Category Archives: Indigenous Peoples

Gran Canal in Nicaragua would displace Indigenous peoples, wreak havoc on ecosystems

 

Rama people, one of the Indigenous groups most under threat by the canal. Photo by MaSii via Mongabay.com

Rama Cay, island of the Ramas, one of the Indigenous groups most under threat by the canal. Photo by MaSii via Mongabay.com

A Chinese consortium plans to start construction on a canal through Nicaragua by the end of this year, with the completion date of 2019.

Jeremy Hance of Mongabay.com has written an excellent article on how the canal threatens the Indigenous peoples and protected areas that stand in its way, and the ripple effects that it would have on ecosystems throughout Nicaragua.

The Gran Canal: will Nicaragua’s big bet create prosperity or environmental ruin?
By Jeremy Hance, mongabay.com. August 27, 2014

A hundred years ago, the Panama Canal reshaped global geography, allowing ships for the first time to bypass the long and perilous journey around Cape Horn by simply cutting through a continent. Now a new project, spearheaded by a media-shy Chinese millionaire, wants to compete with the infamous canal, building a 278-kilometer (173-mile) canal through Nicaragua. While the Nicaraguan government argues the massive project will change the country’s dire economic outlook overnight—Nicaragua is the second poorest country in the Western Hemisphere after Haiti—critics contend it will cause undue environmental damage, upend numerous communities, and do little to help the people of Nicaragua.

Not only might the Gran Canal not monetarily benefit the Nicaraguan people in the near-term, but it might worsen living conditions, already destabilized by environmental issues and longstanding conflict. 

In fact, according to Huete-Perez, the canal will force the relocation of at least nine indigenous and Afro-Nicarguan communities in Nicaragua’s South Atlantic Autonomous Region. Although the autonomous regions were set-up to provide local communities with greater access and management of their natural resources, this special status doesn’t impact the approval of the Gran Canal. 

Read the full article on Mongabay.com.

 

 

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Filed under Biodiversity, Indigenous Peoples, Latin America-Caribbean

Human Rights are the front line of environmental defense

Photo: Alex Barber

Photo: Alex Barber

Paul Jay, of The Real News Network, produced “Protecting the Amazon Includes Defending Indigenous Rights,” a video interview with Hiparidi Top’Tiro Xavante, an Indigenous rights activist in Brazil.

The 13 minute piece elegantly describes the need to defend the way of life of Indigenous peoples in the Amazon in order to defend and protect the biodiversity and and ecological health of the Amazon, “the lungs of the world.”

Watch the video on Truthout

 

 

 

 

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Filed under Actions / Protest, Biodiversity, Bioenergy / Agrofuels, Campaign to STOP GE Trees, Forests, Forests and Climate Change, Indigenous Peoples, Land Grabs, Political Repression, Rights, Resilience, and Restoration, Uncategorized

Human rights and environmental concerns intersect with the murders of Honduran children deported from the US

All across the globe people are displaced because of violence.

These displacements are stimulated by land grabs, often incentivized by economic policies and politics that turn traditional lands into plantations for so-called green energy strategies.

If you are a regular reader of Climate Connections you know that these include giant wind farms, genetically engineered tree plantations, biomass farms, or other exploitive economic schemes that loot the land and kill the people.

All across the globe there are real faces and real people that suffer the tremendous consequences of the kind of exploitation. It is rooted in the rise of the dominant culture that promotes profit for the few and an apocalypse for the many.

Global Justice Ecology Project focuses on these intersections and we have written about this frequently. Our publication Green Shock Doctrine is an important piece that promotes a fundamental need for systematic change as a strategy for transforming the planet to a truly livable and sustainable place for all of us.

Those that defend deportation of political, economic, and environmental refugees, those that stand next to busses of frightened and detained children along our borders, those that literally rock the busses and threaten to set fire to them, are either ignorant of the US role in the economic exploitation of these cultures and the resulting impact on climate change, or are deliberately set upon the poor people of the earth in a genocidal campaign to eliminate humanity from this earth.  Look into the lives of these children and their families and understand what we have done.

Five Children Murdered After They Were Deported Back to Honduras
By Esther Yu-Hsi Lee. ThinkProgress. August 19, 2014.

A volunteer brings water, food, and diapers to Central-American women and children dropped off at the Greyhound bus station in Phoenix, Arizona. CREDIT: VALERIA FERNÁNDEZ/ AP

A volunteer brings water, food, and diapers to Central-American women and children dropped off at the Greyhound bus station in Phoenix, Arizona.
CREDIT: VALERIA FERNÁNDEZ/ AP

Between five and ten migrant children have been killed since February after the United States deported them back to Honduras, a morgue director told the Los Angeles Times. Lawmakers have yet to come up with best practices to deal with the waves of unaccompanied children apprehended by Border Patrol agents, but some politicians refute claims that children are fleeing violence and are opting instead to fund legislation that would fast-track their deportations.

San Pedro Sula morgue director Hector Hernandez told the Los Angeles Times that his morgue has taken in 42 dead children since February. According to an interview with relatives by the LA Times, one teenager was shot dead hours after getting deported. Last year, San Pedro Sula saw 187 killings for every 100,000 residents, a statistic that has given the city the gruesome distinction as the murder capital of the world. That distinction has also been backed up by an U.S. Customs and Border Protection agency infographic, which found that many Honduran children are on the run from extremely violent regions “where they probably perceive the risk of traveling alone to the U.S. preferable to remaining at home.” Hugo Ramon Maldonado of the Committee for the Protection of Human Rights in Honduras believes that about 80 percent of Hondurans making the exodus are fleeing crime or violence.

Read the whole article here.

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Filed under Actions / Protest, Biodiversity, Bioenergy / Agrofuels, Campaign to STOP GE Trees, Chiapas, Climate Change, Climate Justice, Commodification of Life, Corporate Globalization, False Solutions to Climate Change, Green Economy, Illegal logging, Indigenous Peoples, Latin America-Caribbean, Migration/Migrant Justice, Political Repression, Politics, Racism, Rights, Resilience, and Restoration, Uncategorized

Groups globally mobilize to stop commercial release of genetically engineered eucalyptus trees in Brazil and US

Campaign to STOP GE Trees expands to four continents

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New York - Two unprecedented applications are pending that, if approved, would allow the commercial sale of millions of genetically engineered (GE) eucalyptus trees for development into vast industrial GE tree plantations in the US and Brazil. The Campaign to STOP GE Trees [1] is expanding and mobilizing to stop these and all large-scale releases of GE trees into the environment.

Banner photo (Plantations Are Not Forests) from last Friday's march:  Petermann/GJEP-GFC

Plantations Are Not Forests banner. Photo: Petermann/GJEP-GFC

In the US, ArborGen has a request pending with the Department of Agriculture to commercially sell freeze-tolerant GE eucalyptus trees; in Brazil, Futuragene has requested permission from CTNBio, the Brazilian biosafety regulatory agency, to release GE eucalyptus trees there. CTNBio is planning a public hearing on the Futuragene GE tree application on 4 September. The USDA could release their draft ruling at any time.

“We have tried to ban GE trees globally through various bodies of the United Nations, and now groups are coordinating internationally to stop any and all applications to legalize GE trees,” stated Winfridus Overbeek, Brazil-based Coordinator of the World Rainforest Movement and Steering Committee member for the Campaign. “It’s crucial that these potentially disastrous trees not be commercially released because the health and viability of entire forest ecosystems and the communities who depend on them will be at risk.”

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Filed under Actions / Protest, Bioenergy / Agrofuels, Forests, Forests and Climate Change, GE Trees, Genetic Engineering, Greenwashing, Indigenous Peoples, Latin America-Caribbean, The Greed Economy and the Future of Forests, Uncategorized

Oregon denies permit for coal export terminal, cites damage to Indigenous fisheries as key in decision

Image used by Columbia Riverkeeper.

