Oceans & Forests Blog

Introducing the 2013 Goldman Prize winners

Posted Apr. 22, 2013 / Posted by: Adam Russell

This week is always a special week for Friends of the Earth U.S. Around this time every year, the Goldman Environmental Prize announces the recipients of its prestigious award. Modeled after the Nobel Peace Prize, the Goldman Environmental Prize honors grassroots activists from six regions of the world for their extraordinary efforts to protect their community from environmental exploitation. 

This year’s recipients are truly inspiring, collectively, this collection of six individuals with backgrounds as diverse as teacher, mothers, engineer, eco-entrepreneur, labor organizer:

Defeated two coal-fired power plants in Chicago;
Created a natural gas fracking moratorium in South Africa;
Stopped the construction of more than 40 incinerators in Italy;
Protected their community from marble mining in Indonesia;
Created collective rights for waste recyclers in Bogata, Columbia; and
Restored valuable drain marshes in Iraq.

Combined, the efforts of these six extraordinary individuals have directly impacted millions of people and have inspired millions more, such as myself. Below is a brief intro to each winner courtesy of the Goldman Environmental Prize. Please read their full bios. They are truly amazing.

This year's winners are:

 Jonathan Deal / South Africa

Jonathan Deal led a successful campaign against fracking in South Africa to protect the Karoo, a semi-desert region treasured for its agriculture, beauty and wildlife.

 Azzam Alwash / Iraq

Giving up a comfortable living and family life in California, Azzam Alwash returned to war-torn Iraq to lead local communities in restoring the once-lush marshes that were turned to dust bowls during Saddam Hussein’s rule.

 Rossano Ercolini / Italy

An elementary school teacher, Rossano Ercolini began a public education campaign about the dangers of incinerators in his small Tuscan town that grew into a national Zero Waste movement.

 Aleta Baun / Indonesia

By organizing hundreds of local villagers to peacefully occupy marble mining sites in “weaving protests,” Aleta Baun stopped the destruction of sacred forestland on Mutis Mountain on the island of Timor.

 Kimberly Wasserman / U.S.A.

Kimberly Wasserman led local residents in a successful campaign to shut down two of the country’s oldest and dirtiest coal plants — and is now transforming Chicago’s old industrial sites into parks and multi-use spaces.

  Nohra Padilla / Colombia

Unfazed by powerful political opponents and a pervasive culture of violence, Nohra Padilla organized Colombia’s marginalized waste pickers to make recycling a legitimate part of waste management.

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