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August 03 2012

18:22

On Our Radar: Hunger in North Korea

Floods have swept away crops and damaged wells and pumping stations, leaving many without food or clean drinking water, a United Nations agency said.

July 30 2012

18:26

Brazil: Belo Monte Dam Threatens Forest, Wildlife, and Indigenous People


Pristine sunsets on the Xingu River in the Amazon may become a thing of the past if the Belo Monte and hundreds of other dams are allowed on the riverGuest post by Nathan Gallagher

The Belo Monte dam project is now underway on the Xingu River in the Brazilian State of Pará.  The current dam project will flood native people’s lands and other land currently housing poor Brazilians in the City Altamira who all rely heavily on the river for their livelihood. The flooded forest will decompose and release methane gas into the atmosphere and destroy the rocky breeding grounds of certain fish used for food. The dam will furthermore reduce the flow to almost zero in a 100km bend of the river destroying local fishing and devastating species of animals and plants. The forest and wetlands on this stretch of the river will also be irrevocably changed if the dam is completed, faced with almost no water much of the year.

Electro Norte Energy Company is spearheading the project, supported in part by the Brazilian government. But there is outside support for the project from all over the developed world. Companies from the United States, Germany, Austria, France and China support the project. The Brazilian government sees this dam project, and the planned 130 additional dams, as economic development. Currently 30 percent of Brazil’s energy use goes to its top 6 industries. Among those are aluminum, steel, and paper production.

The population claims that the money offered to relocate citizens from the areas affected by the project falls short. Apart from claims that the money will not be enough for current residents to live elsewhere many residents are aging and worry they will not be able to find work in the city. Many are uneducated and have learned to live from fishing the rivers or growing crops in the locations to be destroyed by the dam project. Some citizens have been targeted by dam supporters destroying their crops or their homes in order to get them to leave quietly.

The Government’s rhetoric is very closed. They insist that they have done everything necessary to ensure that indigenous people are not harmed, and have gone as far as claiming that Indigenous villages will not be affected under the current plan. The government has been consistent in the viewpoint that indigenous people have no right to their way of life and if the government Brazil wants to build a dam then it will build a dam. Time after time the government has been invited to meet with tribal leaders and has failed to show up.

Voices from across the globe calling for an end to the Belo Monte Dam

The Kayapó People are the subject of a recent documentary titled Belo Monte the announcement of a war which can be seen in full on Youtube. The Kayapó tribe is just one of 25 different ethnic groups in the Xingu basin whose lands will be flooded or cutoff from the river.  They are currently staging an occupation of the construction site and are prepared to fight if necessary to protect their home. In early July occupiers from local tribes dug a trench through the existing dam site. Many groups and supporters including James Cameron, director of Avatar (based on the real plight of tribes in the Amazon) believe that if enough support and outcry from outside builds then developed nations will be forced to pull their financial support for Belo Monte. You can find out more by visiting amazonwatch.org.

-Nathan Gallagher

Main image credit: International Rivers, courtesy Flickr

Infographic by Nate Gallagher 

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May 12 2012

06:00

Grim reapers: the exploitation of Brazil's savannah

In this extract from his book The Landgrabbers: The New Fight Over Who Owns the Earth, Fred Pearce witnesses the relentless plundering by intensive commercial farmers of Brazil's rich savannah

March 02 2012

19:49

Musings of a Malcontent: No One Escapes the Eyes of the World (even when you’re selling whale meat online)


Musings of a Malcontent: Environmental Irony in an Imperfect (but humorous?) World“Musings of a Malcontent” is a weekly op-ed by GlobalWarmingisReal contributor Carlyle Coash

Is it me, or do we live in a global community?

We do, right? We live in a time when it is almost impossible to do something that will not be seen by people from all over the planet?

I mean this is standard knowledge, yes?

Did I miss a memo saying that we are returning to a more insular Dark Ages kind of time where we are barely aware of the world around us? To a time where sharing video from your phone on You Tube would be openly laughed at, potentially resulting in you being beaten just because you upset everyone for even saying such a ridiculous thing? To a time when you could get away with a lot more horrible behavior without being busted for it on the world stage?

No memo, correct?

Just checking, since it seems Amazon.com got one.

A couple months ago Amazon Japan – owned by Amazon, Inc –was featuring 145 products derived from whales, porpoises and dolphins. Baird’s Beaked Whale Jerky, Icelandic Fin Whale Bacon and Whale Meat Gift Sets for the New Year were just some of the fabulous items on sale. That is until last week when the global public were notified and complained so much that they pulled all the products off the site.

Oh yeah – did I mention that many of the products were found to have toxic levels of mercury? At levels that exceeded the allowable limits set by Japanese law?

Excellent.

I mean I love a good Whale Hamburger – but infuse it with a tasty dose of mercury and I am in heaven! Actually I love making a little soy mercury glaze for my dolphin stuffed whale chops. Absolutely amazing! It’s as close to eating what the Gods eat as any of us humans will ever get. Awesome.

Idiots! Amazon I mean. What were they thinking? Yeah I know that these products are hot in Japan – and we will get to that in a minute – but have we not learned anything about the Internet over the last 10 years? There is access to everything. There are people who get paid to look for things that are horrible and in bad taste. I would think that Amazon pays some PR firm obscene amounts of money to avoid such ill-advised moves. Clearly they need to be replaced.

