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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.
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FEATURES South African food sovereignty campaigners move to occupy land by Ronald Wesso

Ronald Wesso reports on the Food Sovereignty Campaign in South Africa, which is taking steps towards agrarian reform and food sovereignty through land occupations.

Furious emerging farmers in the Kareeberg municipality in South Africa’s Northern Cape Province have decided to stop paying rent for the municipal owned land they are farming on. These farmers have been robbed and excluded from land ownership and access by colonial conquest, segregation and apartheid. Now South Africa’s protection of capitalist property and its neo-liberal state policies are keeping them landless still.

‘Our members cannot be held back anymore,’ says Basil ‘Die Hond’ Eksteen of the Kareeberg Emerging Farmers Association. ‘They are just too angry. We talked, we wrote letters, we marched - now we are ready to take the land. The municipality gives us no support and now they want to charge us these impossible rents. They know we can’t pay. They just want to get rid of us and put white, commercial farmers on the land. We are in contact with a group in the Kimberley district that has occupied a farm of one of the richest land owners there. A man that owns 15 farms while people sit with nothing. Neither the police nor the army has been able to remove these members from the land. If they can do it, so can we!’

Since 1996 the South African government has followed a strict neo-liberal policy path that includes cutting state expenditure on ‘unprofitable’ social services. A key strategy has been to cut transfers of funds from the national treasury to local governments by more than 90 per cent over a ten year period, while at the same time transferring responsibility for delivering social services such as housing, water, electricity, health and policing from the national to local governments. The national treasury could thus balance its books and even generate a surplus, but municipalities had to deliver far more services to many more people with less resources. They therefore became trapped in a well-known cycle of poor service delivery, desperate cost recovery and community protests. As far as municipal land is concerned the pressure became overwhelming on municipal executives to charge the highest possible rents. Emerging farmers find it unaffordable, which leaves them effectively landless, as the national land reform process is a complete failure that managed to transfer less than five per cent of agricultural land from white to black ownership.MORE
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FEATURES:The agony of Ogoni by Nnimmo Bassey

A recent report on the pollution of Ogoniland prepared by United Nations Environment Programme marks ‘the first official confirmation’ that there is ‘a major tragedy on our hands’, writes Nnimmo Bassey.

When the Ogoni people demanded a halt to the unwholesome acts of the Shell Production and Development Company (SPDC or Shell) and the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), the government called them names and unleashed security agents to maim, rape and murder and hound many into exile.

The report on the pollution of Ogoniland prepared by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and released on August 4, 2011, marks the first official confirmation that there is a major tragedy on our hands. UNEP's report unequivocally shows that the Movement for the Survival of the Ogoni People (MOSOP) under the prescient leadership of Ken Saro-Wiwa was not crying wolf when it maintained that grave injustice was being inflicted on Ogoniland.

UNEP officials say the report was issued to respond to innuendos. At over $9 million, this must be the most expensive innuendo-dousing report on record. Whether the "innuendo" provoked the study or the release of the study is not known. But if it was that the report was a prelude to resumption of oil exploitation in Ogoniland, it is certainly not doused.

It is shocking that in the face of the Ogoni tragic environment the UNEP report suggests a possible restarting of oil exploitation in Ogoniland. That may be likened to obtaining blood from a dying man.

The report largely says what has been known and said before. But this is official and very valuable. When Shell doled out the funds for the study, they claimed they did so on the basis of the polluter-pays principle. True. Shell polluted Ogoniland, just as they and other companies have done and continue to do all over the Niger Delta.

Claims by Shell that a majority of the oil spills in Ogoni are caused by interference by local people flies in the face of the observations in the UNEP report. The report says the bush refineries, for example, became prominent from 2007. Obviously, one of the conclusions should have been that with livelihoods utterly destroyed, some of the people had to find a means of survival and chose this unfortunate and illegal trade. With UNEP's obvious care not to antagonise Shell in the report, this path was not pursued. MORE
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2008 Belize sows seeds for food security

Both Palma and Miller can't say for certain why fresh vegetables in Belize have been relegated to the backburner, but they have their theories.

One theory for this shift is a transition to a cash-based economy. Miller says families now need cash to participate in the economy, and to, for instance, send their children to school.

