The 2008 Goldman Environmental Prize has been awarded to seven grassroots activists from Africa, Europe, Asia, and North, Central, and South America who are challenging government and corporate interests and working to improve the environment and living conditions for people in their communities.
The recipients of this year's prize are Pablo Fajardo Mendoza and Luis Yanza (South America), who are leading a legal battle against oil giant Chevron to bring environmental justice and recovery to an area of the Ecuadorian Amazon devastated by petroleum pollution; Feliciano dos Santos (Africa), who is using traditional music, grassroots outreach, and innovative technology to bring sanitation to the most remote regions of Mozambique; Rosa Hilda Ramos (North America), who is leading her community of Cataño, in Puerto Rico, to permanently protect the Las Chucharillas Marsh, one of the largest wetlands ecosystems in the region; Jes�s Le�n Santos (Central America), who is leading a land renewal program in the state of Oaxaca that employs ancient indigenous practices to transform depleted soil into arable land; Marina Rikhvanova (Asia), who is working to protect Russia's Lake Baikal, one of the world's most important sources of fresh water, from petroleum and nuclear pollution; and Ignace Schops (Europe), who has helped raise more than $90 million to establish Belgium's first and only national park.
Established in 1990 by San Francisco civic leader and philanthropist Richard N. Goldman and his wife, Rhoda, the annual prize is the largest award of its kind in the world and this year was increased from $125,000 to $150,000.
"This year's prize recipients exemplify the astounding environmental work being done by ordinary people around the world," said Richard N. Goldman. "Their commitment to bettering both the lives of people living in their communities and the environment around them has received our attention and praise."