Posts Tagged ‘common dreams’
From Common Dreams:
African-American farmers have staged a massive protest in Washington DC calling on the US government to deliver on cash payments promised to the group years ago.
In 1999, black farmers won a landmark case that granted them a billion-dollar compensation settlement on the grounds of racial discrimination by then US authorities.
But now the group says that tens of thousands of African-American farmers have not received the funds that they were promised.
Al Jazeera’s John Terrett reports from Washington DC:
Native forests in Brazil, Argentina and Uruguay are being destroyed to plant new crops of “profitable” trees. Non-indigenous, but fast growing trees like eucalyptus and pine are being planted to produce large-scale wood, pulp and paper production. Along with destroying the forest, these trees also use more water and degrade the soil of these South American countries.
Rural women’s organizations and environmental groups have drafted letters to the forestry companies in protest but have been ignored and pushed out of the way by claims that these “tree plantations” will act as carbon sinks, helping to offset green house gasses and carbon emissions.
Among the many negative aspects of the “unsustainable” development model followed by the forestry industry, [the women] denounced that companies pressure families into selling their farmland, that the industry creates few jobs for women, that tree plantations are depleting water resources, and that these changes have significant social impacts, such as a breakdown in the social fabric, leading to domestic violence and sexual harassment among the affected communities.
Promoting plantations as forests is “misleading,” said the rural women’s organisations and environmental groups, which pointed to the “countless negative impacts” that these projects have on the lives of rural families, and particularly on women, who are “disempowered” by the expansion of these single-crop plantations.
The document the women put forth was signed by the March of Women, The Peasant Women’s Movement of Brazil and the Centre for Environment Studies. It was also backed by GRAIN, Friends of the Earth, The Rural Women’s Movement and the World Rainforest Movement.
These tree plantations are more than just a minor headache. Along with pushing rural families off their land in Brazil, the plantations have ruined the livelihoods of the families as the land suffered severe droughts, abrupt temperature changes, severe loss of biodiversity, food crop reduction, drying up of water sources and degradation of soil fertility.
Two books have resulted from this ordeal, Brazil: Women and Eucalyptus: Stories of Life and Resistance, and The European Union’s Role in the Disempowerment of Women of the South through the Conversion of Local Ecosystems into Tree Plantations.
To understand more about this ongoing struggle, read the full article on Common Dreams
Greta Browne, a Unitarian minister from PA, is making her way across the states to alert people to the dangers of climate change. Greta draws attention to herself by wearing her trademark shit that says “Walking for the Climate” but besides that shirt, all her other clothing, down to her sneakers, is second hand. Although she does use a gas-guzzling van to help her on on the trek, she says she has reduced her carbon footprint to half that of an average American.
So far, Greta has walked 1,100 miles, starting from outside New Orleans and will end this week in upstate NY, near the Canadian border.
Along the way people have offered her support in the form of money and water bottles, but some have joined her to argue that humans are not the cause for the growing temperature of the planet.
“Mostly people think [climate change] is a problem,” she said, “but mostly they think it will not impact them anytime soon.”
A longtime member of the Green Party and the founder of a vegetarian cooperative restaurant, she has been concerned for years about global warming. But after she retired last year, she joined an environmental group and read “Six Degrees: Our Future on a Hotter Planet” by Mark Lynas. The book, which argues that most of humanity could be wiped out by the end of the century if Earth’s temperatures continue to warm, galvanized her.
Leslie Kaufman, who wrote the article published on Common Dreams says this kind of action is a growing trend among environmentalists
In choosing to promote her cause this way – as opposed to, say, pressing for legislative change – Ms. Browne joins a growing list of environmental activists who are hoping to draw public attention to the issue through stunts: Colin Beavan, for example, the writer who lived without toilet paper and electricity, or David de Rothschild, a self-described “eco-adventurer” in San Francisco who has built a boat made of reused plastic water bottles and plans to sail to Sydney, Australia.