Every year for the last 30, philanthropists and civic leaders Rhoda and Richard Goldman have recognized environmental heroes from each of the world’s six inhabited continental regions for their achievements and leadership of grassroots environmental activists around the world.  This year’s winners are incredibly inspiring:

  • Alfred Brownell of Liberia who stopped the clear-cutting of Liberia’s tropical forests by palm oil plantation developers. His
    campaign protected 513,500 acres of primary forest that constitute one of the world’s most important biodiversity hotspots. For his safety, he is living in temporary exile in the United States.
  • Bayarjargal Agvaantseren of Mongolia who helped create the 1.8 million-acre Tost Tosonbumba Nature Reserve in the South Gobi Desert—a critical habitat for the vulnerable snow leopard—and persuaded the Mongolian government to prohibit all mining within the reserve.
  • Ana Colovic Lesoska of North Macedonia who led a seven-year campaign to cut off international funding for two large hydropower plants planned inside of North Macedonia’s Mavrovo National Park, thereby protecting the habitat of the nearly-extinct Balkan lynx.
  • Alberto Curamil of Chile who organized his Mapuche community to stop the construction of two hydroelectric projects on the sacred Cautín River in Chile.  In 2018, Curamil was arrested and remains in jail today because of his activism.
  • Linda Garcia of the United States who organized local residents to stop construction of the Tesoro Savage oil export terminal in Vancouver, Washington preventing North America’s largest oil terminal from being built halting the flow of 11 million gallons of crude oil per day from North Dakota to Washington.
  • Jacqueline Evans of the Cook Islands who led a five-year campaign to sustainably manage and conserve all 763,000 square miles of the country’s ocean territory, designating marine protected areas around all 15 islands.

Why This Matters:  Heroes like these inspire hope in all of us Friends of the Planet that our work matters and we can all make a difference.

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