Russian environmentalist Vladimir Slivyak receives 2021 Right Livelihood Award
Vladimir Slivyak, one of Russia’s most successful environmentalists, is among the recipients of the 2021 Right Livelihood Award for spearheading grassroots campaigns against environmentally damaging practices for decades.
Founded in 1980, the Right Livelihood Award honours and supports courageous people solving global problems. It comes with a cash prize of 1 million SEK (around 100,000 EUR or 115,000 USD) and long-term support to highlight and expand Laureates’ work.
As co-chairman and co-founder of Ecodefense, one of Russia’s leading environmental organisations, Slivyak has worked extensively on reducing environmental risks, mitigating the climate crisis and promoting renewable energy in Russia.
With some of the world’s largest oil, gas and coal reserves, Russia is among the world’s top exporters of fossil fuels. As such, it has routinely undermined international climate negotiations.
Slivyak has shown that grassroots campaigns can effectively challenge environmentally harmful projects even if they are backed by a powerful government such as Russia’s. He has stopped projects related to the exploitation of fossil fuels, the use of nuclear power and the shipment of radioactive waste from abroad.
Right Livelihood’s jury said that Slivyak is receiving the Right Livelihood Award “for his defence of the environment and for helping to ignite grassroots opposition to the coal and nuclear industries in Russia.”
“I’ve spent my life in the environmental movement, and it’s really a big honour for me to get an award like this,” Slivyak said. “The Right Livelihood Award provides more resources for the environmental and human rights protection work that my organisation is leading.”
“Vladimir Slivyak is a pioneering environmental activist and co-founder of the prominent Russian environmental NGO Ecodefense,” said Ole von Uexkull, Executive Director at Right Livelihood.
“Working in Russia, one of the world’s largest exporters of oil, gas and coal, Slivyak has shown that grassroots mobilisation can stop environmentally harmful projects, even in the face of powerful geopolitical interests. Slivyak and Ecodefense are successfully continuing their work despite harassment by Russia’s authoritarian government,” von Uexkull added.
The other 2021 Right Livelihood Laureates are:
- Cameroonian women’s and girls’ rights activist Marthe Wandou, the first person to receive the Award from Cameroon,
- Canadian Indigenous rights defender Freda Huson, and
- the Indian organisation Legal Initiative for Forest and Environment (LIFE).
The 2021 Laureates will be honoured during a televised Award Presentation in Stockholm on Wednesday, December 1.
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Find more information on the other Laureates here.
Photos and videos of the new Laureates can be found here.
Vladimir Slivyak is one of Russia’s most committed and knowledgeable environmentalists, who has been spearheading important grassroots campaigns against environmentally damaging practices for decades. He has stopped projects related to the exploitation of fossil fuels, the use of nuclear power and coal, and the shipment of radioactive waste from abroad.
As co-chairman and co-founder of Ecodefense, one of Russia’s leading environmental organisations for decades, Slivyak has worked extensively on reducing environmental risks, mitigating the climate crisis and promoting renewable energy in Russia.
Led by Slivyak, Ecodefense was the first environmental group in Russia to start an anti-coal campaign in 2013, which helped to empower local communities suffering from the impacts of coal mining and transportation. Connecting local communities around the country and information sharing led to a rapid growth of anti-coal protests in various parts of Russia.
Slivyak has also opposed Russia’s promotion of nuclear energy both at home and abroad. These enormous successes have proven that even in authoritarian Russia, grassroots activities can effectively challenge government-backed projects.
In recent years, Slivyak and Ecodefense have been targeted by Russian authorities for their work. However, Slivyak has stayed the course heartened by the growing influence of young climate activists. Standing with them, he is committed to ushering in a cleaner and more sustainable future for Russia and the world.
Place of Birth: Kaliningrad, Russia (USSR at the time)
Date of Birth: July 30, 1973
About Right Livelihood
Established in 1980, Right Livelihood honours and supports courageous people solving global problems. Housed under the umbrella of a foundation, Right Livelihood is a courage-powered community for social change committed to peace, justice and sustainability for all.
Each year, Right Livelihood highlights change-makers through an Award. To date, 186 Laureates from 73 countries have received the distinction. By recognising the actions of brave visionaries and building impactful connections around the world, Right Livelihood boosts urgent and long-term social change.
However, the work of Right Livelihood goes beyond only presenting the Award: they provide these change-makers with life-long support. Right Livelihood is a megaphone and a shield for the Laureates: raising their profile, providing them protection when their lives and liberty are in danger, and educating people on their innovative solutions.
Right Livelihood is headquartered in Stockholm, with offices in Geneva and Zurich. The Foundation has Special Consultative Status with the UN Economic and Social Council.
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