Verna Simpson has used her business and marketing expertise to benefit wildlife conservation. In 1981, while managing the largest mail-order company in Australia, she became Director of the newly-founded Fund for Animals Australia (FFA). Within a few years, FFA became the largest membership group in the country, renowned for its work on endangered species, wildlife trade and conservation work in Antarctica. While still at FFA, she raised the funds to set up a TRAFFIC AustralAsia office and a small-grants programme for other non-governmental organizations (NGOs).
In 1983, she bought Australia's environmental magazine Simply Living, which under her guidance flourished and received two Media Peace Prizes from the UN Association of Australia.
As a consultant to the country's premier environmental NGOs, e.g. the Australian Conservation Foundation, the Wilderness Society and Greenpeace Australia, she brought their membership and fund raising capabilities to unknown success. She set up Greenpeace's Friends of the Rainbow Warrior scheme, which is today the backbone of the organization's finances.
Verna produced two bestseller books: Environmentally Friendly Household Hints and Australia's Endangered Species. She was a founding-director of the Australian Bush Heritage Fund, now Australia's largest non-government purchaser of land for conservation, and the country's most financially prosperous NGO. In 1994, she set up Humane Society International (HSI) and in five years made it one of the largest and most successful NGOs in the country.
Professor Masayuki Tanaka
Professor Masayuki Tanaka of Tohoku University in Japan has greatly contributed to the development of climatology and global environmental science, through his research on greenhouse gases (GHG) and aerosols. For more than 30 years, he has been one of the greatest advocates of the impact of climate change. His most remarkable achievement was in establishing the relationship between GHGs and aerosols. His findings form the basis of the methodology used to predict future climate change. His other achievements include: the establishment of a model incorporating multi-dispersion process in radiation transmissions and its application to determine the relationship between the earth's temperature, albedo and aerosols; the establishment of methodologies for estimating refractive index and size of aerosol for understanding of its temporal and spatial distribution; the clarification of relationship between aerosol distribution pattern and volcanic eruption and scattering particles from desert, using air-borne survey of intensity of direct and dispersive sunlight; the evaluation of radioactive characteristics of heterogeneous clouds, which lead the denial of abnormal absorption of solar radiation by clouds; and the establishment of a methodology for measuring the concentration and isotopic ratio of GHG, which enables the mapping of GHG concentration in the Asia-Pacific region. He is the author of several books on climate change, which have led to a better understanding of the issue.
Toyota Motor Club
The Toyota Motor Corporation of Japan is increasingly trying to meet the challenges facing our planet by developing vehicles that are environment-friendly. Every aspect of their industry, from research, production, distribution, sales and service focus on sustainable development and the improvement of overall corporate excellence. In December 1997, Toyota introduced Prius to the market, the world's first passenger vehicle in production powered by `hybrid power train system'. Prius offers twice the fuel efficiency compared with conventional vehicles and cuts HC, CO and NOx emissions to about one tenth. Toyota has been one of the most aggressive companies to develop the Fuel Cell Electric vehicle, which has already achieved the high-level performance that their prototype car has run on the test track. Toyota is also very positive towards ISO14000, and all of their sites, including overseas plants, will be accredited within this century. Since the beginning of 1997, Toyota has had an Eco-project - a public declaration featuring the importance of ecology-oriented business philosophy.
Junior Eco-Club, established in 1995, is a network of more than 70,000 elementary and secondary school students who voluntarily participate in environmental conservation and education activities throughout Japan. Under the guidance of various environmental groups, including the Environment Agency of Japan, this network promotes environment-friendly lifestyles and helps raise environmental awareness in young people, in an effort to achieve a more sustainable society. The Eco-Clubs consist of action-oriented groups of children between six and 15 years of age. Although guided by one or more adult supporters, the children play the leading role. They select the priorities and set their own goals. They organize annual national meetings where they share information and build on the momentum they have generated. The focus varies from group to group and reflects regional needs and interests, which range from climate change to clean-up campaigns. Their efforts have influenced the community at large, and have inspired members of those communities to collaborate with Junior Eco-Club on various conservation efforts. Participants in this unique Club have also taken a leading role in environmental activities in the community.
Thirteen-year-old Kruti Parekh, one of the world's youngest female illusionists, uses magic to pass on the environmental message. She performs in schools and at public functions.
To illustrate the need to recycle, she turns herself into a paper recycling machine by eating paper and magically reproduces recycled paper. She also tells a child to put a banana peel in her bag and turns it into a bouquet of roses, to demonstrate how waste can help beautify one's environment.
She is the founder and director of Eco-Foundation, which is collaborating with Panchvati Green Movement, and has been appointed their official ambassador in Mumbai.
She succeeded in involving some 100 schools in the city to participate in the project "Rescue Mission Planet Earth". She represented India at the International Children's Conference on Environment, held in Eastbourne, England in 1995.
She is the director of Eco-Kid Club in Bal Bhavan and has created a vermiculture pit in Bal Bhavan, which transforms garden waste into manure. She uses earthworms as the vehicle for turning garbage into a reusable resource. She has put this principle into practice at her home, in a temple in Mumbai whose monthly waste is more than one ton, and she is planning to adopt a railway station where she would apply her vermiculture approach. She was interviewed about her vermiculture programme, by a Japanese television station for a documentary on children and the environment, as well as by BBC radio and TV.
Water Partnership Project Eastville Primary School & John Graham Primary School
The Water Partnership Project began in 1997 when Eastville and John Graham Primary schools in South Africa embarked on the "2020 Vision for Water Schools Project". Via this project, initiated by the Minister of Water Affairs and Forestry, schools around the country are ensuring that water resources are protected. The focus is for students to carry out water audits in their schools and homes, as well as of local rivers and lakes. In 1998, the project was implemented in 3,000 schools nationwide, and these two schools embarked on a unique partnership where they learn from each other and which now serves as a role model for other schools. Eastville, located in a poor Cape Town suburb with high unemployment, began with a community garden and a water quality audit. The school's garden involves 200 jobless persons and provides 200 families with vegetables. The garden is also used to produce cut-flowers, which are sold to buy educational materials and to finance the school's water bills. They succeeded in including agriculture in the school's curriculum and inspired similar projects in more than 20 schools and by several NGOs. John Graham School, located in a middle class suburb, helped water saving initiatives become part of their curriculum and based on their project, a national school water policy has been developed which will be the basis for water saving activities in schools participating in the 2020 project. The schools are exploring projects dealing with energy, waste and water quality in rivers.