"Public schools require that you have pens and paper and books and uniforms, which requires cash," Miller said. "So now the person who used to grow the vegetables goes out, leaves their village, and does construction work to go make cash money. They can leave their corn, their beans, their rice, and their staples and come back and harvest, but that's not true with a vegetable garden. So there went the vegetables."

It isn't just keeping their kids in school that has farmers traveling to town for work. Because of many disastrous trade agreements forged by the U.S., farmers can no longer make wages that allow them to work solely on the farm, where they could cultivate supplemental gardens. Read more... )

Lord, I have seen that same story of American media advertsing changing customs for the worse and it drives me up the wall. Fresh pork and callaloo is less than Vienna sausages? Really? Then again it took living here for a while to see through the lies and glossy adverts. Oh god:/ On the hand, this is way more indepth. 11 page PDF FOOD SECURITY AND THE POVERTY PARADOX AT THE LOCAL LEVEL: THE CASE OF NORTH/SOUTH BELIZE
Food security at the household level is not only a factor of quantity, but also whether members of the household eat on time and/or have a greater selection of foods for meal preparation (Palacio, 1982). Cultural belief systems about food and health, rather than the nutritive value of food, contribute to dietary practices in Belize. Cultural practices place constraints on the type (quality) and the amount (quantity) of food items selected for consumption. It is the significance of lard or oil as mentioned above, to add “richness” to the diet. In some cases the timing of the arrival of foods, affects quantity and quality of foods consumed. In Barranco, the untimely arrival of the fisherman makes daily food supply uncertain at the household level. Similar examples are prevalent in both northern and southern communities, where production is limited despite proximity to the sea and available, arable land. I will outline three areas of cultural influences. One is the need to combine solids and liquids in the folk belief system (Palacio, 1982), the second is the deliberate refusal of certain foods to children and pregnant women (Brady, 1990); the third is the obligation to share foods in indigenous religious belief systems of the Garifuna people. Read more... )
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So I was clearing out my journal and came upon this old post. Let me know if any of the links are bad.

Toxic inaction:Why poisonous, unregulated chemicals end up in our blood

Toxic dumps in Africa

Dumped in Africa: Britians toxic Waste

Industrial Waste

Somalia & the Mafia, the nuclear waste dump zone

Ship breaking in India

Ghana : A dumping ground for e-waste

Americas e-waste adds to global dump

japan twisting arms of Asian neighbours to take toxic waste

Welcome top the world of hazardopus waste inventories

Japan dumping toxic waste in Thailand as part of freetrade agreement

One more failed US enviro policy

ENVIRONMENT-FRANCE: Dismantling End-of-Life Ships Requires Global Answers<./A>

pushing dirty energy on developing nations

Japan may dump toxic waste in India

Taiwan exporting toxic waste to cambodia

Japan toxic waste, the Philippines Two

Basel action network takes on japan

Japan, South Korea dumping in China

India Lindane tixic dumping pdf

Thai activists scream at Japan deal

Toxic Terror book

Japan Phillipine I give you healthcare workers, you take my toxics

Japan trade frays tempers:Surayud urged to take long, cool look at consequences of toxic-waste dumping and intellectual-property theft

2000 article japan dumps in the pihillipines

US dump waste in Tamil Nadu's Tuticorin Port in India

Hazardous waste management in india

UNCTAD promotes toxic waste dumping in Asia

US pushing India to legalize more toxic dumping, at the same time illegally dumping it anyway

US dumping toxic navy ships on the third world

Solar panel manufacturers from US dumping in China

US dumping in Haiti

The toxic waste watchdog organization Basel Action Network (BAN) today slammed the government’s plans to scuttle the former aircraft carrier FORRESTAL[1] in deep water as an “artificial reef” instead of having the ship safely recycled at one of the half-dozen active ship dismantling yards in the U.S.

Austrailia dumping mining debris in Papua New Guinea river water

Australia dumping in Phillipines and India

US targets Australia from nuclear dumping ground

Australia gots one waste management facility

16 November 2002 – Australian company Rio Tinto's gold mining operation in Lihir, Papua New Guinea has been under scrutiny by the Secretariat of the London Convention for dumping toxic waste at sea.

