IFCE advisor Jack Dangermond was awarded the UN‘s highest recognition of environmental achievement
New York, 18 September 2013-Guests, ladies and gentlemen, members of the diplomatic, the United Nations, the scientific and civil society communities.
Welcome to the American Natural History Museum-the second time that Champions of the Earth has been held here.
It is the ninth time these prestigious accolades have been awarded-they are the UN's highest recognition of environmental achievement.
They are made to men and woman who are truly outstanding in their own right and as sometimes part of a wider effort by communities, countries, companies and cities to stand up, be counted and be catalytic in respect to the environment-in respect to a sustainable future.
I would like to thank scientist and TV presenter Summer Rayne Oakes and actress Alysia Reiner for being our Masters of Ceremony-on any other evening their commitment to environmental issues and awareness-building would be in their own right worthy of eulogies.
Let me also thank Tan Mingzhou, the Chief Executive of the Guandong Wealth Environmental Protection company of China.
It is his personal commitment to the environment and above all generosity in funding these awards that is making this wonderful ceremony in New York possible in the first place.
Let me also thank UNEP Goodwill Ambassador, committed environmentalist, entrepreneur, and fashion icon Gisele Bundchen for gracing these awards too.
Gisele, when we call on you, you are so often there for UNEP when we need you despite your hectic schedule.
Many of you may not know in detail of the work Gisele is doing on the environment-but just Google her and be amazed, from championing clean cook stoves and forestry and water issues to her sterling support for the causes focused upon during the annual UN World Environment Day on 5 June every year.
And I am delighted that in a short moment I will be making a special announcement about UNEP and Gisele.
Last but not least let me also acknowledge the creative genius of Mr Dong Xiyuan, a Chinese artist who has designed some beautiful trophies for each of our Champions that match traditional porcelain-making with contemporary art.
His gifts reflect the harmony between man and nature and the goodwill we all need for protecting the earth. The lotus-shaped orb vases are, I am told, best viewed from above. Thank you Mr Xiyuan for these fine works and for being here tonight.
Ladies and gentlemen,
If we are to transform our economies, our mind sets and our way of living from waste and environmental degradation into a trajectory that offers hope, prosperity and stability for seven billion people-and all the wonderful creatures, species and landscapes that still exist on this Earth-we need all kinds of people.
People who can take the messages, ideas and examples of what is infinitely do-able but so far largely unrealized, to parts of the global public UNEP reports and UN processes so rarely reach.
That is why we need people like Summer Rayne and Alysia and Gisele who speak to audiences and the young and old in ways they relate to and respect.
And why we need the seven individuals we honour this evening as Champions of the Earth-individuals from the worlds of politics and science and of environmental movements, grass roots empowerment and technological innovation.