spiralsheep: Flowers (skywardprodigal Cog Flowers)

Equatorial people began sustainable farming 45,000 years ago

Source: evidence that humans had farms 30,000 years earlier than previously thought (@ arstechnica)

More: Amazon forest is the result of an 8,000 year experiment (@ arstechnica).

Evidence that humans had farms 30,000 years earlier than previously thought

Dramatic new hypothesis could change the way we understand human history.

by Annalee Newitz - 8/3/2017

It's an idea that could transform our understanding of how humans went from small bands of hunter-gatherers to farmers and urbanites. Until recently, anthropologists believed cities and farms emerged about 9,000 years ago in the Mediterranean and Middle East. But now a team of interdisciplinary researchers has gathered evidence showing how civilization as we know it may have emerged at the equator, in tropical forests. Not only that, but people started farming about 30,000 years earlier than we thought.

Full text of article for archiving purposes. )
spiralsheep: Flowers (skywardprodigal Cog Flowers)

Record number of environmental activists killed around the world

[ Source @ BBC News online: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-40584139 ]

Record number of environmental activists killed around the world

By Matt McGrath, Environment correspondent

Growing competition for land and natural resources saw a record number of environmental activists killed in 2016, says Global Witness. The green group's report details at least 200 murders across 24 countries, up significantly from 2015. Disputes over mining were the cause of the greatest number of killings, followed by logging and agribusiness. Brazil saw the most deaths overall, but there were big increases in Colombia and India.

Global Witness has been publishing annual reports on the threats to activists since 2012, although it has data going back to 2002. The organisation compiles its analysis from media sources, information from other non-governmental organisations and from the UN. It also verifies the data with monitoring groups in priority countries, such as Brazil, Colombia, Honduras and the Philippines.

Some 60% of the killings last year took place in Latin America, with a significant number of victims from indigenous communities. According to those who compiled the report, those doing the killing have become bolder in recent years.

"We've always thought of these cases taking place in remote isolated areas but we are seeing attacks becoming more brazen, and that's because so few of these cases result in successful prosecutions," said Billy Kyte from Global Witness. "Indigenous people are massively over represented in the figures and that's because many of their lands overlap with lands rich in minerals and timber and also because they have less access to justice or communications."

Disputes about mining resulted in 33 murders, while those linked to logging increased from 15 to 23 in a year. A similar number were linked to agribusiness projects.

Full text of article for archiving purposes. )
spiralsheep: Flowers (skywardprodigal Cog Flowers)

Whitley Awards 2013, read with hope and a pinch of salt

While I have concerns about the Whitley Awards (and their sponsors) they are at least giving lip-service to community involvement in managing sustainable habitats for wildlife and local people.

Sistah Vegan:

Eating the Buddhadharma: On Mindfulness, Nutritional Racism, and Food Justice

Environmental Racism

Pollution, Poverty and People of Color: Living with Industry: Scientific American

For 100 years, people, mostly blacks, have lived next door to the booming Chevron Richmond Refinery built by Standard Oil, a plant so huge it can process 240,000 barrels of crude oil a day. Hundreds of tanks holding millions of barrels of raw crude dot 2,900 acres of property on a hilly peninsula overlooking the Pacific Ocean and San Francisco Bay. Five thousand miles of pipeline there move gasoline, jet fuel, diesel and other chemical products.

During World War II, African Americans like Clark’s family moved to homes in the shadow of this refinery because they had nowhere else to go. Coming to California looking for opportunity, they quickly learned that white neighborhoods and subdivisions didn’t want them.

The people of Richmond live within a ring of five major oil refineries, three chemical companies, eight Superfund sites, dozens of other toxic waste sites, highways, two rail yards, ports and marine terminals where tankers dock. The city of 103,701 doesn’t share the demographic of San Francisco, 25 miles to the south, or even Contra Costa County, or the state as a whole.

In North Richmond — the tiny, unincorporated neighbor of Richmond — Latinos, blacks and Asians make up 97 percent of the 3,717 residents, compared with 82.9 percent in Richmond and 59.9 percent in California, according to 2010 U.S. Census figures.

