Investigative Environmental Journalism Grants
Increasing awareness of environmental crime issues through financial support to investigative environmental journalists
Cherán, a Purépecha town in Michoacán, Mexico, faced environmental devastation caused by illegal loggers linked to organised crime. Between 2011 and 2018, the community planted nearly two and a half million trees to restore their land. Their uprising in 2011 led to the expulsion of criminals from their town and marked a historic victory for indigenous self-governance in Mexico.
Cherán's commitment to self-government and forest conservation continues strong, contrasting with widespread deforestation in Michoacán driven partly by avocado cultivation. Their success stems from collective decision-making and internal rules, reviving Purépecha traditions emphasising environmental interconnectedness.
Younger generations in Cherán recognise the role of technology in their efforts, using platforms like TikTok to raise awareness. They advocate for adapting to new ideologies while preserving their heritage. Cherán's story inspires as a testament to community-led environmental preservation and self-determination in adversity.
Author: Alicia Fàbregas
Year of publication: 2023
Publisher: El Pais