“I think the MVP of this evening is Jane Fonda, clearly,” Al Gore said Thursday at UCLA’s fourth Institute for the Environment and Sustainability Gala. Fonda had just pulled out all the stops at the live auction, sitting on a bidder’s lap and giving him a smooch to up the ante. She also sweetened the pot for a trip to Patagonia, getting the bidding up to $250,000: “Maybe you could visit my favorite ex-husband’s ranch in Patagonia,” she offered of Ted Turner’s property. “Whoever wins, tell me your name and number, and I’ll try and set it up for you. But this is a really, really special trip.”
The evening began with cocktails at the incredible estate of Jeanne and Tony Pritzker in Bel Air. When I arrived, Tony was on bended knee picking up a broken champagne glass—even billionaires have to clean up once in awhile. The evening highlighted the work of UCLA’s IoES, which provides data and a “hands-on approach to environmental research and practice” and honored Netflix’s Ted Sarandos, Wendy and Eric Schmidt, and Jeff Skoll of Participant Media for being “Champions of our Planet’s Future.” Both Sarandos and Skoll gave producer Lawrence Bender props for introducing them to their wives. The evening also served as in introduction to the new director of the Institute, Peter Kareiva.
John Salley hosted, and the tent was filled with notables like Al Gore, Goldie Hawn, Rosario Dawson, and Norman Lear. Natasha Bedingfield killed onstage, as did Alice Smith, who closed out the evening. Perhaps unsurprisingly, Gore left attendees with a final thought on climate change. “We’re winning, but it’s very important that we win faster than we are presently winning.”