On Wednesday, the United Nations announced the Champions of the Earth Awards. As the name of the award indicates, the UN’s highest environmental honour is bestowed upon ‘six outstanding environmental change makers’. As per the press release, these outstanding achievers are recognised for their success in categories including Policy Leadership, Entrepreneurial Vision, Science and Innovation, Inspiration and Action, and Lifetime Achievement.
The six laureates of 2018 have been lauded for their swift action towards pressing environmental issues. Emmanuel Macron, President of France and Narendra Modi, Prime Minister of India are among the winners of 2018 Champions of The Earth.
“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”, the United Nations wrote in a press release.
In addition to PM Narendra Modi and the President of France, Joan Carling was awarded the lifetime achievement award, Cochin International Airport was honoured for its “leadership in the use of sustainable energy” , China’s Zhejiang’s Green Rural Revival Programme was awarded for "Inspiration and Action for the transformation of a once heavily polluted area of rivers and streams in East China's Zhejiang province" and “Beyond Meat and Impossible Foods has jointly been recognized in the Science and Innovation category”.
These awards will officially be presented at the Champion of the Earth Gala in New York on the sidelines of the 73rd UN General Assembly. According to the press release, this gala will be hosted by Hollywood actor and environmental activist Alec Baldwin and Bollywood actress, producer, and UN Environment Goodwill Ambassador Dia Mirza.
Several environmental trailblazers have been honoured over the years. From Afroz Shah, who led the world’s largest beach cleanup (2016) to scientist-explorer Bertrand Piccard, and developer of Google Earth Brian McClendon (2013).