The Cambodian activists risking their freedom for the environment

Thon Ratha and Long Kunthea are passionate, young environmental activists for Mother Nature. They also both spent more than a year in jail in appalling conditions for daring to take on their government.

Ratha – now one of the group’s best-known activists, was a student working at a supermarket to make ends meet when in 2014 he attended a workshop at his university in the Cambodian capital, Phnom Penh. It would change his life forever.

The event was led by Alejandro Gonzalez-Davidson, the Spanish co-founder of the Mother Nature environmental group. Gonzalez-Davidson, who is fluent in Cambodia’s native Khmer, spoke passionately about a planned hydropower dam in the Cardamom Mountains in the west of the country, and the destruction it would inflict on the local environment.

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