Heart of Green Awards Honor Ted Danson, Jamie Oliver, Josie Maran, Local Heroes, and More (Video)

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Host Gloria Reuben at the Heart of Green Awards in NYC Credit: Meaghan O'Neill

Local environmental heroes, actors, and activists gathered at New York City's LEED Gold-certified Hearst Tower for the Daily Green's second annual Heart of Green Awards last night. The event, emceed by Actress and Waterkeeper Alliance board member Gloria Reuben, honored oceans advocate and Actor Ted Danson; natural cosmetics pioneer, Model, and our Best of Green winner Josie Maran; health food revolutionary Jamie Oliver; former head of the National Audubon Society John Flicker, and others. Click through for highlights, photos, and our video interview with Ted Danson and Josie Maran.

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Dan Shapley, editor of The Daily Green. Credit: Meaghan O'Neill

Dan Shapley, Editor of the Daily Green, opened the awards ceremony Tuesday night, praising the winners and honorees of the 2010 Heart of Green Awards. From pioneering for healthy food in national school lunch programs to advocating the conservation of the world's oceans, the Daily Green recognized the work of pioneers in the green movement. Rit Aggarwala, director of the Office of Sustainability and Long Term Planning for the City of New York, took to the stage and spoke, on behalf of Mayor Bloomberg, to the progress New York had made in just a few years, from more hybrid taxi cabs to building more energy efficient buildings. His remarks were even more powerful coming from the 44th floor of a LEED Gold-certified building, with a bird's eye view of the Hudson River and Central Park.

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New York City view from Hearst Tower. Credit: Meaghan O'Neill
Rit Aggarwala photo

Rit Aggarwala, director of the Office of Sustainability and Long Term Planning for the City of New York. Credit: Meaghan O'Neill

Natural cosmetics maven Josie Maran, the Heart of Green: Role Model winner, accepted her award saying that you do not "have to sacrifice the planet for luxury"; a point well-made with her eponymous line of beauty products. She spoke to how she was taught from a young age that "doing well happens by doing good," and that she was inspired to create her brand after years of sitting in the makeup chair and being told that nothing being put on her skin was good. Find out which chemicals Josie had to watch out for when building her cosmetics brand, her plans for Earth Day, and more in our video interview, below.

Josie Maran says, "women are asking for better ingredients, it's becoming easier" to find safer cosmetics.

Video by Emma Grady

As Gloria Reuben says, "who doesn't like a man who cooks?" Jamie Oliver, of the eponymous reality show on ABC, "Jamie Oliver's Food Revolution"; awarded the Heart of Green: Food Revolutionary award, was unable to attend. Oliver has been a pioneer in getting healthy, real food into the nation's schools.

John Flicker, Heart of Green: the Steward winner, led the National Audubon Society for 15 years. Flicker shared the fact that birds react to their environment; he harkened back to sixty years ago when there was a shift in bird migrating patterns and DDT was found in the oceans. Today, bird patterns are changing again with the changing temperatures, a sign that our environment has changed. He encourages people to get involved, and visit local Audubon centers and their website, Audobon.

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Summer Rayne Oakes in Isoude and Josie Maran in Stella McCartney. Credit: Meaghan O'Neill

Dr. Philip Landrigan, Heart of Green: Guardian winner, is a local hero who has been a pioneer in the study of environmental pollutants on chronic childhood diseases. He spoke to the Framingham Heart Study, the "grandaddy of health cases" which offers a blueprint for action. He is currently leading the Children's Health Study, which will follow the health outcomes of thousands of American children, for more than 20 years in order to identify causes of chronic childhood illnesses like asthma, autism, obesity and attention deficit disorders.

Edible Communities' Tracey Ryder and Carole Topalian, awarded the Heart of Green: Ground Beakers award, were unable to attend the event, Stephen Munshin, publisher, and Brian Halweil, executive editor of Edible Manhattan, accepted on their behalf. Fred Schaeffer, Heart of Green: Local Hero winner, paved the way for Walkway Over the Hudson, a state park spanning the Hudson River. The park is, as Schaeffer says, a "country cousin" to New York City's High Line, was once a decaying railroad bridge, today thousands of tourists have visited the $38 million project since it opened in October 2009 in Poughkeepsie.

Ted Danson: Climate Change is the Most Important Environmental Issue of Our Time

Video by Emma Grady

Ted Danson, awarded the Heart of Green: Lifetime Achievement award, closed out the evening with an inspiring acceptance speech. The long-time advocate for oceans stressed that everything we do is filtered through oceans; event seamlessly unrelated issues like health care and immigration relate directly to the care of our oceans. He expresses his passion for the oceans and states that climate change is the most important issue of our time, in our video interview, above.

Danson is often asked why he is so interested in conserving the world's oceans. Point blank: it interests him. He compared it to passing a crying baby, he says, "you can't pass a problem without it taking a hit to your soul after a while. Once you start looking for and working towards a solution, it's satisfying." He thanked the crews of Oceana stationed all over the globe and when Josie Maran asked an impromptu question, "Can you eat Sushi?", he offered diet tips: avoid blue fin tuna, swordfish, shark, and king mackerel.

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