Grassroots environmental heroes too often go unrecognized. Yet their efforts to protect the world’s natural resources are increasingly critical to the well-being of the planet we all share.
The Goldman Environmental Prize Grassroots environmental heroes too often go unrecognized. Yet their efforts to protect the world’s natural resources are increasingly critical to the well-being of the planet we all share. Thus, in 1990 San Francisco civic leaders and philanthropists Richard N. Goldman and his late wife, Rhoda H. Goldman (1924-1996) created the Goldman Environmental Prize. The Goldman Prize continues today with its original mission to annually honor grassroots environmental heroes from the six inhabited continental regions: Africa, Asia, Europe, Islands and Island Nations, North America, and South and Central America. The Prize recognizes individuals for sustained and significant efforts to protect and enhance the natural environment, often at great personal risk. Each winner receives an award of $150,000, the largest award in the world for grassroots environmentalists. The Goldman Prize views “grassroots” leaders as those involved in local efforts, where positive change is created through community or citizen participation in the issues that affect them. Through recognizing these individual leaders, the Prize seeks to inspire other ordinary people to take extraordinary actions to protect the natural world.
The Prize Winners The work of Goldman Prize winners often focuses on protecting endangered ecosystems and species, combating destructive development projects, promoting sustainability, influencing environmental policies and striving for environmental justice. Prize winners are often women and men from isolated villages or inner cities who chose to take great personal risks to safeguard the environment.
What the Goldman Prize provides its Recipients The Goldman Prize amplifies the voices of these grassroots leaders and provides them with:
International recognition that enhances their credibility
Worldwide visibility for the issues they champion
Financial support of $150,000 to pursue their vision of a renewed and protected environment
The Annual Prize Announcement and Events Announced every April to coincide with Earth Day, the Goldman Environmental Prize winners are selected by an international jury from confidential nominations submitted by a worldwide group of environmental organizations and individuals. Prize winners participate in a 10-day tour of San Francisco and Washington D.C.—highlighted by award ceremonies in San Francisco and Washington D.C.—including news conferences, media briefings and meetings with political and environmental leaders.
The Ouroboros In addition to a monetary prize, every year each of the six Goldman Prize winners receives a bronze sculpture called the Ouroboros. Common to many cultures around the world, the Ouroboros, which depicts a serpent biting its tail, is a symbol of nature’s power of renewal.