Jens-Kjeld Jensen from the Faroe Islands wins the 2020 Nordic Council Environment Prize
With five books and over 500 articles about biodiversity in the Faroe Islands to his name, of which more than 200 are scientific and popular science pieces, it would be a bit unfair to describe Jens-Kjeld Jensen’s work as a hobby – although he does so himself, despite receiving an honorary doctorate from the University of the Faroe Islands. He is awarded the prize for his work that spans more than 40 years, putting the spotlight on the diversity of nature in the Faroe Islands.
Jensen was awarded the environment prize by two Greenlandic climate activists, Kira Lennert Olsen and Nuiana Hardenber, at a digital awards ceremony for the Nordic Council prizes for 2020 on Tuesday evening. The digital awards ceremony replaced the planned ceremony in Iceland, which had to be cancelled due to COVID-19.
Jens-Kjeld Jensen is awarded the prize for the lengths he has gone to in order to put the spotlight on the diversity of nature in the Faroe Islands. Jens-Kjeld has collated his knowledge over more than 40 years, describing everything from fleas, mice, and birds to fossils, fungi, and shrubs in the Faroese mountains.
As a self-taught researcher and communicator, his books and hundreds of scientific and popular science articles have informed and, where necessary, warned the Faroese and professionals of the threat that invasive species and interventions in nature pose to the fragile natural environment of the Faroe Islands.
Jens-Kjeld Jensen works with natural scientists around the world and has been involved in documenting more than 350 new species in the Faroe Islands. His work is known and respected among both the Faroese and his colleagues, and he has even had a species of moth named after him. Many Faroese children and adults have, through kindergarten or school excursions, gained an insight into the wonderful world of nature when visiting Jens-Kjeld’s home on the island of Nólsoy. This is why they also think of him and get in touch with him when, later in life, they see or find something exciting in nature.
Jens-Kjeld Jensen’s contribution to the understanding and preservation of the diversity of Faroese nature is invaluable: he is an example of just how much a true impassioned individual can accomplish in their pursuit of a richer natural world.
For this, the adjudication committee believes that Jens-Kjeld Jensen should be awarded the 2020 Nordic Council Environment Prize.
About the Nordic Council’s prizes
Each year the Nordic Council awards five prizes: the Literature Prize, the Film Prize, the Music Prize, the Environment Prize, and the Children and Young People’s Literature Prize. The winners each receive a Nordlys statuette and DKK 350,000. The prizes are awarded in conjunction with the Nordic Council’s annual Session. COVID-19 meant that the awards ceremony could no longer take place in Iceland this year. The winners of the five Nordic Council prizes were instead revealed during a digital ceremony.
About the Nordic Council Environment Prize
The 2020 Nordic Council Environment Prize is awarded to a Nordic initiative for exemplary efforts to protect the biodiversity of nature. Biodiversity is both a source of well-being and a prerequisite for our existence. The theme of this year’s prize supports UN sustainable development goals 14 and 15 for life below water and life on land. This year marks the 26th time that the Nordic Council Environment Prize has been awarded.