The Ecologist


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Vicky Tauli-Corpuz, the United Nations Special Rapporteur on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, at the 14th session of the UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues - 27 April 2015, New York. Photo: via

Vicky Tauli-Corpuz: 'The better protected areas are those where indigenous peoples live!'

Joe Eisen / Conservation Watch

19th October 2016

Indigenous Peoples are often the victims of nature conservation, according to a new report by Vicky Tauli-Corpuz presented to the UN this week, as they are expelled from lands they have inhabited for millennia. One reason, she told Joe Eisen, is that indigenous territories are precisely the places where biodiversity is best preserved - thanks to the protective, nurturing presence of their traditional owners. more...
Almir Narayamoga Surui, Chief of the Paiter Surui meeting Prince Charles in 2010 after being awarded a major prize for his humanitarian and ecological work

This is my cry of alarm, please listen to me!

17th October, 2016

Almir Narayamoga Surui, Chief of the Paiter Surui indigenous people

Today, the Chief of the Paiter Surui indigenous people in the state of Rondônia, Brazil has issued the following plea for help to stop illegal logging and mining on their lands. The letter is unedited. more...

WITNESS: Colombia's indigenous Wayuu suffer the effects of climate change, drought and rising food prices

Laura Dixon - La Guajira, Colombia

17th October, 2016

La Guajira, a dusty but spartanly beautiful region in Colombia's desert north is in the grips of a crisis. Climate change, desertification and water shortages have combined to create a perfect storm for the local rural community: a drought so severe some places did not feel a drop of rain for three years writes LAURA DIXON more...
No place for oil drilling: lonely Mountain in the Sierra del Divisor national park, Peru. Photo: Diego Pérez / El Taller / Ministerio del Ambiente via Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND).

Peru: national park 'Master Plan' opens uncontacted tribe's land to oil drilling

Lewis Evans & Sarina Kidd

7th October 2016

Full credit to Peru for creating the Sierra del Divisor national park in one of the most precious areas of the Amazon, write Lewis Evans & Sarina Kidd. But not for leaving it open to oil drilling, risking the future of uncontacted indigenous tribes that depend on their pristine rainforest environment to survive. more...

Ecologist Special Report: The Pillaging of Nicaragua's Bosawás Biosphere Reserve

Courtney Parker

6th October 2016

Violent expansion of the agricultural frontier in Nicaragua has produced devastating consequences for Indigenous Peoples and is fostering destructive long-term climate change impacts. COURTNEY PARKER reports more...
Native youth and supporters protest in New York against Dakota Access Pipeline, 7th August 2016. Photo: Joe Catron via Flickr (CC BY-NC).

Standing Rock and the long struggle for Indigenous freedom

Stanley L. Cohen

21st September 2016

While the confrontation at Standing Rock has galvanized Indians and non-native supporters from across the continent, writes Stanley L. Cohen, it's but a symptom of a much deeper crises facing several million Indians holding on to endangered traditions and cultures that predate 'our' arrival by several thousand years. We may call Indian people sovereign. But it's all a grand, perverse lie. more...
Soldiers came with the park officers. They planted a Thai flag and told the Karen to leave the village at once, or be shot. Photo: via CW.

Thailand court: National Park officers 'can burn indigenous homes'

Chris Lang / Conservation Watch

20th September 2016

The Thai government was right to evict an indigenous community from the Kaeng Krachan National Park at gunpoint and burn down homes, a Bangkok court has ruled - even though one resident had lived there for 100 years and the Park was only created in 1981. more...
Yanomami children in their forest home - which, with notorious 'Soy King' Bairo Maggi as agriculture minister, is now looking decidedly less secure. Photo: Dung Nguyen via Flickr (CC BY-NC-SA).

Brazil’s new government to sacrifice the Amazon for 'growth'

Ed Atkins, University of Bristol

19th September 2016

It's not that Dilma Rousseff, Brazil's ousted President, was wonderful for the environment, writes Ed Atkins. It's that Michel Temer's new regime is certain to be far worse. Plans are afoot to weaken environmental assessments for large projects like mines, roads and dams. And the new Minister of Agriculture is a notorious campaigner for hugely increased deforestation. more...
Chief Caleen Sisk holding an exchange with Hawai'ian sacred site custodians at the 2016 World Conservation Congress in Hawai'i. Photo: Sacred Land Film Project.

