It is 21 years since the Zapatista Army of National Liberation rose up in Chiapas, Mexico encouraging the mobilization of people around the world against neoliberalism, or global capitalism. They have not gone away, but are continuing to organize in their communities alternatives to the suicidal dominant system.
Woman holds photo of baby whose condition is blamed on agrotoxins, during rally in Asunción, Paraguay, 3 Dec 2014. PhotoLangelle.org
This powerful photo essay came out of a recent trip to Paraguay made by GJEP Board Chair and photographer Orin Langelle and myself to explore, with others from 5 continents, the root causes of the global deforestation crisis. Paraguay makes a good case study of deforestation and its impacts, as this photo essay demonstrates.
“All signs show that Paraguay, both its territory and its population, are under attack by conquerors, but conquerors of a new sort. These new ‘conquistadors’ are racing to seize all available arable land and, in the process, are destroying peoples’ cultures and the country’s biodiversity — just as they are in many other parts of the planet, even in those areas that fall within the jurisdiction of ‘democratic’ and ‘developed’ countries. Every single foot of land is in their crosshairs. Powerful elites do not recognize rural populations as having any right to land at all.” – Dr. Miguel Lovera
Photographs by Orin Langelle. Analysis at the end of the essay by Dr. Miguel Lovera from the case study: The Environmental and Social Impacts of Unsustainable Livestock Farming and Soybean Production in Paraguay. Dr. Lovera was the President of SENAVE, the National Plant Protection Agency, during the government of Fernando Lugo.
The killing of José Isidro Tendetza Antún highlights the risks facing environmental activists in Ecuador. Earlier this week, a group of campaigners travelling in a “climate caravan” were stopped six times by police on their way to Lima and eventually had their bus confiscated. The activists said they were held back because president Correa wants to avoid potentially embarrassing protests at the climate conference over his plan to drill for oil in Yasuni, an Amazon reserve and one of the most biodiverse places on earth.
Once lauded for being the first nation to draw up a “green constitution,” enshrining the rights of nature, Ecuador’s environmental reputation has nosedived in recent years as Correa has put more emphasis on exploitation of oil, gas and minerals, partly to pay off debts owed to China.
The body of an indigenous leader who was opposed to a major mining project in Ecuador has been found bound and buried, days before he planned to take his campaign to climate talks in Lima.
The killing highlights the violence and harassment facing environmental activists in Ecuador, following the confiscation earlier this week of a bus carrying climate campaigners who planned to denounce president Rafael Correa at the United Nations conference.
This exhibit went live on the Langelle Photography website on Saturday 30 November 2014, in time for the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change in Lima, Peru that opened 1 December 2014.
The photographs document impacts of and resistance to climate change and false solutions, spanning five continents over more than 25 years.
A review of the exhibit by Jack Foran from The Public began:
Photojournalist Orin Langelle’s exhibit at his new ¡Buen Vivir! gallery at 148 Elmwood in Allentown takes on two enormous issues: world climate change—along with the criminality of its associated corporate denial and delay tactics—and the official media’s so-called “objectivity.”
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.
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.
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.
By Anne Petermann, Executive Director, Global Justice Ecology Project
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.
Clayton Thomas-Muller talked with Margaret Prescod for KPFK’s Sojourner Truth show. Their focus was on the recent discoveries of RCMP surveillance of Thomas-Muller, who said that this surveillance and the criminalization of Indigenous dissent shows how high the stakes are right now in the fight between extractive industries and the Indigenous rights movement. Prescod rightly noted the link to COINTELPRO’s targeting of social movements in the US, in particular, activists of color.
As an added treat, here’s Clayton at the most recent Bioneers Conference talking about the broad based movement with Indigenous rights at the forefront that he’s helping build to challenge extractive industries and what he calls the Canadian petro-state government.