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ENVIRONMENT REPORT - December 7, 2001: UN Environment Prize - 2001-12-06

This is the VOA Special English ENVIRONMENT REPORT.

An American environmental activist, Huey Johnson, has won the United Nations Sasakawa Environment Prize this year. The prize is worth two-hundred-thousand dollars. It is considered one of the most important environmental awards in the world.

Mister Johnson won the award for his efforts to protect the Earth’s natural resources. He received the award last month during a ceremony at U-N headquarters in New York.

Huey Johnson has led national and international efforts to protect the environment for more than forty years. He helped create programs designed to save water, reduce energy use and cut pollution.

Mister Johnson helped create many important organizations over the years. Some were privately operated. Others were governmental groups.

In Nineteen-Seventy-Two, Mister Johnson gained recognition for helping create a company whose goal is to save natural areas in America’s cities. The Trust for Public Land company has protected more than five-hundred-thousand hectares of land in the United States.

Mister Johnson was an official in charge of natural resources in California in the early Nineteen-Eighties. He developed statewide programs to save natural resources such as water, forests and soil. One program is called Investing for Prosperity. This one-hundred-year plan invests money to protect California’s natural resources. The plan became a model for other countries.

One of the program’s major successes was the development of renewable energy technologies. Experts say these efforts have saved Californians thousands of millions of dollars and have helped the state’s economy grow. For his efforts in this area, Mister Johnson received the President’s Award for Sustainable Development in Nineteen-Ninety-Six.

Mister Johnson also has been involved with the development and support of many international environmental organizations. One of them is the Green Belt Movement International. It urges people around the world to plant trees as a way to help improve the environment.

The United Nations Sasakawa Environment Prize was started by Ryoichi Sasakawa. It has been awarded each year since Nineteen-Eighty-Four. It recognizes people who have made major gains in protecting the environment.

This VOA Special English ENVIRONMENT REPORT was written by Cynthia Kirk.