lake-baikal.jpgConcerned with Russian plans to route a major oil pipeline within 900 yards of pristine Lake Baikal, a woman led thousands of people into the streets; collected over 20,000 petition signatures; and summoned flash mobs to pass out cloudy bottles of water to raise awareness. The pipeline was subsequently rerouted and the woman today is in San Francisco to receive the 2008 Goldman Environmental Prize, along with 6 other activists. The Chrisitan Science Monitor tells Marina Rikhvanov’s story. (Thanks to Steve G. for submitting the link.)

Baikal, also known as the “Blue Eye of Siberia”,  is the world’s oldest and deepest — and largest — freshwater lake, home to more than 1,700 species of plants and animals, two thirds of which can be found nowhere else in the world.

Another of the 2008 Goldman Environmental Prize winners is the founder of Belgium’s first national park (nestled among abandoned coal mines). The park’s creation provided an innovative example for how to finance protected areas — using economic development money rather than the smaller pool of conservation money. A conservationist son of a miner, Ignace Schops “dreamed up the plan over beers and says eco-tourism has given a boost to a region scarred by the loss of its traditional mining industry.” (Get that story at Reuters) Read more to learn about the five other winners being honored…

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