Advertisement
YOU ARE HERE: LAT HomeCollectionsAwards

The State

3 Activists Win $125,000 Prize for Refuge Work

April 22, 2002|From Associated Press

SAN FRANCISCO — As Congress and President Bush have debated whether to open the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge to oil drilling, three indigenous spokespeople have devoted their days to ensuring that the potential effects on the land, its wildlife and their people are not overlooked.

Jonathon Solomon, Sarah James and Norma Kassi are members of the Gwich'in nation and live north of the Arctic Circle in Alaska and Canada's Yukon Territory. They have testified before Congress, negotiated agreements to protect wildlife and traveled the world to raise awareness and support of their fight against plans to open the 1.5 million-acre coastal plain of the Alaskan refuge.

Their work will be rewarded today with the Goldman Environmental Prize, given annually to people around the world who strive to protect the environment by the San Francisco-based Goldman Environmental Foundation. The three winners will receive $125,000.

The refuge's future concerns the Gwich'in Indians because the coastal plain is the annual calving ground for the porcupine caribou herd, which numbers more than 120,000.

The tundra is home to the caribou and a variety of other wildlife, including peregrine falcons, musk-oxen, polar bears and millions of mosquitoes.

Solomon helped negotiate an agreement between the United States and Canada to protect the porcupine caribou herd; James has traveled the world to draw attention to the cause; and Kassi has met with government officials and environmentalists and has organized conferences to oppose drilling.

Advertisement
Los Angeles Times Articles
|
|
|