Judge halts excavation plans for largest-ever Brazilian goldmine

first_imgArticle published by Glenn Scherer Amazon Dams, Amazon Destruction, Amazon Mining, Amazon People, Controversial, Environment, Forests, Gold Mining, Indigenous Cultures, Indigenous Groups, Indigenous Peoples, Indigenous Rights, Infrastructure, Rainforest Deforestation, Rainforest Destruction, Rainforest Mining, Rainforests, Rivers, Saving The Amazon, Social Justice, Threats To The Amazon The Belo Sun goldmine, to be Brazil’s largest, would use cyanide and other industrial processes to produce 5 million ounces of gold over 12 years. The company´s environmental impact assessment says it will process nearly 35 million tons of rock. The open-pit mine would leave behind gigantic solid waste piles covering many hectares, plus a huge toxic waste impoundment near the Xingu River.A Brazilian judge suspended the project’s installation license this week, faulting the Canadian company that would be excavating Belo Sun with improperly acquiring federal land and potentially removing families from those lands to “reduce social costs.”The proposed Belo Sun goldmine is within a short distance of the controversial Belo Monte dam, which has dislocated residents, caused deforestation, and harmed the environment, causing major fish kills on the Xingu River, a major tributary of the Amazon River. Residents are concerned that the addition of the nation’s biggest goldmine will do more severe harm.Residents fear that a failure of the Belo Sun toxic waste impoundment dam would create a disaster on the Xingu River similar in scale to the Samarco Fundão dam collapse in 2015, which dumped roughly 50 million tons of toxic iron ore waste into the Doce River, polluting it for 500 miles, all the way to the Atlantic Ocean, and causing Brazil´s largest environmental disaster. A large open pit goldmine in Western Australia. The Belo Sun open pit goldmine, the largest in Brazil if excavated, would sprawl across a 175,000-hectare (675-square mile) site. After 12 years of digging, it would leave behind massive solid waste piles; along with a huge toxic waste impoundment near the Xingu River. Photo by Benutzer-CrDunder licensed the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License, Version 1.2A Brazilian judge dealt a blow to the Belo Sun mining company’s plans to open the largest goldmine in Brazil this week. The proposed mine is slated for the Volta Grande bend of the Xingu River, very near the site of the controversial Belo Monte dam in Pará state.The court handed down a 180-day suspension of the Canadian company’s installation license. The ruling, issued February 21st, found that Belo Sun Mineração Ltda. had made efforts to illegally obtain federal land and to dispossess the rural populations living on those lands while also preventing them from hunting and fishing.The decision noted that while the company had not yet obtained an environmental permit for its proposed mine, it improperly purchased the land from three purported owners. Judge Álvaro José da Silva Sousa described this as “a way of removing the families from these areas and thus reducing the company’s social costs”.The proposed Belo Sun goldmine site covers 175,000 hectares (675 square miles), would be the biggest in Brazil, and produce an estimated 5 million ounces of gold over a 12-year period. The company´s environmental impact assessment says it will process nearly 35 million tons of rock. The open pit mine would leave behind massive rock spoil piles covering many hectares, plus a huge toxic waste impoundment near the Xingu River. The company had planned to spend US $5 million on exploration this year. The court decision sent shares in Belo Sun down by 2.68 percent to $1.09 in mid-afternoon trading in Toronto on Tuesday.The Brazilian judge concurred with an argument by the Public Defenders’ Office, noting that the proposed site of the mine has also been the focus of agrarian land reforms. He pointed out too that three years had passed between the issuance of the preliminary environmental license and the installation license, but that the area’s residents still remained in limbo regarding their land rights. Da Silva Sousa said that it is “unjustifiable” that the company has left the residents “still at the mercy of fate without knowing what their destiny is as [to when] the Volta Grande mining project [will] begin set up.”The judge said that the firm may not undertake any activities to develop the mine site as long as the land issues remain unresolved. In early February, Brazil´s National Council on Human Rights appealed for a denial of the dam´s license.The Volte Grande of the Xingu River, deprived of water by the Belo Monte dam and reservoir, has seen significant fish kills in the recent past. The proposed Belo Sun goldmine, if allowed to go forward, could do more environmental harm. Map by Morgan Erickson-Davis / MongabayBelo Sun responded to questions from Mongabay and said that it will appeal the decision: “Belo Sun Mineração has already signed sales contracts for properties with the occupants of the lots and/or farms relevant to the Volta Grande Project’s installation following all the necessary legal parameters and independent appraisals of the areas and their improvements.” The firm said it had prepared a plan for reallocation, negotiation and social inclusion aimed at two of the affected communities, Vila Ressaca and Vila Galo, and that it had submitted this plan to the state’s environmental agency. The company also maintained it had “a deep dialogue with these communities”, and that it would update its census and discuss relocation with residents in 2017.The Belo Sun mining project has run into snags before. In 2014, another judge suspended the Canadian firm´s environmental license because the firm hadn´t adequately evaluated the impact the mine would have on nearby indigenous communities. The Canadian company is owned by Forbes & Manhattan, a private merchant bank. According to Forbes & Manhattan´s