How do we grieve the death of a river? Written by Winona LaDuke “Our people blocked the road. When the troops arrive, we will face them .”– Ailton Krenak, Krenaki People, Brazil This eighteen months saw three of the largest mine tailings pond disasters in history. Although they have occurred far from northern Minnesota’s pristine waters, we may want to take heed as we look at a dozen or more mining projects, on top of what is already there, abandoned or otherwise. These stories, like many, do not make headlines. They are in remote communities, far from the media and the din of our cars, cans and lifestyle. Aside from public policy questions, mining safety and economic liability concerns, there is an underlying moral issue we face here:the death of a river. As I interviewed Ailton Krenak, this became apparent. The people in southeastern Brazilian call the river Waatuh or Grandfather. “We sing to the river, we baptize the children in this river, we eat from this river, the river is our life,” That’s what Ailton Krenak, winner of the Onassis International Prize, and a leader of the Indigenous and forest movement in Brazil, told me as I sat with him and he told me of the mine waste disaster. I wanted to cry. How do you express condolences for a river, for a life, to a man to whom the river is the center of the life of his people? That is a question we must ask ourselves. November 2015’s Brazilian collapse of two dams at a mine on the Rio Doco River sent a toxic sludge over villages, and changed the geography of a world. The dam collapse cut off drinking water for a quarter of a million people and saturated waterways downstream with dense orange sediment. As the LA Times would report, “Nine people were killed, 19 … listed as missing and 500 people were displaced from their homes when the dams burst.” The sheer volume of water and mining sludge disgorged by the dams across nearly three hundred miles is staggering: the equivalent of 25,000 Olympic swimming pools or the volume carried by about 187 oil tankers. The Brazilians compare the damage to the BP oil disaster, and the water has moved into the ocean – right into the nesting area for endangered sea turtles, and a delicate ecosystem. The mine, owned by Australian based BHP Billiton, the largest mining company in the world, (and the one which just sold a 60-year-old coal strip mine to the Navajo Nation in 2013) is projecting some clean up. Renowned Brazilian documentary photographer Sebastiao Salgado, whose foundation has been active in efforts to protect the Doce River, toured the area and submitted a $27 billion clean-up proposal to the government. “ Everything died. Now the river is a sterile canal filled with mud,” Salgado told reporters. When the mining company wanted to come back, Ailton Krenak told me, “we blocked the road.” They didn’t get the memo. – Read more at: http://americanindiansandfriends.com/news/how-do-we-grieve-the-death-of-a-river-written-by-winona-laduke#sthash.oVTqm8uZ.dpuf
Bernie Sanders sat down on Martin Luther King, Jr. Day with Dr. Cornel West, rapper and activist Killer Mike, and Nina Turner, the former minority whip for the Ohio Senate, to discuss Martin Luther King, Jr.’s legacy. The four discussed his life, his legacy, and the effects he had on the struggles still happening today. Several times the discussion comes back to how Dr. King’s legacy is frequently sanitized, obscuring how truly radical and outspoken his views were. Bernie sanders reflected on Dr. King’s path and how his aims expanded far beyond racial justice alone in the months leading to his death. “This is what courage is about. He said, ‘Enough.’ If he was going to be consistent with his own inner soul, he had to ask other questions. And the questions he asked, he says, I’m a man of nonviolence, but we’re living in a time of Vietnam War.” He then links Dr. King’s struggle against Vietnam and civil rights to his Poor People’s Campaign, a grassroots movement that fought for economic rights and against income inequality. Dr. Cornel West echoed this sentiment, explicitly linking this to Sander’s campaign. “I was sitting in church today, Mother Emanuel Church, and we were reading the words of Martin Luther King, Jr.,” said West. “And I said to myself, ‘This is what the Sanders campaign is about. This is what it’s about. It’s about the poor, working people. It’s about keeping track of the weak and the vulnerable. It’s about mustering the courage to tell the truth about Wall Street, about wealth inequality.”
