Indigenous Youth Unite For Rivers

“Rivers like the Klamath and the Xingu are the bloodlines of every human on the planet.”

Eye On The Amazon -  Brasilia, Brazil – After an amazing journey deep into the Amazon we arrived safely in Brasilia with a hopeful feeling of urgency in the struggle to preserve the Amazon and its people. For our group – comprised mostly of indigenous North American youth – meeting our indigenous brothers and sisters, experiencing the Amazon’s unique environment, and witnessing the destruction being caused by the Belo Monte Dam project is powerfully motivating,

We are people who call the Klamath River home. The Yurok, Hoopa, Karuk, and Klamath tribes are the protectors of the Klamath River landscape. The campaign to remove the dams on the Klamath has been a long fight, won through science, protest and defending the inherent rights of indigenous communities. All of us have prioritized protecting the Klamath River in our lives and many of us have been in the struggle since we were little kids. Seeing the Amazon Basin facing these threats has focused us on the fight to save the world’s ecosystems and indigenous cultures. Through this experience, we have all become even more committed to the cause and will be warriors for life!

16-year-old Yurok tribal member Mahlija Florendo stated today, “Rivers like the Klamath, the Xingu, and the Amazon are the bloodlines of every human on the planet. They are our life-givers and they all run with the same blood through all of us. We need to realize that we are all human and we all need to stand up for our rights, for our rivers, and our mother earth. These people from the Xingu are family and all our blood runs red.”

The similarities between the genocide and oppression of indigenous cultures happening now in the Amazon and continuing in the U.S. are frightening. Power, mining and logging companies are wreaking havoc on the Amazon, and their resource extraction operations are disrupting the ecological balance of one of the richest biological hotspots on the planet. They are displacing the lives of people, who have been stewards of their lands since time immemorial , protecting and enhancing their environment.

Our interactions in the Xikrin-Kayapó village of Poti-Krô were profound. These people are facing a monster, the Belo Monte Dam. If the construction of Belo Monte continues we fear for the lives of the Xikrin, Kayapó, Juruna and Arara Tribes. The entire region is being affected, and the environment and inhabitants are being destroyed by this shortsighted venture.

Already we see deforestation, pollution, and mining corporations like the Canadian company Belo Sun moving in. As temporary workers from other regions inundate the area for the short-lived jobs offered by the dam’s construction company Norte Energia, the region’s inhabitants are being pushed out. If the dam is completed these people will be forced to work in mines, log the rainforest, or move to the cities to live in slums. The livelihoods of people who have subsisted from fishing, hunting, farming, and even tourism will be lost through the destruction of the ecology of the Xingu River region. “It’s depressing that the future of these kids depends on this company, which seems to have no idea what it’s like to live and depend on the Xingu River” said Damien Scott, 16-year-old Yurok, Karuk tribe member.” Full Article

Xingu Rising, by Todd Southgate, is a new short film about the struggle to defend the Xingu River and its people from the Belo Monte Dam and the Brazilian government’s development plans for the Amazon. It features images from the Xingu and Rio+20, and statements by Brazil’s President Dilma Rousseff showing the immense dichotomy between the government and its people.

Learn more here.

Nicaragua Canal Could Wreak Environmental Ruin

The most likely route of the HKND’s canal is 286 kilometers long and would cut an approximately 90-kilometer swathe across Lake Nicaragua, requiring a major transformation of the lake bed and local rivers. To rival the expanded Panama Canal (slated for completion in 2015) by accommodating ships of up to 400,000 tons, the proposed Nicaraguan waterway will be 27.6 meters deep, and the HKND has claimed that it may be an implausible 520 meters wide.

Scientific American- “Last June, the Nicaraguan government granted a concession to a Hong Kong company to build a canal connecting the Pacific Ocean and the Atlantic Ocean, through the Caribbean Sea. The HK Nicaragua Canal Development Investment Company (operating as HKND Group) signed a 50-year lease, renewable for another 50 years. It plans to break ground in December after spending this year establishing a route and conducting feasibility studies. Included in the concession are the rights to build and operate industrial centers, airports, a rail system and oil pipelines, as well as land expropriation and the rights to natural resources found along the canal route.

