WASHINGTON (US) / MELBOURNE (AUSTRALIA) – Three winners of the International “Nobel Prize for the Environment” that will be awarded next Monday, April 14, are individuals from the United States and Australia who were nominated by Friends of the Earth groups.
Among the seven recipients of the 14th annual Goldman Environmental Prize – to be presented in San Francisco on April 14 and Washington, D.C., on April 16 – are three women who have been working closely with member groups of Friends of the Earth International, the world’s largest grassroots environmental network.
They are an Appalachian woman defending her West Virginia (USA) community against the devastating practice of mountaintop removal coal mining and two Aboriginal elders from the Australian desert blocking construction of a federal nuclear waste dump.
For the area “Islands and Island Nations,” the 2003 Goldman Environmental Prize winners are: Eileen Kampakuta Brown and Eileen Wani Wingfield, Australia (Two winners share the Island Nations award this year).
Aboriginal elders Eileen Kampakuta Brown and Eileen Wani Wingfield from the “Kupa Piti Kungka Tjuta” (Senior Aboriginal Women from Coober Pedy) are at the forefront of the campaign to block construction of a nuclear waste dump in their South Australian desert homeland. Since the British nuclear bomb tests of the 1950s, South Australia’s traditional Aboriginal homelands have been one of the testing and dumping grounds for the world’s nuclear industry, causing asthma, birth defects and cancer as well as poisoning the environment and wildlife. Now, Brown and Wingfield are leading their communities in an international campaign to say “Irati Wanti” — “the poison, leave it.”
For the area “North America,” the 2003 Goldman Environmental Prize winner is Julia Bonds, West Virginia, USA. A coal miner’s daughter and native West Virginian, Julia Bonds is leading the campaign to stop mountaintop removal coal mining.
This highly destructive “strip mining on steroids” is ravaging communities throughout Appalachia, turning river valleys into mining waste dumps, driving up asthma rates and forcing whole communities to abandon their homes.
The Goldman Environmental Prize is given annually to grassroots environmental heroes from six geographic areas: Africa, Asia, Europe, Islands and Island Nations, North America, and South and Central America. The prize includes a no-strings-attached award of $125,000.
NOTES FOR EDITORS:
Detailed biographical information and photographs of all of the winners are available FROM THE GOLDMAN ENVIRONMENTAL PRIZE. Broadcast-quality video of the winners in their home countries will be available on an embargoed basis. Advance interviews and tapings prior to the April 14th announcement can be arranged with some recipients. Prize winners will be in San Francisco April 14 and for an East Coast awards ceremony in Washington, D.C, on April 16 and 17.
FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT:
The Goldman Environmental Prize, San Francisco. Tel: +1-415 788 9090. www.goldmanprize.org
Philip Cohen, communications officer
Friends of the Earth Australia:
Bruce Thompson, Tel: + 61-39 419 8700 www.foe.org.au
Friends of the Earth USA, Washington:
Jon Sohn, Tel: +1-202 783 7400 www.foe.org
Kupa Piti Kungka Tjuta, in Australia:
Tel: +61-8 86723413 www.iratiwanti.org