French President Emmanuel Macron and five other winners received the UN Environment’s Champions of the Earth award, which purpose is to reward outstanding initiatives in favor of the environment. All winners are being recognized for a combination of bold, innovative, and tireless efforts to tackle some of the most pressing environmental challenges of our time.
In a press release, the UN details the profile of each of the characters and organizations that received this recognition.
Emmanuel Macron, President of France and Narendra Modi, Prime Minister of India, are recognized in the Policy Leadership category for their pioneering work in championing the International Solar Alliance and promoting new areas of levels of cooperation on environmental action, including Macron’s work on the Global Pact for the Environment and Modi’s unprecedented pledge to eliminate all single-use plastic in India by 2022.
Emmanuel Macron, President of France
Narendra Modi, Prime Minister of India
Joan Carling is recognized with the lifetime achievement award for her work as one of the world’s most prominent defenders of environmental and indigenous rights. Carling has been at the forefront of the conflict for land and the environment for more than 20 years. Her tireless and selfless fight for the environment has made her a champion to peoples and communities all over the globe.
Joan Carling, Indigenous Leader
Companies Beyond Meat and Impossible Foods are jointly recognized in the Science and Innovation category, for their revolutionary development of a popular, plant-based alternative to beef, and for their efforts to educate consumers about environmentally conscious alternatives.
Beyond Meat and Impossible Foods
China’s Zhejiang’s Green Rural Revival Programme is awarded for Inspiration and Action for the transformation of a once heavily polluted area of rivers and streams in East China’s Zhejiang province. This exceptionally successful eco-restoration program shows the transformative power of economic and environmental development together.
Zhejiang’s Green Rural Revival Programme
Cochin International Airport will take home the award for Entrepreneurial Vision, for its leadership in the use of sustainable energy. Cochin is showing the world that our ever-expanding network of global movement doesn’t have to harm the environment. As the pace of society continues to increase, the world’s first fully solar-powered airport is proof positive that green business is good business.
Cochin International Airport
UN insists on the emergence of leaders to save the planet
The Head of UN Environment Erik Solheim said that “In a world of uncertainty, this is certain: We will not solve the extraordinary challenges our world faces today without extraordinary talent, new thinking, and bold ideas.”
“The Champions of the Earth Award and Young Champions of the Earth Prize recognize those not afraid to chart unknown waters or be the voice of the voiceless. These people are changing our world today for a better tomorrow,” Solheim added.
The awards will be presented during the Champions of the Earth Gala in New York City, on the sidelines of the 73rd UN General Assembly. The gala, hosted by actor and environmental activist Alec Baldwin and model, actress, producer, and UN Environment Goodwill Ambassador Dia Mirza, will bring together a cross-section of world leaders and influencers to celebrate momentum for change in defense of our one planet.
About the UN Environment’s Champions of the Earth
The annual Champions of the Earth prize is awarded to outstanding leaders from government, civil society and the private sector whose actions have had a positive impact on the environment. Since being founded thirteen years ago, the awards have recognized 84 laureates – ranging from leaders of nations to grassroots activists – in the categories of policy, science, business, and civil society.
Some of the previous laureates are: Afroz Shah, who led the largest beach cleanup in the world (2016); the president of Rwanda Paul Kagame (2016); former Vice President Al Gore (2007); the Executive Director of Ocean Cleanup, Boyan Slat (2014); the explorer scientist Bertrand Piccard and Google Earth developer Brian McClendon (2013).
Also honored at the event will be seven environmental trailblazers between the ages of 18 and 30, taking home the coveted Young Champions of the Earth Prize, for their ambitious project ideas to restore and protect the environment.
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