The 2nd Annual Anthem Awards | Winners announced Feb 2023


Anthem Voices

Fireside Chat: Monica Lewinsky and Greg Hahn of Mischief


Lindsay Leoni Bourgoine, Vice President, Protect Our Winters; Anita Schillhorn, Director of Strategy, McKinney; Hana Sutch, Co-Founder & CEO, Go Jauntly; Aza Raskin, Co-founder & Executive Director, Earth Species Project; Rebecca Moore, Director of Google Earth, Earth Engine & Outreach at Google, and Jill Lesser, Vice President, Integrated Communications and Brand Strategy, National Geographic.

Moderated by: Erika Preuss, Multimedia Director, NRDC

As part of the inaugural Anthem Awards conference, Erica Pruess from The Natural Resources Defense Council spoke with key leaders championing climate and sustainability action. In this Impact Stories panel discussion insights were given into some of the projects and initiatives that are making waves in this space.

With guests from organizations like National Geographic, Google Earth and the Earth Species Project, this discussion shed light on just some of the ways that the community can make a difference.

Highlights include:

  • Hana Sutch revealing that to date, Go Jauntly’s analytics show that 300,000 kilometers of green roots were stomped in the last year using their app.
  • Jill Lesser talking us through National Geographic’s Earth Day Eve concert, featuring Maggie Rogers, Ziggy Marley, Aurora and Willie Nelson, and interspersed with iconic explorers like Jane Goodall and Brian Skerry.
  • Aza Raskin from the Earth Species Project teaching us that all languages have a shape, and that despite our differences, those shapes are all fairly similar. Even animal languages have a shape!
  • Hearing how Greta Thunberg partnered with Conservation International to integrate a Google Earth time-lapse video of Amazon deforestation, which they edited to play backwards, imagining a future where we allowed the Amazon to recover.


Watch the full discussion:



Read the full transcript below:


Erica Pruess: Hello, and welcome to the impact stories on sustainability and climate and all of the good things that we are doing today. My name is Erica Pruess. I am the multimedia director from NRDC. And I am here to help share some of the great work that is being honored today through the anthem awards. First up, we have Lindsay Leoni Bourgoine, who is from Protect Our Winters.

Lindsay Leoni Bourgoine: Awesome. Thanks, Erica. Good to see you all. My name is Lindsay Bourgoine and I lead our civic engagement work at the National Climate advocacy nonprofit Protect Our Winters. Our mission is to help passionate outdoor enthusiasts protect the places in the lifestyles they love, from the impacts of climate change. Our theory of change starts with the fact that the solutions to climate change largely exist. We have the technology we know the policies. And what we need is systemic change. However, we lack the political will for action, and to change that we believe we need a cultural shift. That’s why our key tactic is mobilizing influencers, over 200 professional athletes and Olympians to call upon their communities for engagement in what we believe is the apex issue of our time. In 2020, we set out to encourage the outdoor sports community to vote. That’s where our partner McKinney came in working collaboratively on creative concepts. We ask them to help us deliver a message to those of us that measure our happiness by the days we spend in the great outdoors. How could we inspire this demographic to vote. Together, we probably launched a short film and titled common ground through imagery of both natural landscapes and the diversity of the people that enjoy them. We sent a strong message if we want to protect the places we love, we must vote. And yes, of course pro athlete and filmmaker Jimmy chin provided the narration. We then set out to create an entire campaign built off this message, which ultimately gathered nearly 30,000 intentions to vote, and even turned out many unlikely voters which we are extremely proud of. We learned that to make an impact, we had to take risks. In a time when everyone from Snoop Dogg to the LA Clippers, were offering voting tools, we sought to break through the noise of election season with a provocative message of what’s at risk, we then set out to include imagery of the American flag. And when we did this, our community reacted in really different ways, it meant many different things to each individual, we decided to embrace that and highlight the varied perspectives, and show that even within a difference, there’s one thing that connects all of us that is worth protecting, above all, and that’s our common ground.

Erica Pruess: Thank you. Thank you so much. And next up we have Hana Sutch who is the CEO and co-founder of Go Jauntly, who is talking about dynamic green roots.

