News Analysis

Securing a Future With Water Along Peru's Rimac River Valley
20th July, 2017




Along the Rimac River Valley of Peru, local farmers have taken the problem of water security into their own hands and embarked on a combined reforestation and water storage project, which not only provides safe water but has empowered the local community and, thanks to improving the mountainside soil stability, has reduced the risk of devastating landslides. FOREST RAY reports

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Ecologist Special Report: Animal Protection's Surprising Role in Climate Change
19th July, 2017

On 20th May 2017, the Animal Legal Defense Fund hosted its third annual Animal Law Symposium in Los Angeles, California. It brought together legal professionals and animal advocates from all around the nation to focus on the latest answers to a very important question: How can we best protect wild animals when human activity increasingly runs counter to the interests of wildlife? One of those advocates, STEPHEN WELLS, says we can no longer afford to ignore the devastating impact of animal agriculture

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Wildlife charity backs EU court case against Poland for failing to protect forest
18th July, 2017

Białowieża Forest is the best preserved forest ecosystem and the best preserved old-growth lowland forest in Europe. But it is under threat, reports BRENDAN MONTAGUE

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First legal action under Ireland’s new climate legislation
17th July, 2017

Friends of the Irish Environment (FIE) has taken the first legal action under Ireland’s new climate legislation. FIE has expressed its concerns that the Irish government is intending to ignore the terms set out by the 2015 Paris climate agreement by lodging a judicial review with the High Court in relation to Dublin Airport's proposed new runway, CONOR PURCELL reports

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Join the Resurgence Trust and help keep The Ecologist as a free service

The not-for-profit Resurgence Trust has owned and run The Ecologist website since 2012. Since then, we have maintained this site as a free service to an international community that shares our agenda of seeking positive solutions to the challenges of environment, social justice and ethical living. Help us to keep doing this by joining the Trust or making a donation today

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Green Living

Gardening as Therapy: A moving memoir
20th June, 2017

Labour party leader, Jeremy Corbyn - who said he'd never give up his allotment, whatever the outcome of the recent UK elections - knows it and so do the millions of gardeners, growers and allotmenteers who've found a deeper relationship with their own patch of land. HARRIET GRIFFEY discovers the healing power of that relationship as described in a beautifully written new memoir

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GAWP! The Green Alphabet Writing Prize
14th June, 2017

Got something to say about the environment and the way we do (or don't) care for it? Here's your chance to get what you think noticed and published....

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Solar Irrigation Pump is Winner of the 2017 Ashden Award for Sustainable Energy and Water
12th June, 2017

The winner of the 2017 Ashden Award for Sustainable Energy and Water - announced today (12th June, 2017) - is Futurepump, which manufactures an affordable, highly efficient and portable solar irrigation pump aimed at the millions of smallholder farmers in Kenya and around the world, writes CHHAVI SHARMA

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Campaigning

Eradicating invasive species is essential for island conservation
20th July 2017

The South Georgia Heritage Trust and the University of Dundee hosted 300 delegates from 43 countries to share a global picture of the world’s islands where ecosystems can hang in the balance, reports LAURA BRIGGS

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Display from a BG smart meter. Just too bad about all the electromagnetic smog it generates. Photo: athriftymrs.com via Flickr (CC BY-SA).

Smart meter radiation and health - why are we neglecting non-toxic alternatives?
6th June 2017

With growing evidence of harm to physical and mental health caused by continuous pulsed em radiation from 'smart' electricity meters, Lynne Wycherley asks: have we underestimated risks to heart function and the nervous system? And of interference with embedded medical devices, such as cardiac pacemakers? It's time to switch to over-wire or fibre communications to bring the 'smart green grid' of the future to electrosmog-free reality.

