Six "grassroots environmental heroes" from around the world were honored this week with the annual Goldman Prize for their role in defending the earth, "often at great personal risk."
Selected by an international jury, this year's recipients hail from Kenya, Myanmar, Scotland, Haiti, Canada, and Honduras. They will each be bestowed with $175,000 "to pursue their vision of a renewed and protected environment," according to the Goldman Environmental Foundation.
An award ceremony that took place in San Francisco on Monday will be followed by another in Washington, D.C. later this week. The winners' stories are captured in the short descriptions and videos below, all of which were provided by the Goldman Environmental Foundation:
Phyllis Omido, Kenya: After learning her own breast milk was making her baby sick—and realizing her child wasn’t the only one suffering from lead poisoning— Phyllis Omido galvanized the community in Mombasa to shut down the smelter that was exposing people to dangerous chemicals.
Myint Zaw, Myanmar: Facing heavy government scrutiny and restricted use of tools like email or social media, Myint Zaw launched a national movement that successfully stopped construction of the Myitsone Dam on Myanmar’s treasured Irrawaddy River.
Howard Wood, Scotland: Howard Wood spearheaded a campaign that established the first community-developed Marine Protected Area in Scotland, giving citizens a voice in a debate that has been dominated by the commercial fishing industry.
Jean Wiener, Haiti: In a country plagued by extreme poverty and political instability, Jean Wiener led community efforts to establish the nation’s first Marine Protected Areas by empowering Haitians to see the long-term value in sustainably managing fisheries and mangrove forests.
Marilyn Baptiste, Canada: A former chief of the Xeni Gwet’in First Nation, Marilyn Baptiste led her community in defeating one of the largest proposed gold and copper mines in British Columbia that would have destroyed Fish Lake—a source of spiritual identity and livelihood for the Xeni Gwet’in.
Berta Cáceres, Honduras: In a country with growing socioeconomic inequality and human rights violations, Berta Cáceres rallied the indigenous Lenca people of Honduras and waged a grassroots campaign that successfully pressured the world’s largest dam builder to pull out of the Agua Zarca Dam.