Before moving to Los Angeles and initiating a successful career in music production with Shania Twain, Wyclef Jean, Shakira and many other artists, Sadaharu Yagi grew up in the Japanese town of Kitakyushu. In the 1960s, the city faced huge environmental problems—and the highest levels of air pollution in the country.

It did, however, turn what seemed to be a desperate situation around, and in 1990 Kitakyushu received the Global 500 Award from UN Environment, to honour its dedication to improving the city’s air quality. Thanks to a collaborative effort by the government, private companies and citizens,  Kitakyushu has the some of the lowest air pollution levels in Japan today.

“Growing up, I realized how important it was to protect the environment and how this can only occur when there is a collective effort to turn things around. I know if Kitakyushu was able to enact such a transformation, it can be done everywhere,” said Sadaharu.

So as a Grammy Award-winning recording engineer, mixer and producer, he, too, put his talent to work for the environment. “As a person, I can alter my own day-to-day behaviour, but professionally I also have a platform that enables me to spread the message. I see this as a duty and a privilege. Writing a song for UN Environment was something I was thrilled to do.

“The song, titled ‘We are walking on’, is about having a more caring dialogue and a closer relationship with the world we inhabit”, added the producer. It is also an example of generous teamwork.

Read more at UN Environment