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The Right Livelihood Awards presentation

The Right Livelihood Awards presentation
Swedish Parliament
6pm Friday 4 Dec
Acceptance speeches at

Quotes from Rightlivelihood Award Laureates
David Suzuki (Canada), René Ngongo (Congo), Alyn Ware (New Zealand), Catherine Hamlin (Ethiopia/Australia)

David Suzuki:
"Human beings have very suddenly become a global force, affecting the physical, chemical and biological features of the planet on a geological scale. But for most of human existence, we were a local tribal animal. We have no mechanism to respond to crises as a single species. Our borders and boundaries make no ecological sense.

We have compounded the problem by setting the economy (a human-created system) above the principles and conditions of sustainability dictated by the biosphere (a natural system). So we have partied as if there is no tomorrow, using things up and throwing them away without regard to the future. Well, the party's over and we have to sober up, clean up our mess, assess our situation and get on with acting for a future."

René Ngongo:
"One of the key players when it comes to the prospects of survival of our worlds’ rainforests is the World Bank – which I together with colleagues from other organisations address today in an open letter. (available at

In my country, World Bank sponsored forest reforms could result in more support for the logging industry under the guise of so-called 'sustainable management'. The Bank should instead promote alternatives that benefit the Congolese people and the global climate.

Climate change is the biggest threat our planet has to face right now. The world must act now – if not, we risk to suffer from growing and irreversible disturbances that will exceed our capacities to adapt. We expect from the leaders who will soon meet in Copenhagen to take appropriate measures based on concrete and scientific evidence and binding commitments in order to reduce greenhouse gas emissions."

Alyn Ware:
"The Berlin wall fell 20 years ago. Yet we still have a wall of 20,000 nuclear weapons dividing us and threatening our security. It is time to tear down this wall.

We have an historic opportunity provided by President Obama who has put forward a vision for a nuclear-weapons-free world. We should not be too critical that he has not yet put forward a comprehensive plan on how to achieve this vision. We have put forward such a plan - a Nuclear Weapons Convention or draft treaty on the prohibition an elimination of nuclear weapons - now being circulated by the United Nations.

We can assist in realising President Obama's vision by moving our governments to start work now to achieve a Nuclear Weapons Convention. We don't have to wait until every country agrees. Like as happened with the Landmines Convention and the Cluster Munitions Convention, preparatory work and even preliminary negotiations could start with a core group of like-minded governments supported by civil society. Such leadership would build political momentum and put pressure on the hold-out governments to join."

Catherine Hamlin:
* Due to medical reasons, Dr Hamlin was unfortunately not able to come to Stockholm and is therefore represented by Annette Bennett and Matron Ejigayheu from the Fistula Hospital. The following citation is, however, hers.

"If there are three burdens in life that we seek to avoid, it is pain, physical discomfort and social exclusion. Obstetric fistula is a life-long condition that produces all three in the same individual and in millions of women world-wide.

If the Right Livelihood Award is an award for personal courage and social transformation, perhaps it should be awarded to each woman in Ethiopia, or elsewhere, who resolves to make a long journey to a remote and unfamiliar hospital where her courage is further tested by medical operations on parts of her body normally private. Medical success is always a wonderful reward for a doctor, but the social transformation resulting from a woman's personal struggle is an award that only she has earned."

Anniversary Conference in Bonn, Germany, Sept 2010

On the occasion of the 30th Anniversary of the Right Livelihood Awards, the City of Bonn invites all Laureates to a conference from September 15-18, 2010. Jakob von Uexkull, Founder and Chairman of the Right Livelihood Award Foundation, said at the press conference:
"For the 30th time, this prize has brought together four outstanding individuals. I have always regarded this award as a shared award, because today, our problems are global and inter-connected, and so must be our solutions. Thus, it is my pleasure to announce that next September, all Laureates - from 1980 to 2009 - will be invited to Bonn, Germany. For 30 years, our Laureates have warned about the effects of our current course of development in many fields, and highlighted viable alternatives. We hope that this conference will be a wake-up call, and an inspiration, for a profound change of course in order to secure our common future."

More information at

Founded in 1980, the Right Livelihood Awards are presented for the 30th time this year. The total prize money is EUR 150,000. 82 candidates from 46 countries were proposed for the Right Livelihood Awards this year, whereof 36 come from industrialized and 46 from "developing" countries.

Video (broadcast quality, free to use) supporting this press releases is available at


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