The world’s largest prize for environmental action has been awarded to Caroline Cannon, an Inupiat leader and former president of the Native Village of Point Hope in Alaska. Cannon is the North American recipient of the Goldman Environmental Prize, a major prize awarded annually to grassroots environmental heroes from the six inhabited continents.
Erik Grafe, an Earthjustice attorney in Alaska who has worked with the honoree, said she was richly deserving of the award.
“Caroline is a fearless and inspirational advocate for the protection of the Arctic Ocean and a way of life dependent on a healthy ocean ecosystem,” he said. “Over the past several years, Caroline’s leadership has raised awareness of the dangers posed by proposed oil and gas activities to the vibrant indigenous subsistence culture of northern Alaska that has depended for millennia on hunting and fishing in the Arctic Ocean. Earthjustice has been honored to work with the Native Village of Point Hope and Caroline in the effort to protect the Arctic Ocean, its wildlife, and its people. We congratulate her on her well-deserved recognition.”
According to information provided by the Goldman award website, “Cannon has been an active leader in Point Hope for over 30 years, having served as president of the native village and on the board of Maniilaq Association, a health organization whose clinics provide much-needed medical care in the absence of local hospitals…She and her environmental partners are galvanizing public opposition to provisions in the 2012-2017 federal plan that will allow Shell Oil to drill several exploration wells in the Chukchi Sea.”