Category Archives: Indigenous Peoples

KPFK Earth Minute: Ongoing anti-fracking standoff in Mi’kmaq territory, New Brunswick

kpfk_logoGlobal Justice Ecology Project teams up with the Sojourner Truth show on KPFK Pacifica Los Angeles for a weekly Earth Minute each Tuesday and a weekly Earth Watch interview each Thursday.

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Filed under Actions / Protest, Climate Change, Climate Justice, Corporate Globalization, Ending the Era of Extreme Energy, Energy, Hydrofracking, Indigenous Peoples

Because the land is ours – The rights of Mother Earth vs. carbon trading

By Tory Field and Beverly Bell. September 25, 2013. Source: Sustainablog

Part 29 of the Harvesting Justice series.

The hip-hop group Kunarevolution celebrate the Kuna Yala nation’s recent rejection of carbon trading. Photo: Beverly Bell.

The hip-hop group Kunarevolution celebrate the Kuna Yala nation’s recent rejection of carbon trading. Photo: Beverly Bell.

Inatoy Sidsagi and his cousin Esteban Herrera, from the indigenous Kuna Yala (also known as Guna Yala) nation in Panama, make up the indigenous rap group Kunarevolution. They rap about Mother Earth and the Kuna’s inalienable right to protect her lands and waters.

The Kuna Yala people recently prevailed over a threat to their lands, in the form of carbon tradingREDD (Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation) is a global program promoted by the U.N., industrialized nations, and international financial institutions like the World Bank. REDD allows countries and corporations to buy “clean-air” credits from countries with undeveloped forests. In exchange, governments, indigenous nations, and other groups agree to preserve areas of their forests, with the rationale that the trees’ absorption of carbon, the element that causes global warming, will counteract damage done by industrial polluters. (Editor’s note: we published a post promoting REDD projects last year)

In October 2011, the US-based Wildlife Works Carbon presented a REDD proposal to the Kuna Yala. The fifty-one communities spent a year and a half in consultation. In June 2013, the Kuna Yala general congress voted to reject the corporate proposal. They declared, further, their complete withdrawal “from all discussions at the national and international level on the REDD issue” and a prohibition on “organizing events, conferences, workshops and other activities on the issue.”

We interviewed the hip-hop artist Inatoy Sidsagi from a liberated territory of the Lenca indigenous people of Honduras, in a building plastered with stickers reading, “REDD: No capitalism in our forests.” Inatoy told us, “The rejection of REDD is for the patrimony. Having accepted it would have complicated life for future generations. Why? Because the land is ours. We are bound and obliged to leave it for perpetual use. REDD would have been a betrayal for the long-term, with many consequences – cultural ones, but even more, our possibility to be a people, to be a nation. It would have been the end of us as a people.”
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Filed under Carbon Trading, False Solutions to Climate Change, Forests, Indigenous Peoples, Land Grabs, Latin America-Caribbean, REDD, Rights, Resilience, and Restoration, UNFCCC

Earth Minute: Chilean coup 40 years ago and the impact on the Mapuche People

Note: GJEP has worked with the Mapuche in Chile to stop genetically engineered trees.

GJEP teams up weekly with Margaret Prescod and the Sojourner Truth show for an Earth Minute and a 12-minute EarthWatch interview every Thursday covering front line environmental news from across the globe.

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Filed under Actions / Protest, Biodiversity, Climate Change, Earth Minute, Forests, GE Trees, Independent Media, Indigenous Peoples, Land Grabs, Posts from Anne Petermann

Orin Langelle: Artist of the Month

Note: Orin Langelle is a co-founder of Global Justice Ecology Project and is currently GJEP’s Board Chair.  He is assembling 40 years of his photography that chronicles the movements for social and ecological justice around the world.

From Orin Langelle: I received an email on Friday, 30 August, from Melody Hay, Assistant Editor, TheArtList.com, saying, ‘I found your work to be very fascinating and inspiring.  That said, I would love to offer you the opportunity to be showcased as TheArtList.com’s September 2013 Artist of The Month.’

