The Alliance of World Scientists’ (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. The award will recognize individual people or be shared by two or more people.

Selection criteria

The recipient (or recipients) of the award will be a scientist who meets at least the first criterion:

  1. [Required] Engaged in applied science or science-based advocacy with other scientists, the public, policymakers, or other non-scientist groups about one or more environmental challenges.
  2. [Optional] Demonstrates exceptional creativity, contributions, or impact in their  work.
  3. [Optional] Their work and outcomes are grounded in justice or related ideas

Science advocacy can take many forms, including public outreach and education, policy advocacy, community engagement, conducting applied science, defending scientific integrity, and support for research and innovation. It seeks to bridge the gap between the scientific community and the broader public, encouraging dialogue, understanding, and support for scientific endeavors.

Nomination procedure

We use a three-step nomination process:

  1. Send in a nomination letter of no more than 1 page that describes the nominee and addresses at least the first selection criterion as an email to: scientistswarning@oregonstate.edu (no self-nominations are accepted).
  2. Submitted nomination letters will be evaluated and ranked by a committee of AWS members.
  3. Full nomination packets will be solicited from those nomination letters that are placed on a short-list of finalists.

We seek nominations of individuals who work or have impacts anywhere in the world and at any scale (local to global). Our goal is to empower people by recognizing their work, and as such, we encourage nominations of people representing underserved populations.

The Award

We will share information about the winner(s) and their work with AWS members and the public, in the form of an award page and possibly a press release.

 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. Website

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. Website

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. Website

Dr. Kimberly Nicholas 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. Website

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. Website

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. Website