Sonia Pereira of Brazil is an environmental lawyer, a biologist, a social psychologist, and professor of Environmental Law and Human Ecology. She also coordinates the Ecological and Educational Training Programme in Human Ecology to support low-income communities to help them address their common problems, through reflective-learning and working together to clean and restore their environment.
In the 1980s, she was responsible for bringing to international attention the negative effects of the biggest hydroelectric power station built in the Amazon. She has fought against the destruction of the forest and submitted a paper asking the United Nations to conduct investigations and examine the killing of many people in the whole region as well as the use of poisonous chemical substances to clear the vegetation.
Sonia Pereira has contributed to the development of Government environmental management activities, and promoted public dialogue between the Government and communities. Her encouragement to communities to resist efforts to destroy their lands and lives, has led to numerous death threats.
She has written several articles and co-authored a book entitled Environmental Planning. She was a delegate for the Latin America and Caribbean Seminar on Women and the Environment, a Success Story presenter at the Global Assembly on Women and the Environment and at the World Peace University Symposium for Native Wisdom, Native Rights and Mother Earth.
In 1982, she became a member of the PDT party in Rio de Janeiro, and together with other members she was part of the Socialist Green Movement. During the same year she created the Brazi-lian Movement for the Defense of Life (registered as a NGO in 1985) with five other ecologists.
Sonia's work was first placed under the spotlights when she, as a lawyer, defended professor Augusto Ruschi's cause in 1984. Considered to be the most outstanding ornithologist in Brazil, Ruschi (who died in 1986) had launched a national appeal against the deforestation of 2,700 hectares of the Klabin Farm, which was the last forest reserve of Espírito Santo state, and the only habitat of three extremely rare hummingbirds. Along with another lawyer from Rio, Ismael Tavera, Sonia went to Espírito Santo and brought a popular action to the State Justice against the farm owners. Sonia triumphed.
Source: Global 500 Directory http://premioclaudia.abril.com.br/ingles/1996/pereira.html
Sonia Regina de Brito Pereira Rua Carvalho de Mendoca No. 36 - Apt. 802, Copacabana