“The Goldman Environmental Prize is the world’s largest prize for grassroots environmentalists. Founded in 1989, the Prize has been awarded to 151 people from 81 countries. Each of the winners, chosen from the planet’s six inhabited continental regions, receives $150,000. These individuals demonstrate exceptional courage and commitment, often working at great risk to protect our environment and, ultimately, life on Earth. In the process, they inspire the rest of us to do the same.” (original text from “Honoring Grassroots Environmental Heroes,” the Goldman Environmental Prize pamphlet 2012).
The Goldman Prize is one that goes to ordinary people: A mother whose infant daughter died from kidney failure, a priest who wanted to uphold the will of the people, a woman who moved from the big city to be closer to nature. Several of them are people who found themselves compelled to work toward changing imbalances that could’ve had a detrimental effect on the lives of people in their communities.
They are from the Philippines, Kenya, China, Russia, Alaska, and Argentina.
Sofia Gatica fought to stop the spraying of glyphosate on crops in Argentina; Father Edu, against the mining of nickel on Mindoro in the Philippines; Evgenia Chirikova stopped a highway from being constructed through the Khimki Forest in Russia; Ikal Angelei, a massive dam being built in Kenya; Ma Jun empowered people in China to speak out against the pollution made by multinational companies; and Caroline Cannon halted irreparable damage to the landscape in the Arctic Circle, keeping an oil and gas development plan from going through.
Each of them succeeded in winning struggles for the environment and in so doing turned around the minds of people in companies half-way around the world, changed the minds of bankers, investors, and many others in power. Their stories are indeed inspiring.
Watch the following videos from the Goldman Environmental Prize site to learn more about each of these incredible individuals:
Learn more about the Goldman Prize