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Snapshots from the 2018 Goldman Prizegroup photo Goldman Environmental prize winners 2018

June 1, 2018

Just one month ago, seven individuals from six countries received the 2018 Goldman Environmental Prize and garnered the world’s attention...


photo of Prafulla SamantaraPrafulla Samantara is a recipient of the 2017 Goldman Environmental Prize

An iconic leader of social justice movements in India, Prafulla Samantara led a historic 12-year legal battle that affirmed the indigenous Dongria Kondh’s land rights and protected the Niyamgiri Hills from a massive, open-pit aluminum ore mine.

The Niyamgiri Hills, in India’s eastern Odisha state, is an area of incredible biodiversity. The thick forestlands are home to the endangered Bengal tiger and serve as an important migration corridor for elephants. More than 100 streams flow down from the peaks, providing a critical water source for millions of people before emptying out into the Bay of Bengal.

The hills are also of vital importance to the Dongria Kondh, an 8,000-member indigenous tribe with deep ties to the surrounding environment. The Dongria are renowned fruit farmers with an encyclopedic knowledge of the forest’s medicinal plants. The tribe’s relationship with the land goes beyond survival; the Niyamgiri Hills are sacred, and as such, the Dongria consider themselves to be its protectors.

Police Whistleblowers

photo of heroes Maurice McCabe and John Wilson Back in 2012, Maurice McCabe and John Wilson were respected police officers working in Ireland. When they found evidence that traffic offences were being wiped and interfered with, they did what their job demanded of them – they reported it.

According to McCabe and Wilson, traffic penalty points were being waived for dubious reasons. They believed this was happening in "almost every town and village of Ireland". Among those thought to have benefited were a rugby star, a judge and a national journalist, as well as some police officers.

At a time of growing financial crisis, the reportedly cancelled payments were costing taxpayers an estimated €1.5 million a year. Reckless drivers were also allegedly going unpunished. As many as seven road fatalities might have been avoided if rules against dangerous driving had been properly enforced.

Given all this, you might imagine that the two men would be praised for their courage in speaking out.

You’d be wrong.

First their complaint was ignored or dismissed – not only by their immediate superiors, but by the police commissioner, the minister for justice and the prime minister.

Then they were forced to watch …. (read on here).

Source/credits: Transparency InternationalTransparency International


photoHerb Needleman – a public health hero

One of my heroes died last week. Dr. Herbert Needleman has inspired me since the early 1980s when as an undergraduate I first learned of his work on the effects of lead on children’s brains. His groundbreaking study published in 1979 measured lead in the shed baby teeth of low-income children, finding an association between what were then considered to be very low levels of lead exposure and negative impacts on brain development and functioning.

He was criticized and ridiculed by many including journalists and some of his peers, with the most intense attacks coming from the lead industry who combined their often vicious critique of Needleman’s work with laying the blame for lead-poisoned children on their “poor, uneducated, and often black” single mothers. ... read full story here.

Source: Kathleen Cooper, Senior Researcher, Canadian Environmental Law Association (CELA) July 21, 2017


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Patagonia staffers

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