Today the Heinz Foundation announced that it has honored Tom “Smitty” Smith, Public Citizen Texas’ Director of 24 years, with the 15th annual Heinz Award. Smitty was one of ten recipients of this major award, which this year honors individuals that “have helped bring about a cleaner, greener and more sustainable planet.”
Teresa Heinz, chairman of the Heinz Family Foundation, had the following to say about Smitty:
When we hear “Texas,” we don’t think renewable energy. We think oil—refineries and wells. But thanks to Heinz Award recipient Thomas Smith, the Lone Star state is leading the way in both energy efficiency and renewable sources of energy like wind and solar. Mr. Smith looked out at what most people would have seen as a wall of improbability, he saw a way to change the state through hard work, community and inexhaustible determination and the country and the planet will benefit greatly from his efforts.
Smitty himself had the following to say about this achievement:
Award for Efforts to Combat Global Warming Shows That Citizen Organizing Can Pay Off
Global warming is a much more serious problem now than anyone ever thought it could be. Our best science tells us we have very little time to reduce the dangerous greenhouse gasses causing an impending climactic disaster.
I am honored to be among the individuals receiving this award because of their work on global warming and environmental issues. As our efforts in Texas have shown, citizen organizing can result in policies that create green jobs and new industries which make a profound difference in reducing greenhouse gasses, even in states where political leadership is in a state of denial.
Our efforts will continue to focus on addressing global warming by encouraging solar power and energy efficiency, which will even further strengthen the Texas economy, create new jobs and economic opportunities, and reduce electric costs. Our experience has shown that renewable energy deployment and efficiency place a hedge around volatile, rising fossil fuel energy costs, protecting families’ pocketbooks and their quality of life for future generations.
Texas director of Public Citizen receives $100,000 award, Dallas Morning News
Local environmentalist honored with hefty prize money, Austin American Statesman
Texas consumer leader among Heinz Award winners, Associated Press