Activist Ramesh Agrawal wins Green Nobel

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Ramesh Agrawal, 60, will be recognized in a ceremony in San Francisco as one of six recipients of this year’s $175,000 Goldman Environmental Prize, often called the “Green Nobel.” Agrawal – who has no formal legal training – has been waging a one-man campaign to educate illiterate villagers about their rights in fighting pollution and land-grabbing by powerful mining and electricity companies. He’s won three lawsuits against major corporations and has spearheaded seven more pending in courts in the mineral-rich state of Chhattisgarh.

Among the other winners are former corporate lawyer Helen Slottje who fought fracking – pumping chemicals and water underground to break open shale rock formations – in New York state and South Africa’s Desmond D’Sa who closed down one of the country’s largest toxic dumping sites. The award was established in 1990 with a grant from philanthropists Richard and Rhoda Goldman to honor grass-roots environmental activists in the six regions of Africa, Asia, Europe, Island Nations, North America and Latin America.