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Richard Goldman sees his six "environmental heroes" of 1992 in what some might consider a contradictory context.

The grass-roots winners of the 1992 Goldman Environmental Prize are tapped as individuals who have made a major contribution to saving the planet. The message: One person can make a big difference. Yet Mr. Goldman, chairman of an independent insurance brokerage firm in San Francisco and that city's new chief of protocol, is quick to admit that all efforts to save the environment are related. The success of one project often hinges on the success of others.

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"The environmental challenge seems to be one thing that is bringing this world closer together," he says.

It is the third year for the prizes, which are awarded in San Francisco. One winner each is chosen from the world's six inhabited continents. They are nominated by 18 environmental organizations and a confidential panel of environmental experts from more than 25 nations.

Winners, in addition to the two profiled on this page, include Christine Jean of France, cited for her efforts to protect the upper Loire River from dams; Jeton Anjain of the Marshall Islands, who led the evacuation of his community from the Rongelap Atoll, which was contaminated by fallout from a 1954 US hydrogen bomb test; Carlos Alberto Ricardo of Brazil, a pioneer in linking human rights and environmental protection; and Wadja Mathieu Egankou of the Ivory Coast, for his efforts to protect fast-disapp earing coastal mangrove forests.

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