Hollywood star and environmentalist Robert Redford has given his name to a new nature conservancy at a Southern California college, saying he hopes the research institute will help the environmentally abused region.
The 4.85-hectare Robert Redford Conservancy for Southern California Sustainability at Pitzer College - endowed with US$10 million (HK$78 million) from Hyatt hotel heir Nicholas Pritzker and his wife Susan - will house research and education facilities for environmental issues in the region.
Redford said watching Los Angeles grow at breakneck speed with little regard for nature after World War II has influenced his environmental advocacy.
"This is the city I grew up in, and it's the city I grew disappointed in because I saw it disappear," the actor and director said. "I saw the city that I loved disappear because of uncontrolled development and greed, and it lost itself.
Los Angeles County, America's most populous at 9.9 million, is notorious for its sprawl, smog, traffic congestion and energy consumption.
California emits the second-highest volume of greenhouse gases among all states after Texas.
Pitzer College, located 48 kilometers east of Los Angeles, said the conservancy aims to influence policymaking, and Redford, 76, said his role will be in part to document its research through his Sundance television channel.