November 6, 2012
In light of today’s US presidential election, the Goldman Prize is reflecting on the importance of keeping the environment on the nations’ political agenda.
A recent poll shows that climate change and environmental protection are important issue to two-thirds of Americans, yet discussion of these matters has been noticeably absent from both sides of the aisle. Neither candidate presented a comprehensive plan to address climate change, nor was it mentioned at any of the four presidential debates.
Christiana Figueres, the UN’s top climate change diplomat, told the New York Times, “The challenge for any administration that comes in is to take a serious look at not only the cost of climate change for everyone else on the planet, but the cost to this country. And they have to ask themselves, ‘what is the cost of not doing enough?’”
While concern for environmental protection may yet fall short on the national level, grassroots activists from around the world continue to carry the torch for change on the local level.
One such activist is 2012 Goldman Prize recipient Evgenia Chrikova, who recently ran for mayor of Khimki, Russia. While she did not win the election, it is encouraging to see the environmental movement in the political spotlight, especially in a country where civil society is becoming increasingly threatened by government crackdowns.
Chirikova was awarded the Goldman Prize for her work to prevent a highway from being built through the heart of Khimki Forest, known as the ‘green lungs of Moscow.’ She continues to be one of Russia’s most outspoken environmental advocates.