Environmental activist Ramesh Agrawal, on 28 April 2014 won the prestigious Goldman Environmental Prize for the year 2014. The prize is commonly called as the Green Nobel. The prize honours the heroic grassroot environmentalists around the world for their achievements.
Agrawal was awarded for his contribution to control the unchecked industrial development throughout India. He organised villagers to demand their right to information about industrial development projects. His efforts resulted in shutting down of one of the largest proposed coal mines in Gare village of Chhattisgarh in 2012 .
He founded a grassroots movement named Jan Chetana to protect people as well as the environment from industrialization.
2014 Goldman Environmental Prize recipients
• Africa Region
Desmond D’Sa of South Africa – He rallied south Durban’s diverse and disenfranchised communities to successfully shut down a toxic waste dump that was exposing nearby residents to dangerous chemicals and robbing them of their constitutionally protected right to a safe and clean environment.
• Asia Region
Ramesh Agrawal of India – He was awarded for his contribution to control the unchecked industrial development throughout India. He organised villagers to demand their right to information about industrial development projects.
• Europe Region
Suren Gazaryan of Russia – As a zoologist, he led multiple campaigns exposing government corruption and illegal use of federally protected forestland along Russia’s Black Sea coast.
• Islands & Island Nations
Rudi Putra of Indonesia – A biologist by profession, he was awarded for 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.
• North America
Helen Holden Slottje of America – She used a clause in the state Constitution that gives municipalities the right to make local land use decisions, Helen Slottje provided pro-bono legal assistance, helping towns across New York defend themselves from oil and gas companies by passing local bans on fracking.
• South & Central America
Ruth Buendia Mestoquiari of Peru – She united the Ashaninka people in a powerful campaign against large-scale dams that would have once again uprooted indigenous communities still recovering from Peru’s civil war
About Goldman Environmental Prize
The first Goldman Environmental Prize was given in 1990 on Earth Day, that is 22 April. Since then, the prize is announced in April to coincide with Earth Day and the winners are selected by an international jury.
It is the largest award given to grassroots environmental activists annually by Goldman Environmental Foundation based in San Francisco.
It annually awards environmental heroes of six inhabited continental regions – Africa, Asia, Europe, Islands and Island Nations, North America, and South and Central America.
Each winner of the award receives 150000 US dollar as a prize. These awards are given to recognise the individual leaders and inspire other ordinary people to take extraordinary actions to protect the natural world.
The year 2014 is the 25th year of the Goldman Environmental Prize.
What the Goldman Prize Provides its Recipient?
The Goldman Prize amplifies the voices of these grassroots leaders and provides them with
• International recognition that enhances their credibility
• Worldwide visibility for the issues they champion
• Financial support of 175000 dollar to pursue their vision of a renewed and protected environment
Where: San Francisco
When: 28 April 2014