Ignace Schops met with Al Gore at the 2009 Goldman Environmental Prize giving ceremony in San Francisco on 19 April. The Prize recognizes individuals for sustained and significant efforts to protect and enhance the natural environment.
Ignace is a 2008 Goldman winner and Director of the IUCN Belgian Member Regionaal Landschap Kempen en Maasland (RLKM). Ignace led the effort to establish Belgium’s first and only national park Hoge Kempen that now serves as a model for land conservation in Europe and beyond.
At the ceremony, Ignace had the opportunity to meet with Al Gore to discuss the importance of both climate change and biodiversity conservation. Speaking about the Copenhagen Climate Summit in December 2009, Mr Gore conveyed that he expects a lot from the summit. He also said that 2009 is the Gettysburg of the fight against global warming and that the US must take the lead in this battle. Speaking of the Goldman Environmental Prize winners Mr Gore emphasized that they have the will to change in their hearts and that now everybody globally has to make changes in order to save humanity. Mr Gore also stressed that governments have to lead by example when it comes to climate change and nature conservation.
About the Goldman Environmental Prize
The Goldman Environmental Prize is awarded annually to grassroots environmental leaders from the world’s six inhabited continental regions. The Prize was created in 1990 by civic leaders and philanthropists Richard Goldman and his late wife, Rhoda Goldman and is the largest award in its kind. Since 2008 each individual Prize award consists of $150,000. For more information please see the website www.goldmanprize.org.