We were so thrilled to learn of the Goldman Environmental Prize recipients last week! In particular, two of the award winners stood out to us with their work against plastic pollution, and we want to tell you a little bit more about them.
The Goldman Environmental Prize
The prestigious Goldman Environmental Prize is also known as the “Green Nobel Prize”. This prize is awarded annually to grassroots environmental activists from the world’s six inhabited continents in recognition and honor of their achievements in facing the environmental issues of their communities. The award winners, past and present, are a huge inspiration to us to continue to take action and advocate to protect our planet.
Sharon Lavigne, Rise St. James
In 2020, we shifted our focus of Plastic-Free July away from ways to reduce single-use plastic waste every day to supporting and highlighting the work of environmental justice organizations, specifically around plastics. One of the organizations we came to learn about was the Louisiana Bucket Brigade and Rise St. James and their work to Stop Formosa Plastics. How exciting that Sharon Lavigne, founder of Rise St. James was awarded a Green Nobel!
In September 2019, she successfully stopped the construction of a $1.25 billion plastics manufacturing plant alongside the Mississippi River in Louisiana. A spokesperson for the Goldman Prize said: “Lavigne’s grassroots campaign successfully defended her community from the construction of yet another toxic plant in its midst. Her activism prevented the generation of a million pounds of liquid hazardous waste each year … for her unwavering commitment and dedication to her community, Sharon Lavigne will receive the Goldman Environmental Prize.”
And she does not quit! Sharon is working tirelessly to stop yet another plastic manufacturing plant, Formosa Plastics, in her ongoing campaign for environmental justice and her community of St. James Parish. Congratulations Sharon! We stand with you in your fight against plastic pollution!
Gloria Majiga-Kamoto, Malawi
Plastic pollution is a huge problem all over the world. Gloria Majiga-Kamoto fights the plastic industry in her country of Malawi and successfully led a grassroots movement in support of a national ban on thin plastics, a typical single-use plastic used for plastic bags.
80% of the plastics produced in Malawi are single-use plastics. Gloria recognized the devastating effects that plastic pollution, and single-use plastics in particular, has on Malawi’s environment. On her own time, she has volunteered her time and energy to work toward a plastic ban. After several years of organizing, Gloria and the coalition of NGOs and activists she formed convinced the High Court of Malawi to rule in favor of enforcing a ban on the production, importation, distribution, and use of thin plastics.
Please join us in congratulating all of this year’s Green Nobel prize winners. You can learn more about the additional winners here.
Thank you for inspiring us to protect our planet and all who live on it. Our dedication to a better environment is a dedication to a better environment for everyone.