Australia dumps toxic waste in Hong Kong

Australia duumps in China

Australia mining waste dumped into locals water

West dumps more toxic waste on poor countries

Britain dumping in India

Britain dumps in Africa

Britain dumps in Brazil

The root of this obscene trade lies in the fact that it costs only $2.50 a tonne to dump toxic waste in Africa compared to $250 a tonne to dump waste in Europe. As a result, less than half of the electrical items thrown away last year were disposed of in accordance with EU rules. Britain

Italian mobsters dumping toxic trash all over the world

Italy dumping in Somalia

Pirates of Somalia: Curse of the Mafia Nuclear Waste Dumps and Thanks for All the Fish

A Toxic International Partnership (PDF)

What happened on the Ivory Coast?

Taiwan Used Bribes, Corruption to Dump Mercury Waste in Cambodia

California says hell no to toxics first dumped in Cambodia

POC community

Dumping of toxic waste a human rights issue

From the Cambodian pov

South Korea dumped waste in Japanese waters for 15 years

Toxic Korean garbage littering japan's beaches

Northern Dumping in the South USA (google books)

Global Outbreak of Toxic Waste Dumping
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Business Lobby Resists Ban on ‘Perverse’ Emissions - Part 1

BRUSSELS, Jun 2, 2011 (IPS) - For years, European governments and corporations have made use of a loophole in the Kyoto protocol on climate change to make exorbitant profits. According to some sources, this lucrative scheme has caused more pollution than ever before.

The Kyoto protocol allows European companies to ‘offset’ their excess emissions of greenhouse gases by buying emissions reductions in developing nations. This provision is called the Clean Development Mechanism (CDM). The eligibility of the overseas projects and the issuance of emission credits - which in this case are called Certified Emission Reductions (CERs) - are controlled by a council at the U.N., the CDM Executive Board.

In June 2010, two environmental NGOs - CDM Watch, based in Bonn, and Environmental Investigation Agency (EIA), with offices in Washington, DC and London - discovered that European governments and corporations were grossly misusing the CDM. Fifty-nine percent of all CERs originated from the same 19 projects, though a total of 2,800 projects were registered. These 19 projects all produced HCFC-22, a refrigerant gas that is banned in the U.S. and Europe under the Montreal Protocol on Substances That Deplete the Ozone Layer because of its ozone-depleting properties. In developing countries the gas must be phased out by 2030.

HCFC-22 is also a ‘super green house gas’ that is 1,810 times more potent than carbon dioxide. Furthermore, HFC-23, the unwanted by-product of the manufacture of HCFC-22, is 11,700 times more harmful than carbon dioxide.

When the producers of the refrigerant choose to burn the by-product HFC-23 instead of venting it into the air, they are eligible for heaps of credits under the CDM. Burning one tonne of HFC-23 would bring in 11,700 CERs or emission credits for the plant burning the gas.

It turned out this was a very lucrative business. Burning the equivalent of one tonne of carbon dioxide only cost 25 U.S. cents while the credits could be sold on the European market for not less than 19 dollars.

These projects soon attracted Western investment banks that wanted to share in the profits: JP Morgan Chase, Citigroup, Goldman Sachs, Rabobank and Fortis. Next to these banks, the Italian, Dutch and British governments appear several times on the list of investors. Large energy companies including E.ON (Germany), Nuon (Netherlands), RWE (Germany), Enel (Italy) and Electrabel (Belgium) are also involved as project participants. MORE

Business Lobby Resists Ban on ‘Perverse' Emissions - Part 2

Just weeks before the 2010 U.N. COP16 climate talks in Cancún, Europe’s climate Commissioner Connie Hedegaard proposed a ban on all HFC-credits in the European system of emissions trading (ETS) to take effect Jan. 1, 2013. On that date, the second phase of the ETS is due to end, after which new rules could apply.

Industry lobby groups and business organisations resisted the ban. Brussels-based NGOCorporate Europe Observatory made use of Freedom of Information Regulations here to obtain documents and reconstructed the full story.

BusinessEurope is the most influential lobby group in Brussels, representing 40 industrial and employers’ federations from 34 European countries. In October 2010, BusinessEurope’s Director- General Philippe de Buck sent a letter to Hedegaard and Commissioner of Industry and Entrepreneurship Antonio Tajani in which he spells out his opposition to limiting the use of credits from the CDM.

