In September, Harrison Ford and Betty White will be presented with the James Smithson Bicentennial Medal. The medal, established in 1965, is given to people who have made distinguished advancement to areas of interest to the Smithsonian in Washington, DC. Last year the medal was presented to Jeff Bezos — an American technology entrepreneur — and other recipients include Clint Eastwood, Stephen Hawking and Sir David Attenborough.
In a release from the Smithsonian David Skorton, the Smithsonian Secretary, said: “As we are in the midst of the sixth great extinction, the preservation of biodiversity and the conservation of species and habitats around the world is of the utmost importance.
“Harrison and Betty have inspired others to take action on behalf of animals and the world’s rainforests, oceans and waterways. Their passion is a testament that through our actions, large and small — whether by individuals, scientists or by an institution like the Smithsonian — we can all make a positive difference for life on our planet.”
Harrison Ford, an actor best known for his roles in Star Wars and Indiana Jones, is the Vice Chair of the charity Conservation International and in 2011 said: “..at a time when 7 billion people depend on nature for food, water, jobs, energy and so much more, nature needs our help now more than ever.” Ford’s work has highlighted the plight of endangered species including substantial work with the Smithsonian around tiger conservation.
“We have a moral obligation to be good stewards of the Earth, a moral responsibility to our children to inherit an intact planet,” Ford said. “I am honoured to receive the Smithson Medal and play our part in bringing attention to the necessity of biodiversity and conservation of wildlife and habitats, from the local level in our communities to our nation and across the world.”
Betty White, an American actress and entertainer, has been an animal advocacy campaigner for many years and said: “What a privilege to be honoured simply for my passion—for what I love most in the world—animals.”
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