祕魯是世界上魚粉最大宗生產國，魚粉是作為肥料及動物飼料的主要物質，魚粉工業掌控欽波提及其他沿岸城市的經濟。許多工廠設於住宅區之中，排放的煤灰污染 該區空氣。工廠也排放魚屍、油脂和蛋白質進入公共排水系統，時常造成堵塞，導致街道被污水淹沒。不負責任的產業經營也與祕魯嚴重的健康問題有關，包括 1990年代早期的流行性霍亂；欽波提當地居民的預期壽命比起全國平均壽命少了10年。魚粉工業對環境而言也是一大災難。工廠以底拖網大量屠殺魚類，且將 熱水注入大海，使沿岸成為無生命的死亡地區。
這樣的工作在祕魯有其危險性：1994年佛朗達和丈夫遭誣告為「光明之路」恐怖組織成員，被判20年有期徒刑。幸虧地方上與國際上發起的聲援行動，使 這對夫婦在約一年後被釋放，佛朗達隨即返回欽波提的工作崗位。她持續鼓勵當地社區的實踐主義者，而她自己則與其所創立的非政府組織NATURA中的其他成 員，說服了8個魚粉製造商整治其廠區。
答：那 是一個漸進的歷程，透過與人對談，傾聽欽波提居民的見證。他們的話語雖然簡單，我卻深為其中的真誠所感動。我開始意識到工業污染的實際意義為何。我看著技 術報告，證實了人們所告訴我的故事。我檢閱我國的環境法律──很多人甚至不知道有這樣的法律，更少人會實際運用到。發掘環境法律，並將之用於服務民眾相當 能夠激勵人心，這些人們會成為領袖，並開始關心他們的困境和他們的未來。
答：我從小就以實際行動回應社會問題。我父親是一位律師，參與我國勞 工權利與弱勢團體權利的辯護工作。從他身上我了解到：你必須採取行動以對付問題，尤其是如此直接影響我們生活的環境問題。這是我終身的志業。在我居住的城 市，環境問題的嚴重程度已經明顯到成為常識。你僅需對於社會意識燃起一點火花，就能成為實踐主義者。
答：我深信這項工作值得我們費心思量，在情感上及理智上也深信要改變 欽波提的社會與環境狀況是可能的。我努力擴展大眾對環境問題的認識，也努力使欽波提社區發展自尊及自我意識，知覺到權力的存在，信任自己身為公民所擁有的 權利義務。我協助發展訓練計畫以幫助他們獲得權力，強化他們的能力以期能與政府在平等的立足點上協商談判。他們不再是倖存者而開始成為真正的市民。
答：我們向他們證明投資在潔淨科技是有利可圖的，那會減少在整個製造 過程中的損失，他們可以節省原料，增加生產量，減低成本，而且不損害環境或社區健康。既然他們因此產生更多利益，便能夠很快地回收投資在新科技的成本。再 者，國際市場的景況，即國際環保相關規定，也日漸嚴格，製造商被迫改善做法，採取新的營業方式並負起社會責任。然而，多數製造商──約佔6.1成仍繼續使 用舊式的製造技術。
答：它鞏固了我的信念。當我脫離牢獄，未曾遲疑半刻是否要繼續在欽波 提的工作，我比從前更充滿活力與確定感。不過那些日子的確改變了我抗爭的策略。我因此有機會出國旅行（拜訪那些為他們夫婦倆平反的國際運動人士），見識到 環保運動的另一個面向──經由策略性計畫與協商而達成更重大的成就。由於藤森獨裁政權掌權時期，違反人權的問題極其嚴重，若繼續以原本的方式抗爭，將會對 個人與組織招致重大危險。
答：這是把我國的環境議題推向國際視野的契機，並藉此締結聯盟，提供 我們技術與財務上的資助，讓我們的工作得以繼續──我們的運動使欽波提成為一個生機蓬勃的城市。我們有很多機會，像是重建菲洛灣、以及瑪莉亞市極有價值的 溼地生態系統。我們也希望著手空氣品質與環境健康的監測計劃，以提高居民的生活品質。
Maria Elena Foronda Farro was born to be an activist. Her father, a union lawyer in Chimbote, Peru, taught her -- through words and by example -- about the importance of social justice. Foronda, who grew up in Chimbote and earned a master's degree in sociology in Mexico, is now applying her father's lessons to her hometown.
Peru is the world's largest producer of fishmeal, a substance used in fertilizers and animal feed, and the industry dominates Chimbote and other coastal towns. Many of the factories are located in the middle of residential areas, where they pollute the air with soot. They also discharge fish remains, oils, and proteins into public drains, often blocking them and flooding the streets with wastewater. Irresponsible industry practices are linked to serious health problems in Peru, including a cholera epidemic in the early 1990s; the life expectancy in Chimbote is 10 years shy of the national average. The industry has also been a disaster for the environment. Factories decimate fisheries with bottom-net dragging and dump heated water into the ocean, creating dead zones along the coast.
