Photo: Earth Day 2013 - Nohra Padilla
As the U.S. joins others countries around the world celebrating Earth Day 2013 today, Colombia is celebrating one of their country’s great informal environmentalists, Nohra Padilla.
Padilla just received the Goldman Environmental Prize which honors “environmental heroes” around the world. The prize is considered the world’s largest prize honoring grassroots environmentalists.
Padilla is tackling the issue of city dumps and the overflow of garbage in Bogota. She is an advocate for Colombia’s “waste pickers” that pick through trash piles as a means of survival. Padilla knows first hand the hardships and health hazards being a “waster picker” bring – she and her 11 siblings did it so the family could eat.
‘Waster pickers’ in Colombia are an informal army of recyclers that keep toxic recyclables out of landfills and help reduce the powerful greenhouse gases compostable garbage creates.
Padilla organized ‘waster pickers’ into cooperatives of recyclers representing some 3,000 informal recyclers in Bogota and 12,000 throughout Colombia. Thanks to this Earth Day hero all new waste management contracts in the country require hiring ‘waster pickers’.
To do your part on Earth Day 2013, you can take action by volunteering, attend an Earth Day event, or more importantly commit to protecting the planet in your own way.