Indian environment activist Ramesh Agrawal has won the prestigious Goldman Environmental Prize in San Francisco on April 28. The award was established by Late San Francisco civic leaders and philanthropists Richard and Rhoda Goldman in 1990 and till date, a total of $15.9 million has been awarded to 157 honourees from more than 79 countries.
Ramesh Agrawal organised villagers in the central state of Chhattisgarh and succeeded in shutting down one of the largest planned coal mines in the area. Resident of Raipur, Chattisgarh, he founded Jan Chetana, a movement to protect people and the environment from rampant industrialization, and has been awarded for his contribution to control the unchecked industrial development throughout India
The others who got this award are Ruth Buendia from Peru, Desmond D’sa from South Africa, Suren Gazaryan from Russia, Rudi Patra from Indonesia and Helen Slottje from the US. All the individuals were awarded a cash prize of $175,000.
Earlier, Medha Patkar in 1992, MC Mehta in 1996, Rashida Bee and Champa Devi Shukla in 2004 from India were honoured this prestigious award and this time Agarwal has made it after a long wait of nine years.
The Goldman Prize, in its 25th year, is the largest award for grassroots environmental activism given annually by Goldman Environmental Foundation based in San Francisco, the foundation said.
David Gordon, executive director the of Goldman Environmental Prize commenting on the environmental heroes said that “From fracking to palm oil development, the 2014 Goldman Prize recipients are not only tackling some of the world most pressing environmental problems; they are also achieving impressive environmental victories and inspiring others to do the same.”