The Goldman Environmental Prize is the world’s largest and most prestigious annual award for grassroots environmentalists. Many people refer to it as the “green Nobel.” Goldman Prize winners are models of courage, and their stories are powerful and inspiring. “The Prize recognizes individuals for sustained and significant efforts to protect and enhance the natural environment, often at great personal risk. Each winner receives an award of $150,000 [starting this year, it has been increased to $175,000], the largest award in the world for grassroots environmentalists. The Goldman Prize views ‘grassroots’ leaders as those involved in local efforts, where positive change is created through community or citizen participation in the issues that affect them. Through recognizing these individual leaders, the Prize seeks to inspire other ordinary people to take extraordinary actions to protect the natural world.”
This year marks the 25th anniversary of this international prize. And this year, for the first time ever, the Goldman Environmental Prize ceremony will be broadcast LIVE on the Goldman Prize YouTube channel.
This year’s six prize recipients (one from each of the six inhabited continental regions) are:
- Helen Slottje (NY, USA) — Helping towns across New York defend themselves from oil and gas companies by passing local bans on fracking
- Desmond D’Sa (South Africa) — Rallied south Durban’s diverse and disenfranchised communities to successfully shut down a toxic waste dump that was exposing nearby residents to dangerous chemicals
- Ruth Buendía (Peru) — United the Asháninka people in a powerful campaign against large-scale dams that would have once again uprooted indigenous communities
- Ramesh Agrawal (India) — Organized villagers to demand their right to information about industrial development projects and succeeded in shutting down one of the largest proposed coal mines in Chhattisgarh
- Suren Gazaryan (Russia) — Led multiple campaigns exposing government corruption and illegal use of federally protected forestland along Russia’s Black Sea coast
- Rudi Putra (Indonesia) — Dismantling illegal palm oil plantations that are causing massive deforestation in northern Sumatra’s Leuser Ecosystem, protecting the habitat of the critically endangered Sumatran rhino
Click on each recipient’s name to read—or watch a brief video—about their remarkable efforts and achievements.
Here’s the video about Helen Slottje, who has provided pro-bono legal assistance to help towns across New York (including Dryden) defend themselves from oil and gas companies by passing local bans on fracking, using a clause in the state constitution that gives municipalities the right to make local land use decisions.
Posts on Goldman Prize winners from previous years: