Indigenous Women Win Green Nobel

April 15, 2003

Friends of the Earth Australia has today welcomed the award of a major international environment prize to senior Aboriginal women from northern South Australia for their efforts to stop radioactive waste dumping on their traditional lands.

The Goldman Award for the Environment is considered the ?green Nobel prize and is given annually to grassroots environmental heroes from six geographic areas: Africa, Asia, Europe, Islands and Island Nations, North America, and South and Central America.

Aboriginal elders Eileen Kampakuta Brown and Eileen Wani Wingfield from the "Kupa Piti Kungka Tjuta" (Senior Aboriginal Women from Coober Pedy) are at the forefront of the campaign to block construction of a nuclear waste dump in their South Australian desert homeland. The dump is being pushed by the Federal Government as part of its move to construct a new nuclear reactor in Sydney.

Since the British nuclear bomb tests of the 1950s, South Australia¹s traditional Aboriginal homelands have been one of the testing and dumping grounds for the world¹s nuclear industry, causing asthma, birth defects and cancer as well as poisoning the environment and wildlife. Now, Mrs Brown and Mrs Wingfield are leading their communities in an international campaign to say "Irati Wanti" ? "the poison, leave it. "

The Kungkas are joined by an Appalachian woman defending her West Virginia (USA) community against the devastating practice of mountaintop removal coal mining. Sometimes called "strip mining on steroids" this destructive technique is ravaging communities, turning river valleys into mining waste dumps, driving up asthma rates and forcing whole communities to abandon their homes.

Mrs Brown and Mrs Wingfield are among three winners of the Goldman Award who were nominated by Friends of the Earth groups, the world's largest grassroots environmental network.

"Friends of the Earth are proud to be involved with this prize and with the campaign to oppose the imposition of radioactive waste dumps. The Federal Government's plan is unnecessary and unacceptable, that message is being increasingly heard around the country and around the world," said Friends of the Earth¹s nuclear campaigner Bruce Thompson.

For more information contact:

Bruce Thompson
Ph: 0417 318 368

Loretta O¹Brien
Ph: 0418 178 053

Nina Brown
Ph:0439 450 613

Eve Vincent
Ph:0439 412 219
Kupa Piti Kungka Tjuta - www. iratiwanti.org

Lucy Farmer
The Goldman Environmental Prize
Ph:0403 869 905
Website: www. goldmanprize.org