Washington, D.C.-- Speaker Nancy Pelosi delivered remarks at a luncheon in the Capitol today to recognize the recipients of the 2010 Goldman Environmental Prize. The prize honors international grassroots heroes who make sustained and significant efforts to protect and enhance the natural environment. Below are the Speaker's remarks as prepared for delivery:
“It is a pleasure to join you to honor the champions of our environment, our planet, and our future with the 21st annual Goldman Environmental Prize.
“This opportunity is possible because of Richard Goldman - who celebrated his 90th birthday last week - and his late wife, Rhoda: passionate leaders for environmental justice here and around the world.
“It is an honor to welcome Richard and Rhoda's children: John, Douglas, Susan, Lisa, and Michael - the next generation of leaders at the Foundation; ready to ensure that the extraordinary achievements of those working on behalf of our environment are recognized.
“I'd like to acknowledge all of my House and Senate colleagues in attendance, and to thank the Sierra Club and Conservation Fund for their continued assistance in arranging this event.
“As we mark the 40th anniversary of Earth Day today, we gather to salute men and women who put the message of environmental leadership into action every day.
“They don't live in any single nation or city; they haven't sought recognition or accolades for their work.
“But they share a common cause: preserving and protecting our planet. They are bound by the same calling: to do what's right for our environment and our future.
“And today, they have come together to receive the Goldman Prize: recognition of their courage and conviction to act in their local communities - and serve the global community. In the United States and around the world, these six leaders have taken on some of our most pressing environmental challenges.
“In taking action, they became heroes to their neighbors and their fellow citizens.
“In rural Michigan, Lynn Henning has faced down polluters and led the charge for her community's right to clean water and a healthy environment.
“Thuli Makama, Swaziland's only environmental attorney, has helped ensure environmental progress via the courtroom, winning a landmark case to improve conversation and fighting to protect poor communities.
“In Cambodia, Vathana Tuy has organized her community to protect the local elephant population.
“In Poland, Malgorzata Gorska has galvanized support for one of Europe's last true wilderness areas.
“In Costa Rica, Randall Arauz made his country a global model for shark protection.
“In Cuba, Humberto Rios Labrada has made sustainable agriculture a way of life - working to make agricultural chemical dependence a thing of the past.
“These six individuals are defenders of our natural resources, protectors of our air, water, and land, and stewards of future generations. Their work inspires people around the world to no longer stand idly by in the face of threats to God's beautiful creation.
“Their achievements must continue to spur action by governments everywhere - including right here in Congress, where creating a clean energy economy and combating climate change remain our flagship issues.
“Last year, we promised action on our energy agenda. The House delivered, passing the American Clean Energy and Security Act to create 1.7 million jobs, reduce our dangerous dependence on foreign oil, and cut the pollution that causes global warming.
“Now, our colleagues in the Senate are working to pass clean energy legislation, and I look forward to working with them to complete this bill and send it to the President's desk.
“Because of the work of this year's Goldman Prize winners, communities, countries, and the world are better off.
“If we follow in their footsteps - if we have the courage to live up to their example - we, too, can make a difference for the environment, for health, for justice, and for a better life.”