ROCK THE EARTH ANNOUNCES 2014 PLANET DEFENDER AWARD WINNERS: Artist John Butler, Community Leader Bill McKibben and Grassroots Activist Dr. Anthony R. Ingraffea Recognized for their Efforts in Defense of the Environment During Earth Month

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Marc Ross
Executive Director, Rock the Earth
(303) 454-3304 / (412) 953-6280
[email protected]

Joanna Kulesa
(408) 806-9201
[email protected]


Artist John Butler, Community Leader Bill McKibben and Grassroots Activist Dr. Anthony R. Ingraffea Recognized for their Efforts in Defense of the Environment During Earth Month

DENVER – April 17, 2014 – Rock the Earth, a national nonprofit environmental organization that partners with the music industry, today announced the winners of the ninth annual Planet Defender Awards. Based on nominations from the community and Rock the Earth’s national volunteer network, the Planet Defender Awards pay tribute to the exceptional individuals and groups working to protect Earth and inspire others to action. Announced during Earth Month, the awards recognize winners in three categories: artist, community leader and grassroots activist.

The 2014 Planet Defender Award winners:

·      Artist: John Butler

·      Community Leader: Bill McKibben

·      Grassroots Activist: Dr. Anthony R. Ingraffea

“The ninth annual Planet Defender Awards highlight the work of three, but also pay tribute to the countless hours, energy and advocacy of others just like them, who defend our planet every day,” said Marc Ross, executive director and founder of Rock the Earth. “This Earth Day, we honor John Butler, Bill McKibben and Dr. Anthony R. Ingraffea with Planet Defender Awards, with gratitude for their commitment to the environment, and hope that by raising awareness around important issues, we can all contribute to building a community more dedicated to protecting the Earth.”

Planet Defender Award – Artist – John Butler
This year’s Planet Defender Award (Artist) is presented to John Butler, an Australian-American musician, songwriter, record label owner and producer, who has been an advocate of peace, environmental protection and global harmony.

Butler has supported causes including The Wilderness Society and Save Ningaloo Reef campaign. He has been one of the largest supporters of the “Save the Kimberley” campaign, protesting massive industrial development including a proposed gas refinery in Western Australia’s Kimberley region. John and his wife, Danielle Caruana, are co-founders of The Seed, which supports artistic expression and encourages social, cultural and artistic diversity in Australian society.

“This award is dedicated to all the front line NVDA (non-violent direct action) activists around the world who put their life and limbs on the line everyday for a better tomorrow,” said musician John Butler. “These are the individuals who constantly inspire me. These are the true unsung heroes. Without them many social and human rights and sacred places on this planet would have been lost. Thanks for thinking of me.”

Planet Defender Award – Community Leader – Bill McKibben
Author, educator and environmentalist Bill McKibben is recipient of the 2014 Planet Defender Award (Community Leader), recognizing his work championing the Earth and educating people about climate change. He founded, the first planet-wide, grassroots climate change movement. His 1989 book The End of Nature is widely considered the first book for a general audience on climate change. McKibben is a regular author, contributor and speaker on topics ranging from global warming to local communities to genetic engineering to family, and is a recognized global thinker on environmental issues.

Bill McKibben, author and environmentalist, said, “This is a great honor, but one that should actually go to the far flung members of the fossil fuel resistance. This is essentially a leaderless movement, sprawling and protean – just like the fossil fuel industry whose power it must break if we are going to slow the pace of climate change.”

Planet Defender Award – Grassroots Activist – Dr. Anthony R. Ingraffea
The 2014 Planet Defender Award (Grassroots Activist) recognizes Dr. Anthony R. Ingraffea for his scientific research and work advocating environmental issues and the protection of the planet.

One of the key researchers who contributed to the national debate on the dangers of fracking, Dr. Ingraffea has authored over 200 papers with students, appeared in the documentary “Gasland Part II” and regularly speaks to anti-fracking groups.

“I’ve never thought of myself as an activist: I am only an enabler,” commented Dr. Anthony R. Ingraffea, professor of civil and environmental engineering at Cornell University. “There are complementary ways of defending the planet. Scientists and engineers speak out when ethical considerations of their research force them to become public intellectuals. The activist community works most effectively when they are evidence-based. What has happened in the shale gas/oil struggle is a great example of this – I have helped to enable the science to be the major issue policy makers have had to address. Meanwhile, the activist community has become better educated in the crucial science issues. I hope my receiving this award spurs other scientists and engineers to also become activist enablers.”


Previous Planet Defender Award Recipients



Community Leader

Grassroots Activist


Linkin Park

James Hansen

Caroline Cannon


Willie Nelson

Amory Lovins

Lynn Henning


Pearl Jam

Robert F. Kennedy, Jr.

Josh Fox


Bonnie Raitt

Laurie David

       Louie Psihoyos



Van Jones

Jessy Tolkan


Dave Matthews Band

Andrew Winston

Karen Cragnolin


Barenaked Ladies

Carl Safina

Karen Dolan


Jack Johnson

Rocky Anderson

Jason Rutledge

About the Planet Defender Award Design
Chris Nordin, of the Furnace Design Studio and The Glass Academy, designed and created the beautifully rendered Planet Defender Awards. The Furnace Design Studio is one of Metro Detroit’s most renowned glass studios, producing work for a worldwide clientele with a focus on highly crafted glass manufacturing. The Glass Academy provides students with a unique opportunity to cultivate skills in the glass arts: glassblowing, stained glass, lampworking and neon using state-of-the-art equipment and top-notch instruction from local artisans.

Tweet this:
Rock the Earth announces 9th annual Planet Defender Awards honoring those who protect the planet on #earthday2014 #rocktheearth

Editor’s note: Planet Defender Awards photo opportunities and interviews available upon request.

About Rock the Earth
Rock the Earth is a national nonprofit environmental organization dedicated to protecting and defending our natural resources through partnerships with the music industry and the worldwide environmental community to ensure a sustainable and healthy planet for all.  Thanks to generosity and support of a network of music industry partners and the world wide environmental community, we are able to carry out grassroots organizing, education, and legal action to mobilize public support and empower social change. Please visit for more information.


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