His daring and courageous characters have made Harrison Ford a timeless hero of the silver screen, but it’s his bold, heroic devotion to planet Earth that has now earned him the 2018 Jane Alexander Global Wildlife Ambassador Award.
The Indianapolis Prize — recognized as the world’s leading award for animal conservation — created the award, named in recognition of Tony and Emmy-winning actor and conservation advocate Jane Alexander. The Wildlife Ambassador Award honors individuals who have been effective, credible and consistent voices for wildlife.
Ford’s passion for wildlife conservation is evident and actionable, including extensive, hands-on work both in the field and in the boardroom. Whether patrolling the Hudson River by helicopter to get a bird’s-eye view of polluters, or taking viewers to Indonesia to understand the challenges of deforestation in Showtime’s Years of Living Dangerously, he is a true hero for the planet.
“Nothing is more important to human society than preserving its natural capital. Nature does not need people, people need nature,” Ford said. “Our health relies entirely on the vitality of our fellow species on Earth.”
Ford is an Honorary Chair of the Indianapolis Prize and has been part of Conservation International for more than 25 years, where he is on the Executive Committee and active in the organization’s design and growth. He influenced the establishment of its Center for Applied Biodiversity Science and their Center for Environmental Leadership in Business. Ford narrated Conservation International’s Nature is Speaking feature, The Ocean, and is a board member of their Global Conservation Fund which has secured the protection of more than 40 million acres on three continents.
“Harrison Ford is among today’s most credible conservationists and is widely respected by the professional and academic conservation communities,” said Michael I. Crowther, CEO of the Indianapolis Zoological Society, Inc., which administers the award. “Harrison’s involvement with Conservation International spans decades and he has worked with many of today’s leading scientists and experts.”
Ford’s love for the natural world is rooted in a commitment to the world that will be left for future generations.
“I care deeply for the natural world,” Ford said. “It’s not about me, it’s not about me at all, it’s about this other world we’re going to leave behind.”
“If we don’t stop the destruction of nature, nothing else will matter. Jobs won’t matter, our economies won’t matter, our freedoms and ethics won’t matter, our children’s education and potential won’t matter. If we end the ability of a healthy natural world to sustain humanity nothing else will matter.”
His conservation achievements have earned several honors, including Conservation International’s prestigious Founders’ Award, the World Ecology Award from the International Center for Tropical Ecology, the Global Citizen Award from the Center for Health and Global Environment and a Lindbergh Award for his efforts to balance technology and nature.
Ford will receive the Jane Alexander Global Wildlife Ambassador Award on Sept. 29, 2018 at the Indianapolis Prize Gala presented by Cummins Inc., to be held in downtown Indianapolis. This inspirational black-tie event honors conservationists’ selfless dedication, scientific expertise and lasting success, while an influential audience enjoys an awe-inspiring evening of storytelling with films shot on location around the world. Tickets for the Gala can be purchased online here.
Working with field conservationists and scientists, the Global Wildlife Ambassadors use their communications skills to tell the stories of threatened and endangered species and habitats, raising awareness of these issues with the public, businesses and policymakers.
Jane Alexander, whose advocacy for wild things and wild places has included involvement with the Wildlife Conservation Society, the Audubon Society and Panthera, is Honorary Chair of the Indianapolis Prize and received the inaugural Global Wildlife Ambassador award in 2012.
Stage and screen star Sigourney Weaver received the honor in 2016 for her dedication to the mountain gorillas of Rwanda. Since her starring role in the 1988 film Gorillas in the Mist, she has served as honorary chair of the Dian Fossy Gorilla Fund International. She brought credibility to BBC’s highly popular series Planet Earth, joined conservationists at the United Nations General Assembly and has earned multiple awards from the Explorer’s Club and Audubon’s Women in Conservation.