Alfred Brownell is a Liberian environmental activist and lawyer.
Alfred Brownell is a Liberian environmental activist and lawyer. He has advocated for more than two decades to protect native forests and human rights in West Africa. Alfred founded Liberia’s first environmental law non-governmental organization, called Green Advocates International (GAI). Alfred also co-established the Alliance for Rural Democracy, the largest solidarity movement in Liberia consisting of local communities, especially women dependent on land and natural resources. At the regional level, he collaborated with activists in several West African countries and co-founded one of West Africa’s largest solidarity movements - the Mano River Union Civil Society Natural Resources Rights and Governance Platform. This organisation consists of activists, communities, and indigenous peoples in eight of the fifteen West African countries most affected by the operations of transnational corporations. Alfred and his GAI team documented the intimidation and harassment of community members, the destruction of forest land and homes, and the desecration of graves and sacred sites. He worked to file complaints with a global certification organization, the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil, which called for a halt on development of the land for palm oil industry. Subsequently, Alfred’s family members were arrested and he was attacked, which forced him to flee the country. After leaving Liberia, he became Distinguished Scholar in Residence at Northeastern University School of Law. He is Currently Visiting Human Rights Fellow at Yale University. In 2019, Alfred won the Goldman Environmental Prize, also called the “Green Nobel,” for his work protecting more than 500,000 acres of tropical forest threatened by palm oil corporations.