Image used by Columbia Riverkeeper

Oregon’s Department of State Lands denied Ambre Energy a permit needed for a proposed coal terminal to export coal from Wyoming and Montana to Asia. While a range of environmental groups helped put pressure, the state agency singled out the damage that would have been caused to tribal fisheries by the terminal. 

Oregon Department of State Lands rejects Ambre Energy coal export permit, dealing major blow

By Rob Davis, The Oregonian. August 18, 2014.

Oregon’s Department of State Lands on Monday dealt a serious blow to Ambre Energy’s proposed coal terminal, denying a key permit needed for a project to export 8.8 million tons of coal annually to Asia.

The state agency said despite a two-year review, Australia-based Ambre Energy hadn’t done enough to analyze alternatives that would avoid harming tribal fisheries at the Port of Morrow in Boardman, where the company had proposed to build a dock to load coal onto barges.

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Tribes that rely on Columbia River fisheries had opposed the terminal, saying it would destroy protected tribal fishing areas. The state concurred, saying a “small but important long-standing fishery” at the project site would be harmed.

Oregon Gov. John Kitzhaber, a Democrat and the project’s most prominent opponent, praised the decision.

“Columbia River tribes have fundamental rights to these fisheries,” he said, “and projects that may interfere with these rights or affect important public resources are held to appropriately high standards.”

Tribes also applauded the rejection.

Read more at The Oregonian.

The image comes from Columbia Riverkeeper: Read more from them here.

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Filed under Coal, Corporate Globalization, Ending the Era of Extreme Energy, Indigenous Peoples

Indigenous tribe faces violence on “Human Safari” road

In the article “Andaman Tribe threatened by Illegal ‘Human Safari’ Road,” The Ecologist outlines the various ways India’s Andaman Islands are abusing the rights of indigenous peoples in the area. Not only have these tribes faced hideous crimes including sexual assault, but they are also subjected to decisions with their land in which they have no say.

Respecting the rights of indigenous people means including them in the conversation about all activities on their lands. While we often focus on the repercussions of mining, deforestation or mills, these infringements also include the pros and cons of other uses, such as tourism.

Plans for a major building project on an illegal road notorious for its ‘human safaris’ to the vulnerable Jarawa tribe have been condemned by Survival International. Photo: www.bonrix.net

Plans for a major building project on an illegal road notorious for its ‘human safaris’ to the vulnerable Jarawa tribe have been condemned by Survival International. Photo: www.bonrix.net via Intercontinental Cry

Andaman Tribe threatened by Illegal ‘Human Safari’ Road

by The Ecologist, reposted to Intercontinental Cry, August 16, 2014

An illegal road on India’s Andaman Islands has already opened up a 55,000 year old tribe to disease, sexual abuse and the theft of their resources. But instead of closing the road, local politicians are upgrading it with two new bridges.

Plans for a major building project on an illegal road notorious for its ‘human safaris’ to the vulnerable Jarawa tribe have been condemned by Survival International.

The group, which campaigns for tribal peoples’ rights, fears that it will lead to a massive increase in travelers through the tribe’s ‘protected reserve’ on India’s Andaman Islands.

Andaman MP Mr Bishnu Pada Ray, of the ruling BJP Party, recently announced the widening of the Andaman Trunk Road up to the Jarawa reserve, and the construction of two new road bridges.

Read the full article here.

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The People are Tired of Corporate Pitches: “There will be no oil going through this land”

Elders and other resisters addressed the Energy East TransCanada Pipeline “Open House” at Kenora, Ontario on August 12 and the people told Energy East to go away. This beautiful article from Reclaim Turtle Island tells the story in words and video.  These brave people will move you.

