Winner of the Goldman Environmental Prize (blog #6)

Image result for flint water crisis leeanne walters

            The Goldman Environmental Prize is a prize that recognizes people around the globe who have been advocates for the environment. The prize goes towards grassroots leaders who have caused positive changes in their communities and ecosystem. The recipients of the prize are people who have focused on protecting or improving the quality of the environment, promoting sustainability, affecting policy, and/or fighting for justice.

The prize that the winner receives is “International recognition that enhances their credibility, Worldwide visibility for the issues they champion, [and] Financial support to pursue their vision of a renewed and protected environment” (Goldman Prize). The winner also receives a bronze sculpture of an ouroboros, because it is a symbol of nature’s renewal. The Ouroboros is a snake biting its own tail.

One of the winners of the prize this year was LeeAnne Walters, an activist who shed a lot of light on the Flint, Michigan water crisis. She led a citizen’s movement that exposed the danger of the drinking water, teaming up with environmental professionals to test the water. LeeAnne Walters conducted a study of the water n Flint by sampling from many homes across the city, going to multiple zip codes. LeeAnne Walters worked tirelessly to discover the level of threat that was in her city. She worked for over 100 hours per week to get the water samples and test them. Her study showed levels of lead in the water that far exceed the EPA’s acceptable levels. LeeAnne Walters’s study found lead samples as high as 13,200 parts per billion, which is twice the amount classified as hazardous.

LeeAnne Walters is the North American recipient of the Goldman Environmental Prize, and she deserves the prize. She has done a lot to affect change for the people of Michigan, who were dealt an unfair hand. The water crisis should have been averted the minute there was data presenting harmful chemical levels in the water, but it took 4 years for that to happen.

The Flint water crisis is a big issue in the US that is not being acknowledged or solved. The water in Flint has been of terrible quality for about 4 years, which is completely unacceptable. The city had rerouted its piping to save money, going from Lake Huron to Flint River. The problem with the switchover was that the state was not adding an anti-corrosive to the water. The iron pipes that delivered water to the people of Flint were being corroded and leaching lead into the water. Half of the homes in Flint had lead pipes, and because there was no anti-corrosive in the water, the lead pipes were eroding and causing the water to become so dangerous. On April 6th, the Governor ended the free water program, claiming that the crisis had been stopped, but only time will tell. It took 4 years for the state of Michigan to help the people of Flint, and because of this crisis, many families have been severely affected, and children have been harmed.



Works Cited

“The Tragic Lives of India’s Mistreated Elephants” (Extra Credit)

An article was recently published by BBC news about the mistreatment of elephants in India. A 42 year old elephant named “Rajeshwari” laid in a patch of sand for over a month due to sores all over her body and her forelimb and femur being broken. The elephant broke its leg while being transported in an open truck and it fell off. When authorities flipped her by using an earthmover, in order to treat her, they broke her femur. She spent a good amount of her life in pain. A local animal advocate petitioned the court to humanely euthanize the elephant, however, the elephant died before any decision was made. Unfortunately, this elephant just wasted to death.

Elephants in India are used in many different circumstances; religious festivals, weddings, parades and processions, shop/hotel openings, and entertaining tourists with rides. According to this article more than 70 captive elephants have died under “unnatural conditions and at a young age” in just three states in 2 years. The President of Wildlife Rescue and Rehabilitation Centre stated that “Most of these deaths are due to torture, abuse, overwork, or faulty management practices”. India’s supreme court has taken action to combat the use of elephants in animal fairs and religious functions, however, not enough is being done. Even though there are powerful animal protection laws and guidelines to protect captive elephants,  there are more than 350 captive elephants in just two states (Kerala and Rajasthan) that are “illegal”.

I think this article is extremely important and should be publicized in many different places as to spread the word. I know personally, I have friends that have studied abroad or traveled to India and have posted the pictures riding the elephants. They are completely unaware of the mistreatment these animals endure. Tourism is a huge contributor to issues like this. It’s unfortunate that this has gone on for so long. I think one of the biggest contributors to potentially ending this fad would be education. Educating not only the people who take care of these elephants but also those that come to see them.