Surrounded by larger-than life rainforest photos draped from the walls of the gorgeous Bentley Reserve the who’s who of the environmental movement gathered last night to pay tribute to two great environmental leader and two Indigenous activists from Ecuador at REVEL, Rainforest Action Network’s annual gala.
Two Ecuadoran heroes, Emergildo Criollo and Humberto Piaguaje, were in attendance to accept the Defenders of the Rainforest Award on behalf of the Assembly of Affected communities in their 17-year fight against Chevron – California’s largest corporation and current intransigent defendant in a precedent setting lawsuit.
Pachamama Alliance founders Bill and Lynne Twist were awarded as Rainforest Champions for their ongoing work to assist the Indigenous people of Ecuador gain an ever more powerful voice in the dealings with the “developed” world that moved into their own. Because of the Pachamama Alliance, the Achuar now have equitable footing on which to base their dealings with the outside world, having established an eco tourism industry that is completely indigenous-owned and operated.
After the awards, the party kicked off with Rainforest themed cocktails from Veev, organic vegetarian nibbles and desserts, as well as delicious ice cream treats from our friend, Ben Cohen of Ben & Jerry’s. Old friends and new were in attendance, from Randy Hurricane Hayes, to baby Ida, daughter of RAN board member Anna Lappé. It was a wonderful time of catching up, meeting up, and REVELing!
REVEL is a celebration of activism, and of the community that makes change possible. RAN is planning a big year – we will see an end to mountaintop removal coal mining in Appalachia. Indonesia’s rainforests will be protected from further destruction for fashion and the expansion of the agribusiness profits-fueled oil palm plantations – both leading causes of deforestation and climate change. We’ll put a cap on further development of the Alberta Tar Sands project. And finally, Chevron will be forced to accept responsibility for the terrible, tragic damage they’ve left for the Indigenous people of Ecuador to suffer through.
Some of these campaigns will take longer than others, but we will win. RAN has never lost a campaign in our nearly 25 years of fighting for the Earth’s forests. It’s because of our strategies and tactics, the creativity of our staff and the ongoing commitment of our most ardent supporters: you.
And if you couldn’t make it this year, you won’t want to miss next year, as we celebrate RAN’s 25th year of fighting for the world’s forests.
Our heartfelt thanks to all for your continued support, and for coming out to celebrate with us last night. You are an integral part of our strategy, and beloved members of our community.