The Prince Albert II of Monaco Foundation's 16th Awards Ceremony for Planetary Health
“Now, more than ever, at a time when our world is facing so many environmental challenges, it is so important that we recognize, honor, and support the work of those doing remarkable things to preserve our planet.”
“I am honored to be hosting this year’s event in Philadelphia, a city that has been a second home to me.”
His Serene Highness Prince Albert II of Monaco.
On Friday, October 27th, the Prince Albert II of Monaco Foundation held its 16th annual Awards Ceremony for Planetary Health at the Kimmel Cultural Campus Perelman Theatre in Philadelphia. The event was organized by the US branch of the Foundation, presided by Mr. John B Kelly III.
Since 2008, the Foundation's Awards have honoured individuals and organisations who have shown outstanding commitments towards the preservation of the Planet. The 16th Planetary Health Awards was led by CNN journalist Robyn Curnow.
In His opening address HSH Prince Albert II of Monaco declared “I am grateful to see us here united by the same determination to act against the severe threats and pressures that human activities inflict upon the Planet: global warming, biodiversity loss, depletion of water resources and plastic pollution. These environmental challenges are issues that none of us can deny, that none of us can escape. This is the reason why we need to act together and come up with effective solutions to enable a sustainable future for Humanity on the Planet. For there is no Planet B.”
The 2023 Planetary Health Awards were presented to activist Dominique Palmer, scientist Prof. Dr. Hans-Otto Pörtner and Ecovative, a leader in the mycelium technology space.
Welcoming the 2023 laureates on stage, HSH Prince Albert II of Monaco emphasised that while the Foundation's Awards for Planetary Health rewards them for “their remarkable achievements in favour of conservation, science and sustainable innovation”, the Awards also recognizes them for the individual paths they have chosen and the importance of a multi-player approach to tackle environmental issues. A commitment they were each able to express during a round table discussion moderated by Robyn Curnow in the second part of the ceremony.
Dominique Palmer is a Climate Justice Activist, Speaker, Storyteller, Writer, and advocate of slow fashion based in the UK. She is a coordinator in Climate Live, global youth-led concerts harnessing the power of music to engage, educate and empower, on the Steering Committee for the Youth Climate Justice Fund - the first global youth led climate fund, and on the Youth Council for New Zero World. She also harnesses the creative power of the arts to communicate climate issues and finding joy through uniting. She became an environmentalist after discovering how air pollution was impacting her community and started her journey in climate action.
Listed in Forbes 2020 Top UK Environmentalists, she has spoken on world stages including the UN Climate Change Conference COP26. Dominique Palmer is in UN Women’s Feminist Action Coalition for Climate Justice with Fridays for Future MAPA , and a contributor in the co-development of the Global Youth Recommendations: Youth, Gender, and Climate Change. She is on the Climate Committee for Ecology, a Treaty Champion for the Fossil Fuel Non-Proliferation Treaty, and an Arctic Angel for Global Choices. Dominique Palmer is a recent graduate of the University of Birmingham with studies in Political Science and International Relations, having written her dissertation on the intersection of climate change and gender.
Accepting the award, Dominique 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, one Home we have. My activism is a love letter to Earth and my communities. I campaign for climate justice, because we are all in the same storm but not the same boat. This includes making sure that marginalised and frontline communities at the heart of action are listened to and included. Climate Justice includes social justice, racial justice, gender justice, the end of the fossil fuel era, and equity for disproportionately affected communities”.
Prof. Dr. Hans-Otto PÖRTNER, Vice Chair, Working Group II - Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (Germany)has been conducting research as a physiologist and ecologist at the Alfred Wegener Institute in Bremerhaven for more than 25 years and is now one of the world’s leading experts on the impact of climate change on life in the ocean. He is an elected member of the European Academy of Sciences (EURASC) and a member of the German Advisory Council on Global Change (WBGU).
Prof. Pörtner and his team investigate how ocean warming, ocean acidification and the increasing lack of oxygen are affecting vital biochemical processes in marine life.
Following his contributions as Lead Author and Coordinating Lead Author of the 4th and 5th Assessment Reports of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, in October 2015 he was elected Vice Chair of the IPCC’s Working Group II for the 6th Assessment Report. He was jointly responsible for the IPCC’s three special reports on 1.5 °C, Land and Ocean and the Cryosphere.
