Alternative Nobel Prize recognises environmental activists, awards one million Swedish kronor for each laureate

India’s Legal Initiative for Forest and Environment was awarded ‘for their innovative legal work empowering communities to protect their resources in the pursuit of environmental democracy in India.’

Alternative Nobel Prize recognises environmental activists, awards one million Swedish kronor for each laureate

The Right Livelihood Award, recognises environmental and international development achievements skipped by the traditional Nobels.

A top Swedish honour known as the “alternative Nobel Prize” was awarded Wednesday to environmental activists from Canada, Russia and India, as well as a Cameroonian fighting to prevent violence against children threatened by jihadists.

The Right Livelihood Award, which recognises environmental and international development achievements skipped by the traditional Nobels, said “this year’s change-makers show that lasting change is built on communities banding together”.

Canadian Indigenous rights campaigner Freda Huson of the Wet’suwet’en people was awarded “for her fearless dedication to reclaiming her people’s culture and defending their land against disastrous pipeline projects.”

The award organisation said that her actions have set the Coastal GasLink natural gas pipeline project in northern British Columbia “back by years”.

Activist Marthe Wandou, the first Cameroonian to win the prize, was awarded “for building a model of community-based child protection in the face of terrorist insurgency and gender-based violence in the Lake Chad region of Cameroon.”

Vladimir Slivyak, co-chair of Russian environmental group Ecodefence, was recognised “for his defence of the environment and for helping to ignite grassroots opposition to the coal and nuclear industries in Russia.”

And finally India’s Legal Initiative for Forest and Environment was awarded “for their innovative legal work empowering communities to protect their resources in the pursuit of environmental democracy in India.”

The Right Livelihood Award was created in 1980 by Swedish-German philatelist Jakob von Uexkull after the Nobel Foundation behind the Nobel Prizes refused to create awards honouring efforts in the fields of the environment and international development.

The award consists of a cash prize of one million Swedish kronor ($114,000) for each laureate, meant to support the recipient’s work.

Previous prize-winners include US whistleblower Edward Snowden, Congolese gynaecologist and Nobel laureate Denis Mukwege, and Greta Thunberg, who had already become an icon of the youth climate change movement at the age of 16 when she won in 2019.