The Ecologist


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Aerial view of the Amazon rainforest, near Manaus, an area affected by fracking licences. Photo: Neil Palmer / CIAT for CIFOR on Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND).

Brazil to auction Amazon fracking licences

The Ecologist

6th October 2015

Brazil is about to auction hundreds of fracking blocks across the country - extending deep into the Amazon forest including the territories of remote and vulnerable indigenous peoples. Registered bidders include BP, Shell and ExxonMobil. more...
34 people were killed at the 2009 protest for indigenous rights at Bagua, Peru. Photo: anonoymous via powless / Flickr (CC BY).

Neoliberals with chainsaws: deforestation in Peru and the future of the Amazon

Clément Doleac

5th October 2015

Peru is in hot competition with Brazil to be the main focus of Amazonian deforestation, writes Clément Doleac. A neoliberal government desperate to hand over the country's forests, oil, gas, minerals and indigenous lands for corporate exploitation is unafraid to break national laws, turn a blind eye to air and water pollution, and respond to any challenges with overwhelming violence. more...
Just hanging ... Orangutan trio enjoying bananas at Pesalat Rehabilitation Center, Central Kalimantan, Indonesia. Photo: Rainforest Action Network via Flickr (CC BY-NC).

Palm oil versus orangutans? Don't forget the human dimension

Liana Chua

28th September 2015

The orangutans of Southeast Asia make a fantastic symbol of endangered rainforests, writes Liana Chua, rousing public opposition to palm oil companies and their bulldozers. But this story of good versus evil omits the essential human dimension. To save the rainforests and their great apes, we must make forest peoples a key part of the conservation narrative. more...
Baka in Cameroon have been prohibited from entering the forest to gather resources they require. Photo: © Survival International.

Indigenous peoples bear the brunt of global greenwash

Amy Dickens

23rd September 2015

As ever more companies and governments pledge to 'go green' and protect forests, the world's tribal peoples should be among the main beneficiaries, writes Amy Dickens. Yet the reverse is the case. All too often the promises are purest greenwash, used to conceal the human and environmental tragedy of land-grabbing for plantations, mines, logging and even 'conservation'. more...
Donald Shadforth, a traditional owner, at the dilapidated Redbank mine tailings storage. Photo: P. Taplin.

Australia: Indigenous communities must take centre stage in 'development'

Seán Kerins

7th September 2015

Indigenous Australians are systematically deprived of the benefits of mining and other developments, writes Seán Kerins, and being left to suffer their environmental impacts. As Abbott's government prepares a bonfire of 'red tape', it's time to put Indigenous interests first, and place their communities at the centre of decision making. more...
A demonstration of West Papuans against Indonesia's military occupation. Photo: Free West Papua campaign.

West Papua: after 50 years of cruel repression, the intoxicating smell of freedom

Jason MacLeod / Waging NonViolence

4th September 2015

Indonesia's murderous campaign of military repression in its stolen territory of West Papua continues, writes Jason MacLeod. But a courageous 50-year struggle for human rights and freedom is finally bearing fruit, with growing recognition of West Papua's right to nationhood among its Pacific neighbours. Real hopes of a better future are rising above the blood and pain. more...
A legally questionable logging corridor built by Asia Pulp and Paper inside the traditional home of the Orang Rimba, one of Indonesia's last nomadic cultures. Jambi Province, Sumatra, Indonesia. Photo: Rainforest Action Network via Flickr (CC BY-NC).

Act now, or tropical forests will be a sorry sight in 2100

Simon Lewis

24th August 2015

Based on current performance tropical forests, the world's most biodiverse ecosystems, are set to be reduced to species-impoverished fragments by the end of the century, writes Simon Lewis. But it's not inevitable. Decisive action by the world's governments in Paris in December could secure desperately needed change. more...
On 14th April 2015, a demonstration in Sonbhadra, Uttar Pradesh against a proposed dam on the Kanhar Valley by Adivasi, Dalit protesters was met with police violence and gunfire which injured seven women and one man. Photo:

Legal 'reforms' may make violence the only option for India's eco-defenders

Arpitha Kodiveri

26th August 2015

President Modi is determined to sweep away 'obstacles to growth' including the laws that allow marginalised communities to challenge the confiscation of their lands and forests for dams, mines and other 'development' projects, writes Arpitha Kodiveri. If proposed 'reforms' are enacted, the only remaining avenue of dissent may be one of armed conflict. more...
Guarani man Semião Vilhalva lies on the ground, murdered by ranchers' gunmen last weekend. Photo: still from video by Marcelo Zelic via Facebook.

