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Elisa Levy

34 years old, Elisa is an Ecuadorian biologist and environmental activist who has worked extensively in wildlife conservation. Born to two activist parents, she was raised at the crossroads of the Awá territory and Colombian border, witnessing at a young age the indigenous movement by the Awá to gain their land rights. She, in turn, grew into her parents’ shoes to support the Awá community in their current fight against international mining companies.

Working with like-minded colleagues, Elisa helped create the watchdog nonprofit organization OMASNE, supporting and educating communities in northern Ecuador on their right to consultation and the impacts of large-scale mining on the environment and the watersheds these communities rely on.

Elisa — a specialist in the study of butterflies — helped to organize the National Geographic-funded Richer Than Gold expedition into the heart of the Los Cedros Protected Forest. Along with José DeCoux, the founder and director of Los Cedros, she is the backbone and force pushing to protect Los Cedros. Elisa is an activist powerhouse who is deeply dedicated to fighting for justice and raising up the voices of rural communities.

How can you put at risk the last remnant of forest we have, prioritizing big-scale mining income for a transnational company over the lives, the well-being, of Ecuadorians?