Announcement of media statements (September)
Dr. Robert Watson (a laureate in 2010), Dr. Jane Lubchenco (a laureate in 2011) and Dr. Thomas E. Lovejoy (a laureate in 2012) announced a media statement to approximately 60 members of the press under the heading 'The Earth's Environment is at a Crossroads. Solutions Exist. The Time for Action is Now.' at the Foreign Correspondents' Club of Japan on September 7.
+25 years Commemorative Conference of the Establishment of the Blue Planet Prize (September)
The three past laureates (Dr. Robert Watson, Dr. Jane Lubchenco and Dr. Thomas E. Lovejoy) were invited to a lecture session held at the Ito International Research Centre, The University of Tokyo on September 8, at which they had a discussion with students from high schools and universities in Tokyo in part one. In part two, the three laureates gave memorial lectures under the heading "The Earth's Environment is at a Crossroads. Solutions Exist. The Time for Action is Now." The lectures were followed by a discussion that was attended by five renowned panelists including Mr. Tetsuji Ida (Senior Staff Writer & Editorial Writer Environment, Energy and Development Kyodo News, Science News Desk). The discussion attracted around 150 participants.
- Mr. Hiroshi Ono
- Deputy Director General, Global Environment Affairs, Ministry of the Environment
- Ms. Junko Edahiro
- Professor, Tokyo City University, President of Institute for Studies in Happiness and Society
- Mr. Shigeki Kobayashi
- Senior Researcher, Chubu Transportation Research Institute, Committee member of the Environment Ministry IPCC Domestic Liaison Committee WG3
- Mr. Takejiro Sueyoshi
- Special Advisor to The UNEP Finance Initiative
- Mr. Yasushi Hibi
- Representative Director of Conservation International Japan
Announcement of statement (October)
A plea to the world for compliance with the Paris Agreement: a joint statement from 31 past laureates of the Blue Planet Prize
A symposium under the title "From isolation to connection - What we can do for a sustainable future ." was held on November 16 at the Elizabeth Rose Conference Hall of the United Nations University in cooperation with Conservation International Japan.
In part one of the symposium, Dr. Thomas E. Lovejoy and Mr. Pavan Sukhdev (a laureate in 2016) delivered lectures under the headings "Genuine biodiversity designates that all the lifeforms can connect and support each other" and "Planetary Connectedness and Systems Thinking for an Economy of Permanence," respectively, followed by a lecture under the heading "The relation between biodiversity and economy: connectivity with the Japanese society" given by Ms. Jennifer Morris, President of Conservation International (a laureate in 1997).
In part two of the symposium, a panel discussion was held with the attendance of not only the three laureates but also Ms. Junko Edahiro (Professor of the Faculty of Environmental Studies Tokyo City University), who undertook the role of facilitator, and guest panelists including M.D. Michiko Imai (Climber and Director of Verseau Inc.), Ms. Atsuko Suzuki (The Representative director, Environmental Business Agency), Ms. Akane Takada (Aleph Inc. Eco team) and Ms. Misako Nakajima (Student from International Christian University).
Laureates' meeting in London and press conference (February)
Prior to the presentation at UNEP from 8 to 10 February, 14 Blue Planet Prize laureates including the first winner Dr. Syukuro Manabe gathered in London to discuss the issues based on contributions each made and completed a joint paper.
A press conference was held on the final day and Dr. Watson disclosed the ten key messages and appealed "If we are to solve the problem of climate change, loss of biodiversity and poverty, it is imperative for the world to act now."
Announcement of a joint paper at UNEP (February)
At the 12th UNEP Governing Council meeting held in Nairobi, Kenya on 20 February 2012, Blue Planet Prize laureates represented by Dr. Robert Watson presented a paper titled "Environment and Development Challenges : The Imperative to Act."
In the side event following the Governing Council meeting, Dr. Watson and two other laureates participated in a discussion meeting with others present.
