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Eco-adventurer honoured by the UN

Swiss environmental adventurer Louis Palmer is among the six winners of the United Nations 2011 Champions of the Earth awards.

Palmer, who in December 2008 completed a 17-month circumnavigation of the world in a solar-powered car, received his award at the American Museum of Natural History in New York, along with fellow laureates green entrepreneur Zhang Yue and scientist and campaigner Olga Speranskaya.

“The 2011 Champions of the Earth winners are inspirational examples of how people from all walks of life are coming up with exciting, innovative solutions to environmental challenges,” said Achim Steiner, UN under-secretary general and executive director of the Environment Programme.

The award in the category for Inspiration and Action was shared by Palmer, for raising global awareness of the need for renewable energy and sustainable transport, and Angélique Kidjo from Benin, for advocacy on social equity and female empowerment in support of sustainable development.

In addition to the Solartaxi project, Palmer was the initiator and tour director of the Zero Emissions Race. Between August 2010 and February 2011, four completely electric vehicles running on renewable energies set out to drive around the world in 80 days to show that new technologies are affordable, reliable and ecological.

His latest project is the WAVE (World Advanced Vehicle Expedition). Twenty electric vehicles from all over the world will start a tour from Paris to Prague in September 2011.

Launched in 2005, Champions of the Earth is the UNs flagship environmental award.

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SWI - a branch of Swiss Broadcasting Corporation SRG SSR