Cambodians Dress Like Na’vi From “Avatar” To Save The Rainforest

Last week, hundreds of Cambodians donned costumes and make-up inspired by the James Cameron film, Avatar, to protest the widespread destruction of Prey Lang, one of Southeast Asia’s last intact lowland rainforests.

A brilliant ploy to attract media attention, the face paint and funny hats got the protesters noticed by Reuters, CNN (i-report), MSNBC, NPR and other international media outlets.

Prey Lang’s most significant threat comes from rubber companies, which have been granted permission to harvest thousands of hectares of rainforest by the Cambodian government.

According to Mongabay, Cambodian villagers were rebuked by the local government for trying to organize a protest against the rubber companies in March.

Two days in a row local authorities prevented some 400 Cambodian villagers from protesting at the offices of the Vietnam-based CRCK Company, which the villagers contend are destroying their livelihoods by bulldozing large swaths of primary forests. Authorities said they feared the villagers would have grown violent while protesting.

But, according to village representative, Chheang Vuthy, speaking to the Cambodia Daily: “The villagers would not have acted violently. The companies should not be clearing forest even though they have licenses from the government because it affects people’s livelihoods.”

Local protesters say they are shocked at the way the forest is bulldozed without any thought for the impact on wildlife or the environment.

The villagers also delivered a petition opposing land concessions in Prey Lang signed by 30,000 people to Cambodia’s National Assembly. The petition calls on the Cambodian government to rescind any current permits and establish Prey Lang as a protected area.

“Nature cannot speak out, and we are dependent on natural resources, so we have to speak out on its behalf,” Som Lach, a protestor, told the Phnom Peng Post.

See more pictures and show your support on the Prey Lang Facebook page!

Related Reading:

Cambodia’s Elephants Lose Fight Against Mine

New Meat-Eating Plant Discovered In Cambodia

Campaigns To Stop Deforestation

Avatar Director Disapproves Of Canadian Tar Sands


Source: Mongabay

Image Credit: Prey Lang Network

36 comments

Jonathan Y.
Jonathan Y.5 years ago

The rate of rainforest loss in tropical latitudes is shocking. An area the size of Texas annually, or maybe even more.

Encouraging to hear of local people standing up to this.

Laurie G.
Laurie Greenberg5 years ago

Now, this idea has a touch of brilliance! Use modern artistic culture in your favor. Thanks to those involved.

Marlena M.
Marlena Machol5 years ago

I visited Cambodia with my son and my daughter-in-law (who still has family there) and my then 4-year-old granddaughter 2 years ago. The forests and the poverty are equally striking. I admire the Cambodian people who are standing up for their forests and their livelihoods.

Norma V.
Norma Villarreal5 years ago

Inspiring...

Magdalena H.

(Read my first 2 comments first. Here are additional comments:)

The real way to protect these forests is to pressure governments to enact/enforce laws that prevent destruction, and make developed countries (who are responsible for most of the carbon in the air today due to their past "development") pay into funds managed and monitored by a UN body, through collaboration with local, grassroots, and indigenous organizations/bodies, that fund forest protection while ensuring local economic needs are met SUSTAINABLY even while logging is prevented. The aim should be to set up the local economy is a long term structure that will not forever depend on external funding. Also, it is essential that the UN definition of "forest" is changed to refer to real forests, despite business lobbying.

More info on forest protection and the current false solutions being peddled by large international corporations and western governments called REDD, can be found at www.REDD-monitor.org, www.globalforestcoalition.org, and also, for more general info on false solutions, and climate justice, visit www.climate-justice-now.org, and www.globaljusticeecology.org

Magdalena H.

(continued):

... stores only a fraction of carbon as the primordial forests, both in above and below ground biomass/humus.

3. Conservation International makes big profits in brokering such carbon offset projects, while the indigenous people and the forests are not really protected. The logging/rubber companies and the Cambodian govt will essentially be able to blackmail the world with threat to cut the forests down in the future, whenever the carbon market fails to deliver the promised money (carbon market in EU has crashed many times).

4. Watch this brilliant video by Don't Panic, posing as weapons giant Lockheed Martin, dealing with Conservation International, to understand what the CI's so called partnership with corporations is all about (hint: GREENWASHING!):

Conservation International: “Are they any more than a green PR company?” | http://bit.ly/iQ9nz4

Magdalena H.

Conservation International is one of the most corrupt organizations in the world, insinuating in this film by one of its representatives, David Emmet, the idea that the only way to save these forests is for western companies to buy carbon credits from this area, thereby generating revenue for the Cambodian government. You have to understand:

1. When carbon credits are sold in exchange for protecting forests (or for any other supposedly carbon reducing projects), the same amount of carbon that is supposedly saved by not cutting down those forests, will be allowed to be emitted by polluting companies that purchased these credits, which is not included in the carbon cap that their countries' emission reduction targets require. In other words, their countries can claim to have achieve carbon reduction, while polluters in those countries are actually emitting all they want, simply by buying cheap carbon credits from places like Cambodia to supposedly "offset" their emissions. While polluter's smokestack emissions are irreversible once emitted, the carbon savings by forest protection is temporary, the forests can still be threatened in later years, and forest fires etc can all reverse those savings.

2. The current UN definition of "forest" allows monoculture plantations to be called "forest" as well, so buying carbon credits from these areas won't even prevent the replacement of primordial forests by rubber plantations, the latter has no biodiversity or habitat value, and

Mark Donners
Mark Donner5 years ago

Southeast Asians are greedy with dictator governments, with a few exceptions like Thailand. Burma has destroyed its forests for greed, Koreans and Japanese are known global environment destroyers. China is the worst offender and will destroy the earth with its coal plants and pollution.

Marcia Machado
Marcia Machado5 years ago

Good idea

Debbie L.
Debbie Lim5 years ago

I'm so proud of them. But we all have to help them too. There isn't much natural intact forests in our world anymore.