Goldman environmental award honors six environmental heroes | Business


The Goldman Environmental Foundation today announced six recipients of the 2021 award Goldman Environmental Prize, the world’s most prestigious award for local environmental activists.

Awarded annually to environmental heroes from each of the world’s six inhabited continental regions, the Goldman Environmental Prize honors the achievements and leadership of local environmental activists around the world, inspiring us all to take action to protect our planet.

The award was founded in 1989 in San Francisco by philanthropists and civic leaders Rhoda and Richard Goldman. As Richard Goldman remarked, “We would like to leave the world a little better than we found it. In 32 years, the Prize has had an immeasurable impact on the planet. To date, the award has honored 206 laureates (including 92 women) from 92 countries and highlighted many critical issues facing Earth.

“When it comes to the environment, the global community of grassroots activists, leaders, thinkers and philanthropists is only growing and becoming more sophisticated, more united, more powerful,” said Susie Gelman, vice president of the Goldman Environmental Foundation. “These award winners have so much to teach us about the way forward and how to maintain the balance with nature which is key to our survival. These phenomenal environmental champions remind us of what can be achieved when we fight back and refuse to accept helplessness and environmental degradation. They were not silenced, despite great risks and personal difficulties, and we must not be silent either. It takes all of us.

Normally, winners receive the award in person at a ceremony at the San Francisco Opera House in April, but this year, in light of the coronavirus outbreak, the award will be awarded virtually and shared on social media on June 15. the event will be broadcast on Youtube, Facebook, and Twitter. Guests can register for the event here:

This year’s winners are:

Gloria Majiga-Kamoto, Malawi

Concerned about the environmental damage caused by growing plastic pollution in Malawi, Gloria Majiga-Kamoto fought the plastics industry and galvanized a grassroots movement for a nationwide ban on thin plastics, a type of single-use plastic. Following its dedicated campaign, in July 2019, the High Court of Malawi upheld the ban on the production, import, distribution and use of thin plastics. This is the first prize for Malawi.

Thai Van Nguyen founded Save Vietnam’s Wildlife, which rescued 1,540 pangolins from the illegal wildlife trade between 2014 and 2020. Nguyen also established Vietnam’s first anti-poaching unit, which, since 2018, has destroyed 9,701 traps animals, dismantled 775 illegal camps, confiscated 78 firearms and arrested 558 people for poaching, leading to a significant drop in illegal activities in Pu Mat National Park. Pangolins are the most trafficked mammal in the world despite an international trade ban. High demand for their meat, scales and blood threatens the extinction of pangolins; all eight pangolin species are on the IUCN Red List.

Maida Bilal, Bosnia and Herzegovina

Maida Bilal led a group of women from her village in a 503-day blockade of heavy equipment that resulted in the cancellation of permits for two dam projects on the Kruščica River in December 2018. The Balkans are home to the last flowing rivers free in Europe. However, a massive hydroelectric boom in the region threatens to irreversibly damage thousands of miles of pristine rivers. This is the first prize for Bosnia and Herzegovina.


After the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster in 2011, Japan was forced to move away from nuclear power and, in its place, adopted coal as its main source of energy. In recent years, Kimiko Hirata’s field campaign has led to the cancellation of 13 coal-fired power plants (7 GW or 7,030 MW) in Japan. These coal-fired power plants would have emitted more than 1.6 billion tonnes of CO2 over their lifetime. The carbon impact of Hirata’s activism is equivalent to taking 7.5 million passenger cars off the road each year for 40 years.

Sharon Lavigne, United States

In September 2019, Sharon Lavigne, a special educator turned advocate for environmental justice, successfully stopped construction of a US $ 1.25 billion plastic manufacturing plant along the Mississippi River in the parish of St. James, Louisiana. Lavigne mobilized grassroots opposition to the project, educated community members, and organized peaceful protests to defend his predominantly African-American community. The plant is said to have generated one million pounds of hazardous liquid waste per year, in an area already struggling with known carcinogens and toxic air pollution.


In January 2018, through the efforts of Liz Chicaje Churay and her partners, the Peruvian government established Yaguas National Park. Comparable in size to Yellowstone National Park, the new park protects more than two million acres of Amazon rainforest in the northeastern region of Loreto. Its creation is a key step in conserving the country’s biodiversity – saving thousands of rare and unique wild species and conserving carbon-rich peatlands – and protecting indigenous peoples.

FOR THE ATTENTION OF EDITORS: Detailed biographical information, photographs and a video of all winners are available on request or on our Press room.

About the Goldman Environmental Award

The Goldman Environmental Prize was established in 1989 by San Francisco civic and philanthropic leaders Richard and Rhoda Goldman. Winners are selected by an international jury from confidential nominations submitted by a global network of environmental organizations and individuals.

CONTACT: For US media inquiries: Emily Nauseda, goldmanprize @, +1 408-688-7227

For Europe / UK media inquiries: Simon Forrester, simonjforrester @, + 44 (0) 7932 755515



SOURCE: Goldman Environmental Prize

Copyright Business Wire 2021.

PUB: 06/15/2021 03:30 / DISC: 06/15/2021 03:32

Copyright Business Wire 2021.

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