The Nicaraguan government says that the $40-billion project will boost economic growth in the country — the second-poorest nation in the Americas — from 4.5% in 2013 to 14.6% in 2016. No economic or environmental feasibility studies have yet been revealed to the public. Nicaragua has not solicited its own environmental impact assessment and will rely instead on a study commissioned by the HKND. The company has no obligation to reveal the results to the Nicaraguan public.

In our view, this canal could create an environmental disaster in Nicaragua and beyond. The excavation of hundreds of kilometers from coast to coast, traversing Lake Nicaragua, the largest drinking-water reservoir in the region, will destroy around 400,000 hectares of rainforests and wetlands.

The accompanying development could imperil surrounding ecosystems. Some 240 kilometers north of the most likely route of the canal lies the Bosawas Biosphere Reserve — 2 million hectares of tropical forest that is the last refuge of many disappearing species (see ‘Nicaragua carve-up‘). Less than 115 kilometers to the south is the Indio Maiz Biological Reserve, with more than 318,000 hectares of tropical dry forest. Worse still, the probable canal route cuts through the northern sector of the Cerro Silva Natural Reserve.

The project threatens multiple autonomous indigenous communities such as the Rama, Garifuna, Mayangna, Miskitu and Ulwa, and some of the most fragile, pristine and scientifically important marine, terrestrial and lacustrine ecosystems in Central America.

Nicaragua’s Indio Maiz and Bosawas biosphere reserves — key links in this corridor — sandwich possible canal routes. Hundreds of thousands of hectares of the forests and wetlands would be cleared for the canal, destroying the habitats and food sources of already endangered species such as the Baird’s tapir (Tapirus bairdii), the spider monkey (Ateles geoffroyi), the harpy eagle (Harpia harpyja) and the jaguar (Panthera onca), a creature of mystical importance to Mesoamerican cultures.

International action
The contract for an interoceanic canal in Nicaragua represents a classic example of the challenges faced by a developing country in balancing economic growth and environmental protection. More sustainable ways to raise revenue and employment from Lake Nicaragua could include expanded irrigation, tourism and aquaculture. The population of Nicaragua is expected to grow by 37% by 2050, so water shortages and pressure on natural resources are already set to increase, limiting sustainable growth and public welfare. In preparation for a future of climate change, food insecurity and biodiversity loss, Nicaragua must establish long-term measures for the protection of its environment, not sacrifice itself to speculators.

A loose coalition of more than 30 concerned groups filed legal complaints with the government of Nicaragua in the second half of last year. These included three communities — the Miskitu and Ulwa indigenous peoples and the Rama–Kriol territorial government in the South Atlantic Autonomous Region — arguing that the canal concession violates their land rights and legal autonomy (see go.nature.com/ttshoc). These legal petitions were overridden by the National Assembly in December.

Swift and decisive international action is called for. The Nicaraguan Academy of Sciences (of which one of us, J.A.H.-P., is president) is coordinating efforts with the InterAmerican Network of Academies of Sciences to carry out an independent impact assessment. We need more conservation groups and social organizations to lend their expertise and funds if we are to prevent the tragic devastation of indigenous communities along with terrestrial, marine and freshwater biodiversity and resources in Central America.”

Full Article & Breakdown of Specific Environmental Concerns Here - Scientific American

The Ukrainian political tug of war between Russia and the US is far more important than most realize. The ramifications of which could foreshadow trouble for all concerned.

Originally posted on Family Survival Protocol - Microcosm News:

What Is Happening In Ukraine Is Far More Important Than Most People Realize

Violence During The Ukraine Revolution - Photo by Mstyslav ChernovWhat the people of Ukraine are being put through is absolutely horrible.  They are caught in the middle of a massive tug of war between the East and the West, and they are paying a great price for it.  Ultimately, Ukraine will end up either being dominated by Russia (a bad outcome) or by the EU and the United States (another bad outcome).  Most Ukrainians just want to be free and want to be able to build a better future for themselves and their families, but it is extremely unlikely that they will be able to escape the specter of foreign domination.  Meanwhile, the violence in Ukraine is planting the seeds for a potentially much larger conflict down the road.  The days of “friendly relations” between the United States and…

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Full Circle

Happy Friday! I hope that everyone has a safe, blessed and relaxing weekend!

