Every year, activists from six continents are awarded the San Francisco-based Goldman Environmental Prize. Known as the “green Nobel,” winners each receive $175,000 for their commitment to the environment. We talk to three of this year’s recipients about their work, which includes great personal risk.
Interview Highlights: Guests Thoughts on California's Drought
Unfortunately, I think it's certainly a more global problem. I know that California is known for its environmental work and protecting resources and having organic products and all of that.
You mean the global problem of water being a precious resource?
JW: Yes, water being a precious resource. I think it's well, in that sense also, that climate change, it's the entire planet.From any other country, possibly effecting what's happening in California. So, I think we're all in this together, as I said, unless we figure out a way to keep everything working as it should — protecting the forests especially, protecting the coast land marine environment, I think we're going to be in for probably a bit more of this. Unfortunately, I don't have an answer or solution, if I did, I'd certainly share it with you, but I think we're in trouble.
If you had a real answer, you might get the Nobel prize, instead of the ?green? Nobel prize. [laughter from group] But any of our other guests like to add anything? Marilyn Baptiste or Howard Wood to that?
Well, from someone coming from Scotland that has very high rainfall, the situation in California is very disturbing.
It's dire, I've learned over the last couple of weeks. We have no shortage of water, to us it's a matter of keeping it clean. But what we do see is that global warming is definitely affecting everyday lives of people on my island. Because we have much more severe storms, we have much more severe rainfalls, and the severe storms affect everyday life. We're reliant on a ferry that runs five times a day, and this winter, there have been numerous weeks where the ferry has been canceled for two to three days. So food doesn't reach the island, your mail doesn't reach the island, and this is two, three times more destructive than it was five, six years ago.
I just have to say I turn to the youth, the youth asked me the same question and I was very grateful for that. And you know, I've known that this kind of thing has been an issue for the United States for many, many years. And if you look here, just look around you, look at some of the alien species that have been introduced here that are affecting the water and the environment. When we're looking at our tribal park, it's about the ecosystem — the healthy, natural ecosystem that belongs there, that is native to that land. And we have to do a lot on that. We have to also be conscious of the water, every day, even the water that makes your coffee every morning, and be grateful and thankful for that. And simply look to the Ohlone indigenous tribes who are here, and they are a part of taking care of and protecting this area as well, they're a part of this land.
Marilyn Baptiste, tribal leader for the Xeni Gwet'in, a Tsilhqot'in First Nation
Howard Wood, co-founder of the Community of Arran Seabed Trust (COAST)
Jean Wiener, civil society leader working to empower Haitians to protect their marine environment