Most houses sell for below $100,000, among the lowest prices in the Bay Area, in the zip code shared with the Chevron refinery, and residents complain of a lack of paved streets, lighting and basic services. Short on jobs and long on poverty, there’s not a grocery store or cafe in sight. The median income in North Richmond, $36,875 in 2010, is less than Richmond’s modest $54,012 and less than half of Contra Costa County’s $78,385.

Vandana Shiva on food philosophy

VANDANA SHIVA: Traditional Knowledge, Biodiversity and Sustainable Living

An Interview with Dr Vandana Shiva, one of the world's foremost environmentalist, anti-GM activist and an advocate of ecological farming and sustainable agriculture as a solution to climate change, food security, hunger and peace. The interview was taken on 16th March 2011, during "Grandmonther's University" a three day course at Navdanya Biodiversity Farm at Dehradun, Uttarakhand, India which Dr. Vandana Shiva founded in 1987 to help save traditional seeds. The farm also undertakes research and training, along with the important role of distributing native seeds to farmers in the region.

Please see the full article at http://www.ecowalkthetalk.com/blog/2011/03/31/vandana-shiva-traditional-knowl...

The interview was conducted by Geraldine, Emiliano and Bhavani. Bhavani Prakash is the Founder of http://www.ecowalkthetalk.com

(no subject)

Using simple locally manufactured machines that run on just water, these men and women are turning grass, leaves, and numerous agricultural fibres into handmade tree-free paper, and pulp, pens, string, books, post cards, new generation organic packaging, envelopes, invitation journals, sometimes biogas among many other products.

Mapepa - that is the project’s name. Through partnerships with other marketing agents, the products are sold to local and international artists, designers, distributors, retailers, tourists and hoteliers. People are making a “good living” out of this, recycling trash.

Chief executive Mr Walter Ruprecht, who is the founder and brains behind Mapepa, said the aim was to create opportunities for disadvantaged people through environmentally-friendly strategies.

“Yes, we are working very hard to educate and develop Clean Development Mechanism desks with a view of implementing sustainable community empowerment programmes utilising waste management as our catalyst to empowerment,” he said.

“Mapepa is a vital opportunity for over 450 men and women to improve their lives and those of their families in spite of the dismal situation they find themselves in. The programme is adopting fair practice and an effective mitigation against climate change and global warming, land degradation, desertification and also produces own renewable energy.”

The Mapepa products are made using mainly the Marina Bush Mill, a fossil fuel free machine designed and built by Mr Ruprecht in Harare in 1989. Mr Ruprecht, a Zimbabwean technician engineer, has also built some of the smallest, simple and complete eco-paper mills in Africa, which are being utilised alongside the Marina Mill in Mabvuku and elsewhere.

Running only on water, and without electricity, the hand-operated Marina Bush Mill is capable of reducing waste paper and a range of grass, leaves, bananas, river reeds or agricultural fibres such as maize and cotton into pulp within minutes.

Women and men are trained in simple and disciplined book binding techniques, box making, pulp painting, Mapepa sculpture, casting, and maintaining ancient cultural habits such as hand-spun fibre to make hand-spun string. At the mill, three to six people are working, which has also opened new opportunities for young sheetmetal workers, carpenters and weavers.

read more

Me, You and Organic Food

A short documentary on who has access to organic food.

Mexico City builds enormous arches of green

MEXICO CITY JOURNAL Lush Walls Rise to Fight a Blanket of Pollution

The vertical garden aims to scrub away both the filth and the image. One of three eco-sculptures installed across the city by a nonprofit called VerdMX, the arch is both art and oxygenator. It catches the eye. And it also helps clean the air.

“The main priority for vertical gardens is to transform the city,” said Fernando Ortiz Monasterio, 30, the architect who designed the sculptures. “It’s a way to intervene in the environment.”

Many cities have green reputations — Portland, Ore., even has its own vertical gardens. But in the developing world, where middle classes are growing along with consumption, waste and energy use, Mexico City is a brave new world. The laughingstock has become the leader as the air has gone from legendarily bad to much improved. Ozone levels and other pollution measures now place it on roughly the same level as the (also cleaner) air above Los Angeles.

“Both L.A. and Mexico City have improved but in Mexico City, the change has been a lot more,” said Luisa Molina, a research scientist with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, who has done extensive pollution comparisons. Mexico “is very advanced not just in terms of Latin America, but around the world. When I go to China, they all want to hear the story of Mexico.”

