Raffi Cavoukian - known as Raffi to his fans - is an active supporter of the environment who brings joy to children through his songs and performances. He tells of love of other people and of the wonderful creatures with which we share the planet. His Baby Beluga is a song, which teaches respect and love for other species.
He gave a major donation to the David Suzuki Foundation, which enabled it to get off the ground. His recent record Evergreen, Everblue has a very strong environmental message. He has successful woven his passion and concern for the environment into his performances.
His gentle, supportive style has encouraged hundreds of thousands of his young listeners to be more environmentally aware. Raffi has been credited by the music industry for leading the campaign to reduce wasteful packaging of compact discs and cassettes. His current publishing contract calls for his books to be printed on non-chlorine bleached recycled paper with non-toxic, vegetable based inks.
In 1992, Raffi was named a UNEP Goodwill Ambassador with special responsibility for youth.
Jon Tinker is founder and President of the Panos Institute, an independent international NGO working in partnership with others to develop greater understanding of sustainable development. Panos produces information itself, and helps NG0s and media in the South to strengthen their information capacities. He founded and directed Eartliscan, Panos's predecessor, 1974-86, was environment and development editor of New Scientist Magazine 1969-77, and is a former member of the UK Royal Commission on Environmental Pollution and a former Winston Churchill Memorial Fellow.
Xialu, a 52 sq km Township in China's Zhejiang Province, has a population of 18,000. The township has made great socio-economic and environmental progress since the 1980s. Some of the achievements include the development of an environmental education programme to raise people's awareness of environmental issues, and the publication of a book entitled Ecological Construction. They have included environmental courses in all primary and middle schools, and have organized a number of activities such as ecological gardens and ecological farms. They have rehabilitated the forest and improved vegetation in the area by setting up forest management systems and reducing activities, which put pressure on forests. As a result, more than 70 per cent of the Township has been reforested and many of the animals have returned and the water quality has improved. In addition, experimental gardens using modern agricultural methods were established, and as a result soil fertility has improved and crops returned to the paddy fields. They also reduced the amount of pesticides used. The Township does not allow industries, such as tanneries, printing and dyeing mills and cement plants, which pollute heavily to be set up in the area. Waste from industry and the community are collected and recycled. All of these activities have improved the lives and increased the lifespan of the township's residents.
Chief Larry Philip Fontaine
Chief Larry Philip Fontaine, born in Sagkeeng Ojibway First Nation in Manitoba, Canada, has made outstanding contributions to the protection of the environment and to the transmission of indigenous knowledge.
For more than 25 years, he has been working to increase awareness and understanding of Aboriginal peoples both nationally and internationally, and to create mechanisms for Aboriginal peoples' active participation in national and international forums.
He has served in the Federal Government as Regional Director in the Yukon Department of Indian Affairs and as Deputy Federal Coordinator of the native Economic Development programme. He was Grand Chief of the Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs, and since 1996, has served as National Chief of the Assembly of First Nations in Canada.
Chief Fontaine has helped the aboriginal peoples of Canada address the issue of environmental degradation in their communities, and has helped them develop the skills necessary to record, interpret, monitor and solve problems dealing with the protection of their lands and resources. He was instrumental in the establishment of the Center for Indigenous Environmental Resources (CIER) in 1994.
An integral component of CIER's success has been its ability to form partnerships between First Nations peoples, governments, organizations and academic institutions, both at home and abroad. In 1996, he helped develop an innovative and culturally-based Environmental Education and Training Programme (EETP), which provides First Nations individuals, recruited from across Canada, with indigenous and western environmental knowledge and skills.
The programme comprises a 15-month class instruction and a three-month field practicum, which is held in a First Nation community. Participants are given the tools to engage in environmental protection initiatives on First Nation lands, particularly as they relate to environmental impact assessment, auditing and monitoring. He was instrumental in securing CIER's access to the Traditional Knowledge Working Group Meeting of the Convention on Biological Diversity held in Spain in 1997, and for securing a position as a permanent member of the Convention on Biological Diversity and of the Traditional Knowledge Working Group of the Canadian Federal Government.
During the course of his life, Jean-Dominic Levesque-Rene has seen his share of battles, first with his own cancer and then on another front, as a one-kid environmental crusade. At the age of 10, Jean-Dominic began his fight to ban the use of pesticides, at the same time he started chemotherapy treatment for a cancer of the immune system. He was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin's lymphoma, a cancer he believes was caused as a result of early childhood exposure to pesticides.
He grew up in Ile Bizard, where golf courses make up about half of the town's landmass. Keeping the fairways immaculate requires the use of a huge quantity of pesticides. He organized a group of children and picketed City Hall demanding a ban on pesticides. He has worked tirelessly by lobbying various levels of government through petitions (he received 4,000 letters and gathered 15,000 signatures), letter writing, briefings, speeches and conferences.
His actions have generated tremendous awareness about environmental and human health hazards of pesticide use, especially its affects on children's health. His efforts have resulted in many municipalities across Canada enacting by-laws to ban pesticides. In May 2000, the Federal House of Commons Standing Committee on the Environment and Sustainable Development recommended a ban on pesticides for cosmetic purposes.
Jean-Dominic has made presentations before national and international fora on public health and environmental protection. In May 2000, he spoke before a panel of delegates from Canada, the United States of America and Mexico at a conference organized by the Commission for Environmental Cooperation, under the auspices of NAFTA. His recommendations on children's health and the environment were accepted by the Committee. He is the recipient of numerous awards, including the prestigious Terry Fox award for environmental activism (1995), the Canadian Order of Youth, the country's highest honour (1995), the Federal Department of the Environment Canadian Health Environment Award (1996), and the Quebec Provincial Government Phoenix Environmental Youth Awareness Prize (1998).