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The Asahi Glass Foundation is pleased to announce that the winners of the 28th annual Blue Planet Prize have been decided. After an intensive selection process, the 2019 Blue Planet Prize winners have been announced.

The winners are Prof. Eric Lambin of Belgium, and Prof. Jared Diamond of United States of America – both are distinguished geographers.

This year marks the 28th awarding of the Blue Planet Prize, the international environmental award sponsored by the Asahi Glass Foundation, chaired by Kazuhiko Ishimura. Two Blue Planet Prizes are awarded to individuals or organizations each year that make outstanding achievements in scientific research and its application, and in so doing help to solve global environmental problems. The Board of Directors decided the following recipients for this year.

1. Prof. Eric Lambin (Belgium) Born in 1962 Septmber23 Professor, Université catholique de Louvain, and George and Setsuko Ishiyama Provostial Professor, Stanford University

He has clarified the land use changes taking place on a global scale, the effects on ecosystems and the effectiveness of policies, using satellite remote sensing technologies and his original method of time-series analysis. From early on, he has pointed out that land use changes are causing adverse effects globally on natural systems. He has explained the relationship between economic activities and land use by linking socioeconomic data. His research activities have significantly influenced how public authorities and private enterprises develop land use policies for conserving forests. Those research findings have provided scientific support for making the most of forest certification programs, for implementing green purchasing commitments, and for promoting green procurement. He has made great contributions by stimulating the adoption of concrete interventions and practices to improve the sustainability of socioeconomic activities from the individual to the global scales.

2. Prof. Jared Diamond (USA) Born in 1937 Septmber10
Professor, Department of Geography University of California, Los Angeles

His ideas and arguments presented in his trilogy, Guns, Germs, and Steel, Collapse,and The World Until Yesterday, include civilization theory, organizational theory, and society theory, and were created as a result of his exceptional intellectual explorations. They provide deep insight into the roots of today's environmental issues from a very broad perspective, explaining the significance of environmental issues in the history of human civilization from a unique perspective. In Collapse, he has listed 12 items as major factors in global environmental issues. He has regarded environmental issues as fundamental to any study of human history. Based on this concept, he has influenced the consciousness of contemporary civilization across nations and generations toward a mindset of thinking about the next steps for civilization. These achievements of Professor Diamond are highly appreciated.

Both recipients will be awarded a certificate of merit, a commemorative trophy and a supplementary award of 50 million yen.

The awards ceremony will be held on December 11, 2019 (Wednesday) at the Palace Hotel Tokyo (Chiyoda Ward, Tokyo). The commemorative lectures by the prize recipients will be held at The University of Tokyo on December 12, at the Kyoto University on December 14.

*This press release may also be viewed on our web site at from 11:00, July 10, 2019. The photos of the recipients are available from the web site of the Asahi Glass Foundation.


Remarks from the Award Recipients upon Notification of their Selection

Prof. Eric Lambin (Belgium)

I am extremely honored to receive this presigious prize. It is a great encouragement to continue working even harder to better understand changes in land use around the world, and to improve the design and evaluation of policies to promote sustainable land use.

I am indebted to all the senior colleagues in my field, on the shoulders of which I was able to stand. I have also been very fortunate to work with many bright, young people who joined my research team over the years. This prize rewards a collective effort.

Land use is changing rapidly. We need to become smarter in the way we manage land to mitigate climate change, reverse biodiversity loss, maintain the delivery of ecosystem services while at the same time ensuring food security and enabling communities to flourish thanks in part to their attachment to the places they inhabit.

Prof. Jared Diamond (USA)

The English-language expression “out of the blue” means “totally unexpected,” “dropping out of the blue sky.” In fact, the phone call telling me of my winning the 2019 Blue Planet Prize did come to me “out of the blue,” so for me the prize is doubly blue.

But, in another sense, the prize did not come out of the blue at all – because it reflects the research that I have been doing for the last six decades, and my life experiences that impressed on me already as a child the importance of history, geography, and the environment. My studies in New Guinea on birds and people have served for me as a window on understanding our planet. I’ve lived in half-a-dozen countries, where I’ve seen how differences in geography have differently shaped the lives of my friends from those different countries.

