Earth Champions®: The History
The Earth Champions® Foundation has undertaken Quests in Hong Kong, Switzerland and Australia, developing a knowledge base of world class ideas evaluated by an international panel of experts. This inspirational Foundation implements its grass roots initiative every four years in a different city around the world. The programme lasts for one year during which Earth Champion nominations take place, hero’s are celebrated and community programmes are designed according to proposed future initiatives.
The first Earth Champions Award presented by Nelson Mandela in Melbourne, on the 8th of September in 2000, went to Gina Litton of Western Australia for her work saving the Old Great Jarrah Forests.
A second Australian programme was held in Byron Shire, in 2002. Residents were invited to nominate their own ecological heroes and the result was 47 Earth Champions.
At the launch of the Canton Vaud Earth Champions Quest, which took place at the World Conservation Union (IUCN) in 2006, Mr Daniel Zurcher (Director, Environment Technology Services, Swiss Agency for the Environment, Forest and Landscape BUWAL) spoke on the importance of fostering local commitment on issues of internationally recognised concern.
Achim Steiner, Director General IUCN, now Director of UN Environment Programme also welcomed the Earth Champions programme and of the 76 Earth Champions, said ‘This is the first time we have found local, Swiss, heroes’.
In 2008, Christine Loh helped to initiate the Hong Kong programme with the support of the Fu Tak Iam Foundation and the Hong Hong Gorvernment.
The Hong Kong Earth Champions Quest was launched on 1 August 2008 at The Foreign Correspondents’ Club, Central, Hong Kong, which attracted 27 media stories.
The programme was met with great enthusiasm with 239 Earth Champion® nominations in just 8 weeks.
In June 2014 Mayor George Ferguson launched the Bristol Region Quest at the Arnolfini Theatre in Bristol. Sir Crispin Tickell, Dr Edward de Bono and The Young Stars spoke at the event.
The Foundation Received 127 nominations of which 71 were awarded Earth Champions® at the ceremony at the Bristol Zoo Gardens in June 2015.
Director General of the IUCN Ms Inger Andersen presided over the awards saying ‘I am so pleased to be following in the footsteps of my predecessors and supporting the Foundation, their work is extremely valuable”.
The Earth Champions Foundation was invited to speak twice at the Royal Geographical Society and to participate at the Clinton Global Initiative in Hong Kong.