Pablo Albarenga. Todos los derechos reservados

An ultra-right president in Brazil has declared war on the Amazon rainforest and its indigenous communities. In Ecuador, indigenous Achuar people are fighting against extractivism that is defended by a government who promotes a damaging and unsustainable form of 'development'.

However, the neoliberal wave that is sweeping across Brazil, Ecuador and other countries across the Amazon basin has only strengthened the activists that risk their lives to protect the environment. With the support of the Rainforest Journalism Fund of the Pulitzer Center, in collaboration with photo journalist Pablo Albarenga, and Engajamundo (Brazil) and Kara Solar (Ecuador), we present eight inspiring stories: these are the voices of those who are not afraid to defend their territory and the environment, even when the country's most powerful pose a serious threat to their safety. Español Português

ECUADOR

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Julián, indigenous activist and environmentalist

Julián, an indigenous activist from the Wishui community of the Ecuadorian Amazon rainforest, dedicates his life to fighting against the damaging effect of new roads being built in the area close to where the Achuar communities live. The effects of their construction are immediately noticeable, as they attract loggers to the region who then build new, smaller roads to transport the wood to urban areas. Read more here

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Verónica, community midwife

Verónica is a community midwife in a context where giving birth is still taboo. She must overcome numerous difficulties in order to provide women from Sharamentsa with the best care possible, and she cultivates her own medicinal plants such as the Chichita, a powerful plant that helps to cure many illnesses within her community. Read more here.

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Nantu, indigenous activist and environmentalist

Nantu is a member of the Achuar indigenous community and leads a solar powered boat project that provides his community with collective transport. In the rainforest where the Sharamentsa community live, on the river Pastaza, they must fight against petrol extraction, mining and deforestation. However, resistance is part of his life, and together with other indigenous activists, he recently travelled to Quito to participate in the anti-government protests. Read more here.

BRAZIL

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Ednei, community leader and environmental activist

A group of indigenous activists recently incorporated Ednei into their group, a young member of the Arapiun tribe from Cachoeira do Maró, who has also been recently elected as the coordinator for the Indigenous Council Tapajós Arapiuns (CITA), that represents 45 villages and 13 different indigenous groups that belong to the Lower Tapajós. Read more here

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Dani, environmental and LGBT+ activist

It's in the community of Prainha 2 where we find Dani, a brave young activist who has undergone an intense exercise to consolidate her identity. An exercise that led her to recognising her homosexual identity, which she had hidden for some time from her family, the community and also the church. Read more here

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Drica, community leader and teacher

The quilombos in the Amazon region are made up of various communities, and Drica, who studied in Manaos but later returned to Trombetas to become a teacher in the local school, has been recently chosen to represent the association of her territory, which is made up of six different communities. Read more here

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Joane, environmental activist

Since she was a child, Joane enjoyed playing with plastic waste. "She made jewelry, items for the bathroom, and small plant pots for the garden" recalls her mother as she guts a fish. Now, thanks to the sense of environmental consciousness she has gained, Joane is intervening in her community. Read more here

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Tupi, indigenous activist

Tupi found strength in her indigenous identity and her femininity. This helped her, alongside other women, in their fight to recognize violence against women in their communities such as abuse and rape. These women are exceptional activists in their communities due to the movement they have formed and the spaces they have created that allow women to feel free and at ease. Read more here

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