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Goldman Environmental Prize Winners="center">

The Goldman Environmental Prize is the world's largest prize honoring grassroots environmentalists. Founded in 1990 by Richard and Rhoda Goldman, the Goldman Environmental Prize annually awards $150,000 to environmental heroes from each of the world's six inhabited continental regions.

Eleven ELAW partners have been awarded Goldman Prizes for their outstanding work protecting the environment, human rights, and communities: 

Ikal Angelei, Kenya (2012)


The Lake Turkana Basin in East Africa’s Rift Valley is a lifeline to the hundreds of thousands of indigenous farmers, herders and fishermen who live around it.  Lake Turkana, a World Heritage Site, is the largest desert lake in the world and a thriving ecosystem where some of the oldest human fossils have been found.  Angelei brought together Lake Turkana’s divided and marginalized indigenous communities to fight against the mounting environmental and social implications of the Gibe 3 Dam.  Read more External Link

Receiving the Goldman Environmental Award

Environmental Heroes


Thuli Brilliance Makama, Swaziland (2010)

2010 Goldman Prize winner, Thuli Brilliance Makama

After a grueling three-year legal battle, Swaziland's only public
interest environmental attorney, Thuli Brilliance Makama, won a landmark
case to include environmental NGO representation in the Swaziland
Environment Authority, reinforcing the right to public participation in
environmental decision making. Read more.External Link

Thuli Makama: Big Game Fighter, Goldman Prize Winner

Thuli in the News

Syeda Rizwana Hasan, Bangladesh (2009)

2009 Goldman Prize winner, Rizwana Hasan

Working to reduce the impact of Bangladesh's exploitative and
environmentally-devastating ship breaking industry, leading
environmental attorney Rizwana Hasan spearheaded a legal battle
resulting in increased government regulation and heightened public
awareness about the dangers of ship breaking. Read more.External Link

Rizwana Hasan Wins Goldman Prize

Bangladesh: Ship-Breaking Victory

Pablo Fajardo Mendoza, Ecuador (2008)

2008 Goldman Prize winner, Pablo Fajardo Mendoza

According to the plaintiffs, beginning in 1964 and through 1990, Texaco
dumped nearly 17 million gallons of crude oil and 20 billion gallons of
drilling wastewater directly into the Ecuadorian Amazon.  Allegedly
suffering from the health effects of the pollution, the region's
inhabitants are demanding a complete cleanup in potentially the largest
environmental lawsuit ever filed in the world….  The lead lawyer, Pablo
Fajardo, a resident of one of the affected communities, has become the
public voice of the plaintiffs… Read more.External Link

Catastrophe in Ecuador

Environmental Hero: Pablo Fajardo

Pablo Fajardo: Small country takes on Big Oil

Anne Kajir, Papua New Guinea (2006)

2006 Goldman Prize winner, Anne Kajir

Attorney Anne Kajir uncovered evidence that widespread corruption and
complicity in the Papua New Guinea government has allowed rampant,
illegal logging, which is destroying the largest remaining intact block
of tropical forest in the Asia Pacific region…Read more.External Link

ELAW Partners Win Goldman Prizes

Olya Melen, Ukraine (2006)

2006 Goldman Prize winner, Olya Melen

Olya Melen is a firebrand attorney who used legal channels to
temporarily halt construction of a massive canal that would have cut
through the heart of the Danube Delta, one of the world's most valuable
wetlands…Read more.External Link

ELAW Partners Win Goldman Prizes

Vera Mischenko, Russia (2000)

2000 Goldman Prize winner, Vera Mischenko

Sakhalin Island is a rich fishery in Far East Russia that provides most
of the country's domestically consumed seafood.  Home to approximately
8,000 indigenous people, the island also is the seasonal residence of
untold numbers of endangered migratory birds and marine mammals,
including a large population of gray whales.  Besides attracting oil
companies from around the world that seek to exploit the area's offshore
and natural gas reserves, the region is facing four major development
projects that threaten to upset the balance of its complex ecosystem. 
Enter Vera Mischenko, who introduced the concept of public interest
environmental law in Russia…Read more.External Link

ELAW Partner in the News

Samuel Nguiffo, Cameroon (1999)

1999 Goldman Prize winner, Samuel Nguiffo

The tropical rainforest of Central Africa is second only to the Amazon
in size.  One of the world's great storehouses of biodiversity, it is
home to the great apes, elephants and forest-dwelling people.  The
spiritual and cultural identity of these inhabitants, who include the
Baka and the Bagueli people, often referred to as Pygmies, is
intricately tied to the forest… A lawyer by training, Nguiffo has
devoted himself to the Herculean task of stopping the liquidation of the
region's forests for short-term profit…Read more.External Link

Protecting the Environment in Cameroon

M.C. Mehta, India (1996)

1996 Goldman Prize winner, M.C. Mehta

In early 1984, M.C. Mehta, a public interest attorney, visited the Taj
Mahal for the first time.  He saw that the famed monument's marble had
turned yellow and was pitted as a result of pollutants from nearby
industries.  This spurred Mehta to file his first environmental case in
the Supreme Court of India.  The following year, Mehta learned that the
Ganges River, considered to be the holiest river in India and used by
millions of people every day for bathing and drinking water, caught fire
due to industrial effluents in the river… Read more.External Link

Environmental Defenders in South Asia

Albena Simeonova, Bulgaria (1996)

1996 Goldman Prize winner, Albena Simeonova In Eastern Europe, fledgling democracies are dealing with economies that
are in shambles and a desperate need for energy and clean water. 
Environmental activists in these countries often find themselves being
portrayed as obstructionists.  Despite illness and opposition, Albena
Simeonova has bravely addressed the lack of public involvement in
environmental issues in Bulgaria…Read more.External Link

Harrison Ngau Laing, Malaysia (1990)

1990 Goldman Prize winner, Harrison Ngau Laing The few hundred Dayak Penan tribesmen in the state of Sarawak in
Malaysia are the last hunting and gathering peoples in Southeast Asia. 
The tropical forests they have inhabited for 50,000 years were being
extinguished by logging operations until Harrison Ngau Laing, a Dayak
Kayan tribe member, took a stand…Read more.External Link