ELAW has the privilege of working with amazing people all over the world who take on corporations and governments to secure environmental justice for their communities. Many of our partners are fighting classic “David v. Goliath” battles — they are taking on the giants.
ELAW partner Pablo Fajardo is a David among Davids. He has taken on one of the largest corporations in the world – and he is winning. Of course, he is not doing it alone, but Pablo’s interminable will and work ethic has turned a case brought by a group of indigenous people in Ecuador into one of the most watched environmental cases in the world. (The lawsuit seeks to hold Texaco/Chevron accountable for oil extraction operations that destroyed portions of the Ecuadorian rain forest and created myriad health problems for the people living in the area.)
Pablo explained his philosophy to a Vanity Fair writer:
“One of the problems with modern society is that it places more importance on things that have a price than on things that have a value. Breathing clean air, for instance, or having clean water in the rivers, or having legal rights—these are things that don’t have a price but have a huge value. Oil does have a price, but its value is much less.” (read the whole Vanity Fair profile here. )
For his work, Pablo won the prestigious environmental Goldman Prize in 2008. He will travel to Eugene for the 2009 ELAW Annual Meeting. He will also give a keynote address at the 27th Annual Public Interest Environmental Law Conference at the University of Oregon.