Green Noble Prize 2021: The Prestigious Prize Winners

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The “Goldman Environmental Prize” is also nicknamed the “Green Noble Prize”. Six activists will be given this prize from the 6 inhabited continents of the World.

The winners of this year’s Green Noble Prize include a lady who created a Peruvian national park, a teacher who stopped a plastic plant from surfacing, a leader who stopped the building of 2 dams, a man who canceled 13 coal plants in Japan, a hero who saved countless pangolins from illegal trades and a lady who strived for a ban on plastics.

The VP of the Green Noble Prize stated that the community of leaders, activists, and thinks are on the rise and that they are getting more powerful and united with time and experience. These winners had taken various risks and gone through hardships to achieve these feats. 

Also read: Take A Deep Dive With The Underwater Photography Contest 2020 Winners

The ceremony for the Green Noble Prize took place on 15th June at 4, virtually. Jane Fonda will lead the event, accompanied by Baaba Maal, Lenny Kravitz, and Ndlovu Youth Choir. Special appearances will be made by Vanessa Nakate and Sigourney Weaver.  


The Winners Of The Green Noble Prize 2021:


1: Sharon Lavigne.

Sharon Lavigne Photo Goldman Environmental Prize 03 scaled 1

Image credits: Goldman Prize

The stretch of land by the Mississippi River, US, is also called the “cancer alley” for a reason. Chemical plants operate in the hundreds which cause the cancer rate to be more than the average. It is 50 times the average. 

2018 saw Wanhua, plan to construct a plastic plant. The location was between  St. James and the Mississippi River. The plastic plant would release formaldehyde, benzene, and MDI (methyl diphenyl diisocyanate). It can cause severe respiratory diseases for humans. 

The council permitted Wanhua to build their plant near the homes and an exemption from taxes. 

Sharon planned to stop this at its roots. She came from a family of rights activists and started to strive towards activism. 

The 69-year-old teacher volunteered to go to meetings and hearings and went from door to door to preach. She brought in experts to help the community understand and formed alliances between the churches and civic bodies.

Her hard work was successful in 2019 when Wanhua pulled down its plans and was nominated for the Green Noble Prize. 

2: Gloria Majiga-Kamoto

Green Nobel Prize

Image credits: Goldman Prize

Plastic pollution had become a major issue in Malawi. Thin plastics (< 60 microns) clogged drains and led to an increase in Malaria mosquitoes. This led to widespread disease. 

The government was forced to ban thin plastic. The Plastics Manufacturing Association appealed against it and the ordered issue was stopped. 

It was at this moment that Gloria Majiga-Kamoto took everything seriously. She started campaigning and formed an alliance between various NGOs. This was done to reach out to the Malawi population. 

Also read: Microplastic Pollution: The Biggest Culprits Are The Cars We Drive

The 30-year-old fought hard for 2 years and achieved her feat on 31st July 2019. High Court favored Gloria and banned the manufacture and use of thin plastics. It issued a fine to the companies that offended. She was nominated for the Green Noble Prize in 2021.


3: Liz Chicaje Churay

Liz Chicaje Churay Photo Goldman Environmental Prize 11 750x500 1

Image credits: Goldman Prize

Liz belongs to the Bora community of Loreto in Peru. She was an activist since the age of 16 and knew about the peatlands of the Amazon. It provided them with drinking water, biodiversity and locked away tons of carbon. 

She and her community planned that a national park would offer protection from illegal mining and logging in the region.

She worked with various government bodies to map the entire region with aerial imaging and took part in educating the residents. Her goal was to protect the peatlands, forests, and water in the region.

She ultimately convinced 23 communities in the area. 

Yaguas National Park was created in January 2018 to protect the forests and the wetlands. The park has a rough area of 868,900 hectares.

Chicaje and Benjamin Rodriguez were both chosen for the Green Noble Prize, but Benjamin passed away in 2020 because of COVID- 19. 


4: Thai Van Nguyen

Thai Van Nguyen Photo Save Vietnams Wildlife 02 889x500 1

Image credits: Goldman Prize

Pangolins are endangered species that are poached for their scales. Most of the poached ones arrive from Vietnam, why is why Van Nguyen took up this fight. 

Thai Van Nguyen is the director of Save Vietnam’s Wildlife. He established this in 2014.  

He set up educational institutions and published his research about caring for pangolins. He found the first protocol to track the pangolins. He established the Carnivore and Pangolin Education Center to offer courses on conservation and educate the officials. 

Nguyen followed poachers for years and understood their methods. He created the first anti-poaching team in 2018. They have been destroying the camps and arresting poachers since then. 

Nguyen has saved 1,540 pangolins to date. The poaching has reduced by 80% and the illegal trades have almost stopped in Vietnam, which fueled him to be nominated for the Green Noble Prize.


5: Maida Bilal

Green Nobel Prize

Image credits: Goldman Prize

The Balkan rivers are free-flowing and undammed and also provides shelter to endemic fishes. 

The Kruscica River acts as a source of water for 150,000 people, and 2 hydropower plants were permitted to be built in 2016, without proper consultation.

Maida Bilal chose to fight in this battle. She founded the Eko Bistro citizens Association. 

Also read: See This Amazing Lesson In River Cleaning From A Saint In India

She had no experience with activism but chose to save the river. She and her team went to block the construction in July 2017. She strategically chose women in her team so that violence can be avoided.

They held the bridge for a stunning 503 days, to block the bulldozers. 

Videos of the police attacking the protestors became viral on August 24, 2017. 

Bilal was injured but still chose to organize the protests and look for legal help against the construction. The permits were scrapped off in December 2018.

Bilal had the honor of registering the first victory for the environment, in Bosnia and Herzegovina and getting nominated for the Green Noble Prize.


6: Kimiko Hirata

Kimiko Hirata Photo Goldman Environmental Prize 03 360x500 1

Image credits: Goldman Prize

Japan was struck by a 9.1 magnitude earthquake, followed by a tsunami in 2011. The Fukushima Daiichi meltdown also affected the country and they closed their doors to nuclear power. 50 coal power plants were on the way to take place of the vacancy observed in the power generation sector.

Japan is considered to be 5th as a carbon emitter in the world and now coal was to be used. Coal emits twice the amount of carbon dioxide. 

The last nominee for the Green Noble Prize was Kimiko Hirata. She was the director of Kiko Network. It is a Japan-based NGO that tries to prevent climate change. 

Hirata started an anti-coal mission. She created a website and raised awareness among the media, law firms, and the public. 

13 coal power stations were canceled and she helped avoid billions of tons of carbon dioxide emissions. 

She is the only female to receive the Green Noble Prize from Japan.

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