“…for sustained and significant efforts to protect and enhance the natural environment, often at great personal risk.”
The Goldman Environmental Prize — 29 years, 188 recipients, 87 countries — lauds the grit, courage and just plain hard work of grassroots environmental heroes worldwide who have done everything from stopping secret nuclear developments to foiling massive hydro dams to drawing attention to the toxic water of Flint, Michigan. They represent the world’s six inhabited continental regions: Africa, Asia, Europe, Islands & Island Nations, North America, and South & Central America
The seven selected for 2018 (usually there are 6) were feted April 23 in San Francisco and, on April 25, 2018, in Washington DC.
A nutshell description of each of this year’s winners
(our thanks to Goldman Prize for the use of these profiles)
Manny Calonzo, The Philippines
Manny Calonzo spearheaded an advocacy campaign that persuaded the Philippine government to enact a national ban on the production, use, and sale of lead paint. He then led the development of a third-party certification program to ensure that paint manufacturers meet this standard. As of 2017, 85% of the paint market in the Philippines has been certified as lead safe.
LeeAnne Walters, United States
LeeAnne Walters led a citizens’ movement that tested the tap water in Flint, Michigan, and exposed the Flint water crisis. The results showed that one in six homes had lead levels in water that exceeded the EPA’s safety threshold. Walters’ persistence compelled the government to take action and ensure that residents of Flint have access to clean water. NPR story
Francia Márquez, Colombia
A formidable leader of the Afro-Colombian community, Francia Márquez organized the women of La Toma and stopped illegal gold mining on their ancestral land. She exerted steady pressure on the Colombian government and spearheaded a 10-day, 350-mile march of 80 women to the nation’s capital, resulting in the removal of all illegal miners and equipment from her community.
Khanh Nguy Thi, Vietnam
Khanh Nguy Thi used scientific research and engaged Vietnamese state agencies to advocate for sustainable long-term energy projections in Vietnam. Highlighting the cost and environmental impacts of coal power, she partnered with state officials to reduce coal dependency and move toward a greener energy future.
Claire Nouvian, France
A tireless defender of the oceans and marine life, Claire Nouvian led a focused, data-driven advocacy campaign against the destructive fishing practice of deep-sea bottom trawling, successfully pressuring French supermarket giant and fleet owner Intermarché to change its fishing practices. Her coalition of advocates ultimately secured French support for a ban on deep-sea bottom trawling that led to an EU-wide ban.
As grassroots activists, Makoma Lekalakala and Liz McDaid built a broad coalition to stop the South African government’s massive secret nuclear deal with Russia. On April 26, 2017, the High Court ruled that the $76 billion nuclear power project was unconstitutional—a landmark legal victory that protected South Africa from an unprecedented expansion of the nuclear industry and production of radioactive waste. CNN story
Check out the Goldman Prize Winners in Green News Update 2014-2017