Since its introduction in 2005, the annual Champions of the Earth award has given some of the most dynamic environmental leaders in the world attention and recognition. This includes heads of state, spearheads of industry, and pioneering scientists. The awards honour inspiring and motivating cases of how both individual and group activities have the power to impact the world. The 2022 laureates are discussed as follows:
ARCENCIEL FOR INSPIRATION AND ACTION
A pioneering environmental non-profit group in Lebanon
In August 2020, a huge explosion tore through the port of Beirut, leaving behind a jumbled mess of concrete, metal, and shattered glass. A stockpile of ammonium nitrate exploded, and the blast’s impact could be felt more than 20 kilometres away.
Arcenciel was one of many nonprofit organisations that stepped forward to help with the major cleanup effort in the Lebanese capital. The organisation collected 12,000 tonnes of primarily shattered glass from devastated neighbourhoods.
The waste crisis in Lebanon has been a huge problem for the country. There is practically no recycling culture and the landfills are full. Waste is spilling on streets a lot more. Policies on environmental concerns also have been overlooked. Arcenciel became an important part of finding a solution to all this. Their biggest achievement yet has been the treatment of infectious waste.
This waste is highly dangerous and can carry a lot of diseases, for instance, hospital waste. It needs proper technology and technique to be disposed of and treated with high pressure and heat. The NGO would take the waste from the polluters to treat and get paid, and that money would fund other ideas of the social enterprise the NGO created.
Know more about the NGO: arcenciel – Engage in development
CÉCILE BIBIANE NDJEBET FOR INSPIRATION AND ACTION |
Co-founder of Cameroon Ecology and President of the African Women’s Network for Community Management of Forests
Cécile Ndjebet is an Agronomist and Social Forester by profession. Cécile started her professional career as a Cameroonian civil servant and now has 33 years of field experience. She began participating in civil society organisations in 1997. She is one of the well-known founders of the CSO REDD&CC platform in Cameroon, where she serves as the regional coordinator of the CSO REDD+&CC Platform of Central Africa and a member of the national REDD+&CC steering committee.
Cécile established the “African Women’s Network for Community Management of Forests (REFACOF)” in 2009 as a regional network involving 17 countries from West and Central Africa to support women’s direct and effective engagement in the management of natural resources in Africa. action (ITTO), Civil Society Advisory Group, Cécile was chosen as the Central African Commission on Forests’s (COMIFAC) 2012 Climate Change Champion (CSAG).
Cécile is a prominent woman advocate for women’s tenure rights within international women networks, including the Global Gender and Climate Alliance (GGCA), Gender and Water Alliance (GWA), Women’s Environment & Development Organization (WEDO), Women’s Organising for Change in Agriculture and Natural Resources management (WOCAN), and Global Women Tenure Network. She is also an active member of The UN Women Major Group (GWTN).
She would later go on to become a prominent advocate for African women’s land rights, spending three decades fighting for gender equality and restoring hundreds of hectares of degraded wilderness. Under her leadership, Cameroon Ecology—an organisation she co-founded in 2001—has restored approximately 600 hectares of mangrove forests and degraded land.
Read more here: CÉCILE BIBIANE NDJEBET (CAMEROON)
CONSTANTINO AUCCA CHUTAS FOR INSPIRATION AND ACTION
Co-founder and President of Asociación Ecosistemas Andinos and Co-founder of Acción Andina
Constantino Aucca Chutas is a biologist. He has served as president of Accion Andina and Association Ecosistemas Andinos (ECOAN) since 2000. Since 2018, he has also served as the Global Forest Generation’s conservation advisor. Mr. Chutas has carried out regional and international conservation programmes and served as Dr. Jon Fields’ assistant at the Copenhagen Zoological Museum and Natural History at the University of Copenhagen in 1989. He participates in field studies with organisations such as the Smithsonian Institute.
Aucca has spent the past 30 years in guiding local communities in a campaign to safeguard South American woods, which are vital for battling climate change and are home to rare plant and animal species.
The Asociación Ecosistemas Andinos (ECOAN), which Aucca founded in 2000, has planted more than 3 million trees in Peru and protected or restored 30,000 hectares of land. Indigenous communities, a historically marginalised group, have benefited from Aucca’s community-led conservation efforts in establishing legal rights to their land and creating protected areas for their native forests.
The Asociación Ecosistemas Andinos has also mobilised thousands of people in Cusco to protect and restore ancient Polylepis forests, which once dominated the high Andes. The core of Aucca’s work has always been his connection with the land and the people that inhabit it.
Read more here: ECOAN
DR PURNIMA DEVI BARMAN FOR ENTREPRENEURIAL VISION
Founder of the Hargila Army and Senior Project Manager of the Avifauna Research and Conservation Division
Indian wildlife biologist Dr Purnima Devi Barman was awarded because of her transformative action to prevent, halt and reverse ecosystem degradation.The “Hargila Army,” an all-female grassroots conservation movement working to save the Greater Adjutant Stork from extinction, is led by wildlife biologist Barman.
The women design and market textiles featuring bird patterns, contributing to the conservation of the species and securing their own financial security. Before she launched her campaign, Purnima Devi found that the extinction of storks was the result of the ‘unwelcoming’ nature of people in Assam.
The Hargila Army, which was Purnima Devi’s idea, has been popular ever since it was introduced. Currently, the organisation is made up of approximately 10,000 Assamese women who work together to safeguard nesting areas and treat injured storks who fall from their nests. The club organises baby showers for newly born chicks in order to celebrate their birth and foster a stork population that is expanding.
In addition, Purnima Devi decided it would be a good idea to establish a branch of business as a part of the army where women would weave looms and yarn to produce textiles embellished with themes of the bird in an effort to raise awareness about Hargil. The company not only raised awareness but also empowered women.
According to Barman, preserving adjutant storks entails preserving and rehabilitating their natural habitats. In order to maintain future stork populations, the Hargila Army has assisted communities in planting 45,000 saplings close to stork nesting trees and wetland regions. Next year, 60,000 additional saplings will be planted. In order to remove plastic from the water and lower pollution, the ladies also organise cleanup campaigns on the banks of rivers and in wetlands.
Read more here: Who is Purnima Devi, awardee of the UN prize, know her contribution?
SIR PARTHA DASGUPTA FOR SCIENCE AND INNOVATION
Indian descent British Economist, Frank Ramsey Professor Emeritus of Economics at the University of Cambridge
Published in February 2021, The Economics of Biodiversity: The Dasgupta Review is a landmark report. Worked on for 18 months by Dasgupta and his team by using scientific, economic and historical evidence with rigorous mathematical modelling.
According to the report, environmental damage has increased along with economic expansion. It emphasises recent estimates that 1.6 Earths would be needed to maintain current living standards and makes it evident that humanity is losing its most valuable resource, the natural environment, by living beyond the means of the planet.
The Economics of Biodiversity is the cornerstone of a developing discipline called “natural capital accounting,” which aims to value nature.
“Sir Partha Dasgupta’s ground-breaking contributions to economics over the decades have awakened the world to the value of nature and the need to protect ecosystems which enrich our economies, our well-being and our lives,” said Inger Andersen, UNEP Executive Director.
Know more: Professor Sir Partha Dasgupta
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