Have a little faith

Buddhist monks fight to protect Mother Nature, in Cambodia
The 200-metre-long orange cloth snakes its way through the village of Ta Tay Leu and into the forest. Guided by Buddhist monks and villagers, it follows the path until it reaches a clearing.

The contrast here is shocking; emerging from the forest, this religious procession advances into what looks like a war zone. Only the largest trees, their canopies towering above the devastation below, their enormous buttresses too large for loggers, still stand. Around them lies smouldering land that is being cleared for a banana plantation. The monks pause, then make their way towards the remaining goliaths – to ordain them in the hope that their blessing will make others think twice before reaching for the chainsaw.

In desperate need of electricity, Cambodia is ploughing ahead with Chinese-funded dam projects that are ravaging the environment. But a movement is harnessing the trust placed in monks in a bid to save the country’s pristine forests. Words and pictures by Luke Duggleby


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Maha Ghosananda

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