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By Lydia Simas
May 6th, 2016
Berta Cáceres – indigenous, environmental, and human rights defender and fierce feminist who was assassinated in Honduras on March 3rd, 2016 – was, among so many other things, a mother in resistance. She inherited this from her mother, who was an inspiration to her, and she passed this down to her own daughters and son.
Berta’s mother, Austra Bertha Flores Lopez, worked as a midwife and served as mayor of their town and then governor of their state. She taught her daughter about fighting for justice from the time she was a child. During the period of intense violence of the 1980s, Austra took in and cared for refugees from El Salvador, showing her children what real solidarity looks like.
This month Grassroots International has been able to make several grants to movements in Honduras that are organizing in response to the assassination of Berta Cáceres, an indigenous environmental leader who was killed on March 3. Plus, we’ve added our voice (and thousands more!) to calls for justice for Berta and her community – and several financiers have pulled out of the controversial dam project threatening the Lenca peoples’ sacred and beloved Gualcarque River.
Indigenous Peoples, women, youth, and diverse grassroots groups around the world have the solutions to our global climate crisis. The Grassroots Climate Solutions Fund finances and amplifies these solutions—to ensure a brighter future for us all.
“We are thrilled to join with sister foundations and move more funding and support to grassroots solutions to climate change,” says Chung-Wha Hong, Executive Director of Grassroots International. “Together our complementary strengths and common resolve can have a greater impact by supporting powerful, community-led and globally minded solutions.”
The Need for Grassroots Solutions
Over the last several weeks, I’ve come to see that solidarity can be a gritty, challenging, dig-deep-into-your-spirit kind of thing. But above all that, solidarity can be dangerous, and it matters.
On Thursday, March 17 movement organizations in Honduras showed the world – and most especially the Honduran government – what solidarity looks like. Fierce. Smart. Unrelenting.
This year Grassroots International is dedicating International Women’s Day – March 8 – to Berta Cáceres, courageous indigenous Lenca leader and coordinator of the Civic Council of Indigenous People’s Organizations in Honduras (COPINH).
Just days ago we learned that Berta was assassinated in her home. A leader in the Lenca community, Berta helped organize a powerful movement to stop the construction of the Agua Zarca dam and to protect the Gualcarque river basin. For more than a year the Lenca people maintained a human blockade to stop trucks from entering the dam construction site and thus halted its construction.
Last night indigenous rights leader and social justice warrior Berta Cáceres was murdered in her home in Honduras. This follows weeks of mounting threats and years of violence and aggression targeting indigenous peoples, women, small farmers and environmental activists in Honduras and throughout Central America.
What We Celebrate from Paris: 14 Moments and Connections for a Stronger Global Climate Justice Movement
In a previous blog, we shared our critiques of the Paris climate agreement, and analysis of what took place. In this photo blog, we share some of the moments and lessons that demonstrate what Grassroots International celebrates from what took place in Paris – the clarity and strength of social movements on the frontlines of the climate crisis, and in the forefront of struggle to expose false solutions and promote real solutions to achieve climate justice. We were honored to be in that space with our Global South partners, US and other international allies, making connections across geographies and issues – these relationships are a key part of what it will take to heal and cool the planet, while developing deep resilience to the shocks and slides to come.
By Simone Adler and Beverly Bell
January 6th, 2016
Everybody originated with indigenous ways of living and the way of Mother Earth.
The real role of women is in the seed. It is the women who harvest, select, store, and plant seeds. Our seeds come from our mothers and our grandmothers. To us, the seed is the symbol of the continuity of life. Seed is not just about the crops. Seed is about the soil, about the water, and about the forest.
When we plant our seeds, we don’t just plant them anytime or anywhere. We listen to our elders, who teach us about the ecological calendar. The seed follows this natural ecological flow. When it bears another seed, that one is planted and the cycle continues.
If you cut the cycle of the seed, you cut the cycle of life.
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.
After two years of deliberation, the Inter-American Court of Human Rights recently issued two judgements declaring the State of Honduras responsible for the violation of collective ownership rights and the lack of judicial protection in a case brought before them by a Grassroots International partner. The ruling extends protection to Garifuna (Afro-descendant) and indigenous people across the country.
In keeping with the tenet of Free, Prior and Informed Consent, the Court stated that “Regarding the right to consultation and cultural identity, the Court considered that the consultation must be applied prior to any exploration project that may affect the traditional lands of the indigenous and tribal communities."