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Poland's primeval forest is under serious attack
2nd June, 2017

Polish activists have this week chained themselves up to machines used to cut a 9000-year-old forest in a bid to stop the destruction of trees for what is clearly commercial gain. NICK MEYNEN reports

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Interviews

Winner of the 2017 Goldman Environmental Prize for Africa: Rodrigue Katembo
3rd May, 2017

From child-soldier to Netflix star, the Congolese park ranger has won his award for stopping oil exploration in the Virunga National Park. He talks to SOPHIE MORLIN-YRON

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Winner of the 2017 Goldman Environmental Prize for Asia: Prafulla Samantara
2nd May, 2017

Meet the man securing justice for the Dongira tribe's sacred hills...in the first of her profiles of two of this year's winners, SOPHIE MORLIN-YRON interviews the recipient of the Goldman Environmental Prize for Asia

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Essays

Pilgrims bathing in the holy river Narmada at Hoshangabad, Madhya Pradesh, India. Photo: Mahesh Basedia via Flickr (CC BY-NC-SA).

To discover the 'rights of a river', first think like a river
22nd May 2017

There is a growing global movement to recognise the rights of rivers, writes Debadityo Sinha. But rights alone are not enough. We must love and respect rivers, and even think like rivers to understand the vital functions they perform within landscapes and ecosystems, and so discover where their 'best interests' truly lie. And then we must be willing to act: protecting rivers and restoring them to health and wholeness.

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John Muir, full-length portrait, facing right, seated on rock with lake and trees in background, circa 1902. Photo: unknbown via Library of Congress (Public Domain).

Divine ecstasy of Nature: Selected Writings by John Muir
17th May 2017

May this new collection of John Muir's writings reach us now and inspire another generation to fall in love with wild nature, to care for it, to know that wilderness is not optional but central to our survival in the centuries to come, writes Terry Tempest Williams - and remind us how to embrace this beautiful, broken world once again with an open heart. If we do approach the mountain, it is we who are moved.

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Figure 1: Two views of economic 'sustainability'. Image: Nature's Rights.

Nature's rights: a new paradigm for environmental protection
9th May 2017

Recognising nature as a legal stakeholder with inalienable rights in environmental law proceedings is a powerful counterbalance to corporate dictatorship, writes Mumta Ito. It empowers people and governments to stand up for nature - the underlying basis of our economy and our lives. And it stands in contrast to feeble approaches based on the financialisation and commodification of nature, which may be twisted to justify more destruction.

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General Election 2017: a Green realignment of British politics?
3rd May, 2017

The political events of the last year are cause for sorrow, for reflection, and for reorientation. But they're also cause for a Green reboot. And fortunately, the UK's upcoming election on June 8th gives us just such an opportunity, writes RUPERT READ

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Footbridge over the Coapa River in Chiapas, Mexico, which supports local silvopasture (forestry and livestock grazing). Photo: Lameirasb via Wikimedia Commons (CC BY-SA).

To conserve tropical forests and wildlife, protect the rights of people who rely on them
26th April 2017

Who are the best guardians of forests and other wild places? Governments? Conservation NGOs? Corporations? No, writes Prakash Kashwan, it's the indigenous peoples who have lived in harmony with their environment for millennia. But to be able do so, they must first be accorded rights to their historic lands and resources, both in law and in practice. Among the countries leading the way, Mexico. Among the laggards, Kenya and India.

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Blogs

Introduction to Rewilding
14th July, 2017

Everyone is talking about rewilding at the moment. The debate around it is shaking up the conservation sector and public interest in it is huge, with a growing movement of people advocating the restoration of our degraded ecosystems. But what does it really mean to rewild? And how would you go about doing it if you actually have some land?

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UK Artists showcase the plight of the disappearing British bee
7th July, 2017

Ecologist Arts Editor, GARY COOK, visits a new exhibition showcasing the plight of the British bee - those species already sadly lost and those on the verge of extinction

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Nature's soundscapes: protecting personal and planetary silence
4th July, 2017

In search of stillness and silence, our Nature Editor, Elizabeth Wainwright, spent a night under the stars in the wilderness (Devon's Dartmoor) which left her feeling reflective about the price we are all paying - humans and Nature - for increasing noise pollution

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Expressing environmental concerns through the artist's pencil and paint
13th June, 2017

In its purist form, drawing is marking down the junctions of observed lines. The Ecology Movement does the same thing - joining up the dots of our under-strain, but interlinked environment to create forceful arguments, writes Ecologist Arts Editor, GARY COOK

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How planting bioenergy crops could help stop Britain's brown hare from becoming extinct
6th June, 2017


If you live or spend time in the UK countryside it may have been some time since you spotted the native brown hare - if you've ever seen one at all. That's because the hare relies on an increasingly disappearing biodiverse landscape for its food. LAURA BRIGGS talks to the scientists behind a new study investigating what type of planting - including bioenergy crops - will help stop hare populations from continuing to decline

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Resurgence & Ecologist Magazine

We're Still Stronger Together
15 June 2017

Vivian Woodell, social entrepreneur and founder of the phone co-op, shares his thoughts on the growing co-operative movement and its role in building collaborative, sustainable alternatives to the standard model. Interview by Oliver Tickell.

