The Goldman Environmental Prize is the largest award in the world to recognize grassroots environmental activists. The 2009 recipients were celebrated at the San Francisco War Memorial Opera House with over 3,300 guests. Considering that four of the seven winners were women, See Jane Do had to be there to hear their stories.
Listening to Al Gore and Robert Redford, meeting Tracy Chapman, and interviewing Peter Coyote was extraordinary in itself. But the gem of the evening was speaking with winners; Maria Gunnoe from West Virginia, Marc Ona Essangui from Gabon and Syeda Rizwana Hasan from Bangladesh.
Robert Redford, who narrated the documentaries said, "these are ordinary people doing extraordinary things". It's the power of a good story that can provide hope and inspiration to make a difference.
The recipients were treated like rock stars as guests lined up to greet and congratulate the winners. Folks like Marc Ona Essangui who saved a waterfall and rainforest from the proposed Belinga mine. A man with one leg, none the less. Or champions like Maria Gunnoe who has fought against mountain top removal to extract coal in her back yard in order to protect the Appalachian Mountains and the health of her children.
Marina Bernheimer and I were fortunate enough to interview several of these everyday people doing extraordinary things for the planet.
Click here to listen to our interview with Maria Gunnoe and learn about the power of the Appalachian women.
Click here to listen to our interview with Syeda Rizwana Hasan and discover the strength of women in Bangladesh.
Click here to listen to our interview with activist and actor Peter Coyote who shares his personal discoveries as an environmentalist.