Smart Energy attends the Goldman Environmental Prize awards

A ceremony to award the Goldman Environmental Prize, presented to six environmental activists from around the world on April 15, was attended by the CVHS Smart Energy Club through the Alliance for Climate Change Education (ACE) group at the War Memorial Opera House in San Francisco.

“The Goldman Environmental Prize is the largest prize for grassroots environmentalists,” stated the Goldman Prize program. Founded in 1989, the Prize has been awarded to 157 people from 82 countries. Each of the winners receives a substantial monetary award.

The Goldman Prize honors environmental activists from around the world who have completed extraordinary work in helping protect the planet from environmental degradation. The six winners for 2013 were inspirations for Smart Energy to maintain its efforts to continue the bottles and cans recycling in 700 Hall.

All six of the prize recipients have worked on current environmental activism projects.

Azzam Alwash from Iraq worked to restore the Mesopotamian marshlands by breaching the levees created by Saddam Hussein to divert water from the region. The marshes, which are 7,770 square miles large, have been restored by 70 percent. Alwash is now working on preventing the development of 23 dams along the border of Turkey and Iraq.

Nohra Padilla helped lead the Association of Recyclers of Bogotá (ARB), a workers’ union for informal recyclers in Bogotá, Colombia. Her work helped create a law stating that waste management companies must provide working opportunities to recyclers. The ARB now operates two recycling centers.

Jonathan Deal founded the Treasure the Karoo Action Group to prevent Shell from implementing hydraulic fracking in the pristine Karoo, South Africa area. He plans to appeal any permits for fracking in South Africa based on one’s right to life in a safe and healthy environment.

Aleta Baun of Indonesia led an initiative among the indigenous Molo people to stop a granite mining operation with a live-in protest. The women protested by living in the mining area and weaving traditional fabrics for one year. The mining operation left all four sites in the Molo territories.

Rossano Ercolini worked to prevent the construction of an incinerator in his town of Tuscany, Italy. He educated the public about the dangers of incinerators and created a zero waste initiative. His town now recycles 82 percent of its waste.

Kimberly Wasserman of Chicago helped shut down two coal-fired power plants in her neighborhood that were polluting the environment through door-to-door talks. She is working on transforming industrial sites into parks for the community.

“They just looked at what issues were in front of their faces and got to work…each of us could do a little bit of this,” said Dr. Deborah Yager, advisor for Smart Energy Club.

Club member Mary Doronkina was also impressed by the Goldman Prize.

“I saw six very influential people from around the world that made a difference in the community,” she said.

Smart Energy Club enjoyed the visit to the War Memorial Opera House, the youth program, and the message that the event was getting across. Hopefully, the club will attend again in the upcoming years.

“I was very impressed by the winners, who have dedicated their lives to environmental change,” said Dr. Yager.

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