Evgenia Chirikova, an engineer and a mother of two, moved her family from the heavily urbanized city of Moscow to its northern suburbs to be closer to the Khimki forests, known as the green lungs of Moscow. However, the Russian government’s plans to construct a highway from Moscow to St. Petersburg became public, a proposal which would greatly affect the Khimki forests, Chirikova began her career as a grassroots activist. She successfully gathered a crowd of 5,000 people and garnered 50,000 signatures to protect the forest. Despite the highly volatile political reaction as a consequence of Chirikova’s activism, Chirikova and her colleagues managed to convince the European Bank of Reconstruction and Development and the European Investment Bank, major financiers of the highway, to withdraw their support from the project. Photo credit: The Goldman Environmental Prize