Bebe Arcifa Khan-Ajodha
Bebe Arcifa Ajodha of Trinidad and Tobago has mobilized entire communities and spurred an entire nation to act.
She introduced the concept of environmental education in the country, which today is included in the social studies and science curricula. She developed and implemented plans for long-term conservation and she coordinated an area study of San Fernando Hill, which had been denuded by illegal quarrying. She devised a comprehensive environmental education policy for the Environmental Management Agency, which was presented to the cabinet in 1998. She has prepared and produced posters and brochures on oceans, vehicle emissions and lead poisoning.
She has conducted workshops with curriculum facilitators to produce an environmental activity booklet for children. She compiled a glossary of environment terms for the Ministry of Planning and Environment, which was distributed to all schools in Trinidad and Tobago. She prepared a draft syllabus for San Fernando's Technical Institute on Environmental Management, and she is a part-time lecturer on science and environmental studies at Corinth Teachers College.
She was appointed a member of the Wildlife Conservation Committee, which advises the Minister of Agriculture on wildlife conservation. She has launched a number of environmental clubs in schools, and in 1997, she was nominated Woman of the Year for her work on the environment.
All-China Women's Federation
When International Working Women's Day (March 8) was marked in 1990, the All-China Women's Federation launched its Green Engineering Programme. Six years since, the programme has attracted the support and participation of both urban and rural women throughout the country. Every year, the Federation organizes 120 million urban and rural women to take part in voluntary tree-planting activities. To date, 4.2 billion trees have been planted. In 1995, during the Fourth World Conference on Women, some 500 pine and cypress trees were planted in Huairou, near Beijing in an effort to express friendship and unity among all women of the world. Since 1993, supported by the Ministry of Forestry and through their Green Engineering Programme, the Federation has set up similar tree planting effort in 22 cities and counties in 16 provinces. In urban areas, women have planted trees and grown grass to make cities more green and beautiful. The Federation has also helped some 80 million women to attend training courses on applied new technology in forestry. In five provinces, namely Hubei, Jiangxi, Zejiang, Hunan and Guangxi, the women have planted trees on 193,000 hectares, fruit trees on 37,300 hectares, and transformed 2,500 low-yield hectares by planting tea oil trees. Through the All China Women's Federation and the Green Engineering Programme women have played a significant role in afforestation and environmental improvement activities in China.
Vilmar S. Demamam Berna
Prêmio Global 500 da ONU Para o Meio Ambiente - 1999
Fundador da REBIA - Rede Brasileira de Informação Ambiental, da Revista do Meio Ambiente e do www.portaldomeioambiente.org.br.
Vilmar Berna, journalist and author, has greatly contributed to raising environmental awareness in Brazil. In 1982, he founded Univerde - an NGO based in Sao Gancalo, Rio de Janeiro State.
His achievements include the implementation of the Forest Brigade, which until his involvement existed only on paper. His participation in the struggle to remove a dumping site in Sao Goncalo, within a protected area was decisive. The dumping of waste threatened the mangrove and thanks to his efforts this activity was stopped.
In 1988, Berna helped found and became President of the NGO Defensores da Terra (Earth Defenders). Through this organization, he succeeded in: preserving 3,000 hectares of Atlantic Forest, creating the Serra da Tiririca State Park; passing the Bill that regulates motor saws as guns and enacting a law that guarantees the right of 15,000 native people to live in Conservation units in Rio de Janeiro, thus helping to preserve their ecosystem.
Vilmar has also succeeded in addressing the need for regular and accessible information on environmental policies and actions by founding, in January 1996, the Jornol do Meio Ambiente - a monthly bulletin which is now considered basic reference for environmental issues in the country. He has also played a key role in environmental education for young people by writing several books on the environment. His publications include 10 titles with 500,000 copies sold in schools in Brazil and throughout Latin America.
