Isolated Amazon Tribe endures acts of violence by non indigenous attackers.


Source: FUNAI-Brazil National Indian Foundation -2008- Isolated indigenous people near Envira River in Brazil, near the border with Peru.

Source: FUNAI-Brazil National Indian Foundation -2008- Isolated indigenous people near Envira River in Brazil, near the border with Peru.

Source: Vincent Bevins, July 25, 2014. Los Angeles Times

The Brazil National Indian Foundation (FUNAI) recently announced that it had made contact with an isolated indigenous tribe in the Amazon region bordering Brazil and Peru. The tribe reportedly initiated the contact after disease and violent attacks by non-indigenous people at the head of the Envira River in Peru. FUNAI said that this was the first significant contact with an isolated tribe since 1996

FUNAI has a policy of avoiding unwanted contact and preserving the land rights of indigenous groups. The suggestion that violence and disease in these fragile communities recently forced them off of their land and into contact with authorities, is troubling, indigenous rights groups say.

It’s extremely rare for the tribes to move into other groups’ land unless there is serious trouble, said Fiona Watson, research director at Survival International, an indigenous rights organization.

“This is extremely worrying,” said Watson, who added that her group had found evidence of logging, coca cultivation and drug trafficking near the indigenous-occupied region on the Peruvian side of the border.

“The most immediate question is of the flu. People who have had no contact for so long have no immunity to things like the flu or the common cold, and we know from past experience that it wasn’t uncommon after forced contact for half of the tribe to die,” she said.

For more on this subject see Orin Langelle’s The Unconquered, in search of the Amazon’s last uncontacted tribes-A Review  from Climate Connections, October 24, 2011

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A question of local bans: Two accounts of the South Portland, Maine block on tar sands


Citizens in favor of the ban during the South Portland City Council meeting. Logan Werlinger/Portland Press Herald

Last week, there was quite a bit of coverage on the ordinance passed by the South Portland, Maine city council, blocking Canadian tar sands oil from its port.

The measure would prevent ExxonMobil from reversing the flow of its current pipeline, which now brings oil into Canada, so that it could bring Alberta tar-sands oil to the port for export on a global market.

The block is called the ‘Clear Skies’ ordinance, as a response to the local environmental damage that would be caused by processing the tar sands to be ready for export. As Katherine Bagley reports in Inside Climate News:

The council and allies fought the pipeline plan because of the risk of toxic spills and air pollution [...]. Dozens of heavy chemicals are added to bitumen extracted from tar sands to help the peanut butter-like substance flow through pipes. Before the mixture can be loaded onto tankers, these chemicals must be burned off, releasing toxins including benzene, a human carcinogen, into the air. The export hub in South Portland would be located just steps from an elementary school, a popular waterfront park and residential neighborhoods.

While many see this as a successful local response, others take up the broader context: In particular, Katherine Bagley quotes financial and oil industry insiders who point out that the oil corporations can simply find other ports.

But these insiders have a real vested interest in downplaying the effectiveness of local resistance. Bagley’s article also indirectly shows how resistance starts stacking up:

With access to the Gulf of Mexico and the West Coast limited because of delays with the Keystone XL and Northern Gateway pipelines, the East Coast is largely seen as the remaining option to export Alberta’s oil sands via pipeline—and the Portland-Montreal line is the only existing route connecting Alberta to Maine.

While Bagley’s article includes important questions about efficacy, having so many industry insiders declaring the South Portland victory “hollow” might just be a sign of their own fears, which is good.

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Neonicotinoids making toxic for aquatic life Midwest US rivers and streams

sites in Iowa sampled for neonicotinoids in 2013A recent US Geological Survey, Insecticides Similar to Nicotine Widespread in Midwest, has found neonicotinoids (neonics) in rivers and streams throughout the Midwest, due to their use in corn and soybean production. The USGS says that this survey is the first of its kind in the US, and notes an increase in neonic use in the Midwest:

Effective in killing a broad range of insect pests, use of neonicotinoid insecticides has dramatically increased over the last decade across the United States, particularly in the Midwest.  The use of clothianidin, one of the chemicals studied, on corn in Iowa alone has almost doubled between 2011 and 2013.

Neonics do not break down quickly in the environment: “This means they are likely to be transported away in runoff from the fields where they were first applied to nearby surface water and groundwater bodies.”

