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|“My mother died from your cancer. You killed my mother.” His voice didn’t waver as he fought back bitter tears standing face-to-face with Chevron CEO John Watson, somehow all the while maintaining a tenacity and grace rarely seen.Meet Servio Curipoma, a cacao farmer from the oil-ravaged town of San Carlos, Ecuador. I’ll never forget when I met him. From the banks of a slickened black pit on his property that skirts the thick jungle, he humbly shared with me his story.
Or perhaps you’ve been with us for a while and remember one of multiple occasions when Servio bravely traveled north to the US, bringing us to the edge of our seats with his deeply personal story of how Chevron devastated his rainforest homelands and caused a public health crisis that continues today. Servio lost both his parents and a sister to cancer, which doctors have attributed to drinking water contaminated by toxic crude waste. Rather than wallow in anger, he has risen to become a relentless voice for his community, demanding that Chevron take responsibility for the contamination that wreaked havoc on his family.
Servio’s story – and the stories of the 30,000 other people affected by Chevron’s atrocities – literally stopped me short while living in Ecuador and on a different life-trajectory. It’s why I do this work, and very real stories like this from across the Amazon basin are why Amazon Watch exists. Servio shines among the people Amazon Watch joins forces with daily – some of the most dignified and wise beings I’ve ever met – and he’s just one of the many courageous warriors fighting for what most of us take for granted every day: clean water and the health of our families.
Over coming weeks we’ll bring you in-depth features of some of our most committed champions – we hope you’ll take the time to get to know them too. It’s just one way that you can glimpse a little deeper the lives of true heroes fighting for the rainforest, the reality of what’s happening in the Amazon, and how Amazon Watch is working to make a real difference with your support.
For the Amazon,