The Goldman Prize, at $175,000, is the largest award for grassroots environmentalists. The 2015 Prizes went to six models of courage who made significant efforts to protect the natural world, often at great personal risk.
The winners, one from each of six continental regions, are:
Marilyn Baptiste (Canada), who led her community in defeating one of the largest proposed gold and copper mines in British Columbia that would have destroyed the source of livelihood for the Xeni Gwet’in First Nation.
Phyllis Omido (Kenya), who after learning that her own breast milk was making her baby sick, led her community in shutting down the smelter that was a source of dangerous chemicals.
Howard Wood (Scotland), for spearheading the creation of Scotland’s first community-developed Marine Protected Area, which gave citizens a voice in a debate dominated by the commercial fishing industry.
Jean Wiener (Haiti), for helping his community in establishing—like Howard Wood—his nation’s first Marine Protected Area, allowing Haitians to sustainably manage fisheries and mangrove forests.
Myint Zaw (Myanmar), who—despite the government’s restriction on email and social media—launched a mass movement that was able to stop construction of a dam on the treasured Irrawaddy River.
Berta Caceras (Honduras), who rallied the indigenous Lenca people in a campaign that successfully pressured the world’s largest dam-builder to pull out of the Agua Zarca Dam project.
The 2015 Goldman Prize winners, clockwise from left: Myint Zaw (Asia/Myanmar), Jean Wiener (Islands and Island Nations/Haiti), Howard Wood (Europe/Scotland), Marilyn Baptiste (North America/Canada), Berta Cáceras (South and Central America/Honduras), and Phyllis Omido (Africa/Kenya).