The Goldman Prize often called the Nobel Green Prize or the Nobel of environmentalists, honours environmental heroes from the six inhabited continental regions: Africa, Asia, Europe, Islands and Island Nations, North America, and South and Central America.
The Prize recognizes individuals for sustained and significant efforts to protect and enhance the natural environment, often at great personal risk. Each winner receives an award of $150,000, the largest award in the world for grassroots environmentalists.
Ramesh Agrawal from India is one of the recipients of the prestigious award. He runs a small internet café and has almost single handedly been fighting against illegal mining and has even won a major court case that blocked a major Indian company, Jindal Steel & Power Ltd., from opening a second coal mine near the village of Gare in the mineral-rich state of Chhattisgarh.
For his effort, he was rewarded with a bullet in his leg. Thereafter, his mobility was seriously compromised but he has not given up. Agrawal incidentally doesn’t have any legal background but has still managed to win three cases against major companies. He spends time educating villagers in Chhattisgarh and is a one man army against huge corporations.
Other winners include-
Desmond D’Sa from South Africa who rallied south Durban and was instrumental in closing down a toxic waste dump.
Suren Gazaryan from Russia is a zoologist specialising in bats, he carried on many campaigns exposing government corruption and illegal use of federally protected forestland along Russia’s Black Sea coast.
Rudi Putra from Indonesia who fought against illegal palm oil plantations.
Helen Holden Slottje who provided pro-bono legal assistance, helping towns across New York defend themselves from oil and gas companies by passing local bans on fracking.
Ruth Buendía Mestoquiari from Peru who campaigned against large-scale dams.