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2014 Press Release

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Goldman Environmental Prize Honors Six Heroes of the Environment

2014 recipients come from India, Indonesia, Peru, Russia, South Africa and USA

Prize recognizes grassroots environmental achievements stopping fracking, dams, palm oil development, land grabs, coal mining, toxic waste dumps

SAN FRANCISCO, April 28, 2014 — The Goldman Environmental Foundation today announced the six recipients of the 2014 Goldman Environmental Prize, a group of fearless leaders working against all odds to protect the environment and their communities.

Currently celebrating its 25th anniversary year, the Goldman Prize is awarded annually to environmental heroes from each of the world’s six inhabited continental regions. With an individual cash prize of $175,000, it is the largest award for grassroots environmental activism. The Prize amount reflects an increase from previous years’ $150,000, and brings the annual total to more than $1 million.

“For the past 25 years, the Goldman Environmental Prize has honored heroic grassroots environmentalists for their achievements around the world and this year is no exception,” said David Gordon, executive director, Goldman Environmental Prize. “From fracking to palm oil development, the 2014 Goldman Prize recipients are not only tackling some of the world’s most pressing environmental problems; they are also achieving impressive environmental victories and inspiring others to do the same.”

The winners will be awarded the Prize at an invitation-only ceremony on Monday, April 28, 2014 at 5:30 p.m. at the San Francisco Opera House. The event will be streamed live online on the Goldman Prize's YouTube channel (www.youtube.com/goldmanprize). A ceremony at the Ronald Reagan Building and International Trade Center in Washington, D.C. will follow on Wednesday, April 30.

This year’s winners are:

RAMESH AGRAWAL, India
With a small internet café as his headquarters, Ramesh Agrawal organized villagers to demand their right to information about industrial development projects and succeeded in shutting down one of the largest proposed coal mines in Chhattisgarh.

RUTH BUENDIA MESTOQUIARI, Peru
Overcoming a history of traumatic violence, Ruth Buendía united the Asháninka people in a powerful campaign against large-scale dams that would have once again uprooted indigenous communities still recovering from Peru’s civil war.

DESMOND D'SA, South Africa
Desmond D’Sa rallied south Durban’s diverse and disenfranchised communities to successfully shut down a toxic waste dump that exposed nearby residents to dangerous chemicals and violated their constitutionally protected right to a safe and clean environment.

SUREN GAZARYAN, Russia
An internationally recognized bat expert and zoologist, Suren Gazaryan led multiple campaigns exposing government corruption and illegal use of federally protected forestland along Russia’s Black Sea coast near the site of the 2014 Winter Olympics.

RUDI PUTRA, Indonesia
A biologist by training, Rudi Putra is dismantling illegal palm oil plantations that are causing massive deforestation in northern Sumatra’s Leuser Ecosystem, protecting the habitat of the critically endangered Sumatran rhino.

HELEN HOLDEN SLOTTJE, USA
Using a clause in the state constitution that gives municipalities the right to make local land use decisions, Helen Slottje helped towns across New York defend themselves from oil and gas companies by passing local bans on fracking.

About the Goldman Environmental Prize
The Goldman Environmental Prize was established in 1989 by late San Francisco civic leaders and philanthropists Richard and Rhoda Goldman. Prize winners are selected by an international jury from confidential nominations submitted by a worldwide network of environmental organizations and individuals.

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