website, the bank focuses on “the resource-based sector, technology, telecommunications, and on-line gaming.” Social responsibility is also a priority for the bank, according to its website.Residents living in the area targeted by the mine have already faced serious challenges brought by rapid development. Last year, the Belo Monte dam, the world’s third largest hydropower project, began operating nearby, with devastating impacts to the environment and to the fishery, affecting people who depend on the Xingu River for survival.Jackson de Sousa Dias, 25, is a critic of the mining project and a member of the Movement of People Affected by Dams (Movimento dos Atingidos por Barragens, MAB). “First of all, [the mining company is] a transnational company, it’s Canadian. So, the majority of the shareholders are Canadian banks. So, we already know where the wealth from the Amazon is going, to the Canadians,” de Sousa Dias said.He also pointed out that IBAMA, Brazil’s environmental protection agency, is required to monitor the area around the Belo Monte dam for six years once the dam begins operating at full capacity, planned for 2019. “IBAMA has to monitor this region until 2025 because the [river’s] flow in this region has been reduced by up to 80 percent by the Belo Monte dam. So our position is that there shouldn’t be any other major projects until 2025 since we won’t know the full impact in this region [of the dam] until then.”Screenshot of a page from the BeloSun Mining website. The Canadian company promoting the project is actively seeking investors, but it ran into a major litigative stumbling block this week when the Brazilian courts put a 180-day hold on the project.The Xingu River flows through the state of Pará, whose Secretariat of the Environment and Sustainability (SEMAS) granted an installation license to Belo Sun for the mine at the beginning of February. IBAMA declined to comment to Mongabay about this week’s court suspension, stating that SEMAS is handling the licensing process.Carolina Piwowarcyzk Reis, an attorney with the Instituto Socio-Ambiental (ISA) and NGO, told Mongabay that Belo Sun´s licensing process, “has had various irregularities since the beginning, starting with the lack of prior, free and informed consultation.” This, she said, applies to the indigenous populations in the area as well as the traditional populations who rely on fishing and small-scale gold mining for a living.The specter of Brazil´s largest environmental disaster to date, also hangs over the Belo Sun project. Environmentalists criticize the Canadian company´s plan to use a waste storage dam similar to the Fundão dam employed by Vale and BHP Billiton´s joint venture, Samarco in Minas Gerais state. The dam collapsed on November 5, 2015, dumping roughly 50 million tons of toxic iron ore waste into the Doce River and was Brazil´s largest-ever environmental disaster.The controversial Belo Monte dam, which forced indigenous and traditional communities from their lands, caused deforestation and major fish kills. The Belo Sun goldmine could do serious environmental harm and would be disruptive to indigenous and traditional communities. Photo by Zoe SullivanWhen asked about its willingness to consider other, safer storage options, a Belo Sun spokesperson told Mongabay that the Volta Grande waste dam would be smaller, with just one-third the Fundão dam´s capacity, and that “after the closure of operations, [the waste storage impoundment] offers the option with the greatest financial and technical viability.”Gold mining requires the use of toxins to separate the gold from waste. Belo Sun has said that it will use cyanide to process the 5 million ounces of gold it expects to extract from the project. Residents and activists fear that a spill of these toxic materials would prove disastrous to the Xingu River, impacting communities already made vulnerable by deforestation and the Belo Monte dam.Belo Sun responded to questions from Mongabay about the use of cyanide, explaining that the poisonous chemical compound is used internationally to separate valuable minerals from ore. The firm also said that every step of the production cycle will be closely monitored and that “the cyanide will be placed in adequate installations, with closed and protected tanks.”Bel Juruna called the judge’s suspension this week “the best news I’ve had about Belo Sun yet”. Juruna lives in the village of Muratuí along with 70 members of the Juruna tribe. “We’re fighting a lot to be consulted because that is our right,” she told Mongabay. “There are going to be a lot of impacts, of cyanide and other things, and there’ll be a time when neither [Belo Sun nor Norte Energia, the Belo Monte dam’s operator] wants to take responsibility for compensation measures or for the environmental damage.”She concluded: “We don’t want what happened with Belo Monte to happen again.” Popular in the CommunitySponsoredSponsoredOrangutan found tortured and decapitated prompts Indonesia probeEMGIES17 Jan, 2018We will never know the full extent of what this poor Orangutan went through before he died, the same must be done to this evil perpetrator(s) they don’t deserve the air that they breathe this has truly upset me and I wonder for the future for these wonderful creatures. So called ‘Mankind’ has a lot to answer for we are the only ones ruining this world I prefer animals to humans any day of the week.What makes community ecotourism succeed? In Madagascar, location, location, locationScissors1dOther countries should also learn and try to incorporateWhy you should care about the current wave of mass extinctions (commentary)Processor1 DecAfter all, there is no infinite anything in the whole galaxy!Infinite stupidity, right here on earth.The wildlife trade threatens people and animals alike (commentary)Anchor3dUnfortunately I feel The Chinese have no compassion for any living animal. They are a cruel country that as we knowneatbeverything that moves and do not humanily kill these poor animals