Ellie Goulding has signed on as a Global Goodwill Ambassador for UN Environment.
The news comes after Ellie received the Global Leadership Award from United Nations in October in recognition of her environmental and social justice activism. In her new role, she will be “joining the fight to save the lives and habitats of people and animals by cleaning up our air and seas, fighting climate change and protecting species.”
Speaking about her new role, Ellie said: “It’s a huge honour to become a UN Environment Global Goodwill Ambassador. Yes, we face huge global challenges, but we are also taking game-changing steps forward and that should inspire us.”
Ellie will be using her platform to encourage young people to take action. “My focus will be on amplifying the activism of young people committed to creating a bright future. I want as many people as possible to become advocates for the planet,” she said.
The British singer-songwriter recently took up her new role in Nairobi, Kenya, at the UN Environment headquarters surrounded by giraffes at the Giraffe Manor. She also travelled to Maasai Mara to learn more about the threats facing wildlife due to habitat loss.
Environmental degradation causes nearly one in four of all deaths worldwide, which equates to over 12 million people a year. 6.5 million lives are claimed yearly by air pollution, which is the single biggest environmental killer.
The issue of poor air quality and pollution was high on the agenda of the UN Environment Assembly, which Ellie attended along with over 2,000 heads of state, ministers, business leaders, UN officials and civil society representatives. Breathe Life, a global campaign by UN Environment, is currently working to tackle air quality, with the aim of creating clean air in cities by 2030.
Speaking about the issue, Ellie said: “I have struggled with asthma all my life, so I know how horrible it feels not being able to breathe properly. Millions of people across the world are in this position, living in cities with air polluted by cars and factories, or in rural settings where 3 billion people cook, and heat their homes, using open fires without appropriate ventilation.
“Inhaling this dirty air is slowly killing people – often women and children in the case of indoor cooking. I saw this first-hand in the Maasai village, and was so pleased to be able to contribute clean cookstoves for all the huts in their village. I want to do whatever I can to make our air cleaner by working with UN Environment to inspire action to address this crisis.”
Additionally, Ellie is also supporting the #CleanSeas campaign, which aims to take action on the amount of plastic going into the sea. Currently, at least eight million tonnes of plastic ends up in our oceans each year. Not only does this harm marine species, but it is also getting into the human food chain as plastic is now found in salt and shellfish.
“So much plastic is ending up in the seas to wash up on shorelines or be eaten by turtles, seabirds and other creatures,” Ellie said. “Plastic bags, bottles and straws: too many people are using them for 5 minutes and tossing them away where they hang around for 500 years. This Armageddon of the oceans must stop.
“I am so eager to learn more about these urgent issues and how we can each do our part to make the planet a safe and healthy place for all its creatures, human and animal. Joining these important UN campaigns is a great first step. I really look forward to taking this journey with my fans.”
Speaking about Ellie’s potential influence, UN Environment head Erik Solheim said: “Today’s young people make up the single largest generation that the world has ever seen, and when given opportunities and support, they can be powerful catalysts for change. Ellie is a powerful new environmental advocate, who I know truly connects with and inspires youth around the world. This is critical for making change happen. Together, we can do amazing things.”
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