Rahul Sharma (Editor)

Goldman Environmental Prize

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Official website  goldmanprize.org
Goldman Environmental Prize

The Goldman Environmental Prize is a prize awarded annually to grassroots environmental activists, one from each of the world's six geographic regions: Africa, Asia, Europe, Islands and Island Nations, North America, and South and Central America. The prize includes a no-strings-attached award of US$175,000 per recipient. Since the Goldman Environmental Prize was established in 1989, a total of $15.9 million has been awarded to 157 honorees from more than 79 countries, as of 2013. The prize is given by the Goldman Environmental Foundation headquartered in San Francisco, California. It is also called the Green Nobel.


The Goldman Environmental Prize was created in 1990 by civic leaders and philanthropists Richard N. Goldman and his wife, Rhoda H. Goldman. Richard Goldman died at age 90 in 2010 and was predeceased by his wife. Richard Goldman founded Goldman Insurance Services in San Francisco. Rhoda Goldman was a great-grand-niece of Levi Strauss, founder of the worldwide clothing company.

The Goldman Environmental Prize winners are selected by an international jury who receive confidential nominations submitted by a worldwide network of environmental organizations and individuals. Prize winners participate in a 10-day tour of San Francisco and Washington, D.C., for an awards ceremony and presentation, news conferences, media briefings and meetings with political, public policy, financial and environmental leaders. In 2013, David Gordon became executive director of the foundation.

The 2016 Environmental Prize winners marking the 27th anniversary, were awarded on April 18, 2016 during ceremonies held at the San Francisco Opera House.

Prize winners

Source: Goldman Environmental Foundation


  • Robert Brown (Australia)
  • Lois Gibbs (United States)
  • Janet Gibson (Belize)
  • Harrison Ngau Laing (Malaysia)
  • János Vargha (Hungary)
  • Michael Werikhe (Kenya)
  • 1991

  • Wangari Muta Maathai (Kenya)
  • Barnens Regnskog (Eha Kern & Roland Tiensuu) (Sweden)
  • Evaristo Nugkuag (Peru)
  • Yoichi Kuroda (Japan)
  • Samuel LaBudde (United States)
  • Cath Wallace (New Zealand)
  • 1992

  • Jeton Anjain (Marshall Islands)
  • Medha Patkar (India)
  • Wadja Egnankou (Ivory Coast)
  • Christine Jean (France)
  • Colleen McCrory (Canada)
  • Carlos Alberto Ricardo (Brazil)
  • 1993

  • Margaret Jacobsohn & Garth Owen-Smith (Namibia)
  • Juan Mayr (Colombia)
  • Dai Qing (China)
  • John Sinclair (Australia)
  • JoAnn Tall (United States)
  • Sviatoslav Zabelin (Russia)
  • 1994

  • Matthew Coon Come (Canada)
  • Tuenjai Deetes (Thailand)
  • Laila Iskander Kamel (Egypt)
  • Luis Macas (Ecuador)
  • Heffa Schücking (Germany)
  • Andrew Simmons (St. Vincent and the Grenadines)
  • 1995

  • Aurora Castillo (United States)
  • Yul Choi (South Korea)
  • Noah Idechong (Palau)
  • Emma Must (England)
  • Ricardo Navarro (El Salvador)
  • Ken Saro-Wiwa (Nigeria)
  • 1996

  • Ndyakira Amooti (Uganda)
  • Bill Ballantine (New Zealand)
  • Edwin Bustillos (Mexico)
  • M.C. Mehta (India)
  • Marina Silva (Brasil)
  • Albena Simeonova (Bulgaria)
  • 1997

  • Nick Carter (Zambia)
  • Loir Botor Dingit (Indonesia)
  • Alexander Nikitin (Russia)
  • Juan Pablo Orrego (Chile)
  • Fuiono Senio & Paul Alan Cox (Western Samoa)
  • Terri Swearingen (United States)
  • 1998

  • Anna Giordano (Italy)
  • Kory Johnson (United States)
  • Berito Kuwaru'wa (Colombia)
  • Atherton Martin (Commonwealth of Dominica)
  • Sven "Bobby" Peek (South Africa)
  • Hirofumi Yamashita (Japan)
  • 1999

  • Jacqui Katona & Yvonne Margarula (Australia)
  • Michal Kravcik (Slovakia)
  • Bernard Martin (Canada)
  • Samuel Nguiffo (Cameroon)
  • Jorge Varela (Honduras)
  • Ka Hsaw Wa (Myanmar)
  • 2000

  • Oral Ataniyazova (Uzbekistan)
  • Elias Diaz Peña & Oscar Rivas (Paraguay)
  • Vera Mischenko (Russia)
  • Rodolfo Montiel Flores (Mexico)
  • Alexander Peal (Liberia)
  • Nat Quansah (Madagascar)
  • 2001

  • Jane Akre & Steve Wilson (reporter) (United States)
  • Yosepha Alomang (Indonesia)
  • Giorgos Catsadorakis & Myrsini Malakou (Greece)
  • Oscar Olivera (Bolivia)
  • Eugène Rutagarama (Rwanda)
  • Bruno Van Peteghem (New Caledonia)
  • 2002

