In the Mayan language, there was no word for “transgenics” in 2012 when Monsanto started planting transgenic soybean crops in the Yucatan peninsula, in southeast Mexico.
From that moment, Leydy Pech, a 55-year-old Mayan beekeeper, realized that with the arrival of the company also arrived pollution of the water, air and food, and as a result, her bees were dying. Thus, began a nearly 10-year legal battle against the world's largest seed manufacturer. She knew way before many of us, that bees keep plants and crops alive, and without them, humans wouldn't have very much to eat.
"Since I started this fight, companies and governments wanted to show that I was nobody and that I was not going to be of any use. However, that did not paralyze me; on the contrary, it made me seek more allies. I found strength in the unity of the Mayan people, " she reflects.
Pech received the Goldman Prize, considered the most important environmental award in the world, for her "historic struggle", which is "a model for other indigenous struggle movements in the protection of their rights and their lands," said the Goldman Foundation.
Leydy explains the different points of view that exist in her country: “The economic interests of the Mexican government and authorities are not looking out for indigenous peoples. We are not reflected in that capitalist model that violates our rights.” She continues, “The jungle, the water, the forests, the biodiversity are important to us, which we have been caring for and conserving ancestrally, but which the government only sees as resources that are not being used.”
Owning only two hectares of land and experiencing frequent discrimination, Leydy was widely underestimated, but she beat the industrial giant Monsanto and proved once again how much the determination of a single person can achieve.