By José Aylwin, Nancy Yáñez, Rubén Sánchez (excerpt). Source: World Rainforest Movement
Historically, relations between Mapuche indigenous communities and the forestry industry have been marked by conflict, primarily because of the expansion of industrial tree plantations on lands that are part of the Mapuche territory and the impact of these plantations on the communities’ habitat.
There are three business groups that control most of the forestry industry in Chile: Forestal Arauco, Compañía Manufacturera de Papeles y Cartones (CMPC) and MASISA. According to figures from 2007, these three companies owned a total of 1,715,910 hectares of tree plantations in Chile, mainly in the regions of Biobío, La Araucanía, Los Ríos and Los Lagos. In these same regions, tree plantations in the traditional Mapuche territory account for an area three times greater than the indigenous lands recognised by the state.
Most of the tree plantations have been established on traditional Mapuche lands. The communities affected by this industry are claiming their right to tenure over the lands occupied by the plantations, which were usurped from them both during the colonial era and following the military coup of 1973. Continue reading
Filed under Actions / Protest, Biodiversity, Corporate Globalization, Food Sovereignty, Forests, Green Economy, Indigenous Peoples, Land Grabs, Latin America-Caribbean, Political Repression, The Greed Economy and the Future of Forests
By Carlos Salvatierra. Source: World Rainforest Movement
Communities, peoples and civil society organizations have worked for years to raise the visibility of the significant benefits of the mangrove ecosystem and the importance of its existence. They have fought for the recognition of mangroves as highly productive systems that provide livelihoods and a space for the practice of the cultures and traditions of coastal peoples. “The mangrove is our natural enterprise, it is our employment, it does not ask us for our qualifications or a CV or identification. As long as we are in good health we can cast our nets and harvest our food,” declared Enrique Bonilla, president of COGMANGLAR and a fisherman from Champerico, Guatemala.
Today, the former perception of mangroves as mosquito-infested swamps has changed, but the struggle to defend them has become increasingly difficult in the face of the new and aggressive actors threatening their existence and the survival of the peoples and communities who inhabit them, from Latin America to Asia to Africa. “They are slowly exterminating us. Government policies criminalize and impoverish us. We are not poor; we have great wealth that the powerful want to appropriate, and we call that environmental racism,” said Marizhelia López of the Movement of Fishermen and Fisherwomen of Bahia, Brazil, expressing her concern over the loss of territories. Continue reading
Filed under Actions / Protest, Biodiversity, Commodification of Life, False Solutions to Climate Change, Food Sovereignty, Forests, Forests and Climate Change, Green Economy, Indigenous Peoples, Land Grabs, Latin America-Caribbean, REDD, The Greed Economy and the Future of Forests, Water
Dr. Devon G. Peña, March 4, 2014. Source: Environmental and Food Justice
Huichol yarn weaving of a sacred ceremony for maize. Source: Environmental and Food Justice
I am submitting this statement to express opposition to the proposed USDA co- existence policy. As a plant breeder, seed saver, traditional acequia farmer, and agro-ecologist familiar with the scientific evidence on gene flow I am unequivocally opposed to this policy. Asking for co-existence with GMO crops means seed-savers and plant breeders like myself have to accept the inevitability of severe business losses due to damage to our native seed stocks and active plant breeding programs. I ask that you consider the fact that farmers like myself are the keepers of the nation’s diverse bioregional ‘arks’ of native seeds and these are the ultimate basis of all agriculture in this country. As vulnerable traditional seed savers, we cannot accept co-existence. The scientific fact of gene flow makes it so. Let’s not pretend the scientific fact of gene flow is unsettled, like an agricultural crisis version of climate change denial.
Working with friends, family, and neighbors, I produce local heirloom varieties of the ‘Three Sisters’ (corn-bean-squash/pumpkin) for a land race seed library grown and stored on a farm in Colorado’s Rio Grande Headwaters bioregion. The preservation of multiple native gene streams is necessary to the business of plant breeding and seed saving which is a central focus of my agroecological enterprise and productive activity. The introgression of transgenes from genetically engineered corn is a direct threat to my livelihood because the open- pollinated nature of maize makes for frequent cross-contamination events. Corn pollen can travel quite far – with some studies showing distances of up to 30 miles or more depending on the nature of regional wind patterns. The San Luis Valley is a high altitude intermountain park known for strong winds and corn pollen can travel very far under these conditions. The valley has an average elevation of 8000 feet and is surrounded by a circle of mountains at 14,000 ft. and higher. We do our plant breeding and seed stock production in this valley on a historic farm that is organized and collectively run to serve as a grassroots agricultural extension research station and farm school for acequiero growers of Colorado and New Mexico. Continue reading
February 28, 2014. Source: ETC Group
Brazilian civil society organizations warned yesterday that a 2007 bill to end Brazil’s ban on Terminator seeds could soon be on the move (again) in the Brazilian Congress. While two bills have been on the congressional agenda for several years, a 2007 bill (PL 268/2007, filed by Rep. Eduardo Sciarra – PSD party) began moving through the Congress last July and came to a head last October. The legalizing of Terminator in Brazil would have global implications, including as a violation of the United Nations moratorium on Terminator technologies, in place since 2000 at the Convention on Biological Diversity.