Somewhere Over The Colors Of The Rainbow

All morning long now, I’ve had the John Muir quote, “The mountains are calling & I must answer” flitting and floating through my head but in a slightly modified manner…

The colors are calling & I must answer…” 

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“Grief In The Light Of Day”
©R.McFarland 2014

I’ve got that itch, that urge…I look over beside me and think, “Do I really only have 99 bottles of paint (on the wall) to choose from?” Damn, that just won’t do…it won’t be enough paint to reach all the scratchy places in my head or spirit. Ah well…Just look at that stack of wood scrap Steve so generously brought home for me! The pieces are practically screaming – not merely calling – to be fulfilled; to have all of the blank spaces filled in with the colors swirling around in my brain, searching for a crack to bust open and spill out of. 

So…the paints & wood are calling & I am going to take a short blogging leave and go answer them. I’ll return once the colors have been satisfied and I can manage to keep my head on this side of the rainbow and actually focus on words, rather than swirling colors…

 

Defining Moments of 1980’s America

Big hair. Big money. Big foreign policy change. Big, groundbreaking technology.

Elderly Nun Sentenced To 35 Months In Prison For TN Nuclear Break-In

EarthFirst! – “A U.S. judge sentenced an 84-year-old nun, Sister Megan Rice, on Tuesday to 35 months in prison for breaking into a Tennessee military facility used to store enriched uranium for nuclear bombs.

Two others accused in the case, Michael Walli and Greg Boertje-Obed, were sentenced to 62 months in prison. The three were convicted of cutting fences and entering the Y-12 National Security Complex in Oak Ridge, Tennessee, in July 2012, embarrassing U.S. officials and prompting security changes.

“(Rice) does not have the extensive criminal records the others have. Her crimes are minimal in comparison to the others,” U.S. District Judge Amul Thapar said.

The three were also sentenced to three years of supervised release after leaving prison and ordered to pay restitution for the damage they caused.

Rice asked the judge not to take her age into consideration when handing out the sentence.

“To remain in prison for the rest of my life would be the greatest honor,” the nun said in court. “I hope that happens.”

Rice and the others admitted to spray painting peace slogans and hammering on exterior walls of the facility. When a guard confronted them, they offered him food and began singing.

The three were convicted by a federal jury last May of damaging national defense premises under the sabotage act, which carries a prison sentence of up to 20 years, and of causing more than $1,000 of damage to U.S. government property.

Prosecutors contended the break-in at the primary U.S. site for processing and storage of enriched uranium disrupted operations, endangered U.S. national security and caused physical damage.” Full Story on Earth First!

South Africa’s Youngest Doctor

At only 20 years of age, Sandile Khubeka is South Africa’s youngest doctor.
He’s completed Bachelor’s degrees in medicine and surgery and will receive his certificates in April.

Newcastle Advertiser - “His sisters jokingly call him South Africa’s Doogie Howser. While he is familiar with the name Doogie Howser, Dr Sandile Kubheka admits that he doesnt even know what the leading actor looks like, having never watched a single episode of the 90s sitcom that aired its final season the year he was born.

“I guess I have to do a Google search and find out,” he laughs.

Like Doogie (a child genius who joins the medical fraternity played by Neil Patrick Harris), Sandile excelled academically and was subsequently promoted to Grade 7 after spending just three months in Grade 6 at Jobstown Primary in Masondeza in Madadeni, Section 7.

He matriculated at Siyamukela High School in Madadeni, Section 2, at the age of 15 and went on to study towards a Bachelors degree in Medicine and Surgery (MBChB) at the University of KwaZulu-Natal Nelson Mandela School of Medicine.

“In high school, I enjoyed helping people and I also really liked computers. My teachers said I would be better in medicine, but I still applied for a qualification in computer engineering just in case I wasn’t accepted for medicine. When I started doing medicine, I enjoyed it so much that there was nothing else I wanted to do. It felt like this was the only thing I could have done,” said Sandile.

“In my first year at university, I was teased a lot for being the baby in the class. My peers called me ‘the neonate’ (a newborn). In my second year, they called me ‘the infant’, but I acted mature and I made friends and eventually I was selected for the Good Fellowship Award and received a bursary for compassion, empathy and caring shown to other students over the previous five years. In the end, people actually felt sorry for me because I was the youngest in the class and really went out of their way to help me. During the finals, someone had stolen my laptop and all my work was gone, but everyone was so supportive, offering to help and asking if I needed assistance with the typing to catch up on assignments.”

