Robert F. Kennedy Jr. following a Surrey Board of Trade award luncheon where he was the keynote speaker. (Photo: Lauren Collins)

Robert F. Kennedy Jr. applauds Surrey’s efforts to commit to green technologies

He was the keynote speaker at a Surrey Board of Trade award luncheon

Robert F. Kennedy Jr. has lauded Surrey’s efforts to “nurture” green technology.

Kennedy was the keynote speaker at the 13th annual Surrey Environment and Business Awards luncheon, hosted by Surrey Board of Trade Tuesday (Sept. 17) at the Sheraton Vancouver Guildford Hotel.

The awards celebrate Surrey-based businesses and board member who demonstrate “exceptional dedication” to environmental issues.

Kennedy was announced as the speaker on June 13. He is the son of former New York Senator and U.S. Attorney General Robert F. Kennedy and nephew of former President John F. Kennedy.

Kennedy is president and co-founder of Waterkeeper Alliance, an environmental protection group working to preserve and conserve water resources. He is also a partner in Silicon Valley’s VantagePoint Ventures Partners’ CleanTech investment team and Rolling Stone magazine named him among “100 agents of change.”

The board of trade said Kennedy is an “agent of change among environmental activists.”

“He shares a bold vision for the future, in which energy independence and sustainable technology revitalize the economy. Kennedy is a co-founder and President of Waterkeeper Alliance, an environmental protection organization focused on the preservation and conservation of water resources.”

READ ALSO: Robert F. Kennedy Jr. to speak in Surrey, June 13, 2019

During his speech, Kennedy said he loves that Surrey is trying to make the city a “nurturing area for green technology and have that vision for the future.”

“I think it’s an optimistic vision. A vision that’s going to attract business and it going to make people who are entrepreneurial and smart people want to live here,” he said.

Following his speech, Kennedy told the media his message today was that Surrey’s “embracing the new energy economy.”

“Communities that embrace and nurture and develop technologies and apply to that transition are the communities that will end up on top, not only economically, but morally with quality of life and there’s no community that’s doing that more than Surrey,” he said. “I’m very proud of what they’re doing here.”

Kennedy also applauded the board’s encouragement of green technologies.

“What we saw here today, all of those incredible companies, you wanted to give an award to every one of them,” he said. “Also the fact that the Surrey Board of Trade is here to nurture green technology companies. There’s very few communities that have an organization like that, specifically here, to help companies that have those ideals flourish.”

Kennedy was also asked about the controversy around his anti-vaccination stance.

“It’s important in a democracy for the free flow of information that some people may tell you is dangerous… We ought to be able to talk about things and we ought to be able to freely make them.”

In a tweet in March 21, Kennedy alleged that rising depression and anxiety in teens “associated with the neurotoxic aluminum we are giving young teens” in the Gardasil vaccine. On the same day, he also tweeted asking whether or not it should be investigated whether the “dramatic explosion” of dementia and Alzheimer’s is related to the “aggressive push” of flu shots containing mercury.

Earlier this year, members of Kennedy’s own family called him out for his “misinformation” about vaccines in an op-ed on Politico.

As for his anti-vaccination stance, SBOT CEO Anita Huberman said there has been opposition about the board’s invitation to speaking, adding that she would “characterize it as a social media mob.”

“We have received some criticism from the general public on social media for inviting Kennedy to speak, not because of his views on the environment, but because of his views on vaccination,” Huberman said in an email to the Now-Leader in the lead up to the event. “We certainly do not agree at all with his position on vaccination, but he is not here to talk about vaccination, but rather about the environment and business potential in the green industry.

Huberman said Kennedy is “a leader of the environmental movement in North America and the world.”

“He was not invited because the SBOT agrees with all of his positions (in fact, our pipeline position is in direct opposition to his position), but because he is a world-renowned environmentalist and a linkage to the clean-tech sector – Silicon Valley. He will bring a perspective that will make people think. I believe we need to be an organization that invites healthy dialogue and different points of view, and Robert Kennedy Jr. is a person that certainly will do that,” Huberman said.

While there was a heavy police presence at the hotel, Huberman said she was “very pleased with the calmness.”

“I’m so glad we stuck to our guns and hosted the event.”

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Comments are closed

Just Posted

Cloverdale students make puzzles for care home residents

Students from Cloverdale’s Sunrise Ridge delivered gifts to seniors and thank you notes to first responders

White Rock dogs-on-promenade survey shows majority approval

City figures suggest that off-season program could continue

UPDATE: Pedestrian dies after being hit by bus in uptown White Rock

Collision occurred July 3 at North Bluff Road and Johnston Road

Intent of killing at centre of Surrey man’s West Kelowna murder trial

B.C. Supreme Court Justice Allison Beames is anticipated to return with her decision in August

PHOTOS: South Surrey tractor project evokes ‘$1-million smile,’ helps connect neighbours

Retired Surrey firefighter Ron Henze began project for friend’s dad to fill time during pandemic

VIDEO: Musqueam Chief captures captivating footage of bald eagle catching meal

‘This is why we have chosen to live here since time immemorial,’ Chief Wayne Sparrow’s nephew says

Police ramp up efforts to get impaired drivers off B.C. roads this summer

July is dedicated to the Summer CounterAttack Impaired Driving Campaign

Migrant workers stage multi-city action for full status amid COVID-19 risks

‘COVID-19 has exacerbated an existing crisis’

Okanagan school drops ‘Rebels’ sports team name, citing links with U.S. Civil War

Name and formerly-used images “fly in the face” of the district’s human rights policy, says board chair

PHOTOS: B.C.’s top doc picks up personalized Fluevog shoes, tours mural exhibition

Murals of Gratitude exhibit includes at least one portrait of Henry alongside paintings of health-care workers

Langley vigil demands justice for Ontario animal activist killed protesting in front of slaughterhouse

More than two dozen people gathered at Britco Pork to remember Regan Russell, and fight Bill 156

In troubled times: Independence Day in a land of confusion

Buffeted by invisible forces and just plain worn out, the United States of America celebrates its 244th birthday

Stop enforcing sex work laws during COVID-19, advocates say

There are provisions in Canada’s prostitution laws that make workers immune from prosecution, but not from arrest

Liberal party finished 2019 having spent $43 million, raised $42 million

All political parties had until midnight June 30 to submit their financial reports for last year

Most Read