Fight for tribal land rights in Odisha wins Prafulla Samantara the Green Nobel for 2017

Fight for tribal land rights in Odisha wins Prafulla Samantara the Green Nobel for 2017

India Blooms News Service | 24 Apr 2017

San Francisco, April 24 (IBNS): Indian environmental activist Prafulla Samantara is one of the winners of the Goldman Environmental Prize 2017, a prize also called the Green Nobel.

The Goldman Environmental Foundation, on Monday, announced the six recipients of the 2017 Goldman Environmental Prize, the world’s largest award for grassroots environmental activists.

Awarded annually to environmental heroes from each of the world’s six inhabited continental regions, the Goldman Prize recognizes grassroots activists for significant achievement to protect the environment and their communities.

Samantara hails from Odisha.

He led a historic 12-year legal battle that affirmed the indigenous Dongria Kondh’s land rights and protected the Niyamgiri Hills from a massive, open-pit aluminum ore mine to be constructed by Vedanta Resources.

His case established a precedent authorizing local village councils throughout the country to decide on mining activities in their regions, giving them control over their land, lives and destinies. .

Prior to Samantara, India has won the award four times – Medha Patkar, MC Mehta, the duo of Rashida Bi and Champa Devi Shukla and Ramesh Aggarwal.

The Goldman Environmental Prize was established in 1989 by late San Francisco civic leaders and philanthropists Richard and Rhoda Goldman. Prize winners are selected by an international jury from confidential nominations submitted by a worldwide network of environmental organizations and individuals.

Other 2017 winners are:

Rodrigue Mugaruka Katembo, Democratic Republic of Congo
Putting his life on the line, Rodrigue Katembo went undercover to document and release information about bribery and corruption in the quest to drill for oil in Virunga National Park, resulting in public outrage that forced the company to withdraw from the project.

Uros Macerl, Slovenia
Uroš Macerl, an organic farmer from Slovenia, successfully stopped a cement kiln from co-incinerating petcoke with hazardous industrial waste by rallying legal support from fellow activists and leveraging his status as the only citizen allowed to challenge the plant’s permits.

Wendy Bowman, Australia
In the midst of an onslaught of coal development in Australia, octogenarian Wendy Bowman stopped a powerful multinational mining company from taking her family farm and protected her community in Hunter Valley from further pollution and environmental destruction.

Mark! Lopez, United States
Born and raised in a family of community activists, mark! Lopez persuaded the state of California to provide comprehensive lead testing and cleanup of East Los Angeles homes contaminated by a battery smelter that had polluted the community for over three decades.

Rodrigo Tot, Guatemala
An indigenous leader in Guatemala’s Agua Caliente, Rodrigo Tot led his community to a landmark court decision that ordered the government to issue land titles to the Q’eqchi people and kept environmentally destructive nickel mining from expanding into his community.


Image: GoldmanPrize.org

Fight for tribal land rights in Odisha wins Prafulla Samantara the Green Nobel for 2017

India Blooms News Service
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