Partly, it is policy. Starting in the 1980s, Mexico’s government created mandates that reformulated gasoline, closed or moved toxic factories, and banned most drivers from using their cars one day a week. More recently, Mexico City added a popular free bicycle loan program and expanded public transportation systems.

Environmentalists are far less impressed with double-decker highways still under construction. But even the most optimistic Mexicans have never expected government to create “the best of all possible worlds,” to quote the character Pangloss in “Candide,” so many here prefer to rave about citizen-driven, cooperative efforts like VerdMX.

Mexico City has become an incubator for these kinds of groups, which mix corporate financing with new ideas. Some say the activity stems from the tangible nature of the problem; bad pollution is felt in the scratchy throats of all. But regardless, among the young, hip and educated — those opening new boutiques for modern Mexican design, and partying at the Vive Latino music festival — there is a growing civic consciousness.


Thanks, whiteEuropeans and whiteAmericans and yr descendants

They finally got your colonizing asses out....only to lose their fucking COUNTRY to your GREED Entire nation of Kiribati has to move to avoid rising seas

The Pacific island nation of Kiribati is moving up in the world — but not in the good way. The small country is looking to relocate to higher ground in order to escape rising seas brought on by climate change.

Some of Kiribati’s 32 coral atolls have already started to disappear beneath the waves. President Anote Tong and his countrymen fear that continued sea level rise will wipe their civilization out entirely unless they relocate to Fiji lickety-split. Tong is reportedly in discussions with Fiji’s military government to buy 5,000 acres of land on the country’s second largest island, Vanua Levu.

“This is the last resort, there’s no way out of this one,” Mr Tong said. “Our people will have to move as the tides have reached our homes and villages.”

Depending on when Kiribati makes its big move, the country could be the world’s first modern climate-induced migration.

Becoming a climate refugee is bad enough, but what’s worse is that Kiribati is one of the greenest nations on the planet. The island boasts only 113,000 people and scant industry, so its carbon footprint is a teensy speck compared to greenhouse gas-spewing powerhouses like China and the U.S. And in 2010, Tong closed a whopping 150,000 square miles of sea to fishing in an effort to give the world’s struggling ocean ecosystems a much-needed break. How’s that for taking one for the (global) team?

Kiribati illustrates a sad-but-true trend happening across the globe: Nations that have little to do with spurring climate change are often some of the hardest hit by its disastrous effects.


Interesting that a weapon of revolution has been neutralized thru exploitation

A Farm of Her Own: How one black woman waters Food Deserts

Natasha Bowens was living in Washington, D.C. and working for the Center for American Progress as a healthcare advocate, earning a livable $35,000 per year, when she began longing to live and work on a farm, to put her hands into the dirt and cultivate fruits and vegetables.

In December 2009, the University of Florida graduate packed her bags and headed to Argentina for three weeks to do just that. The then-25-year-old was already an environmental activist and was starting to believe that one of the best ways to protect the environment and improve health was to grow food responsibly.

When she returned from Argentina, she began Google searching urban farms and community gardens where she could work in exchange for housing and food. She found a farm she liked in Brooklyn and in July 2010, with $1,300 in savings, quit her job and headed there.

Her journey — which she documented for the online magazine Grist — has been eye-opening, not only for her, but for dozens more black farmers and black-farmer-wannabes, who seldom see themselves represented in agriculture.

A century-and-a-half after plantation slavery, the last thing many black people want to be associated with is working on a farm and that’s exactly what Bowens and her fellow farmers want to change.

“A lot of my black friends are like, ‘What are you doing? You’re going back to picking cotton?’” Bowens says. “I kept hearing this kind of stigma especially from youth, from a lot of first generation immigrant youth whose parents would, over their dead bodies, let their youth go into farming.”

Yet farming is one way that black communities can increase their control over their food supply, reducing food deserts, hunger and the health problems that stem from them. It’s called food justice.

