One environmental activist is killed each week trying to save the Amazon rainforest
June 16, 2014

No one could accuse Nilcilene Miguel de Lima of being easily afraid. When loggers beat her and burned down her home in Lábrea – in the heart of the Brazilian Amazon – the environmental activist refused to give up her struggle. When they killed her dog and frightened away the armed guards who had been sent to protect her, she carried on without them. But after they murdered her fellow campaigners and warned her she would be next, the mother of four finally fled.

Today, she is in hiding hundreds of miles from home, looking out of the bars on the window of a temporary refuge in Manaus and wondering what happened to Brazilian justice and the world’s interest in protecting the planet’s greatest rainforest. “I’ll be hiding for the rest of my life. The people who killed my friends and destroyed nature should be the ones in prison, but I’m the one who has no liberty,” she says. “All I ever did was protect the families who tried to conserve the environment.”

That is an increasingly dangerous ambition in Brazil where, according to a recent report by Global Witness, more environmental and land-rights campaigners have been killed than the rest of the world put together. The study found that, on average, one activist has been killed in the country every week since 2002. If that trend continues, four will die during the course of this World Cup, though very few cases are likely to make headlines.

Most of the murders occur in remote regions of the Amazon – places like de Lima’s home of Lábrea in Amazonas state, where loggers, ranchers and land-grabbers are seizing property from smallholders, subsistence communities and indigenous tribes. Guns and muscle make the rules. Police are usually either absent, complicit or too weak to deal with the gangs of armedgrileiros. The ethical consequences are immense.

Located in an arc of deforestation that stretches from Mato Grosso, through Acre and Rondônia across the Bolivian border, Lábrea is among the most remote, dangerous and important frontlines of environmental protection on the planet. Whether fighting climate change or conserving biodiversity, there are few more pressing struggles in the world than the one taking place here. Yet it rarely gets much attention in Brazil, let alone the rest of the world. The stage is too distant, the drama plays out too slowly and the economic interests are weighed against the activists, who are often accused by their enemies of holding back development.

Getting to the flash points is a challenge. Most occur deep in the forest. The terminal at the nearest local airport is little more than a shed and it receives only seven scheduled flights a week. The road network is even less developed. Lábrea is at the end of the Trans-Amazonian Highway – a 4,000km road that was supposed to stretch from the east coast all the way to Peru, before the project ran out of funds and became mired in the mosquito and disease-infested swamps around the town.

As the town at the end of this line, Lábrea is a surprisingly bustling, sometimes surreal place with a population of more than 40,000 people – an indication of just how much human pressure is growing in the Amazon. A 20m statue of Mary with a neon halo dominates the central plaza along with dozens of brightly coloured – and almost completely unused – recycling bins placed every 10 metres along the path. A short walk down to the Purus river is a slum of boat-dwellers living on fetid waters; vultures perch on their corrugated tin roofs.

From here it is still three days’ journey by motorboat to de Lima’s home in south Lábrea. She is president of Deus Proverà, an association of Brazilian nut farmers and rubber tappers in the community of Gedeão in the south of Lábrea. Located several days canoe ride from the town, the area is dominated by a gang of gunmen who work for loggers and farmers. It is a hotspot for murder and intimidation. According to the Comissão Pastoral da Terra (Brazilian Pastoral Land Commission), six community leaders were assassinated in the Lábrea area between 2008 and 2013 and 51 local activists continue to receive death threats. Precedent suggests one in 10 of them will be murdered in the coming years.

De Lima is tougher than most. Struggle and tragedy have defined her life. She grew up in Xapuri in Acre, the headquarters of Brazil’s most celebrated campaigner Chico Mendes, who was murdered in 1988 after he tried to halt loggers and establish extractive reserves for small farmers. These were areas where the right to harvest natural resources were granted to subsistence farmers, fishermen, rubber-tappers or nut harvesters, normally as buffers against the big farms and ranches that are responsible for the worst deforestation. De Lima’s father was a co-founder of the Union of Rubber Tappers alongside Marina Silva, who later became the country’s most effective environment minister. Her husband was killed, de Lima says, on the orders of loggers and half a dozen fellow community leaders have been shot, stabbed or beaten to death in arguments over land and conservation.

