Prince Albert of Monaco was on stage in person in Philadelphia to hand out the 2023 Planetary Health Awards to two dedicated individuals and one pioneering company for their “outstanding commitments towards the preservation of the planet”.
The 16th edition of the Planetary Health Awards, which are organised by the Fondation Prince Albert II de Monaco (FPA2), were held this year in Prince Albert II’s mother’s hometown of Philadelphia during the sovereign’s recent trip to the US.
Led by esteemed CNN journalist Robyn Curnow, and attended by Prince Albert himself, the awards were handed out on 26th October to two individuals and one company that have all gone above and beyond in their preservation and conservation efforts.
“Now, more than ever, at a time when our world is facing so many environmental challenges, it is so important that we recognise, honour and support the work of those doing remarkable things to preserve our planet,” said Prince Albert at the event, adding that each of this year’s laureates is being rewarded for “their remarkable achievements in favour of conservation, science and sustainable innovation”.
Dominique Palmer, a climate activist, speaker, storyteller and writer based in the UK, was perhaps the most high-profile winner of the night.
Palmer is the coordinator of Climate Live, an organisation that puts on youth-led musical events to raise awareness about climate change, and is also on the committee of the Youth Climate Justice Fund, the first climate fund run by young people, and the Youth Council for New Zero World.
In 2020, she was named in the Forbes list of Top UK Environmentalists and has been invited to speak at global events such as COP26.
Upon accepting her award, Palmer said, “When I first became an activist, and was part of organising my first ever climate strike as a teenager, I did not think I would be standing here today. I just did it because I couldn’t stay silent for the one Earth, [the] one home we have.”
Also recognised was Dr Hans-Otto Pörtner, the Vice-Chair of the Working Group II of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change that recently released a landmark report. He described the publication as “a steppingstone on the way to making the ocean more visible in the climate negotiations at the UN climate convention”.
Pörtner has spent 25 years researching the impact of climate change on ocean life at the Alfred Wegener Institute in Bremerhaven. He is also an elected member of the European Academy of Sciences and a member of the German Advisory Council on Global Change.
The third recipient of a Planetary Health Award was the company Evocative, which employs an ingenious technology involving plant fibres, such as shredded hemp and mushrooms, to create a variety of objects and materials useful in daily life.
Naturally fire-resistant, the composite can be used in products including insulation and sound proofing in homes, and as eco-friendly packaging as a plastic replacement.
“This recognition is a testament to the tireless dedication and unwavering commitment of our entire team at Evocative,” said Meghan Olsen, who accepted the gong on the company’s behalf.
Eco activities out and about in Philadelphia
Prior to the awards evening, Prince Albert joined his cousin, John B. Kelly III, who is the president of the US chapter of his eponymous foundation, to meet with Orlando Rendon, the Commissioner of Philadelphia Parks & Recreation, and Vanessa Garrett Harley, the deputy mayor for the Office of Children and Families, in planting one of the first trees at the Williams Moore Reed Memorial Park.
A $130,000 grant from the FPA2 was also given to support the Philly Tree Plan, the city’s first strategic plan “for the equitable growth and care of Philadelphia’s urban forest”.
The Prince found the time to visit the FDR Park Wetlands too, a 33-acre section of the park that is being restored to its natural wetland state in an effort to provide important wildlife habitats and increase regional biodiversity.
Finally, he visited the Philadelphia Zoo, which has implemented various conservation and educational programmes and initiatives thanks to funds from a grant provided by FPA2’s US branch.
Make sure you’re never left out of the conversation.
Photo credits: Michael Alesi / Palais Princier de Monaco