Edward Norton has been named as the new United Nations goodwill ambassador for biodiversity.

The 40-year-old actor has been a long-time conservationist and carries a passion for educating others on the importance of environmental stewardship.

"It is an issue that I've been engaged with on many different levels for a number of years," Norton said at U.N. headquarters in New York. "But it's very, very exciting to be asked to engage with it on the level of the U.N. with its incredible capacity and reach."

Instead of protecting pockets of land for conservation, Norton said his new role will instead be to work on addressing human needs; which he described as "the key to long-term preservation."

"People have recognized that fragmenting the ecosystems or creating protected pockets is not actually authentic to the way ecosystems work," he said.

Norton, whose father is an environmental lawyer and conservation advocate in Asia, has been involved in a large array of causes over the years — from Earth Hour to Solar Neighbors to most recently, running a marathon to raise over $1 million for the Maasai Wilderness Conservation Trust.

"Edward Norton has brought global star power to global issues — community development and conservation, causes that are clearly close to his heart," U.N. Secretary-General Ban ki-Moon said in a statement after appointing Norton. "His efforts to preserve biodiversity and promote ecosystem integrity in East Africa have been truly impressive."

Check out a video of Norton receiving his new title at the U.N. below:

Michael d'Estries ( @michaeldestries ) covers science, technology, art, and the beautiful, unusual corners of our incredible world.

Edward Norton named U.N. biodiversity ambassador
Actor/activist excited to use new role to share that 'human well-being is intertwined fundamentally with biodiversity'.