Need a little inspiration and motivation for changing your piece of the world? Read about this year's Goldman Environmental Prize winners. Each year the Goldman Environmental Prize, which is the world’s largest prize honoring grassroots environmentalists, recognizes 6 activists from around the world (one for each of the 6 inhabited continental regions) who have shown significant leadership in helping the environment and their communities. Here are the 2011 winners:
Raoul du Toit, Zimbabwe: Raoul grew up loving and wanting to protect the natural world, so when he saw how animals like rhinos help enhance biodiversity, he set out to help them. Raoul has coordinated efforts and established programs to help protect black rhino populations in Zimbabwe and to balance conservation and development.
Dmitry Lisitsyn, Russia: Dmitry's lobbying and activism efforts have helped protect the critical endangered ecosystems on Sakhalin Island, and have succeeded in instituting stricter measures for oil and gas companies in the area. Among other victories have been the cleanup of toxic sludge, the discontinuation of waste-dumping in the ocean, and the creation of the Vostochny Wildlife Refuge.
Ursula Sladek, Germany: In response to Germany's expanded reliance on nuclear energy, Ursula created Germany's first cooperatively-owned renewable power company. The company focuses on energy efficiency for its customers, as well as solar, small hydroelectric projects, and wind and biomass.
Prigi Arisandi, Indonesia: Saddened by the pollution of his hometown's water sources by industry, Prigi founded an organization dedicated to protecting the water sources and wetland ecosystems in Indonesia. He has instituted environmental education programs that recruit water quality monitors, increased public awareness, sued for stricter regulations, and helped change government and corporate policy.
Hilton Kelley, USA: Horrified by the industrial pollution and economic devastation in his hometown, Hilton decided to organize his community members to work toward environmental justice and economic development in a community plagued with petrochemical and hazardous waste facilities. His leadership has resulted in cooperation between industry and community.
Francisco Pineda, El Salvador: Mining is a huge threat to El Salvador's water supply. Francisco led a citizens' movement to halt a planned gold mine that was destroying El Salvador's "dwindling water resources and the livelihoods of rural communities." Even under threat of assassination, his work continues.
Image courtesy of Goldman Environmental Prize.
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