Category Archives: Indigenous Peoples

Follow updates on Burnaby Mountain from Earth First! Newswire and the land defenders

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The Earth First! Newswire is doing an excellent job reporting on the Burnaby Mountain land defenders. Read here for their account and follow the Burnaby Mountain Updates on Facebook, which also includes ways to support the land defenders.

Burnaby: New Lockdown after Tree-sitter Shot with “Less Than Lethal” Round

from Earth First! News, 20 November 2014, in the afternoon.

Local activist and video journalist Devin Gillan has reported that RCMP officers admit shooting the tree-sitter with a “less-than-lethal” shotgun round. (The same thing occurred when police extracted protestors from the Willits tree-sit in California.)

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Filed under Actions / Protest, Indigenous Peoples, Pipeline

The Perils of Wood-Based Bioenergy: Paraguay Blog Post #2

By Anne Petermann, Executive Director, Global Justice Ecology Project, 20 November 2014

Global Justice Ecology Project is in Paraguay for two weeks of meetings to strategize means to address the impacts of wood-based bioenergy, genetically engineered trees and livestock on deforestation levels, and the solutions to the climate change and deforestation crisis provided by local communities maintaining and caring for their traditional lands.

Ada from the Solomon Islands.  If biomass energy is not stopped, her islands will continue to drown.  Photo credit: GJEP-GFC

Aydah from the Solomon Islands speaks at the meeting. If biomass energy is not stopped, her islands will continue to drown. Photo credit: GJEP-GFC

Today’s meetings included the participation of activists from throughout Africa, Asia, the South Pacific, North and South America and Eastern and Western Europe.  The topic at hand was the problem of wood-based bioenergy–specifically electricity derived from cutting down forests, destroying biodiversity, polluting the atmosphere and displacing forest-based Indigenous and local communities.

Biomass also comes with an enormous cost in waste. In the Drax UK biomass plant, Biofuelwatch has calculated that of every three trees burned, two are wasted as heat. Half of one UK power station takes more wood than the entire UK produces every year and supplies only 4.6% of the country’s electricity demand. These power stations require co-generation with coal, so increased use of biomass = increased use of coal. Without the biomass conversion, this Drax plant would have had to close by 2016. The conversion to co-generation with biomass is allowing it to stay open, enabling continued and increased use of coal.

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Filed under Biodiversity, Bioenergy / Agrofuels, Biofuelwatch, Climate Change, Climate Justice, False Solutions to Climate Change, Forests, Forests and Climate Change, Indigenous Peoples, Pollution, The Greed Economy and the Future of Forests

Papua-Wide meeting calls for 10 year Moratorium on Plantation and Forestry Industries

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The below press release and letter was originally posted 12 November 2014 by awasMIFEE!, a group of independent activists in the UK in solidarity with the people of the Merauke and elsewhere in West Papua threatened by the Merauke Integrated Food and Energy Estate (MIFEE) mega-project for the pulp and oil palm industries.

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Filed under Demands, Indigenous Peoples, Land Grabs, Palm Oil, Tree Plantations

Impressions from Paraguay: Day one in the tropics

By Anne Petermann, Executive Director, Global Justice Ecology Project

Ayoreo family in the Gran Chaco in Paraguay.  This family and their community were forcibly relocated from their homeland by groups who want to exploit the Chaco.  Photolangelle.org

Ayoreo family in the Gran Chaco in Paraguay. This family and their community were relocated from their homeland by groups who want to exploit the Chaco. Photolangelle.org

Global Justice Ecology Project just arrived in Paraguay for two weeks of meetings on the themes of wood-based bioenergy, genetically engineered trees, the impacts of livestock and GMO soy production on global deforestation levels, and the solutions to climate change and deforestation provided by local communities maintaining and caring for their traditional lands.

Looking out of the Asunción hotel room at the wide majestic Paraguay river, and the expanse of forest on the other side, feeling the tropical humidity and listening to the rumble of distant thunder, it is hard to imagine that yesterday my GJEP colleague and I woke up in the midst of a major snowstorm in Buffalo, NY.

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Filed under Biodiversity, Bioenergy / Agrofuels, Corporate Globalization, Ending the Era of Extreme Energy, Forests, Forests and Climate Change, GE Trees, Indigenous Peoples, The Greed Economy and the Future of Forests, Tree Plantations, Uncategorized

To stop the killings of environmental defenders, we need land reform and binding laws

Photo from Friends of the Earth.

Photo from Friends of the Earth.

Originally written 17 November 2014 and posted at the Friends of the Earth website. Small edits made to reflect the difference.

Two months ago, in early September, four Asháninka indigenous forest defenders were brutally slain in a remote region along the border of Peru and Brazil. One of the activists, Edwin Chota (pictured above) had received frequent death threats from loggers he had previously tried to expel from the lands for which his community was seeking title. As the New York Times reported, “Pervasive corruption lets the loggers operate with impunity, stripping the Amazon region’s river basins of prized hardwoods” — and leading to killings such as these.