Hana Sutch: Hi there. I’m Hana. I’m one of the co-founders that gave Go Jauntly, we made an award-winning walking wayfinding and nature connection app. And we’ve had over 370,000 downloads and 40,000 monthly active users. We’re living in an age of crisis, many of which have been exacerbated by the pandemic; promoting walking and nature connectedness is actually one of the easiest ways to combat this crisis. During the pandemic, we won grant funding as part of a business response to COVID to work on the world’s first app based Green Prescription. Our dynamic green routes feature which you can see on screen is a bit like Waze but for walking. The routes are specially designed for people and not cars. Our AI driven routing algorithm creates the greenest walking routes for you from wherever you are in the UK and Ireland. This is so you can get from A to B the leafiest, quietest and least polluted way or enjoy bespoke one, three or six kilometer or more nature filled walking routes from your doorsteps. We give high priority to green elements, the size of parks, street, trees, and try our best to avoid negative aspects like the busyness of roads and high pollution levels. Community members can upvote and downvote paths and over 10,000 Community path ratings currently influence our algorithm. We hope with features such as these we can promote more everyday walking and improve access to nature for those in cities where many don’t have access to a garden. To date, our analytics show that 300,000 kilometers of green roots were stomped in the last year, we’ve seen around 550% increase in female users and 73% would recommend their walk to a friend. Our ambition is that wherever you are in the world, you’ll be able to find a nature filled walking route within a two mile radius from your home. Thank you so much big shout out to the team. Please download the Go Jauntly app on the App Store and check it out.

Erica Pruess: Fantastic. Thank you, Hannah. Next up, we have Jill Lesser, the Vice President of integrated communications and brand strategy for National Geographic, and she’ll be speaking about Earth Day Eve, 2021.

Jill Lesser: Hello, I’m so glad to be here. Thank you so much for having me. It goes without saying that National Geographic has an incredible history and an unparalleled platform. For more than 134 years, our explorers, scientists, storytellers and photographers have illuminated the wonders of the world, leading to a better understanding and appreciation for the planet and all of its inhabitants. Everyone actually has a story about National Geographic often through the lens of family members of shelves filled with the iconic yellow border. We see it in our research with recognition and love chopping 90%. And really, for those of us lucky enough to work for the brand, we really hear it all the time. So that connection gives us an incredible opportunity in this moment of urgency for our planet to reach a new generation of fans, and inspire the people of the world who will be the explorers who save it. So with our Earth Day 2021 initiative, we launched a new effort called Planet Possible, hoping to excite and ignite those fans to show a new and different side of National Geographic. And while the pandemic made our efforts challenging, actually focusing on reaching people digitally enabled us to reach a global, diverse and incredibly energized audience. Our strategy was to break through the noise of what had become one day during the year when everyone’s attention is pulled to focus on the earth. Of course, for NatGeo, that’s our every day and we wanted to begin to cultivate that every day all day element in other people’s lives. We also saw that Earth’s day had become over the last several decades about service, what can people do to save the planet, and less about celebration. And you know, one of the underlying notions of NatGeo is that celebration and illumination really leads authentically and organically to commitment and and that’s really where we started. So we began with the universal language of music as a way to showcase artists in far flung places and in the nature that most resonated and energize them. So artists, including Maggie Rogers, Ziggy Marley, Aurora, Willie Nelson, we put together a concert for Earth Day Eve. What a way to start Earth Day that was interspersed with our iconic explorers like Jane Goodall and Brian Skerry. We told the story of the earth through music streamed on YouTube and brought together 1000s and 1000s of fans. And then actually, we did an after party with partnering with Jayda G live from London, on TikTok, and really the energy and enthusiasm for that live event really surprised and delighted us. Millions of fans came to party and really celebrate the earth with Jayda. We also know that the planet is personal. So everyone sees and loves it differently and for different reasons. So our UGC effort kicked off during the concert, and continued after Earth Day with a hashtag share your spot to share the places in the world that gives people hope, garner excitement, and commitment to the planet. And through our 7 million impressions and celebrity engagement, we reached about 138 million people. So really, we couldn’t be prouder of the effort for Earth Day 2021. We hope to continue it as we move forward. I would be remiss if I didn’t call out my exceptional team who really brought this to life. And we really are so humbled to have been recognized for it. So thank you.

