The $125,000 Goldman Environmental Prize, created in 1990 by civic leaders and philanthropists Richard N. Goldman and his late wife, Rhoda H. Goldman, is awarded annually to environmental activists from six geographic areas: Africa, Asia, Europe, Islands and Island Nations, North America, and South and Central America.
This year’s winners are:
North America – Sophia Rabliauskas, 47, Canada: working on behalf of Poplar River First Nation, secured interim protection for a portion of the boreal forest of Manitoba.
Africa – Hammerskjoeld Simwinga, 45, Zambia: created a sustainable community development program, successfully transforming the North Luangwa Valley and restoring wildlife there.
Asia – Ts. Munkhbayar, 40, Mongolia: successfully worked with government and grassroots organizations to shut down destructive mining operations along Mongolia’s scarce waterways.
South & Central America – Julio Cusurichi Palacios, 36, Peru: secured a national Amazon reserve protect sensitive rain forest ecosystems and the rights of indigenous peoples.
Europe – Willie Corduff, 53, Ireland: with a group of fellow local residents and landowners in the small farming community of Rossport, forced Shell Oil to stop construction on an illegally-approved pipeline.
Islands & Island Nations – Orri Vigfússon, 64, Iceland: brokered huge international fishing rights buyouts with governments and commercial interests, thus helping to end destructive commercial salmon fishing in the North Atlantic region.
‘This year’s Prize recipients have succeeded in combating some of the most important environmental challenges we face today,’ said Richard N. Goldman. ‘Their commitment in the face of great personal risk inspires us all to think more critically about what ordinary people can do to make a difference.’
The winners will receive their prizes this evening (April 23) in the course of a special ceremony at the San Francisco Opera House, and will be further honored at a smaller ceremony on Wednesday, April 25 at the National Geographic Society in Washington, DC.
Goldman Environmental Prize
Photo: Richard N. Goldman