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
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
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
February 28, 2014. Source: ETC Group
Brazilian civil society organizations warned yesterday that a 2007 bill to end Brazil’s ban on Terminator seeds could soon be on the move (again) in the Brazilian Congress. While two bills have been on the congressional agenda for several years, a 2007 bill (PL 268/2007, filed by Rep. Eduardo Sciarra – PSD party) began moving through the Congress last July and came to a head last October. The legalizing of Terminator in Brazil would have global implications, including as a violation of the United Nations moratorium on Terminator technologies, in place since 2000 at the Convention on Biological Diversity.
A campaign mounted by Brazilian social movements stirred a global protest – including a petition signed by over 19,000 people – and temporarily derailed the Bill’s passage in October 2013.[i] In response, Décio Lima (PT party), then-President of the Congress’s all-important Judiciary Commission (the gatekeeper body that allows bills to proceed to a full congressional vote), vowed not to allow the Bill’s passage while he chaired the Commission.
But, just before Christmas, the Bill began to move again at the request of more than 30 deputies. A massive write-in campaign, on behalf of concerned organizations, set up by Action Aid (an international advocacy organization with roots in Brazil) again thwarted the move. More than 30,000 people and organizations around the world signed a protest letter calling on the Brazilian government to uphold the UN moratorium on the commercialization of Terminator.[ii] (“Terminator” refers to genetically engineered seed that dies at harvest, obliging farmers to purchase new seed every growing season.) Continue reading
February 27, 2014. Source: RT
A farmer tills a rice paddy field on the outskirts of Colombo, Sri Lanka (Reuters / Andrew Caballero-Reynolds)
A heretofore inexplicable fatal, chronic kidney disease that has affected poor farming regions around the globe may be linked to the use of biochemical giant Monsanto’s Roundup herbicide in areas with hard water, a new study has found.
The new study was published in the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health.
Researchers suggest that Roundup, or glyphosate, becomes highly toxic to the kidney once mixed with“hard” water or metals like arsenic and cadmium that often exist naturally in the soil or are added via fertilizer. Hard water contains metals like calcium, magnesium, strontium, and iron, among others. On its own, glyphosate is toxic, but not detrimental enough to eradicate kidney tissue.
The glyphosate molecule was patented as a herbicide by Monsanto in the early 1970s. The company soon brought glyphosate to market under the name “Roundup,” which is now the most commonly used herbicide in the world. Continue reading
By Kevin Woods, March 3, 2014. Source: Myanmar Times
A farmer spreads fertiliser in a paddy field in Demoso township in Kayah State in 2013. Photo: Kaung Htet/The Myanmar Times
The phrase “land grab” has become common in Myanmar, often making front page news. This reflects the more open political space available to talk about injustices, as well as the escalating severity and degree of land dispossession under the new government.
But this seemingly simple two-word phrase is in fact very complex and opaque. It thus deserves greater clarity in order to better understand the deep layers of meaning to farmers in the historical political context of Myanmar.
Understanding the deeper significance and meaning that farmers attach to the words “land grab” entails frank discussions of formerly taboo subjects related to the country’s history of armed conflict, illicit drugs, cronyism and racism.
Various state and non-state armed actors have been responsible for land grabs in Myanmar during the past several decades, mirroring recent historical periods.
Through the Great Depression under British colonial rule, the Japanese occupation during WWII and eventual freedom from foreign domination, rice production in the Ayeyarwady Delta, propped up by British colonial capitalism, collapsed under heavy debt burdens, with farmers losing their land and livelihoods. Continue reading
February 20, 2014. Source: Center for International Environmental Law
Demonstrators demand the nullification of a Barro Blanco environmental impact study. Photo: Arnoldo Zeballos | El Siglo
Environmental and human rights organizations submitted an urgent appeal to United Nations Special Rapporteurs on behalf of members of the indigenous Ngöbe community – the community faces imminent forced eviction from their land for the Barro Blanco hydroelectric dam project in western Panama. The eviction would force Ngöbe communities from their land, which provides their primary sources of food and water, means of subsistence, and culture.
The urgent appeal, submitted by the Ngöbe organization Movimiento 10 de Abril para la Defensa del Rio Tabasará (M10) and three international NGOs, the Interamerican Association for Environmental Defense (AIDA), the Center for International Environmental Law (CIEL), and Earthjustice, asks the Special Rapporteurs to call upon the State of Panama to suspend the eviction process and dam construction until it complies with its obligations under international law. Given that the project is financed by the German and Dutch development banks (DEG and FMO, respectively) and the Central American Bank for Economic Integration (CABEI), the groups also urge the Special Rapporteurs to call on Germany, the Netherlands, and the member States of CABEI to suspend financing until each country has taken measures to remedy and prevent further violations of the Ngöbe’s human rights. Continue reading
Filed under Actions / Protest, Ending the Era of Extreme Energy, Energy, False Solutions to Climate Change, Food Sovereignty, Green Economy, Hydroelectric dams, Indigenous Peoples, Land Grabs, Latin America-Caribbean, The Greed Economy and the Future of Forests, Water
February 18, 2014. Source: NISGUA
Cultivated fields that would be flooded by the Xalalá dam. Photo: NISGUA
Nearly two years after the Guatemalan government announced its renewed interest in constructing the Xalalá Hydroelectric Dam, communities maintain strong opposition to the project in the three affected municipalities: Ixcán, Uspantán, and Cobán.
The Xalalá Hydroelectric Dam was first proposed in the 1970s. Declared of “national interest,” it figured prominently in the Master Plan for National Electrification and the Northern Transversal Strip (FTN), a political-economic vision for land use, industrialization, and natural resource exploitation. If constructed, the Xalalá Dam would be the second largest hydroelectric dam in the country, producing an estimated 181 megavolts and flooding the lands of some 58 communities in three municipalities.
Community opposition consolidated after the 2007 community consultation held in the municipality of Ixcán, in which more than 90% of the population rejected the construction of hydroelectric dams such as Xalalá. In 2009, the municipality of Uspantán followed suit, holding a community consultation in which 90% of their population also rejected the construction of hydroelectric dams. Continue reading
By Carmelo Ruiz-Marrero, February 10, 2014. Source: Inter Press Service
A group of visitors tours Jorge Cora’s farm on Jan. 25, 2014. Credit: Elisa Sanchez
VIEQUES, Puerto Rico – A decade after the United States Navy’s departure, the Puerto Rican island town of Vieques faces new challenges, and the rebirth of its agriculture sector is hampered by a legacy of toxic military trash that has uncertain consequences.
From 1999 to 2003, Vieques, which is just over twice the size of New York City’s Manhattan Island, was the site of a massive civil disobedience campaign to put an end to the presence of the Navy, which had used the island for bombing practice since World War Two. Puerto Rico is officially a commonwealth and territory of the United States.
In 2003, the bombing range was closed. But Vieques faces other challenges, like unemployment, crime, and basic infrastructure issues like health and transportation. Continue reading