Robert Redford lends name to U.S. college environmental body

LOS ANGELES, Nov 19 (Reuters) - Hollywood star and

environmentalist Robert Redford lent his name on Monday to a new

nature conservancy at a Southern California college, saying he

hoped the research institute could help the environmentally

abused region.

The 12-acre Robert Redford Conservancy for Southern

California Sustainability at Pitzer College, endowed with $10

million from Hyatt hotel heir Nicholas Pritzker and his wife

Susan, will house research and education facilities for

environmental issues in Southern California, the college said.

Redford, 76, a Los Angeles native, said watching the city

grow at break-neck speeds with little regard for nature after

World War Two had 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 told Reuters. "I saw the city that I grew up in, that I

loved, disappear because of uncontrolled development and greed,

and it lost itself.

Los Angeles County, the nation'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 U.S. states after Texas, according to World

Resources Institute, an environmental think tank.

Pitzer College, located 30 miles east of Los Angeles in

Claremont, California, said the conservancy aims to influence

policymaking, and Redford said his role will be in part to

document its research through his Sundance television channel.

"The real question is going to be how can this move from

here to other places?" said "The Sting" actor.

"And to me that gets into storytelling. ... The

entertainment industry can play a role in this by helping

increase the distribution of this idea."

The conservancy is scheduled to open to students in autumn

2014.

(Reporting By Eric Kelsey, editing by Jill Serjeant and Todd

Eastham)

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