As our world’s population is starting to understand that sustainability is key to human survival, some of us have made saving our planet their job, or at least implement the mission into their professions. On Earth Day we present you three Greek-Americans who have greatly impacted the green movement, each one in their respective field.
Greek American Academy Award-winner Louie Psihoyos is one of the directors that have affected the public the most when it comes to protecting our planet and our ecosystem. The mastermind behind “The Cove,” a documentary about the mass slaughtering of dolphins in Japan opened up global discussions on how human greed can be dangerous for our own future. His latest documentary, “6.” utilizes state-of-the-art equipment as a team of activists risk their lives to show the world never-before-seen images that will change the way people understand issues of endangered species and mass extinction.
“The bright minds of our culture…they see this disaster coming, but they can’t get the word out, so that’s what we’re trying to do with this next film. We want to do something that’s going to make all the eyes of the world take notice,” Psihoyos told Greek Reporter about his new film.
The Greek-American director, whose parents come from a village near Sparta, Greece, won an Oscar for “The Cove” in 2010, while “6” is opening in theaters very soon.
The daughter of green pioneer Van Vlahakis, Kelly Vlahakis-Hanks, was raised following a green lifestyle not only in her personal life but also throughout her career. As President and Chief Executive Officer of Earth Friendly Products, the world’s largest environmentally friendly cleaning products manufacturer, she has been recognized for her highly effective leadership and influential voice in the green movement.
Under her diligent leadership, Earth Friendly Products became the first carbon neutral manufacturer in the United States and as of 2014, the company pays one of the highest minimum wages in the nation. A graduate of UCLA, Vlahakis-Hanks has dedicated herself to the pursuit of environmental protection, social advocacy and green- cleaning product innovation. She was a leading voice in the formation of the Sustainability Consortium. Vlahakis-Hanks sits on the Corporate Board of the Environmental Media Association and is a Board Member on the American Sustainable Business Council. She has been featured in Los Angeles Times, Fox Business, CNN, Wall Street Journal “Marketwatch” and was recently designated one of Orange County’s 20 Women to Watch. Amongst other recognitions and awards Vlahakis-Hanks was named as a Global Woman of the Year at the 2014 Global Women’s Conference.
Nicholas P. Lazares
Nicholas P. Lazares, Vice President and Director of Sales for Boston-based Admirals Bank made a surprising move last year to allocate 200 million dollars in low interest loans for households who couldn’t afford solar energy systems.
In an industry where 90%+ of Solar installations were being financed by Leases and PPAs in 2011 reaping off many of the financial rewards for homeowners, the Greek-American game-changer helped rebirth the home Solar financing landscape, where nearly half of the 2015 home Solar installations will be financed with Loans, allowing tens of thousands of Americans to realize the full financial and environmental benefits of going Solar. Although he is only 28 years old, Nicholas has helped pioneer a new generation of how financiers help homeowners generate their own clean energy, predominantly through home solar installations.