Erica Preuss: Thank you, Jill. Next up, we have Aza Raskin, the co-founder and executive director of the Earth Species Project, talking about decoding animal language. I think you’re on mute.

Aza Raskin: That’s the that’s the calling card of 2020-2022. Yeah, so my name is Aza Raskin and I am one of the co-founders for the Earth Species Project, along with Katie Zacarian and Britt Selvitelle and we’re an open source nonprofit dedicated to decoding non human language, which is to say towards two way abstract communication with whales, primates, maybe even birds. And I think we really believe that we change both individually and collectively when we speak, not when we speak rather, but when we listen. And we’re honored to work with like on the order of 40 biologists and institutions. And our aim is, as we work on these novel machine learning techniques that we support a new frontier of scientific discovery, enacting conservation policies, law enforcement, changing human culture and human behavior. So I think the big question is like, why now? There was a breakthrough in 2017 in the machine learning community; they let you decode translate languages, any two human languages, without the need for a Rosetta Stone, or any examples of translation. It’s just sort of mind blowing, right? It’s like I gave you two different books in two different languages. You spoke neither one of them, and you could just translate between the two. Well, how does this work? It works because by having the AI build a shape that represents a language, so imagine a galaxy where every star is a word, and the words are positioned so that words that mean similar things are near each other. And words that share a semantic relationship share a geometric relationship. And what they discovered is that, you know, English has a shape, and German has a shape, and Japanese has a shape. And they couldn’t possibly be similar shapes, could they, because they have such different cultures and histories and backgrounds. And yet, you could take the shape, which is Japanese, and the shape, which is English, and rotate one on top of the other. And even though you know, there are some words in one language that aren’t in another, if you blur your eyes, they ended up being roughly the same shape. And the point which is dog ends up being the same spot across almost every human language, English, Esperanto, Finnish, Erdish, Aramaic. There is one kind of universal human meaning shape that unites us all, which I think especially in this time of deep division it’s so profoundly beautiful. And of course, the next question is, can you build the shape for animal communication? And of course you can, but it takes a lot of pre-work to get there. And if you do build the shape, does it fit anywhere in the universal human meaning shape? And the intuition is that, you know, there are some things that we share, right? Dolphins look in a mirror and recognize themselves, there’s a deep interiority, a kind of self awareness that we share, we share grief, we share love. Whales have dialects and cultures. So there’s a lot of the same, we’d expect some part of the shape to fit and some part is our worldviews are just so different. They live in a world made out of sound. So we expect some parts not to fit. And I still don’t know which part is going to be more fascinating, the part that we can directly translate into the human experience to the part where we see there’s complexity, but we don’t know what it yet means. And we start asking questions. I think of now as this incredible moment in history, it’s sort of like AI is the invention of the telescope, in the sense that the telescope, let us look at the universe and discover that the earth was not the center. And what I think we’re gonna discover now as we look at the patterns of the universe, is that humanity is not the center.

Erica Preuss: Well, thank you very much. Next up, we have Rebecca Moore, who is the director of Google Earth, Earth Engine and Outreach at Google, talking about time lapse in Google Earth.

