The United Nations Environment Programme
Names Carlo Petrini, Founder of the Slow Food Movement, A Champion of the Earth
19 Sep 13
The United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) has recognized Slow Food* founder Carlo Petrini’s outstanding contribution in the field of the environment and sustainable development by naming him one of the eight winners of the Champions of the Earth award. The award is the UN’s flagship environment award that recognizes outstanding visionaries and leaders in the fields of policy, science and civil society action.
On September 18, 2013, UN Under-Secretary General and UNEP Executive Director Achim Steiner officially awarded the prize to Slow Food President Carlo Petrini during a ceremony held in the American Museum of Natural History in New York. Richard McCarty, President of Slow Food USA, represented Petrini who could not be there in person, receiving the trophy on his behalf.
Outlining their motivations for choosing Petrini, the UNEP said: «With this Prize, we recognize your remarkable accomplishment as the founder of the Slow Food Movement covering a network of over 100,000 supporters in over 150 countries. With the critical issue of sustainable consumption and production in the context of global food security, your movement has become a formidable force that defends local food traditions, protects local biodiversity, and promotes small-scale quality products with an increasing focus on investments in the South. Through the Presidia projects and the Terra Madre network of food communities, you have also helped focus attention on the important role of indigenous peoples in upholding food traditions as well as being the custodians of irreplaceable inherited knowledge. The Terra Madre network, comprising 250 universities and research centres throughout the world, promotes research and tool development on sustainable food production through education and training».
Carlo Petrini and Ms. Martha Isabel Ruiz Corzo, Director of Grupo Ecológico Sierra Gorda, Central Mexico, were both named Champions of the Earth for “Inspiration and Action”.
Besides Petrini, there was one other winner from Europe, namely the European Commissioner for the Environment, Janez Potočnik, who was recognized for his work in advocating a shift from the current global model of intensive resource consumption, including setting 2020 targets for the European Union to halve food waste. Potočnik received the Price for “Policy Leadership” along with Izabella Teixeira, Minister of Environment in Brazil, and Kapparov Nurlan Zhambulovich, Minister for Environmental Protection of Kazakhstan.
Veerabhadran Ramanathan, Professor at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography in California, was recognized for his pioneering work on black carbon and named Champion for “Science and Innovation”. Last but not least, the two winners of the “Entrepreneurial Vision” prize were Google Earth and Jack Dangermond, founder of the Environmental Systems Research Institute that developed the GIS software ESRI that allows conservationists to access the best geospatial analytical and visualization technology.
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* Slow Food is a global grassroots organization that envisions a world in which all people can access and enjoy food that is good for them, good for those who grow it and good for the planet. A non-profit member-supported association, Slow Food was founded in 1989 to counter the rise of fast food and fast life, the disappearance of local food traditions and to encourage people to be aware about the food they eat, where it comes from, how it tastes and how our food choices affect the rest of the world. Slow Food believes that everyone has a fundamental right to the pleasure of quality food and consequently the responsibility to protect the heritage of biodiversity, culture and knowledge that make this pleasure possible. Slow Food has over 100,000 members joined in 1,500 convivia – our local chapters – worldwide, as well as a network of 2,000 Terra Madre food communities who practice small-scale and sustainable production of quality foods. Thanks to its projects and activities, Slow Food involves millions of people in 150 countries.
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