Ecuadorian Indigenous Leader named as Goldman Environmental Prize winner

Indigenous leader Nemonte Nenquimo of Ecuador has been named as one of the six winners of the Goldman Environmental Prize. Usually held in person, the prize will hold an online virtual awards ceremony this year on Monday 30th November 2020 due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. The prize traditionally recognises grassroots leaders in environmental activism from around the world as ‘heroes of the environment’, acknowledging work from six people based across six areas the globe: Africa, Asia, Europe, Islands & Island Nations, North America, and South & Central America. The $200,000 USD prize aims to honor “the achievements and leadership of grassroots environmental activists from around the world, inspiring all of us to take action to protect our planet”, and was established in 1989 by philanthropists Richard N. and Rhoda H. Goldman. 

2020 winners 

Winners of the 2020 prize come from a diverse line-up of backgrounds and activist roots. They include: Chibeze Ezekiel of Ghana, Kristal Ambrose from The Bahamas, Leydy Pech of Mexico, Lucie Pinson of France, Nemonte Nenquimo of Ecuador, and Paul Sein Twa of Myanmar. Each of the recipients stands out for their contribution to preserving and promoting environmental awareness and indigenous cultures. 

Nemonte Nenquimo of Ecuador stands out as one of the winners for her campaign that set a legal precedent of indegenous rights and rainforest protection in Ecuador. Her most recent campaign saw a court rule in her favour to prevent oil extraction and protect half a million acres of Amazonian rainforest and Waorani territory. Her story provides both inspiration and guidance for other tribes in Ecuador and around the world looking to protect their natural environment and heritage. 

A sparkling prize ceremony 

Not to let the ongoing coronavirus pandemic dampen the achievements, the prize ceremony will be held virtually in 2020, with supporting celebratory actions such as the City Hall in the prize’s hometown San Francisco being lit green for the occasion. The awards ceremony will be hosted by celebrity actress Sigourney Weaver, with musical interludes from award winning musicians such as Jack Johnson.