and insects. They have no health and safety on their markets and they then contract these diseases. Maybe its karma maybe they should look at the way they live and stop using animals for all there so called remedies. DisgustingConservationists welcome China’s wildlife trade banThobolo27 JanChina has consistently been the worlds worst, “ Face of Evil “ in regards our planets flora and fauna survival. In some ways, this is nature trying to fight back. This ban is great, but the rest of the world just cannot allow it to be temporary, because history has demonstrated that once this coronavirus passes, they will in all likelihood, simply revert to been the planets worst Ecco Terrorists. Let’s simply not allow this to happen! How and why they have been able to degrade this planets iconic species, rape the planets rivers, oceans and forests, with apparent impunity, is just mind boggling! Please no more.Probing rural poachers in Africa: Why do they poach?Carrot3dOne day I feel like animals will be more scarce, and I agree with one of my friends, they said that poaching will take over the world, but I also hope notUpset about Amazon fires last year? Focus on deforestation this year (commentary)Bullhorn4dLies and more leisSponsoredSponsoredCoke is again the biggest culprit behind plastic waste in the PhilippinesGrapes7 NovOnce again the article blames companies for the actions of individuals. It is individuals that buy these products, it is individuals that dispose of them improperly. If we want to change it, we have to change, not just create bad guys to blame.Brazilian response to Bolsonaro policies and Amazon fires growsCar4 SepThank you for this excellent report. I feel overwhelmed by the ecocidal intent of the Bolsonaro government in the name of ‘developing’ their ‘God-given’ resources.U.S. allocates first of $30M in grants for forest conservation in SumatraPlanet4dcarrot hella thick ;)Melting Arctic sea ice may be altering winds, weather at equator: studyleftylarry30 JanThe Arctic sea ice seems to be recovering this winter as per the last 10-12 years, good news.Malaysia has the world’s highest deforestation rate, reveals Google forest mapBone27 Sep, 2018Who you’re trying to fool with selective data revelation?You can’t hide the truth if you show historical deforestation for all countries, especially in Europe from 1800s to this day. WorldBank has a good wholesome data on this.Mass tree planting along India’s Cauvery River has scientists worriedSurendra Nekkanti23 JanHi Mongabay. Good effort trying to be objective in this article. I would like to give a constructive feedback which could help in clearing things up.1. It is mentioned that planting trees in village common lands will have negative affects socially and ecologically. There is no need to even have to agree or disagree with it, because, you also mentioned the fact that Cauvery Calling aims to plant trees only in the private lands of the farmers. So, plantation in the common lands doesn’t come into the picture.2.I don’t see that the ecologists are totally against this project, but just they they have some concerns, mainly in terms of what species of trees will be planted. And because there was no direct communication between the ecologists and Isha Foundation, it was not possible for them to address the concerns. As you seem to have spoken with an Isha spokesperson, if you could connect the concerned parties, it would be great, because I see that the ecologists are genuinely interested in making sure things are done the right way.May we all come together and make things happen.Rare Amazon bush dogs caught on camera in BoliviaCarrot1 Feba very good iniciative to be fallowed by the ranchers all overSponsored FEEDBACK: Use this form to send a message to the author of this post. If you want to post a public comment, you can do that at the bottom of the page.last_img read more

Vandals ravage Mother Nature (commentary)

first_img Popular in the CommunitySponsoredSponsoredOrangutan found tortured and decapitated prompts Indonesia probeEMGIES17 Jan, 2018We will never know the full extent of what this poor Orangutan went through before he died, the same must be done to this evil perpetrator(s) they don’t deserve the air that they breathe this has truly upset me and I wonder for the future for these wonderful creatures. So called ‘Mankind’ has a lot to answer for we are the only ones ruining this world I prefer animals to humans any day of the week.What makes community ecotourism succeed? In Madagascar, location, location, locationScissors1dOther countries should also learn and try to incorporateWhy you should care about the current wave of mass extinctions (commentary)Processor1 DecAfter all, there is no infinite anything in the whole galaxy!Infinite stupidity, right here on earth.The wildlife trade threatens people and animals alike (commentary)Anchor3dUnfortunately I feel The Chinese have no compassion for any living animal. They are a cruel country that as we knowneatbeverything that moves and do not humanily kill these poor animals and insects. They have no health and safety on their markets and they then contract these diseases. Maybe its karma maybe they should look at the way they live and stop using animals for all there so called remedies. DisgustingConservationists welcome China’s wildlife trade banThobolo27 JanChina has consistently been the worlds worst, “ Face of Evil “ in regards our planets flora and fauna survival. In some ways, this is nature trying to fight back. This ban is great, but the rest of the world just cannot allow it to be temporary, because history has demonstrated that once this coronavirus passes, they will in all likelihood, simply revert to been the planets worst Ecco Terrorists. Let’s simply not allow this to happen! How and why they have been able to degrade this planets iconic species, rape the planets rivers, oceans and forests, with apparent impunity, is just mind boggling! Please no more.Probing rural poachers in Africa: Why do they