Barcelona, 6 October 2008 (IUCN and WWF) – Sofia Mateus, a 29-year-old Swiss/Portuguese, is the grand prize winner of an international youth competition running on connect2earth, the green on-line community where young people can have their say about the environment by uploading videos, pictures and comments.
Connect2earth was launched earlier this year by WWF and IUCN, and is powered by Nokia. Sofia’s video, which caught the jury’s attention from the 3,300 entries from more than 190 countries around the world, depicts the impact of overpopulation on the planet.
"connect2earth gave me the opportunity to express myself. I thought of a concept, I created the video and it was successful. connect2earth is an excellent way to reach people", says Sofia Mateus. "We all want more money and better lives, but the earth is already overpopulated, and look where this is leading us. How are we going to deal with this situation? The title 'Why' is meant to engage people".
The video can be viewed at www.connect2earth.org/grandprize.
After the entries were ranked by the connect2earth community, the grand prize winner was selected by a panel of prominent conservationists, including broadcaster and naturalist Sir David Attenborough, Otesha Project Founding Director Jessica Lax, Nobel Peace Prize winner and founder of the Green Belt Movement Wangari Maathai, TERI Executive Director Dr Leena Srivastava and UN Environment Programme Executive Director Achim Steiner.
Other winners included Chiel Maas, 28, from the Netherlands, with an image called “Can man and animal live aside?” (www.connect2earth.org/bestimage). The best text message prize was won by Prajwal Bhattarai, 18, from Nepal, with a poem entitled “I Don’t Need Wheels; Just Don’t Break Nature’s Feet” (www.connect2earth.org/besttext). The best video award went to Dean Omori, 40, from the UK, with a video based on a self-composed song and entitled “How can you sleep?” (www.connect2earth.org/bestvideo).
Sofia was invited to participate in the IUCN World Conservation Congress in Barcelona and present her ideas directly to political, environmental and business leaders from around the world. The congress takes place every four years and serves as a platform for the world’s leading decision-makers in sustainable development to debate, exchange ideas, explore solutions and vote on actions for a diverse and sustainable world. Over 8,000 experts take part in this 10-day event, representing governments, NGOs, academia, and the private sector.
The grand prize was awarded by Jim Leape, Director General of WWF International, Julia Marton-Lefèvre, Director General of IUCN and Veli Sundbaeck, Executive Vice President, Corporate Relations and Responsibility of Nokia. The three category winners will all receive a Nokia N95 device as a token of appreciation.
“We are delighted to award the connect2earth prize to Sofia Mateus,” says IUCN Director General Julia Marton-Lefèvre. “The main role of IUCN is bringing together lots of different people to discuss the urgent environmental problems the world is facing and find solutions. Adding the voice of young people to that debate is vital.”
“The environmental problems that we face today are global and their effects will fall hardest on the younger generation,” says James Leape, Director General of WWF International. “The connect2earth competition demonstrates that if we can find innovative ways to engage with young people, they are equally concerned and more than ready to respond with possible solutions.”
“Online communities are increasingly moving to the mobile space where they are always accessible and always with you,” says Veli Sundbäck, Executive Vice President, Corporate Relations and Responsibility of Nokia. “With close to one billion people using our devices everyday and with the help of the right kind of eco-innovations arising from communities such as connect2earth, we believe we are in a unique position to demonstrate the “power of we” - bringing people closer together to make a difference.”
A number of renowned performing artists from around the world - including Moby, James Blunt, Estelle, Panic at the Disco and Missy Higgins – have already expressed their support for connect2earth.org through videos and statements (http://www.connect2earth.org/celebrities).
The site, which can also be used on mobile phones (www.connect2earth.mobi), will continue to inspire dialogue among young people on a variety of topical environmental issues and a new competition concept will be announced soon.
For more information, please contact:
• Eleni Androulaki, Corporate Communications Manager, WWF International, Tel.: +41 22 364 9217; Mobile: +41 79 477 3574; E-mail: email@example.com
• Sarah Horsley, IUCN Media Relations Officer, Tel: +41 22 999 0127; Mobile: +41 79 528 3486; Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Note for editors:
IUCN, the International Union for Conservation of Nature, helps the world find pragmatic solutions to our most pressing environment and development challenges by supporting scientific research; managing field projects all over the world; and bringing governments, NGOs, the UN, international conventions and companies together to develop policy, laws and best practice.
IUCN is the world’s oldest and largest global environmental network. IUCN is a democratic union with more than 1,000 government and NGO member organizations, and some 10,000 volunteer scientists in more than 150 countries. IUCN’s work is supported by 1,100 professional staff in 62 countries and hundreds of partners in public, NGO and private sectors around the world.
WWF, the global conservation organization, is one of the world's largest and most respected independent conservation organizations. WWF has a global network active in over 100 countries with almost 5 million supporters.
WWF's mission is to stop the degradation of the earth's natural environment and to build a future in which humans live in harmony with nature, by conserving the world's biological diversity, ensuring that the use of renewable natural resources is sustainable, and promoting the reduction of pollution and wasteful consumption.
Nokia is the world leader in mobility, driving the transformation and growth of the converging Internet and communications industries. We make a wide range of mobile devices with services and software that enable people to experience music, navigation, video, television, imaging, games, business mobility and more. Developing and growing our offering of consumer Internet services, as well as our enterprise solutions and software, is a key area of focus. We also provide equipment, solutions and services for communications networks through Nokia Siemens Networks.