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The construction of the Xayaburi Dam. Photo: Tom Fawthrop.

Damming the Mekong - the myth of 'sustainable hydropower'

Tom Fawthrop

16th January 2016

Dam builders have a new mantra, writes Tom Fawthrop: 'sustainable hydropower'. Repeated at every opportunity, it is based on the unproven idea that large dams can be made 'sustainable' by promising future 'mitigation'. And so it is at the Don Sahong dam in Laos which is about to devastate the mighty Mekong and the 60 million people who depend on it for food and livelihood. more...
Devastating fire last year in the cerrado savanna region, one of Brazil’s most threatened biomes. Photo: José Cruz/ABr via Wikimedia (CC-BY).

Brazil: as forest fires rage, new laws will open gates of hell

Jan Rocha

14th January 2016

Never mind Brazil's COP21 promises to cut its carbon emissions, writes Jan Rocha. New laws passing through Congress will encourage deforestation by removing safeguards and opening up indigenous territories to mega-projects. Serious drought is already contributing to a big increase in forest fires. more...
A tribal elder from the Tagbanua tribe in Quezon municipality, central Palawan. Photo: Rod Harbinson.

Philippines islanders unite to resist 'land grab' palm oil companies

Rod Harbinson

7th January 2016

Farmers on Palawan are being tricked into giving land away to palm oil companies with local government support, writes Rod Harbinson. Under the palm oil company 'leases' the farmers lose all rights to their land, never receive any money, and are saddled with 25 years of debt. Those who resist the land grabs are now in fear for their lives following the murder of a prominent campaigner. more...
Drawing in the catch. Photo: Lummi Island Wild.

Sustainable fishing: sockeye salmon and Native American nets in the Pacific Northwest

Kevin Bailey

3rd January 2015

A salmon fishing cooperative in the Pacific Northwest draws on indigenous practices and state of the art technology to be among the world's most sustainable and selective fisheries, writes Kevin Bailey. With its clean harvesting techniques, minmimal bycatch, 99% survival rates for released fish, renewable energy supply and efficient supply chain, it sets a standard for all to follow. more...
Portrait of Shuar Indian in Ecuador's Amazon, where gross violations of human and environmental rights have been committed by oil companies. Photo: 00rini hartman via Flickr (CC BY-NC-SA).

COP21: call for international treaty on rights of nature and communities

Hal Rhoades

8th December 2015

A new movement has been launched at COP21 in Paris to give legal effect to the rights of nature and communities, writes Hal Rhoades, providing effective protection against the gross environmental damage and human rights violations that accompany extractive industries from mining to oil development and agri-business projects, and which underlie climate change. more...
Melka group oil palm plantations near Pucallpa, Peru, cutting deep into primary rainforest, April 2014. Photo: Rainforest Rescue via FPP.

Peru rainforest defender threatened: 'we will kill you'

The Ecologist

19th November 2015

Death threats to an indigenous forest defender in Peru have followed his success in closing down an illegal palm oil operation on his tribe's lands carried out by a member company of the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil, now meeting in Kuala Lumpur. more...
Vanishing rainforest: soon more oil palm plantations. Seen on flight between Miri and Mulu, Sarawak, Malaysia. Photo: Bernard DUPONT via Flickr (CC BY-SA).

Sustainable palm oil? RSPO's greenwashing and fraudulent audits exposed

Chris Lang / REDD Monitor

19th November 2015

A new investigation of palm oil plantations, companies and auditors has found that the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil is failing to deliver on its promise, writes Chris Lang. Widespread fraud, collusion between auditors and companies, conflicts of interest, and a flawed complaints system mean that RSPO-certified palm oil may be destructively and illegally produced. more...
This Baka boy, and his community, hunt only for their own subsistence. But they are criminalised by the 'fortress conservation' promoted by 'Last Days of Ivory'. Photo: Seclen Kucukustel / Atlas.