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Filed under Illegal logging, Indigenous Peoples, South America

The Arrested Get It: KXL Not Over

Photo credit: Red Power Media/Frank Thorp

Photo credit: Red Power Media/Frank Thorp

There’s plenty of great media out about the Senate vote, but here’s an aspect of the story worth us highlighting in our modest way this morning–the real significance and rallying point of the Sioux response, even up to and after the vote by Senate. It’s really important that the protests and arrests happened despite the squeaker vote against the pipeline: The protesters made a point that the fight is not over and that the vote is not really a cause of celebration, just a step in a struggle.

An essay by Alexander Reed Ross in Counterpunch this morning further articulates this idea. He writes:

In short, the Big Fail and ensuing celebrations from the Environmental NGOs looks suspiciously like a setup. It’s definitely not time to demobilize.

[The] KXL must be met through sincere and dedicated efforts at Indigenous solidarity with the Rosebud Sioux, who have called the KXL’s passage through the House an “act of war,” and others who are resisting not only the pipeline, but the tar sands as well.

Read Ross’s whole essay here.

Native Americans Arrested Following Keystone XL Pipeline Vote

By Anastasia Pantsios, EcoWatch. 19 November 2014

Anyone following the Keystone XL pipeline vote in the Senate yesterday heard what appeared to be chanting or singing in the background when the final tally of 41-59 was announced, signaling that approval of the pipeline had failed to clear the bar of 60 votes and that congressional approval of the pipeline was delayed for the time being.

 Read Pantsios’s whole article here.

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Filed under Actions / Protest, Indigenous Peoples, Keystone XL, Pipeline, Tar Sands

Guatemala says No GMO to Monsanto

Guatemala has been shielded from Big Ag thanks to the unyielding efforts by a passionate group of indigenous peoples, human rights activists and campesinos. Their protests pressured the Guatemalan government into repealing a decree known as the “Monsanto Law,” which would have given the international biocrop corp access to the country’s agriculture market.

In Sololá, hundreds of campesinos mobilized to oppose the “Monsanto Law,” which would have opened Guatemala to the privatization of seed. Photo: WNV/Jeff Abbott

In Sololá, hundreds of campesinos mobilized to oppose the “Monsanto Law,” which would have opened Guatemala to the privatization of seed. Photo: WNV/Jeff Abbott

An article on EarthFirst! chronicles the 10 day protest to keep Monsanto from planting roots in Guatemalan soil. Not only are there major health and economic concerns with Monsanto stepping in, but there are also spiritual issues, as well. While there are multitudes of indigenous tribes in Guatemala, many of them share the belief that seeds are sacred; that human life, a gift from the gods, comes from the very seeds Monsanto seeks to corrupt.

In Guatemala, Indigenous Communities Prevail Against Monsanto
by Jeff Abbott, Popular Resistance, 10 November 2014

Late in the afternoon of September 4, after nearly 10 days of protests by a coalition of labor, indigenous rights groups and farmers, the indigenous peoples and campesinos of Guatemala won are rare victory. Under the pressure of massive mobilizations, the Guatemala legislature repealed Decree 19-2014, commonly referred to as the “Monsanto Law,” which would have given the transnational chemical and seed producer a foot hold into the country seed market.

“The law would have affected all indigenous people of Guatemala,” said Edgar René Cojtín Acetún of the indigenous municipality of the department of Sololá. “The law would have privatized the seed to benefit only the multinational corporations. If we didn’t do anything now, then our children and grandchildren would suffer the consequences.”

What are those consequences? Get the full story here.

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Filed under Actions / Protest, GE Trees, GMOs, Indigenous Peoples, Monsanto

Ayotzinapa’s Uncomfortable Dead By Charlotte María Sáenz, Other Worlds

Image: Open Source #IlustradoresConAyotzinapa

Image: Open Source #IlustradoresConAyotzinapa

Vivos se los llevaron y vivos los queremos. “Alive, they were taken, and alive we want them back,” became the national and international public’s rallying cry for the 43 disappeared male student teachers attacked by municipal police and then handed over to the Guerreros Unidos drug gang on September 26, 2014 in Iguala, Guerrero, Mexico. This remains the rallying cry even after the official press conference of the Attorney General (PGR)[2] announced last Friday that those missing had most likely been executed and burnt to ashes as detailed in the suspected assassins’ video testimonies shared at the press conference alongside maps and photographs of suggestive evidence. However, there is no conclusive proof yet and so the 43 missing remain undead. Their parents refuse to accept this verdict, and in doing so, reveal the state’s incompetency, not only to deliver justice, but also to act with any kind of legitimacy or credibility before a populace to whom it has become ever more clear that the federal government is in fact deeply implicated in the violence it claims to oppose.

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Filed under Indigenous Peoples, Latin America-Caribbean, Media, Political Repression