Goldman Environmental Prize Winners

Ikal Angelei, President & Chair

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

Environmental Heroes

Thuli Brilliance Makama

Thuli Brilliance Makama, Swaziland (2010)
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

Thuli in the News

Thuli Makama: Big Game Fighter, Goldman Prize Winner

Syeda Rizwana Hasan

Syeda Rizwana Hasan, Bangladesh (2009)
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

Bangladesh: Ship-Breaking Victory

Rizwana Hasan Wins Goldman Prize

Pablo Fajardo Mendoza

Pablo Fajardo Mendoza, Ecuador (2008)
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…lecturer at Janus Pannonius University in Hungary for the Soros Foundation's Civic Education Project, a translator on the Greenpeace ship Rainbow Warrior, and a program manager for King County's Waste Reduction and Recycling Program…Read more

Catastrophe in Ecuador Environmental Hero: Pablo Fajardo

Pablo Fajardo: Small country takes on Big Oil

Anne Kajir

Anne Kajir, Papua New Guinea (2006)
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

ELAW Partners Win Goldman Prizes

Olya Melen

Olya Melen, Ukraine (2006)
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

ELAW Partners Win Goldman Prizes

Vera Mischenko

Vera Mischenko, Russia (2000)
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

ELAW Partner in the News

Samuel Nguiffo

Samuel Nguiffo, Cameroon (1999)
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

Protecting the Environment in Cameroon

M.C. Mehta

M.C. Mehta, India (1996)
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

Environmental Defenders in South Asia

Albena Simeonova

Albena Simeonova, Bulgaria (1996)
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

Harrison Ngau Laing

Harrison Ngau Laing, Malaysia (1990)
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