The Goldman Environmental Foundation in San Francisco has announced the recipients of the 2018 Goldman Environmental Prize, an annual award that recognizes grassroots environmental leaders from around the globe.
Launched in 1989, the program honors emerging leaders from the world's inhabited continental regions who are working to protect the environment and their communities. The prize, which includes a cash award, gives a platform to grassroots leaders that helps amplify their voices, enhances their credibility and global visibility, and provides them with the financial support needed to pursue their vision of a protected and renewed environment.
The 2018 Goldman Prize recipients are Francia Márquez of Colombia, who pressured her country's government and organized the women of La Toma, in the Cauca region, to stop illegal gold mining on their ancestral land; Claire Nouvian of France, who led a data-driven advocacy campaign against the destructive fishing practice of deep-sea bottom trawling, resulting in French support for a ban on the practice as well as an EU-wide ban; Makoma Lekalakala and Liz McDaid of South Africa, who built a broad coalition to stop the country's nuclear deal with Russia, resulting in a landmark legal victory against the secret $76 billion deal and protecting South Africa from becoming a dumping ground for nuclear waste; Manny Calonzo of the Philippines, who spearheaded an advocacy campaign aimed at persuading the Philippine government to enact a national ban on the production, use, and sale of lead paint; LeeAnne Walters of the United States, who led a citizens' movement to test the lead-laced tap water in Flint, Michigan, and compelled the local, state, and federal governments to take action and ensure access to clean drinking water for the city's residents; and Khanh Nguy Thi of Vietnam, who used scientific research to advocate for sustainable, long-term energy projections and a reduction in coal power dependency in his country.
"The first thing we need is to be more aware of the historical moment in which we find ourselves: the planet is being destroyed, it's that simple, and if we do nothing to avoid it, we will we will be part of that destruction," prize recipient Márquez told the Guardian. "Our time has come, we must act, we have a responsibility to future generations to leave a better world, in which taking care of life is more important than producing cumulative wealth."