Rebecca Moore: Yeah, thanks, Erica. It’s super cool to be here on behalf of Google and our partner on this project Ubilabs. So last year for Earth Day, we launched the biggest update to Google Earth in five years that for the first time put a vivid depiction of our rapidly changing planet into the hands of everyone everywhere. With a new feature called time lapse and Google Earth. 24 million satellite images collected over the past 37 years have been compiled for the first time into an interactive 3d experience. And it provides ongoing visual evidence of Earth changes from climate and human behavior occurring over four decades, from 1984 to 2020. So now, billions of people around the world can experience this from their web browser or even from their phones. You can freely navigate anywhere on the globe to see these changes. And we also highlight locations we found where change is particularly dramatic. So for example, here is the Columbia Glacier in Alaska. In just 37 years, we can see 12 miles of glacial retreat directly in Google Earth. I’m not sure this animation is actually showing here, but we can all objectively see global warming with our own eyes. It makes the abstract concrete. Time lapse reveals not only environmental problems like deforestation of the Amazon, but also solutions like solar and wind farms getting installed and forest restoration projects. So our hope is that this can ground everyone in an objective comment on understanding of what’s actually happening and inspire creative action and solutions. For example, Greta Thunberg, partnered with Conservation International to integrate a Google Earth time lapse video of Amazon deforestation, which they edited to play backwards, imagining a future where we allowed the Amazon to recover. So with Google Earth available in 55, languages, timelapses garnered a huge positive reaction all over the world. I do want to end by acknowledging our partners, NASA, the European Space Agency, the US Geological Survey, the European Union, who provided the incredible raw imagery that we processed into time lapse, and especially for, for today’s award, our incredible creative partner, Ooby labs, who worked with my team to build time lapse and Google Earth.

Erica Preuss: Thanks. Thank you. Wow, what an amazing group of people. Very inspiring to see everyone and hear all about your projects. Thank you so much for sharing and and thank you for being here today. It’s incredibly humbling to see so many of us working in different ways to support the environment and climate and a sustainable future. So thank you very much. We’re gonna go into some questions with each each award winner, and we’ll start with Protect Our Winters. Lindsay, what conversations inspired and solidified a direction to take back patriotism and utilize the American flag in this campaign? And just wondering if there were any anecdotes that popped up in the social media posts around how this campaign direction united groups during time of such division in our country?

Lindsay Bourgoine: Yeah, thank you, Erica. I’m gonna have Anita from McKinney jump in here. And then I’ll share a little bit of an anecdote with you all.

Anita Schillhorn: Yeah, absolutely. I mean, it was as we all know, 2020 elections were so divisive. And we wanted to make sure that when we talked to people who are outdoor enthusiast that we were finding ways to bring them together and unite them. They come from so many different political perspectives, so many different backgrounds. But when they’re on the ground, they really see firsthand how climate change impacts their recreation, and sometimes even their livelihoods. And so we know that there’s, there’s something there that we could do to really activate them. And the American flag in 2020s stood for something that felt much more divisive, it stopped standing for unity. And we saw an Instagram post from climber Tommy Caldwell, that he bought a new house with a flag outright with an American flag. And he said that he was so uncomfortable with what the flag stood for that he took it down. That opened up a big conversation for us about what is the meaning of the flag? What does this actually stand for. And that’s how we got the idea to get athletes to bring the American flag outdoors to truly recontextualize it, and showing it in the places that they love the most outdoors. When we first shared it with athletes and and our partners some we got some negative feedback, there was so much discomfort about the symbol of the flag. And in different communities, it meant so many different things, right? Indigenous communities, black communities, veterans all had their unique perspective on what the flag means both good and bad. So it led to a very robust conversation about what our values are as a diverse outdoor state. And when we finally got people to participate, it became so meaningful to see that flag being reclaimed and recontextualize in the outdoors with all these diverse voices.

And just to add to that, Erica, you asked about social media and if we had any anecdotes there, and one of our professional athletes skier Vasu Tsujita, he posted an image of him skateboarding with a flag and he identifies as a disabled skier and a minority skier and I just wanted to read you his post and it’s quick, I promise. He said I dream that if we truly want to end suffering and create the land of the free for all, then Black Lives will matter. Indigenous sovereignty will be prioritized, disabled people will have access to the same resources as those without, love will be love and outdoor state will be for all hope is what drives me to be better to everyone around me. Yes, even those that have different values than me. Let’s hope together and take action to build a country that truly believes in the land of the free join me and make a damn plan to vote.

Erica Preuss: That’s beautiful. Thank you. Thank you for sharing. Hannah, I’d love to ask about your project with Go Jauntly. The research that you gathered about exposure to nature or positively affecting mental health is so timely and important. How has the pandemic inform the usage of your app in the end? And also your your plans for it?

