After the capture and conviction of community leader Bernardo Caal, his family, comprised of women, inherited the social movement that is fighting against a hydroelectric plant that diverted the river that supplies water to their community in Guatemala.
In 2018, the largest hydroelectric project in Colombia, Hidroituango, was on the verge of collapsing because the mountain caved in, and the Cauca River threatened to create an apocalyptic flood. This crisis is paralleled by another story: that of the women who lived on the banks of the Cauca and organized to oppose the project for a decade.
Guadalupe Ramírez is a woman who comes from the clouds. The strength with which she defends her territory is comparable to that of the wind from the Isthmus of Tehuantepec, the Oaxacan region in the south of Mexico she inhabits and defends.
In the midst of defending ancestral territories and caring for family, many indigenous leaders are the last in line for their own rights. Their bodies, the first territory inhabited by them, are the first to get sick. The climate crisis is also a crisis of care for the defenders of the earth.
An indigenous Peruvian Asháninka died in March of this year. Although her body, beaten and hidden in a cave was found a long way from her home, the autopsy determined that she died from choking on coca leaves.
Standing outside the police station, Rosita yelled a phrase at the top of her lungs that would be indelibly etched in the history of the struggle: “Why do those scoundrels who sit behind their desks drinking coffee, deciding what we need for Andalgalá, put us in these types of situations? Why have we had to walk here every Saturday for the past eleven years without ever being listened to? Even the priest was lobbying for the mining company! Why do we have to live like this? But we are not tired...
We thought we were never going to eat black watermelon again, but Claudia Cuebas, from the north of Uruguay, revived it. As an agroecological producer, she recovered a seed that seemed lost, multiplied it, and exchanged it at fairs and meetings with other rural producers.
This Waorani leader has spent 30 years fighting the oil capitals, which invade and pollute Yasuní park, one of the most biodiverse places in the world as well as having the largest oil reserves in Ecuador.
The fires that caused havoc in the Bolivian Chiquitania—the largest dry forest in the world—left dead animals and damaged trees and plants in their wake and affected indigenous families. In response to this catastrophe, indigenous women assumed the defense of their habitat.
For the indigenous and environmental organizations of the Bíobío river basin, dams do not constitute clean energy. A fourth hydroelectric plant is being built there, and Fernanda is one of the main leaders opposing it. At 29, she is the director of the Ríos to Rivers Chile organization, a mother and the founder of the Pehuenche Malen Leubü women’s rafting team.