News Release

The Alliance of World Scientists announces 2024 Planet Earth Award laureates

Grant and Award Announcement

Conservation Biology Institute

2024 Alliance of World Scientists Planet Earth Award Laureates


Portraits of the 2024 Alliance of World Scientists Planet Earth Award laureates. These individuals have demonstrated exceptional creativity or contributions in their work in science-based advocacy with the public, policymakers, or other non-scientist groups seeking solutions to environmental challenges.

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Credit: Credit for photo of Dr. Kimberly Nicholas: Simon Charles Florian Rose.

Corvallis, OR — The Alliance of World Scientists (AWS) is pleased to announce the six recipients of the 2024 Planet Earth Award: Dr. S Faizi, Dr. James Hansen, Dr. Denise Margaret S. Matias, Dr. Kimberly Nicholas, Dr. Jamie Pittock, and Dr. Fernando Valladares.

Planet Earth Award

The AWS Planet Earth Award acknowledges individuals who champion life on Earth. These individuals demonstrate exceptional creativity or contributions in their work in science-based advocacy with the public, policymakers, or other non-scientist groups seeking solutions to environmental challenges.

2024 Laureates

Dr. S Faizi is an eminent environmental scientist and global policy expert from India. He has played a pivotal role in articulating the global South's stance on key environment and development issues, often overcoming opposition from Western negotiators at UN environmental conferences. Dr. Faizi’s accomplishments include important contributions to landmark global events such as the UN Conference on Environment and Development (Earth Summit) and the Convention on Biological Diversity. His efforts have ranged from advocating for national sovereignty over biodiversity to proposing the creation of a UN Environmental Security Council. More recently, this former anti-Apartheid activist has campaigned for nuclear disarmament and democratizing the UN Security Council. He has made significant contributions to forest conservation, biodiversity research, and supporting indigenous rights.

Dr. James Hansen is a prominent climate scientist who lives in the United States. He gained recognition for his pioneering research on climate change during his past work at NASA that continues through today. Dr. Hansen played a key role in raising awareness about the human impact on the Earth's climate, particularly through his testimony before the U.S. Congress. Dr. Hansen has been an advocate for rapid action to mitigate climate change, urging governments and the public to address the environmental challenges facing the planet, and even engaging in non-violent civil disobedience. He continues to work in climate science, as a consultant for youth climate cases, has a climate change newsletter, and recently led a paper assessing global warming in the pipeline.

Dr. Denise Margaret S. Matias, originally from the Philippines, is a Professor at Eberswalde University for Sustainable Development in Germany, and a notable advocate for environmental policies. She has worked to preserve honey bee diversity and carried out a project with the Tagbanua Indigenous people to restore giant honey bee habitat by planting native species. She has also worked extensively with environmental groups, including Conservation International and Greenpeace Southeast Asia. In addition to ecology, Dr. Matias has published work on climate adaptation and slow-onset climate events. Dr. Matias has consistently prioritized outreach and science-based advocacy through interviews, social media, and presentations to diverse audiences.

Dr. Kimberly Nicholas, originally from the United States, is a sustainability scientist at Lund University in Sweden and a prominent figure in the field of climate and sustainability. She has published many articles in leading peer-reviewed journals, and also contributes to mainstream publications like Elle, The Guardian, Scientific American, and New Scientist. Dr. Nicholas is author of the bestselling book "Under the Sky We Make: How to be Human in a Warming World” and she shares her insights through a monthly climate newsletter, “We Can Fix It.” Apart from her academic contributions, Dr. Nicholas is actively engaged in public speaking and frequently lectures at international meetings. Additionally, she serves as an expert commentator for many media interviews annually, and her work has been featured in outlets including The Washington Post, BBC, WIRED, and Politico.

Dr. Jamie Pittock is a Professor at the Australian National University and former Director of the World Wide Fund for Nature – International’s Global Freshwater Program. He is a dedicated champion of freshwater conservation, making impactful strides through his academic studies and science-based communications to colleagues, policy makers, and the public. Through outreach efforts with books, blogs, presentations, and videos, he communicates the urgency of conserving freshwater ecosystems and biodiversity in the context of the pressing challenges posed by climate change. He consistently offers informed commentary on how to better manage increasingly scarce water resources to benefit people and nature. His commitment to bridging academic research with practical solutions underscores his role as a catalyst for positive change in freshwater conservation, providing significant impacts linking scientific understanding to public and policy engagement.

Dr. Fernando Valladares is a distinguished figure in the field of Biological Sciences, serving as a Research Professor at the Spanish National Research Council in Spain. He has made significant contributions to ecology and plant biology, including hundreds of scientific articles and several books. Beyond his scientific endeavors, Dr. Valladares is actively involved in science-based climate advocacy, employing various platforms such as social networks, a personal blog, and a YouTube channel. His influential role extends to political spheres, as seen in his intervention in the Congress of Deputies within the ecological transition commission. He contributes regularly to media outlets, engages in Rebelión Científica (Scientist Rebellion), and participates in interviews on radio and television programs with broad audiences.

According to AWS Director Dr. William Ripple, a scientist at the Conservation Biology Institute and Distinguished Professor at Oregon State University, “These Planet Earth Award recipients provide compelling examples of how scientists can engage in effective science-based advocacy to help address important environmental issues. We hope they will inspire others to act in this regard.”

The Alliance of World Scientists

The AWS is a new international assembly of scientists, which is independent of both governmental and non-governmental organizations and corporations. The main goal of the AWS is to be a collective international voice of many scientists regarding global climate and environmental trends and how to turn accumulated knowledge into action. The AWS currently has 27,000 Subscribing Members From 180 Countries.

The AWS gratefully acknowledges the support of our partner the Conservation Biology Institute and the support of our donors.

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