BusinessEurope also made use of a new employee, who had just finished three years of work at the European Commission of Enterprise and Industry. In an email to his former colleagues at the Commission, this employee refers to a recent goodbye drink and expresses his wish to keep on working together in his new lobbying function. In an attachment, he forwarded the position paper of BusinessEurope - which opposes the ban.
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El Salvadoran Government & Social Movements Say No to Monsanto

On the morning of Friday, May 6th President Mauricio Funes of El Salvador’s left-wing FMLN party, arrived at the La Maroma agricultural cooperative in the department of Usulután for a potentially historic meeting with hundreds of small family farmers. Usulután has often been referred to as the country’s bread basket for its fertile soil and capacity for agricultural production, making it one of the most strategic and violent battleground zones during El Salvador’s twelve year civil war between the US-supported government and the FMLN guerrilla movement.

Once again, Usulután has entered the spotlight for its agricultural reputation. The FMLN, which initially formed around an ideology of national liberation from US hegemony, has now adopted the goal of “food sovereignty,” the idea that countries hold the right to define their own agricultural policies, rather than being subject to the whims of international market forces. On Friday, officials representing the Ministry of Agriculture and the local governorship accompanied President Funes in inaugurating a new plan aimed at reactivating the country’s historically ignored rural economy and reversing El Salvador’s growing dependence on imported grains.

The opening ceremony for the new plan was hosted by the Mangrove Association, a non-governmental organization established by members of a grassroots social movement called La Coordinadora del Bajo Lempa y Bahia de Jiquilisco (known locally as La Coordinadora), which has been supporting initiatives for food security and environmental sustainability in Usulután for over 15 years. MORE
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Call me cynical, but "non-profit" orgs can still be funded by global biotech companies, even if they're not directly a front for them. Also, the implication that all dangerous new pests and diseases originate in and/or spread from developing countries, and so those countries need monitoring, is unfortunate at best.


'A "plant clinic" scheme to improve food security in developing nations has received a £6.8m boost from the UK and Swiss governments. The clinics, similar to human doctors' surgeries, offer local farmers advice on how to treat pests and diseases. Organisers hope to collate data from front-line "plant doctors" in order to provide an early warning system. It is hoped that more than 400 clinics will be established in 40 countries over the next five years. Trevor Nicholls, CEO of Cabi (Centre for Agriculture Bioscience International) - a not-for-profit science body - said the investment of £1m from the UK government and £5.8m from Swiss ministers was a "significant endorsement for the initiative".'

Remind me which countries big pharma and global biotech companies are usually based in again? No, wait... now I remember.
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Source: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-africa-12819035

Kenyans fear Dakatcha Woodlands biofuel expansion (by Will Ross)

Sitting in the shade of a tree beside his thatched mud hut in in Kenya's Dakatcha Woodlands, Joshua Kahindi Pekeshe is defiant, "We are not going to let this land go even if it means shedding blood," he told the BBC. "Land is very important to us. We farm and get our livelihood from it. On this land we bury our dead."

He is one of the many people opposed to the creation of a large biofuel plantation in the area, about an hour's drive inland from the coastal town of Malindi. It is an arid area and home to some 20,000 people as well as globally threatened animal and bird species. An Italian company has asked the authorities for permission to lease 50,000 hectares there to grow jatropha, whose seeds are rich in oil that can be turned into bio-diesel. This plant, originally from South America, has long been grown in Africa as a hedge to keep out animals - goats stay well away as it is poisonous. The area affected is community land which is being held in trust by the local council.

Kenya Jatropha Energy Ltd is 100%-owned by the Milan-based Nuove Iniziative Industriali SRL. It has leased almost a million hectares in Africa; jatropha oil from a plantation in Senegal is being supplied to the Swedish furniture retailer Ikea. Other companies have leased land for the same purpose in Ethiopia, Mozambique and Ghana, as well as in India. This expansion has been spurred by the European Union, which has set ambitious goals for lowering greenhouse gas emissions and reducing its reliance on imported oil. The 27 EU nations have signed up to a directive which states that by 2020, 20% of fuel should be from sustainable sources.

Why is Africa affected? Because it is difficult to find 50,000 hectares of available land to grow a biofuel crop in, for example, the UK or Italy. But campaign groups have labelled some of the projects in Africa "land grabs" with dire consequences for the often voiceless African communities.

Some ask: "Why 'feed' a car in Europe when hunger at home is still a reality?"

