2020 Goldman Environmental Prize
This week the winners of the 2020 Goldman Environmental Prize were announced, honouring the achievements of grassroots activists around the world who fight for environmental protection and changes to government legislation.
1. Kristal Ambrose (Bahamas)
Kristal convinced the government of the Bahamas to ban single-use plastic bags, cutlery and straws, and Styrofoam containers and cups. The nationwide ban went into effect in January 2020.
2. Leydy Pech (Mexico)
Leydy Pech, an indigenous Mayan beekeeper, led a coalition that successfully halted Monsanto’s planting of genetically modified soybeans in southern Mexico.
3. Lucie Pinson (France)
In 2017, Lucie Pinson’s activism successfully pressured France’s three largest banks to eliminate financing for new coal projects and coal companies. She then compelled French insurance companies to follow suit: between 2017 and 2019, mega insurers AXA and SCOR announced plans to end insurance coverage for coal projects.
4. Nemonte Nenquimo (Ecuador)
Nemonte Nenquimo led an indigenous campaign and legal action that resulted in a court ruling protecting 500,000 acres of Amazonian rainforest and Waorani territory from oil extraction.
5. Paul Sein Twa (Myanmar)
Paul Sein Twa led his people in establishing a 1.35-million-acre peace park—a unique and collaborative community-based approach to conservation—in the Salween River basin. The Salween River basin is a major biodiversity zone and home to the indigenous Karen people, who have long sought self-determination and cultural survival.
6. Chibeze Ezekiel (Ghana)
As a direct result of Chibeze Ezekiel’s four-year grassroots campaign, the Ghanaian Minister of Environment canceled the construction of a 700-megawatt coal power plant. It would have been Ghana’s first. Ezekiel’s activism steered the nation’s energy future away from coal.