In the sea of celebrities who make it oh-so-easy to scrutinize and flat out criticize their shameful behavior, it’s virtually impossible to point a tsk-tsk finger at Edward Norton. Go ahead and subtract one point for his multi-year Courtney Love romance, but then again, haven’t we all made a mistake at least once in that department? Aside from being one of the most riveting actors of our time (check out American History X for incontrovertible proof!), the twice Oscar-nominated performer has also been quite the eco-warrior and philanthropist, particularly with regard to his newly established social fundraising website Crowdwise.

The United Nations has apparently taken note of Norton’s ongoing efforts to better the world that we live in because they’ve just appointed him the illustrious title of UN Goodwill Ambassador for Biodiversity. In layman’s terms, that means that he’ll be responsible for garnering support for environmental conservation projects, working in tandem “with the UN Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) to spotlight the crisis of biodiversity and ensuring that world leaders take appropriate measures to protect the environment” – three  roles that he is already intimately familiar with.

Following the example of his eco-attorney/conservation advocate father, the 40 year old – who is a board member of the Maasai Wilderness Conservation Trust — stated at his New York City designation ceremony that he believes green issues will be the “defining challenge of this era”, asserting that “our ability to thrive as a species and as a civilization totally depends on…realiz(ing) that (we) are not separate from the web of life.” He added, “I think catastrophic events, such as what is happening in the Gulf with the oil spill, do highlight for people that there is an enormous ramification for human well-being to a loss of biodiversity like a fishery.”

Norton shares good company with fellow UN appointee Don Cheadle, who was recently named as the Goodwill Ambassador for the United Nations Environment Program and all around humanitarian George Clooney who was named a UN Messenger of Peace. A hearty congratulations to Monsieur Norton, a fantastic actor, genuinely decent guy and remarkable planetary citizen. Cheers!!

Via UN News Centre