Brazil: Guarani man murdered by ranchers' gunmen

The Ecologist

2nd September 2015

Guarani man Semião Vilhalva was murdered by ranchers' gunmen last weekend after his community reoccupied parts of their ancestral land from ranchers. Thousands of Guarani Indians holding on to tiny patches of their ancestral land are living in constant fear of forcible eviction. more...
View of Paradise: Garifunas on Chachahuate enjoy fishing, beach, sun, and Caribbean waters. Photo: npatterson via Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND).

Honduras: Garifuna communities resist eviction and theft of land

Jeff Abbott / Waging NonViolence

12th August 2015

Pristine beaches, clear Caribbean waters, coral reefs, fertile land ... such is the homeland of the Garifuna people, writes Jeff Abbott. It's so lovely that outsiders are desperate to seize ever more of their territory to develop for mass tourism, oil palm plantations, illicit drug production ... and the land grabs have the full support of Honduras military government, backed to the hilt by Uncle Sam. more...
Baram Dam blockade at Long Lama. Photo: Borneo Project.

Broken Promises: new film exposes Malaysia's indigenous rights violations

Jettie Word

17th August 2015

Malaysia is pushing ahead with its plans for a devastating series of 12 dams in the rainforests of Borneo that will kill a billion trees, bring death to wildlife on a stupendous scale and evict tens of thousands of indigenous people and their communities, writes Jettie Word. Now a new film honours their struggle for land, forest and freedom. more...
California drought: New Melones Lake, near Calaveras, California, 4th June 2015. Photo: Ben Amstutz via Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND).

Flowing uphill to money? California's water politics in a time of drought

Will Parrish

5th August 2015

While households and small feel the brunt of California's drought, it's business as usual for agribusiness, writes Will Parrish. And despite the 'first user' principle that determines water rights, the state's indigenous tribes and the wild salmon on which they depend, have been left high and dry. The Public Trust Doctrine could change that - but only if the people demand it. more...

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Young Mursi cattle herders. Photo: Rod Waddington via Flickr (CC BY-SA).

US, UK, World Bank among aid donors complicit in Ethiopia's war on indigenous tribes

Will Hurd

22nd July 2015

USAID, the UK's DFID and the World Bank are among those covering up for severe human rights abuses against indigenous peoples in Ethiopia's Omo Valley, inflicted during forced evictions to make way for huge plantations, writes Will Hurd. Their complicity in these crimes appears to be rooted in US and UK partnership with Ethiopia in the 'war on terror'. more...
Young participants observing the flames at the symbolic check burning ceremony. Photo: Paul Anderson / EarthJustice.

Indian Treaties are the new front in the battle against coal exports

Jan Hasselman / EarthJustice

16th July 2015

The 1865 Treaty of Point Elliot is clear, writes Jan Hasselman: the Lummi Nation has the right to fish, hunt and gather in their accustomed places in perpetuity - and they can't do that if a gigantic coal terminal is built in the Salish Sea's most productive waters. First Nations' treaty rights are now central to protecting the Pacific Northwest from destruction by fossil fuels. more...
Indigenous representatives of multiple ethnicities were barred from Brazil's Congress building last 16th December when they gathered to oppose PEC 215. Photo: Ninja Midia via Flickr (CC BY-NC-SA).

Não a PEC 215! No to Brazil's plan to open indigenous lands to industrial exploitation!

Chris Lang / REDD Monitor

15th July 2015

Last December Brazil's indigenous Peoples defeated the PEC 215 constitutional amendment that was meant to open up their territories for agribusiness, mining, power generation and industry, writes Chris Lang. But now, thanks to 'Chainsaw Queen' Kátia Abreu, minster of agriculture, it's back on the agenda ... and resistance is growing once again. more...
Quechua mother and child in the Sacred Valley near Qosqo (Cusco), Peru. Photo: Thomas Quine via Flickr (CC BY).

Enclosing the indigenous commons in highland Peru

Arthur Scarritt

14th July 2015

Under the guise of a land-titling project, Peru is breaking up and privatising indigenous common lands across the Andean highlands, writes Arthur Scarritt. While the law provides for communal titling and democratic votes, in practice there's no provision for communities to exercise these rights, and the many are being dispossessed in favour of large, 'efficient' market-oriented producers. more...
Crude oil in an open toxic oil waste pit abandoned by Texaco / Chevron in the Ecuadorean Amazon Rainforest near Lago Agrio. Photo: Caroline Bennett / Rainforest Action Network via Flickr (CC BY-NC).

