“They’re trying to make our area a sacrifice zone,” she told Bloomberg of the petrochemical industry and state and local officials who support it. “They’re killing Black people with guns and stuff, and with us, they’re killing us with poison in the air and in our water. It’s still a killing.”

Lavigne was awarded what is often described as the “Green Nobel” for North America; winners in other regions were honored for their work on a range of issues, including deforestation, coal power plants, and toxic pollution. “I’m doing this to save our community. I’m doing this to breathe clean air and drink clean water. I wasn’t looking for recognition,” Lavigne told the New Orleans Advocate. “I had no idea people could win awards for this.”

Courtesy of Goldman Environmental Prize

Sources: Lavigne: E&E $, The AdvocateBloomberg $, Louisiana IlluminatorThe GuardianInsiderNational Catholic ReporterInsider; Other winners: Thomson Reuters Foundation