“It’s a beautiful, powerful thing to be able to feed your own community and we should be the ones to lead the way,” Bowens adds.MORE


A new Native American village based on tradition helps a Tribe reclaim its sustainable roots

The Ohkay Owingeh Tribe and Pueblo in New Mexico has returned to its roots with an award-winning, mixed-income housing project based on traditional Native forms. It's an exciting and inspiring project.

Built by the Ohkay Owingeh Housing Authority explicitly as an alternative to sprawl-type housing, Tsigo Bugeh Village is a $5.3 million residential community that reflects traditional pueblo living with attached units divided around two plazas, one oriented to the solstice and the other to the equinox, as the tribe’s original pueblo was built. As the Housing Authority’s website points out, the homes are attached, their scale and massing similar to the original Ohkay Owingeh pueblo: “this is key to our architectural heritage, and the idea of community living that is central to our way of life.”


The Village was built pursuant to a larger master plan to guide the Ohkay Owingeh Pueblo’s future. Bestowing a national award for smart growth achievement in 2004 (when the pueblo was known as the San Juan Pueblo), the federal Environmental Protection Agency hailed the plan as the first smart growth model for Native American tribes:

“It provides a long-term growth strategy, coordinates existing infrastructure with housing and commercial development, preserves the walkable historic plazas, and encourages retail and commercial uses in a ‘main street’ style. The plan also includes design guidelines that enhance the traditional building pattern to preserve the architectural heritage of the pueblo, fostering a distinctive sense of place.”

Tsigo Bugeh Village (via Urban Land Institute and housingpolicy.org)Implementation of the plan is guided by a Tribal Planning Department and a community advisory council of neighborhood representatives.

The Housing Authority’s website points out that “Tribal leaders realized that continuing to develop sprawl housing would severely limit the land base for agricultural use and open space for future generations.” A premium was placed on involvement from the Tribal community and respect for the Pueblo’s traditions:


Hope for the future

Occupy, Resist and Grow

One outcome of Occupy can be foretold by the example of Brazil’s Landless Workers Movement or Movimento dos Trabalhadores Rurais Sem Terra (MST). Today, 350,000 families occupy 20 million acres of land, a challenge to global capital, which has setup white picket fences around the world, cordoning off what was once the commons. MST’s flag celebrates the industry of the landless worker, represented by a couple holding aloft a machete, and their willingness to fight for land reform, with blood if necessary. This flag accompanied MST leader Janaina Stronzake, when she visited the Occupy Wall Street encampment, before it was evicted from Zuccotti Park. “Occupation was a time to grow,” she told the assembly, “To grow education, empowerment, and food community.” The crowd echoed after her, amplifying Janaina’s words using the human microphone, “Occupy, Resist, and Grow!”

Janaina grew up in a MST occupation. Her family lost their land to banks in the late 1970s because, like many family farmers in the global south at the time, they borrowed money in order to adopt industrial agricultural techniques. Indebted and unable to pay back what they owed, the bank seized their land, displacing newborn Janaina, her eight older brothers, and parents to the city, where they survived precariously as field laborers. But, in 1985, her family joined the MST and they moved into a camp, with 225 other families, for two years, where they studied and prepared to occupy land in the western part of the Parana state.


Heroes of the Environmental Movement

Remembering Ken Saro Wiwa

“The writer cannot be a mere storyteller; he cannot be a mere teacher; he cannot merely X-ray society’s weaknesses, its ills, its perils. He or she must be actively involved shaping its present and its future.”

Nigerian environmentalist, author, and television producer Ken Saro-Wiwa lived and died by the words above. Born on October 10, 1941, Kenule “Ken” Beeson Saro Wiwa was an Ogoni (an ethnic minority in Nigeria). Ogoniland, located in the Niger Delta, is rich in oil that has been looted by the petroleum industry — with the explicit consent of the Nigerian government — for decades. As a result, the Niger Delta is listed as one of the most polluted places in the world; its population is poor and powerless.

Saro-Wiwa spent a great deal of his life and resources trying to fight against the environmental destruction of the land and waters of Ogoniland. He founded the non-violent organization Movement for the Survival of the Ogoni People (MOSOP) as a way to bring international attention to the plight of his people. An outspoken critic of the Nigerian government and the multi-national oil companies, Saro-Wiwa was arrested and detained numerous times on bogus charges. A prolific writer, he authored many books about his imprisonment, such as Before I am Hanged and A Month and a Day.