Mr. Kenneth L. Chamberlain
During and after his career with the Pacific/Asia Travel Association (PATA), Kenneth Chamberlain demonstrated his commitment to the environment and played a leading role in putting the tourism industry on the path to sustainability. He joined PATA in 1974 as Director of Development, and he was one of the first professionals to view tourism as a potentially damaging activity for the environment. He worked towards better integration of environment and development and took steps to implement more sustainable tourism long before the concept became popular. He helped raise environmental awareness within the tourism industry by organizing, with Europa Nostra, a series of Tourism and Heritage Conferences in Asia and the Pacific. Appointed CEO of PATA in 1979, he played a leading role in the creation of the PATA Foundation, which promotes and financially supports sustainable tourism projects in Asia and the Pacific. In 1990, he became Executive Director of the PATA Foundation concentrating on capacity building and demonstrating how to make conservation an integral part of development. He has cooperated with organizations such as UNESCO, the World Tourism Organization and UNEP on a purely voluntary basis as an expert resource in workshops, seminars, writing articles and by providing advice. He is currently an advisor to UNEP, a member of the World Tourism Organization Advisory Council, a Trustee of the PATA Foundation and advisor to the Himalaya Environmental Foundation.
Global Environmental Action
In 1991, Global Environmental Action (GEA) was established as a non-governmental organization (NGO), whose committee comprises decision-makers of high standing in the fields of policy, industry and academia. GEA is continuously playing a key role as an advocator of environmental protection and sustainable development in close collaboration with UN organizations. In March 1992, three months before the Rio Summit, GEA held its first international Eminent Persons Conference on Financing Global Environment and Development in Tokyo in collaboration with the UNCED Secretariat. The results of this Conference, presented to the special session of the Earth Summit for consideration, did much to pave the way for the successful discussions and outcome of the Summit. In 1994, GEA hosted its second international conference entitled "Tokyo Conference on Environmental Action" in cooperation with the UN Committee on Sustainable Development (UNCSD). Using the conclusions of this conference as a base, the '94 Tokyo Declaration was sent around the world calling for a deepening international dialogue and global concrete actions, which would contribute to sustainable development. In 1997, to review the implementation of Agenda 21 and provide input to the UN General Assembly at its Special Session, GEA, in conjunction with UNCSD, held its third international conference entitled "Global Partnership Summit on Environment".
Sampson Osew Larbi
Sampson Osew Larbi of Ghana has been encouraging resource-poor farmers to farm by adopting the slash and mulch farming system (SMS) instead of the slash and burn method - all in an effort to reduce the emission of greenhouse gases and to create better atmospheric conditions for farming in the Twifu rural communities. Between 1987 and 1990, he organized 800 farmers, including 120 women, to plant 400,000 cocoa and 20,000 oil palm seedlings using SMS. Between 1994 and 1998, he nursed 200,000 eucalyptus, MPTS and NFT seedlings and supplied them to 250 farmers to plant through SMS without the use of chemical fertilizers and pesticides, thus creating a balanced ecosystem capable of supporting sustainable agricultural production. In an effort to alleviate poverty, environmental education and training is given to women and the landless to plant vegetables. For 1999, preparations are underway to produce 500,000 eucalyptus, casuarina and NFT seedlings through flying and private nurseries, which will be planted by 600 farmers. Thanks to Mr. Larbi's efforts, plantations of eucalyptus, MPTS and NFT are being prepared for fuel and poles for use by local farmers in order to reduce pressure on virgin forests. His activities have helped conserve soils, control desertification, reduce deforestation and helped protect fauna and flora.
