Aucca has three decades protecting the forests of South America. Photo: Pixabay.

UN names Constantino Aucca Chutas Champion of the Earth

The recognized environmental leader has spent more than three decades protecting the forests of South America.


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The Champion of the Earth award, the United Nations' (UN) top environmental award, was given to Constantino Aucca Chutas, an Andean environmental activist. He is also one of the Arbor Day Foundation's longstanding tree-planting partners, and president and co-founder of Acción Andina.

Held every year, the UN honors its Champions of the Earth laureates in four categories, including:

  1. Political leadership
  2. Inspiration and action
  3. Business vision
  4. Science and innovation

Dan Lambe, chief executive of the Arbor Day Foundation, said:

The Arbor Day Foundation is committed to working with a diverse network of tree planting partners all over the world and that includes seeking out leaders like Constantino to ensure trees are planted in the global forests that need them most.

Honoring valuable work

Aucca, who has been protecting the forests of South America for 30 years, has focused his fight against climate change and the loss of biodiversity in the Andes Mountains.

In partnership with the U.S. nonprofit Global Forest Generation, Acción Andina, created in 2018, seeks to restore nearly 2.5 million acres of high Andean forests in Colombia, Peru, Ecuador, Bolivia, Chile, and Argentina.

Thanks to Aucca's efforts to revive Andean ecosystems, several Indigenous communities have been empowered to take the lead in restoring native forests through reforestation and establishing legally protected areas.

“Constantino is a man of meaningful action, fueled by an unwavering dedication to conservation. The immense impact of his environmental advocacy will be felt for decades to come and we’re proud to call him a partner of the Arbor Day Foundation,” added Lambe.

Get to know: Arbor Day Foundation

Founded in 1972, the Arbor Day Foundation is the world's largest membership nonprofit organization dedicated to planting trees. With a focus on the communities and forests most in need, the foundation, together with its more than 1 million members, supporters, and valued partners, has helped plant nearly half a billion trees in more than 50 countries.


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