EARTHblog » Payal Sampat
By Payal Sampat
July 5, 2012
What is going on in Peru?
On July 4, riot police in Peru surrounded Father Marco Arana, a Catholic priest and human rights and environmental activist, as he sat peacefully on a bench Cajamarca’s town square. The police officers proceeded to kick, punch and beat Father Marco, forcing him to the ground and surrounding him – all of which was captured on cell phone video cameras and immediately posted online. He was then arrested and forcibly taken to the police station, where we learned through his Twitter feed, he continued to be beaten and brutalized.
By Payal Sampat
April 16, 2012
Today is a red-letter day for grassroots mining activists around the world: Fr. Edwin Gariguez is awarded the 2012 Goldman Environmental Prize for his work to stop irresponsible mining development on Mindoro Island in the Philippines. I’m looking forward to seeing Fr. Edwin receive his award at the San Francisco Opera House this evening, along with 5 other amazing Prize recipients from around the world. (By the way, if you can’t be there, make sure you watch this video clip about Fr. Edwin, narrated by Robert Redford.)
Fr. Edu, as he is affectionately known, is being recognized by the Goldman Prize for working to defend the Indigenous communities and biological diversity of Mindoro from a giant nickel mine proposed by Intex, a Norwegian mining company. The mine would be built in two key biodiversity areas, and within one of Mindoro’s major watersheds, which provides drinking and irrigation water to many lowland communities. If developed, the nickel mine would destroy vast swaths of tropical forests, and would produce several million tons of toxic waste. Mindoro’s Mangyan Indigenous communities would also be hurt by the mine, as the proposed mining area is within their ancestral land. As Fr. Edu has said, “For the indigenous Mangyan people living on Mindoro Island, the struggle to protect our threatened ecology is a matter of survival.”