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 truly 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 a financial award of $175,000. 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.”
2015 is the prize’s 26th year. The Goldman Environmental Prize ceremony, which is held in San Francisco, California and then in Washington DC, 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:
- Marilyn Baptiste, BC, Canada: A former chief of the Xeni Gwet’in First Nation, she led her community in defeating one of the largest proposed gold and copper mines in British Columbia that would have destroyed Fish Lake—a source of spiritual identity and livelihood for the Xeni Gwet’in. (Her organization: First Nations Women Advocating Responsible Mining: FNWARM)
- Berta Cáceres, Honduras: In a country with growing socioeconomic inequality and human rights violations, she rallied the indigenous Lenca people of Honduras and waged a grassroots campaign that successfully pressured the world’s largest dam builder to pull out of the Agua Zarca Dam. (Her organization: National Council of Popular and Indigenous Organizations of Honduras: COPINH. Twitter: @COPINHHonduras)
- Jean Wiener, Haiti: In a country plagued by extreme poverty and political instability, he led community efforts to establish the nation’s first Marine Protected Areas by empowering Haitians to see the long-term value in sustainably managing fisheries and mangrove forests. (His organization: Foundation for the Protection of Marine Biodiversity: FoProBiM. Twitter: @FoProBiM)
- Howard Wood, Scotland: He spearheaded a campaign that established the first community-developed Marine Protected Area in Scotland, giving citizens a voice in a debate that had been dominated by the commercial fishing industry. (His organization: Community of Arran Seabed Trust: COAST. Twitter: @ArranCoast)
- Phyllis Omido, Kenya: After learning her own breast milk was making her baby sick—and realizing her child wasn’t the only one suffering from lead poisoning—she galvanized the community in Mombasa to shut down the smelter that was exposing people to dangerous chemicals. (Her organization: Center for Justice, Governance, and Environmental Action: CJGEA. Twitter: @phyllisomido)
- Myint Zaw, Myanmar: Facing heavy government scrutiny and restricted use of tools like email or social media, he launched a national movement that successfully stopped construction of the Myitsone Dam on Myanmar’s treasured Irrawaddy River.
Click on each recipient’s name to read—and watch a brief, well-produced video—about their remarkable efforts and achievements.
Here’s the video about Marilyn Baptiste, from British Columbia, Canada.
Posts on Goldman Prize winners from previous years: