Frozen peaks, vast desserts, and teeming rainforests—our natural landscapes contain our planet’s vast biological and geological diversity.
The conservation of our land—and the habitats, life, and territories within—is essential for the health and survival of all species. As we adapt our conservation practices to meet a changing world, we celebrate the protection of land and honor traditional methods of land management as practiced by Indigenous peoples.
The Earth does not expect you to save her, she expects you to respect her. And we, as Indigenous peoples, expect the same.
Goldman Prize Winners awarded for Land Conservation
Paul Sein Twa
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. The Salween River basin is a major biodiversity zone and home to the indigenous Karen people, who have long sought self-determination and cultural survival. The new park represents a major victory for peace and conservation in Myanmar.
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.
Libia Grueso, a social worker and co-founder of the Process of Black Communities (PCN), has been called one of the most prominent intellectual-activists in the Afro-Colombian civil rights movement. In the early 1990s, together with other movement leaders, she led a campaign that secured more than 5.9 million acres in territorial rights for Colombia’s black rural communities. Grueso also focused on protecting Colombia’s Pacific rainforest, a region facing the escalating threat of armed conflict, environmental ruin, and the mass displacement of Afro-Colombian villagers.
Undeterred by local drug lords, Edwin Bustillos (d. 2003) 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.
Partners in Land Conservation
The Goldman Prize is honored to partner with a variety of environmental organizations around the world, each of them united in the goal of protecting our planet. From our nominating partners to global organizations to grassroots NGOs led by Prize winners, they are all essential parts of the environmental community.