Environmentalist Ramesh Agrawal gets Goldman Prize 2014

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Indian environmentalist Ramesh Agrawal has bagged Goldman Prize 2014 for helping villagers fight coal mining in Chhattisgarh and success in shutting down one of the largest planned coal mines in the area. The $175,000 prize, awarded for grass-roots activism, has also gone to 5 other green activists from as many countries. Here is the list.

Other Winners:

  • Desmond D’Sa (South Africa) 
  • Suren Gazaryan (Russia)
  • Rudi Putra (Indonesia)
  • Helen Holden Slottje (US)
  • Ruth Buendía Mestoquiari (Peru)

About the Prize:

  • Instituted in 1989: By San Francisco civic leaders and philanthropists Richard N Goldman and his wife, Rhoda H Goldman.

Objective

  • The Prize recognizes individuals for sustained and significant efforts to protect and enhance the natural environment, often at great personal risk. 
  • It seek to encourage environment soldiers at grassroots level.


Criteria

  • The honour goes to six environmentalist one each from the six inhabited continental regions: Africa, Asia, Europe, Islands and Island Nations, North America, and South and Central America. 
  • The work of recipients often focuses on protecting endangered ecosystems and species, combating destructive development projects, promoting sustainability, influencing environmental policies and striving for environmental justice. 
  • It is announced every year on Earth Day (16th April). 

Indian Recipients so far

  • 2004 - Rashida Bee and Champa Shukla - For leading international campaign to seek justice for Bhopal Gas disaster survivors.
  • 1996 - MC Mehta -  For filing cases in Supreme Court leading to shifting of Polluting Industries around Taj Mahal and Ganga (releasing untreated effluents)
  • 1992-  Medha Patkar - For leading Narmada Bachao Andolan (NBA) to stop the construction of a series of dams planned on Narmada. 

Awards Trivia

  • In 2001- jailed environmental activist Rodolfo Montiel Flores (Mexico, 2000) was released, in part because Goldman Prize winners and jurors traveled to Mexico to demand his release.
  • In 2003- Marina Silva (Brazil, 1996), a former rubber tapper, became Minister of the Environment in Brazil.
  • In 2004- Goldman Prize recipient Wangari Maathai (Kenya, 1991) received the Nobel Peace Prize, the first environmentalist to win the prestigious prize.
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