Elder Nancy Morrison addresses Kenora, Ontario TransCanada/East Energy Open House, august 2014 - Photo Crystal Greene

Elder Nancy Morrison addresses Kenora, Ontario TransCanada/East Energy Open House, august 2014 – Photo Crystal Greene

Anishinaabeg loudly oppose TransCanada’s Energy East project at Kenora open house

By Crystal Greene, Reclaim Turtle Island. August 14, 2014.

Anishinaabeg and fellow Energy East pipeline resisters made a presence inside and outside Lakeside Inn on Tuesday, Aug. 12 for TransCanada’s second Kenora, Ont., open house

This time, the people weren’t interested in hearing TransCanada’s “information session” pitch. The tradeshow set-up had booths, corporate fact-sheets, and enough staff for one-on-one interactions to keep concerned citizens unaware of each other’s objections to the proposed Energy East pipeline.

Many in attendance had already made up their minds against the Energy East project proposal to convert the 50+ year-old natural gas carrying “Canadian Mainline,” and build new pipeline sections, into what could be North America’s largest tarsands pipeline, with 1.1 million barrels of diluted bitumen per-day from Hardisty, AB to marine terminals at Saint John, NB for international export.

Read and view the full piece here

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Filed under Actions / Protest, Indigenous Peoples, Oil, Pollution

Ecosystem in Pacto, Ecuador, on the verge of destruction by mining project

Large-scale mining projects threaten to destroy Pacto's vibrant ecosystem. Photo: Gkillcity.com

Large-scale mining projects threaten to destroy Pacto’s vibrant ecosystem. Photo: Gkillcity.com

In 2011, the Quito Metropolitan Board declared Pacto’s serene landscape – the rain forests, river basins and mountains – as an area dedicated to the “conservation and the development of agriculture, livestock and sustainable agroforestry.” No non-renewable uses of the land allowed – period.

Seems a lot can be forgotten when money changes hands.

According to the article “Ecuador: Free Pacto from Mining,” posted on Upside Down World, a proposed mining project is set to rip through Pacto, despite the 2011 ban on mining and drilling and without consultation from the indigenous communities in the region. Gabriela Leon writes,

The Ministry for Non-Renewable Natural Resources granted two mining concessions within the DMQ to the National Mining Corporation (ENAMI): Urcutambo and Ingapi. Together, these concessions amount to more than 4,600 hectares and will directly impact the communities of Pacto and the autonomous parish of Gualea. Besides social effects such as the interruption of daily-life in the communities and migration, the Chirapi River water system, which includes the Pishashi, Chulupe, and Peripe rivers and twenty gorges and ravines, will be harmed.

ENAMI plans on creating exploratory shafts designed to root through the ground for gold, silver, copper and molybdenum. Not only does this threaten the land and forests, but the future of the Chirapi River water system also hangs in the balance. With the land ravaged and the water polluted, what will happen to the region’s communities? The indigenous people living in and off this area were not consulted prior to the concessions, nor do they support ENAMI’s plans for their ecosystem. Leon explains:

In ENAMI’s 2013 environmental impact study, mention was made of a survey of the region’s inhabitants that recognized that 75 percent of the population rejects mining activity at the Ingapi concession, and 60 percent rejects the one at Urcutambo. For that reason, in the document, ENAMI classifies the level of conflict as high in both cases. And so, I ask: Is it feasible to carry out a large scale project that would generate such a high level of social conflict? What are the principles that guide these policies in Ecuador?

Large scale mining in Pacto violates the State’s very objective: the protection and attainment of rights; the guarantee of peace and a life free of imposition and violence; the liberty of each individual and every community to decide autonomously how to live; and the respect for our indigenous peoples and campesinos who honor nature harmoniously, which they intrinsically depend upon, and which we have agreed to respect.

What are the benefits of this large-scale mining project? Or, perhaps the more pertinent question is – who will benefit?

 

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Filed under Indigenous Peoples, Mining