2011-2013 Champions of the Earth Plaque

For the seventh cycle of the Awards, sculptor Robert Warren made minor modifications to the original design of the Champions of the Earth plaque. As in 2010, the plaque was made from recycled materials but the modified design featured smoother lines and colored glass that brought the ‘flame’ to life and served as a vibrant metaphor for the 2011 Champions of the Earth laureates - beacons of hope for the environment.

2010 Champions of the Earth Trophy

The 2010 Champions of the Earth trophies were created by Prof. Yuan Xikun, a Beijing-based Chinese sculptor, and donated to UNEP for use during the Champions of the Earth awards ceremony.

The year of the Tiger in 2010 is a year that brings good fortune. As the protectors of the forests, the tiger is the guardian of the Green where good fortune emanates. The sculpture depicts a tiger solemnly gazing back, as if searching for companions which have become ever rarer, as if giving out a silent warning against reckless human acts of deforestation, poaching, and the trampling of the ecosystem.

2010 Champions of the Earth Plaque

The 2010 Champions of the Earth plaque was created by Robert Warren, a Kenyan-based designer. The plaque began as a wooden pattern. This reproduction was then made by making an impression in sand and casting that in aluminium alloy. Each successful casting requires a great deal of “cleaning up” and is, therefore, individually hand finished. The fuel used to melt the metal is used engine oil and the alloy to create these products is found from scrap vehicle engines. The coloured glass for the inserts is also recycled.

2009 Champions of the Earth Trophy

The Champions of the Earth trophy was a small, crystal version of a sculpture that was created by Prof. Yuan Xikun, a Beijing-based Chinese sculptor, and donated to UNEP for display at its headquarters in Nairobi, Kenya.

The base of the sculpture is a warming earth beneath a leaning iceberg thawing from the heat. Two young cubs and their mother balance on the top of the thawing iceberg, clinging for survival.

Climate change, which is causing the thinning and disappearance of older sea ice, is reducing essential polar bear habitat and is a great threat to their survival. The Arctic is warming twice as fast as the global average. The area of the Arctic Ocean covered by ice each summer has been shrinking, and the remaining ice is becoming less thick. Loss of sea ice leads to higher energy requirements for polar bears to locate prey and a shortage of food. This causes higher mortality among cubs and reduction in size among first year cubs and adult males.


Veerabhadran Ramanathan, USA/India
Champion of the Earth 2013 - Science and Innovation

Policymakers across the world are realizing that through cost-effective actions such as reducing methane emissions from natural gas and oil production, major reductions in short-lived climate pollutants can be achieved, with significant add-on benefits for health and food security.

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