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35th Goldman Environmental Prize: Chhattisgarh Bachao Andolan Leader Alok Shukla bags it

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Chhattisgarh Bachao Andolan Leader Alok Shukla Honored with Goldman Environmental PrizeOn 29th April 2024, Goldman Environmental Foundation announced the winners of the 35th Goldman Environmental Prize(2024), which is also known as Green Nobel Prize. Alok Shukla, convenor of the Chhattisgarh Bachao Andolan and founding member of the Hasdeo Aranya Bachao Sangharsh Samiti,won the 2024 Goldman Prize from Asia for his efforts to save the forests of Hasdeo Aranya in Chhattisgarh.

  • The award ceremony was presented at the War Memorial Opera in San Francisco in the United States of America(USA). The ceremony was hosted by Rue Mapp, founder of Outdoor Afro.
  • The 2024 award was presented to seven individuals committed to protecting their communities and environment.

Winners of 35th Goldman Environmental Prize (2024):

AsiaAlok ShuklaIndiaForest
AfricaNonhle Mbuthuma and Sinegugu ZukuluSouth AfricaOceans & Coasts
EuropeTeresa VicenteSpainOceans & Coasts
Islands & Island NationsMurrawah Maroochy JohnsonAustraliaClimate & Energy
North AmericaAndrea VidaurreUSAClimate & Energy
South & Central AmericaMarcel GomesBrazilFood & Agriculture

Trophy & Prize Money : 

i.The award includes a bronze sculpture in the shape of an Ouroboros, a symbol of nature’s power of renewal which depicts a serpent biting its tail.

ii.The winners are awarded USD 200,000 as prize money and are eligible to apply for additional grants to support their work.

About Goldman Environmental Prize:

i.The award recognizes individuals for sustained and significant efforts to protect and enhance the natural environment at personal risk.

ii.The prize recognizes grassroots environmental heroes from world’s six inhabited continental regions – Africa, Asia, Europe, Islands & Island Nations, North America and South & Central America.

iii.The award founded in 1989 by Richard and Rhoda Goldman and the 1st Goldman Environmental Prize ceremony was held in April 1990.

About the 2024 Winner:

Alok Shukla

i.Alok Shukla spearheaded a community campaign that prevented 21 planned coal mines from encroaching upon 445,000 acres of biodiverse forests in Chhattisgarh, India.

ii.The government’s cancellation of these proposed mines in July 2022 preserved the pristine Hasdeo Aranya forests, which are among India’s largest intact forest regions.

Nonhle Mbuthuma and Sinegugu Zukulu

In September 2022, both activists successfully halted destructive seismic testing for oil and gas off South Africa’s Eastern Cape, known as the Wild Coast, by organizing their community and asserting their rights to protect the marine environment, safeguarding migratory whales, dolphins, and other wildlife.

Teresa Vicente

Teresa Vicente led a grassroots campaign to preserve the Mar Menor, Europe’s largest saltwater lagoon, from collapse.

In May 2020, she launched her campaign proposing the use of a Popular Legislative Initiative (ILP), a provision that lets citizens propose a law directly to Parliament

In 2022, the lower house of Parliament approved the ILP and later the senate passed it into law which grants the Mar Menor and its basin the right to conservation of its species and habitats.

Murrawah Maroochy Johnson

She halted the Waratah coal mine, safeguarding the 20,000-acre Bimblebox Nature Refuge and preventing the release of 1.58 billion tons of CO2. Her precedent-setting case, upheld in 2023, allows other Indigenous groups to oppose coal projects by connecting climate change to Indigenous rights.

  • This marked the first time an Australian coal mine was legally stopped through the linkage of Indigenous rights and climate change.

Andrea Vidaurre

i.In April 2023, Andrea Vidaurre’s (aged 29) grassroots efforts led to the California Air Resources Board adopting two landmark transportation regulations: In-Use Locomotive Rule and the California Advanced Clean Fleets Rule, which significantly limit trucking and rail emissions.

ii.These marks the USA’s first emission standards for trains and a pathway to 100% zero-emission freight truck sales by 2036.

Marcel Gomes

i.Marcel Gomes led a global campaign exposing JBS, the world’s largest meatpacking company) beef links to illegal deforestation in Brazil.

ii.His investigative report prompted six major European supermarket chains in Belgium, France, the Netherlands, and the United Kingdom (UK) to indefinitely boycott the sale of JBS products in December 2021.

Recent Related News:

i.Union Minister, Rajnath Singh, Ministry of Defence(MoD) honoured Dr Bina Modi, Chairperson of Modi Enterprises, KK Modi Group, with the “Outstanding Business Woman of the Year – 2023′ Award. Theaward recognised her contributions to the industry.

ii.Gurugram (Haryana) based REC Limited (formerly Rural Electrification Corporation Limited) was awarded with the Best Green Bond – Corporate Award at The Asset Triple A Awards for Sustainable Finance 2024. REC was honoured for the issuance of Green Bonds worth USD 750 million in April 2023.

About Goldman Environmental Foundation:
President– John D. Goldman
Executive Director– Michael Sutton
Headquarters– California, USA