To mark International Women’s Day on March 8, Landscapes News is publishing a series of stories honoring women with a laurel for their dedication to improving the landscape. Ananias Bees, a teacher, an advisor at Eastern Indonesia Students Foreign Relations Association (MITRA) and field coordinator at Taim Hine Aleta Baun Foundation, writes about Aleta Baun, winner of the 2013 Goldman Environmental Prize. Check Viewpoint all week for more laurel recipients.
Aleta Baun was born in a village on the Indonesian western half of the island of Timor. In some of the remote villages in her area, education, healthcare and other services are difficult to access.
An indigenous Mollo leader, Baun set up peaceful protests to protect the sacred forest of Mutis Mountain after a mining company began to extract marble in the Indonesian western half of Timor.
She became known as “Mama Aleta,” and organized hundreds of local weavers to occupy the forest site in protest against mining and protect the traditional lands and lifestyle of the Mollo people.
She put herself at great personal risk and was forced into hiding in the forest with her child for a period of time.
Now, she is leading a tree-planting initiative in East Nusa Tenggara Province with two-organizations she founded, including Indigenous Peoples Organization A’taimamut Organization (POKJA OAT) and Taim Hine Aleta Baun Foundation.
Watch video from Goldman Environmental Prize: