Diane Wilson

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Diane Wilson
Born (1948-10-17) October 17, 1948 (age 74)
Occupation(s)Activist, author
OrganizationCode Pink
AwardsGoldman Environmental Prize

Diane Wilson (born October 17, 1948)[1] is an American environmental activist, an anti-war activist, and an author. In 1989, she was a shrimp boat captain in Calhoun County, Texas, and she saw an Associated Press article saying that the county had the most toxic waste disposal of all counties in America.[2] Wilson began a campaign against Formosa Plastics, a Taiwanese chemical company then building a PVC (polyvinyl chloride) facility near her town, with tactics including several hunger strikes and sinking her own boat to draw attention to the matter.[2][3][4] In 1994 she won "zero discharge" agreements (meaning no liquid effluent discharge into the environment) from Formosa and Alcoa.[4]

Wilson has also protested at meetings concerning the BP oil spill, as well as protesting in support of victims of the 1984 Bhopal, India, Union Carbide gas leak.[5][6]

She is a co-founder of the anti-war organization CODEPINK.[3]

In 2005 a documentary was made about her, titled Texas Gold. [6][7][8] It won several awards, including "Best Documentary" at the New York City Short Film Festival.[9]

She has received the "Hellraiser of the Month" award from Mother Jones magazine,[6] and a number of other awards, including National Fisherman Magazine Award, Louis Gibbs' Environmental Lifetime Award, Louisiana Environmental Action (LEAN) Environmental Award, Giraffe Project, Jenifer Altman Award and the Bioneers Award.[10]

In 2006, she was honored with the Blue Planet Award from Ethecon Foundation, one of the comparatively very few 'grass-root' foundations[11] for "more than 20 years of commitment to environmental issues, even putting her life at risk."[12]

In 2013, Wilson participated in the movement to close Guantanamo Bay, calling for Obama to release the prisoners that had been declared for release, give the men a fair trial, and end indefinite detention. Most notably, she stood in solidarity with the hunger strikers by fasting on salt and water for 58 days. Her fast ended on June 26, 2013 on International Day in Support of Victims of Torture after jumping the White House fence at a Close Guantanamo protest (with groups including Amnesty International, CODEPINK, Veterans for Peace, and Witness Against Torture) in an attempt to deliver a letter to President Barack Obama.[13] Wilson was charged with unlawful entry and handed over to local authorities.[14]

In 2019, she was a plaintiff to a suit, Waterkeeper v. Formosa, against Formosa Plastics for violations of the Clean Water Act resulting in discharges of pollution along the Texas coast. Along with other volunteers, she collected millions of nurdles that served as evidence in the case. The suit was settled for $50 million in October 2019.[15]

In 2023, Wilson was awarded the Goldman Environmental Prize for North America.[16][17]


  • 2005: Nobody Particular: One Woman's Fight to Save The Bays by Molly Bang (ISBN 978-1931498944)
  • 2006: An Unreasonable Woman: A True Story of Shrimpers, Politicos, Polluters and the Fight for Seadrift, Texas by Diane Wilson (ISBN 978-1-931498-88-3)
  • 2008: Holy Roller: Growing Up in the Church of Knock Down, Drag Out; or, How I Quit Loving a Blue-Eyed Jesus by Diane Wilson (ISBN 978-1933392820)
  • 2011: Diary of an Eco-Outlaw: An Unreasonable Woman Breaks the Law for Mother Earth by Diane Wilson (ISBN 978-1603582155)
  • 2021: The Seed Keeper by Diane Wilson (ISBN 978-1571311375)


  1. ^ "Wilson, Diane, 1948-". LC Linked Data Service. Library of Congress. Retrieved April 24, 2023.
  2. ^ a b "Independent News Media from Columbus, Ohio". The Free Press. Retrieved 2012-08-02.
  3. ^ a b Website by Karakas. "Passion into Action - Diane Wilson". See Jane Do. Archived from the original on 2011-01-15. Retrieved 2012-08-02.
  4. ^ a b "An Unreasonable Woman by Diane Wilson : Reviews". Chelsea Green. Retrieved 2012-08-02.
  5. ^ "Protester Diane Wilson Disrupts Tony Hayward Testimony (Video) - Political Hotsheet". CBS News. Retrieved 2012-08-02.
  6. ^ a b c "Diane Wilson: Champion for Mother Earth". Iowasource.com. Retrieved 2012-08-02.
  7. ^ "Texas Gold Documentary: Synopsis". Texasgoldmovie.com. 2005-10-03. Retrieved 2012-08-02.
  8. ^ http://www.texasgoldmovie.com/pdf/texasgoldpressrelease.pdf[bare URL PDF]
  9. ^ "TEXAS GOLD: Award Winning Documentary about Diane Wilson". Texasgoldmovie.com. Retrieved 2012-08-02.
  10. ^ "Our Chelsea Green Authors : Diane Wilson". Chelsea Green Publishing. Retrieved 2013-04-04.
  11. ^ "What do Hugo Chavez, Vandana Shiva, and Diane Wilson Have In Common?". Chelsea Green Publishing. September 14, 2009. Archived from the original on April 15, 2010. Retrieved July 10, 2015.
  12. ^ "Justification of the Blue Planet Award 2006". ethecon - Stiftung Ethik & Ökonomie. 2007. Retrieved 2013-04-05.
  13. ^ "Scaling the White House fence to close Guantánamo". wagingnonviolence.org. 2013. Retrieved 2013-08-13.
  14. ^ "HuffPost - Breaking News, U.S. And World News". HuffPost.
  15. ^ "No More Nurdles? Formosa's Agreement to Stop Pumping Plastics Into Lavaca Bay Is Historic". Texas Monthly. 2019. Retrieved 2020-08-19.
  16. ^ "Introducing the 2023 Goldman Environmental Prize Winners". Goldman Environmental Prize. April 24, 2023. Retrieved April 24, 2023.
  17. ^ Lakhani, Nina (April 24, 2023). "2023 Goldman environmental prize winners include Texas Gulf coast defender". The Guardian. Retrieved April 24, 2023.

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