Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Voices for the Voiceless

The Goldman Prize is an international award for environmental activism and achievement, a sort of Nobel Prize for the earth-care set. I'm always interested to see who wins and for what causes. The Goldman is the world's largest award honoring grassroots environmental activists and there are six recipients each year.
Leng Ouch is one of the 2016 winners this year, and he is from Cambodia.  He went undercover to document illegal logging in Cambodia and exposed the corruption robbing rural communities of their land, causing the government to cancel large land concessions. Cambodia is a dangerous place for activists of any kind, and he has admitted that he's surprised to have lived to receive the prize.
We may think of environmentalists as earnest Birkenstockers who care about the planet but don't really get the way the world works. The opposite is the case for so many, as they take on polluters and destroyers with great courage.
Last month a Goldman recipient from last year, Berta Caceres, was killed. Berta was a Honduran indigenous and environmental rights campaigner and she was murdered  a week after she was threatened for opposing a hydroelectric project. You may recall that I wrote about Caceres and the description of her as an environmental martyr in a Roman Catholic publication.
I hope we can be prayerfully aware of those who are fearless and tireless on behalf of people who are often downtrodden, and like the Earth itself, without a voice. We must mourn those who are senselessly murdered for their prophetic actions. They deserve to be honoured, and they also deserve to live.

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