Environmental Heroes Ask World Leaders to Take Risk on Behalf of Humanity

What would you do, personally, to defend life on the planet we call home? Would you dedicate your life to the future of life on earth? Would you risk your own life for the lives of others? Few people make these great sacrifices. We call them heroes. Maybe you are part of a larger group of environmentalists who conserve resources and vote for candidates who support environmental protection. Do you hold your leaders accountable?

Will you demand that your president attend the international Rio+20 Earth Summit and represent future generations, not just our own?

Today, on World Environment Day, A total of 107 Goldman Prize winners from around the globe, modern-day environmental heroes, representing a broad spectrum of activism on behalf of sustainable life on our precious planet, have added their names to a statement demanding their leaders attend the Rio + 20 Earth Summit. All have taken great personal risks to protect the environment, often facing arrest, torture, violent threats and assassination attempts along the way. Now they are asking their leaders to take the simple political risk of showing up at The Rio + 20 Earth Summit and acting on behalf of all humanity. Their statement released today begins:

We are the recipients of the Goldman Environmental Prize. We have been threatened. We have been tortured. We have been jailed. We have died from industrial toxins in our blood. We have been killed.

We are the recipients for the Goldman Environmental Prize. We are from 81 countries. We are grassroots activists. We are national ambassadors. We are indigenous people. We are environment ministers. We are women. We are men. We are elders. We are youth.

For over two decades the Goldman Environmental Prize has honored individuals for the great risks we take to protect the environment. Now we ask you to take a risk. Attend the Earth Summit in Rio and lead us into action.

The complete letter can be viewed here.

The statement recognizes that much of the progress achieved in environmental protection since the original Earth Summit in 1992 came from the grassroots level, but that there is now a pressing need for leadership at the government level to rise to the challenge of climate change and sustainable development.

Signatories to the open letter, addressed to government leaders around the world, include:

• Alexander Nikitin (Russia, 1997), a former naval captain who was jailed on treason charges for revealing the environmental threats behind Russia's decommissioned nuclear submarines;

Medha Patkar (India, 1992) who has been repeatedly beaten and arrested during protests against environmentally destructive redevelopment projects; and

Marina Silva (Brazil, 1996), former Brazilian environment minister who, despite the assassination of her close colleague Chico Mendes, led demonstrations with rubber tappers to protect tropical forests in the Amazon.

About the Goldman Environmental Prize

The Goldman Environmental Prize was established in 1989 by late San Francisco civic leaders and philanthropists Richard and Rhoda Goldman. Prize winners are selected by an international jury from confidential nominations submitted by a worldwide network of environmental organizations and individuals. For additional information visit this site.

About The Rio + 20 Earth Summit

The Rio + 20 Earth Summit is a gathering of world leaders, along with thousands of participants from governments, the private sector, NGOs and other groups, assembled to shape how we can reduce poverty, advance social equity and ensure environmental protection on an ever more crowded planet to get to the future we want.

Also referred to as "The United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development" (UNCSD), the summit is being organized in pursuance of United Nations General Assembly Resolution 64/236 (A/RES/64/236), and will take place in Brazil on 20-22 June 2012 to mark the 20th anniversary of the 1992 United Nations Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED), in Rio de Janeiro, and the 10th anniversary of the 2002 World Summit on Sustainable Development (WSSD) in Johannesburg.

See this site and this site for more information.

Demand that your Leader Participate in the Rio + 20 Earth Summit

To see if the leader of your nation has committed to attending the Rio + 20 Earth Summit, visit this site where you can also ask him or her to attend and take action on behalf of sustainable life on this planet.

And to watch a beautiful video about life on planet earth and some heroes who have lost their lives defending our environment for us, click here.