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.
ពួកយើងមានមោទនភាពដែលបានកើតជាកូនខ្មែរ មានធនធានធម្មជាតិមហាសាល ប៉ុន្តែពួកយើងខ្មាសដូនតា ដែលមិនអាចការពារធនធានធម្មជាតិទាំងនេះបាន។
Mother Nature Cambodia has been declared one of the 2023 laureates for the ‘Right Livelihood Award’, generally referred to as the ‘alternative Nobel Prize’. This global prize has been given to us thanks to the efforts of all of us in protecting the natural resources of Cambodia’s, resources which also belong to the whole world. We as Cambodians take pride, and feel honored, in receiving such a well-respected prize.
Three of us have been invited to attend the award ceremony in Stockholm, Sweden, this coming November. However, the three activists are banned from leaving the country without authorization from the court. Through this video, we ask you to stand by our side in asking the court to grant us the right to go and pick up the prize ourselves. Thanks!
Unless citizens get involved in protecting the nation's natural heritage, this very same heritage is bound to be lost.
While the Ministry of Environment continues to ignore its own promise to declare the island of Koh Kong a Marine National Park, we see that increased logging is taking place there.
Who is behind this logging? Can it be considered a blessing, or a curse, that the whole Island is de-facto controlled by a navy leader previously involved in illegal logging?
On the 17th of July, 2023, the government decided to change the borders of the Peam Krosaob Wildlife Sanctuary, changing the protection status of over 8,000 hectares, from being protected as a 'Wildlife Sanctuary', to being protcted as part of the 'Koh Kapi and Associated Islets' Ramsar site.
Despite this amazing mangrove forest, one of the most important in the whole of South-East Asia, still being nominally protected, MNC is concerrned about its fate, seeing how so many parts of the forest are being illegally (and secretly as usual) turned into private plots of land. MNC calls on the new government of Hun Manet to pay special attention to this unique wilderness, which plays such an important role in terms of carbon capture, fisheries, storm protection for local communities, etc.
What happened that left 2 MNC activists close to tears after delivering a petition to the Prime Minister Hun Sen? Why do staff members in charge of receiving petitions such as the one we delivered treat environmental activists as people outside the law?
MNC hopes that, after our petition - signed by over 130,000 people from many parts of the world - was delivered to both the Prime Minister, the Ministry of Tourism and the Ministry of Environment, Koh Kong Island will finally get the much needed official protection status we have been advocating for so long. Likewise, we also hope that the government starts seeing with different eyes the petitions that are delivered to them by the people on a wide arrange of issues.
On the 10th of July, 2023, MNC activists joined scores of others to mark the 7th anniversary of the assassination of Dr. Kem Ley, one of the country's best known political commentators. Kem Ley, known for his eloquence, bravery, knowledge and intelligence, his assassination in dray broad daylight in a petrol station marked a before and after for the country's pro-democracy movement.
While we are enormously happy knowing that more and more Cambodians are getting to know, and visit, the amazing Koh Kong Island, we also have to share a small concern we have when it comes to waste management there. Let's not forget that no government agency is yet involved in managing sewage, picking up garbage, etc. from local villagers or from visitors to the Island.
Therefore, it falls on all visitors to the Island to take responsibility for this waste, for example by not leaving trash behind.
In late 2022, MNC activists exposed how the river that runs through the center of Siem Reap was suffering from raw water being poured into it. This was despite the fact that the city already has a wastewater plant that's meant to treat this water, built at a cost of USD15 Million. As is usually the case, the Siem Reap authorities decided not to make any public statement about this.
In this video, MNC activists revisit the same places to see if this major environmental issue has been resolved yet.
We have all heard time and again authorities ask those engaged in public protests or events the following question: 'has this event been authorized'?
According to the law, does this type of activity require 'prior authorization' like they claim. MNC activist and law student Mean Lisa explains.
Yet another of Cambodia's national Parks partially carved out (read: sold) for the benefit of a well-connected family. We as citizens have the right to express our views on issues going on in society, such as this one, despite the Ministry of Environment continuing to accuse and smear us without any base.
Protecting the environment is not a crime! The charges of plotting against at least 7 of our activists are not only arbitrary but outright senseless. Why has our country become a place where while the powerful can get away with felling public forests, drug trafficking, filling in beaches, and committing acts of bribery, completely innocent activists such as MNC activists are charged with the crime of 'committing treason'?
The whole of Koh Kong Island has been given out as a so-called concession to the infamous tycoon Ly Yong Phat. We, as Cambodian citizens, are extremely concerned about this beautiful island, the country's biggest, being sold to Koh Kong SEZ Co. ltd, a company belonging to the above mentioned tycoon. It is important to note that Ly Yong Phat has history of evicting people from their land and claiming it for himself, as it has happened in the provinces of Kompung Speu, Koh Kong, etc. Furthermore, he was involved in the dirty business of sand exports to Singapore, which saw USD700 million worth of sand 'missing' fro official government records.
Our demands are that the 'concession' is revoked and that the whole island is declared a protected zone asap.
The Kirirum National Park, visited by so many Cambodians for generations, has been partially privatized and sold to the family of a cronie tycoon, infamous for past destructionnof the country's natural resources.
លោកឈុត វុទ្ធី បើទោះបីជាអ្នកបានបាត់បង់ជីវិតក៏ពិតមែន ប៉ុន្តែវីរៈភាពរបស់អ្នកគឺស្ថិតក្នុងការចងចាំរបស់ពួកយើងដែរជាយុវជនជំនាន់ក្រោយយកធ្វើជាគម្រូភាព ។
Koh Kong province is full of potential, with plentiful natural resources such as jungles, beaches, islands, etc. In this video, MNC activist Mean Lisa exposes irregularities happening in the island of Koh Smach, near the protected mangrove forests of Peam Krosaob, and demands answers from the relevant authorities.
Sihanoukille's Ochheuteal beach is beautiful, with quite gentle waves and shallow water, and attracts national and international visitors. Recently, this beloved beach has seen a fence built onto it, making this public beach a de-facto private beach in violation of the law. Even though part of this illegal structure was already removed on 9 February, 2023, much of the fence remains on the beach. On top of that, the owners of this structure is yet to see any legal action against them.
The Tonle Bati lake, 319 ha in size, is known and loved by many. Found right on the border between the provinces of Takeo and Kandal, around 50 kms away from Phnom Penh, it has received visitors from the capital and from across the country for generations. Near the lake, there is also an ancient Khmer temple, yet another remnant of the Khmer kingdom under Jayvarman VII.
In March of 2022, the Hun regime decided to secretly sell 222 hectares of this lake to an individual called Srun Bunleab, of whom close to nothing is known.