A campaign mounted by Brazilian social movements stirred a global protest – including a petition signed by over 19,000 people – and temporarily derailed the Bill’s passage in October 2013.[i] In response, Décio Lima (PT party), then-President of the Congress’s all-important Judiciary Commission (the gatekeeper body that allows bills to proceed to a full congressional vote), vowed not to allow the Bill’s passage while he chaired the Commission.
But, just before Christmas, the Bill began to move again at the request of more than 30 deputies. A massive write-in campaign, on behalf of concerned organizations, set up by Action Aid (an international advocacy organization with roots in Brazil) again thwarted the move. More than 30,000 people and organizations around the world signed a protest letter calling on the Brazilian government to uphold the UN moratorium on the commercialization of Terminator.[ii] (“Terminator” refers to genetically engineered seed that dies at harvest, obliging farmers to purchase new seed every growing season.) Continue reading
March 4, 2014. Source: Guatemala Solidarity Project
August 2013 service for children murdered by hydroelectric company hitmen. Photo: Comité de Unidad Campesina
The Guatemala Solidarity Project strongly condemns yesterday’s illegal arrest of community leader Jose Maria Guitz. Guitz is among thousands of indigenous q’eqchi’ peasants organizing against the threatened construction of the Santa Rita hydroelectric dam. The dam would cause massive environmental damage and rob land from dozens of q’eqchi’ communities.
Guitz runs one of the few health centers in the region, meaning his arrest will have a deep negative impact in the area. Guitz is a member of the community Monte Olivo of the municipality of Coban, Alta Verapaz. The community has faced extreme repression for organizing in defense of their constitutional rights.
On August 14, 2013, environmentalist and community leader David Chen was threatened at gun point and narrowly escaped an attempted kidnapping. On August 23, 2013, 13 year-old Ageo Isaac Maas Guitz and 11-year-old David Estuardo Pacay Mass were murdered by an employee of Hidro Santa Rita SA. Continue reading
By Robin Llewellyn, February 26, 2014. Source: Intercontinental Cry
Members of the Indigenous Guard during the 43rd anniversary of the CRIC (Photo: Robin Llewellyn)
Guerrillas targeted the car of the Humanitarian Commission of the Association of Indigenous Councils of Northern Cauca (ACIN) on 20 February, injuring Yoiner Medina Talaga, an Indigenous Guard and Manager of ACIN’s human rights monitoring system; Germán Valencia Medina, ACIN Human Rights Coordinator; and Nelson Pilcué, Legal Advisor to ACIN’s Women’s Program.
The Commission had been attending to over 50 families displaced by an upsurge in fighting prior to their being attacked in Jambaló, Cauca, by the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC). Yoiner Medina Talaga, who was shot in the chest, remains in intensive care. Germán Valencia was shot in the arm while Nelson Pilcué was injured by shattering glass and metal.
The Nasa people of northern Cauca have consistently demanded that all armed groups leave their territory, which continues to be fought over by the FARC, theArmy, and paramilitary groups including the Aguilas Negras, Urabeños, andRastrojos. Nasa communities have developed the Indigenous Guard as an unarmed force that counters illegal activities in their territory, and also confronts all armed actors and asks them to leave. Continue reading
By David Hill, February 25, 2014. Source: The Guardian
A Matsigenka woman in south-east Peru where the Camisea gas project is taking place. Photograph: Glenn Shepard
Three Peruvian judges are scheduled to meet on 1 April following a lawsuit filed to stop a gas consortium from operating in a reserve in the Amazon created for indigenous peoples living in “initial contact” and “voluntary isolation.”
There are already wells in the west of the reserve where gas has been produced for years, and last month the Energy Ministry approved the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) of the expansion of operationsinvolving more wells, a pipeline extension and seismic tests further to the north, east and south.
