WWF Finland

Dear organisers of Champions of the Earth Awards 2010,

I am happy to share this testimonial with you.

Environment Online – ENO is a global virtual school and network for sustainable development where schools around the world study about their local environment, spread the results of learning locally in their communities and also do concrete deeds for the environment.  Teacher Mika Vanhanen founded the ENO Programme in 2000. It is his lifetime achievement. ENO programme is an example how one person can make a difference.

Mr Vanhanen is an extraordinary person and truly a man with mission. His enthusiastic attitude and assistance has empowered teachers and students to work actively around the world. Owing to him, about 100 000 students and 20 000 teachers in 124 countries have studied environmental issues during past ten years.  About 5 million trees have been planted by ENO schools since 2004. Schools in developing countries have co-operated with schools in developed countries. They have been also supported by local communities.

Arts inspire people and it is just wonderful how they can be linked into environmental education. But it also shows the real talent of Mr Vanhanen. He has composed tree planting songs and music for a tree planting play that had its premiere in 2007, simultaneously at 200 schools in 65 countries. This play has been translated into 40 languages.

Recognitions and awards are also an evidence of the success. WWF Panda Award Finland was given to ENO Programme in 2004. Since the beginning, his ENO Programme has won 15 national or international awards. This year ENO received  Energy Globe Awards in Czech Republic and Forestry Achievement of 2009 in Finland.

 Despite the global success he has struggled a lot in order to find the funds. I recently heard that he will drop out from his work for a year from January 2010.  He wants to concentrate on the ENO Programme. That shows his true dedication for the environment.  In my opinion, he is a true champion of the Earth and an inspirer for action.

Liisa Rohweder, General Secretary, PhD
WWF Finland