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2024 Press Release

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Goldman Environmental Prize
Honors Seven Outstanding Defenders of the Earth

Grassroots award recognizes activists from South Africa, Brazil, Australia, India, Spain, and the United States

2024 marks 35 years of the Goldman Environmental Prize

Live ceremonies to take place on April 29 in San Francisco and May 1 in Washington, DC

EMBARGOED UNTIL APRIL 29, 2024, AT 12:30 AM (PDT), 3:30 AM (EDT), 7:30 AM (GMT)

For US media inquiries: Emily Nauseda, emily.nauseda@allisonworldwide.com, +1 408-688-7227
For UK media inquiries: Simon Forrester, simonjforrester@gmail.com, + 44 (0)7932 755515

SAN FRANCISCO, April 29, 2024—The Goldman Environmental Foundation today announced seven recipients of the 2024 Goldman Environmental Prize, the world’s foremost award for grassroots environmental activists.

Awarded annually to environmental heroes from each of the world’s six inhabited continental regions, 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.

The Prize was founded in 1989 in San Francisco by philanthropists and civic leaders Rhoda and Richard Goldman. In 35 years, the Prize has had an immeasurable impact on the planet. To date, the Prize has honored 226 winners—including 102 women—from 95 nations. Many have gone on to positions as government officials, heads of state, NGO leaders, and Nobel Prize laureates.

“These wonderful grassroots leaders refused to be complacent in the face of adversity, or to be cowed by powerful corporations and governments,” said John Goldman, president of the Goldman Environmental Foundation. “Alone, their achievements across the world are impressive. Together, they are a collective force—and a growing global movement—that is breathtaking and full of hope. From San Francisco to Sao Paulo to the Wild Coast of South Africa, we are a global community.”

Prize winners will be celebrated at an in-person ceremony in San Francisco on April 29. The ceremony will be hosted by Outdoor Afro founder Rue Mapp, with musical guest Jazz Mafia, and will be livestreamed on the Goldman Prize’s YouTube channel. A second ceremony will take place in Washington, DC, on May 1, hosted by science educator Danni Washington.

This year’s winners are:

Nonhle Mbuthuma and Sinegugu Zukulu, South Africa

In September 2022, Indigenous activists Nonhle Mbuthuma and Sinegugu Zukulu stopped destructive seismic testing for oil and gas off South Africa’s Eastern Cape, in an area known as the Wild Coast. Organizing their community, Nonhle and Sinegugu secured their victory by asserting the rights of the local community to protect their marine environment. By halting oil and gas exploration in a particularly biodiverse area, they protected migratory whales, dolphins, and other wildlife from the harmful effects of seismic testing.

Alok Shukla, India

Alok Shukla led a successful community campaign that saved 445,000 acres of biodiversity-rich forests from 21 planned coal mines in the central Indian state of Chhattisgarh. In July 2022, the government canceled the 21 proposed coal mines in Hasdeo Aranya, whose pristine forests—popularly known as the lungs of Chhattisgarh—are one of the largest intact forest areas in India.

Teresa Vicente, Spain

Teresa Vicente led a historic, grassroots campaign to save the Mar Menor ecosystem—Europe’s largest saltwater lagoon—from collapse, resulting in the passage of a new law in September 2022 granting the lagoon unique legal rights. Considered to be the most important saltwater coastal lagoon in the western Mediterranean, the once pristine waters of the Mar Menor had become polluted due to mining, rampant development of urban and tourist infrastructure, and, in recent years, intensive agriculture and livestock farming.

Murrawah Maroochy Johnson, Australia

Murrawah Maroochy Johnson blocked development of the Waratah coal mine, which would have accelerated climate change in Queensland, destroyed the nearly 20,000-acre Bimblebox Nature Refuge, added 1.58 billion tons of CO2 to the atmosphere over its lifetime, and threatened Indigenous rights and culture. Murrawah’s case, which overcame a 2023 appeal, set a precedent that enables other First Nations people to challenge coal projects by linking climate change to human and Indigenous rights.

Andrea Vidaurre, United States

Andrea Vidaurre’s grassroots leadership persuaded the California Air Resources Board to adopt, in the spring of 2023, two historic transportation regulations that significantly limit trucking and rail emissions. The new regulations—the In-Use Locomotive Rule and the California Advanced Clean Fleets Rule—include the nation’s first emission rule for trains and a path to 100% zero emissions for freight truck sales by 2036. The groundbreaking regulations—a product of Andrea’s policy work and community organizing—will substantially improve air quality for millions of Californians while accelerating the country’s transition to zero-emission vehicles.

Marcel Gomes, Brazil

Marcel Gomes coordinated a complex, international campaign that directly linked beef from JBS, the world’s largest meatpacking company, to illegal deforestation in Brazil’s most threatened ecosystems. Armed with detailed evidence from his breakthrough investigative report, Marcel worked with partners to pressure global retailers to stop selling the illegally sourced meat, leading six major European supermarket chains in Belgium, France, the Netherlands, and the United Kingdom to indefinitely halt the sale of JBS products in December 2021.

ATTENTION EDITORS: Detailed biographical information, photographs, b-roll, and video of all the winners are available by request or online at goldmanprize.org/media-room/.


About the Goldman Environmental Prize

The Goldman Environmental Prize was established in 1989 by late San Francisco civic leaders and philanthropists Richard and Rhoda Goldman. Prize winners are selected by an international jury from confidential nominations submitted by a worldwide network of environmental organizations and individuals.