Full article


Guardians of life: The indigenous women fighting oil exploration in the Amazon
November 8, 2014

On Oct. 12, 2013, a group of nearly 300 women from seven indigenous nationalitiesmarched to Quito, Ecuador, arriving in the capital four days later with their children in their arms, the sharp angles of their faces — young and old — decorated with vegetable ink designs, covered in the same strength and determination with which they began their journey. They were marching to Quito to ask the central government to respect their ancestral lands, to refrain from exploiting the oil that lies beneath his Kawsak Sacha, aliving jungle. In November of that same year, a smaller delegation of women peacefully protested during the 11th Oil Licensing Round, an auction of 6 million acres of ancestral indigenous land for oil exploitation. The protests, however, turned sour when oil executive and politicians scolded protesters, and Ecuadoran President Rafael Correa subsequently demanded the closing of the NGO Fundación Pachamama and indicted 10 indigenous leaders on charges of terrorism.

While women have always played an active role in historic marches that marked the struggle for the rights of indigenous peoples in Ecuador, this was the first walk organized and led by women.

Felipe Jacome’s set of photos Amazon: Guardians of Life documents the struggles of indigenous women defending the Ecuadoran Amazon through portraits combined with the powerful written testimonies. The words across each photograph are a self-reflectionof the lives of women, their culture, history and traditions, and especially about the reasons for fighting oil drilling on their ancestral lands. The color designs framing eachportrait use the same natural dyes found in face paint to expand on the symbols and designs that reflect their personalities, courage and struggle.

  1. “My name is Alicia Mosco. If oil enters our territory, my kids and I — we’re going to die. We get sick, and there is no cure for us.”
  2. “My name is Nancy. We want to defend our lands, forests, rivers, mountains and trees where spirits live. We do not want to get hurt, so women have to go to defend the forest. The president does not value and does not know the forest and wants to destroy it. Our children know the life of our ancestors through conversations with elders, so they learn to love the jungle.”
  3. “My name is Jimena. As a Shiwiar woman, I love my country. To my nature, I love my animals, my monkey, my fish, my rivers, air that gives us life. For this reason, we do not want to exploit the oil in our territory.”
  4. “My name is Simona. This is our land. These drawings symbolize wealth that exists in the forest. This government has no conscience. Why do they mistreat us? Our community is not going to stop fighting, though we are the last to continue the fight standing strong.”

Nunatsiavut president wants Muskrat Falls project stopped until methylmercury fears addressed
The president of Northern Labrador's Nunatsiavut government wants the province to halt the Muskrat Falls hydroelectric project until concerns over methylmercury contamination are settled.

The president of northern Labrador’s Nunatsiavut government wants the province to halt the Muskrat Falls hydroelectric project until concerns over methylmercury contamination are settled.

Johannes Lampe said, in a statement released Friday afternoon by Nunatsiavut, that the Newfoundland and Labrador government “is about to risk the health of hundreds of Labrador Inuit, erode our culture and threaten our way of life.”

Here is the campaign website.

Blackfire is a Navajo (Diné) traditionally-influenced, musical group composed of three siblings. Their high-energy style melds traditional Native American and punk rock into an “alter-Native” attitude with strong sociopolitical messages about government oppression, relocation of indigenous people, ecocide, genocide, domestic violence, and human rights. Read more 


Amazon tribe fights back against illegal loggers, environmental destruction
September 8, 2014

Brazil is the most dangerous place in the world to be an environmentalist. It accounts for about half of all recorded killings of environmental advocates.

And those numbers are going up, globally. As I reported recently for Foreign Policy:

Between 2002 and 2013, at least 908 people were killed because of their environmental advocacy, according to “Deadly Environment,” a new report from the investigative nonprofit Global Witness. That’s an average of at least one environmentalist murdered every week, and in the last four years, the rate of the murders has doubled. In 2012, the deadliest year on record, 147 deaths were recorded, three times more than a decade earlier. “There were almost certainly more cases,” the report says, “but the nature of the problem makes information hard to find, and even harder to verify.”

That incredibly dangerous environment makes what photographer Lunae Parracho documented even more incredible.

Parracho (websiteTwitterFlickr) followed the Ka’apor tribe, an indigenous community in Brazil, as they fought back against illegal loggers.

Ka’apor warriors ventured into the Alto Turiacu territory in the Amazon basin to track down illegal loggers, tie them up, and sabotage their equipment.

They stole their chainsaws and cut the logs so the loggers couldn’t profit from them.

They released the loggers, but only after taking their shoes and clothes, and setting their trucks on fire.



Dubbed terrorists, Mayans fight back against Guatemalan mining projects
September 8, 2014

The road between the Guatemalan towns of San Miguel Ixtahuacán and Quetzaltenango is guarded by a dozen thin, young, Mayan men in baseball caps and hooded sweatshirts, who mill around a truck parked across the road. “If you are from the mine,” the ringleader says, “you can’t come through.”

