The Champions of the Earth is the United Nations' flagship environment award that recognizes outstanding visionaries and leaders in the fields of policy, science, entrepreneurship and civil society action.
The prize seeks to honor men and women whose actions and leadership have made a positive impact on the care of environment while pursuing sustainable, low-carbon, inclusive development. Whether by helping to improve the management of natural resources, promoting the shift to the Green Economy, demonstrating new ways to raise awareness of emerging environmental challenges, and bringing sustainable development to the underserved communities through grassroots socio-environmental initiatives, the Champions of the Earth serve as a inspirations for transformative actions across the world.
The 2014 Champions of the Earth Awards will recognize exemplary leaders in the following categories: Policy Leadership, Science and Innovation, Entrepreneurial Vision, and Inspiration and Action.
Winners will be announced and recognized at a high-profile and prestigious Award Ceremony at a date and venue to be announced soon.
The 2013 laureates, who were honored at a high-level ceremony in New York, are as follows:
- Izabella Teixeira, Minister of Environment, Brazil, is recognized for her key role in reversing deforestation in the Amazon and her role on high-level UN panels on sustainable development.
- Janez Potočnik, European Commissioner for the Environment, is recognized for advocating a shift from the current global model of intensive resource consumption, including the setting of 2020 targets for the European Union to halve food waste and practically eliminate the need for landfills.
- Brian McClendon, Co-founder and Vice-President of Google Earth, is recognized for providing a powerful tool to monitor the state of the environment, allowing researchers to detect deforestation, classify land cover, and estimate forest biomass and carbon, and thus demonstrate the scale of problems and illustrate solutions.
- Jack Dangermond, Co-founder and President, Environmental Systems Research Institute (ESRI), is recognized for his commitment to ensuring that international research, education, and nonprofit organizations working in the fields of conservation and development have access to the best available geospatial analytical and visualization technology.
Inspiration and Action:
- Carlo Petrini, Founder of the Slow Food Movement, is recognized for his visionary work to improve the efficiency and sustainability of the world's agriculture and food supply. Slow Food has over 100,000 members and supporters in over 150 countries, defending local food traditions, protecting local biodiversity, and promoting small-scale quality products.
- Martha Isabel Ruiz Corzo, Grupo Ecológico Sierra Gorda, Mexico, is responsible for achieving Biosphere Reserve status for Sierra Gorda under an innovative public-private system, which demonstrates how a broad range of advocacy, public education and income generation approaches can support healthy ecosystems and alleviate poverty.
Science and Innovation:
- Veerabhadran Ramanathan, Professor at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography, UCSD, was recognized for his pioneering work on black carbon, which included leading a team that first discovered widespread Atmospheric Brown Clouds (ABCs) and research into how cutting black carbon can significantly mitigate climate change.