Foronda, 44, has worked to empower neighborhoods affected by the fishmeal industry. Through projects such as the School of Leaders for Local Development, an environmental leadership program, Foronda says many residents have become more aware of their legal rights to a clean environment, and are demanding that the government and the fishmeal industry recognize those rights.
Such work is dangerous in Peru: In 1994, Foronda and her husband were falsely accused of membership in the terrorist group Shining Path and sentenced to 20 years in prison. Thanks to local and international campaigns, the couple was released after about a year, and Foronda has returned to her work in Chimbote. She continues to encourage activism in local communities, and she and others at NATURA, the nongovernmental organization she founded, have helped convince eight fishmeal producers to clean up their practices.
On April 14, Foronda was awarded one of six 2003 Goldman Environmental Prizes. Because of visa problems, she could not attend the ceremony in San Francisco; her father attended on her behalf. She spoke with Grist via an email correspondence in Spanish.
Grist: How did you first learn about the environmental and social problems in Chimbote?
Maria Elena Foronda Farro:It was a gradual process of talking to people, of hearing the testimonials of the communities in Chimbote. Though their words were simple, I was moved by the truth in them. I began to recognize what industrial contamination meant in practice. I looked at technical reports, which corroborated the stories people told. I reviewed the environmental laws of my country -- many people don't even know about them, much less exercise them. Discovering these laws, and putting them at the service of the people, was really inspiring. The people became leaders, and started to care about their struggle and their future.
Grist: How did you decide to become an activist and fight the problems in Chimbote?
Foronda: I've been a social activist since I was a child. My father is a lawyer, and he's involved with the defense of labor rights and the rights of poor communities in my country. From him, I learned that you have to take action against problems, especially against the environmental problems that affect our lives so directly. It's my life's work. In our city, the environmental problems have become so obvious that they are common knowledge. You only need a tiny spark of social consciousness to become an activist.
Grist: What was the first step you took?
Foronda: I was convinced that this work was worth the trouble, convinced in the heart and in the head that it was possible to change the social and environmental conditions in Chimbote. I worked for greater public recognition of the environmental problems. I also worked with the communities of Chimbote to develop their self-esteem, their sense of strength, their faith in their own rights and their citizenship. I helped develop training programs that helped empower them and strengthen their ability to negotiate on equal footing with the government. They stopped being survivors and started being full citizens.
Grist: How did you convince some of the fishmeal producers to change their methods?
Foronda: We showed them it was profitable to invest in clean technology. It reduces the losses in their entire production process, they save on raw materials, improve their productivity, lower their costs -- and they don't harm the environment or the health of the communities. They can quickly recoup the investment they make in the new technology, since it generates more profits for them. And the conditions of the international markets, the international environmental rules, have gradually become stricter. Producers are being forced to change their behavior, to take a new approach to business and social responsibility. However, the majority of producers -- about 60 percent -- are still using obsolete technology.
Grist: I understand that now you're talking with larger fishmeal producers. What is your strategy with them?
Foronda: Through the School of Leaders for Local Development, I've organized conferences between [these larger producers] and socially responsible businesses. The businesses talk about their successful experiences and demonstrate that environmental investments are a profitable and sustainable business strategy.
Grist: Did your year in prison change the way you do your work?
Foronda: It's reinforced my convictions. When I got out of prison, I didn't doubt for a moment that I would continue in Chimbote. I had more vigor and certainty than ever. But it did change my confrontational strategy. It gave me the opportunity to travel outside my country [to visit international activists who had fought for her and her husband's release] and see another dimension of environmental campaigns, one that achieved greater success through strategic planning and negotiation. Because the violations of human rights were so serious during the [Alberto] Fujimori dictatorship, continuing in the original way would have been a grave personal and institutional risk.
Grist: What does this prize mean for your work?
Foronda: It's a chance to put the environmental issues of my country on the international scene and to form alliances that can give us technical and financial help in continuing our work -- our campaign to make Chimbote a city of life. We have a lot of opportunities, like the restoration of Ferrol Bay and the valuable ecosystem in the Villa Maria wetlands. We'd also like to start monitoring programs for air quality and environmental health, to improve the quality of life of the population.
The recognition isn't just personal, it's for a big team, for my companeros and companeras at NATURA who have great spirit and courage -- and, above all, a great desire for service and love for others.
Grist: How do you plan to spend the money?
Foronda: I'd like to use it as seed money for a sustainable development fund, to help fulfill the promise of other institutions, people, and international organizations that want to solve urban environmental problems and empower the communities that confront them.
※ 本文轉載自Grist Magazine。Grist Magazine是一線上環境雜誌，總部設在美國西雅圖。Grist Magazine嘗試以詼諧、幽默的角度來切入環境議題與行動，希望能在傳遞環境資訊之餘，也能夠娛樂讀者。