Seeking to preserve both the environment and Karen culture in Myanmar, in December 2018 Paul Sein Twa led his people in establishing a 1.35-million-acre peace park—a unique and collaborative community-based approach to conservation—in the Salween River basin.
Edward Loure led a grassroots organization that pioneered an approach that gives land titles to indigenous communities—instead of individuals—in northern Tanzania, ensuring the environmental stewardship of more than 200,000 acres of land for future generations.
Małgorzata Górska’s leadership in the fight to stop a controversial highway project led to a significant legal precedent for the environment that resulted in the protection of Poland’s Rospuda Valley, one of Europe’s last true wilderness areas.
Raising more than $90 million by bringing together private industry, regional governments, and local stakeholders, Ignace Schops led the effort to establish Belgium’s first and only national park, protecting one of the largest open green spaces in the country.
A social worker and activist, Libia Grueso secured more than 5.9 million acres in territorial rights for the country’s Afro-Colombian communities despite life-threatening circumstances.
Emma Must’s campaign against a nationwide road-building program resulted in the cancellation of 60 road projects and the development of new transportation policies.
A Quichua from the Andes and president of the Confederation of Indigenous Nationalities of Ecuador, Luis Macas led a peaceful struggle for indigenous rights, including negotiating a 3-million-acre land transfer back to indigenous control.
Beto Ricardo has been a pioneer in advancing the links between human rights and environmental protection for over 25 years.
Juan Mayr united disparate groups to protect Colombia’s Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta, the world’s highest coastal mountain range.
Undeterred by local drug lords, Edwin Bustillos blocked logging in the Sierra Madre despite violent attempts on his life and founded the Advisory Council of the Sierra Madre to preserve the ecosystems that are home to the Tarahumara and Tepehuan communities.