Quantcast
Environmental News for a Healthier Planet and Life

'The Dam Builders Could Not Stop My Mother' So They Killed Her

Popular

By Salvador Edgardo Zuniga Cáceres

It has been four months since the murder of environmental and Indigenous rights activist Berta Cáceres and her killers have still not been brought to justice. Instead, the violence continues—on July 7, another activist from Berta Cáceres' organization was abducted and killed.

Berta Cáceres in 2015.Goldman Environmental Prize / Tim Russo

In March, my mother Berta Cáceres was murdered in her own home. Her death pains me in a way I cannot describe with words.

She was killed for defending life, for safeguarding our common goods and those of nature, which are sacred. She was killed for defending the rivers that are sources of our people's life, ancestral strength and spirituality.

My mother became a woman of resistance, of struggle, so that our deep connection with nature is not destroyed; so that the life of our peoples—the Lenca Indigenous People of Honduras—is respected. Her killers tried to silence her with bullets, but she is a seed, a seed that is reborn in all men and women. She is a seed that will be reborn in the people that follow her path of resistance.

To achieve justice for her death, I need your help.

Please join me in asking the Honduran President Juan Orlando Hernández to launch an independent investigation into my mother's murder.

Berta with her four children.

Honduras is one of the most dangerous countries in the world for environmental activists—more than 100 were murdered between 2010 and 2014.

These figures make me shiver. These activists lost their lives defending what belongs to us all and my mother was no exception. She had been threatened and persecuted many times for safeguarding our people's territory.

Even before my mother's murder, two of my sisters had to leave the country. But our mother did not stop fighting against the Agua Zarca mega-dam project. If built, the Agua Zarca would lead to the displacement of our people and the privatization and destruction of our territories. It has already led to the murder of those who have the determination and the clarity to understand that life is not a commodity.

But the dam builders could not stop my mother. With her people beside her, she became invincible. So murderers broke into her house and opened fire against her chest. We are outraged not only because of the bullets that murdered her, but because her killers have walked away with impunity.

Berta Cáceres in the Rio Blanco region of Honduras.Tim Russo / Goldman Environmental Prize.

Berta used to say: "Defending human rights is a crime in Honduras."

She knew that what she put her and her loved ones at risk, but she didn't care. Along with the Civic Council of Popular and Indigenous Organizations of Honduras—an organization my mother co-founded—she defended Indigenous communities and gave her life. Today, our family, the Lenca people and thousands of Hondurans are demanding justice.

We will only succeed if we press my country's president into accepting that the Inter American Commission on Human Rights investigates the murder. We cannot trust the Honduran justice system.

"You have the bullet … I have the word. The bullet dies when detonated, the word lives when spread." —Berta Cáceres

Today, we must be that word. My mother gave her life defending humanity and the planet. Now it's up to us to seek justice on her behalf.

Salvador Edgardo Zuniga Cáceres is the son of award-winning Honduran activist Berta Cáceres, who was murdered in her home in March 2016.

EcoWatch Daily Newsletter

An aerial view of a crude oil storage facility of Caspian Pipeline Consortium (CPC) in the Krasnodar Territory. Vitaly Timkiv / TASS / Getty Images

Oil rigs around the world keep pulling crude oil out of the ground, but the global pandemic has sent shockwaves into the market. The supply is up, but demand has plummeted now that industry has ground to a halt, highways are empty, and airplanes are parked in hangars.

Read More Show Less
Examples (from left) of a lead pipe, a corroded steel pipe and a lead pipe treated with protective orthophosphate. U.S. EPA Region 5

Under an agreement negotiated by community groups — represented by NRDC and the Pennsylvania Utility Law Project — the Pittsburgh Water and Sewer Authority (PWSA) will remove thousands of lead water pipes by 2026 in order to address the chronically high lead levels in the city's drinking water and protect residents' health.

Read More Show Less
Sponsored
ROBYN BECK / AFP / Getty Images

By Dave Cooke

So, they finally went and did it — the Trump administration just finalized a rule to undo requirements on manufacturers to improve fuel economy and reduce greenhouse gas emissions from new passenger cars and trucks. Even with the economy at the brink of a recession, they went forward with a policy they know is bad for consumers — their own analysis shows that American drivers are going to spend hundreds of dollars more in fuel as a result of this stupid policy — but they went ahead and did it anyway.

Read More Show Less

By Richard Connor

A blood test that screens for more than 50 types of cancer could help doctors treat patients at an earlier stage than previously possible, a new study shows. The method was used to screen for more than 50 types of cancer — including particularly deadly variants such as pancreatic, ovarian, bowel and brain.

Read More Show Less
Ian Sane / Flickr

Preliminary data from the Centers for Disease Control showed a larger number of young people coming down with COVID-19 than first expected, with patients under the age of 45 comprising more than a third of all cases, and one in five of those patients requiring hospitalization. That also tends to be the group most likely to use e-cigarettes.

Read More Show Less