Quantcast

1996

Albena Simeonova

Last Name: 
Simeonova

Albena Simeonova mobilized against environmental threats, such as the construction of ill-designed nuclear power plants, and organized a decentralized system of “eco-inspectorates” to empower citizens to address community concerns. Read more »

First Name: 
Albena
Country: 
Bulgaria
Bio: 

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. Trained as a biology teacher, Simeonova worked as a senior ecologist for the city of Botevgrad on environmental issues before the democratic changes in Bulgaria. Simeonova later became the executive director of the Foundation for Ecological Education and Training (FEET), founded by the Bulgarian Green Party in 1991. Campaigning against the construction of nuclear power plants, in 1994 Simeonova organized the first public debate between the proponents and opponents of nuclear power. One of Simeonova's most successful and novel initiatives to date has been the creation of "Ecological Inspectorates" at the local level. Citizens call to report local environmental problems and get a swift, independent response from professionals. Sometimes Simeonova alone responds. Following her lead, municipalities have now organized their own "Eco-Inspectorates," or have provided funding to NGOs to start them. The original four inspectorate programs have grown to 25 and more are being planned. Seeing the need for nationwide coordination amongst environmental NGOs, in 1993 Simeonova persuaded environmental groups in Bulgaria to come together in an association called the Green Parliament. She also has involved citizens of Bulgaria and Romania to address the problems of trans-boundary pollution. As vice president of the Bulgarian Green Party, in 1995 Simeonova organized a dialogue involving members of the Green Parties of Western and Eastern Europe. In 1996 Simeonova co-founded the Bulgarian Green Federation. Though not a lawyer herself, she has written municipal environmental regulations. In 1997 Simeonova helped establish the Green Justice Association, which works together with local authorities and NGOs to create new environmental legislation.

Quote: 

"The environment is what I live for."

Image: 
Videos
Video Player: 
/sites/goldmanprize.org/files/1996/1996_AlbenaSimeonova_profile_FLV_320x240.flv,youtube:http://youtu.be/WUkXvo2bYlo,/sites/goldmanprize.org/files/1996/1996_SFCeremony_AlbenaSimeonovaSpeech_FLV_320x240.flv,youtube:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_DWfJ4wOWnk

Marina Silva

Last Name: 
Silva

A central figure in deforestation protests with the late Chico Mendes, Marina Silva helped establish a 2-million-hectare reserve managed by traditional communities.

Born in the Brazilian Amazon, Marina Silva spent her childhood making rubber, hunting and fishing to help her father support their large family. At the age of 16, illness brought her to the city. Although she had been illiterate, she soon earned a university degree. She went on to found the independent trade union movement with rubber tapper leader Chico Mendes in the state of Acre. Read more »

First Name: 
Marina
Country: 
Brazil
Bio: 

Born in the Brazilian Amazon, Marina Silva spent her childhood making rubber, hunting and fishing to help her father support their large family. At the age of 16, illness brought her to the city. Although she had been illiterate, she soon earned a university degree. She went on to found the independent trade union movement with rubber tapper leader Chico Mendes in the state of Acre.

In the early 1980's, Silva became, with Mendes, one of the architects of the empates - peaceful demonstrations by forest-dwelling rubber tappers against wanton deforestation and the expulsion of forest communities from their traditional holdings. During this time Acre was experiencing a dramatic increase in deforestation as well as the invasion of indigenous lands and areas occupied by rubber tappers.

The major mobilizing tactic of the rubber tapping unions, the empates became famous as an example of grassroots resistance to wholesale environmental destruction. Silva led and participated in dozens of these demonstrations which resulted in the protection of both thousands of hectares of tropical forest and the livelihoods of hundreds of rubber tapping families. This movement also led to the idea of establishing sustainable extractive reserves in the rainforest. Undaunted by Mendes' assassination in 1988, Silva continued to push for their creation.

Today Acre's sustainable extractive reserves encompass two million hectares of forest managed by the traditional communities that inhabit them.

Severe health problems, including contamination with heavy metals, have caused Silva to be hospitalized for long periods of time, but fragile health could not stopped her. In 1994, she was the first rubber tapper ever elected to Brazil's federal senate. As a native Amazonian and a populist senator, Silva built support for environmental protection of the reserves as well as for social justice and sustainable development in the Amazon region.

From 2003 to 2008, Silva served as Brazil's Minister of the Environment. In October 2010, she ran for president of Brazil, and although she did not win the election, she was one of the top three candidates and won enough votes to force a run-off. 

To learn move about Marina Silva, visit her official website: http://www.minhamarina.org.br/home/home.php

Quote: 

"All of our technical and scientific capacity will have to be used to reverse the process of destruction we have created. I am proud to be from Amazônia where we still have a chance to start a sustainable history."

Image: 
Videos
Video Player: 
/sites/goldmanprize.org/files/1996/1996_MarinaSilva_profile_FLV_320x240.flv,youtube:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Sp63NMX4C64,/sites/goldmanprize.org/files/1996/1996_SFCeremony_MarinaSilvaSpeech_FLV_320x240.flv,youtube:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NidQGMGZliQ

User is: