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The idea of 'right livelihood' is an ancient one. It embodies the principle that each person should follow an honest occupation, which fully respects other people and the natural world. It means being responsible for the consequences of our actions and taking only a fair share of the earth's resources.
In every generation, there are groups of people and individuals around the globe who valiantly uphold these principles of right livelihood. They should be the stars in our human cosmos; instead their work often entails personal sacrifice, being opposed by powerful forces around them. The Right Livelihood Award exists to honour and support such people.
Or in the words of our Laureates...
"Conservation of diversity is, above all, the commitment to let alternatives flourish in society and nature, in economic systems and in knowledge systems. Cultivating and conserving diversity is no luxury in our times. It is a survival imperative, and the precondition for the freedom of all, the big and the small."
Vandana Shiva, India (RLA 1993)
"We are the ancestors of our grandchildren's children. We look after them, just as our ancestors look after us. We aren't here for ourselves. We are here for each other and for the children of our grandchildren."
Roy Sesana, Botswana (RLA 2005)
"People often ask me why I have become engaged in so many issues and causes, and why I take so many risks in doing so. With all the problems we face today, for me it is more a question of whether I can afford not to be involved. (...)
There is so much each one of us can do to make a difference."
Bianca Jagger, Nicaragua (RLA 2004)
"The Right Livelihood Award aims to help the North find a wisdom to match its science, and the South to find a science to match its ancient wisdom."