By José Aylwin, Nancy Yáñez, Rubén Sánchez (excerpt). Source: World Rainforest Movement
Historically, relations between Mapuche indigenous communities and the forestry industry have been marked by conflict, primarily because of the expansion of industrial tree plantations on lands that are part of the Mapuche territory and the impact of these plantations on the communities’ habitat.
There are three business groups that control most of the forestry industry in Chile: Forestal Arauco, Compañía Manufacturera de Papeles y Cartones (CMPC) and MASISA. According to figures from 2007, these three companies owned a total of 1,715,910 hectares of tree plantations in Chile, mainly in the regions of Biobío, La Araucanía, Los Ríos and Los Lagos. In these same regions, tree plantations in the traditional Mapuche territory account for an area three times greater than the indigenous lands recognised by the state.
Most of the tree plantations have been established on traditional Mapuche lands. The communities affected by this industry are claiming their right to tenure over the lands occupied by the plantations, which were usurped from them both during the colonial era and following the military coup of 1973. Continue reading
Filed under Actions / Protest, Biodiversity, Corporate Globalization, Food Sovereignty, Forests, Green Economy, Indigenous Peoples, Land Grabs, Latin America-Caribbean, Political Repression, The Greed Economy and the Future of Forests
By Carlos Salvatierra. Source: World Rainforest Movement
Communities, peoples and civil society organizations have worked for years to raise the visibility of the significant benefits of the mangrove ecosystem and the importance of its existence. They have fought for the recognition of mangroves as highly productive systems that provide livelihoods and a space for the practice of the cultures and traditions of coastal peoples. “The mangrove is our natural enterprise, it is our employment, it does not ask us for our qualifications or a CV or identification. As long as we are in good health we can cast our nets and harvest our food,” declared Enrique Bonilla, president of COGMANGLAR and a fisherman from Champerico, Guatemala.
Today, the former perception of mangroves as mosquito-infested swamps has changed, but the struggle to defend them has become increasingly difficult in the face of the new and aggressive actors threatening their existence and the survival of the peoples and communities who inhabit them, from Latin America to Asia to Africa. “They are slowly exterminating us. Government policies criminalize and impoverish us. We are not poor; we have great wealth that the powerful want to appropriate, and we call that environmental racism,” said Marizhelia López of the Movement of Fishermen and Fisherwomen of Bahia, Brazil, expressing her concern over the loss of territories. Continue reading
Filed under Actions / Protest, Biodiversity, Commodification of Life, False Solutions to Climate Change, Food Sovereignty, Forests, Forests and Climate Change, Green Economy, Indigenous Peoples, Land Grabs, Latin America-Caribbean, REDD, The Greed Economy and the Future of Forests, Water
I received in the mail today Diana Anhalt’s newest poetry chapbook, LIVES OF STRAW, that uses my cover photograph of a street scene in San Cristobal de Las Casas, Chiapas, Mexico, which I shot in 1994.
Diana and I have become friends. We’ve never met face-to-face, but have communicated numerous times via internet and phone after I received this request from Diana on 8 September 2013:
I am interested in using Street scene in San Cristobal de Las Casas, Chiapas, Mexico for my book cover because of its resonance, its ability to say so much. I am the author of a small book of poems, “Lives of Straw,” to be released by Finishing Line Press about survival in Mexico—survival in every sense of that word—economic, physical, spiritual. (I lived in that country for 60 years.) What would be involved in acquiring the photo for one-time use? Thank you for your attention.
I want to give a brief background on what may be Diana’s most read book published in 2001, A Gathering of Fugitives – American Political Expatriates in Mexico 1948 – 1965. Diana is described on the back cover as coming “from a long line of wanderers which helps explain why practically everything she has published in Mexico and the United States deals with exile, expatriation and identity.”
She left the U.S. with her family when she was eight years old in 1950, fleeing to Mexico. This was the time of McCarthyism and the House Un-American Activities Committee (HUAC); when it was dangerous to think, much less talk or write, about anything that could possibly be deemed radical.