poach?Carrot3dOne day I feel like animals will be more scarce, and I agree with one of my friends, they said that poaching will take over the world, but I also hope notUpset about Amazon fires last year? Focus on deforestation this year (commentary)Bullhorn4dLies and more leisSponsoredSponsoredCoke is again the biggest culprit behind plastic waste in the PhilippinesGrapes7 NovOnce again the article blames companies for the actions of individuals. It is individuals that buy these products, it is individuals that dispose of them improperly. If we want to change it, we have to change, not just create bad guys to blame.Brazilian response to Bolsonaro policies and Amazon fires growsCar4 SepThank you for this excellent report. I feel overwhelmed by the ecocidal intent of the Bolsonaro government in the name of ‘developing’ their ‘God-given’ resources.U.S. allocates first of $30M in grants for forest conservation in SumatraPlanet4dcarrot hella thick ;)Melting Arctic sea ice may be altering winds, weather at equator: studyleftylarry30 JanThe Arctic sea ice seems to be recovering this winter as per the last 10-12 years, good news.Malaysia has the world’s highest deforestation rate, reveals Google forest mapBone27 Sep, 2018Who you’re trying to fool with selective data revelation?You can’t hide the truth if you show historical deforestation for all countries, especially in Europe from 1800s to this day. WorldBank has a good wholesome data on this.Mass tree planting along India’s Cauvery River has scientists worriedSurendra Nekkanti23 JanHi Mongabay. Good effort trying to be objective in this article. I would like to give a constructive feedback which could help in clearing things up.1. It is mentioned that planting trees in village common lands will have negative affects socially and ecologically. There is no need to even have to agree or disagree with it, because, you also mentioned the fact that Cauvery Calling aims to plant trees only in the private lands of the farmers. So, plantation in the common lands doesn’t come into the picture.2.I don’t see that the ecologists are totally against this project, but just they they have some concerns, mainly in terms of what species of trees will be planted. And because there was no direct communication between the ecologists and Isha Foundation, it was not possible for them to address the concerns. As you seem to have spoken with an Isha spokesperson, if you could connect the concerned parties, it would be great, because I see that the ecologists are genuinely interested in making sure things are done the right way.May we all come together and make things happen.Rare Amazon bush dogs caught on camera in BoliviaCarrot1 Feba very good iniciative to be fallowed by the ranchers all overSponsored Biodiversity, Commentary, Conservation, Editorials, Environment, Environmental Crime, Environmental Law, National Parks, Protected Areas Given the popularity of National Parks, Forests, and Monuments, the number of vandals is quite low, but they have an everlasting impact that scars our natural heritage.Penalties for vandalism in protected areas can be increased by an act of Congress, but that would only be an effective tactic if it either dissuades people from destroying our heritage or if the culprits are caught and properly penalized.This post is a commentary. The views expressed are those of the author, not necessarily Mongabay. Could someone explain why torching an unused forest lookout post is a more serious crime than dynamiting a sandstone arch, millions of years old, inside of a National Park? Burning down a federal building can incarcerate you for 20 years; destroying a veteran’s monument could jail you for 10 years; but the willful and intentional vandalism of irreplaceable geological features and landscapes in our National Parks could lock you up for 5 years, if considered a felony, or only 6 months, if deemed a misdemeanor. Painting graffiti on a California freeway sign carries a maximum penalty of six months in jail, along with a $5,000 fine, but defacing unique rock formations with marker pens and acrylic paint in seven National Parks resulted in no monetary fine, and only two years of probation, along with 200 hours of community service.In September/October 2014, Casey Nockett went on a vandalism spree where she painted a blue-haired profile of a woman’s head on a rock viewpoint overlooking Crater Lake, OR, as well as painting and marking up rock formations at Yosemite National Park, CA, Canyonlands National Park, UT, Rocky Mountains National Park, CO, and elsewhere. Her defense was “It’s art, not vandalism. I am an artist.” She decided to plead guilty to seven misdemeanor charges of “damaging government property” which, along with the above penalties, also resulted in her ban from entering U. S. National Parks during her probation period. The sandblasting and chemicals needed to remove her ‘artwork’ not only come from your tax dollars and mine, but could further damage the delicate rock structures that she thought were a painting easel.Bryce Canyon National Park, United States. Photo by Rhett A. Butler.Given the popularity of National Parks, Forests, and Monuments, the number of vandals is quite low, but they have an everlasting impact that scars our natural heritage. The National Park Service has a budget of around $3 billion, and employs some 12-13,000 full-time people to oversee approximately 84,500,000 acres of protected areas, ranging in size from the 0.2 acre Thaddeus Kosciusko National Memorial, PA to the 13,200,000 acre Wrangell-St Elias National Park and Preserve, AK. In 2016, 330,971,689 visitors officially traveled to the National Parks, which was a greater number than the population of the United States in the same year (approximately 325,000,000)! These vast landscapes, and enormous number of guests, are protected by a slim force of NPS Park Rangers. Of all the full-time employees, fewer than 1,500 are specially designated NPS Enforcement Rangers. My sons’ high school had