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Search For HK Environmental Champions

Dan Kadison, SCMP – Aug 02, 2008

The “Hong Kong Earth Champions Quest” has begun.

An international group started a search yesterday to find extraordinary Hongkongers who are improving and sustaining the environment locally and globally.

“Our point of view is look around you and notice what is working, and they’re the people we’d love you to nominate,” said Earth Champions Foundation chief executive Fiona Mathews at the Foreign Correspondents’ Club in Central.

“It actually could be you, or it could be your neighbour, or it could be a colleague at work, or it could be your government,” she said.

Ms Mathews – a former member of the UN Commission for Sustainable Development – created the organisation in 2000 to prove to her son that the world was filled with inspiring role models.

The competition, which has already taken place in Australia and Switzerland, honours people for their work in such environmental categories as water, air, energy, transport, biodiversity and buildings.

“We have ordinary people doing extraordinary things, and that’s what we want you to help us find,” Ms Mathews said at the kick-off event.

The group started accepting nominations yesterday. Nomination forms can be found at

Ms Mathews was joined yesterday by guest speakers Otto Poon Lok-to, chairman of the strategic committee for the Council for Sustainable Development; Christine Loh Kung-wai, chief executive of the think-tank Civic Exchange; and Robert Gibson, director of sustainable development at John Swire & Sons.

Sir Crispin Tickell, a climate change expert and chair of the judging panel, delivered the keynote speech. “The question is what’s in it for all of us – individual, communities, governments, the world? The answer is survival … we need champions, and today you’re being asked to become them,” Sir Crispin said.

Past “Earth Champions” have ranged from an entire primary and secondary school in Switzerland to a 93-year-old Australian conservationist who created two nature reserves and a national park in her homeland.

The South China Morning Post (SEHK: 0583, announcements, news) is a media sponsor of the “Hong Kong Earth Champions Quest”.

There is no age requirement. Nominees must reside in Hong Kong and must have enhanced the city with their environmentally friendly ideas and actions.

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