The Goldman Environmental Prize is known as the “Green Nobel,” one of the most prestigious awards given for environmental activism. Many winners have challenged big corporations or corrupt government officials who are harming their environments, sometimes risking prison or even death. The six winners receive $150,000 each and international attention for their work. We talk with a few of this year’s Goldman Prize winners about how they’re changing the world.

Kimberly Wasserman Nieto, winner of the 2013 Goldman Environmental Prize and executive director of Little Village Environmental Justice Organization, a nonprofit in Chicago which works to improve the environment of Little Village and surrounding Chicago; one of its campaigns focuses on getting rid of toxic chemicals from nearby coal and power plants
Azzam Alwash, winner of the 2013 Goldman Environmental Prize; he returned to his native Iraq after the fall of Saddam Hussein, and has been working to restore the Mesopotamian Marshlands in Southern Iraq, which have been called the original site of the Garden of Eden. He has since restored the marshes to 50 percent their original size, and they're slated to become Iraq's first national park.
Jonathan Deal, winner of the 2013 Goldman Environmental Prize and founder of the Treasure Karoo Action Group (TKAG), which fights against fracking by Shell and other oil companies in Karoo, a water-scarce region in South Africa

  • Suzy H

    I worked as an archaeologist in the northwestern New Mexico natural gas fields for a few years and it was a major eye-opening experience. Along with thousands of well pads, there are also two coal burning power plants on the Navajo Reservation and a third has been in the works (and fought against) for a while. I noticed a major disdain for green energy even though pollution is pretty bad there. I feel a better solution would be slow, long term planning and training programs so those who rely on oilfield jobs have a good chance to continue to make a living without becoming obsolete. All I hear is “STOP DRILLING NOW. FRACKING IS BAD” Well I agree but we can’t just flip a switch and stop overnight. Long term planning (as in years) and training programs could also help gain individual/worker support for green energy in areas whose economy relies on fossil fuel extraction.

  • Don’t forget to mention about Earth Day this weekend April 20th clean up parks and Beach’s…I clean up when ever im out walking in nature

  • Thanks for this Michael and guests.

    Loved watching the KQED channel 9 program on your Iraqi guest’s work.

    My question is about keeping up the good spirits and fight in the face of disappointing feedback from the public and politicians.

    I am involved in stopping the Keystone XL Pipeline. It has occurred to me recently that I do not have the energy or time to spend on frustration and irritation with the detractors.

    Could you please speak to the strategies you use to keep going?

    Another question: free speech — how is it that the oil companies have managed to squelch news of recent pipeline oil spills?

    Thank you very much for your incredibly important work.

    San Jose

  • There is Bay Nature, Green Belt Alliance to name a few, Surf rider foundation. That is were I got started Rita Bosnich Pacifica CA.

  • Amanda Stupi

    Here’s a link to Treasure the Karoo that was mentioned as a good source for information on fracking.

  • wandagb

    The Goldman Foundation deserves praise for honoring heroes working to preserve and sustain our world, however, there is a glaring omission: there is no category for work in family planning. Thus not once in the 24 year history of the Prize’s history – and during which the world population has grown from 5 billion to 7.1 billion – has the Goldman family had the courage to bestow an award for family planning.

    By turning a blind eye to this glaring but politically sensitive need, they make the efforts this year’s awardees futile.

    Perhaps the awards might be more aptly renamed the “Environmental Political Correctness Prize”

  • Trish Clifford

    It seems there was a lot of interest in the topic of legal rights for the
    earth. I think this would be a good topic for a whole show. If you would
    like to pursue this here are some potential guests:

    Bill Twist – co-founder of the Pachamama Allinace. Bill helped
    the Ecuadorian government re-write their constitution to include rights
    for Mother Nature.

    Osprey Orielle Lake – She is Co-Chair of International Advocacy with the Global Alliance for the Rights Of Nature. She is also Founder and President of The Women’s Earth and Climate Caucus (WECC).

    Cormac Cullinen – Author of Wild Law: A Manifesto for Earth Justice

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