more students. If all of these Park Rangers were equally distributed across the protected regions of our country, then every one of them would be responsible for 56,333 acres, or 88 square miles, an area four times the size of Manhattan Island. These women and men have the gigantic task of not only ensuring our safety in the parks, but of maintaining trails, leading tours, answering questions, giving lectures, and monitoring the flora and fauna of the protected places.Adding to this list is trying to stop people from permanently destroying our collective property. We own the parks; they belong to all of us.Fifteen people were murdered in National Park Service areas in 2014. Between 1872 and 2015, a 145-year period, eight people were killed by grizzly bears in Yellowstone National Park, MT. Your odds of being killed by a person in a National Park dwarf your odds of being eaten by a grizzly bear.Grizzly bear. Photo by Rhett A. Butler.In 1897, John Muir wrote: “Any fool can destroy trees. They cannot run away; and if they could, they would still be destroyed – chased and hunted down as fun or a dollar could be got out of their bark hides, branching horns, or magnificent bole backbones…” Trees are not the only natural feature unable to escape vandals; so are cliffs, boulders, natural arch bridges, and even the ground. What is going on? Tragically, the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse have returned to extract their toll on us, but in the form of Selfishness, Greed, Irresponsibility, and Disrespect. Fools are destroying not only trees, but unique landscapes that took millions of years to form, at an alarming rate.Kate Cannon, Superintendent of Arches and Canyonlands National Parks, UT, has had first-hand experience with vandalism in her protected realms. In November 2016, she received the Stephen T. Mather Award from the National Parks Conservation Association in recognition of her long-term service, commitment, and devotion to protecting our parks. About six months before the honor was bestowed upon her, Arches National Park was victimized by vandals. At Frame Arch, a stop along the way to Delicate Arch, the 150 million year old formation was gouged out and chiseled with some names and markings. The damage was so extensive that repairs to the pre-existing state are improbable, making the arch an eyesore for the 1.5 million people who visit the park each year. Cannon, following the incident, commented “It’s a small part of a huge problem…[We are experiencing]…a tidal wave” of graffiti and senseless destruction to the wonders of nature.The epidemic of vandalism for last year alone includes:February 2016: The rusty red rocks characteristic of Cocinino National Forest, Sedona, AZ, were desecrated when Actess Vanessa Hudgens and her boyfriend, Austin Butler, carved their names, surrounded by a heart, into the landscape.  She paid a $1,000 fine with the funds targeted for erasing and removing her vandalism that ruined the very landscape that the two of them were enjoying.  She has a net worth estimated at $10,000,000.April 2016: Three completely inebriated men, after shooting some rabbits and tossing around some empty beer bottles, jumped a fence and trespassed into a protected area at Devil’s Hole, Death Valley National Park, CA, where they proceeded to create havoc by churning up the sediment as they trampled through the water refuge housing the only population of an endangered species of pupfish (Cyprinodon diabolis).  This remnant population numbers only 100-200 individuals during the winter, with April/May the key spawning months.  The drunken fools killed at least one pupfish.  Killing an endangered species is a federal crime that can result in a fine of $50,000.  But, in April 2011, two men were fined only $ 1, plus $500 in legal fees, for killing an endangered whooping crane (Grus americana) in Indiana.May 2016: As two people spray painted “Evans 16” on rocks at the South Rim of the Grand Canyon National Park, AZ, another visitor photographed them in the act.  The picture was shared with the National Park Service, whose Facebook posting was then shared by over 16,000 people.  The culprits were identified as a result of the picture sharing.  As in the case of Casey Nockett, social media was instrumental in identifying the vandals.  Charles Cuvelier, appointed the chief of the National Park Service Division of Law Enforcement, Security, and Emergency Services in 2013, after 20 years of service, remarked on “the important role that the public can play in identifying and sharing evidence of illegal behavior in parks.  It is clear that the public cares deeply for the special places that the National Park Service represents.”May 2016: Petersburg National Battlefield, VA, a 2,700 acre Civil War site marking the deaths of over 1,000 soldiers during the siege of the Confederate capitol, became pockmarked when vandals ripped up and dug into the hallowed ground in search of ‘collectibles’, such as buttons, bullets, and buckles.  The Park Superintendent, Lewis Rogers, called the destruction “disgusting”, as well as “egregious” given that the vandals conducted their rampage just before Memorial Day weekend.June 2016: On Chilnualna Falls Trail, Yosemite National Park, CA, a common place for mountain lion sightings, some visitors apparently thought that they were very erudite and clever to paraphrase Julius Cesar by writing “I came, I saw, I vandalized National Park property” on the boulders along the trail.  Except that the National Park Service does not really own the property.  We do.  The National Park Service works on our behalf as the caretakers of the land and the inhabitants.June 2016: The Roosevelt Arch, in the Fort Yellowstone National Historic Landmark District, MT was marred when a man carved his initials into the basalt archway.  In 1903, President Theodore Roosevelt traveled to Yellowstone National Park with conservationist John Burroughs and laid one of the cornerstones to the arch.  