Launched last week as an NGO providing environmental defenders across the globe with a network of support against isolation and attack, N1M (Not One More) is helping to revamp environmental justice and protection across our green planet.
Every week three environmental defenders are killed globally, and many more are threatened, unlawfully imprisoned or violently assaulted for safeguarding an abundance of nature which is being savagely pillaged against a backdrop of unlawful action and corruption. Through necessity and as a safety net for both the environment and those brave enough to protect it, N1M are working for “an environment free from exploitation, diverse and abundant. We want all who stand up to defend nature to be safe and to be free”.
Following a decade of crimes against humanity and the environment by Hun Sen’s government in Cambodia, N1M has commenced its activities by setting up a widespread network in support of the necessary work of heroes and martyrs such as the Cambodian environmentalist Chut Wutty, who was shot dead by police for combating illegal logging activities in the Cardamom Mountains.
Deforestation and land concessions in exchange for unsustainable cash flows both from foreign ministries and Hun Sen’s cronies are degrading Cambodia’s natural heritage and displacing whole communities through rapid deforestation. These communities and families rely on the forest for resins, vines and rattan and are now being forced out to either become labourers on the logging camps or to migrate elsewhere until the loggers chase them further.
Luckily Wutty’s work to protect these communities and the forests they live through has not come to a halt. Ouch Leng has followed in his footsteps, and, by directly carrying out a series of undercover investigations, has successfully named and shamed those members of the armed forces who are involved in this morally corrupt and illegal trade of timber.
Leng, who earlier this week received the Goldman Environmental Prize for Asia for his work, is the chairman of the Cambodia Human Rights Task Force (CHRTF), an NGO which N1M has begun campaigning and raising funds for. Together, N1M and CHRTF have launched a campaign to petition the Cambodian Minister of the Environment to save Cambodia’s embattled forests and to put a stop to illegal logging activities.
The campaign is rapidly gaining traction and has already gathered hundreds of signatures from people of all nationalities across the globe. It is testament to the incredible age we live in, where one person is almost effortlessly able to amplify their message in support of a just cause through a megaphone of communities which are physically distant, yet morally close.
Whilst the petition itself will most probably fall on death ears and the fight against deforestation in Cambodia will no doubt be extensive and arduous, N1M are giving changemakers across the globe a platform through which to support the work of those fighting for a greener and safer planet. By democratically empowering those who are struggling to have their voices heard above the raging and silencing assaults of corrupt governments and trade moguls, N1M are encouraging more environmental defenders to rise to the task of protecting our planet from further degradation.
N1M has only just begun and is already making waves across the world with its latest campaign, but it needs more support. It is with the help of initiatives like this and its supporters that environmental champions such as Ouch Leng do not have to take such demanding risks and brave heroes such as Chut Wutty can carry on fighting for what they believe in.
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