  • Pisit Charnsnoh (Thailand)
  • Sarah James & Jonathon Solomon (United States)
  • Fatima Jibrell (Somalia)
  • Alexis Massol González (Puerto Rico)
  • Norma Kassi (Canada)
  • Jean La Rose (Guyana)
  • Jadwiga Łopata (Poland)
  • 2003

  • Julia Bonds (United States)
  • Pedro Arrojo-Agudo (Spain)
  • Eileen Kampakuta Brown & Eileen Wani Wingfield (Australia)
  • Von Hernandez (Philippines)
  • Maria Elena Foronda Farro (Peru)
  • Odigha Odigha (Nigeria)
  • 2004

    Rudolf Amenga-Etego, 40, Accra, Ghana. Visionary public interest lawyer Rudolf Amenga-Etego of Ghana has gained international recognition for suspending a major water privatization project backed by the World Bank. The devastating plan would further impede access to clean drinking water, a crisis linked to high rates of disease in low-income communities. The privatization would also place an especially harsh burden on Ghanaian girls, whose school work suffers because they literally shoulder the responsibility of providing water for their families.

    Rashida Bee, 48, and Champa Devi Shukla, 52, Bhopal, India. Despite their poverty and poor health due to toxic gas exposure, Bee and Shukla have emerged as leaders in the international fight to hold Dow Chemical accountable for the infamous 1984 Union Carbide gas leak in Bhopal, India that killed 20,000 and left more than 150,000 seriously injured. (Union Carbide became a wholly owned subsidiary of Dow in 1999.) They organized the first global hunger strike to draw international attention to Dow's deadly legacy and traveled the world to protest at Dow shareholder meetings. Now on the 20th anniversary of the disaster, Bee and Shukla are plaintiffs in a class action suit demanding a cleanup of the noxious factory site and damages to cover medical monitoring and costs incurred from years of soil and water contamination.

    Libia Grueso, 43, Buenaventura, Colombia. In a major victory for the Afro-Colombian civil rights movement, social worker and activist Libia Grueso secured more than 5.9 million acres (24,000 km²) in territorial rights for the country's black rural communities, including those in Colombias lush Pacific rainforest. Years of armed conflict, rapacious development and the narcotics industry have displaced Afro-Colombians and created an ecological catastrophe. Despite life-threatening circumstances, Grueso's brave work passing Law 70, historic legislation that officially grants Afro-Colombians territorial rights on lands they have populated for hundreds of years, gives hope to this environmental justice struggle.

    Manana Kochladze, 32, Tbilisi, Georgia. British Petroleum is leading an international consortium, which includes California-based Unocal, for the construction of the $3 billion BTC project that would establish the largest pipeline in the world, crossing through Georgia, a country mired in poverty and political instability since gaining independence from Russia in 1991. For the U.S., the pipeline is a way to tap oil reserves in former Soviet states while bypassing Iran and Russia. But the route would run through a national park and pristine mountain gorge, home to Georgia's commercially prized mineral water and one of the few successful enterprises in Georgia's economy. Kochladze's fearless tenacity in the face of widespread government corruption and multinational industry interests has won critical concessions to protect local villagers and the environment and has forced a thorough examination of the project's environmental and health impact.

    Demetrio do Amaral de Carvalho, 37, Dili, East Timor. Demetrio do Amaral de Carvalho is a founding father and environmental hero of East Timor, the world's newest nation. A former resistance leader during the Indonesian occupation, de Carvalho is largely credited for spearheading the progressive inclusion of environmental justice tenets in East Timor's constitution. These principles will play a critical legal and symbolic role in guiding sustainable management of the island's rainforests, coral reefs and vast oil and gas reserves.

    Margie Richard, 62, Norco, Louisiana, United States. Richard grew up just 25 feet (7.6 m) away from the fence line of a Shell Chemical plant the size of nine American football fields that releases more than 2 million pounds (900 metric tons) of toxic chemicals into the air each year. Four generations of Richard's family have lived in the Old Diamond neighborhood of Norco, Louisiana, located within the area known as "Cancer Alley". High rates of cancer, birth defects and other serious health ailments plague the town's 1,500 predominantly African-American residents. For more than 13 years, Richard led a community campaign demanding fair and just resettlement costs from Shell for her family and neighbors too impoverished to relocate to a safe area. In 2002, thanks largely to Richard's efforts, Shell agreed to cover relocation costs for Old Diamond's residents: the first community relocation victory of its kind in the Deep South. The multinational giant also agreed to reduce their emissions at the Norco plant by 30 percent.


  • Isidro Baldenegro López (Mexico)
  • Kaisha Atakhanova (Kazakhstan)
  • Jean-Baptiste Chavannes (Haiti)
  • Stephanie Danielle Roth (Romania)
  • Corneille Ewango (Congo)
  • José Andrés Tamayo Cortez (Honduras)
  • 2006

    Silas Kpanan’ Siakor, 36, Liberia. Siakor along with members of the Sustainable Development Institute (SDI) Liberia and the SAMFU Foundation, Liberia, exposed evidence that Liberian President Charles Taylor used profits of unchecked, rampant logging to pay the costs of a brutal 14-year war. Such evidence—collected at great personal risk to Silas and members of the SDI and SAMFU—led the United Nations Security Council to ban the export of Liberian timber.

