with a stone."
During one of the opening events of the three-day "Take Back America" conference, Redford also blamed what he called an inadequate response to "serious climate change issues" on "a lack of leadership at the top" of the federal government.
"They're not going to change," Redford said of President George W. Bush and his administration, "and it's pretty clear why. They have a stranglehold on both houses of Congress and the Supreme Court to boot."
If that's the case, then "where can such leadership come from?" Redford asked. "It can only come from one place, and that's from the bottom up," the actor noted, calling a grassroots movement "the best way, the American way" to deal with "global warming."
Noting that he has been involved with environmental issues since 1969, Redford said that "only now is there a perfect storm of opportunity" to begin countering the effects of man-made climate change.
As people begin to "take responsibility into their own hands," a coalition is forming of "entities from across the board that represent just about all of American industrial society," Redford said.
"You've got religious leaders, you've got labor, you've got military leaders, you've got farmers," Redford added. "You put them all together, and you have the real American voice speaking."
While acknowledging that former Vice President Al Gore's film "An Inconvenient Truth" is "full of gloom and doom," the actor stressed that "this is a time for optimism, because it's a time of opportunity."
"New technologies are available that will create new products, which will also create new jobs that will stay home," Redford said, which will end the "sad issue of outsourcing and being dependent on other countries."
As a result, the future will be a time when "we can get back in touch and start thinking big again and dreaming again and thinking about hoping again," Redford added. "That's been so savaged over the past few years.
"When you really understand this planet and its evolution, how it got here, it's just a miracle," the actor noted. "You have to ask yourself, how can we not care for what we've got?"
Chris Horner, senior fellow with the free market environmental group Competitive Enterprise Institute, found little to agree with in the actor?s remarks.
?Redford is certainly right about one thing: President Bush has nothing to do with Kyoto -- beyond, that is, continuing the Clinton-Gore policy of opposing ratification of the abhorrence that even now is undergoing its death throes in Europe,? Horner told Cybercast News Service.
During Monday's event, Redford shared the stage with Larry Schweiger, president of the National Wildlife Federation, who said that environmentalists should be "listening to the wildlife" that might become extinct before the year 2050.
"Global warming" is "the defining issue of the 21st century," Schweiger added, warning that a failure to deal with manmade climate change could leave our world "a fundamentally different planet."
"Good planets are hard to find," Schweiger said, and climate change issues are "not left or right, but right or wrong. We must set aside our political differences and work in the grand tradition of Americans" to change our "ridiculous energy policy."
Another speaker during the program was Jerome Ringo, president of the Apollo Alliance, who announced a new effort called the "Apollo Challenge" to enlist 250,000 volunteers "to rise up and challenge our national leaders" to create "a 21st Century clean energy economy."
The final participant in the event was Leo Gerard, international president of the United Steelworkers union, who was the recipient of the Apollo Alliance's first "Right Stuff" Award.
In presenting the trophy resembling an astronaut and an American flag, Redford called Gerard "a unique labor leader" who realizes that "an unregulated global economy will ultimately destroy good jobs and our healthy environment."
Gerard responded that the honor actually belongs to his union, which has been involved in environmental issues for decades and was actually one of the groups that founded the Apollo Alliance.
As Cybercast News Service previously reported, Gerard's union of blue-collar workers and the "green" environmentalists of the Sierra Club joined forces on June 8 to create a "Blue-Green Alliance."
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