Hana Sutch: Yeah, so the research study was done in partnership with the University of Derby and two successful randomized control trials that she showed that if you note down the good things that you see in everyday nature, it can bring about clinically significant improvements to mental well being, especially for those suffering with mental health difficulties. And actually, one week’s use has benefits for up to one month. So it was really important for us to use this insight to create features for people who live in cities to connect with everyday nature, as it really doesn’t come naturally to everyone. In general, most people have a poor relationship with nature. And in many ways, it could explain the current climate and ecological crisis we’re facing. So highlighting things that people might usually take for granted. So things like the Birdsong, the light from the street trees, weeds growing in a crack pavement, it’s the first step to enhancing that relationship with nature. And finally, like there’s a correlation between nature connectedness, and pro nature conservation behaviors, which is essential for the fight against the climate crisis and the bio diversity loss. So our main next step really, is to try and get go directly up into as many people’s pockets as possible.

Fantastic, thank you. Jill – I’ve wanted to ask a question about the Earth Day Eve. 2021. So I think continuing on our pandemic theme, what was the the biggest challenge producing this virtual event during during World pandemic?

Well, you know, we actually had big Earth Day plans for 2020. And, you know, things really were scrapped at the very last minute, as we move to 21, we were increasingly hopeful in the fall that we’d be able to do something in person. But you know, as we navigated the challenges of the pandemic, one of the really surprising things that we were able to do is, number one, reach artists who were in far flung places. You know, we people were in Europe, in Hawaii, in other parts of the US. And we, I feel like at the end of the day, we’re able to create a bigger global community. And then the other really, really exciting aspect of it was that we asked artists to send us their own recordings, because for obvious reasons, we couldn’t have crews on the ground. And what was so unbelievable was how many really everyone sent us recordings right from nature. And everyone really celebrated these places that were so important to them. So we saw, um, trees from all over the world, we saw bodies of water from different places, we saw people during the day and in the evening, and just this incredible ability to commune with nature, while actually bringing their talents outside. And so I think that, that universal language of music, which we were trying to use to inspire people, also got people really close to the nature itself. And so, you know, as we then thought about what else we could do, and we started our work with J to G, which, you know, was obviously inside, but was live in this really interesting way. I think we, you know, we learned that there is there are opportunities, we wouldn’t have had either if we had done something in one place, because it would have been in one time zone. If we had done it in a if we had picked only a few places that we could get to as a crew. But this way, the pandemic sort of interestingly, afforded us a lot of flexibility. And I think the other thing it afforded us was a level of peacefulness, because everybody’s presentation was just nature and them and their music. And it was, I think, you know, the feedback we got in real time was that it was very inspiring to people.

It was inspiring to watch for sure. And that’s interesting that that was organic in terms of how people selected to be out in nature, I think.

Yeah, it’s, and I was surprised as I I watched the first iteration of it. How many people picked places that were like forestry, right, where people were places where there was lots of trees and they were walking through what seems like you Not necessarily a dense forest, but a forested area, as opposed to other places on the earth. So that was so interesting that people feel, and I think we see this in our Earth Day for 2022 We’re actually really leaning into global forests and into trees. You know, so many people have relationships with, with trees and with forests that, you know, range from childhood memories to, you know, what trees represent in the future. So, yeah, it was really organic and really cool.

