2021 Goldman Environmental Prizewinner Gloria Majiga-Kamoto, Pure Earth, Tompkins County’s Climate Protection Initiative

by | Aug 26, 2021 | Podcasts, The Climate Daily

Tompkins County climate protection initiative, plus Pure Earth coming on strong. More on the Goldman Environmental Prize, and introducing Goldman Environmental Prizewinner, Gloria Majiga-Kamoto.




Just a quick coda to yesterday’s very special edition of The Climate Daily, spotlighting the city of Ithaca, New York. Ithaca is part of New York State’s Tompkins County. Back in 2008, it formed the  Tompkins County Climate Protection Initiative. Established in 2008, it’s a clean energy coalition of local community leaders who are committed to the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions, greater energy efficiency, and the adoption of renewable energy.

TCCPI has three major goals:

  1. Facilitate implementation of a common strategy, target, and timetable for achieving significant reductions in greenhouse gas emissions in the County and City of Ithaca.
  2. Create a peer-to-peer mentoring network that provides mutual support among the participants in addressing the problems and challenges involved in meeting the climate goals of the County and City. 
  1. Support development of the tools necessary for the community to monitor its progress through effective data collection and analysis, thus promoting transparency and accountability.

 Makes you wonder why every other county in NY State and the other 49 STATES haven’t caught up yet? 




Founded in 1999, Pure Earth is a New York City-based international not-for-profit organization that works to identify, clean up, and solve pollution problems in low- and middle-income countries, where high concentrations of toxic pollution have devastating health impacts, especially on children. 

Why report about a non-profit dedicated to identifying and solving pollution problems in low and middle income countries where high concentrations of toxic pollution have devastating impacts, especially on children? Because of climate change. Toxic pollution contributes to climate change in two ways. With toxic water pollution, chemicals kill off marine life, which lessens biodiversity, which the planet requires to be healthy and stave off the negative effects of humans. Toxic air pollution is most often some type of GHG, which is the reason for climate change.

So by Pure Earth fighting for the children, it’s also fighting for well, a pure Earth. It’s simple, like their mission: Reduce pollution. Save lives. Protect the planet. The folks at Pure Earth do that through their global projects, Toxic Sites Identification program and a global mercury program, too.

Since 1999, Pure Earth has completed 110 pilot projects in 27 countries, impacting 4.2 million lives. In addition, Pure Earth spearheaded a landmark pollution report published in 2017 in the world-renowned medical journal, The Lancet, which released new data on the health and economic impacts of pollution as well as the solutions.

DEEPER DIVE: PureEarth, Daily Star, Best Magazine



The Goldman Environmental Prize honors grassroots environmental heroes from roughly the world’s six inhabited continental regions: Africa, Asia, Europe, Islands & Island Nations, North America, and South & Central America. The Prize recognizes individuals for sustained and significant efforts to protect and enhance the natural environment, often at great personal risk.

The Goldman Prize views “grassroots” leaders as those involved in local efforts, where positive change is created through community or citizen participation. Through recognizing these individual leaders, the Prize seeks to inspire other ordinary people to take extraordinary actions to protect the natural world.

The Goldman Environmental Prize recipients are selected by an international jury from confidential nominations submitted by a global group of environmental organizations and individuals. 

You mean other than– The Goldman Prize amplifies the voices of these grassroots leaders and provides them with:

  •   International recognition that enhances their credibility
  •   Worldwide visibility for the issues they champion
  •   Financial support to pursue their vision of a renewed and protected environment
  •   Capacity building support to deepen the efficiency of their work
  •   Networking, learning, and connection with other grassroots leaders?…

 DEEPER DIVE: Goldman Environmental Prize, GPB.org



Gloria Majiga-Kamoto never intended to lead an environmental revolution in Malawi. Her focus was on agriculture, and helping farmers adapt to climate change in one of the most vulnerable countries in the world due to drought and other impacts. But during her time on farms, an even more immediate concern became unavoidable: A tidal wave of plastic trash covering the landscape.

Majiga-Kamoto, 30, is a program officer for the Centre for Environmental Policy and Advocacy. Her work for the NGO has focused on climate change, natural resources, and mining in Malawi. Observing the crisis around plastic pollution and waste, Majiga-Kamoto opted to work toward a plastic ban on her own time, outside of the scope—and compensation—of her job.

In 2015, feeling pressure from environmental activists’ concern regarding the government’s waste management strategy, Malawi’s government imposed a national ban on the production, distribution, and importation of thin plastics. 

In 2017, Majiga-Kamoto realized that the government was not taking action to reinstate the plastics ban, and formed a coalition of activists and NGOs to compel the government toward reimplementation. With the coalition, she advocated for the ban in the news media and among journalists, documented livestock killed by plastic consumption, drew affected farmers into the campaign, and brought on a public interest lawyer to join the case.

After unrelenting public pressure from Majiga-Kamoto’s campaign, on July 31, 2019, Malawi’s High Court ruled in favor of the enforcement of the ban on the production, importation, distribution, and use of thin plastics. With this ruling, the government is authorized to impose financial penalties on companies and close factories producing thin plastics.

For her dedicated campaigning and advocacy work, Gloria is a 2021 GOLDMAN ENVIRONMENTAL PRIZE WINNER.  This is the first Prize for Malawi.

DEEPER DIVE: Gloria Majiga-Kamoto, Quartz Africa, Wikipedia