The top of the archway greets visitors with the declaration “For the benefit and enjoyment of the people“.  The vandal was fined $250 and sentenced to three days in jail.July 2016: National Park Service Rangers reported 11,000 cases where they had to deal with vandalism, illegal camping, theft, harassment of wildlife, and other infractions at ten popular parks.  One visitor reportedly wanted to give a wild grizzly bear a cookie.August 2016: Native American petroglyphs at Capitol Reef National Park, UT were ruined by vandals who gouged “Dallas, TX” into the delicate red rocks.  Although some vandals equate their rock carving with Native American engravings, others find that the modern-day graffiti is in a completely different category.September 2016: The Samuel Colt Mounument, Coltsville National Park, CT, was the victim of theft of the bronze coat-of-arms embedded into the structure.  The statues of the firearms manufacturer, and the bronze plate, had been on display for 110 years without incident.  In an ironic choice of words, Bert Barnett, National Park Ranger at the site, said that the theft “wounds me something fierce.”September 2016: Ten miles of tire tracks were etched into the pristine landscape at Racetrack Playa, Death Valley National Monument, CA.  The name was neither an invitation to vehicular vandalism nor a West Coast site for ATV racing.  The site was named because of a unique combination of geological features and weather patterns.  Rain fills the playa deep enough to partly submerge huge boulders weighing as much as 700 pounds.  Overnight freezing temperature turns the water to ice, and when the ice thaws and cracks, the rocks and boulders are moved along the ground and etch tracks into the sand.  The remote area requires a high clearance 4×4 vehicle to reach, but visitors are not supposed to damage the natural landscape with their monster trucks once they reach their destination.American wolf. Photo by Rhett A. Butler.Last month, along the Hanging Lake Trail, Glenwood Canyon, CO, vandals spray painted rocks and trees at the edges of the trail that was visited by over 135,000 people in Summer 2015. The word “Blest”, sometimes accompanied by an arrow, was painted in red or white on trees, tree stumps, and rocks in a half a dozen locations. The U. S. Forest Service has estimated that the costs of cleanup will be at least $3,000. The Forest Service is also mulling closing the trail until after Memorial Day, when patrols will be re-activated. Along with the graffit, the rangers have had to cope with illegal parking and swimming.The number of vandalism incidents pales in comparison to the number of visitors who cherish our national refuges and reserves. Penalties for vandalism in protected areas can be increased by an act of Congress, but that would only be an effective tactic if it either dissuades people from destroying our heritage or if the culprits are caught and properly penalized. In some of the above cases, social media had a key role in apprehending the criminals. One need not confront these morons; taking a photo and sharing it with the Park Service is all that is necessary. The Investigative Services Branch of the National Park Service operates all year round, 24/7, and asks that visitors who spot vandalism get in contact by calling, e-mailing, sending a Facebook message, or completing an online tip form (https://www.nps.gov/orgs/1563/contactus.htm). As Jeffrey Olson, a spokesperson for the National Park Service, said, “Vandalism is a violation of the law, and it also damages and sometimes destroys often irreplaceable treasures that belong to all Americans.”Theodore Roosevelt not only place a cornerstone at the entrance to Yellowstone National Park, but also made the point that “Of all the questions which come before this nation, short of the actual preservation of its existence in a great war, there is none which compares in importance with the great central task of leaving this land even a better land for our descendants than it is for us.” In his opinion, those who “permit the destruction of what is beautiful in nature” are as guilty of vandalism as those who commit the crime. We can do what we can prevent the destruction of what is beautiful in nature. Use social media to help stop the epidemic that is ravaging Mother Nature.In February 1940, the 28 year old Woody Guthrie wrote a song shortly after moving from Oklahoma to New York City. “This Land is Your Land” was not released until 1951, but the melody and chorus are probably known to more people than most other songs written that long ago:This land is your land…This land is my land……This land was made for you and meThis land is our land; the parks, forests, deserts, mountains, reserves, monuments, and wilderness areas are our heritage. Mother Nature is awesome, so let us protect her from those who try to permanently ruin our priceless heritage and her domain.Forest in Crater Lake National Park, United States. Photo by Rhett A. Butler.center_img Article published by Maria Salazarlast_img read more

Indigenous Guarani leader appeals to Europe to save people and forests

first_imgBrazil’s Temer administration is seriously violating the rights of the Guarani-Kaiowá people according to their leader, Ladio Veron, who is touring Europe this Spring to garner support for the rights of indigenous people in Brazil.Veron, in presentations and petitions across Europe, has highlighted the rising violence against indigenous people in Brazil, publicized past and on-going land thefts, and protested the efforts of the Temer government to halt the demarcation of indigenous lands guaranteed under the nation’s 1988 Constitution.The tour is being conducted against a background of escalating civil unrest and public protest in Brazil, as the Temer government staggers under the weight of corruption charges. His administration’s approval rating is in the single digits and near collapse, though the current National Congress has also been antagonistic to indigenous rights. European