ecological justice

Frequently Asked Questions Concerning the Philosophy, Politics and Historical Problems of Volunteering

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This is a general and quick post in response to Frequently Asked Questions about the problems of choosing where to invest one’s time and labour when volunteering in foreign places with good intent. It started as a reply to a comment – part of a long thread about a conservation project in the Amazon – then expanded slightly to become this first draft of a short reply to questions concerning volunteering.

Where and what is good agency put into which structures? It is an endless journey through the soul and the corridors of political thinking, philosophical reflection, historical recognition and ethical considerations – and it is also that first single step of your journey. It begins in the mind, unfolds in the imagination and will have a material impact on the place you go to.

Over the years we have spend a lot of time and energy helping people finding their ways in Ecuador and Peru, we have spend a lot of time suggesting projects, providing contacts and so on. However, in the end, people mostly go and do their own thing anyway. However, if you have only 4-6 months time and want to connect sooner, and should you really want to do something in or around Tena, Napo, in the Ecuadorian Amazon, or in San Francisco in Peru, and if working on a small scale and community level with people outside of NGO structures, doing down-to-the-ground, bottom-up work, with lovely families, if that is your thing, then do get in touch.

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Carbon Trading is Making a Killing and Destroying the Environment

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Press Release: Carbon Markets Violate Indigenous Peoples’ Rights and Threaten Cultural Survival

“Indigenous Peoples are being forced to sign over their territories for REDD to the Gangsters of the Century, carbon traders, who are invading the world’s remaining forests that exist thanks to the knowledge of Indigenous Peoples,” denounced Marlon Santi, President of the CONAIE, the Confederation of Indigenous Nationalities of Ecuador, one of the most powerful native organizations in the world. “Our forests are spaces for life not carbon markets.”

Indigenous leader kidnapped and forced at gunpoint to surrender carbon rights for REDD in Papua New Guinea

New York, USA — As carbon traders hawk permits to pollute at the Second Annual Carbon Trading Summit, Indigenous Peoples denounced that selling the sky not only corrupts the sacred but also destroys the climate, violates human rights and threatens cultural survival.

“Carbon trading and carbon offsets are a crime against humanity and Creation,” said Tom Goldtooth, Executive Director of Indigenous Environmental Network. “The sky is sacred. This carbon market insanity privatizes the air and sells it to climate criminals like Shell so they can continue to pollute and destroy the climate and our future, rather than reducing their emissions at source.”

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COP15: Release Tadzio Mueller and the other climate prisoners!

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To:  The Danish Parliament

Sign petition @http://www.petitiononline.com/Tadzio/petition.html

See also: http://indymedia.dk/

Over the past week, tens of thousands of people from across the planet have taken to the streets of Copenhagen demanding real and just solutions to climate change. But on the streets, as well as inside the UN Climate Change Conference, delegates and ‘outsiders’ alike are doubting that the conference will reach a deal that isn’t a disaster for most of the world.

Inside the Bella Centre, where the UN delegates are meeting, numerous critical voices have been marginalised through technical and procedural manoeuvres. Others, like Friends of the Earth International, have had their accreditation revoked. Outside, the policing of protest has been consistently draconian and occasionally brutal.

On Saturday 12 December, almost 1,000 participants in a ‘Climate March’ through Copenhagen were arrested. On Monday 14 December, hundreds more were arrested at a party in the city’s Christiania district following a public meeting, addressed by Canadian journalist Naomi Klein and others. On Tuesday 15 December, Tadzio Mueller, a spokesperson for Climate Justice Action, was arrested by undercover police officers following a press conference at the Bella Centre.

This morning, on Wednesday 16 December, Tadzio appeared before a judge on a number of charges relating to his public support for today’s Reclaim Power demonstration. The declared aim of Reclaim Power – also supported by social movements, many conference delegates and other civil society actors – is to hold a People’s Assembly at the Bella Centre, to discuss real solutions to climate change. At this morning’s court hearing the judge decided to hold Tadzio for a further three days, after which he will reappear in court. There are reports that the hearing was closed to the public.

Meanwhile, hundreds more protesters have been arrested today and there have been numerous reports of police brutality and the extensive use of batons, pepper spray and tear gas. We have also heard of further arrests of individual activists by undercover police officers.

We, the undersigned, not only lend our support to those in Copenhagen seeking to push for real and just solutions to climate change, but also demand the following:
• The immediate release of Tadzio Mueller and all other climate prisoners;
• A halt to the criminalisation and intimidation of activists, including the pre-emptive detaining of protesters in Copenhagen;
• The immediate re-instatement of accreditation withdrawn from NGOs and other critical voices at the Climate Summit

(This Open Letter was drafted by the editors of Turbulence: Ideas for Movement, of which Tadzio Mueller is an editor.)

