The Goldman Environmental Prize is the world’s largest prize for grassroots environmentalists. Informally known as the “Green Nobel,” the Goldman is awarded to six environmental heroes each year – one from each inhabited continent – with a cash prize of $150,000.

For 2009 - the prize's 20th anniversary - Goldman has used Google Earth to illustrate the environmental issues being addressed by this year’s winners. The Goldman Prize layer and tour narrated by Robert Redford, available on the Goldman Prize Web site and the Google Earth Outreach showcase include images, videos and information about the Prize winners.

The 2009 Goldman Prize winners, announced on April 19, include a mom from West Virginia who is taking on the U.S. coal industry, and a Bangladeshi lawyer who is cleaning up the perilous ship breaking industry. Learn about the 2009 winners on the Google Earth layer, and look for details on all 133 Goldman winners to become available in 2009.

Previous winners have been at the center of some of the world’s most pressing environmental challenges, including seeking justice for victims of environmental disasters at Love Canal and Bhopal, India; leading the fight for dolphin-safe tuna and fighting oil drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge.

Since receiving a Goldman Prize, eight winners have been appointed or elected to national office in their countries. The 1991 Goldman Prize winner for Africa, Wangari Maathai, won the 2004 Nobel Peace Prize.