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Carol Schachet's blog
By Carol Schachet
September 13th, 2010
Big business wants to gobble up our resources—grabbing land, privatizing water, patenting seeds and trying to squeeze out anyone who gets in the way of their profits. Fortunately, an alternative exists that places the rights of people and communities ahead of big business. The alternative is resource rights.
Grassroots International produced a short video that explains the challenges and hope surrounding the movement for Resource Rights, starting with the story of our partner, Dona Maria. By sharing it through social networks like Facebook, you can help spread word of this powerful movement to secure land, water and food right for all.
Palm oil is the most widely consumed vegetable oil on the planet, with some 50 million metric tons produced annually. High demand for the product is leading to the growth of African Palm plantations in Central America, which, in turn, is fueling environmental destruction, the exploitation of agricultural labor, and the displacement of local peasant farmers by companies often financed by development banks.
Among the thousands of activists gathered in Paris as part of the Peoples Climate Summit, Hiba Al-Jibeihi represented multiple movements -- gender justice, land rights, food sovereignty, Palestinian human rights and, of course, climate justice. She wore the flags of the Via Campesina (a Grassroots International partner) and the Union of Agricultural Work Committees (a Grassroots International partner and member of the Via Campesina). Here she talks about the importance of bringing together all the threads that lead to justice and peace.
One of the common themes coming from the streets of the Climate Justice Summit in Paris (and not heard in the offical government negotiations) is a clear linking of capitalism's insatiable appetite and climate disruption. Two Grassroots International partners offered these reflections.
At least 35 percent of women and girls globally experience some form of physical or sexual violence, according to the United Nations. On this November 25, International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women on November, Grassroots International joins our global partners in mobilizing to strengthen the struggle and resistance around to systems that exploit women and remove them from their homes, creates wars and militarizes civilian territories. As La Via Campesina rightly states, “It is urgent to build new human relationships that are founded on gender justice and equal rights.”
When two dams owned by transnational mining companies burst in Brazil, a flood of toxic mud and wastewater poured into neighboring villages and began its journey down the Rio Doce (“Sweet River”). This tragedy could have been avoided if companies heeded warnings sounded more than two years ago. Instead, authorities estimate over 2,000 people have been affected in the immediate area of the dam, with more than 600 people evacuated (many rescued by helicopter), hundreds left homeless, and dozens of people who are still unaccounted for feared dead.
For small farmers, climate change feels like “the sun is getting closer.” That’s what Ginette Hilaire says, and she goes on to describe the escalating droughts, floods and other climate events that she and her community are experiencing with new intensity. “The seasons have completely changed,” she added.
But Ginette and others in her Haitian community are not merely enduring these hardships. They are working to address the root causes, adapt to the changes and put forward workable solutions.
A new report exposes an ugly truth about advertising and deception that really comes as no surprise: Industrial food giants create and fund front organizations to conduct stealth public relations campaigns to downplay the dangers of chemical-intensive agriculture and undermine organic food.
Grassroots International is a member of the Climate Justice Alliance, a collaborative of over 35 community-based and movement support organizations uniting frontline communities to forge a scalable, and socio-economically just transition away from unsustainable energy towards local living economies to address the root causes of climate change. CJA has been developing a unified campaign – the Our Power Campaign – which launched the “Summer of Our Power” this weekend. Below is information about that campaign.