I have a special connection to Japan through my Japanese relatives by marriage. My wife Marie and I have repeatedly taken great pleasure in visiting Japan, in coming to understand Japan through the eyes of our relatives, and in learning how Japan’s environment has shaped Japan.

For all these reasons, I am thrilled to receive the Blue Planet Prize. The prize symbolizes what I have learned from life, and what I have tried to teach and to give back to life.


Report on the Selection Process (28th Annual Prize, 2019)

A total of 500 nominators from Japan and 788 nominators from other countries recommended 150 candidates. The fields represented by the candidates, in order of number, were ecology (29), environmental economics and policy making (26), atmospheric and earth sciences(20).

The candidates represented 33 countries; 23 nominations, 15 percent of the total, were from developing countries.

After individual evaluation of the 150 candidates by each Selection Committee member, the committee was convened to narrow down the field. The results of their deliberation were examined by the Presentation Committee. The Board of Directors formally resolved to award the Prize to Prof. Lambin, and to Prof. Diamond.

The Laureates

  1. 1992  Dr. Syukuro Manabe (USA)
    International Institute for Environment and Development (UK)
  2. 1993  Dr. Charles D. Keeling (USA) IUCN—The World Conservation

Union (headquartered in Switzerland)

  1. 1994  Professor Dr. Eugen Seibold(Germany) Mr. Lester R. Brown (USA)
  2. 1995  Dr. Bert Bolin (Sweden)
    Mr. Maurice F. Strong (Canada)
  3. 1996  Dr. Wallace S. Broecker (USA)
    The M.S. Swaminathan Research Foundation (India)
  4. 1997  Dr. James E. Lovelock (UK)
    Conservation International (head-quartered in the USA)
  5. 1998  Professor Mikhail I. Budyko (Russia) Mr. David R. Brower (USA)
  6. 1999  Dr. Paul R. Ehrlich (USA) Professor Qu Geping (China)
  7. 2000  Dr. Theo Colborn (USA)
    Dr. Karl-Henrik Robèrt (Sweden)
  8. 2001  Lord (Robert) May of Oxford (Australia)

Dr. Norman Myers (UK)

  1. 2002  Dr. Harold A. Mooney (USA)

Professor J. Gustave Speth(USA)

  1. 2003  Dr. Gene E. Likens (USA) and Dr. F. Herbert Bormann (USA)

Dr. Vo Quy (Vietnam)

  1. 2004  Dr. Susan Solomon (USA)
    Dr. Gro Harlem Brundtland (Norway)
  2. 2005  Professor Sir Nicholas Shackleton (UK)

Dr. Gordon Hisashi Sato (USA)

For more information, please contact: Junichi Shimizu

2006 Dr. Akira Miyawaki (Japan) Dr. Emil Salim (Indonesia)

2007 Professor Joseph L. Sax (USA) Dr. Amory B. Lovins (USA)

2008 Dr. Claude Lorius (France) Professor José Goldemberg (Brazil)

2009 Professor Hirofumi Uzawa (Japan) Lord Nicholas Stern of Brentford (UK)

2010 Dr. James Hansen (USA) Dr. Robert Watson (UK)

2011 Dr. Jane Lubchenco (USA) Barefoot College (India)

2012 Professor William E. Rees (Canada) and Dr. Mathis Wackernagel (Switzerland) Dr. Thomas E. Lovejoy (USA)

2013 Dr. Taroh Matsuno (Japan) Professor Daniel Sperling (USA)

2014 Prof. Herman Daly (USA) Prof. Daniel H. Janzen (USA)

and Instituto Nacional de Biodiversidad

2015 Professor Sir Partha Dasgupta


Professor Jeffrey D. Sachs (USA) 2016 Mr. Pavan Sukhdev (India)

Prof. Markus Borner (Switzerland)

2017 Prof. HansJ.Schellnhuber(Germany) Prof. Gretchen C. Daily (USA)

2018 Prof. Brian Walker (Australia) Prof. Malin Falkenmark (Sweden)

2019 Prof. Eric Lambin (Belgium) Prof. Jared Diamond (USA)



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