For sure. And I would say not only being a an emotional connection, we know from Hannah’s research, showing that it is healthy for ourselves. It’s making us a little bit better as people and it’s also a huge source of storing carbon forests are one of our natural defenses against climate change. So absolutely. That’s, that’s wonderful. That’s great. Um, Aza, we have yours is kind of a little bit of a pivot, and it’s and it’s so different than some of the others. Um, I would, I would say, what is the most surprising animal language that you’ve encountered to date? And why?
Great question. And actually, this will connect a little bit of what Joe was just saying. And oh two for very surprising, I’m actually going to switch and not even go with animal. There is a 2019 study from University of Tel Aviv that just it blew my mind and opened the aperture of what I thought communication could even be and this is flowers, Primrose flower, they, like, do flowers here, do they? Do they listen. And to these researchers played different sounds to prismas flowers like sounds of traffic, sounds of bats, sounds of pollinators. And only when they played the sounds of St. Bees approaching, the flowers would produce more nectar, and sweeter nectar within just a couple of seconds. And so like, they literally hear a bee and get excited. And I think that’s cool, because that’s like beyond the scope of what we normally think that the natural world is doing. And the flowers are able to listen, just imagine what other things we might discover. There’s another study that I love. This is a 1994 study from University of Hawaii, from from a thesis and their researcher was teaching dolphins gestures, and they, they taught the dolphin a gesture for innovate, which is already pretty cool, like do something you have not done before. And that’s a really complex thing to be able to communicate. And yet the dolphins do it, they will do a trick they haven’t done before that session. It’s like, okay, that’s already pretty amazing. But then they taught them a second gesture. And that second gesture was do something together and they’d say to two dolphins, do something you’ve never done before. Together. And they’d have to go down and exchange Sonic information and come out and do the same thing they hadn’t done before, at the same time. And exactly, it was just like it really makes you go, Hmm, what’s going on here. Unfortunately, in that study, they didn’t actually record the sounds. But I think this once again, points to the idea that there is just a lot that we don’t know, we’re at the very beginning of this journey. And you know, I’ve used that analogy before of the telescope. But I also think AI is sort of like the invention, maybe more generally of optics. Because, you know, with the microscope, we pointed the microscope, you know, at water, we didn’t expect to see anything. And what did we find was greater diversity and greater numbers of creatures than we ever thought was possible. And again, I think that’s the place we have now we have a new tool that lets us see without the human glasses on, and just imagine what we’re going to discover.

Wow, thank you very much. It’s fascinating work. It’s really interesting. And Rebecca, I would say your work builds upon this idea of making the unknown known or making the the invisible, visible. Could you talk about the curation process and selecting these time lapse events? Because I noticed it’s so balanced between where they’re located throughout the world, and how, and the different types it’s, it’s, it’s incredibly thoughtful.

Yeah, thank you so much. This is another case where we partnered, we partnered with Carnegie Mellon University, the global change laboratory, who’s done a lot of work on understanding which places on the planet are under threat and are changing in ways visible from space, particularly through a sustainability lens. So they really helped us curate we organized into different thematic areas like changing forests. warming temperatures so the Columbia Glacier retreat is in that category, urban expansion. There’s an incredible I urge everyone to fly into Las Vegas where you can see loss of the fastest growing city over the past four decades where you can see Las Vegas growing, while Lake Mead nearby is shrinking. Just in seconds you get we are not living sustainably here in terms of how we’re managing water. So that’s really been one other point to make is that imagery is sort of landscape level, you should think about, it’s not like you’re going to zoom in and read the license plate on a car, right? It’s sort of landscape level changes. So I think of it is, you know, not zooming in zooming out to get this picture of, you know, how our only home is changing. Wow, thank you, everyone.

Patagonia – Don’t Buy This Jacket

Patagonia has put social impact at the core of their brand mission and values from the start, and their iconic Don’t Buy This Jacket campaign demonstrates how brands can use their platform to make an impact — or better yet, to help reduce our impact. This 2011 ad ran in the New York Times on Black Friday, making a lasting impression for its bold message addressing the issue of consumerism head on and asking readers to take the Common Threads Initiative pledge to reduce, repair, reuse, recycle, and reimagine a world where we take only what nature can replace.

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Ad Council’s Love Has No Labels Movement

Love Has No Labels is a movement by The Ad Council to promote diversity, equity and inclusion of all people across race, religion, gender, sexual orientation, age and ability.

Read our Q&A with Heidi Arthur, the Ad Council’s Chief Campaign Development Officer on the team behind LHNL collaborates with partners to combat implicit bias—from crafting PSAs to driving viewers to take action, to how brands and companies should approach corporate social responsibility with authenticity.

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