Fight like a bulldog, persevere like a bee

Environmental activist Jintana Kaewkhao appears at the office of the Lawyers' Council of Thailand in February. She has become a role model for people whose livelihoods are under threat from development projects. TAWATCHAI KEMGUMNERD

Two decades ago, Jintana Kaewkhao found herself thrust into the public limelight as she led local opposition against a coal-fired power plant project close to her home in Ban Krut of Prachuap Khiri Khan province.

Her campaign turned this schoolteacher, small trader and housewife into a respected environmental activist. The transformation put her in conflict with influential people in the world of business and bureaucracy. She faced death threats and was jailed for four months.

In the process, she helped pioneer a grassroots movement that fought heavily financed, state-supported projects with knowledge and courage. She has become an example for local folks elsewhere whose lives and livelihoods face the devastating effects of development projects.

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