You are currently viewing In Memoriam: Osvalinda Marcelino Alves Pereira, Edelstam Prize Laureate 2020

In Memoriam: Osvalinda Marcelino Alves Pereira, Edelstam Prize Laureate 2020

It is with profound sorrow that we recognize the passing of Osvalinda Marcelino Alves Pereira, a fearless defender of the Amazon rainforest and our esteemed laureate of the Edelstam Prize 2020. Her life was a testament to exceptional courage and unwavering dedication to protecting one of the planet’s most vital ecosystems.

Osvalinda devoted her life to the preservation of the Amazon rainforest, tirelessly working to combat illegal logging and deforestation. As a leader in her community in Pará, she established sustainable agricultural projects that offered viable alternatives to destructive practices, promoting environmental stewardship and economic resilience. Her efforts were not limited to advocacy alone; she actively engaged in reforestation projects and community education, empowering local populations to take an active role in preserving their natural heritage.

Her relentless fight to safeguard the rainforest and its indigenous communities was met with severe threats and hostility. Despite these perils, Osvalinda stood firm, driven by an unyielding belief in the necessity of preserving nature for future generations. Her exceptional courage and resolve in the face of constant danger were nothing short of extraordinary. She received numerous threats to her life and well-being but continued her mission undeterred, knowing the importance of her work for the planet’s ecological health and the well-being of future generations.

For more than a decade, Osvalinda and her husband, Daniel, faced continuous threats from criminal networks involved in illegal logging in Pará, Brazil. Despite being forced into hiding for over 18 months under the Federal Program to Protect Human Rights Defenders, they returned to Pará to continue their crucial work within the rainforest. Osvalinda’s courage in reporting illegal logging and standing up to these strong interests set a powerful example of resilience and determination.

Osvalinda Marcelino Alves Pereira

Osvalinda has continued to advocate and to defend the rainforest, the rights of local communities, working for reforestation and strengthening these communities, and has fearlessly stood up against the criminal networks in her work to defend the rainforest, thereby adhering to Brazil’s civil society commitment to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions and help mitigate global warming.

Osvalinda’s work went beyond advocacy; she founded the Areia II Women’s Association to develop sustainable organic agriculture and reforest areas devastated by illegal logging. Her leadership in the Areia Settlement Project, situated near critical conservation units, highlighted her strategic importance in the battle against deforestation. Despite offers of bribes and persistent threats, she courageously continued to report the illegal activities to state and federal authorities.

Her passing is a touching reminder of the perils faced by environmental defenders worldwide. Her legacy will inspire countless others to continue the fight for environmental justice. The Edelstam Foundation extends its heartfelt condolences to Osvalinda’s family, friends, her community, and all those who stood alongside her in the fight for environmental justice. Her legacy will continue to inspire and drive the movement to protect our planet’s irreplaceable natural resources.

Osvalinda Marcelino Alves Pereira’s memory will forever remain in our hearts, a symbol of extraordinary courage and an enduring advocate for the Amazon rainforest.

May she rest in peace.

Caroline Edelstam, President of the Edelstam Foundation and on behalf of the Board of the Edelstam Foundation.