Category Archives: Land Grabs

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

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

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

March Against Monsanto: Organizations gear up for week-long protests and events against GE trees

May 25, 2013. Source: Global Justice Ecology Project

Participants in the march.  Photo: Langelle/langellephoto.org

Participants in the march. Photo: Langelle/langellephoto.org

Asheville, NC (US)-Groups and participants from the Campaign to STOP GE Trees rallied and marched in yesterday’s March Against Monsanto in Asheville, which drew over 1000 people.  Millions of people in hundreds of cities internationally protested the GMO food and chemical giant, Monsanto, condemning their unethical and dangerous practices.
 
Anti-GE tree demonstrators have converged in Asheville to confront the bi-annual Tree Biotechnology conference of the International Union of Forest Research Organizations (IUFRO) that starts today and runs through Saturday, 1 June.  ArborGen, one of the sponsors of the IUFRO conference, wants to commercially sell millions of GE eucalyptus trees in seven southern states from South Carolina to Texas.

Thomas Llewellyn, who helped organize the Asheville March Against Monsanto, spoke to the thousand plus crowd before the march, stating, “It’s important to make the connection between companies like Monsanto with their GMO food and ArborGen and their GE trees.  When you look into it a little farther you can see that many Monsanto employees have gone to ArborGen and Monsanto was even an early partner in the venture that became ArborGen.”  Llewellyn continued, “Our food supply has been threatened with genetic contamination for a long time but we have a chance to stop these GE trees before it’s too late.”
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Filed under Actions / Protest, Biodiversity, Climate Change, Corporate Globalization, Events, Food Sovereignty, GE Trees, Genetic Engineering, Industrial agriculture, Land Grabs

Environmental and human rights organizations call on California to reject REDD forest offset credits

Note: Global Justice Ecology Project has been tracking the California-Acre-Chiapas REDD deal since it was unveiled at the UN climate negotiations in Cancun, Mexico in 2010.  In 2011, GJEP’s Co-Director/Strategist Orin Langelle and Communications Director Jeff Conant travelled to Chiapas, Mexico to the Village of Amador Hernandez, an Indigenous village in the Lacandon Jungle of Chiapas threatened with relocation due to the REDD project.  Langelle took hundreds of photos in the community and the region which were assembled into a poignant photo essay.  And GJEP’s work in Chiapas broke the story of and documented the emerging impacts of REDD.  In 2012, GJEP released a short documentary from the trip, A Darker Shade of Green: REDD Alert and the Future of Forests, highlighting the California REDD deal.

-The GJEP Team

May 7, 2013. Source: Global Justice Ecology Project

Photo: Langelle/GJEP-GFC

Photo: Langelle/GJEP-GFC

We appreciate the opportunity to submit comments on the REDD Offsets Working Group “Recommendations to Conserve Tropical Rainforests, Protect Local Communities and Reduce State-Wide Greenhouse Gas Emissions” for the state of California. California’s Global Warming Solutions Act, AB32, and the goals of reducing emissions from deforestation of remaining tropical rainforests are important and admirable efforts. However, in order to achieve the goals of AB32 and reducing deforestation we believe that allowing jurisdictional REDD offset credits to meet California’s emissions reduction targets will not be effective. REDD credits threaten to diminish the results of AB32 in California and the efforts of partner jurisdictions, including Chiapas and Acre, to protect their forests. Using subnational REDD initiatives, financed through offsets, to meet the targets of AB32 will be inefficient, ineffective, and create unintended consequences. Continue reading

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Filed under Carbon Trading, Climate Change, Climate Justice, Corporate Globalization, Ending the Era of Extreme Energy, False Solutions to Climate Change, Forests, Green Economy, Indigenous Peoples, Land Grabs, Latin America-Caribbean, REDD

KPFK Sojourner Truth Earth Watch: Jeff Conant on REDD forest offsets and California’s carbon market

Note: Jeff Conant is a good friend and former Communications Director for Global Justice Ecology Project.

-The GJEP Team

kpfk_logoJeff Conant, International Forests Campaigner for Friends of the Earth, discusses the dangers of including REDD forest offsets in California’s Global Warming Solutions Act.  Global 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 Carbon Trading, Chiapas, Climate Change, Climate Justice, Corporate Globalization, Ending the Era of Extreme Energy, Energy, False Solutions to Climate Change, Forests, Green Economy, Indigenous Peoples, Land Grabs, Latin America-Caribbean, Pollution, REDD