Ecocide in the Amazon - Chevron evades $9.5bn restitution order

Orlan Cazorla & Miriam Gartor

17th July 2015

After 20 years of oil spills, deforestation, waste dumping and ill health, farmers and indigenous people in the the Ecuadorian Amazon have been fighting the Chevron-Texaco corporation. But despite its three times conviction and a $9.5 billion damages award to the victims, the oil giant looks no closer to making good its damage. more...
Police line up at a 2012 demo against the Lobo regime in Tegucigalpa. Photo:  hondurasdelegation via Flickr (CC BY-NC-SA).

Honduras under Occupation - murders, land grabs, and Hillary Clinton's 'hard choices'

Eric Draitser & Ramiro S. Fúnez

2nd July 2015

Honduras has endured six years of violence and land grabs after the 2009 US-backed military coup made the country a playground for Hillary Clinton's billionaire friends, write Eric Draitser & Ramiro S. Fúnez - and a hell for the country's indigenous and small scale farming communities, whose leaders are routinely murdered with impunity by US-trained forces. more...
The JNF-sponsored Yatir Forest advances over a hill towards the Bedouin village of Atir. Photo: Amjad Iraqi / 972 Mag.

Israel's Forest of Yatir to expand over Bedouin village

Amjad Iraqi / 972 Mag & The Ecologist

23rd June 2014

It should be good news, but it's not. Israel's largest man-made forest is set for enlargement, but at the expense of a village where a Bedouin community has lived since they were resettled there in 1956. Its sister village is to be demolished so a new Jewish town can be built on its ruins. more...
Some 300 indigenous Guajajara and Awá-Guajá people blockade the Carajás railroad in October 2012 to call for the repeal of Brazil's Ordinance 303, which abolished the need for indigenous consultation for major infrastructure projects deemed integral to

'Deadly' trans-Amazon railway sparks fear among rainforest tribes

The Ecologist

16th June 2015

A proposed $30 billion railway line linking the the Peruvian and Brazilian coasts threatens devastation to forests and indigenous tribes that lie along its route, and will add to wider pressures on land and forests. more...
Thousands marched through St. Paul Minnesota for the tar sands resistance event on 6th June 2015. Protesters called for the end of using tar sands oil, clean water and clean energy. Photo: Fibonacci Blue via Flickr (CC BY).

#NoTarSands resistance march draws thousands in Midwest

David Goodner / Waging NonViolence

14th June 2015

The Midwest's largest ever anti-tar sands demonstration took place in Minnesota last weekend, writes David Goodner, cementing a new alliance of diverse communities united in resisting the pollution and destruction of tar sands exploitation, processing and transportation. more...
Speaking out against Black deaths in custody, November 2011. Photo: Kate Ausburn via Flickr (CC BY).

Australia must abandon plans to ditch legal protection for Indigenous people in custody

Eugene Schofield-Georgeson

20th June 2015

A successful, low-cost scheme in New South Wales to safeguard indigenous Australians in police custody is to lose federal funding, writes Eugene Schofield-Georgeson, even though it is demonstrably saving lives. Rather than cut funding, the government should be financing similar schemes across the country. more...
Flyer (cut) for the concert taking place in London this Sunday 14th June. Image: Baka Beyond.

Two musicians' quest to save the forest people of Cameroon - Martin & Su of Baka Beyond

Matthew Newsome

10th June 2015

When Martin Cradick and Su Hart travelled to West Africa in 1992, little did they know the journey would set their lives on a whole new direction, writes Matthew Newsome. Inspired by the Baka people of Cameroon's rainforest and the joy that resonates through their music, they are now dedicated to saving this vulnerable people using their magical music to reach into people's hearts. more...
Matare, a Nuer settlement along Baro River, Gambela Region, Ethiopia, in quieter times. Photo: UNICEF Ethiopia 2005 / Getachew via Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND).

The lesser known story of India's role in Ethiopian land grabs

Mohammad Amir Anwar

15th June 2015

It's not just western corporations that are moving into large-scale agribusiness in Ethiopia, writes Mohammad Amir Anwar. Indian investors have acquired rights to some 6,000 of land much of it in the ecologically sensitive Gambela region, where unconsulted Nuer and Anuak peoples are suffering from forest clearance. more...
A young Bonobo: the species is at riosk as logging in the Congo Basin fragments their forest habitat and opens up new areas to poachers. Photo: via Greenpeace.

End the Congo logging chaos for rainforest, people and bonobos!

Raoul Monsembula / Greenpeace Africa

1st June 2015

Industrial logging in the world's second largest rainforest is out of control, writes Raoul Monsembula, and spells disaster for both wildlife and forest people. There is an alternative: community forestry has just been enshrined in law. But resources must be committed to law enforcement in Congo and abroad, and to empowering forest communities. more...


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