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Comment

Why environmental communications can't just talk about the environment
14th July, 2017


There's no doubt that one of the losers in this year's UK election was the environment and that there's clearly been a failure not just in politics, which is failing in so many ways, but also in environmental communication - a failure to reach people's hearts and minds with the urgent need for change, writes NATALIE BENNETT

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G20 summit showed international climate action really is 'Trump- proof'
12th July, 2017

The G19 pro-climate coalition which agreed both an energy and climate action plan and important steps to help reorient private capital flows and business strategies towards a new sustainable direction has been deemed a success by many environmentalists, writes KATRIN RIEGGER (who was present at the conference for the Ecologist). But others say these agreements still do not go far enough and want to see global leaders adopting even more ambitious strategies to cut emissions and achieve the agreed goals of the Paris Agreement

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We need rights of nature legislation now to protect our home planet
7 July, 2017

We need a new paradigm for ocean governance focused on well-being and guided by principles of sustainability, ecosystem health, precaution and interconnectedness, argues MICHELLE BENDER of the US based Earth Law Centre.

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Towards tribal interdependence and peace in Kenya
26th June, 2017

Tensions are rising in Kenya as the country approaches local and national elections in August. But we could choose to use our differences as a strength, not a cause of conflict, says DEBORA LANGAT

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Collaboration and communication: how science and environmentalists can fight climate change together
20th June, 2017

Whether from environmentalists, media or politicians science and its values are often under attack. In response, the scientific community has started a global Pro-Science Movement. Key agendas of the movement include environmental awareness and action on climate change, writes LUCY EJ WOODS

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Leading from Nature: Politics and Biomimicry
13th June, 2017

As Theresa May and her Ministers struggle to make a pact with the DUP, Ecologist Nature Editor, ELIZABETH WAINWRIGHT says we could all do worse than model both leadership and politics on Nature and work together to improve partnership and community, as well as innovation

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The future of humanity on the planet does not rest on leaders alone - thankfully!
6th June, 2017

For social movements and climate justice campaigners, the US abandonment of the Paris Agreement is disappointing, but there is also a unity in understanding that the future of humanity on this planet does not rest on leaders alone, writes DOROTHY GRACE GUERRERO

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Reviews

Spiritual Ecology: 10 Practices to Reawaken the Sacred in Everyday Life
17th July, 2017

How does cleaning your kitchen help resolve the planetary crisis? Why does the manner in which you cook your dinner have implications for how you affect change in the world? Perhaps more than you think. KARA MOSES reviews Spiritual Ecology: 10 Practices to Reawaken the Sacred in Everyday Life

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Wendell Berry - poet, essayist, farmer, activist, rural philosopher
10th July, 2017

How do you define a man who has been at the forefront of the environmental movement of America for over 50 years - poet, essayist, environmentalist, farmer, activist, philosopher? Wendell Berry is all these and now his life's work sits at the heart, writes HARRIET GRIFFEY, of Look and See - a newly-released film about his life and philosophy

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Confessions of a Recovering Environmentalist by Paul Kingsnorth
3rd July, 2017

LESLEY DOCKSEY reviews Paul Kingsnorth's book, Confessions of a Recovering Environmentalist

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Right of Reply

The way of the future? Photo: smart meters array by Green Energy Futures - David Dodge via Flickr (CC BY-NC-SA).

Smart meters the way to a new age of clean energy
3rd April 2017

Dynamic power pricing that responds to supply and demand could transform the way we manage our electricity systems, writes Claire Maugham, opening the door to the mass integration of renewables like wind and solar. But smart meters are essential to making that happen.