allies joined Guarani leader Ladio Veron at a London demonstration protesting against the anti-indigenous policies of Brazilian President Michel Temer. Photo © Eleanor K. Russell courtesy of Survival InternationalLadio Veron, leader of Brazil’s indigenous Guarani-Kaiowá people, is touring Europe and making a desperate international appeal to halt attacks and killings, land theft and environmental destruction that his people say have become a hallmark of Brazil’s Temer administration.The Guarani-Kaiowá is fighting for recognition of their indigenous land rights in the state of Mato Grosso do Su in southwest Brazil, bordering Paraguay. After decades of violent territorial disputes with cattle ranchers, soy and sugar cane farmers, Veron hopes to galvanize support and build an international network of allies that will put pressure on Temer and the agribusiness lobby-dominated National Congress back home.Europe “cannot solve this,” Veron told Mongabay, but it “can support us, add pressure, condemn the situation and demand that our rights and land are recognized.”The leader’s three-month tour, starting in March and ending in July, coincides with rising tensions between the state and indigenous people across Brazil which have erupted into protests, followed in some cases by violent attacks. Now in Spain, the tour includes visits to Greece, Italy, the UK, Portugal, Ireland, Germany, Switzerland, France, Belgium and Austria.“I’m here to fight for justice for my people,” Veron said as he led a peaceful protest outside the Brazilian embassy in London this April. As he accepted encouragement and hugs from demonstrators, he acknowledged, “I’ve come such a long way.”Guarani leader Ladio Veron. Photo © Eleanor K. Russell courtesy of Survival InternationalThe Brazilian Embassy confirmed receipt of a petition from Veron on behalf of the Guarani-Kaiowá containing a “request for land demarcation and safety” and it described the protest as a “peaceful and democratic meeting.”The petition demands the Temer government “map out Guarani land immediately.”Before European settlers arrived in South America, there were as many as a few million Guarani people. Today there are around 51,000 living in Brazil — about a third of which are Guarani-Kiaowa. In the early 1900s, the state’s Indian Protection Service (SPI) reduced Guarani-Kiaowa land to eight reservation areas, totalling just under 30,000 hectares (115 square miles). Now the same lands are home to “new towns and factories,” says Veron.According to the Brazilian Embassy, today about “13 percent of Brazil is demarcated indigenous areas, or approximately 1,173,000 square kilometers (453,000 square miles) — more than four times the size of the United Kingdom.”The full demarcation of indigenous lands was guaranteed under Brazil’s 1988 constitution, but the government has long delayed completing the project. “The land is still not given, we do not know why,” says Veron.The Guarani-Kaiowá now live on small roadside patches, each no bigger than a football pitch. Veron says there have been 46 successful land reclaiming attempts. Each attempt regains a farm or patch, a couple of square miles in size.Protestors call for indigenous rights in Brazil. Photo © Eleanor K. Russell courtesy of Survival InternationalWhile previous governments have made empty promises to recognize and return Guarani-Kaiowá land, delaying the demarcation process, the current government is hurriedly moving to approve plans to halt the demarcation process altogether.Farmers, would-be land owners and land thieves have reacted to the indigenous land reclamations, government inaction and anti-indigenous rhetoric, by sometimes hiring gunmen. As a result, according to a 2015 report by the Brazilian NGO Conselho Indigenista Missionario (Indigenous Missionary Council or Cimi), 390 Guarani-Kaiowá leaders were killed between 2003 and 2014. More were attacked and seriously injured.In hopes of ending this violence, the petition Veron delivered to the Brazilian embassy in London has now been “transmitted to our Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Brasilia and to the president of Fundação Nacional do Índio, the National Indian Foundation [FUNAI],” an embassy spokesperson said. FUNAI is Brazil’s state body responsible for policies protecting indigenous people.In May, a federal Parliamentary Commission recommended the abolition of FUNAI and called for the arrest of some of its employees for allegedly illegal activities in support of the indigenous movement. During the tour, European signatures are being collected for petitions opposing the recent, crippling funding cuts to FUNAI.While FUNAI’s budget has been “dangerously low for many years,” says Sarah Shenker, senior campaigner at NGO, Survival International, the most recent spate of cuts is “not an accident. Powerful politicians are attempting to reduce its power and impact.” Critics say the newest cuts come as the bancada ruralista, Brazil’s agribusiness lobby, seeks to be rewarded for their support of President Temer in his rise to power last year.“It’s an emergency that could spell extinction for uncontacted tribes,” adds Shenker.Brazilian tribal leader Ladio Veron hands a letter demanding land rights to a Brazilian embassy official in London. Photo © Eleanor K. Russell courtesy of Survival InternationalThe tour is also gaining European signatures on a petition urging a no vote by the Brazilian Congress on ‘PEC 215’. This constitutional amendment would remove powers from FUNAI to restore indigenous lands, transferring that power to Congress, whose members are heavily influenced by agribusiness interests.While long term impacts of the tour are unknown, short term, the Guarani-Kaiowá people’s “voice has been made clear,” says Shenker.The Guarani-Kaiowá tour has prompted favorable media reports in Brazil, Spain, Italy, the UK and Germany. “There have been a lot of publications in many languages; there has been a good response from the media,” says Shenker. And many European organizations have offered assistance, including faith groups in Italy and environmental activists in Greece.Spanish, German and Austrian members of parliament all met with Veron. The UK’s All-Party Parliamentary Group on Human Rights has committed to monitoring human rights abuses against the Guarani-Kaiowá, as has the Irish political movement, Sinn Fein. Requests that the issue be raised in the German and European Parliaments are also in motion.