World Conservation Congress votes to protect indigenous sacred lands

Hal Rhoades

13th September 2016

As the global assault on indigenous lands intensifies, the world's largest conservation group, the IUCN, has just voted at its World Conservation Congress for the sacred natural sites and territories of indigenous peoples to be recognised as 'No-Go Areas' for destructive industrial scale activities, writes Hal Rhoades - and for corporations to permanently withdraw from such areas. more...
The Baka have lived sustainably in their rainforest home for generations. Photo: Selcen Kucukustel / Atlas / Survival International.

Corporate capture: Big Conservation must break out of its Stockholm syndrome

Dr Margi Prideaux

2nd September 2016

Big conservation NGOs increasingly resemble the nature-destroying corporations they should be opposing, writes Margi Prideaux. This ideological capture is reflected in their vapid marketing to conservation 'consumers'; the serious abuse of indigenous communities they should be engaging as partners; and their willing sacrifice of core objectives to money and influence. more...
Brazil's Zo'é tribe are starting to recover from epidemics in the 1980s and '90s now that their land is protected. Photo: Survival International.

Brazil's Olympic triumph - don't mention the genocide!

Lewis Evans

25th August 2016

In the thick of the Olympic frenzy, one voice that was systematically excluded from mainstream narratives is that of Brazil's Indigenous Peoples, writes Lewis Evans, who have fought to survive through centuries of dehumanisation, theft and genocide. And now they face a fresh attack as a proposed constitutional change, PEC 215, threatens a new round of indigenous land theft. more...
Bushmen have hunted at subsistence levels in the Kalahari for millennia. Photo: Survival International.

Botswana: shooting Bushmen from helicopters is wrong!

Lewis Evans

16th August 2016

Botswana's war on its indigenous population, the Bushmen of the Kalahari, has reached a new pitch, writes LEWIS EVANS. No longer content to arrest and intimidate them as they engage in subsistence hunting on their own land, the state has begun to shoot them from aircraft. These illegal, genocidal acts must stop! more...

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View south from the mine site to Narsaq below. Photo: Bill Williams.

Greenland Inuit oppose open-pit uranium mine on Arctic mountain-top

Bill Williams

17th August 2018

A collapse in the price of uranium has not yet stopped Australian mining company GME from trying to press ahead with a massive open-pit uranium mine on an Arctic mountain in southern Greenland, writes Bill Williams - just returned from the small coastal town of Narsaq where local people and Inuit campaigners are driving the growing resistance to the ruinous project. more...

There's no tree-huggers here: Why the ‘systems' approach to climate action is preventing change...

Katie Arthur

15th August, 2016

Half a year or so on from the historic signing of the Paris Agreement at the COP21, the smiling promises and diplomatic handshakes have not only left the mainstream media but left us still waiting for the shift to a greener world. NEW VOICES contributor, KATIE ARTHUR looks at whether we can ever expect systems to change without transformed attitudes to lead the way... more...
How will the promoters of GMO golden rice ensure that malnourished children receive it in the first place? Will they also ensure they get the dietary fat they need to actually assimilate the carotene once they have eaten it? Photo of children playing in M

Millions spent, no one served: who is to blame for the failure of GMO Golden Rice?

Angelika Hilbeck & Hans Herren

15th August 2016

The real reason why 'golden rice' remains uncultivated after a 20 year effort is its poor agronomic performance, write Angelika Hilbeck & Hans Herren. But beyond that, the very idea of golden rice as a 'solution' to Vitamin A deficiency fails to recognise the real causes of malnutrition - poverty, hunger and poor diet. How will golden rice reach poor children in the first place? And will they ever get the rich, oily diet they need to assimilate its fat-soluble nutrients? more...
Munduruku indigenous people set up a sign to demarcate their land. Photo: Greenpeace.

Brazil's indigenous peoples fight Amazon dams threat

Helle Abelvik-Lawson

1st August 2016

Brazil's new neoliberal government is intent on building a massive new dam deep in the Amazon rainforest on the on the Tapajós river, writes Helle Abelvik-Lawson, obliterating the indigenous territory of the Munduruku people in defiance of their constitutional rights. more...
Nonhle Mbuthuma on her land which is proposed to be mined. Photo: The Shore Break.

Victory in the campaign against mining South Africa's Wild Coast - but it's not over yet!