And on 3 September The ArtList.com Newsletter came out.  Joseph Hollinshead, Editor, TheArtList.com stated, ‘This month we are very excited to showcase Buffalo, NY artist, Orin Langelle, as the September 2013 Artist of the Month… his interview and photography are fascinating and inspiring:’

The Art List: Artist of the Month – September 2013 – Orin Langelle – Buffalo, NY

At the World Social Forum, Belem, Brazil 2009 - 11 x 14 inches matted and mounted 16 x 20

At the World Social Forum, Belem, Brazil 2009 – 11 x 14 inches matted and mounted 16 x 20

Orin Langelle is a concerned photographer, who for four decades has been documenting peoples’ resistance to war, corporate globalization, ecological destruction and human rights abuses.

Langelle’s first photographic assignment was to cover the protests against the Vietnam War at the 1972 Republican National Convention in Miami Beach.

He has worked behind rebel lines to document the struggle of the Zapatista Army of National Liberation (EZLN) in Mexico. He also co-produced the film Lacandona: The Zapatistas and Rainforest of Chiapas, Mexico to expose the links between the destruction of the resource-rich Lacandon rainforest and the conflict of the government and the Zapatistas.

Langelle has also documented Indigenous movements in Brazil, Nicaragua, Chile, Paraguay, James Bay, Quebec, Indonesia, Kenya and across the US.

United Nations climate conference protest, Durban, South Africa 2011 - 11 x 14 inches matted and mounted 16 x 20

United Nations climate conference protest, Durban, South Africa 2011 – 11 x 14 inches matted and mounted 16 x 20

He has photographed and participated in forest protection campaigns, protests, direct actions and other events at national and international forums including UN climate and other summits, World Bank meetings, the U.S. Democratic and Republican Conventions, the World Water Forum, the World Social Forum, and meetings of the G8 and G20.

Awards: In 1988 and 1989 Langelle received awards from Environmental Action Magazine for “…recognition of photographic excellence in exploring humanity’s effect on the earth and action to protect the environment.

Publications: Langelle’s photographs have appeared in numerous print and online publications from La Jornada, to USA Today, and have illustrated numerous book covers.

Nicaragua man listening in meeting, Bosawas Jungle, Nicaragua 1998 - 11 x 14 inches matted and mounted 16 x 20

Nicaragua man listening in meeting, Bosawas Jungle, Nicaragua 1998 – 11 x 14 inches matted and mounted 16 x 20

Exhibits: Langelle’s photography has been displayed in New York City, Buffalo, NY, Boston, Washington, DC, Madison (WI), San Francisco, Santa Cruz (CA), Eugene (OR), Vermont, Copenhagen, Denmark, Amador Hernandez, Chiapas, Mexico, Amsterdam, Netherlands, and Campo Loro, Gran Chaco, Paraguay.

TAL: How and when did you start creating art?
OL : I became active in the struggle to stop the Vietnam War in 1968 following the police riot against nonviolent protesters at the Democratic National Convention in Chicago. I began teaching myself photography in addition to being an anti-war organizer and journalist, and my first assignment was documenting the protests at the Republican National Convention in Miami Beach in 1972.

TAL: What media and genres do you work in?
OL : Photography, photojournalism

TAL: Who or what are your influences?
OL : Robert Capa, Henri Cartier-Brisson, W. Eugene Smith and other concerned photographers influence my art. Indigenous Peoples around the world standing up against all odds to protect their communities, lands and livelihoods inspire my passion for social and ecological justice.

The Comandante in La Realidad... - 11 x 14 inches matted and mounted 16 x 20

Comandante in La Realidad… – 11 x 14 inches matted and mounted 16 x 20

TAL: What was your inspiration for : “Comandante in La Realidad, Chiapas, Mexico—headquarters for the Clandestine Revolutionary Indigenous Committee, General Command of the EZLN (Zapatista Army of National Liberation)”?
OL : On January 1st, 1994, the Zapatistas, a small group of Indigenous Peoples In Chiapas, Mexico, rose up against the government of Mexico in protest of the North American Free Trade Agreement, which they called “a death sentence for the Indigenous Peoples of Mexico.” The defiance of the Zapatista struggle to defend their land and livelihoods in the face of extreme repression and military might was my inspiration for this photo.

G8 protest, Rostock, Germany 2007 - 11 x 14 inches matted and mounted 16 x 20

G8 protest, Rostock, Germany 2007 – 11 x 14 inches matted and mounted 16 x 20

TAL: Describe your creative process.
OL : I attempt to capture, what noted photographer Henri Cartier-Bresson describes as ‘the decisive moment.’ To me this decisive moment is the instant a visual image is recorded—when light, composition and the subject unite. As a concerned photographer, my goal is not just to document and expose the harsh reality of injustice—much of which is linked with the struggle for the land—but to inspire viewers to participate in changing the world, while helping empower those striving for justice because they know that photographs of their struggle are revealed to a larger audience.

