Goodwill Ambassador Gisele Bundchen Marks World Environment Day at Green Nation Fest
Brasilia, 4 June 2012 - Screams of hundreds of excited children and teenagers coursed through the air in one of Rio's verdant public parks as the Brazilian environmentalist and model Gisele Bündchen joined celebrations for World Environment Day.
Ms. Bündchen arrived to tour the Green Nation Fest at Quinta da Boa Vista, an interactive series of environmental exhibits and experiences that allow visitors to 'feel' and witness flash floods and the melting of the Arctic to forest fires in the Amazon.
The children, from local schools, can also ride bicycles to generate clean energy that is assisting to power the interactive screens and educational videos.
But for one hour today the exhibits, made from environmentally-friendly materials and expected to host up to 6,000 people a day up to 7 June, took second billing to the sheer thrill of the young people seeing one of their idols in the flesh.
Ms. Bündchen, who is also a UNEP Goodwill Ambassador, sparked a frenzy of calls and questions as the media jostled to get the best angle and grab a few sound bites from the model.
Later she was given space to plant a tree in the park as a symbolic link to a wider tree planting project in a degraded area of the Grumari National Park being coordinated by the Green Nation Fest organizers.
Ms. Bündchen also had a chance to join school children making artifacts and jewelry from recycled materials including old aluminum ring pulls off soda cans.
Ms. Bündchen was joined by Achim Steiner, UN Under-Secretary General and UNEP Executive Director and Isabella Texeira, Minister of the Environment of Brazil.
Mr. Steiner, who also planted a tree during the tour, congratulated the organizers on the event which is linked to World Environment Day being celebrated in Rio as it was 20 years ago during the Rio Earth Summit.
"As we head towards the Rio+20 Summit later this month, we are reminded that it is this generation of young people who will inherit the failed or inspiring decisions taken by world leaders in a few weeks' time," he said.
"The Green Nation Fest also reminds us that catalyzing positive environmental change does not have to be about preaching the importance of action or exhorting people to ban this or that behavior - it can be fun, entertaining, engaging and educational. These children show that you can save the planet with a smile on your face and that some of the champions of environmental issues and a sustainable century can be someone as animated, popular, articulate and successful as Gisele Bündchen," said Mr. Steiner.