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MSC Response to New Zealand Fisheries Article

In its Right of Reply to our recent article questioning the sustainability of New Zealand fishing practices, the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) explains its certification is based on current and not historical practices.

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UK biomass power industry is a vital part of the renewable energy mix
27th October 2016

Contrary to arguments advanced in a recent Ecologist article, the biomass industry supplying the Drax power station in North Yorkshire is a model of sustainability, writes Nina Skorupska, and delivers genuine, substantial emissions reductions compared to coal.

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Ecologist Partners

The global top ten young climate activists ready to take on Donald Trump

They organise, research and protest: a new generation of climate activists around the world is prepared to do everything they can to protect the climate. The Ecologist has talked to young climate activist around the world. These are the top ten young climate activities working to stop Donald Trump.

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The Escondida copper-gold-silver mine, 170 kilometers (110 miles) southeast of Chile’s port city of Antofagasta. This astronaut photograph features a large impoundment area (image center) containing light tan and gray waste spoil from of the Escondida m

For how long will the London Stock Exchange give Antofagasta mine a free pass?
1st June 2017

London-listed copper giant Antofagasta has been entangled in scandals in Chile involving water depletion, dangers to local communities, corruption of national politics and environmental contamination, write Ali Maeve & Liam Barrington-Bush. Yet the London Stock Exchange remains silent. Following the company's AGM last week, a new London Mining Network report puts their actions and operations into the spotlight.

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Calendar

Postgrowth debate on 28 Nov 2016

The End of Growth?
11 November 2016

An evening debate with Federico Demaria, Graeme Maxton, Jørgen Randers and Kate Raworth at the House of Commons, Monday 28 Nov 2016

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Feeding the Insatiable
7th October 2016

An international summit exploring real and imagined narratives of art, energy and consumption for a troubled planet, taking place at Schumacher College, Dartington, on 11th November 2016

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Courses

Yale University Launches Online Specialization Classes Open to the Public
9th September, 2016

If you've got the 'Back to School' bug this week then check out these brand new online courses from the prestigious Yale University's School of Forestry and Environmental studies - the courses are based on the award-winning Journey of the Universe film and book

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Educating for Gaia: a wholistic approach to Earth science
28th April 2016

As a society, we are strangely disconnected from the Earth, writes Stephan Harding. It's as if we were aliens placed here to prod and poke with our scientific instruments whilst feeling no sense of meaning, belonging or closeness to her ancient crumpled surface or rich, teeming biodiversity - a state of mind that a forthcoming course at Schumacher College aims to reverse.

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News in Brief

Five Leeds women block fracking site over climate and water fears
19th July, 2017

The women said they had travelled from Leeds for fear of impact on water supplies and treatment after discovering that waste water from the Cuadrilla site would be travelling to the Knostrop treatment works in Leeds.

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Your chance to whale-watch in Scotland!
18th July, 2017

For over 40 years, Sea Watch Foundation scientists as well as volunteer observers all around the UK’s coast have been reporting on whales, dolphins and porpoises –collectively known as cetaceans – to inform Sea Watch’s huge database of records.

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The 14th 'Free Terra' Camp in Praça dos Ipês, Brasília, during April 24-28 2017. Over 4,000 representatives from 200 indigenous peoples from all regions of the country were present in a large demonstration of strength of the indigenous movement. Photo:

Brazil: Increase in land killings as political crisis threatens Amazon
7th June 2017

Impunity reigns in the Amazon, write Joe Sandler Clarke & Sam Cowie, and the indigenous peoples of the forest are the big losers as they suffer repeated killings and land grabs. Big cuts to Funai, the agency meant to protect Brazil's indigenous tribes, have encouraged land barons to expand their land holdings into indigenous territories and murder any who resist.

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Exxon shareholders back resolution requiring the oil major to disclose the impact of climate...
1st June, 2017

As we wait to learn whether (later today) Trump will pull the US out of the Paris Agreement, Remo Bebié of Finance Dialogue shares his briefing report of the what is being seen as growing demands that oil companies incorporate the international deal in their business models

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Ecuador's 'free trade' agreement with the US only undermined their ability to get justice for Texaco's toxic legacy of oil pollution, and did little to attract investment. Now it has been dumped along with 15 others. Photo of Lago Agrio by Caroline Bennet

Ecuador rips up 16 toxic trade treaties
31st May 2017

Ecuador is the latest country to tear up 'free trade' agreements that have so far cost the country $21 billion in damages awarded to foreign companies by 'corporate courts', and yielded next to nothing in return, writes Nick Dearden. So the outgoing President Correa did the only sensible thing: in one of his final executive acts this month, he scrapped 16 toxic trade and investment treaties.