Dr. Harvey Klehr from Emory University calls of A Gathering of Fugitives, “A fascinating exhumation of a little-known group of American communists – idealists, artists, spies and Hollywood types – who migrated to Mexican exile in the late 1940s and 1950s. Diana Anhalt tells their story – and her own – sympathetically but not uncritically.”
I’m honored that Ms. Anhalt chose my photo for the cover of LIVES OF STRAW. Her chapbook of poetry is available at www.finishinglinepress.com.
And from the last paragraph of Disappearing Act in LIVES OF STRAW, that resonates so clearly to me, she writes -
One day will someone say:
That woman in the photo
looks familiar. Or will I have
passed from mind like a stranger’s
wave out some speeding car’s
Note: Rachel Smolker is a good friend of GJEP and co-director of Biofuelwatch.
-The GJEP Team
We have arrived – Please mind the gap as you step off
By Rachel Smolker
For decades we were warned,
The earth is growing warm
The ocean’s turning sour
Forests withering by the hour
What to do and who’s at fault?
We debated and debated
Who will pay? who will die?
And how to mitigate it? Continue reading
Note: The full report is available here: http://www.foeeurope.org/no-fracking-way
-The GJEP Team
March 6, 2014. Source: Friends of the Earth
Image: Friends of the Earth
A trade deal between the EU and the US risks opening the backdoor for the expansion of fracking in Europe and the US, reveals a new report released today . As part of the deal currently being negotiated, energy companies could be allowed to take governments to private arbitrators if they attempt to regulate or ban fracking and the dangerous exploitation of unconventional fossil fuels. Campaigners are urging the EU not to include such rights in trade deals.
The fourth round of trade negotiations on the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership between the EU and the US takes place next week in Brussels (March 10-14). If agreed, a clause in the deal, known as the ‘investor-state dispute settlement’ mechanism (ISDS), could give special rights to companies to claim damages in private investor friendly arbitrators if they deem their investments (including future profits) are adversely affected by changes in regulation or policy.
Such a clause would make it much harder for countries to ban or impose strong regulations on fracking for shale gas and other unconventional fossil fuels, for fear of having to pay millions in compensation. This would be regardless of the evidence of the environmental harm caused by fracking, and of the opposition by local residents and other citizens. More broadly, the ISDS clause would likely thwart governments’ efforts to address global warming and reduce dependency on fossil fuels, the report states. Continue reading
March 6, 2014. Source: Canadian Press
Photo: Canadian Press
TORONTO – The National Energy Board gave the green light Thursday to energy giant Enbridge’s plan to reverse the flow and increase the capacity of a pipeline that has been running between southern Ontario and Montreal for years.
The 141-page decision on the controversial Line 9 comes some four months after the federal regulator held public hearings on the Calgary-based company’s proposal.
The approval is subject to certain conditions that include Enbridge (TSX:ENB) being required to undertake activities involving pipeline integrity, emergency response and continued consultation.
“The board’s decision enables Enbridge to react to market forces and provide benefits to Canadians, while at the same time implementing the project in a safe and environmentally sensitive manner,” the NEB said in a statement. Continue reading
By John Deike, February 27, 2014. Source: EcoWatch
In recent years, Roundup was found to be even more toxic than it was when first approved for agricultural use, though that discovery has not led to any changes in regulation of the pesticide. Photo courtesy of Shutterstock
A new U.S. Geological Survey has concluded that pesticides can be found in, well, just about anything.
Roundup herbicide, Monsanto’s flagship weed killer, was present in 75 percent of air and rainfall test samples, according to the study, which focused on Mississippi’s highly fertile Delta agricultural region.
GreenMedInfo reports new research, soon to be published by Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry journal, discovered the traces over a 12-year span from 1995-2007.
In recent years, Roundup was found to be even more toxic than it was when first approved for agricultural use, though that discovery has not led to any changes in regulation of the pesticide. Moreover, Roundup’s overuse has enabled weeds and insects to build an immunity to its harsh toxins. Continue reading
By Coral Davenport and Steven Erlanger, March 5, 2014. Source: The New York Times
About 80 percent of Russian gas exports to Europe pass through Ukraine. Sources: East European Gas Analysis, National Gas Union of Ukraine
WASHINGTON — The crisis in Crimea is heralding the rise of a new era of American energy diplomacy, as the Obama administration tries to deploy the vast new supply of natural gas in the United States as a weapon to undercut the influence of the Russian president, Vladimir V. Putin, over Ukraine and Europe.
