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Blue Planet Prize

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Current Year Winners

The commemorative lectures by the winners held at the United Nations University (Shibuya Ward, Tokyo) on October 19 (Thursday).

2017 (26th) Blue Planet Prize Winners

>Prof. Hans J. Schellnhuber

Prof. Hans J. Schellnhuber (Germany)
Born June 7, 1950
Founder and Director of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK)


Prof. Schellnhuber heads the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK). He is also the founder of the Institute. He has helped establish a new field of science, “Earth System Analysis,” which uses mathematical models to integrate interdisciplinary resources into providing a planet-wide view. His activities eventually created a torrent of measures against global warming worldwide, resulting in the 2-degree guardrail agreed upon by more than 190 countries at the UN climate summit COP21 in 2015. Prof. Schellnhuber and the PIK have played a central role in this field for many years.

Prof. Gretchen C. Daily

Prof. Gretchen C. Daily (USA)

Born October 19, 1964
Bing Professor of Environmental Science in the Department of Biology, Director of the Center for Conservation Biology, and Senior Fellow at the Stanford Woods Institute, at Stanford University, Co-Founder and Faculty Director of the Natural Capital Project
Prof. Daily has studied the effects of human activities on the biosphere, based on field work of many years. She has played the major role in the creation and development of a new interdisciplinary field of environmental science called “Countryside Biogeography.” She is making significant contributions to our understanding of biodiversity, by predicting various species’ likelihood of surviving human impacts and analyzing the future of ecosystems and the implications for human well-being, especially from the standpoint of agricultural land use. She has incorporated environmental issues into business practices and public policies in worldwide.
> For More Details PDF (186KB)
Mini-biography video 
Remarks from the Award Recipients upon Notification of their Selection

Seen from outer space, our home looks like a fragile blue marble, embedded in endless darkness. Evidently, the Earth and its life-supporting systems need to be handled with the utmost care. Therefore, I am most grateful for receiving the Blue Planet Prize 2017. But at the same time, I feel humbled by the daunting challenge to help preserve our common home for future generations. We climate scientists have a twofold task to fullfill: first, unravelling the web of processes that make or break the planetary environment. And second, taking responsibility for the relentless communication of our findings to the stakeholders and the public. The latter is quite difficult in these times dominated by 'fake news' and 'alternative facts'. So we have to defend reason agains superstition and to set moral agains ideology. All this epitomized by the Blue Planet Prize.

Understanding the deep interconnections between people and Nature is fundamental to human health, security, and prosperity. We live in dangerous times, but at the cusp of a revolution in how people think about Nature. Around the world, we see awakening to human dependence on our blue planet’s non-human companions, from microbes and bees to giant sequoias and vast coral reefs. We see emergence of a common language and approach for integrating the values of nature into the design of cities, working landscapes and seascapes, and protected areas. The Japanese satoyama and satoumi systems yield key insights, and illuminate the challenge of bringing understanding from the past into our urbanized and digitized world. I am so grateful to the Asahi Glass Foundation – and my many colleagues in the Center for Conservation Biology, the Natural Capital Project, and elsewhere – for driving the transformation from understanding into compassion and meaningful, durable action.