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Highlights Brochure – Clients Green – Spring 2021

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    9780807055403 9780807029053 Electronic book text, Reflowable, , EPUB, $36.95 CAD 9780807029312 Downloadable audio file, $25 CAD 9780807029329 Downloadable audio file
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The Water Defenders
How Ordinary People Saved a Country from Corporate Greed
By (author): Robin Broad By (author): John Cavanagh
9780807029022 Hardcover English General Trade POLITICAL SCIENCE / Public Policy / Environmental Policy Mar 23, 2021
$36.95 CAD
Active 6.27 x 9.34 x 0.82 in | 1.02 lb 224 pages Beacon Press
The David and Goliath story of ordinary people in El Salvador who rallied together with international allies to prevent a global mining corporation from poisoning the country’s main water source

At a time when countless communities are resisting powerful corporations—from Flint, Michigan, to the Standing Rock Reservation, to Didipio in the Philippines, to the Gualcarque River in Honduras—The Water Defenders tells the inspirational story of a community that took on an international mining corporation at seemingly insurmountable odds and won not one but two historic victories.

In the early 2000s, many people in El Salvador were at first excited by the prospect of jobs, progress, and prosperity that the Pacific Rim mining company promised. However, farmer Vidalina Morales, brothers Marcelo and Miguel Rivera, and others soon discovered that the river system supplying water to the majority of Salvadorans was in danger of catastrophic contamination. With a group of unlikely allies, local and global, they committed to stop the corporation and the destruction of their home.

Based on over a decade of research and their own role as international allies of the community groups in El Salvador, Robin Broad and John Cavanagh unspool this untold story—a tale replete with corporate greed, a transnational lawsuit at a secretive World Bank tribunal in Washington, violent threats, murders, and—surprisingly—victory. The husband-and-wife duo immerses the reader in the lives of the Salvadoran villagers, the journeys of the local activists who sought the truth about the effects of gold mining on the environment, and the behind-the-scenes maneuverings of the corporate mining executives and their lawyers. The Water Defenders demands that we examine our assumptions about progress and prosperity, while providing valuable lessons for those fighting against destructive corporations in the United States and across the world.

Story Locale: El Salvador

The rare story of a successful campaign: The Water Defenders won their battle against Big Gold : in 2016, the World Bank ruled against the mining corporation’s $250 million claim against the nation of El Salvador. This victory was widely covered in the press, but the full story behind the campaign has never been told.

Powerful narrative history: Broad and Cavanagh spent many years researching this story, meeting with all the key players, to write a book that immerses the reader in the culture of the Salvadoran villages, and the long journeys undertaken by the activists to learn the truth about the effect of gold mining on the environment, and their struggles against the elites who stood to profit from the Pac Rim mine. It is a story that has its share of tragedies as well as victories: one the book’s main characters was tortured and murdered by those who opposed his activism.

Speaks to the widespread concern over the effects of unchecked corporate power: This a book for serious readers concerned about how global economic rules have been structured to favor transnational corporations over citizens, and their profits over democracy (and citizens’ concerns about the environment and their health).

Substantial author platforms: Co-author Robin Broad is an expert in international development and won a prestigious Guggenheim Fellowship in 2018 for her work on this project, as well as two previous MacArthur fellowships. Her professional experience includes work as an international economist in the US Treasury Department, in the US Congress, and at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. Cavanagh is Director of the Washington-based Institute for Policy Studies. Over the past year, he has led the IPS team that has served as the research arm of Rev. William Barber’s Poor People’s Campaign. With Broad, he helped create and run the International Allies group that spearheaded the global fight against mining in El Salvador.

Robin Broad is an expert in international development and was awarded a prestigious Guggenheim fellowship for her work surrounding mining in El Salvador, as well as two previous MacArthur fellowships. A professor at American University, she served as an international economist in the US Treasury Department, in the US Congress, and at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. Broad and her husband, John Cavanagh, have been involved in the Salvadoran gold mining saga since 2009. They helped build the network of international allies that spearheaded the global fight against mining in El Salvador. They have co-authored several previous books together.