Free Trade Area of the Americas (FTAA) protest, Miami, FL 2003 - 11 x 14 inches matted and mounted 16 x 20

Free Trade Area of the Americas (FTAA) protest, Miami, FL 2003 – 11 x 14 inches matted and mounted 16 x 20

TAL: What are you working on currently?
OL :  I am currently reviewing and four decades of my work. I am also collaborating with the Clean Air Coalition of Western New York to document the effects of the Peace Bridge that spans the Niagara River and connects the Canada to the U.S. Ever since the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) went into effect in 1994, commercial traffic has increased with trucks idling on the bridge and in customs for hours on the NY side. These toxic diesel fumes are having major impacts on the health of the people in Buffalo, NY. The Latino community, which is closest to the Peace Bridge, is the first and worst impacted. I will document this community and tell the stories of the residents and their suffering due to this unjust situation, with the aim to raise awareness of the problem and help change it.

TAL: What are your near/long term goals as an artist?
OL : My near term goal is collaboration with the Clean Air Coalition of Western NY (described above). My long term goal is to putting my photographs—which document decades of the global struggle for soclal and ecological justice–in order so it can be used to counter the societal amnesia from which we collectively suffer. This is not merely a chronicling of history, but a call out to inspire new generations to participate in the making of a new history. For there has been no time when such a call has been so badly needed.

TAL: Where can people view/purchase your work?
OL : PhotoLangelle.org

All Images © Orin Langelle
All Rights Reserved

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Filed under Actions / Protest, Africa, Climate Change, Climate Justice, Corporate Globalization, Indigenous Peoples, Latin America-Caribbean, Photo Essays by Orin Langelle, Rights, Resilience, and Restoration, UNFCCC

KPFK Sojourner Truth Earth Minute: Honduras hosts ‘sustainable’ palm oil convention, despite related human rights abuses

August 7, 2013. 

kpfk_logoGlobal Justice Ecology Project teams up with the Sojourner Truth show on KPFK Pacifica Los Angeles for a weekly Earth Minute each Tuesday and a weekly Earth Watch interview each Thursday.

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Filed under Bioenergy / Agrofuels, False Solutions to Climate Change, Forests, Green Economy, Greenwashing, Indigenous Peoples, Industrial agriculture, Land Grabs, Latin America-Caribbean

KPFK Sojourner Truth Earth Minute: Maasai community violently evicted for World Bank-funded geothermal project

July 30, 2013.

kpfk_logoGlobal Justice Ecology Project teams up with the Sojourner Truth show on KPFK Pacifica Los Angeles for a weekly Earth Minute each Tuesday and a weekly Earth Watch interview each Thursday.

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Filed under Africa, Bioenergy / Agrofuels, Climate Change, Ending the Era of Extreme Energy, False Solutions to Climate Change, Indigenous Peoples, Land Grabs, World Bank

BREAKING: Chiapas cancels ‘disastrous’ forest carbon offset plan linked with Calif. cap-and-trade

Note: Global Justice Ecology Project broke the story about the California-Chiapas-Acre REDD Deal and the impacts it would have on the Indigenous populations of the Lacandon jungle in Chiapas, Mexico following a trip taken by then-GJEP Media Coordinator Jeff Conant (quoted below) and GJEP Board Chair and co-founder Orin Langelle to the Indigenous village Amador Hernandez, deep in the heart of the Lacandon jungle in March of 2011.

GJEP, along with Friends of the Earth, Indigenous Environmental Network and others have continued to monitor the situation in Chiapas, as well as to actively oppose the inclusion of REDD in the California cap-and-trade program, and to fight against REDD at the UN climate conferences.  While it is surely great news that Chiapas has decided to suspend the disastrous REDD program, we know that the fight is far from over.

To view the photo essay from GJEP’s 2011 trip to Chiapas, click here.  To view the 28 minute film we produced on the topic, click here.

-The GJEP Team

July 18, 2013. Source: Friends of the Earth-U.S.

