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ENVIRONMENT REPORT- May 3, 2002: Goldman Environmental Prize - 2002-05-02

This is the VOA Special English ENVIRONMENT REPORT.

Eight environmental activists from around the world have been awarded the Goldman Environmental Prize this year. They received one-hundred-twenty-five-thousand dollars from the Goldman Environmental Foundation. The awards were presented last week at a ceremony in San Francisco, California.

The Goldman Environmental Prize is the world’s largest program that honors local environmental activists. Experts choose the winners from six different parts of the world.

Three winners will share the prize for North America. They are Jonathon Soloman and Sarah James of Alaska, and Norma Kassi of Canada. These Gwich’in tribal leaders fought to prevent oil companies from exploring in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge in Alaska. Some experts say drilling in the ground would endanger the Caribou population. These animals are important for the survival of the Gwich’in culture.

Jean La Rose of Guyana won the Goldman prize for South and Central America. Mizz La Rose leads the struggle for land rights in Guyana. She works to halt destructive mining activities that have damaged Guyana’s rainforests and the health of many of its native communities.

Businessman Alexis Massol-Gonzalez of Puerto Rico won the prize for Islands and Island Nations. He led a successful campaign to change a mining area into a protected forest reserve that is now supervised by the community.

Jadwiga Lopata of Poland won the prize for Europe. Mizz Lopata created a program to increase support for the more than two-million family farms in Poland. These small farms provide important environmental systems for many different plants and animals.

Ecologist Pisit Charnsnoh of Thailand was awarded the Goldman Prize for Asia. He works with fishermen to protect and restore Thailand’s environment that has been damaged by industrial fishing and tree-cutting.

Fatima Jibrell of Somalia won the prize for Africa. She works for peace and environmental protection in her country, while dealing with wars and a severe lack of water.

Richard and Rhoda Goldman created the Goldman Environmental Prize in Nineteen-Ninety. The Goldman Foundation awards the prizes to show the difference each person can make to help save the environment.

This VOA Special English ENVIRONMENT REPORT was written by Cynthia Kirk.