in Finland

"Mika is a creative, courageous, astonishing force of the good with tremendous perseverance and determination."

- Esa Saarinen, professor of applied philosophy, Helsinki University of Technology

November 30, 2009

Letter of Recommendation:

 Mika Vanhanen, ENO-global virtual school for Sustainable Development
UNEP Champions of the Earth, Inspiration and Action -category

ENO-Environment Online, a global virtual school for sustainable development, has been running since year 2000. It has had participants from 124 countries, allowing thousands of students to take part in its programmes. A vital part of this inventive and forward-looking network has been innovative leadership: the founder and a current leader of the school, Mr. Mika Vanhanen.

ENO-virtual school is active on broad front linked to sustainable development and raising student's awareness on environmental matters. I find it extremely important that public as well as private actors support environmental education as a basis for increased awareness of the vulnerabilities of our environment and the importance of sustainable development.

The basic principle of the ENO -virtual school is to involve and introduce children and youngsters into environmental thinking and acting. It is very important that children have a say in how to construct and design solutions that will have a great impact on their future. "Learning by doing" gives students a possibility to concretely see how their actions have an impact on their environment.

One of the biggest challenges to swift and determined action to fight climate change is psychological resistance to thorough change. The work Mr. Vanhanen is doing through ENO-virtual school is an important part of pushing our society into a more sustainable and low-carbon path of development.

 Thus I would warmly recommend Mr. Vanhanen as this year's Champions of the Earth's Inspiration and Action -category.

Sirpa Pietikäinen

Member of the European parliament
Member of the Committee for Environment, public health and food safety

Master of Pedagogy   Mika Vanhanen, ENO , Finland

Mika Vanhanen has made it possible, what no-one  would have been able to imagine. From a lonely region of Eastern-Finland he has  created an international network of thousands of children to implement our ethical responsibility  for survival of forest, for survival of lungs of our planet. This kind of initiatives  and  skill to  implement  the ideas give us hope, that it is possible to change  the consciousness of  citizens  of the world  towards  a new common  responsibility  for the  planet. I assess his work as  a symbolfor the survival  of the earth. 

I highly appreciate his contribution for sustainable  development and  global ethic and recommend him to receive “Champions of the Earth” Award . 

Reijo E. Heinonen
Professor of Theology  of the University of Joensuu  emeritus
Golden Rule Award 2009 of “Faiths without Borders” and “United Religions Initiative “


A testimonial for Mika Vanhanen 

The grounder of the ENO Environment Online, A global virtual school for sustainable development, Mika Vanhanen has done excellent work to increase the awareness of environmental issues all over the world. In the virtual school, which he is coordinating work schools in over 120 countries focusing in the same environmental theme and delivering the knowledge to other participants in the virtual school. The themes support education for sustainable future in all its dimensions. Children learn to understand other cultures as well as the relationships between human and nature. Participants are very enthusiastic about the global school.

Through education Mika Vanhanen has a great significance in many countries to the environmental practices. Without his continuous inspiring action with the coordination of the global school we should not know as much about the lives in the other countries and the environments in these countries. I warmly recommend the choice of Mika Vanhanen to be one of the laureates of the Champions of the Earth Awards, especially in the category Inspiration&Action.  

Joensuu 5th November 2009

Tuula Keinonen
Professor in Education
University of Joensuu
Department of Applied Education

Dear Sir, dear Madam,

 Mr. Mika Vanhanen has worked very hard to empower students and teachers all over the world to act for the environment. Mr Vanhanen has developed a study programme for a network of schools that allows children and adults in very different environments to learn to appreciate their local environment - and at the same time truly feel part of a global community. I warmly recommend him as the receiver of this year's Champion of the Earth prize for Inspiration and Action.

 Sincerely Yours,

 Satu Hassi
Member of the European Parliament

A Testimonial for Mr. Mika Vanhanen

Dear Madam/Sir,

I am pleased to note that UNEP has once again declared a competition for its Champions of the Earth Awards. It therefore gives me great pleasure to warmly support the candidacy of Mr. Mika Vanhanen, the founder of the ENO- Environment Online virtual school and network for sustainable development and environmental awareness for the Champions of the Earth Award relating to Inspiration and Action.

During the last decade, Mr. Vanhanen has devoted his energies and talent to developing the activities of the ENO- Environment Online network. Thousands of schools in more than 120 countries have benefitted from this innovative endeavour. A graduate of the University of Joensuu’s Faculty of Education, Mr. Vanhanen has also played a key role in the development of the Joensuu SciFest, launched in March 2007 and organised annually by our Department of Computer Science and Statistics. The purpose of this festival is to encourage children and youngsters to take an interest in Science, Technology and the Environment.

As a Partner University of UNEP, the University of Joensuu has been enormously pleased with the achievements of Mr. Vanhanen and of the example that he has set to his colleagues at schools throughout the world. By his achievements, Mr. Vanhanen has brought great honour to our university and to Eastern Finland.

Yours respectfully,

Perttu Vartiainen

University of Joensu