Maria Gunnoe

Maria Gunnoe, Community Organizer and 2009 Goldman Prize Winner

We’re sacrificing part of the people in the United States to keep everyone else comfortable. That’s just unsustainable.

Maria Gunnoe has never considered giving up the fight. When mountaintop removal began in the 1970’s, Maria was a little girl, growing up on land purchased by her grandfather. She wasn't looking for a battle, but the industry threatened her property. Gunnoe responded by organizing her neighbors against coal interests, eventually halting construction of a new mine. Gunnoe learned firsthand the risks of standing up to powerful coal interests: she and her family received numerous threats to their property and safety.

Gunnoe is featured in the 2008 documentary film Burning the Future: Coal in America, the 2007 documentary film Mountain Top Removal, and the 2011 documentary film The Last Mountain. In 2009 Gunnoe received the Goldman Environmental Prize.

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