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Prime Minister Theresa May signed her Article 50 setting out the UK's intention to withdraw from the European Union, 28th March 2017. Photo: Jay Allen / Number 10 via Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND).

Revealed: May's secret EU mission to weaken climate and energy targets
30th May 2017

When Prime Minister Theresa May went to Brussels to hand in her 'Article 50' Brexit notice, she was also pursuing a separate, covert objective, writes Zachary Davies Boren. Leaked papers show that the UK was lobbying to gut new EU rules and targets on renewable energy and energy efficiency - even though they will only come into force after Brexit.

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Fox at Nether Edge, Sheffield. Photo: Edwyn Anderton via Flickr (CC BY-NC-SA).

'Make Hunting History' march on Downing Street this Bank Holiday Monday
26th May 2017

Prime Minister Theresa May has made several serious mistakes in her election campaign, but her biggest 'unforced error' of all could be her public support for foxhunting, opposed by 17 in 20 voters. Now a huge march to her Downing Street residence is planned for next Monday to 'Make Hunting History!'

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No, that's not Theresa May leading this 'police against fracking' demo, it's veteran anti-fracking campaigner Tina Rothery. Photo: Rev'd Peter Doodes via Fracking Hell (UK) on Facebook

Only Conservatives and UKIP back fracking in GE2017
18th May 2017

With the major party manifestos all published it's not just the Greens that oppose fracking, writes Mat Hope. It's also Labour and the Libdems. So who's left? The Tories of course, who are holding fast to the fracking faith, and even want to create a new special purpose regulator for the industry. Oh yes, and UKIP, which is also committed to abolishing the Climate Change Act.

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Who needs research into climate change adaptation? Flooding in Brisbane, Queensland, 11th January 2011. Photo: Angus Veitch via Flickr (CC BY-NC).

Australia axes climate change adaptation research
16th May 2017

Natural disasters like flood and drought have cost the Australian government more than A$12 billion since 2009, write Tayanah O'Donnel & Josephine Mummery, with even harsher weather events predicted for coming decades. Clearly, it's just the time for Australia to eliminate funding for research on adapting to climate change.

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Sunset years ... power plant and Exxon Mobil oil refinery in Joliet, Illinois. Photo: Greg Wass via Flickr (CC BY-NC-SA).

Oil industry's sunset years: low prices, weak demand, poor outlook
15th May 2017

With oil prices remaining low, the world's oil industry is facing bleak years ahead, writes Paul Brown. The global push to decarbonise the economy, combined with surging renewable energy and the trend to more efficient and electric vehicles, is denting investor confidence and pointing to the shrinking away of a once mighty and profitable industry.

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Jeremy Corbyn at a political rally in North London, 15th August 2016. Photo: Steve Eason via Flickr (CC BY-NC-SA).

Corbyn's green vision wins: leaked manifesto promises huge environmental gains
11th May 2017

A huge raft of environmental reforms is promised in the Labour Party's draft manifesto, writes Oliver Tickell. Among the highlights: a ban on fracking; a clean energy policy based on renewables and efficiency; no commitment to new nuclear power; to meet our Paris Agreement obligations on climate; to give companies a legal obligation to protect the environment; to retain all EU environment laws post-Brexit; and multilateral nuclear disarmament.

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Mural in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, in celebration of indigenous culture by the artist Eduardo Kobra. Photo: Stefano Ravalli via Flickr (CC BY-NC-SA).

Brazil: Amazon's Indians, rainforest under attack
10th May 2017

Attacks on Amazon Indians and on their land rights are threatening vital areas of rainforest, writes Jan Rocha. Meanwhile FUNAI, the agency responsible for safeguarding indigenous tribes is being forced to withdraw from key conflict zones due to underfunding, while Indians' attempts to assert their rights are met with state violence.

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