At age 20, Sandile is South Africas youngest medical practitioner and has been employed by Greys Hospital in Pietermaritzburg.” Full Article

How Multinational Philips Profited From Illegal Cannabis Farms

Corporate Cannabis: The corporation that made millions from the illegal drug trade…

JourneyMan Pictures- “When Philips, a huge multinational company, started supplying lamps to the cannabis industry it wasn’t breaking the law. Growing is illegal, supplying lamps isn’t. But it was supporting a €1bn criminal network.

“I think his revenues are €5 to 6 million on Philips products alone. Philips is THE brand in the industry”, an insider says of the intermediary that Philips sold their lamps to the cannabis industry through. Nothing was put on paper with this intermediary and they were careful to filter their operations through a wholesaler, but his lawyer attests to his partnership with Philips and shows us an email in which Philips gave him advice on how the lamps were best used for growing cannabis. As criminologist Frank Bovenkerk points out, while it may not have been illegal, the morals are certainly questionable. “It is absolutely clear that a number of serious criminal organizations are dealing with this business. Very unpleasant people.” Now that the law is changing to outlaw the supply of lamps to the growing industry, Philips has changed its policy and left its intermediary badly in the lurch, but many say it is too little too late. “They’re in a position that is conductive to crime, often organised crime.” A fascinating look at how large companies make money at the fringes of the law and a warning of the kind of industries that can grow up around Cannabis legalisation.”

Philips stops selling lamps to cannabis growers: employees threatened at home

HortiDaily Publication date: 2/4/2014 – “Staff of Philips Netherlands are daily harassed and threatened by a buyer of the greenhouse lamps, used for cannabis cultivation. Philips stopped supplying these lamps and the buyer is not amused.  The harassment and threats have been going on for months now and aren’t only addressed to the company buildings. Some employees are even being harassed at home.

The electronics group announced this news in a broadcast of the Dutch news program, Brandpunt. This broadcast revealed that Philips earned a lot of money by supplying lamps for cannabis cultivation. Two years ago, the company says, they  stopped the supply of lamps when there were suspicions that the lamps would not be used for greenhouse horticulture, but for cannabis cultivation.

Legally it isn’t forbidden to supply to the weed industry. Currently a legislation to criminalize this is in the making.

Japan’s Abandoned Nuclear Refugees

Fairewinds - “The real victims of the Fukushima Daiichi triple meltdown have become invisible to Japan’s power brokers. Homeless, running out of money, with the fabric of their village society and culture destroyed, they sit in under-heated makeshift dwellings unable to move forward to a new life or return to the old life destroyed by ever present and unhealthy levels of radiation. Join Fairewinds Energy Education in our ongoing effort to help the people of Fukushima, Japan. Listen to Fairewinds’ Board Member Chiho Kaneko and Arnie Gundersen as Ms. Kaneko describes her recent trip to Japan and the stories of those who have been abandoned in the wake of this tragedy.”

Making Jeans Out Of Ocean Plastic

RAW for the Oceans is a long-term G-Star collaboration with Pharrell Williams, owner of Bionic Yarn, that makes something fantastic with ocean plastic. 

Learn More Here On G-Star

Arkansas Families File Lawsuit Over Earthquakes

Fourteen families in central Arkansas have filed a lawsuit in connection with a series of earthquakes in Faulkner County.

Houston CBS -“The Arkansas Democrat-Gazette reported Saturday that the lawsuit is against Oklahoma City-based Chesapeake Operating Inc. and Billiton Petroleum LLC alleges that natural-gas disposal wells resulted in thousands of earthquakes in Arkansas in 2010 and 2011.

The lawsuit filed Tuesday says the earthquakes damaged the plaintiff’s homes and caused the market value for the houses to decline.

Billiton, which purchased Chesapeake’s Arkansas assets in 2011, did not immediately return a phone call or email seeking comment.” More

The Breathing Lands

The Elders of Kitchenuhmaykoosib Inninuwug First Nation say the water flows through their blood and their bodies are built of the trout that swim in these clean rivers and lakes. Taking care of their watershed is a relationship at the core of who they are as an Indigenous Nation, it is a responsibility handed down to them from the Creator through the teachings of their Elders.

