International Women’s Day: Remember Berta Caceres

 

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Source: Goldman Environmental Prize

Please take a minute to read about Berta Caceres—a woman, an activist, a mother, an environmentalist, a leader, and so much more—who was murdered on March 3 in Honduras. Ms. Caceres founded the Civic Council of Popular and Indigenous Organizations of Honduras (COPINH) , an organization and movement representing 200 Lenca communities in the western Honduran states of Intibuca, Lempira, La Paz, and Santa Barbara. She fought for and died defending indigenous peoples’ territories, rights and way of life against corporate-driven, state-sanctioned efforts to seize control of and profit from the earth’s natural resources.

Make no mistake, Ms. Caceres’ death was not a random act of crime and is not an isolated incident. All over the world, entire communities are being violently displaced by private enterprises seeking to profit from consumer-driven demand for raw materials—timber from forests; hydropower from rivers; minerals and metals for consumer electronics; fossil fuels; land for sugar, palm oil, biofuels and other agricultural commodities. And women like Berta are literally giving their lives fighting back.

Ms. Caceres’ life and death are not exotic, far-away events from which we can separate and distance ourselves. We are all part of an unsustainable consumer-driven global economy that is aided and abetted by unfair laws and policies, trade rules, monetary policy, and our own lifestyles.

I know no one likes a lecture, but I’m sick of having to measure my words for fear of insulting peoples’ sense of entitlement to consume as much as they desire without acknowledging the true human, environmental, and social costs of their choices.

Learn more:

Berta Caceres, environmental activist murdered, The Guardian

WoMin: African Women Unite Against Destructive Resource Extraction

The Global Land Grab – A Primer

2015 podcast by Liz Ford for The Guardian newspaper on women human rights defenders

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