The lawsuit was filed against the Energy Ministry and the company leading the consortium, Pluspetrol, in August 2013 by the Lima-basedInstitute for the Legal Defence of the Environment and Sustainable Development (IDLADS). It asks the judge to order, among other things, the Energy Ministry to rescind its approval of the expansion and to ban all oil and gas operations in the reserve:
We request that [the judge] orders the Ministry of Energy and Mines to exclude the Kugapakori-Nahua-Nanti and Others’ Reserve from any kind of promotion, exploration and exploitation of hydrocarbons. Continue reading
By Jerome Roos, February 21, 2014. Source: ROAR Magazine
Photo: ROAR Magazine
I’ve been away for the past week so I wasn’t able to write anything on the unfolding turmoil in Venezuela, but I’ve been following the situation closely and in recent days have grown increasingly frustrated with (a) the total lack of balanced reporting on Venezuela in the international media, including left-liberal publications like The Guardian; (b) the seeming ease with which comrades on the libertarian left ignore the events in Venezuela as if it were somehow “irrelevant” to our cause, simply because we’re not supposed to have any close ideological affinity with chavismo; and (c) the ill-informed basis on which many activists and even several major movement pages have taken the side of the protesters against the government, unquestioningly sharing the propaganda of the right-wing opposition and echoing dangerously superficial and wrongheaded interpretations about the protests. I intend to write more on this later, but here are some initial reflections:
1. Just because there’s people in the streets doesn’t mean they’re on our side. We live in the era of the protester, and violent protest has become a media spectacle par excellence. In the wake of Tahrir and Occupy, we have been conditioned to automatically feel sympathy for all men and women taking to the streets and facing down lines of riot police. Now there’s a YouTube clip floating around the web of a Venezuelan girl with an obnoxious upper-class American accent recounting the story of Venezuela’s heroic student uprising against an “illegitimate government”. At first sight, the video — which garnered over 2 million views so far — seems to neatly fit the narrative of the global uprisings. But anyone who cares to do some fact-checking or background research will quickly discover that the protests in Venezuela are rather different from Occupy or the Chilean student movement. Continue reading
February 20, 2014. Source: Center for International Environmental Law
Demonstrators demand the nullification of a Barro Blanco environmental impact study. Photo: Arnoldo Zeballos | El Siglo
Environmental and human rights organizations submitted an urgent appeal to United Nations Special Rapporteurs on behalf of members of the indigenous Ngöbe community – the community faces imminent forced eviction from their land for the Barro Blanco hydroelectric dam project in western Panama. The eviction would force Ngöbe communities from their land, which provides their primary sources of food and water, means of subsistence, and culture.
The urgent appeal, submitted by the Ngöbe organization Movimiento 10 de Abril para la Defensa del Rio Tabasará (M10) and three international NGOs, the Interamerican Association for Environmental Defense (AIDA), the Center for International Environmental Law (CIEL), and Earthjustice, asks the Special Rapporteurs to call upon the State of Panama to suspend the eviction process and dam construction until it complies with its obligations under international law. Given that the project is financed by the German and Dutch development banks (DEG and FMO, respectively) and the Central American Bank for Economic Integration (CABEI), the groups also urge the Special Rapporteurs to call on Germany, the Netherlands, and the member States of CABEI to suspend financing until each country has taken measures to remedy and prevent further violations of the Ngöbe’s human rights. Continue reading
Filed under Actions / Protest, Ending the Era of Extreme Energy, Energy, False Solutions to Climate Change, Food Sovereignty, Green Economy, Hydroelectric dams, Indigenous Peoples, Land Grabs, Latin America-Caribbean, The Greed Economy and the Future of Forests, Water
February 18, 2014. Source: NISGUA
Cultivated fields that would be flooded by the Xalalá dam. Photo: NISGUA
Nearly two years after the Guatemalan government announced its renewed interest in constructing the Xalalá Hydroelectric Dam, communities maintain strong opposition to the project in the three affected municipalities: Ixcán, Uspantán, and Cobán.
The Xalalá Hydroelectric Dam was first proposed in the 1970s. Declared of “national interest,” it figured prominently in the Master Plan for National Electrification and the Northern Transversal Strip (FTN), a political-economic vision for land use, industrialization, and natural resource exploitation. If constructed, the Xalalá Dam would be the second largest hydroelectric dam in the country, producing an estimated 181 megavolts and flooding the lands of some 58 communities in three municipalities.
Community opposition consolidated after the 2007 community consultation held in the municipality of Ixcán, in which more than 90% of the population rejected the construction of hydroelectric dams such as Xalalá. In 2009, the municipality of Uspantán followed suit, holding a community consultation in which 90% of their population also rejected the construction of hydroelectric dams. Continue reading