Director of Indian NGO and Earth Day founder share award
Anil Agarwal, Director of the Centre for Science and Environment (CSE) in India, and Denis Hayes, who founded Earth Day in 1970, have won the Year 2000 Global Environment Leadership Award.
“For the last three decades the contributions made by both Anil Agarwal and Denis Hayes to environmental education and awareness at the international, national and local levels have been truly outstanding,” said Mohamed El-Ashry, Chief Executive Officer and Chairman of the Global Environment Facility (GEF) as he presented the prize.
“Anil Agarwal’s career as an environmental journalist, environment advocate and analyst, prolific author of the environment, chair of the world’s largest network of environmental organisations, and director of the Centre for Science and Environment has made him a major influence in environmental policy making both in India and internationally,” Dr El-Ashry continued.
“I am particularly pleased to make this announcement on Earth Day, which Denis Hayes organised in the United States in 1970 with the involvement of over 20 million people,” Dr El-Ashry said.
Anil Agarwal has consistently argued in his writings that the poor and their environment are so intrinsically linked that any development process that is destructive of the environment will inevitably destroy livelihoods and create unemployment.
Agarwal, a mechanical engineer by training, began his journalistic career as science correspondent for the Hindustan Times in 1973. He has since written for Earthscan and New Scientist and many Indian publications and newspapers.
In 1980, Agarwal founded the Centre for Science and Environment (CSE) to examine the relationship between environment and development and raise public consciousness about the need for sustainable development.
In 1982, Anil Agarwal edited the first citizens’ report on the State of India’s Environment. Published by CSE, the report provided the social rationale for India to take environmental concerns into account, and helped India’s civil society to see the importance of environmental and natural resource issues.
From 1983 to 1987, Agarwal chaired the world’s largest network of environmental NGOs, the Nairobi-based Environment Liaison Centre. In 1987, the United Nations Environment Programme elected him to its Global 500 Honour Roll for his work in the national and international arena. The Indian Government has also honoured him for his work in environment and development.
In 1991, Agarwal co-wrote the book Global Warming in the Unequal World which had a considerable impact on the negotiations leading up to the Framework Convention on Climate Change. His position that the global ecological framework should be built on principles of democracy,
justice and equality for all the world’s citizens influenced the Rio Conference in 1992.
In 1999, his book Green Politics: Global Environmental Negotiations provided the first analysis of environmental treaties and negotiations from a developing country perspective. Most recently, he was a member of the World Commission on Water where he advocated the issue of community rights
Denis Hayes’ interest in international politics and the environment dates back to the late 1960s, when he hitchhiked across Southeast Asia, Africa, Europe and the Middle East.
In 1969, Hayes left Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government to co-ordinate the first Earth Day. Twenty years later he headed the first International Earth Day, with 200 million participants in 141 countries.
Today, Hayes heads Earth Day Network, the group organising the international campaign for Earth Day 2000. He is also President and CEO of the Bullitt Foundation, a $100 million environmental foundation based in Seattle, and Chairman of the Board of The Energy Foundation.
During the Carter Administration, Hayes was Director of the federal Solar Energy Research Institute. From 1973 to 1975, he headed the Illinois State Energy Office, and from 1983 to 1989 he served as an adjunct professor of engineering at Stanford University. He has published more than 100 articles and papers on energy and the environment in publications such as Bioscience, the NY Times and USA Today, and a ‘blueprint’ for solar energy, Rays of Hope.
A graduate of Stanford University and Stanford Law School, Hayes has been honoured by the Sierra Club, the National Wildlife Federation, the Natural Resources Defense Council, The Humane Society of the United States, the American Solar Energy Society, Beyond War, and the Interfaith Center for Corporate Responsibility. In 1978, the American Institute for Public Service awarded him the Jefferson Medal for the greatest public service by an American under 35.
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