The crisis has escalated a State Department initiative to use a new boom in American natural gas supplies as a lever against Russia, which supplies 60 percent of Ukraine’s natural gas and has a history of cutting off the supply during conflicts. This week, Gazprom, Russia’s state-run natural gas company, said it would no longer provide gas at a discount rate to Ukraine, a move reminiscent of more serious Russian cutoffs of natural gas to Ukraine and elsewhere in Europe in 2006, 2008 and 2009.
“We’re engaging from a different position because we’re a much larger energy producer,” said Jason Bordoff, a former senior director for energy and climate change on the White House’s National Security Council. Continue reading
Note: the struggle for Tasmania’s forests has been going on for decades, as noted by this photo from GJEP Board Chair and Co-Founder Orin Langelle from a protest in Tasmania in 1992. The Forestry Commission was shut down for the day:
–The GJEP Team
By Bob Brown, March 5, 2014. Source: The Guardian
Weld Valley forests, part of the Tasmanian World Heritage Area that Abbott wants rescinded. Photo: Bill Hatcher
Prime minister Abbott’s rousingly-received speech to an audience of loggers at Parliament House in Canberra on Tuesday night had a Biblical ring to it.
Abbott referred to the Greens as “the devil”, lectured that “you intelligently make the most of the good things God has given us” and laboured his key message, a steal from Genesis, that “the environment is meant for man”. His audience was the cream of the industry which has marauded the nation’s forests since industrialised logging for woodchip exports to Japanese and Chinese paper mills began in 1970. Abbott said “I don’t see people who are environmental bandits, I see people who are the ultimate conservationists … I salute you.”
So clear-fall logging and burning of the tallest flowering forests on the planet, with provision for the dynamiting of trees over 80 metres tall, is an ultimate good in Abbott’s book of ecological wisdom. Continue reading
Dr. Devon G. Peña, March 4, 2014. Source: Environmental and Food Justice
Huichol yarn weaving of a sacred ceremony for maize. Source: Environmental and Food Justice
I am submitting this statement to express opposition to the proposed USDA co- existence policy. As a plant breeder, seed saver, traditional acequia farmer, and agro-ecologist familiar with the scientific evidence on gene flow I am unequivocally opposed to this policy. Asking for co-existence with GMO crops means seed-savers and plant breeders like myself have to accept the inevitability of severe business losses due to damage to our native seed stocks and active plant breeding programs. I ask that you consider the fact that farmers like myself are the keepers of the nation’s diverse bioregional ‘arks’ of native seeds and these are the ultimate basis of all agriculture in this country. As vulnerable traditional seed savers, we cannot accept co-existence. The scientific fact of gene flow makes it so. Let’s not pretend the scientific fact of gene flow is unsettled, like an agricultural crisis version of climate change denial.
Working with friends, family, and neighbors, I produce local heirloom varieties of the ‘Three Sisters’ (corn-bean-squash/pumpkin) for a land race seed library grown and stored on a farm in Colorado’s Rio Grande Headwaters bioregion. The preservation of multiple native gene streams is necessary to the business of plant breeding and seed saving which is a central focus of my agroecological enterprise and productive activity. The introgression of transgenes from genetically engineered corn is a direct threat to my livelihood because the open- pollinated nature of maize makes for frequent cross-contamination events. Corn pollen can travel quite far – with some studies showing distances of up to 30 miles or more depending on the nature of regional wind patterns. The San Luis Valley is a high altitude intermountain park known for strong winds and corn pollen can travel very far under these conditions. The valley has an average elevation of 8000 feet and is surrounded by a circle of mountains at 14,000 ft. and higher. We do our plant breeding and seed stock production in this valley on a historic farm that is organized and collectively run to serve as a grassroots agricultural extension research station and farm school for acequiero growers of Colorado and New Mexico. Continue reading