'Last Days of Ivory' promotes a military conservation that is fatal for tribal peoples

Lewis Evans

17th November 2015

The massacre of elephants for Asian ivory trade is driving the iconic African giant to extinction, writes Lewis Evans. But the 'military response' is both brutal and ineffective, all the more so as it excludes and alienates the indigenous communities who are the best defenders of nature and wildlife. The simplistic message of 'Last Days of Ivory' is both damaging and dangerous. more...
Internally displaced Rohingya residents of a camp near Sittwe carrying vital supplies of rice and cooking oil. Photo: Mathias Eick, EU/ECHO, Rakhine State, Burma, September 2013.

Genocide: Burma's Rohingya sacrificed in global scramble for oil and gas

Nafeez Ahmed

13th November 2015

As Aung San Suu Kyi's National League for Democracy takes a strong lead in Burma's elections, Nafeez Ahmed warns that the military will remain the real power in the land. And as UK, EU, US, Chinese and Gulf state energy corporations compete to exploit Burma's hydrocarbons, don't expect them to denounce the ongoing genocide of the Rohingya, and anyone else in the way of their oil and gas infrastructure. more...
Women in Jepara's teak forest area harvest ground nuts, Central Java, Indonesia, June, 2009. Photo: Murdani Usman / Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR).

Local communities, not global financiers, are the best forest managers

Isaac Rojas / Friends of the Earth International

2nd November 2015

A new paradigm of forest conservation is gaining ground, writes Isaac Rojas: 'financialising' them and the climate and ecological services they provide to global investors. But this is a false solution - and one that excludes the local and indigenous forest communities who can truly be relied upon to sustain their sylvan heritage. more...
Women of the Dongria Kondh tribe make their way to a gram sabha hearing to determine their religious rights over the Niyamgiri mountain in Odisha, 13th August 2013. Photo: jimanish via Flickr (CC BY-NC-SA).

India's Indigenous Peoples organise to protect forests, waters and commons

Pushpa Achanta / Waging Nonviolence

7th November 2015

India's neoliberal government is attempting the mass seizure of indigenous lands, commons and forests in order to hand them over for corporate exploitation with mines, dams and plantations, writes Pushpa Achanta. But tribal communities are rising up to resist the takeover, which is not only morally reprehensible but violates India's own laws and international human rights obligations. more...
Tigyit coal mine. Photo: Carole Oudot / Matthieu Baudey.

Burma goes for coal - but at what cost in pollution, disease and land grabs?

Carole Oudot & Matthieu Baudey

29th October 2015

The president of Burma has decided that coal is the way to future wealth and prosperity, write Carole Oudot & Matthieu Baudey. But if the experiences of farmers and village people near Tigyit, site of the country's biggest coal mine and coal-fired power plant is anything to go by, it will bring only poverty, pollution, ill-health and land grabs to rural communities across the country. more...

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Burning forest in the Amazon at Flona do Jamanxim. Novo Progresso, Pará, Brazil. Photo: Leonardo F. Freitas via Flickr (CC BY-NC-SA).

Amazon - illegal loggers set Indigenous forest ablaze

Luana Lila / Greenpeace Brazil

28th October 2015

Deep in the Brazilian Amazon indigenous people have been protecting their reserve from illegal loggers, writes Luana Lila. The loggers took their revenge by kindling one of the Amazon's biggest fires ever, destroying almost 200,000 hectares of rainforest. more...
Remade by man: the Passenger Pigeon. Juvenile (left), male (center), and female (right), from 'Birds of New York' (University of the State of New York) 1910-1914. Illustration by Louis Agassiz Fuertes (1874-1927), Public Domain via Patrick Coin on Flickr.

The Ecomodernist Manifesto is a program for genocide and ecocide

Derrick Jensen

10th November 2015

The idea of a 'good, or even great, Anthropocene' as promised in the Ecomodernist Manifesto is purely delusional, writes Derrick Jensen. Worse, it underlies a narrative in which the wholesale destruction of nature and of sustainable indigenous societies is repackaged as a noble mission - one whose ultimate purpose is the complete alienation of humans from the planet that spawned us. more...
Even though the Baram dam is on hold, logging of the reservoir area and surrounding forest is proceeding apace. Photo: Rod Harbinson.