Image: IEN

Image: IEN

The state government of Chiapas has cancelled a controversial forest protection plan that critics said failed to address the root causes of deforestation and could endanger the lives and livelihoods of indigenous peoples. The program is linked to California’s cap-and-trade program through a complex “carbon offset” scheme that has yet to see the light of day.

Carlos Morales Vázquez, the Mexican state’s secretary of the environment, on July 8 told the Chiapas daily El Heraldo that the Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Degradation program “was an utter failure, and the program is cancelled.”

What the suspension of the program means for California’s agreement with Chiapas remains to be seen. The program, instituted in 2011 after Chiapas signed an agreement with California as part of California’s Global Warming Solutions Act, AB32, has been widely criticized by civil society groups for its lack of clear objectives, absence of baseline measures of deforestation, and failure to engage indigenous people’s organizations or take into account historic tension over land rights that plague the region.
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Filed under Chiapas, Climate Change, False Solutions to Climate Change, Forests, Indigenous Peoples, Latin America-Caribbean, REDD

Nicaragua: Mega-canal project stirs controversy

Note:  This is a very good overview regarding the ‘Mega Canal’ project in Nicagraua from our friends, Wales Nicaragua Solidarity Campaign – Ymgyrch Cefnogi Nicaragua Cymru, a Welsh group doing solidarity work since 1986.  They are also struggling to maintain the the Welsh language, a hard task considering that the British and the English language ‘control the British Isles.’  But that is another story.  The Welsh group brought me to Wales in 2002 for a speaking tour that also traveled through England, and Ireland.  The tour also addressed the Plan Puebla Panama–a series of massive development schemes and transportation corridors running from Puebla, Mexico to Panama–which was a major target of solidarity activists internationally.

I have travelled to Nicaragua many times and have always been a critic of proposed Dry or Wet Canals in that country as well as the Dry Canal planned for the Isthmus of Tehuantepec for two major reasons: 1) the indigenous peoples and the community organizations we spoke to were against it, and 2) it will have an unimaginable impact on the ecology of the region.  A debate is well underway in Nicaragua.

There is a lot at stake for the leftist Sandinista Nicaraguan government, indigenous sovereignty, autonomy and of course the environment itself.  This is an important topic that spans many issues of neoliberal globalization, including climate change.  Ironically the following quote in this article points out, “Nicaragua’s dream of building the canal might now be too late to work in practice. One of the clear effects of climate change is the opening up of the Northwest Arctic passage, which might make both the Nicaraguan and Panamanian canal uneconomical for part of the year.”

-Orin Langelle for the GJEP Team

June 28, 2013. Source: Wales Nicaragua

Following our last post, the world has suddenly woken up to a new story about Nicaragua – the inter-oceanic canal. The Guardian carried its second story in as many weeks about the project (see here). Though the idea of the canal might be new to most of the media, it isn’t new to the Campaign.

Anyone who knows the history of Nicaragua will know that the country was in the frame to be the original crossing for the isthmus. That it eventually ended up in Panama had much to do with the geo-politics of the time – and what the United States decided was in its best interests. Throughout the following century, a second canal has been proposed, usually through Nicaragua, sometimes through Mexico. It also has undergone many different permutations – a canal, pure and simple; a canal to Lake Nicaragua, and then make use of a natural waterway; or a ‘dry canal’, Pacific and Atlantic ports connected by a railway. Or, indeed, various combinations of the three.

The last bout of ‘canal fever’ started to gather pace at the end of the 90s. The Plan Puebla Panama was envisioned as a grand mega-project, linking the telecommunications, energy and road networks of Central America (for an unusual take on the PPP, see here for the Beehive Collective). It stemmed from an off-the-cuff remark by the Mexican President. It soon turned into multi-billion dollar plans, backed by the international finance institutions and various Western governments, who could smell the contracts. One of the proposals on the table was the canal. At the time (at the beginning of the noughties) the most probable route was going to be a dry canal, making use of the port of Bilwi in the North Caribbean, or in another variation, Monkey Point in the South Caribbean. The Campaign spent many months (and years) following the proposals, highlighting the deficiencies of the Plan Puebla Panama in general, and the dry canal in particular. During that time there were no serious proposals to build the canal. To the Campaign it looked to be a means of land speculation along its proposed route, something which would effect indigenous lands particularly.
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Filed under Corporate Globalization, Indigenous Peoples, Land Grabs, Latin America-Caribbean, Oceans