There’s a lot of reason why 2020 is the year to celebrate and think about the work of Leilani Maaja Münter. Besides being a forward thinking pioneer and calm fighter for global warming. She’s known in NASCAR and the environmental world to be taking on climate change awareness. Her ideas are taking hold.
Born February 18, 1974, she is an American former professional stock car racing driver and environmental activist. She last competed in the ARCA Menards Series, and previously drove in the Firestone Indy Lights; thereby the development league of IndyCar. She was born and raised in Rochester, Minnesota and earned a degree in biology from the University of California, San Diego. Now she and currently lives in North Carolina.
Standing For Wind Power
In February 2009 Münter climbed to the top of a wind turbine at Horse Hollow Wind Energy Center in Abilene, Texas and autographed one of the blades. The turbine was consequently nicknamed “Leilani” by its owner, NextEra Energy Resources.
Later that same year, Münter signed a solar panel at NextEra Energy’s SEGS in the Mojave Desert. They are the largest solar thermal energy center in the world.
Also in 2009 Münter met musician Jack Johnson, who later that same year gave Münter permission to use his music with her slideshow. All about her mission to bring environmental awareness to the racing world.
My interview with Leilani:
GLG: What is the most daring thing you have ever done to make a green statement?
LM: There are a few.
I purchase an acre of rainforest for every race I run to offset its carbon footprint. I am politically active in the legislative fight for the environment and have made several trips to Capitol Hill to speak with Congress on behalf of climate issues. In June 2008 I spoke at a Climate Action Rally on the steps of Capitol Hill alongside Senators Barbara Boxer, Joe Lieberman, and John Kerry.
In fall 2008, I became an Ambassador for the National Wildlife Federation and landed a national ad campaign as a Lucky Jeans model, where it read: “Leilani Münter, Race Car Driver and Environmentalist – Saving rainforests one race at a time.” The ads appeared in Vogue, Vanity Fair, In Style, W Magazine and Lucky Jeans stores across the country.
Yet since I’ve known Leilani she has been out there speaking on environmental issues. She blogs in the green section of the Huffington Post and became the first Ambassador for the National Wildlife Federation in 2008. Then she went to Capitol Hill to lobby for environmental legislation. In 2010, she was named by Discovery Channel’s Planet Green Network as the #1 Eco Athlete in the world.
Leilani was also featured in a series called Fast Forward on Planet Green Network, which highlights environmental heroes. Glamour Magazine named her one of their “Eco Heroes.”
In March 2008, Münter went to Capitol Hill with the National Wildlife Federation to speak with members of Congress on behalf of the Climate Security Act.
That summer, Münter spoke at a rally in Capitol Hill alongside Senator Barbara Boxer, Senator John Kerry, and Senator Joe Lieberman in support of the Climate Security Act.
Saving Dolphins with Ric O’Barry
Back when I met Ric, she returned to Taiji in September 2011 with him to see the effects of Typhoon Talas.
“Greetings from Taiji, Japan. If you haven’t seen the Oscar winning documentary film “The Cove” yet, please watch it. As one movie critic said.
“The film itself is an act of heroism.” View the trailer here:
“I am in the tiny fishing village of Taiji, Japan for the third time in past year because of this powerful film and I wanted to share my latest blog from Taiji, which includes a couple videos I made this week:
I was caught in Typhoon Talas here – in the area I am in, many people died and many are still missing. After living without access to water for several days, I now have a much deeper understanding of the water stress issues that over 1.1 billion people on our planet face every day. I will never take for granted the ability to shower, wash my hands or flush a toilet ever again. There is no better way to understand an issue than to go through it yourself.”
In April 2012, she spoke on the National Mall in Washington DC on Earth Day. She was also featured on MSN Causes on Earth Day 2012.
No More Captivity of Orca Whales
In 2014, Münter began driving a race car modeled after an orca whale at the Talladega Speedway. It came with the a Blackfish theme to raise awareness about the controversial 2013 documentary criticizing Seaworld for placing orca whales in captivity.
Finally, she raised $7,500 for the car through crowd-funding. Then had the remaining $107,500 given to her by The Simpsons co-creator Sam Simon, who was also an animal rights activist. So she led the effort to not use whales, dolphins or anything of the sort at Big Box Show Stoppers like Seaworld.
Green Lighting LED
She’s always looked back and loved working on LED Saving Solutions. A company that has created the ground breaking “Savings Share” program that gives the property owners and managers. All at a $0 start up cost advantage since they only pay for the cost of the retrofit from a portion of the actual money saved each month. The program is cash flow positive for companies from the start. GREENandSAVE and I are proud to offer sponsorship exposure to companies that initiate the LED lighting retrofits. You will receive 5% of the purchase of the bulbs in vehicle branding and press release marketing with my race program.
She was a great IndyCar racer for NASCAR. However she will always be an in-law to Bob Weir from the Grateful Dead! Love that part. I’ve seen a few shows. But remember them all!
In addition, Leilani Munter always showed her eco side on the track. Because she was always sporting an earth looking helmet as seen below.
Leilani Munter Joined the Code REDD Campaign
Münter was one of the first celebrity activists to visit the BP Oil Spill; she arrived in Venice, Louisiana on May 2, ten days after the Deepwater Horizon sank to the bottom of the Gulf of Mexico. Most noteworthy it was the same day President Barack Obama arrived. She spent a week at the spill, documenting her experience there.
On July 13, 2010, Münter returned and toured areas of Louisiana affected by the BP Oil Spill as part of a Sierra Club sponsored event. Then the Environmental Protection Agency tapped Leilani to record a “Pick 5 for the Environment” public service announcement in 2010.
Love For Electric Cars
In 2013, she purchased an electric Tesla Model S all electric car and became an advocate for electric cars. Leilani wrote a blog post for the Huffington Post titled “Why We Need to Fight for Tesla” in response to state legislators introducing a bill to ban Tesla sales in North Carolina. Leilani also wrote an article in 2014 about the media attention around Tesla fires.
Münter delivered a speech at the first annual TESLIVE gathering of Tesla owners in Milpitas, California, receiving a standing ovation from the audience, including Tesla Motors CEO Elon Musk.
Animal activism with The Cove plus Racing Extinction
Münter is a volunteer for Ric O’Barry and his non-profit organization Ric O’Barry’s Dolphin Project. Ric O’Barry was featured in the Academy Award-winning film The Cove (film) and Münter began working for Ric after seeing the film. This led to Münter participating in the next Oceanic Preservation Society film, the 2015 documentary Racing Extinction. I was there. Click here for the images.
In September 2014 Oceanic Preservation Society did a public projection at the United Nations in New York City. All to raise awareness about the “Anthropocene” or sixth mass extinction.