Lectures on the joint paper in London (March)
The joint paper summarizing the discussions by the Blue Planet Prize Laureates on current global environmental issues to commemorate the twentieth anniversary of the Prize published with the title Environment and Development Challenges: The Imperative to Act, was first presented at the 12th UNEP Governing Council meeting held in Nairobi, Kenya on February 20, 2012.
The paper was also presented at the international conference "Planet Under Pressure: New Knowledge Towards Solution," held in London from March 26 to 29. The event, which was sponsored by UNESCO and the International Council for Science, attracted more than 3,000 international scientists, including members of the American Association for the Advancement of Science and Nobel Prize laureates to discuss global environmental issues from a range of perspectives.
At the conference opening, Sir Watson, the 2010 Blue Planet Prize winner, energetically gave an introduction to the joint paper by the Blue Planet Prize laureates in front of a huge audience.
We had our own booth at the conference and displayed and distributed materials introducing the Asahi Glass Foundation, the Blue Planet Prize and other activities. Added to this, the Foundation acted as sponsor for the conference opening reception, and also sponsored the website and materials distributed at the venue, providing an unparalleled opportunity to gain publicity overseas, contributing extremely to furthering international recognition of the Asahi Glass Foundation and its activities.
Press conference at the Rio +20,UN Conference on Sustainable Development, (June)
On June 17 (local date), the press conference announcing the winners of the 21st Blue Planet Prize was held at the Japan Pavilion of Rio+20, United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development, in Rio de Janeiro, with Mr. Tetsuji Tanaka, Chairman, Dr. Yoshihiro Hayashi, the Selection Committee chairman and Mr. Shunichi Samejima, Senior Executive Director in attendance. Followed by a speech by Chairman Tanaka, Dr. Hayashi introduced the winners of the year, who participated in Rio+20 and were present at the press conference venue. Professor Rees, Dr. Wackernagel, and Dr. Lovejoy introduced by Dr. Hayashi took the stage and gave their acceptance speeches. At the question-and-answer session held later, members of the media asked many questions and engaged in lively discussion with the winners.
Following the press conference announcing this year's award winners at the Japan Pavilion, four Blue Planet Prize laureates engaged in a symposium as panelists for a discussion on the joint paper titled Environment and Development Challenges: The Imperative to Act, presented previously by Sir Bob Watson at the 12th UNEP Governing Council meeting held in Nairobi, Kenya on February 20, 2012. The participating laureates were Sir Watson (2010 laureate), Professor Goldemberg (2008 laureate), Dr. Mittermeier of Conservation International (CI)(1997 laureate), and Dr.Sendashonga of the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN)(1993 laureate). Secretary General Yasuda introduced the laureates, prior to them each giving presentations.
There were a lot of enthusiastic questions from the audience at the Q&A session following the presentations. The panelists responded courteously from their perspectives as experts, and there was a lively exchange of views with the audience.
After the symposium by the Blue Planet Prize laureates, a reception party was held at the same venue. Panelists including Sir Watson, Professor Goldemberg and Dr. Mittermeier were present at the party as was Senior Executive Director Samejima who used his remarks to express gratitude.
One after another of the numerous participants exchanged words of congratulations with the 2012 Blue Planet Prize winners, Professor Rees, Dr. Wackernagel and Dr. Lovejoy.
All winners and participants were all smiles, creating a relaxed atmosphere at the reception party.
