Six people whose efforts have made significant contributions to the world’s environment, including Santa Barbaran David Krieger of the Nuclear Age Peace Foundation, were honored by Global Green USA at a gala ceremony Friday in Beverly Hills.

Global Green is the U.S. affiliate of Green Cross International, which aims to push the world toward more sustainable and safer use of its resources. The American group’s annual Millennium Awards recognize those who contribute professionally to that goal by addressing environmental and social problems.

Besides Mr. Krieger, others honored were actors and environmental advocates Kevin Bacon and Kyra Sedgwick; Sally Lilienthal, founder and president of Ploughshares Fund; Fred Buenrostro, CEO of the California Public Employees’ Retirement System; and Rob Feckner, president of the CalPERS board.

“We hope the awards inspire others to take similar paths and encourage our honorees to shine even brighter in their respective fields,” said Matt Petersen, president and CEO of Global Green USA.

Mr. Krieger, who received the International Environmental Leadership Award, has been a leader in the effort to abolish nuclear weapons. Global Green noted that he helped found several international coalitions, including Abolition 2000; the Middle Powers Initiative; and the International Network of Engineers and Scientists for Global Responsibility, based in Germany.

Mr. Krieger founded the Santa Barbara-based Nuclear Age Peace Foundation and has served as its president since 1982. A graduate of the Santa Barbara College of Law, Mr. Krieger also serves as a judge pro tem for the local Superior Court.

The link between green concerns and abating the nuclear threat was embodied by the ceremony’s keynote speaker, former Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev, who asked that world leaders adopt a treaty guaranteeing clean water and sanitation.

“We were able to solve the nuclear arms race because of . . . political will,” he said before the awards banquet. “Today we don’t see that political will. But I think it will emerge that leaders will have to address this problem.”

Dwindling water supplies and political resistance have hampered efforts to bring fresh water to slum dwellers around the world, Mr. Gorbachev said Friday in an interview with The Associated Press.

Mr. Gorbachev, a Nobel Peace Prize laureate who led the Soviet Union for six years until its 1991 collapse, founded Green Cross International in 1993.

Originally published by the Santa Barbara News Press