Full text of article for archiving purposes. )
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Resistance to fake marine 'protection' builds from Diego Garcia to Baja California :African Union supports Mauritius against UK's purported 'marine reserve'

Throughout the world, opposition is building to fake marine "protected" areas designed to fulfill the agenda of corporate globalization and the privatization of public trust resources.

The rights of indigenous people and fishing families are rarely considered in the creation of these unjust no fishing and gathering zones, whether they are installed in the Chagros Islands by the United Kingdom, the Sea of Cortez by the Mexican government, or along the California coast under Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger's corrupt Marine Life Protection Act (MLPA) Initiative.

The African Union recently backed Mauritius against the United Kingdom in the dispute over the Chagros Islands in the Indian Ocean. Secret cables between US and British governments released to the UK Guardian by Wikileaks disclosed how the so-called marine protected area supported by Greenpeace and other corporate environmental groups were installed to deny the native Chagossians the right of return and to allow alleged CIA renditioning of "terror" suspects on the US military base at Diego Garcia.MORE
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Tanzania Biofuel Project's Barren Promise

BRUSSELS and DAR ES SALAAM, Mar 9, 2011 (IPS/Freereporter) - An ambitious project to produce clean energy for the Netherlands and Belgium has degenerated into a controversial abuse of natural resources in Africa.

Bioshape, a clean energy company based in Neer, the Netherlands, is going through bankruptcy proceedings after spending 9.6 million dollars on a failed biofuel project in Tanzania. In 2006, the company agreed to lease 80,000 hectares of coastal woodland in the southern district of Kilwa to grow jatropha, a shrub whose seeds contain an oil that can be processed into green fuel.

Bioshape planned to employ thousands of local farmers and export seeds from Tanzania to the Netherlands, where they would be processed to produce electricity, heat and biodiesel. Jatropha is one of the preferred feedstocks for fuel produced from plant material. Commonly called biofuel - agrofuel to its critics - such fuel is supposed to be less polluting than traditional fossil fuels.Except that they proceeded collude with local authorities to bilk the villagers out of their land

*headdesk* *headdesk* *headdesk*
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Gasping for Air in La Oraya 2006 article

LA OROYA, Peru, Dec 12, 2006 (IPS) - A grey blanket of smog hangs over the mining town of La Oroya high up in the Andes in Peru, where several generations have suffered the effects of the lead dust and toxic fumes spewed out by a giant smelting complex.

A look around, and a few deep breaths, are all that is needed to understand that something is wrong in this town of 35,000 people in the central Peruvian region of Junín, where humble adobe and brick houses are surrounded by bleak hills in shades of grey - the vegetation has been destroyed by acid rain - and the dense air stings the eyes and throat.

The cause of the smog stands out like a sore thumb in the middle of the town: the smokestack of the multimetal smelter and refinery complex that spits out clouds of black smoke, and has been doing so for over 80 years.

Luis Saldarriaga, the head of oversight of the mining industry in the Ministry of Energy and Mines, tells IPS that 1.5 tons of lead and 810 tons of sulphur dioxide are emitted daily by the smelting complex administered since 1997 by the U.S. company Doe Run.

The factory's emissions of sulphur dioxide - which can cause respiratory problems like bronchitis and are the main cause of acid rain - are four times the acceptable limit of 175 metric tons a day, as set by Peruvian law. MORE

Company offers band-aid solutions to polluted town 2006 article

Pollution Emergency Plan Instead of Real Action for La Oroya 2007 article

US-Owned Smelter Fined for Pollution2008 article

In search of less toxic mining 2008 article

Bailout of Mining Co. Eclipses Environmental Disaster2009 article US compnay fucks up the environment, Peruvian gov't gives them more time to clean up and banks give them money!! What the hell happened to their profits!!!!???

Adios Doe Run 2010 article

Doe Run's Latest Move

LIMA, Jan 15, 2011 (IPS) - The U.S. mining and metallurgical company Doe Run has once again challenged the Peruvian government. The Renco Group, of which it is a subsidiary, notified the government of its plans to start an international arbitration process, invoking the free trade agreement between this South American country and the United States.

The U.S.-based holding company said the arbitration will be filed in 90 days if no agreement is reached. What is behind this ultimatum?

In ads published Jan. 5 in newspapers in Lima, the Renco Group said it was turning to the mechanisms provided for by the trade promotion agreement because it had received "unfair treatment" at the hands of the Peruvian government and had not been given "protection and security" as an investor, as required by the treaty.