A mile or so away, the land falls away into a dust bowl, picked at by heavy machinery – the Marlin gold mine. All along the road, orange cliffs have collapsed onto the tarmac and the air is heavy with the stink of burnt clutches from the trucks that labour up the slope through the mountains, around 50km from Guatemala’s border with Mexico. The volcanic peaks are swaddled in gunsmoke drifts of cloud and patrolled by vultures; scattered settlements of adobe houses overlook a deep green patchwork of maize and coffee fields laid out across the ghosts of old Mayan terraces.

The Mayan Mam village of Agel hangs precariously over the edge of the pit. Crisanta Pérez’s house on the edge of the settlement clings to a steep slope that runs down to a long, turquoise tailings pond.

An intense, soft-spoken woman, “Doña Crisanta” is the figurehead of a peaceful resistance in San Miguel Ixtahuacán that has formed to protest the mine’s continued presence. Dubbed terrorists and enemies of progress by the state, the Frente de Defensa Miguelense is one of several Mayan-led protest groups across Guatemala that are facing down assassinations, detention and intimidation to stop their land becoming part of a continent-wide rush for resources.

“My family and I have been intimidated and criminalised,” Pérez says. “But I won’t give up. Who is going to do it, if not me?”

Pérez and her fellow community leaders say that the Marlin mine has contaminated the water sources that they use to wash and irrigate their crops and that the subterranean explosions have caused houses to collapse – charges that the mine’s owners, the Canadian firm Goldcorp, deny. Newsweek was shown evidence of skin conditions and severe neurological diseases that local health workers believe are the result of heavy metal poisoning, but, without independent medical assessment, their claims are hard to verify.

For the majority, the economic opportunities that the mine promised never materialised. Many, like the men manning the roadblock, sold their land and bought trucks, hoping to haul for the mine – their vehicles, daubed with religious icons, sit idle by the road. The Mayans’ anger goes deeper than individual grievances, however. The Mam, one of several Mayan nations in Guatemala, make up the majority in San Marcos. They number around 650,000 in the western highlands. On the other side of the mine, another nation, the Sipakapa, are also actively resisting the development. Both groups say that they were never consulted before work began on the pit, that their land was simply taken by a central government that does not represent them. This, they say, marks the continuation of centuries of marginalisation and discrimination – what rights they have won have proved secondary to the demands of commerce.

The Mam and Sipakapa see the mine, the government and private security firms as one entity that work together against them. “They have created a social monopoly. The mine comes to divide us, it causes conflict, psychological trauma, social repression,” says Rolando Cruz, a leader of the Movimiento de Resistencia Sipakapense, a resistance group in nearby San Isídro. “And they did not consult us.”

Téodora Hernandez was shot in the head and left blind in one eye by two men who came to ask her why she would not let a road pass through her land. Francisco Javier Hernandez Peréz, a leading voice opposing the development, was doused in petrol and set alight in 2011 by hooded men who identified themselves as supporters of the mine. His wife, Victoría Yóc, witnessed the attack; her neighbours heard her screaming across the mountains. Others have stories of near misses: Miguel Angél Bámaca, a health worker who has documented cases of suspected poisoning, was shot at in his home.The Mayans’ response has been escalating levels of protest and direct action. They have blocked roads, seized mine equipment and led demonstrations against company activities. Their campaign has been met with startling levels of violence.

Often, the violence is perpetrated by members of their own communities. The limited opportunities that the mine offers have created a powerful incentive for the few beneficiaries – Cruz calls them “traitors” – to crack down on dissent. The brutality has only hardened the resistance’s resolve.

“I’m never going to shut up,” says Victor Vicente Pérez, a Mam community leader. “I know I have the right to speak the truth … The [mineworkers] have tried to intimidate me with rumours that one day soon I’ll disappear, but I know I’m fighting for my rights and I’m willing to die for that.”

Marlin is one of over 100 metal mines currently operating in Guatemala. There are close to 350 active licences for exploration or production, with nearly 600 pending as the government, supported by the international financial institutions, promotes the sector as a way to raise revenues. Only 2% of the country’s gross domestic product (GDP) is based on mining, and the government hopes that the sector may offer a chance at rapid economic growth. Around 75% of the population lives below the poverty line. Infant and child mortality rates are high, and around 50% of children are malnourished.