The highest concentrations happen in the spring, when seeds are first treated with the neonics. The report argues that during this time especially the water may become toxic to aquatic life.

A recent report has shown the devastation caused by neonics to the lower rungs of the food chain, calling it the new DDT, and connected its use to the colony collapse of bees.

In 2013, The EU banned neonic use throughout the continent for three years, and there’s some rumblings in Washington about regulation. That said, Minnesota’s recent actions suggest ways that states can act.

The use of neonics is directly linked to corn and soybean industrial agriculture, which already strangles much of the Midwest; this is just more evidence for just how unsustainable and toxic this production has become.





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Spoken word on Palestine: “We teach life, sir.”

The following video was sent to us via a great friend and long-time volunteer for GJEP. Razeef Ziadah is also a friend of one of our board members.

Our friend and volunteer from VT said, “This poem made me think of your [GJEP's] work.”

RAFEEF ZIADAH is a Canadian-Palestinian spoken word artist and activist. Her debut CD Hadeel is dedicated to Palestinian youth, who still fly kites in the face of F16 bombers, who still remember the names if their villages in Palestine and still hear the sound of Hadeel (cooing of doves) over Gaza.


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by | July 26, 2014 · 3:20 PM

Mexican judge bans Monsanto GMO soybean crops

2013 Monsanto protests in Mexico. Photo: cipamericas

2013 Monsanto protests in Mexico. Photo: cipamericas

A federal judge in Mexico overturned a permit that allowed Monsanto to plant GMO soy when evidence proved that the frankenplants endangered native honeybee colonies.

Victory is sweet!

In his article, “Monsanto in Mexico: Court rules against the Gene Giant in Yucatan,” Devon G. Pena explains the situation:

According to reports appearing in the Mexican print media, a federal district court judge in Yucatán yesterdayoverturned a permit issued to Monsantothe U.S.-based multinational corporation that is a leading purveyor of genetically modified crops (GMOs). The permit, which had been issued by the Secretariat of Agriculture, Livestock, Rural Development, Fisheries and Food on June 6, 2012, allowed the commercial planting of GM soy bean in YucatánThe ruling was based on consideration of scientific evidence demonstrating (to the judge’s satisfaction) that GMO soy crop plantings threaten Mexican honey production in the states of Campeche, Quintana Roo, and Yucatán. (Read More)

Across the globe, governments backed by corporate cash call for scientific evidence that GMOs are harmful, but when that proof is placed before them, they dodge reality and keep on pushing their agendas. Mexico revoking Monsanto’s permit shows other governments that it is not too late to turn away from Big Ag and back to the people.


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by | July 25, 2014 · 3:00 PM

Breaking: Leaked document reveals US-EU trade agreement threatens public health, food safety

WASHINGTON D.C. – A draft chapter of the U.S-EU trade agreement leaked today by the Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy (IATP) reveals public health and food safety could be at risk, according to an accompanying analysis. The leaked chapter concerns Sanitary and Phytosanitary (SPS) issues—those surrounding food safety and animal and plant health—in the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) currently being negotiated. Only TTIP negotiators and security cleared advisors, mostly corporate representatives, can read and comment on draft negotiating texts.

The document reveals U.S. plans to “not require port of entry food inspections and testing, meaning food contamination outbreaks will be harder to trace to their origin, and liability harder to assess…”

According to the IATP analysis accompanying release of the leaked document, “This leaked draft TTIP chapter doesn’t tell us everything about where negotiations are headed on food safety, but it tells us enough to raise serious concerns.”
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Peru’s environmental news in advance of UN climate conference raises red flags

In December, Peru will host the 20th UN climate conference (COP 20) in Lima. Recent news from Peru sparks concern about this as the site for a gathering of activists and civil society attempting to pressure the UN to act responsibly on climate change.

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Busted! Research on food waste shows no need for GM crops

foodwaste-(1)An increasing population needs an increasing food supply, right? At least, that’s the excuse politicians and corporations have been force-feeding the public, justifying their pursuit of genetically modified foods. They tell us that organic processes and farming techniques in tune with nature just aren’t up to the task of feeding the nearly 7 billion people on the planet.

That myth is now busted, and the proof is in the nearly 222 million tons of food wasted by industrialized nations every year. “If we eliminated this unnecessary food waste, we could potentially provide 60-100 percent more food to feed the world’s growing population,” writes Andrew Gunter in his Huffington Post article, “Big Ag Profits From Food Waste.”

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