Initial Signatories (name and affiliation):
• Ben Trott (Turbulence editor)
• David Harvie (Turbulence editor, University of Leicester)
• Michal Osterweil (Turbulence editor, US based lecturer, UNC Chapel Hill)
• Keir Milburn (Turbulence editor)
• Rodrigo Nunes (Turbulence editor)
• Kay Summer (Turbulence editor)
• Naomi Klein
• Katja Kipping (Member of the German Bundestag)
• Ulla Jelpke (Spokeswoman for internal affairs of the faction DIE LINKE in the Bundestag)
• Alexis Passadakis (Member of the Coordination Committee of Attac Germany)
• Dr. Simon Lewis (University of Leeds and UN accredited science advisor in COP15)
• Emma Dowling (Lecturer, University of London)
• Ingo Stützle (editor, ak – analyse & kritik)
• Zoe Young (writer and film maker)
• Friends of the Earth International

Sincerely,

The Undersigned

Two killed during protests against water laws in Ecuador.

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Ecuador is currently seeing another indigenous uprising in response to the proposed Law of Water (amongst others). Yesterday, a group indigenous protesters (mainly from the Shuar nation) in the Amazon were shot at from a helicopter, leaving two dead and nine other wounded.

colonos is replicating here briefly a statement of the Confederation of Indigenous Nationalities of the Ecuadorian Amazon, and providing some links to further sources.

The proposed Law of Water is said to be in violation of the Ecuadorian Constitution, which prohibits all forms of privatisation of water. The law would allow for privatisation of water through the back door and prioritise needs of big developments (hydropower and mining) over those of the people. Moreover, in its article 43 it allows for the use of the Armed Forces in situations of protest and conflict around water use (such as when people would protest the diversion of community water for use in mining).
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Peru’s Congress Suspends Destructive Decrees: Not a victory, just one less defeat!

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Today the world’s media carry the story of the Peruvian Congress having suspended the destructive decrees that caused a non-violent, yet forceful uprising by indigenous peoples organising to defend the Amazon from the oil and gas industry. It is not a victory – merely one less defeat! The forest continues to be destroyed. Drilling, pumping, spilling roads building and Christian conquest of hearts, souls and minds through concerted violence, repression, manipulation, false promises (“Jesus will buy you a fridge and a car”) and disrespect for the inhabitants of what was once the world’s largest (rain) forest, but which is now better described as a region threatened by destruction, deforestation, desertification, in brief, death. However, at least, for now the attempt to accelerate further the destruction has been pushed back, but not stopped. The struggle continues…..

June 11, 2009
World Briefing | The Americas
Peru: Decrees to Open Jungle Area to Investment Are Suspended
By SIMON ROMERO

Congress temporarily suspended two decrees issued by President Alan García that had helped set off recent protests by indigenous groups fearful of large oil and logging investments in the Peruvian Amazon. The decrees would open vast jungle areas to investment and allow companies to bypass indigenous communities to get permits for projects. The protests resulted in repression by security forces and apparent reprisals by Indians last week that left dozens dead.

See also: Top name brands implicated in Amazon destruction, New Greenpeace report shows how the cattle industry in Brazil is feeding demand for raw resources and “Slaughtering the Amazon

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greenpeace-amazonia-campainger

Killings in the Amazon: Peruvian protests even more violently repressed

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colonos is reproducing here a text by Ben Powless on rabble.ca, including the “INTERNATIONAL DENUCIATION of President Alan García Pérez of Peru and his admistration” by the COORDINATING BODY OF ANDEAN INDIGENOUS ORGANZIACIONES – CAOI.

We have received various notices from people in the Amazon reporting about 10 – 40 indigenous protesters having been shot dead.

Photo by Marijke Deleu
Photo by Marijke Deleu (upsidedownworld.org)

Here goes:

50 days of protest and one massacre in the Peruvian Amazon

I’m writing this right now from Peru after having taken part in a 5 day Indigenous Peoples Summit held in Puno, Peru in the high Andes. Read the rest of this entry »

Eye Witness to Correa’s Profit Mining and Environmental Destruction: No News There!

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This is yet another report about industrial activities in Ecuador, a country ruled by an authoritarian, economistic anti-environmentalist, who despises traditional ways of living when it stands in his way of mining and drilling for oil, building roads, riverways and airports, but who loves to present himself – in the media – as a friend of indigenous peoples, wearing traditional outfits and speaking (mountain) Kichwa. Welcome to Correa’s Ecuador:

Locals fight mining in Ecuador’s cloudforest
Christian Tym
Green Left Weekly, 2 May 2009

Many people still speak sincerely about the existence of “corporate responsibility”. While doing volunteer work in the Ecuadorian community of Junin, I got a different picture.

The story of the efforts of Copper Mesa Mining, one of Rio Tinto’s collaborators in gold and copper exploration in Ecuador, to overcome community resistance is an example of what modern “corporate responsibility” looks like.

The mining concession Copper Mesa bought from the Ecuadorian government is centered on the community of Junin and the Intag River.

The proposal was to evict four entire communities, 100 families in all. These people live off their land and depend on the outside world for only electricity and medical supplies.

Mining would destroy their entire way of life.

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