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Senckenberg Prize 2019 awarded during the 11th Senckenberg Night

25.03.2019 | 11:58 Clock | People
Senckenberg Prize 2019 awarded during the 11th Senckenberg Night

Last Saturday, as part of the 11th Senckenberg Night, the Senckenberg Prize was awarded for the fifth time in front of around 220 guests from politics, business, society and science. The prize is intended to honour outstanding achievements in nature research and for special personal commitment to the protection and preservation of our nature. The Senckenberg Prize for Nature Research was awarded to biology professor Sandra Díaz from the National University of Córdoba, Argentina. The Senckenberg Prize for Nature Engagement was awarded to Xiuhtezcatl Martinez, an 18-year-old director of the globally active "Earth Guardians" organization, climate activist, hip-hop artist and author.

"We all have a responsibility to this planet. Not only for ourselves, but above all for the generations that will come after us. We want to leave them a livable and viable planet. We are experiencing a dramatic loss of animal and plant species and the consequences of the climate catastrophe are not only already noticeable, but in some cases on the verge of an irreversible tipping point", emphasises Hesse's Minister of Science, Angela Dorn, who represented the Prime Minister of Hesse and patron of the Senckenberg Night, Volker Bouffier. "Research into the causes, connections and consequences of global warming and the loss of biodiversity, are indispensable for saving our environment. So is the persistent commitment to consistent action by all concerned. That is why I am delighted that Prof. Dr. Sandra Díaz and Xiuhtezcatl Martinez are being awarded the 2019 Senckenberg Prize for their commitment and congratulate them both very warmly, also on behalf of the Hesse State Government."

Prof. Dr. Sandra Díaz, awardee in the Natural History Research category, was awarded the 10,000 euro Senckenberg Prize for her excellent, internationally visible achievements in natural history research. Her research, which focuses on species communities and ecosystems, has made a significant contribution to our current understanding of the role that the diversity of species and forms plays in the functioning of ecosystems. She has published her findings in more than 100 scientific papers.

Díaz is also involved in a leadership role for the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) and is one of the leaders behind the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES) World Biodiversity Council and its conceptual advancements. She has already been listed twice in "The World´s Most Influential Scientific Minds".

"We are extremely pleased to be able to present the 2019 Senckenberg Prize for Nature Research to Sandra Díaz", stated Prof. Dr. Dr. h. c. Volker Mosbrugger, Director General of the Senckenberg Nature Research Society, and continued, "Sandra Díaz has succeeded in an exemplary way in bridging the gap between biodiversity research, application and policy advice. It sees ‚the big picture' and does biodiversity research for the benefit of us all."

The 2019 Senckenberg Prize in the category of Nature Commitment, also endowed with 10,000 euros, is awarded to individuals who have shown outstanding private commitment to nature conservation, nature education and the sustainable use of natural resources. The 18-year-old Xiuhtezcatl Martinez, director of the globally active "Earth Guardians" organization, climate activist, hip-hop artist and author has attracted the attention of his generation as well as decision-makers in politics and society with his campaigns such as "We The Future". Martinez became involved in climate action at the age of six, and at 15 he gave a rousing speech to the United Nations General Assembly calling for action. Currently, he is the lead plaintiff in a youth-led lawsuit against the Federal Government of the United States to get climate protection enshrined in law.

Heike Spiller, chair of the Senckenberg Förderverein and organizer of Senckenberg Night explains, "Together, scientists* and young people are calling for swift and consistent action regarding the increasing degradation of ecosystems. Politicians and industry are being made responsible for finally tackling the necessary framework conditions for climate-friendly and sustainable action. Xiuhtezcatl Martinez can be seen here as the leading voice of US youth. With the Senckenberg Award for Nature Commitment, the Senckenberg Nature Research Society would like to honor this admirable and courageous commitment of the young generation!"

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