Race Car Driver Becomes Conservation Activist
Reston, VA., march 5, 2009: Some may think that protecting the environment while racing cars is an oxymoron. But not for biology graduate turned race car driver Leilani Munter who is piloting a new Ambassador Program for the National Wildlife Federation. Munter has been racing professionally since 2001 and is on a mission to educate 100 million race car fans about the benefits of living a green lifestyle. At the same time she hopes her efforts will encourage racing sanctioning bodies to increase their environmental initiatives with expanded recycling programs and the use of alternative fuels.
The National Wildlife Federation has established the Ambassador Program because the organization’s leadership believes everyone can make a difference in protecting wildlife and conserving our natural resources. The National Wildlife Federation Ambassador program was created in 2008 to recognize and support high profile individuals who not only excel in their profession, but set an example for the rest of the world in terms of being a good steward of the environment.
Some individuals, like Munter, have stepped up and shown exemplary leadership toward helping the conservation group achieve its goals. The influence Munter has in the racing community and beyond allows her to reach out with credible environmental messages, especially those that relate to reducing carbon, carbon being the major culprit of global warming. In fact, Munter even has a web site called CarbonFreeGirl.com.
“Just because you’re green, doesn’t mean you can’t be fast,” says Munter. “I’m simply bringing my world as a race car driver and environmentalist together.”
Munter is committed to reducing her personal carbon footprint in a variety of ways. She adopts and protects an acre of rainforest for every race she runs to offset her carbon footprint and has been a long time vegetarian and eco activist. She is politically active in the fight for climate legislation and has made several trips to Capitol Hill to speak with Congress on behalf of climate issues. In June 2008 she spoke at a Climate Action Rally on the steps of Capitol Hill alongside Senators Barbara Boxer, Joe Lieberman, and John Kerry.
In 2004 Munter gained the attention of the racing world when she qualified 4th and finished 7th at Texas Motor Speedway in the ROMCO Super Late Model Series. Texas would turn out to be one of Munter’s favorite tracks. She returned to Texas Motor Speedway in 2006 and set a new record when she finished 4th, the highest finish for a female driver in the history of the racetrack. By December 2006 Leilani had raced her way from the short tracks of southern California all the way to the most iconic NASCAR track of them all, the high banks of Daytona International Speedway. She completed her rookie ARCA test at Daytona and even though she was with a small underfunded team, she was 24th out of 57 race cars testing at Daytona.
In 2007 Leilani became the fourth woman in history to race in the Indy Pro Series, the developmental league of IndyCar. She impressed the open wheel racing world when she qualified 5th for her debut. Leilani was running in the top six when a multi car accident took her out of the race.
Munter realizes that being a race car driver involves her in a sport that is not environmentally friendly. That is why she is doing everything she can to reduce her carbon footprint such as using renewable energy, recycling, and adopting tropical rainforest for every race she runs. She believes as citizens of Earth, we all need to work together to take care of our world.
“The situation is dire and requires our urgent attention. Now is the time to make a change. We need to reduce our use of fossil fuels, commit ourselves to renewable energy sources, and conserve the biodiversity that we have on Earth before it is lost forever.”
Munter feels it is an honor and a privilege to serve as a National Wildlife Ambassador. She is looking forward to working with the organization to reach millions of racing fans and others with her message about protecting the world’s natural resources.
“The National Wildlife Federation is grateful to Ms. Munter for her assistance in spreading the word about the importance of reducing our nation’s carbon footprint,”said Larry Schweiger, President of the National Wildlife Federation. “As our first Ambassador, Ms. Munter will serve as a role model for others who have the capacity to reach others with their words and their actions.”
The National Wildlife Federation inspires Americans to protect wildlife for our children’s future.