    Yu Xiaogang, 55, China. Chinese environmentalist Yu Xiaogang spent years creating groundbreaking watershed management programs while researching and documenting the socioeconomic impact dams had on local Chinese communities. His reports are credited as being a primary reason the central government has paid additional restitution to villagers displaced by existing dams and created new guidelines calling for social impact assessments when planning major developments.

    Olya Melen, 26, Ukraine. Melen used legal channels to challenge the government’s plan to build a major canal that would have cut through protected wetlands in the Danube Delta, one of the most valuable wetlands in Europe. For her efforts, she came under critical scrutiny by officials in the notoriously corrupt pre-Orange Revolution regime, under which few spoke out against the government for fear of death or being “disappeared.”

    Anne Kajir, 32, Papua New Guinea. Attorney Anne Kajir uncovered evidence of widespread corruption and complicity in the Papua New Guinea government that allowed rampant, illegal logging that is destroying the largest remaining intact block of tropical forest in the Asia Pacific region. In 1997, her first year practicing law, Kajir successfully defended a precedent-setting appeal in the Supreme Court of Papua New Guinea that forced the logging interests to pay damages to indigenous land owners.

    Craig E. Williams, 58, Kentucky. Williams convinced The Pentagon to stop plans to incinerate decaying caches of chemical weapons stockpiled around the United States, and has built a nationwide grassroots coalition to lobby for safe disposal solutions. Williams co-founded the Vietnam Veterans of America Foundation, which won the 1997 Nobel Peace Prize for its International Campaign to Ban Landmines.

    Tarcisio Feitosa da Silva, 35, Brazil. Feitosa has led a successful campaign to create a mosaic of protected areas that together with existing indigenous lands make up a 240,000 square kilometer (93,000 mi²) corridor area that is bigger than the state of Minnesota and is the largest area of protected tropical forest in the world. Despite death threats, he has exposed illegal logging activities to the Brazilian government over the past 10 years.


  • Sophia Rabliauskas (Manitoba, Canada)
  • Hammerskjoeld Simwinga (Zambia)
  • Tsetsgeegiin Mönkhbayar (Mongolia)
  • Julio Cusurichi Palacios (Peru)
  • Willie Corduff (Ireland)
  • Orri Vigfússon (Iceland)
  • 2008

  • Pablo Fajardo and Luis Yanza (Ecuador)
  • Jesus Leon Santos (Oaxaca, Mexico)
  • Rosa Hilda Ramos (Puerto Rico)
  • Feliciano dos Santos (Mozambique)
  • Marina Rikhvanova (Russia)
  • Ignace Schops from "Hoge Kempen National Park" (Belgium)
  • 2009

  • Maria Gunnoe, Bob White, West Virginia, United States
  • Marc Ona, Libreville, Gabon
  • Rizwana Hasan, Dhaka, Bangladesh
  • Olga Speranskaya, Moscow, Russia
  • Yuyun Ismawati, Denpasar, Bali, Indonesia
  • Wanze Eduards and Hugo Jabini, Pikin Slee Village and Paramaribo, Suriname
  • 2010

  • Thuli Brilliance Makama, Swaziland
  • Tuy Sereivathana, Cambodia
  • Małgorzata Górska, Poland
  • Humberto Ríos Labrada, Cuba
  • Lynn Henning, United States
  • Randall Arauz, Costa Rica
  • 2011

  • Raoul du Toit, Zimbabwe
  • Dmitry Lisitsyn, Russia
  • Ursula Sladek, Germany
  • Prigi Arisandi, Indonesia
  • Hilton Kelley, United States
  • Francisco Pineda, El Salvador
  • 2012

  • Ikal Angelei, Kenya
  • Ma Jun, China
  • Yevgeniya Chirikova, Russia
  • Edwin Gariguez, Philippines
  • Caroline Cannon, United States
  • Sofia Gatica, Argentina
  • 2013

  • Azzam Alwash, Iraq
  • Aleta Baun, Indonesia
  • Jonathan Deal, South Africa
  • Rossano Ercolini, Italy
  • Nohra Padilla, Colombia
  • Kimberly Wasserman, United States
  • 2014

  • Desmond D'Sa, South Africa
  • Ramesh Agrawal, India
  • Suren Gazaryan, Russia
  • Rudi Putra, Indonesia
  • Helen Slottje, United States
  • Ruth Buendia, Peru
  • 2015

  • Myint Zaw, Myanmar
  • Marilyn Baptiste, Canada
  • Jean Wiener, Haiti
  • Phyllis Omido, Kenya
  • Howard Wood, Scotland
  • Berta Cáceres, Honduras
  • 2016

  • Máxima Acuña, Peru
  • Zuzana Čaputová, Slovakia
  • Luis Jorge Rivera Herrera, Puerto Rico
  • Edward Loure, Tanzania
  • Leng Ouch, Cambodia
  • Destiny Watford, United States
  • References

    Goldman Environmental Prize Wikipedia