84 year-old Wendy Bowman is proof you can be an activist at any age. For seven years, she stood up to powerful multinational mining company, Chinese-owned Yancoal, that had poisoned her crops and water supply with heavy metals.
The Australian government had been handing out coal mining permits left and right — almost two-thirds of her community of Hunter Valley had been given away to coal firms to produce 145 million tons of coal each year. In the process, landowners have been forced to move off their property with little say or explanation of their rights. Coal companies created divisions within the community by offering huge sums of money to select landowners and imposing a gag order on the terms of the deal.
After eventually relocating to Rosedale, Yancoal tried to buy the rights to the coal under her property. Wendy refused millions in compensation, fighting instead to preserve the health and environment of her community. Bowman took her fight all the way to the New South Wales Court of Appeal, and didn’t give up until she stopped the mine in its tracks. In 2014, the courts agreed finally with Wendy.
Send Wendy a congratulatory message for winning her incredible battle against Big Coal.