Doe Run began to run the large multi-metal smelter in the central Peruvian highlands city of La Oroya, known as one of the most polluted places on earth, after the plant was privatised and acquired by the Missouri-based firm in 1997.MORE

Which isn't to say that Peruvian companies have not been pulling shenanigans and fuckery on their own ppl., especially the indigenous tribes who can be easily bullied.
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From the #Indigenous Hashtag on Twitter:

Penan Community ancestral land destroyed

Hundreds of indigenous people in Borneo who are due to be evicted from their land to make way for a giant hydroelectric dam have discovered that the rainforest they hoped to move to is being destroyed.

The Penan are being forced to move by the Sarawak state government to allow the billion-dollar Murum dam project to go ahead. But the Penan say the the area to which they hoped to relocate is now being cleared for oil palm plantations.

The Murum dam is one of 12 megadam projects the Sarawak government hopes to complete to power its industrial development and economic growth. The plans have proved controversial as they involve the destruction of vast areas of rainforest, uprooting of indigenous people and have already been plagued with corruption.MORE

B.C. Indian bands give thumbs-down to Enbridge

Several B.C. Indian bands have rejected Enbridge (ENB-T55.60-0.13-0.23%)offer of a stake in its controversial Northern Gateway pipeline, throwing new hurdles before the project that would ship oil sands bitumen to Pacific Rim markets.

Calgary-based Enbridge is currently in regulatory hearings seeking approval for the $5.5-billion project. It insists it is discussing benefits packages, including a 10-per-cent equity stake, with the native communities whose traditional territory will be traversed by the pipeline.

On Thursday, several chiefs publicly rejected Enbridge’s offer of a financial stake in the Gateway development, and instead delivered a declaration opposing the pipeline – signed by representatives of 61 British Columbia native groups – to Enbridge’s Calgary headquarters.

“Our lands and waters are not for sale, not at any price,” said Chief Larry Nooski of Nadleh Whut’en First Nation.

“We want no part of Enbridge’s project and their offers are worthless to us when compared to the importance of keeping our lands, rivers and the coast free of crude oil spills. What Enbridge is offering is the destruction of our lands to build their project, and the risk of oil spills for decades to come which could hurt everyone’s kids and grandkids.


Saami and the Finnish government sign deal to preserve rainforest

A long-running dispute between Finnish government Forest Enterprise Metsahallitus and Saami reindeer herders has been resolved in a landmark deal which will protect 80,000ha of pine forest in northern Finland.

The dispute over reindeer grazing forests in northern Finland has raged for eight years, with Greenpeace and indigenous Saami reindeer herders waging a campaign against harvester and forest manager Metsähallitus.

The deal will see 80% of the 107,000ha of reindeer grazing forests, mostly old growth, protected either permanently or for the next 20 years.

“Industrial logging has now been pushed out of the most important forest area in Finland,” said Greenpeace Nordic forest campaigner Matti Liimatainen.MORE

Why we try to protect our Land: Lessons from Barriere Lake

Take Barriere Lake, a small Algonquin community about 3½ hours north of Ottawa. This is an unceded first nation, meaning it never relinquished title to its land to the government by treaty or otherwise. Despite a very high unemployment rate and a far lower standard of living than the rest of Canada, these people, who call themselves the Mitchikanibikok Inik, are a proud group that maintains Algonquin as their first language and rely heavily on hunting, trapping and the land for subsistence.

The Algonquins of Barriere Lake have always been governed by a traditional, customary government, not by Indian Act band council elections. That is until last summer, when then-Indian affairs minister Chuck Strahl, against the wishes of the vast majority of the reserve, abolished it by imposing Section 74 of the Indian Act, an archaic provision not forcibly used since 1924. Polling took place 45 kilometres outside of the community and, in an act of group resistance, only 10 ballots ended up being mailed in. Despite all of this, a new chief and four-member council were put in place by the federal government. Three of the four new members weren’t even residents of the reserve.

In 1991, the traditional government of Barriere Lake signed a groundbreaking trilateral agreement with Quebec and the federal government. This United Nations-praised deal was meant to reconcile the pressures placed on the community by industrial logging and was geared toward taking into account the environmental and cultural needs of the Algonquin. To date, neither Quebec nor Ottawa has upheld any part of the agreement, including the sharing of natural resource revenues generated in this unceded Algonquin territory.

