Chinese actress wins UN environment award

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The Independent Online

A popular Chinese actress was named one of the United Nations' "Champions of the Earth" on Thursday for her efforts to encourage people to live a more environmentally-friendly lifestyle.

Zhou Xun was one of six "champions" honoured by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) at an event in Seoul marking Earth Day.

"I am honoured ... I am receiving this award on behalf of all in China who care about our planet," she told journalists after the announcement of the awards.

"I hope that by serving as an example, I can encourage others to follow suit and to live a lifestyle that does not take our planet for granted," she said.

Zhou takes her own chopsticks, mugs and shopping bags wherever she goes, UNEP said, and encourages others to use reusable products.

UNEP Executive Director Achim Steiner said Zhou's "well publicised statements, advice and lifestyle choices are influencing millions of fans to become more environmentally-conscious citizens and consumers."

UNEP names six Champions of the Earth every year to recognise leadership on environmental issues.

The other winners this year included President Mohamed Nasheed of the Maldives, who is an active campaigner on climate change, and President Bharrat Jagdeo of Guyana.

Also among the winners were Japanese earth scientist Taro Takahashi, a pioneer of research into how the oceans cycle carbon; Prince Mostapha Zaher, who is director general of Afghanistan's National Environmental Protection Agency, and American venture capitalist and green energy entrepreneur Vinod Khosla, co-founder of Sun Microsystems.