Rachel Lees

21st July 2016

Campaigners have forced the biggest shareholder in a titanium mining project on south Africa's 'Wild Coast' to withdraw, reports Rachel Lees. But they now fear the project itself will continue under the auspices of local 'front' companies, while the big profits enrich the British and Australian investors that are the real masters of Africa's neo-colonial minerals boom. more...
A local fisherman navigates the Diphlu River, which runs alongside India's Kaziranga national park - which operates a strict 'shoot on sight' policy for people found within the park boundaries. Photo: Frank Boyd via Flickr (CC BY-NC-SA).

Guards shoot indigenous boy in India's 'shoot-to-kill' national park

The Ecologist

20th July 2016

A 7-year old boy has been shot by park guards in Kaziranga national park, India, visited in April by Prince William and Kate, which operates a strict 'shoot first' policy. The incident highlights the government's wider efforts to evict tribal peoples from their forests in the name of conservation. more...
Muskrat Falls on 23rd October 2011, before dam construction commenced. Photo: innovationtrail via Flickr (CC BY-NC).

Controversial dam robs, poisons Canada's indigenous Innu people

Colin Samson, University of Essex

14th July 2016

A new dam on indigenous lands at Muskrat Falls will join a network of other hydroelectric projects spanning Innu territories across the Labrador-Quebec peninsula, writes Colin Samson. The continual violation of Innu rights imperils their ability to enjoy healthy and sustainable lifestyles - and follows in a long tradition of indigenous land theft in North America. more...
Muckaty Traditional Owner Kylie Sambo is an objector to what she considers radioactive blackmail: education in return for accepting nuclear waste. 'As Australians we should be already entitled to that.'

Radioactive waste and the nuclear war on Australia's Aboriginal people

Jim Green

1st July 2016

Australia's nuclear industry has a shameful history of 'radioactive racism' that dates from the British bomb tests in the 1950s, writes Jim Green. The same attitudes persist today with plans to dump over half a million tonnes of high and intermediate level nuclear waste on Aboriginal land, and open new uranium mines. But now Aboriginal peoples and traditional land owners are fighting back! more...

Rare dormice return to Yorkshire Dales National Park

Susan Clark

27th June, 2016

There's the Referendum vote and then there's what else happened on Brexit day. This, for instance... more...
The Comida Conscience mobile restaurant. Photo: Fabrizio Uscamayta.

Abundance for everybody - 'conscious food' supports a thriving urban activist community in Bolivia

Sian Cowman

July 2016

Rooted in the Andean principles of sharing, resilience and 'Vivir Bien' (Living Well), Bolivian activists in the world's highest capital city are building cooperative, grassroots alternatives to the profit-oriented economy, writes Sian Cowman. Their weekly lunch party is just the most visible way in which they are challenging the injustice of capitalism and the fragmentation it inflicts on communities. more...

Change The System - Not The Climate

Asoka Bandarage

16th June, 2016

Those most affected by climate change are those least responsible and the international policy frameworks in place to protect them don't work making it a moral issue. But we must believe that the larger goals of environmental sustainability and social justice can be achieved - if we just work together writes Asoka Bandarage more...
Karen people gather to protect their rivers. Photo: Kesan Media.

Saving the Salween: Southeast Asia's last major undammed river

Tom Fawthorp

13th June, 2016

The free-flowing Salween is the last big undammed river in Southeast Asia, home to a flurry of endangered species including tigers and clouded leopards, writes Tom Fawthrop in Hpa-an, Karen State, Myanmar. And thanks to support from both the indigenous Karen people, and senior officials in China who see the huge ecotourism potential of the river and its dramatic gorge, it could just stay that way. more...
Vezo fishers primarily use only traditional fishing methods - their boats have no motors and the dive without scuba gear. Thriving markets for shark fin and sea cucumbers, however, are changing many aspects of the way they live. Photo: © Garth Cripps.

Madagascar's 'sea nomads' are the new ocean defenders

Charlie Gardner

8th June 2016

The Vezo, Madagascar's indigenous 'sea nomads', are travelling hundreds of miles to the remote 'Barren Isles', the Indian Ocean's largest locally-managed marine protected area, writes Charlie Gardner. Drawn by valuable shark fins and sea cucumbers, sold into Chinese markets, the Vezo are now joining with local fishers to protect the ecosystem and expel illegal divers. more...


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