The Skillful Means of Activism

The Skillful Means of Activism


What does successful activism look like? Laws against child labor, reservation quotas for scheduled tribes and castes, protection of wildlife preserves are examples of successful activism. Successful activism takes place when the positive change created in our societies becomes a norm that is adhered to by a majority. World Wildlife Fund has been fighting to keep the Mekong River, known as Dza Chu where it begins in the Tibetan Plateau, alive and free-flowing for the past two decades. How is WWF working to protect the Mekong River from largescale hydropower on its main stem, over-fishing of its unique fish species, and the impacts of climate change on a river that supports over 65 million people every day? In a situation where there are over eleven dams planned for the Mekong main stem, WWF’s activism consists of valuing the means as well as the end and awakening the collective consciousness in the region. Together with the Lower Mekong governments, the Mekong River Commission, the hydropower industry, the private and finance sectors, the larger NGO movement, and local communities, WWF hopes that the Mekong will be the world’s first declared free-flowing living river.

  • Dialogue 23
    8 sessions
  • October 21, 2011
    Dharamsala, Himachal Pradesh, India
  • ML23 Print Program |pdf|
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Dekila Chungyalpa

Dekila Chungyalpa, MA, is the World Wildlife Fund US Director for the newly launched Sacred Earth Program, which aims to partner with faith leaders towards protecting biodiversity, natural resources, and environmental services in priority conservation areas where WWF works; develop public education programs to prevent illegal wildlife trade with environmentally active faith leaders; and work towards climate change reform of public opinion and policy in the United States through faith based partnerships. Dekila also serves as an environmental advisor for His Holiness, the 17th Karmapa, Ogyen Thinley Dorje, who is the head of the Karma Kagyu School of Tibetan Buddhism. As part of the Sacred Earth program, she advises over forty-five monasteries in the Himalayas on environmental projects ranging from source water conservation to green monastery design. She has a Bachelor's Degree in International Environmental Policy from College of Wooster, Ohio and a Master's Degree in Sustainable Development from American University, Washington DC. Dekila – who comes from Sikkim, in northeast India – has over five years of experience working with local communities on conservation issues in the Eastern Himalayas and six years of experience working on large-scale strategies for hydropower and climate change in the Greater Mekong.