Full article
Photos: Doña Crisanta & Mayan People’s Council on strike in solidarity with Mayans resisting mining in Guatemala
This is a spray plane
chemtrails july 15, no contrails. angebliches Treibstoff ablassen einer Thai Airways Maschine über Österreich. Die Differenz zwischen Start und Landegewicht:...

I thought jet exhaust came out of engines, NOT wingtips?! Oops. Chemtrails Proof


#XLDissent: Students overtake DC to demand climate action
March 2, 2014

Over 500 students are risking arrest Sunday as they handcuff themselves to the White House fence, placing their bodies on the line in what many say may be a “watershed” moment for a generation. Under the banner XL Dissent, over one thousand college students are descending on the White House to force President Obama to face the individuals whose future is imperiled by current U.S. climate policy.

“Our generation is going to be stuck with the reality of decisions made now about whether to invest in destruction or the future,” Smith College student Aly Johnson-Kurts told Common Dreams ahead of the demonstration. “We are realizing we cannot sit idly by, or we will not have a future to fight for.”

Beginning at 10 AM with a rally in Georgetown, the demonstrators will march to Lafayette Park, beside the White House, where they will hold a rally. En route, the protest will stop in front of Secretary of State John Kerry’s house to display a banner that reads “Sec. Kerry: Don’t Tar Your Legacy,” in reference to the pending Keystone XL tar sands pipeline decision, which has become a major flashpoint for the climate movement.

During the protest, demonstrators will also drop a 40 by 60 foot banner, cut to look like an oil spill, right on Pennsylvania Ave.

According to Jamie Henn, a co-founder of, upwards of 500 people are preparing to get arrested for handcuffing themselves to the White House fence. In preparation, many of the demonstrators took part in a mass civil disobedience training Saturday night.

In what promises to be the largest student-led civil disobedience action at the White House in a generation, many are saying that XL Dissent could become a watershed moment for a generation whose lives are guaranteed to be impacted by current climate change inaction.

“We’re building a culture of resistance,” Tufts University junior Evan Bell told Todd Zimmer of the Rainforest Action Network.

“The students taking part here in XL Dissent see their democratic responsibilities as extending beyond the voting booth,” Henn wrote on the eve of the action. “If anything, the Obama administration seems to have solidified the impression that even the most youth-friendly candidates need to be pushed, protested, and forced into living up to their rhetoric.”

According to organizers, XL Dissent was not an initiative of the major environmental groups—though many have pledged their support. Instead, it was completely conceived and organized “from below,” by the students themselves. Many see it as a way to connect with the disparate groups, including First Nations, refining communities, ranchers and farmers, who—much like young people—are most directly impacted by climate change and energy policy.

“More and more, these young people are placing their hope in distributed networks of resistance, rather than in a president who ran on hope as a platform," wrote Zimmer. "They’re hovering in a space between fear, anger, and radical hope. They know their futures are on the line and feel more accountable to each other and frontline communities than elected politicians.”

Though the President’s pending approval of the Keystone pipeline has catalyzed many of the protesters, the demonstration Sunday “is about so much more than just one pipeline,” as Michael Greenberg, a 20-year-old sophomore at Columbia University, told Common Dreams.

“For me XL Dissent is about young people standing together and engaging in a bold act of civil disobedience, and through this, demonstrating our commitment to making this world a more humane, peaceful, and inclusive place to live,” Greenberg continued.

“President Obama and D.C. policymakers need to take a hard look at who police will arrest this Sunday,” Zimmer continued. “Some of those arrested will still be in high school. XL Dissent should give Obama pause, and force the president to consider who loses if Big Oil wins. He should see his own daughters in the faces of those who are arrested at his doorstep this weekend.”

Photos by Jenna Pope

The people of Grassy Narrows have sustained themselves for thousands of years on their traditional territory – 2,500 square miles of forest, lakes, rivers north of Kenora, Ontario. Now plans for clear-cut logging, mining and the legacy of residential schools, hydro damming, relocation, and mercury poisoning threaten to uproot their way of life. - See more at:


300,000+ people from all over the world marched for climate justice yesterday afternoon in New York City ahead of the United Nations Climate Summit happening this week. 

Although the march’s organization & some participating groups were problematic, the sheer number of people who flooded Manhattan yesterday was unreal. We can use these gatherings to support each other’s organizing work, connect our struggles, share stories & strategize our next moves. 

Flood Wall Street direct actions & civil disobedience to call out climate change profiteers are happening right now at Battery Park. Updates coming soon.

All photos by the awesome Jenna Pope