In this Synthesis Report the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change has concluded that there will be “severe, widespread, and irreversible impacts” on people and the natural world, to which developing countries will have to adapt; it has recommended “phasing out fossil fuels by the end of the century”, which primarily concerns developed countries whose industrialization, urbanization and lifestyles have been largely responsible for most of the emissions permissible if dangerous climate change is to be avoided; it has suggested that “global emissions need to fall by 40 – 70 per cent by 2050 with multiple pathways to achieve this objective”; and, for the first time, it has given prominence to “ethics and justice” in how countries can cut emissions.
via Climate Politics : Stress is now on use and distribution, not just scarcity, of natural resources for a transformation – India Environment Portal | News, reports, documents, blogs, data, analysis on environment & development | India, South Asia.
In a flagrant violation of international law, Israels assault on Gaza has killed hundreds of civilians and devastated civilian infrastructure.
Utterly despicable behaviour by any standards…
It’s the latest in Chevron‘s scorched earth campaign to avoid paying a record environmental verdict against the company for massive contamination stemming from its operations in Ecuador’s Amazon between 1964 and 1990.
The implications of Chevron’s tactics are immense and should send shivers down the spine of anyone concerned about justice, human rights, the environment or corporate responsibility. The U.S. oil giant has taken “blame the victim” to a new extreme in its attempt to avoid the $19 billion guilty verdict handed down by an Ecuadorian court in February 2012. Upheld on appeal, the verdict was based on much of Chevron’s own evidence, and in a forum of Chevron’s choosing. Chevron has no assets in Ecuador, and has thumbed its nose at the verdict, adding insult to injury for communities who have sought a clean up, clean water and funds for health care for 18 years. The affected communities are now forced to pursue Chevron assets around the globe in order to get the justice they deserve.
“On the same day, a universe away, in Falluja, Iraq – poisoned by weapons armed with uranium, chemically and radiologically toxic, and white phosphorous, a chemical weapon, and other so far unidentified “exotic weapons” – baby Humam was born. In a city relentlessly bombarded in 1991 and again in two further criminal, inhuman US decimations in 2004.
Humam was born with Retrognathia, a congenital heart disease , Omphalocele and Polydactly of upper and lower limbs. Omphalocele is an abnormality that develops as the the foetus is forming. Some of the abdominal organs protrude through an opening in the abdominal muscles in the area of the umbilical cord. Polydactly is the manifestation of extra digits on the hands or feet, in Humam’s case, both.
Humam translates as: “Brave, noble, generous.”
AT THE turn of the 19th century, industrialist and weapons manufacturer par excellence Alfred Nobel, the guilt-ridden inventor of dynamite, established the Peace Prize that carries his name, proposing that it go “to the person who shall have done the most or the best work for fraternity between the nations, for the abolition or reduction of standing armies, and for the holding and promotion of peace congresses.”
Over 100 years later, for the first time ever, a Nobel Peace Prize was awarded to an African woman. The 2004 award was controversial. Politicians from the country responsible for the awards, Norway, wanted to know what this woman from Kenya had done for peace.
Carl I. Hagen, leader of Norway’s Progress Party, whose senior political adviser, Inger-Marie Ytterhorn, was a member of the Nobel Committee, sneeringly dismissed giving the Prize to a mere environmental activist: “I thought the intention of Alfred Nobel’s will was to focus on a person or organization who had worked actively for peace…It is odd that the committee has completely overlooked the unrest that the world is living with daily, and given the prize to an environmental activist.”
Former Deputy Foreign Minister Espen Barth Eide felt that widening the Prize to include the environment diminished its importance: “The one thing the Nobel Committee does is define the topic of this epoch in the field of peace and security. If they widen it too much, they risk undermining the core function of the Peace Prize; you end up saying everything that is good is peace.”
I believe that those resisting war taxes deserve our gratitude, and that many more should join them. They are a welcoming movement that encourages and supports those participating in war tax resistance at any level, participating sporadically, or engaging in long-term resistance for decades. They do not set up war tax resistance as a tactic in competition with rallying, educating, lobbying, marching, counter-recruitment, or other approaches to advancing economic conversion. Rather, they participate in all of these other approaches as well. But they urge those who protest war to consider the possibility of ceasing to pay for it.
We care about giving plastic a second chance yet we don’t do the same for people?