The winners of the Goldman Environmental Prize 2023 were declared on April 24, 2023, at the War Memorial Opera House in San Francisco, USA.
The six winners are Alessandra Korap Munduruku from Brazil, Chilekwa Mumba from Zambia, Delima Silalahi from Indonesia, Diane Wilson from the USA, Tero Mustonen from Finland, and Zafer Kızılkaya from Turkey.
- Alessandra Korap Munduruku – Brazil (South and Central America)
- Awarded for – Drilling and Mining
- Alessandra Korap Munduruku, who leads the Munduruku Indigenous peoples in the Brazilian Amazon, has received the Goldman Environmental Prize 2023 for her work in combating illegal mining and large-scale projects that aim to boost soybean exports in the Tapajos River Basin.
- Alessandra Korap Munduruku organised a movement among her community to put a stop to mining projects by Anglo American, a mining company based in the United Kingdom, in the Amazon rainforest of Brazil.
- Following this, in May 2021, the company made a formal commitment to withdraw 27 approved research applications to mine inside Indigenous territories.
- This decision safeguards a critically threatened area of the Amazon, the world’s largest rainforest and a globally significant carbon sink, from further mining and deforestation.
- Tero Mustonen – Finland (Europe)
- A university professor and environmental activist named Tero Mustonen has been working since April 2018 to restore 62 severely degraded former industrial peat mining and forestry sites in Finland.
- The restoration of these sites, covering a total area of 86,000 acres, has transformed them into productive, biodiverse wetlands and habitats that are effective carbon sinks.
- Delima Silalahi – Indonesia (Islands and Island Nations)
- A woman from the Batak tribe in North Sumatra, Indonesia led a campaign to protect 17,824 acres of tropical forest land for six Indigenous communities in the same region.
- The communities have now begun the process of restoring the forests, which will create valuable carbon sinks consisting of biodiverse Indonesian tropical forest.
- Chilekwa Mumba – Zambia (Africa)
- Chilekwa Mumba, took legal action against Vedanta Resources, the parent company of Konkola Copper Mines in Zambia’s Copperbelt Province, due to the pollution caused by their mining activities.
- He won the lawsuit in the UK Supreme Court, which established a new legal precedent. The court’s ruling indicated that a British corporation could be held accountable for environmental harm caused by its overseas subsidiary operations.
- Zafer Kizilkaya – Türkiye (Asia)
- He is a marine conservationist and conservation photographer who established Türkiye’s first community-managed marine protected area (MPA) in the Mediterranean.
- He extended the MPA along 310 miles of Mediterranean Coast in collaboration with local fishing cooperatives, and fishing authorities.
- Diane Wilson – United States of America (North America)
- Diane Wilson received recognition for her significant contribution in winning a case against Formosa Plastics, a petrochemical company, for dumping toxic plastic waste on Texas’ Gulf Coast.
- The court settlement of $50 million was the largest award in a citizen suit against an industrial polluter under the US Clean Water Act. This was a landmark victory in the fight against environmental pollution.
About Goldman Environmental Prize
- The Goldman Environmental Prize was established in 1989 by Richard and Rhoda Goldman with the aim of recognizing and rewarding individuals who have shown exceptional dedication and commitment to environmental conservation.
- The award ceremony is held annually on April 22, which is also Earth Day.
- Recipients of the award are recognized for their significant and sustained efforts to protect and improve the natural environment, often despite facing personal risks and challenges.
- The goal of the award is to inspire others to follow in the footsteps of these environmental heroes and become champions of conservation themselves.
- The Goldman Environmental Prize winners are awarded a bronze sculpture that represents the power of nature’s renewal, in the shape of a serpent biting its tail, known as an Ouroboros.
- In addition to the honor and recognition, prize winners are also given a monetary award and various other benefits such as networking and professional development opportunities, access to grants, security support, strategic communications, and a chance to participate in youth programs.
- The Goldman Environmental Prize is a prestigious award that has been recognizing one grassroots activist from each of the six inhabited continents for their significant contributions to protecting and enhancing the environment for 34 years.
- The award is often referred to as the “Green Nobel Prize” and is presented annually on Earth Day (April 22).
- This year’s ceremony was hosted by Rue Mapp, founder of Outdoor Afro, an organization focused on celebrating Black connections and leadership in nature. Along with global recognition, winners receive a monetary award, access to grants, networking and professional development opportunities, security support, and the chance to participate in youth programs.
About Goldman Foundation
- Headquarters – San Francisco, California (USA)
- Executive Director – Michael Sutton