A Brazilian engineer fighting the destruction of the Amazon jungles, a Malaysian environmental group and a British specialist in housing for the poor Tuesday won the $100,000 Right Livelihood Award, sometimes called the "alternative Nobel prize."
An honorary award, which carries no cash prize, went to Denmark's Inge Kemp Genefke, founder and director of the International Rehabilitation and Research Center for Torture Victims, for her work "to help those whose lives have been shattered by torture."The award was established in 1980 by Swedish-German philanthropist Baron Jakob von Uexkull to encourage practical solutions to everyday problems.
Von Uexkull sold a stamp collection to finance an initial $500,000 endowment for the annual prizes. They will be awarded in the Swedish parliament on Dec. 9, the eve of the Nobel prize ceremonies in Stockholm and Oslo, Norway.
The 10-member jury includes von Uexkull, Norwegian explorer Thor Heyerdahl, former Costa Rican President Rodrigo Carazo and Robert Muller, a former U.N. assistant secretary general.
The 1988 winners were Brazil's Jose Lutzenberger, the Friends of the Earth group fighting the logging industry in the Malaysian province of Sarawak, and John Turner, a London architect and author of self-help programs for Third World housing development.
Von Uexkull told a news conference that the award had "gained recognition" since it was introduced and had helped draw attention to environmental issues.
The cash stipend, which the winners will share, is for specific projects and not for personal use, according to the Right Livelihood Foundation.
Von Uexkull created the prize because he believed the Nobel prizes had become too specialized and removed from issues concerning everyone.
He said this year the winners were chosen from among 92 nominations, which can be submitted by anyone.
The foundation cited Lutzenberger as "the father of the environmental movement in Brazil" who has launched soil regeneration projects and encourged posion-free agriculture.
His criticism of projects funded by the World Bank raised an environmental awareness into the bank's activities in Brazil and elsewhere, the foundation said.
In Malaysia, Sahabat Alam, or The Friends of the Earth, was recognized for its conflict with the authorities over the deforestation in Sarawak.
John Turner, born in 1927, was honored for encouraging "the freedom of communities to plan, build and manage their hown housing."