Before a new government was forced onto the people of Barriere Lake, the reserve held a number of peaceful protests to draw attention to the fact that government on all levels completely ignored their end of the trilateral agreement. Some of these protests included the blockading of a nearby rural highway. Instead of the desired negotiations culminating from this, men, women and children were tear-gassed by the provincial police. And now, with a new and unwanted council in place, community youth spokesman Norman Matchewan says this council has “started dealing with forestry companies and signing away parts of our land to be clear-cut without the community’s consent.”MORE
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My father said to me once:"The Haitians are so stupid that they deforested their island. They don't think about the long term, they just think about survival." The newspapers I read while I lived in the Caribbean said "Haiti is deforested because the Haitian people cut down all the trees and didn't plant them again.


Today I find that that was a lie.

From the Jamaica Observer No Mister! You cannot feel my pain!

First-world journalists interpret the absence of trees on the Haitian side to the predations of the poor, disregarding the fact that Western religion and American capitalism were mainly responsible.

Why is it that nowhere else in the Caribbean is there similar deforestation?

Haiti's Dessalines constitution offered sanctuary to every escaped slave of any colour. All such people of whatever colour were deemed 'black' and entitled to citizenship. Only officially certified 'blacks' could own land in Haiti.

The American occupation, anticipating Hayek, Freedman and Greenspan, decided that such a rule was a hindrance to development. The assistant secretary of the US Navy, one Franklin D Roosevelt, was given the job of writing a new, modern constitution for Haiti.

This constitution meant foreigners could own land. Within a very short time the lumberjacks were busy, felling old growth Mahogany and Caribbean Pine for carved doors for the rich and mahogany speedboats, boardroom tables seating 40, etc. The devastated land was put to produce rubber, sisal for ropes and all sorts of pie in the sky plantations.

When President Paul Magloire came to Jamaica 50 years ago Haitians were still speaking of an Artibonite dam for electricity and irrigation. But the ravages of the recent past were too much to recover.

As Marguerite Laurent (EziliDanto) writes: Don't expect to learn how a people with a Vodun culture that reveres nature and especially the Mapou (oak-like or ceiba pendantra/bombax) trees, and other such big trees as the abode of living entities and therefore as sacred things, were forced to watch the Catholic Church, during Rejete - the violent anti-Vodun crusade - gather whole communities at gunpoint into public squares, and forced them to watch their agents burn Haitian trees in order to teach Haitians their Vodun Gods were not in nature, that the trees were the "houses of Satan".

In partnership with the US, the mulatto President Elie Lescot (1941-45) summarily expelled peasants from more than 100,000 hectares of land, razing their homes and destroying more than a million fruit trees in the vain effort to cultivate rubber on a large plantation scale. Also, under the pretext of the Rejete campaign, thousands of acres of peasant lands were cleared of sacred trees so that the US could take their lands for agribusiness. MORE

I do not blame my father for not knowing this. He grew up learning colonial lies and propoganda that it has taken him his entire life to disentangle, and there is STILL so much hidden history to find and put back together. if you don't know that you need to look for something, then you won't think to look for it. Unfortunately, the Internet is a recent invention. And even newspapers in the Caribbean can still be misled.But there is pushback.
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Zapatistas and Yaqui 'In Defense of Water'

The Zapatistas joined Indigenous Peoples from throughout Mexico at the Yaquis' Vicam Pueblo in Sonora, Mexico, for the National Indigenous Congress. With the urgent message, "In Defense of Water," Indigenous Peoples united in the struggle for autonomy and protection of Mother Earth.

Ofelia Rivas, founder of the O'odham Voice Against the Wall from the US/Mexico border region, was a member of the O’odham traditional delegation. Zapatista Comandantes from Chiapas joined Indigenous from Michoacán, Veracruz, Oaxaca and throughout Mexico.

While focused on the defense of water, Rivas recognized the Zapatistas as the Stronghold for Indigenous Peoples and pointed out the systematic displacement of Indigenous Peoples in Mexico.

Rivas said O'odham went to Vicam Pueblo as members of the National Indigenous Congress, Nov. 20-21, to support the people in defense of water and to discuss land, water, autonomy and the impacts of bad government.MORE

August 2017

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