Environmental champions display green innovation in action

2011 Champions of the Earth awards

Five individuals have received this year’s “Champions of the Earth” award given by the United Nations Environment Programme to save the environment.

From using green technology to cut air pollution in China, to tackling the impact of toxic chemicals in Eastern Europe, the five winners of the award demonstrate innovative ways to put green technologies into action. Gerry Adams reports.

Duration: 2’35″

MUSIC: UP, HOLD UNDER (Kidjo)

Kidjo: Something has to be done. We cannot just continue being blinded by the fact that climate change is a reality. It is not a fantasy. It has been proven. And for us to take the lead on it to save the lives of our people.

Narrator: The music and thoughts of UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador and 2011 Champions of the Earth winner, Angelique Kidjo. Ms. Kidjo received the award for her advocacy on social equity and women’s empowerment in support of sustainable development. Ms. Kidjo says the countries of Africa, with their rich resources, need to do more for the environment.

Kidjo 3: We need our leaders to invest…lets be forethinkers on this.

Also winning the UNEP award was President Felipe Calderon of Mexico, for his commitment to lead international efforts to combat climate change. He describes some of the public policies that have been put in place in Mexico to save energy.

Calderon : We are working really hard to establish a clear commitment with the environment and in particular establish public policies that are at the same time able to fight climate change and to fight poverty – for instance the payment of environmental services or substituting old lamps for new lamps and leds ?or providing financial assistance to the people in order to acquire new appliances saving energy.

Narrator: The 2011 Champions of the Earth winners are inspirational examples of how people from all walks of life are coming up with exciting, innovative solutions to environmental challenges, says Achim Steiner, Executive Director of the UN Environemnt Programme, UNEP.

Steiner : And they are getting impatient with policymakers, with economists, with people who say there are no alternatives. There are and that is why I think the response to our work in the green economy context – providing a perspective of how we can develop, how we can create jobs, how we can grow our economies in a different model – is I think a message of encouragement that’s receiving enormous echo and support.

Narrator: Achim Steiner, head of UNEP, the United Nations Environment Programme. Other winners were Dr. Olga Speranskaya of Russia, Mr. Zhang Yue of China and Mr. Louis Palmer Switzerland.

This is Gerry Adams at the United Nations. 

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