The Cambodian community welcomed environmental activist Alejandro Gonzalez-Davidson to Wat Khemarangsaram temple at Bonnyrigg last Sunday.
Cambodians know him simply as Alex from his work with Mother Nature Cambodia. He’s widely respected for his work in exposing environmental degradation and illegal logging in Cambodia.
Alex delighted the 200 people by speaking in fluent Khmer, a language mastered in his years in Cambodia. Before he spoke, monks from the Bonnyrigg and CabramattaBuddhist temples chanted a blessing.
Alex spoke of campaigns Mother Nature had helped and about widespread corruption in Cambodia. He saw greed and overdevelopment as the root causes of environmental destruction but encouraged people to have hope and to fight for justice in Cambodia.
Mother Nature was founded in 2012 to protect Cambodia’s natural heritage from destruction by vested interests. Among its successes, Alex said, were forcing the government not to build a destructive dam in the Cardamom Mountains and pressuring the governments of Cambodia and Singapore to stop trade of silica sand.
Alex went to Cambodia at 21, the first of many times. In 2008, he was living near Boeung Kak Lake at Phnom Penh when he saw wealthy investors fill in the lake and force people from their homes. At weekends, he went into the mountains and learnt of the extent of illegal logging and destruction of the forests, home to centuries-old rosewood trees. Journalists and activists who investigated the trade have been killed, he said, among them his friend Chhut Vuthy.
Continue this article at https://www.liverpoolchampion.com.au/story/5924054/activist-alex-brings-hope