Plus, did they forget that most of the world thinks whales and dolphins are our friends? They don’t keep making Free Willy movies because everyone secretly hopes Willy will be harpooned and made into a lovely canned gelatinous meat product. Hundreds of people don’t show up to help whales when they are beached because they are hoping to get a shot at some yummy slices of bacon meat. As a whole we love these beings. We dream of swimming with dolphins and having a whale help us when we are stranded on a life raft in the ocean. They embody the universe at its best.

Not to mention the restrictions on killing them – there is that.

Silly me.

Also isn’t it about time we stopped killing these animals? I mean do we really need the “products” they produce? 100 years ago, maybe I could see the reason – maybe. But now? Kill them to make an item that looks like the end product of an intestinal virus? Or to resemble that time I drank an entire bottle of Vodka and purged a tasty Carnitas Burrito in the wastebasket? Nice!

What is our problem?

The excuse used by Japan is that they are conducting research on the whales and that they are simply selling the by-product of that research. The Institute of Cetacean Research in Tokyo is all for this saying it helps “to make the provision of cheap whale meat as much as possible to all levels of civil society.” Minor point with the whole “laced with good for you mercury” aspect – but hey it did come from “research”.

Researching what, exactly? That harpoons kill Whales? That dolphins stop breathing when you take them out of the water? That when killed faster than they can breed these species die out? That people are willing to eat something that looks like a liver Hannibal Lecter just pulled out of a surprised census taker?

Trust me – there is no research. Just criminal behavior.

Luckily for me I hit “purchase” on those 50 cans of Dinty Moore Hearty Whale Stew before they were pulled from the site.

There is a God.

January 25 2012

17:37

Is Brazil Backsliding on Deforestation?

A bill seeking to overhaul Brazil's 47-year-old Forest Code is the most serious test yet of the president's stance on the environment.

June 01 2011

12:55

After Killings, Brazil Vows to Confront Amazon Violence

More than 1,000 environmental activists, religious workers, organizers and rural workers have been murdered in the Amazon in the last 20 years, but successful prosecutions of those who order the killings are virtually nonexistent, according to watchdog groups.

May 28 2011

14:36

Murder of Activists Raises Questions of Justice in Amazon

Whether an investigation will result in punishment for the killers -- or those who hired them -- is uncertain. More than 1,000 rural activists, small farmers, religious workers and others fighting deforestation have been slain in the past 20 years, but only a handful of killers have been successfully prosecuted.

May 24 2011

22:26

May 23 2011

19:36

For Earth Day: Three Titles by Rachel Carson, Patron Saint of American Environmental Movement, Available as Ebooks

Climate of Our Future would love to wish Rachel Carson a very happy Birthday on May 27th!!!  Readers please tweet this on May 27th!!    ”Happy birthday, conservation legend Rachel Carson! http://bit.ly/e1nPmQ“ Monday, April 11, 2011 Open Road Media announces the publication of Rachel Carson’s Under the Sea Wind, The Sea Around Us, and The Sense [...]

February 17 2011

23:34

Chevron in Ecuador: Not the Image Projected in We Agree Campaign


The recent $8 billion judgement from an Ecuadorian court against Chevron for environmental damage in the Amazon stands in stark contrast to the oil giant’s latest ad campaign, called We Agree.

For a closer look at the campaign and why it is greenwash at its best (or worse) read my latest post on TheGreenWashingBlog.com

February 03 2011

13:21

Isolated Amazon Tribes Threatened by Logging, Groups Say

n 2008, images of tribe members shooting arrows at an airplane quickly circulated the globe and were characterized by some of the news media as evidence of a "lost" Amazon tribe, although the Brazilian authorities said they had long been aware of the presence of uncontacted tribes in the area.

January 28 2011

13:19

Brazilian Dam Clears Hurdle

The dam will produce electricity for about 23 million people in major cities but flood roughly 200 square miles of land in the Amazon, displacing indigenous peoples.

December 02 2010

20:24

Deforestation Slows as Brazil Chugs Toward a Goal

Even as a global climate conference opens with low expectations, some nations are plugging away at meeting their environmental targets.

December 01 2010

20:47

Amazon deforestation at record low level

Deforestation in the Amazon has fallen to the lowest level ever recorded, the Brazilian government announced on Wednesday.

September 20 2010

19:52

“THE ENERGY SOLUTION REVOLUTION”

NEW EDITION OF DR. BRIAN O’LEARY’S LANDMARK BOOK, “THE ENERGY SOLUTION REVOLUTION” PROMISES AN ABUNDANT FUTURE FOR HUMANITY Vilcabamba, Ecuador…Dr. Brian O’Leary today released the updated 2nd Edition of his landmark book, “The Energy Solution Revolution,” that explores a new energy future, through Amazon’s print-on-demand service, Create Space. “I selected Create Space because I live [...]

September 02 2010

21:04

On Our Radar: Tibet's High-Altitude Meadows Disappear

Tibet's high-altitude meadows disappear as global warming and overgrazing accelerate desertification. "Once the grasslands are destroyed, they rarely come back," a Chinese official says.

August 10 2010

14:13

On Our Radar: Russia's Heat Wave

Scanning the scientific record, meteorologists find no heat wave to parallel Russia's current one in the last 1,000 years.

August 03 2010

13:39

July 16 2010

18:06

Is the Tide Turning on Deforestation?

Signs are growing that international efforts to clamp down on illegal logging and strengthen timber harvesting regulations are succeeding in slowing the destruction of rain forests.

July 03 2010

18:39

'Climategate', 'Amazongate' - when will the truth be told?

Critical evidence from climate change sceptics continues to be ignored by the political and scientific establishments, says Christopher Booker
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