Month: April 2008

A History of Botanical Exploration in Amazonian Ecuador, 1739-1988

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Just came across this article called A History of Botanical Exploration in Amazonian Ecuador, 1739-1988 and thought it could deserve a little attention, even if it comes from the conservative Smithsonian Institute, for those interested in knowing more about the Ecuadorian Amazon 🙂

It begins:

“In proportion to its area Ecuador is the floristically richest country in South America. This botanical wealth is undoubtedly due to the diverse ecological conditions created by the Andes, rising in Ecuador from sea level to nearly 6300 m altitude. The country accordingly has attracted the interest of numerous naturalists, many of whom crossed Ecuador on their way from Bogota to Lima or visited various ports of South America, including Guayaquil. Among the earliest were La Condamine and Joseph de Jussieu (174Os)

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We watched Leonardo DiCaprio’s “11th hour” last night (you might be able to watch it here or via and read more about it here) and although it was by no stretch of the imagination a very good film on any terms (structure, presentation of material, cinematography or in terms of delivering a profound radical political message) it was still a positive surprise. But hey! what would you expect, come on, be honest?

In the critical (mainstream environmentalist?) words of Rikke Bruntse-Dahl, writing for

“The overall message was that we’ve forgotten that we’re part of nature and even though the Earth as such will survive, it will not be a pleasant — or indeed habitable — place to be if we don’t start looking after it and each other. While it’s undoubtedly a good message, which we’d like as many people as possible to hear, the film itself is just not up to scratch.

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China Olympics, Tibet Torture, Coca-Cola Profits.

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India Resource Center writes on the connections between:

China Olympics, Tibet Torture, Coca-Cola Profits

San Francisco (April 28, 2008): Responding to a question about Coca-Cola’s sponsorship of the Olympic Torch Relay at the Coca-Cola shareholders meeting last week, Mr. Isdell, CEO of Coca-Cola, defended the sponsorship by referring to the Olympic Torch as a symbol of hope and openness.

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More repression in Ecuador..

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When Rafael Correa came into government he soon announced that he was investing more powers in the police and the military to repress popular protests, which is one of the main means of political expression for many largely illterate indigenous and campesino communities; and those powers are “well” used, Upside Down World writes:

The peaceful demonstration began at 5am was met with state repression around noon, leading to the arrest of 17 protestors, which include the parish priest of Victoria del Portete, dairy farmers, and University of Cuenca students. Approximately 80 soldiers blasted tear gas into to the crowd of protestors— around 300 strong. Female students report that they were later taken to a casino for police and forced to undress.
“We are here to defend the right to pure and clean water,” declared Miriam Chuchuka, a 36-year-old dairy farmer from Victoria del Portete. Small farmers fear that cyanide and mercury related to gold mining and production will pollute local water sources.

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