At a ceremony in San Francisco on April 19, six leaders in international environmental activism received the 2010 Goldman Prize for their significant, local efforts to protect and sustain the natural environment, often at personal risk. Below we feature videos about three recipients of this year’s prize.
In the 1960s the Reilly family began building game parks throughout Swaziland. As the Reilly parks expanded, indigenous locals were forced off the land they have depended on for food and survival for centuries. Under the pretext of Swaziland’s game laws, which allow game rangers to shoot poachers, the parks’s game rangers have killed about 100 locals, many of whom were unarmed poachers. Public interest attorney Thuli Makama has taken the organization which administers these game laws to court, and is publicly calling for investigations into these killings. After a three-year legal battle, Makama also won a spot for environmental NGOs on Swaziland’s Environment Authority board, the highest environmental decision-making body in the country. This position will allow Makama to help balance the interests of the local communities with those of the parks, which Makama calls "the lasting solution."
Humberto Ríos Labrada
Humberto Ríos Labrada was a graduate student in Cuba when the Soviet Bloc dissolved in 1991. Cuba lost a major trading partner and, as a result, lost its source of fertilizer, pesticides and fuel. Massive food shortages ensued and Cuba’s economy collapsed. When Humberto was forced out of his lab and into the fields, he did not turn to practicing unnatural and pesticide-dependent farming. Instead, as a way to promote crop and seed diversity, he cooperated with farmers and found them the most diverse seeds from across Cuba. Now, by working with farmers, he has started what’s recognized as the world’s largest organic farming experiment. Today, Cuba’s food production has increased dramatically. "My dream is that one day all scientific research institutions will make seed diversity accessible and recognize rural farmers’ knowledge," he says. "And that Cuba will definitely become an organic, agricultural island."