Indigenous activists celebrate bitter victory over rainforest dam moratorium

Rod Harbinson / Mongabay

22nd October 2015

As indigenous activists opposing hydropower dams on their territories gather this weekend in the rainforests of Sarawak, Malaysia, they have good news to celebrate, writes Rod Harbinson: a giant dam on the Baram river has been put on hold. But the forests are still being logged, local people have been stripped of land rights, and a programme of 12 giant dams is still official policy. more...
Can you imagine Stephen Harper here? Justin Trudeau at the 2015 Pride Toronto parade. Photo: Alex Guibord via Flickr (CC BY-ND).

Canada's new Liberal government - an environmental renaissance?

Carol Linnitt / DeSmog.ca

21st October 2015

It's all change in Canada with the dramatic ousting of anti-environment Conservative Prime Minister Stephen Harper, writes Carol Linnitt. Under the new Liberal PM Justin Trudeau things are looking a lot better for climate, science, environment, transparency and First Nations. But Canada is still set to go into the Paris climate talks with the same weak level of commitment. more...
The Mohawk warrior flag. Photo: Red Power Media.

Mohawk warriors: 'No raw sewage in St. Lawrence River'

Ashoka Jegroo / Waging NonViolence

16th October 2015

Members of the Mohawk Warrior Society have intervened to stop the dumping of raw sewage in Canada's St Lawrence river, lighting a large bonfire at a key railway junction to warn Montreal's Mayor off his plan. more...
A guard admires a rainforest vista near Elephant Valley. Photo: William F. Laurance.

Cambodia's 'Elephant Valley' brings new hope to a last precious rainforest

William Laurance

24th October 2015

An initiative to re-home abused, over-worked domestic elephants is supporting the conservation of one of Cambodia's last and most species-rich rainforests, writes William Laurance. Growing ecotourism in the area, attracted by the elephants, is engaging indigenous communities in forest protection and helping to stave off the pressure from loggers and plantations. more...
Sue Lloyd Roberts, over a drink on a terrace next to Covent Garden, 2012. Photo: Bogdan Adrian Bisa via Facebook.

Sue Lloyd Roberts - the BBC must make sure her work continues

Oliver Tickell

14th October 2015

Sue Lloyd Roberts, the brilliant investigative journalist who died yesterday, was a unique phenomenon in the BBC, writes Oliver Tickell - fearless, rooting out the dirtiest of secrets, fighting the cause of the oppressed, abused, exploited and downtrodden. Now the BBC must keep her mission alive with a new, independent unit dedicated to human rights worldwide. more...
Colleen Brennan and Nancy Kile of the Sisterhood to Protect Sacred Water rally outside the Nuclear Regulatory Hearings in Crawford. Photo: Rosy Torres / WNV (CC BY).

Water first! Lakota women and ranchers lead charge to close toxic uranium mine

Suree Towfighnia / Waging NonViolence

13th October 2015

The impending renewal of the license for a uranium mine in Nebraska has ignited a years long resistance among those - most of them women - for whom good health and safe, clean water in the Ogallala aquifer is as important as life itself, writes Suree Towfighnia. But for others, jobs and money come first. Now the Nuclear Regulatory Commission must reach its decision. more...
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...
Ribbon cutting ceremony for the new solar installation in Little Buffalo, Alberta. Photo: Greenpeace Canada via Youtube.

Energy democracy: Lubicon Cree build a solar dream in a tar sands nightmare

Melina Laboucan-Massimo

15th November 2015

An 500-strong Indigenous community in Alberta, the heart of Canada's environmentally catastrophic tar sands industry, is fighting back against the pollution, writes Melina Laboucan-Massimo - by cutting themselves adrift from dependence on fossil fuels, and starting up their own solar power station: a vital first step towards building a just and sustainable society. 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...

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