About the Prize

The Goldman Environmental Prize honors grassroots environmental heroes from roughly the world’s six inhabited continental regions: Africa, Asia, Europe, Islands & Island Nations, North America, and South & Central America. The Prize recognizes individuals for sustained and significant efforts to protect and enhance the natural environment, often at great personal risk. The Goldman Prize views “grassroots” leaders as those involved in local efforts, where positive change is created through community or citizen participation. Through recognizing these individual leaders, the Prize seeks to inspire other ordinary people to take extraordinary actions to protect the natural world.

Our Mission

The Goldman Environmental Prize honors the achievements and leadership of grassroots environmental activists from around the world, inspiring all of us to take action to protect our planet.

Prize Selection and Announcement

The Goldman Environmental Prize recipients are selected by an international jury from confidential nominations submitted by a global group of environmental organizations and individuals. The winners are announced every April to coincide with Earth Day. Prize recipients participate in a 10-day tour of San Francisco and Washington, D.C.—highlighted by award ceremonies in those cities—including media interviews, funder briefings, and meetings with political and environmental leaders.

The Prize Recipients

Goldman Prize recipients focus on protecting endangered ecosystems and species, combating destructive development projects, promoting sustainability, influencing environmental policies, and striving for environmental justice. Prize recipients are often women and men from isolated villages or underdeveloped cities who choose to take great personal risks to safeguard the environment.

Benefits of the Prize

The Goldman Prize amplifies the voices of these grassroots leaders and provides them with:

  • International recognition that enhances their credibility
  • Worldwide visibility for the issues they champion
  • Financial support to pursue their vision of a renewed and protected environment
  • Capacity building support to deepen the efficiency of their work
  • Networking, learning, and connection with other grassroots leaders

The Ouroboros

In addition to a monetary prize, Goldman Prize winners each receive a bronze sculpture called the Ouroboros. Common to many cultures around the world, the Ouroboros, which depicts a serpent biting its tail, is a symbol of nature’s power of renewal.

Picture of Alfred Brownell holding the Prize Ouroboros

Goldman Prize recipient Alfred Brownell (Liberia, 2019) holds the Ouroboros at the Prize ceremony in San Francisco. Brownell received the Prize for his courageous work in stopping the clear-cutting of Liberia’s tropical forests by palm oil plantation developers.