01/12/2020.- On a virtual ceremony hosted by actress Sigourney Weaver the Goldman Environmental Prize announced their six recipients of 2020. the world’s foremost award for grassroots environmental activists. Three Indigenous leaders were amongst them.
The Goldman environmental prize honours the achievements of grassroots activists in six continents, recognising their efforts to protect natural habitats and push for political change, often at great personal risk
Meet the Indigenous Peoples winners
Nemonte Nenquimo, she is a Waorani woman of Ecuador who led an indigenous campaign and legal action that resulted in a court ruling protecting 500,000 acres of Amazonian rainforest and Waorani territory from oil extraction.
Nenquimo’s leadership and the lawsuit set a legal precedent for indigenous rights in Ecuador, and other tribes are following in her footsteps to protect additional tracts of rainforest from oil extraction.
“I’ve seen the damage the oil companies do. They bring death and sickness and leave oil spills and pollution. They cannot come here and destroy our territory.” Said Nenquimo on a video.
Leydy Pech, an indigenous Mayan beekeeper of Mexico, led a coalition that successfully halted Monsanto’s planting of genetically modified soybeans in southern Mexico.
The Mexican Supreme Court ruled that the government violated the Mayans’ constitutional rights and suspended the planting of genetically modified soybeans.
“Mexico has an international treaty where it has agreed to consult Indigenous Peoples when a project puts them at risk.” Told Mrs. Pech
Because of her hard work and persistence and her coalition, in September 2017, Mexico’s Food and Agricultural Service revoked Monsanto’s permit to grow genetically modified soybeans in seven states.
“When we realized that the government had given the permit without consulting us, we decided to file a lawsuit,” she added.
Paul Sein Twa a Karen man of Myanmar. In December 2018 he 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.
“We need to be able to protect our territory, to guarantee our right to our culture and to our natural resources,” says Mr Twa on a video.
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.
“Our indigenous peoples learned that if we don’t take care of our natural resources, we eventually will lose our culture,” he added.
The other three recipients of 2020 are Kristal Ambrose, Lucie Pinson and Chibeze Ezekiel.
The Prize has honored 200 winners (including 87 women) from 90 nations, and has shined a light on many of the critical issues facing the Earth.