Activists Walden Bello and Nicanor Perlas, along with a former New Zealand prime minister, an Egyptian agricultural firm, and a Korean nonprofit, received this year's Right Livelihood Awards. Founded in 1980 to honor individuals, groups, and businesses for outstanding work on behalf of the planet and its people, these prizes are often called the Alternative Nobels.
Walden Bello was a key figure in the international movement to restore democracy in the Philippines during the Marcos regime. Since Marcos' fall, Bello has been promoting alternatives to the neoliberal model of development.
Nicanor Perlas was forced to leave the Philippines in 1978 when he organized a conference exposing the dangers of the Marcos-supported Bataan nuclear plant. After Marcos was deposed, Perlas returned and campaigned against abuse of pesticides in agriculture, contributing to the Philippines' ban on 32 of the most damaging pesticides.
The Egyptian company SEKEM, another award winner, developed sustainable, biodynamic farming methods in Egypt. The Korean Citizens' Coalition for Economic Justice (CCEJ) organized the Citizens' Legislative Movement, established an organic farmers network, and successfully campaigned for government transparency laws.
David Lange, former prime minister of New Zealand, received an honorary award for his work in promoting nuclear disarmament.
For more information on the Right Livelihood Awards, visit www.rightlivelihood.se. Walden Bello is aYES!contributing editor.