2014 Goldman winners - fighting coal, dams, palm oil, fracking, toxic waste

The 2014 Goldmine Prize winners - official photo.
The 2014 Goldmine Prize winners - official photo.
Six environment heroes, one from each continent, are honoured for their work today - fighting threats from giant coal mines to forest destruction, fracking, high dams, illegal development and toxic waste dumps. Sophie Morlin-Yron reports.
Recipients are not only tackling some of the world's most pressing environmental problems; they are also achieving impressive environmental victories and inspiring others to do the same.

San Francisco. The Goldman Environmental Foundation today announced the six recipients of the so called Nobel Prize for the environment, the 2014 Goldman Environmental Prize.

Suren Gazaryan, Russia

An internationally recognized bat expert and zoologist, Suren Gazaryan led multiple campaigns exposing government corruption and illegal use of federally protected forestland along Russia's Black Sea coast near the site of the 2014 Winter Olympics.

Read our exclusive interview with the European prize winner Suren Gazaryan.

Ramesh Agrawal, India

With a small internet café as his headquarters, Ramesh Agrawal organized villagers to demand their right to information about industrial development projects and succeeded in shutting down one of the largest proposed coal mines in Chhattisgarh.

Ruth Buendia Mestoquiari, Peru

Overcoming a history of traumatic violence, Ruth Buendía united the Asháninka people in a powerful campaign against large-scale dams that would have once again uprooted indigenous communities still recovering from Peru's civil war.

Desmond D'sa, South Africa

Desmond D'Sa rallied south Durban's diverse and disenfranchised communities to successfully shut down a toxic waste dump that exposed nearby residents to dangerous chemicals and violated their constitutionally protected right to a safe and clean environment.

Rudi Putra, Indonesia

A biologist by training, Rudi Putra is dismantling illegal palm oil plantations that are causing massive deforestation in northern Sumatra's Leuser Ecosystem, protecting the habitat of the critically endangered Sumatran rhino.

Helen Holden Slottje, USA

Using a clause in the state constitution that gives municipalities the right to make local land use decisions, Helen Slottje helped towns across New York defend themselves from oil and gas companies by passing local bans on fracking.


The Goldman Environmental Prize was established in 1989 by late San Francisco civic leaders and philanthropists Richard and Rhoda Goldman.

Prize winners are selected by an international jury from confidential nominations submitted by a worldwide network of environmental organizations and individuals.

Often referred to as the Nobel Prize for the environment, it is awarded six environmental activists from each of the world's six continents who have worked against all odds to protect the environment and their communities. The price recognises grassroots environmental achievements such as stopping fracking, dams, palm oil development, land grabs, coal mining, toxic waste dumps.

The world's biggest prize for environmental activism

Currently celebrating its 25th anniversary year, the prize is awarded annually and with an individual cash prize of $175,000 (roughly £100,000), it is the largest award for grassroots environmental activism.

"For the past 25 years, the Goldman Environmental Prize has honored heroic grassroots environmentalists for their achievements around the world and this year is no exception", said David Gordon, executive director, Goldman Environmental Prize.

"From fracking to palm oil development, the 2014 Goldman Prize recipients are not only tackling some of the world's most pressing environmental problems; they are also achieving impressive environmental victories and inspiring others to do the same", he adds.

The prizes will be awarded this evening at the San Francisco Opera House.



To watch videos and learn more about the prize winners, visit the Goldman Prize website

Sophie Morlin-Yron is a freelance journalist based in London. For more of her work visit her website. Twitter: @sophiemyron


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