Also known as Big Trout Lake First Nation or KI for short, is a First Nations community in Northwestern Ontario.

Source -“The Kitchenuhmaykoosib Inninuwug (KI) people have governed and cared for their Indigenous Homeland — Kitchenuhmaykoosib Aaki — since time before memory, passing on their way of life from one generation to the next. Human remains found in Wapekeka have been carbon dated from over 7,000 years ago. Similar remains found within the KI village were dated to be over 5,000 years old — evidence that Indigenous peoples have occupied these exact village sites for over 350 generations.

But things are changing rapidly in KI and the elders are struggling to prepare the youth to meet these challenges. KI is located at a relatively high latitude, which means they are likely to experience the impacts of global climate change early and more severely than most other places. The close connection of the KI people to the land and climate means that the disrupted weather patterns and increasing incidents of extreme weather will hit particularly hard on the people of KI.

KI’s territory is also rich in minerals and precious metals, which has attracted various mining and exploration companies who have attempted to operate on KI lands without the Free Prior and Informed Consent (FPIC) of the community. The elders feel that passing on their traditional knowledge to the younger generations is vital to providing them with the tools to adapt to the ongoing social and environmental changes they see happening around them…” 

Riots & Abuses At Papua New Guinea Immigration Detention Centers

One dead, 77 hurt in riot at PNG immigration centre

AFP — One person was killed and 77 injured as tensions boiled over during a second night of violence at an Australian immigration detention centre on Papua New Guinea’s Manus Island, officials said Tuesday.

Thirty-five asylum-seekers broke out of the same facility on Sunday evening, with several hurt, as unrest flared about their fate under the Australian government’s hardline policies.

Australian Immigration Minister Scott Morrison said there had been a rolling series of largely peaceful protests, starting a few weeks ago, that culminated in the violence of the last two nights.

Monday’s unrest began when detainees pushed down internal barriers in the camp and the riot “escalated quickly with several hundred transferees” rushing to dismantle external fencing.

Security staff used shields to push back the mob while PNG police mobilised to capture those who had escaped, firing at least two shots, Morrison said, before order was restored.

“The news of a death is a great tragedy,” he said, adding that the man died from a head injury en route to hospital.

“This is a tragedy but this was a very dangerous situation where people decided to protest in a very violent way and to take themselves outside the centre and place themselves at great risk.”

…Manus Island is one of two remote Pacific camps used by Canberra in its punitive offshore detention policy.

Under the scheme, aimed at deterring people-smugglers, any asylum-seeker arriving by boat or intercepted at sea is transferred to Manus or Nauru for processing.

If they are judged to be genuine refugees, they will only be offered permanent resettlement outside Australia.

The United Nations refugee agency has condemned the camps as “harsh” facilities that “impact very profoundly on the men, women and children housed there”.

Morrison said that despite the unrest, the immigration centre had not been destroyed and was still operating.

Fled For Their Lives

Ian Rintoul from the Refugee Action Coalition said tension with groups of locals, who oppose the camp, had been building throughout the day. He said the attacks began after power was cut to the detention centre.

He alleged the perimeter fences were breached, after staff were evacuated, by locals armed with machetes, pipes, sticks and stones who carried out “savage attacks”.

“If there are asylum-seekers outside the perimeter fence it’s because they’ve fled for their lives late last night from those attacks,” Rintoul told ABC television.

“It must be clear now that asylum-seekers cannot live safely on Manus Island. They should never have been taken there. Asylum-seekers must be brought to Australia,” he added.

This account was denied by Morrison, who said it “is not consistent with the reports I have received”.

He added that security contractor G4S “have advised that there was no one who came from outside and sought to disrupt or attack people on the inside which led to the perimeter fence being breached.” Full Article From AFP

Manus Island: One dead, 77 injured

ABC footage of a riot inside the Manus Island detention centre on Sunday night. A second, ‘more serious’ incident occurred on Monday night.

theguardian.com, Tuesday 23 July 2013

Nauru riot was inevitable, say Salvation Army staff

“Since the opening of the Nauru Regional Processing Centre [NRPC] there have been incidents of unrest that have re-occurred in escalating seriousness. Salvation Army staff in Nauru have been predicting such a tragedy for a long time,” the statement says. Continue reading