John Cavanagh is director of the Washington, DC-based Institute for Policy Studies, an organization that collaborates with the Poor People’s Campaign and other dynamic social movements to turn ideas into action for peace, justice, and the environment. Previously, he worked with the United Nations to research corporate power. Cavanagh and his wife, Robin Broad, have been involved in the Salvadoran gold mining saga since 2009. They helped build the network of international allies that spearheaded the global fight against mining in El Salvador. They have coauthored several previous books together.

Author Residence: Takoma Park, MD

Author Hometown: Broad: Manchester, NH. Cavanagh: Cambridge, MA

Marketing: Outreach to Broad and Cavanagh’s extensive network, environmental activists, sustainable energy/clean energy organizations, and grassroots environmental movements

Advertising targeting readers with an interest in protecting natural resources



Publicity: National media attention in political and environment publications, print and online

National online coverage in culture and news outlets

Interviews on national and regional radio

Outreach to Broad and Cavanagh’s extensive network, environmental activists, sustainable energy/clean energy organizations, and grassroots environmental movements

“Broad and Cavanagh offer a practical David-versus-Goliath playbook for those who would mobilize both domestic and international forces to halt corporate abuses and to place the long-term welfare of communities above short-term financial gain.”
Foreign Affairs

“Demonstrates the potential of nonviolent campaigns to protect the interests of local communities against corporate powers.”
Maryknoll Magazine

“The book is an environmentalist playbook, a how-to guide for activists seeking to defeat a power structure that is rigged in favor of their opponents.”
The American Prospect

“To anyone tempted to think there is nothing an ordinary individual can do to make a difference, this story offers a powerful wake-up call.”
Christian Century

“It is rare, in the world of corporate power, to have a story where David beats Goliath. And rarer still to have one that reads like a fast-paced thriller.”
—Adam Hochschild, author of King Leopold’s Ghost

“Bravo to the courageous Salvadorans—and their likely and unlikely allies—who prove that victories against overwhelming odds are possible…. The water defenders of El Salvador and their international partners provide a powerful guidebook, poignantly retold by Broad and Cavanagh, of how the struggles for justice in the United States can link with allies abroad to build power and win.”
—Opal Tometi, cofounder of Black Lives Matter

“This story of how everyday citizens, against implacable odds, managed to defeat a corporation that ravaged their community and polluted their water is one of the most inspiring I have read in many years. A blueprint for further global action…it is also exceptionally moving, full of unforgettable characters, intrigue, and surprising twists and turns.”
—Ariel Dorfman, author of Death and the Maiden

“If you ever felt that your own contribution didn’t matter and that the powerful always win, this captivating saga will help you envision who truly has power if we unleash our imaginations and act together.”
—Ai-jen Poo, executive director of the National Domestic Workers Alliance

“Broad and Cavanagh are masterful storytellers. The words, deeds, and stories of people in El Salvador come alive so vividly in these pages to reinforce what we in the Poor People’s Campaign in the United States know well: the most powerful defenders of water, of the environment—of justice across the board—are poor people.”
—Rev. Dr. William Barber II, author of The Third Reconstruction

“When the story of the courageous Salvadoran people came to my ears, I was full of pride and hope. Indigenous peoples everywhere are fighting for their water, and enlightened governments are valuing water over foreign corporate control. Our work…is a parallel struggle, and we are inspired by the people from the south. The Eagle and the Condor meet again.”
—Winona LaDuke, author of To Be a Water Protector

“In this gripping tale full of drama, plot twists, and, most importantly, the powerful and savvy dedication of ordinary people and their communities, Robin Broad and John Cavanagh have given us a terrific play-by-play handbook of how David can, in fact, beat Goliath.”
—Dana Frank, author of The Long Honduran Night

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