Month: August 2008
WordPress offers statistics about who visits your blog – and I just checked an incoming link which someone followed from that anti-social networking commerce site called Fakebook. The latest two postings in the Fakebook group featuring the link to the colonos blog suggest that our commentary on Jatun Sacha’s involvement with Big Pharma (which is no big secret, just google for a while and you will see for yourself) is “interesting read at any rate“, although, “I’m not saying you have to believe it but i recommend having a look” – good job that criticism is taken, sort of, seriously:
So should you find yourself in the lucky position that you can make it to Ecuador (or Peru) for the purpose of volunteering, then do yourself and the world a favour: do your research well: who is who – and what do they (really!) do?
Can you not find the right kind of thing – that fits your social, cultural and political principles, then get in touch.
Colonos has worked and continues to work with people in the Napo-Ucayali corridor on a grassroots level. For instance we have sown the seeds for a network of community based botanical gardens in the region – and idea that emerged in the Napo (Ecuador) and Pucallpa (Peru) regions independently (thousands of kilometers apart) and the practitioners of which we are merely bringing together and helping them do what they want to do.
The work includes working with Kichwa and Shipibo people and offers great opportunities to get soil under your nails, doing research and analytical work (ecological, political, cultural etc.), talking to plants and animals, drinking ayahuasca and work with shamans and other traditional healers, such as midwives. Whatever tickles your fancy! The work is coordinated from England and by the “Grupo Sabio”, which meets regularly in Tena, Napo, Ecuador.
One of the people we work with used to work for Jatun Sacha (who consistently “forgot” to pay him) until he realised what was going on and what the Peace Corps, whose army of volunteers occupy large parts of the socalled developing world, has become (that is: a Pentagon outfit; see below for more) and what it always was: a forefront of capitalism and Euro-American developmentalism, culturally imposing itself through the manual labour of unwitting volunteers in good faith that they are making a difference for the better, not worse.
Make up your own mind – but do your home work!
More on Pentagon Peace Corps (..talk about an oxymoron..):
This came a little while back in an email – and also deserves wide attention, describing business as usual and the destruction of yet another part of the planet by greedy bastards.. we should write something ourselves one day soon, but life has been hectic, homelessness and being up against the wall with looming deadlines seem to not permit faff-blogging attitudes…
Pines on the Páramo: The Disastrous Local Effects of the Carbon Market, by Thea Riofrancos – from http://nacla.org/node/483
In northern Ecuador, a pine tree plantation was planted to absorb enough carbon to “offset” the emissions of coal-fired power plants on the other side of the globe. Despite the questionable scientific
reasoning behind such “carbon offsetting” projects, the local indigenous community expected the plantation would help improve local economic conditions. Instead, everything went terribly wrong.
Manuel drives up the winding cobblestone road in the northern highlands of Ecuador, expertly steering the rickety truck while discussing local politics. Thirty minutes into the drive, the páramo suddenly unfolded before us. The páramo, an ecosystem unique to the Northern Andes at altitudes between 3,100 and 5,000 meters, is a burst of life where least expected.
Tough grasses called paja, moss, and arboles de papel (paper trees) dominate the landscape, which literally oozes with water. The frequent rains and snowmelt from surrounding peaks feed rushing streams and lakes of all sizes. About 15 minutes after Manuel, our guide, parked the car and we began hiking, it started storming.
This article deserves to be reproduced in full (but it got lost in the drafts folder for over a month while travelling, so here finally goes..), methinks, but let’s commence with a pungent quote from the introduction:
“CEOs of fossil energy companies [who] know what they are doing and are aware of [the] long-term consequences of continued business as usual … [should] be tried for high crimes against humanity and nature…I anticipate testifying against relevant CEOs in future public trials.”
– and worth quoting from the article itself are these paragraphs spelling the end of the world as we know it and I don’t feel good:
“Coal production, especially, is undergoing a dramatic renaissance, as the nineteenth century has returned to haunt the twenty-first century. Hundreds of thousands of miners are now working under conditions that would have appalled Charles Dickens, extracting the dirty mineral that allows China to open two new coal-fueled power stations every week. Meanwhile, the total consumption of fossil fuels is predicted to increase at least 55% over the next generation, with international oil exports doubling in volume.”
This article collects many of the stories that colonos were first to bring in English – we’ve tracked Correa’s journey from populist and opportunistic origins in left wing rhetoric to his current position, firmly based based in the right wing of things – or at best in an authoritarian pseudo-socialist order of progressivist industrialism. Colonos have been travelling in Peru – at the ethnobiology conference in Cusco, then in the deep forest, and recently in Iquitos doing ayahuasca ceremonies with our friend Fidel Andy, which is why the blog has been mute for a longer while, but we’re back with this piece, which is “Painful – but necessary – to read”.
Here is a quote from the horse’s mouth – from the same man who said that environmentalists are infantile romantics:
“I hope that the Leftist radicals who do not believe in the oil companies, the mining companies, the market or the transnationals goaway,” said Correa.
Wayward Allies: President Rafael Correa and the Ecuadorian Left
Written by Daniel Denvir
Friday, 25 July 2008
Outside of Ecuador, most progressives consider President Rafael Correa to be a Leftist champion of social and economic justice. Inside the country, however, conflicts between Correa and the social movement Left—the indigenous movement, environmentalists and unions, among others—have become increasingly heated….