When the Ukranian government began to construct a canal between the Danube River and the Black Sea without public notice, young lawyer Olya Melen led the charge to protect the fragile wetland ecosystems of the Danube Delta. The Delta is part of a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve, rich in biodiversity and natural resources. Using Ukraine’s commitment to various international conventions as a legal weapon, Melen proved that the Environmental Impact Assessment of the project was inadequate and illegal in Ukraine’s court. Photo credit: Goldman Environmental Prize