“I would like to express my sincere gratitude for being awarded with the Planetary Health Award of the Prince Albert II of Monaco Foundation” declared Prof Hans-Otto Pörtner assessing that he accepted the award also on behalf of all the co-authors of the IPCC Working Group II for their reports and more specially the one on the Ocean and Cryosphere.
“The 6th assessment cycle has come to an end, and I am happy to say that the ocean and cryosphere report has made a significant contribution to the 6th assessment cycle. It has also been a steppingstone on the way to making the ocean more visible in the climate negotiations at the UN climate convention which now has a formal ocean dialogue at each of its meetings. In light of the new findings of the melting Antarctic iceshelf some of our concerns from the report now become reality, unfortunately, this is making the ocean and its role in climate change and climate solutions even more relevant”.
Ecovative , represented by Meghan Olson Director Mushroom® Packaging - Ecovative (USA), was founded in 2007 in Green Island, NY, by Eben Bayer (CEO) and Gavin McIntyre (CCO).
The company leads the field of mycelium technology, developing ways for humans to enjoy the products we need while also enriching Earth’s ecosystems. Drawing from a world-class biological library containing a diverse collection of unique mushroom strains, Ecovative’s Mycelium Foundry - a specialized research lab dedicated to the discovery of mycelial biotechnologies - leverages a deep understanding of fungi to amplify their most useful properties at scale.
Their MycoCompositeTM platform combines mycelium with leftover plant fibers, such as corn husks and hemp hurd, resulting in a home-compostable replacement for plastics used in e-commerce, construction, as well as automotive and aerospace industries. Currently employing over 120 talented people, the company holds over 40 patents for solid-state fermentation and mycelium technology in 30 countries worldwide.
“I'm truly honored to accept the Prince Albert of Monaco Foundation Award on behalf of Ecovative” declared Meghan Olson. “This recognition is a testament to the tireless dedication and unwavering commitment of our entire team at Ecovative, who have dedicated their passion and expertise in mycelium materials to revolutionize industries. From fashion to food and even protective packaging, we grow - not manufacture - products that are better for Spaceship Earth. With the recognition and support from organizations like the Foundation, we are creating a more sustainable world. Together, we're making a difference”.
The award ceremony, which was organized by the US branch of the Prince Albert II of Monaco Foundation, was preceded by a series of events for HSH Prince Albert II of Monaco and the Foundation’s representatives. In addition to the award ceremony and a meeting of the Foundation’s Board of Directors and Branch Presidents, a welcome reception – hosted by HE Mrs Maguy Maccario, Monaco’s Ambassador to the United States and Canada – took place at the Philadelphia Museum of Art.
On Thursday October 26th, His Serene Highness Prince Albert II of Monaco was joined in the morning by John B. Kelly III, President of the US Chapter of the Foundation, Orlando Rendon, Commissioner, Philadelphia Parks & Recreation et Vanessa Garrett Harley, Deputy Mayor, Office of Children and Families, in planting one of the first trees at the Williams Moore Reed Memorial Park to celebrate a $130,000 grant awarded by the Foundation to support the Philly Tree Plan, the city’s first-ever strategic plan for the equitable growth and care of Philadelphia’s urban forest.
HSH Prince Albert II also visited the FDR Park Wetlands where the conversion of 33 acres of FDR Park’s southwest corner into a new wetland will provide an important wildlife habitat, increase biodiversity, and improve the park’s flooding issues.
And the Philadelphia Zoo who have implemented programmes and initiatives as a result of a recent grant provided by Prince Albert II of Monaco Foundation US Branch’s to support Conservation Education and Engagement.
“The PA2F International Award Ceremony and corresponding events being held this week will play an impactful role in further amplifying Philadelphia in a positive light on an international stage as the Foundation convenes a group of high-impact global environmentalists, businesspeople, and philanthropists, and we are honored to welcome them to our great city - William Penn’s “Greene County Towne,” said John B. Kelly III, President of the US Chapter of the Prince Albert II of Monaco Foundation.
Photo credit: ©Michael Alesi / Palais Princier