In 1994, the Nigerian government under General Sani Abacha charged Saro-Wiwa and eight others with inciting the murders of four conservative Ogoni chiefs. Despite numerous evidence of witness tampering, the nine men were convicted and sentenced to death by a military tribunal. In his closing statement, Saro-Wiwa called out both his government and the Royal Dutch Shell Company:


Housing alternatives in Nigeria

Plastic Bottles: 20 Times stronger than Bricks

In a small village in Nigeria, a solution has been applied to not only provide shelter in a poverty stricken country, but find a use for refuse. Packing sand into plastic bottles is a technique that started nine years ago in India, South and Central America. Named “bottle brick” technology, the compacted sand inside the bottles is almost 20 times stronger than bricks. The best part is that in a region that does not have much money to spend on building materials, the houses are estimated to cost 1/3 of a house made of concrete and bricks.

Adding to the appeal of the simple technology, the houses are ideal for the hot Nigerian climate because the bottle bricks buffer the house from the intense heat. Also, in a place known for violence, the houses are completely bullet proof. Bottles are mostly sourced from hotels, restaurants, homes and foreign embassies, so the 500 million bottles that are discarded each year in Nigeria alone are literally finding new homes instead of landfills or the ocean. The circular houses look cool too with the exposed round bottles producing a unique design.MORE

DAMN! Kenyan Nobel laureate Maathai dies

via: [livejournal.com profile] ontd_political Kenyan Nobel laureate Maathai dies

(CNN) -- Kenyan Wangari Maathai, the first woman from Africa to win the Nobel Peace Prize, died Monday of an unspecified illness. She was 71.

"It is with great sadness that the Green Belt Movement announces the passing of its founder and chair, Prof. Wangari Muta Maathai, after a long illness bravely borne," her organization said.
Maathai, an environmentalist, had long campaigned for human rights and the empowerment of Africa's most impoverished people.

More than 30 years ago she founded the Green Belt Movement, a tree-planting campaign to simultaneously mitigate deforestation and to give locals, especially women and girls, new purpose. They have since planted more than 40 million trees.

In 2004, she was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for her efforts to promote sustainable development, democracy and peace. She was the first woman from the continent to win the prize.

"Her departure is untimely and a very great loss to all of us who knew her—as a mother, relative, co-worker, colleague, role model, and heroine—or those who admired her determination to make the world a peaceful, healthy, and better place for all of us," said Karanja Njoroge, executive director of the Green Belt Movement.

Born in Nyeri, Kenya, on April 1, 1940, Maathai blazed many trails in her life.
She was the first woman in East and Central Africa to earn a doctorate degree. In December 2002, she was elected to Kenya's parliament with an overwhelming 98% of the vote.MORE

Breeze Harper analyses Octavia Butler's Dawn from a black vegan eco-feminist pov

Meaning of the future black woman as vegan and reproduction of self

Meaning of the future black woman as vegan and reproduction of self from Sistah Vegan on Vimeo.

In this video I talk about a new publication of mine in the book "Black Imagination" and how I utilize a critical ecofeminist vegan analysis of the heroine Lilith in Octavia Butler's Dawn.

*sigh* So many people in authority can be so bloody SHORTSIGHTED

Iran: Protests to Save Lake Urmia Reignited

Once again thousands of protesters have poured into streets of Tabriz and Urmia in Iran's Azerbaijan region on Saturday to call on the Iranian government to save the dying Urmia Lake, one of the world's largest salt water lakes.

From dying lake to saving country

Iranian authorities quickly reacted by repressing protesters. The news was censored in Iran-based media, but several video were posted on YouTube and bloggers flooded cyber world with their posts. Blogger Urmuiscierli writes [fa] that there were battles on the streets with security forces beating up and arresting protesters, and even tying them to trees. Some bloggers called on more Iranians to support the Azeri activists and relaunch anti-regime demonstrations around country.

The construction of a dam on part of the lake, accompanied by a recent drought has significantly decreased the annual amount of water Urmia receives. This in turn has increased the salinity, repelling many birds and threatening permanent damage to the ecosystem. If the lake dries out, millions of people in the region will need to resettle to survive.MORE

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