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ASU professor wins U.N. environmental award

An Arizona State University professor is one of six winners of the United Nations’ top environmental award.

Sander van der Leeuw has received the U.N.’s Champions of the Earth award for 2012. The ceremony was held in Rio De Janiero. Van der Leeuw was chosen for his research into humans and their relationship to the environment.

“This is a remarkably prestigious award,” said Professor Rob Melnick, executive dean at ASU’s Global Institute of Sustainability. “It is roughly the equivalent of a Nobel Laureate award for work on the environment.”

Melnick said van der Leeuw, 66, has made an important contribution to science and research. “His work has been instrumental in understanding how society changes over time, and how the environment is affected as a result.”

Former Vice President Al Gore is a past winner of the award.