“International pressure can make a difference,” says Shenker.Veron has visited the Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona, spoken with activists in Leipzig, East Germany and been on numerous radio shows. In Austria, he spoke at a school about how European food consumption habits are directly linked to the politics of the agricultural lobbies in Brazil — soy grown on former indigenous lands feeds people worldwide.It helps when people in Europe “realize that what is happening to indigenous people is not just a situation that is far away, and not to do with us,” says Shenker.The tour is a direct response to the Guarani-Kaiowá losing faith in the current government. “What Temer proposes is nothing short of genocide and ethnocide for indigenous peoples,” says Seb Muniz, senior international programmes officer at War on Want Latin America.Temer is not “ the first one to violate our rights and discriminate against us,” Veron told Mongabay. For years, state promises to protect indigenous people and restore lands have not been fulfilled. There is “no reply” and “no results,” says Veron, “no answers, no follow ups.”“So many times, [our] leaders go to the capital to speak with the government, but they are not listened to,” says Veron. “We ask for parliament, for congress, the senate, for an audience, but they will not receive us.” In May, the largest indigenous protest ever in Brasilia, the country’s capital, was met with teargas and rubber bullets.“The last solution is to come to Europe and to ask for support,” says Veron. “We don’t have anyone to turn to in Brazil.”As the tour unfolds, Brazilians are falling deeper into despair, as corruption rocks the country. “Repression, militarization and an ever-growing disregard for democracy leaves the most vulnerable in Brazil in a particularly challenging situation,” says Muniz.Temer’s austerity reforms, privatization attempts, cuts in social programs, environmental assaults and concentration of political power represent an attack “not only on indigenous people but on all popular and vulnerable sectors of Brazilian society,” Muniz concludes.“The movement is strengthening,” Shenker says, but with the fate of the Guarani-Kaiowá people and Brazil’s remaining rainforests very much in doubt, “it’s more important than ever that people everywhere stand up.”The European response to the Guarani cause has been strong, and has included enthusiastic public support, government and NGO meetings as well as media coverage. Meanwhile in Brazil, the Temer administration is besieged by corruption charges and civil unrest. Photo © Eleanor K. Russell courtesy of Survival International Agriculture, Controversial, Corruption, Culture, Environment, Environmental Crime, Environmental Politics, Ethnocide, Forests, Green, Indigenous Culture, Indigenous Cultures, Indigenous Groups, Indigenous Peoples, Indigenous Rights, Industrial Agriculture, Land Conflict, Land Grabbing, Land Rights, Land Use Change, Rainforest Deforestation, Rainforest Destruction, Rainforests, Social Justice, Soy Article published by Glenn Scherercenter_img Popular in the CommunitySponsoredSponsoredOrangutan found tortured and decapitated prompts Indonesia probeEMGIES17 Jan, 2018We will never know the full extent of what this poor Orangutan went through before he died, the same must be done to this evil perpetrator(s) they don’t deserve the air that they breathe this has truly upset me and I wonder for the future for these wonderful creatures. So called ‘Mankind’ has a lot to answer for we are the only ones ruining this world I prefer animals to humans any day of the week.What makes community ecotourism succeed? In Madagascar, location, location, locationScissors1dOther countries should also learn and try to incorporateWhy you should care about the current wave of mass extinctions (commentary)Processor1 DecAfter all, there is no infinite anything in the whole galaxy!Infinite stupidity, right here on earth.The wildlife trade threatens people and animals alike (commentary)Anchor3dUnfortunately I feel The Chinese have no compassion for any living animal. They are a cruel country that as we knowneatbeverything that moves and do not humanily kill these poor animals and insects. They have no health and safety on their markets and they then contract these diseases. Maybe its karma maybe they should look at the way they live and stop using animals for all there so called remedies. 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It is mentioned that planting trees in village common lands will have negative affects socially and ecologically. There is no need to even have to agree or disagree with it, because, you also mentioned the fact that Cauvery Calling aims to plant trees only in the private lands of the farmers. So, plantation in the common lands doesn’t come into the picture.2.I don’t see that the ecologists are totally against this project, but just they they have some concerns, mainly in terms of what species of trees will be planted. And because there was no direct communication between the ecologists and Isha Foundation, it was not possible for them to address the concerns. As you seem to have spoken with an Isha spokesperson, if you could connect the concerned parties, it would be great, because I see that the ecologists are genuinely interested in making sure things are done the right way.May we all come together and make things happen.Rare Amazon bush dogs caught on camera in BoliviaCarrot1 Feba very good iniciative to be fallowed by the ranchers all overSponsoredlast_img read more