'Green Nobel' winners organized to win victories for communities

‘Green Nobel’ winners organized to win victories for communities

  • 05/26/2022 11:05 am ET
China held back water

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This year’s Goldman Environmental Prizes honor activists, many of them Indigenous, who took on major, entrenched, and powerful interests in their local contexts, and won.

  • In Los Angeles, Nalleli Cobo was nine years old when she started going door to door and urging her neighbors to call their local gas company about the noxious smell of pollution from nearby oil wells and pipelines. In January, the city ended oil drilling.
  • In Ecuador, Alex Lucitante (29) and Alexandra Narváez (30) led an Indigenous movement to defend the Cofán people’s ancestral territory from gold mining. Gathering evidence by forest patrols, drones, GIS, and camera traps, they secured legal victories that canceled 52 illegally-granted gold mining concessions and protected 79,000 acres of biodiverse rainforest sacred to the Cofán.
  • In Australia, Julien Vincent spearheaded an organization that succeeded in pushing all four major Australian banks to commit to divest from coal by 2030.
  • In Nigeria, environmental lawyer Chima Williams collaborated with the Goi and Oruma communities to hold international oil majors Shell and TotalEnergies accountable for pollution they essentially offloaded onto small domestic firms that lacked the resources to manage operations and mitigate environmental damages in the Niger Delta.
  • In Thailand, Niwat Roykae organized villages dependent on the Mekong River for nutritional, medicinal, and spiritual nourishment into citizen scientists and journalists. They successfully raised the alarm and forced the Tahai government to cancel a major canal blasting project.
  • In the Netherlands, Marjan Minnesma and her NGO Urgenda, after other smaller victories, brought the lawsuit against the Dutch government itself for failing to protect its own citizens from climate change. After numerous appeals, the Netherlands Supreme Court ordered the government to reduce climate pollution by at least 25%.

Republished from Nexus Media News, an editorially independent, nonprofit news service covering stories about climate change. It exists to improve public understanding of the climate crisis, shed light on the steps humans can take in response, and highlight the potential opportunities created by a just energy transition.

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