The Right Livelihood Award was established in 1980 to honour and support those “offering practical and exemplary answers to the most urgent challenges facing us today.” It has become widely known as the ‘Alternative Nobel Prize.’
The 2009 Right Livelihood Award goes to four recipients, including David Suzuki, who receives the Honorary Award “for his lifetime advocacy of the socially responsible use of science and for his massive contribution to raising awareness about the perils of climate change and building public support for policies to address it.” David Suzuki is one of the most brilliant scientists, and communicators about science, of his generation. Through his books and broadcasts, which have touched millions of people around the world, he has stressed the dangers, as well as the benefits, of scientific research and technological development. He has campaigned tirelessly for social responsibility in science. For the past 20 years, he has been informing the world about the grave threat to humanity of climate change and about how it can be reduced.
The three other recipients are René Ngongo (Democratic Republic of Congo), honoured “for his courage in confronting the forces that are destroying the Congo’s rainforests and building political support for their conservation and sustainable use;” Alyn Ware (New Zealand), recognized “for his effective and creative advocacy and initiatives over two decades to further peace education and to rid the world of nuclear weapons;” Catherine Hamlin (Ethiopia), awarded “for her 50 years dedicated to treating obstetric fistula patients, thereby restoring the health, hope and dignity of thousands of Africa’s poorest women.”