One of Mother Nature Cambodia's most successful strategies has been to use social media, chiefly our own Facebook page 'Mother Nature Cambodia', to highlight and expose the corruption, human rights abuses and environmental destruction that usually comes hand in hand with so-called development projects by the authoritarian government of Hun Sen. The main reasons we started producing our own stuff back in 2013 were simple: most mainstream media outlets did not dare report on the issues we were working on, and the few independent outlets that existed - most of whom have been since shuttered by the regime, sadly - did not have the resources to visit the remote areas where we usually work. So we decided to create an opportunity out of this seemingly insurmountable obstacle: to produce our own stuff. Our videos, a mixture of thorough investigation and short and easy-to-digest messages presented by our brave activists as well as citizens from all walks of life, have been viewed over 20 million times, and shared more than a million times, and that's just since 2015. This is a most remarkable achievement for several reasons: a) as anyone with experience in producing videos knows, it is not easy to produce stuff that is attractive to the general public; b) the risks associated to filming and speaking on videos in Cambodia can be high, with arbitrary arrests and even jail time not at all unusual (as some of our activists can sadly vouch for); A lot of our videos are regularly picked up by the media, politicians, NGOs, etc, and have in many cases forced the Phnom Penh regime to publicly respond (not an easy feat in Cambodia by any means), for instance by backtracking on key decisions, or by putting an end to certain destructive practices. Not just that, but we are proud to say that many young people have told us that they find the videos inspirational, and that they too want to get involved in social justice and environmental protection.
To get a better idea of the high impact of our videos, mentioning number of Likes, Shares, Comments, etc, watch them on our Facebook page (link next to each video's description). Also do note that as many FB pages pick up and 're-post' our videos on their own pages, the true scale of our videos is much higher than what is depicted in our page.
On the morning of the 22nd of October, 2022, MNC activists delivered leaflets and stickers promoting gorgeous Koh Kong Island to passers by. The reaction by the members of the public was, unsurprisingly, very warm. The reaction by the local authorities was, sadly also unsurprisngly, apalling. Young Cambodian citizens out in the streets telling their fellow citizens how incredibly beautiful and important the country's biggest island (Koh Kong Island) is, met by local authorities making sure we could not continue with our 'illegal' activities.
No raw sewage being pored into the sea, no mafiosi shooting each other, no human trafficking taking place inside tall buildings .... Does anyone know where this place might be? In order to find out, you will need to watch this video, and after you do so, you will be left with no choice except going there.
A hint: get there asap, before tycoon Ly Yong Phat starts 'developing' this place.
Environmental activists from MNC and other groups organized a mock funeral to highlight the widespread destruction of Cambodia's forests over the last few years. As part of this event, our activists carried coffins on their shoulders all the way to the Ministry of Environment, as a way to demand once more that the ministry allows environmental activists as well as local communities to resume thir forest patrols once more, and to demand that repression against us activists ends.
In a far-from-smart-move by the government, 600 hectares of Tamao forest were logged in a single week. Accordig to a spokesman for the Ministry of Agriculture, the timber that was extracted was sold, with the income going into state coffers. However, we are yet to find out a simple answer to a simple question: 'How much money did the state make out of the logging of these 600 hectares of our beloved Tamao forest?'
From 26 to 29 of August, 2022, 24 youth paid a visit to the amazing Koh Kong Island. During a visit to the Island's '3rd Coconut Beach', we saw white sandy beaches, turquoise sea waters, jungle-clas mountains behind us, and a small plantation full of coconuts! This is only a small part of this beautiful Island, one which must be declared a National Park, an island that must not developed for the benefit of private investors. Instead, the Island needs to be be turned into a place where proper & responsible eco-tourism takes place, for the benefit of local communities and all Cambodians!
With much concern we saw how the whole of Koh Kong Island was secretly handed over to 'Koh Kong SEZ', a company belonging to the infamous Ly Yong Phat, well known at home & abroad for repeated involvement in sugar cane-related land grabs, the unlawful export of sand, etc. Leasing out the entire island to such a company exponetially increases the risk of seeing its world-class natural resources decimated.
6 MNC activists were released from jail on bail in November of 2021. Despite this 'freedom' coming with strict conditions, we continue to campaign for the protection of the environment. In this video, the 6 make a public statement to the general public, and to the court that is scheduled to send them to trial for their (non-existing) 'crimes'.