Commemorative Lectures (May)
Date: May 14, 2002
Place: Keidanren Hall
Theme: " A Better Future for the Planet Earth "
"We celebrated the fact that our international environmental award, the Blue Planet Prize, marked its first decade last year with the 10th Anniversary Commemorative Lectures. A crowd of more than 550 filled the hall to hear the guest speakers. The Ceremony opened with a speech by Hiromichi Seya, Foundation chairman, filled with his expectations about what can be accomplished if more people become involved in understanding environmental problems and working toward their resolution. It was followed by the keynote speech by Dr. Jiro Kondo, Foundation director and chairman of the Blue Planet Prize Selection Committee. In the afternoon session, the United Kingdom's Dr. Norman Myers, Dr. Syukuro Manabe and Dr. Theo Colborn of the United States discoursed. Each speaker gave a spirited talk on the latest research findings and information related to his or her specialization. The session continued under the adept guidance of Professor Hiroyuki Ishi of Tokyo University, who served as the general moderator for a lively question and answer exchange between the lecturers and the audience members filling the lecture hall. "
Dr. Jiro Kondo, Chairman, Blue Planet Prize Selection Committee
Ten-Year History of the Blue Planet Prize
One can say that environmental problems have come about as a result of human activities and that we are having an adverse effect on the Earth's environment.
Human beings emerged on the Earth approximately 5 million years ago, and since then we have developed by changing our environment. This is known as civilization, but increased populations and cultural and technological developments have brought forth numerous contradictions in today's world. If you take a human-centric look at environmental problems on a global scale, the effects have extended all around us in the air, the water, the soil and in the living creatures.
Representative problems include destruction of the ozone layer, climate change, loss of biodiversity, a lack of environmental philosophy and ethics, and environmental hormones. As I briefly introduced the accomplishments of the 20 recipients of the Blue Planet Prize over the past 10 years, I was impressed again at the broad scope of the environmental fields in which they have pursued their work with foresight and great passion. I predict that these fields in endeavor will only broaden in the coming years.
Dr. Norman Myers (10th Blue Planet Prize)
Recent Research Breakthroughs in Environmental Conservation for Sustainable Development
This lecture reviews three of my recent research topics. One is "biodiversity hotspots." Endemic species are not distributed widely and equally all over theEarth, but inhabit small, limited regions in high concentrat ons. Forty percent of plant species and 30% of vertebrate species (except fish) are confined to just 25 localities that make up just 1.4% of Earth's land surface. It is extremely cost-effective to pursue environmenta conservation in these 25 "hotspots" to preserve biodiversity.
My second research topic is "perverse subsidies." We have come to understand that the subsidies for agriculture, fossil fuels, road transportation, water, forests and fisheries provided by governments in each country worldwide have adverse impacts on both environments and economies. Many countries have begun to face the challenges of reducing these subsidies since taxpayers in each country are paying mutually contradictory costs associated with the subsidies and environmental repair, a double burden.
The third topic is "new consumers." Seventeen developing and three transition countries now feature over 1 billion people with enough household income to engage in consumerist lifestyles that includes enjoying meat every day and buying cars in fast-growing number, which leads to water and grain shortages, air pollution and other severe impacts on the environment. What we should do about this is becoming an important topic.
Dr. Syukuro Manabe (1st Blue Planet Prize)
Global Warming and Water Resources
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Dr. Theo Colborn (9th Blue Planet Prize)
Human Integrity and Reproductivity: At Risk?
Today I will talk about whether we should be neglecting the fact that chemical substances are intruding into our daily lives. Synthetic chemicals are being detected in everyone and their impact extends to all generations. When exposed to endocrine disruptors, the so-called environmental hormones, particularly in the womb, there is a large impact on the fetus. With prenatal exposure, endocrine disruptors have been shown to impair functioning of physiologic, immunologic, neurologic and reproductive development and function. In the post-natal period, it can impair intellect, behavior and immune competency. In adults, it has been shown to predispose autoimmune problems, gonadal cancers and fertility. Males appear to be at greater risk from endocrine disrupting chemicals than females. In Japan, for example, the rate of male fetal deaths has risen over the rate for females since the 1970s. Humans are continuing to change the chemical composition of the biosphere and most of us do not comprehend the dire implications of this activity. Consequently, we are doing almost nothing about it. International research into the concentrations and impacts of endocrine disruptors is underway, and it is of utmost urgency that we publicize these results. Before it is too late, let's protect the security of the womb to preserve the inherent functioning and form of humanity.
Prof Hiroyuki Ishi