Environmental conservation is one of the most pressing of the global issues humankind faces. Global warming, acid rain, ozone depletion, tropical rainforest destruction, and river and ocean pollution are just some of the results of human activity that is having an adverse effect on the Earth.
In 1992, the year of the Earth Summit, the Asahi Glass Foundation established the Blue Planet Prize, an award presented to individuals or organizations from around the world in recognition of outstanding achievements in scientific research and its application that have helped provide solutions to global environmental problems. The Prize is offered in the hope of encouraging efforts to bring about the healing of the Earth's fragile environment.
The award's name was inspired by the remark "the Earth is blue," uttered by the first human in space, Russian cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin, upon viewing our planet. The Blue Planet Prize was so named in the hope that our blue planet will be a shared asset capable of sustaining human life far into the future.
Nominations are solicited between August and October of each year from nominators from Japan and overseas. As a general rule, two recipients are chosen annually. In June of the following year, the recipients are announced and are invited to Tokyo in the autumn for the awards ceremony and commemorative lectures. Each recipient is presented with a certificate of merit, a commemorative trophy and 50 million Japanese yen in prize money.
In commemoration of the awarding of the Blue Planet Prize, a trophy was created by a respected Japanese glass craftsman, Kyoichiro Kawakami. The theme of this trophy is the Earth's water and atmosphere.
Through its use of crystal glass and simple lines, the trophy evokes an image of a clean planet where humanity lives harmoniously.