The Goldman Prizes
Goldman Prize logo (credit: The Goldman Environmental Prize)
Goldman Environmental Prizes were announced in association with Earth Day. The prestigious awards recognize efforts in conservation and are increasingly considered similar to a Nobel Prize but for environmental accomplishments. In announcing the winners for 2023, the Organization stated:
the Prize recognizes individuals for their sustained and significant efforts to protect and enhance the natural environment, often at personal risk. It identifies grassroots leaders who have created positive change through community or citizen participation. In recognizing these leaders, the Prize seeks to inspire other ordinary people to take extraordinary actions to protect the natural world.
The new Goldmans identified efforts by individuals from Brazil; Indonesia; Finland; Turkey; Zambia; and the USA. Projects by two of the awardees included:
Zafer Kizilkaya (Turkey) & Tero Mustonen (Finland) credit: The Goldman Environmental Prize)
Zafer Kizilkaya: collaborated with local fishing cooperatives in Turkey to expand the country's network of marine protected areas along the Mediterranean coast. The government approved the newly designated zones expanding the existing network by 135 square miles where no trawling is allowed and added an additional 27 square miles of "no take" zones. Turkey's marine ecosystem has been badly degraded by overfishing, illegal harvesting, tourist development, and the effects of a changing climate. These newly protected areas aim to help mitigate and reverse these threats.
Tero Mustonen: Tero Mustonen led efforts to restore severely degraded former industrial peat mining and forestry sites in Finland—totaling 86,000 acres—by transformed them into productive, biodiverse, wetlands, and wildlife habitats. Peatlands are rich in organic matter and highly effective carbon sinks and represent one of the largest natural carbon sinks on Earth. Roughly one-third of Finland’s land area consists of peatlands and Arctic bogs so restoration of degraded sites is crucial.
The Goldman Prize awards ceremony can be viewed here. WHB