After a brief stint as a soldier in the Indian army and inspired by the philosophy of Mahatma Gandhi, Captain C. P. Krishnan Nair, started manufacturing handloom garments. He then went on to practice the traditional Indian art of Athithi Sathkar hospitality in the hotel industry. He established "Leela" - the first environmentally friendly hotel in India - where guests are invited to enjoy the beauty of nature. He has invested time and energy by personally growing and looking after a variety of plants, trees and shrubs not only in the neighbourhood, but in the city of Mumbai. Today, even the city slums no longer look like slums. His efforts have motivated the people, particularly the poor, to recognize that they too can brighten their lives by cleaning and greening their environment. His hotel has become a model, which has stimulated the entire hotel industry in India to develop environmentally-sound and sustainable management practices. He has significantly contributed to the greening of the area near the international and domestic airports, and today, tree-lined avenues, flowering traffic islands and road dividers dotted with shrubs embellish the area. Captain Nair is the recipient of numerous accolades, including the Pride of India Gold Award, the Shiromani Vikas Award, the Goa Rattan Gold Award, the Prime Minister's Regional Tourism Award and the Mumbai Civic Award.
Dr. Makoto Numata
As a member of the Board of Trustees of the Nature Conservation Society since 1960, Dr. Makoto Numata has played a leading role in nature conservation activities throughout Japan. As a member of the Ecology Commission of IUCN, he has carried out scientific surveys and compiled a number of reports. His efforts to save natural forests were rewarded when the Environment Agency designated 15 forests as wilderness areas and the Forestry Agency designated 26 areas as forest reserves. As a member of IUCN's Species Survival Commission, he compiled Japan's first Data Book of Plant Species in 1989 and the Red Data Book of Plant Communities in 1996. as a member of IUCN's Commission on Education and Communication, he led the environment education movement and established the Environment Education Academy in 1990. He was also involved in promoting the World Heritage Convention and the Biosphere Reserve concept. He has been the Chairman of the IUCN Japan Committee since 1988 and he has been the Chairman of the East Asian Commission on Protected Areas since 1993. He hosted the Second Conference on National Parks and Protected Areas of East Asia and compiled a regional action plan for protected areas in East Asia in 1996.
Pennsylvania Senior Environment Corps - (PaSEC)
The Pennsylvania Senior Environment Corps (PaSEC) is the first partnership in the United States between the State Department of Aging and Environmental Protection. This private sector programme is the Environmental Alliance for Senior Involvement (EASI) - a national non-profit coalition dedicated to increasing the involvement of older citizens in environmental volunteerism.
PaSEC's goals are to: increase the involvement of older citizens in local environmental problem-solving; provide quality-controlled environmental information on environmental concerns throughout the state; change the traditional view of seniors from frail to vigorous; improve the health of retired citizens who are not traditional volunteers; use skills and leadership capabilities developed through lifetimes of experience; involve home- bound and frail elderly in productive community activities; and create a sustainable, community-based resource for inter-generational mentoring in a positive, productive setting.
In 1997, the year PaSEC was founded, 300 senior citizens volunteered to participate in this project. In the first two years water quality monitoring was undertaken, and some 250 stream sites are being tested monthly for state-identified parameters. Twice annually, the volunteers carry out stream habitat assessment and bio-surveys, and all collected data is entered into an electronic database developed by EASI.
Russian Association of the Indigenous Peoples of the North (RAIPON)
The Russian Association of Indigenous Peoples of the North (RAIPON) was established in 1990 at a Congress of Indigenous People in Russia. With a membership of 190,000 and 29 regional chapters, RAIPON's primary objective is to protect and promote the rights and interests of indigenous people in Siberia and the Far East of the country.
RAIPON has organized several campaigns dealing with the conservation of forests and animal species. It recently held a seminar for leaders of the 29 regional chapters on environmental problems affecting the traditional lifestyles of indigenous peoples in the Russian North. As a result of this meeting, they prepared the first assessment and action plan for the environment in Arctic Russia ever made by indigenous people.
After the seminar, the participants expressed an enormous sense of empowerment and encouragement to do something. RAIPON is a permanent member of the Arctic Council, where it has contributed to the Council's work in protecting the Arctic environment and the region's flora and fauna. Without their energy the issue of involving indigenous knowledge in protecting the environment of Arctic Russia would have been almost nonexistent.