By Nikhil Aziz
February 11th, 2009
Climate Change is big business. Literally! Many corporations, including some of the worst polluters, are salivating at the prospects of potentially vast sums of money that could very well come their way in the name of saving the planet. Climate justice activists, including indigenous peoples, are rightly worried that in the rush to "save the planet" governments and international institutions (including the World Bank, for example) will once again put profits before people.
Photo courtesy of Sandra Yu, Detroiters for Environmental Justice
"I simply gotta march, my heart's a drummer; nobody, no, nobody is gonna rain on my parade!"
I remembered the lyrics of this song, first sung by Barbra Streisand I think, as we marched – some 100,000 of us – in a torrential downpour through the streets of Belém, at the mouth of the Amazon in the Brazilian state of Pará. It was the Opening March of the 2009 World Social Forum. Despite the rain, the enthusiasm of the crowds was contagious.
It has become clear that the numerous crises we face today are a result of disastrous global governance formulas that try to accommodate powerful interests, instead of addressing the real issues.
And these formulas are getting old. Discredited in the public eye, global institutions led by a handful of nations, and dominated by corporate agendas, are losing ground.
Nikhil Aziz, Grassroots International's Executive Director is in Brazil this week attending the World Social Forum (WSF), which is happening in Belem in the Amazon region of Brazil. For four days before the WSF our partner, the Landless Workers Movement (MST) did a special site visit to show international visitors including members of media the destruction that has been brought about by the agribusiness expansion in the Amazon region. They traveled through the southern part of Para state and saw the impacts of mining, logging and hydroelectric projects on the Amazon and its people.
The Union of Organizations of the Sierra Juarez of Oaxaca (UNOSJO) - a longtime partner of Grassroots International based in Mexico - denounced a recently conducted study in the Zapotec region by U.S. geography scholar Peter Herlihy. Prof. Herlihy failed to mention that he received funding from the Foreign Military Studies Office of the U.S. Armed Forces. The failure to obtain full, free and prior informed consent is a violation of the rights of indigenous communities as codified in the Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples adopted by the United Nations in 2007. In addition, UNOSJO fears that this in-depth geographical mapping of indigenous communities may be used in some harmful manner by the military.
October 16th, 2008
Grassroots International and the National Family Farm Coalition announce the release of a new popular education tool that can help you understand and fix the world food crisis: Food for Thought and Action: A Food Sovereignty Curriculum.
It's been said that "you are what you eat." In the face of a global food crisis, it's clear that we've been forced to swallow far more than what's on our plates. Our global food system is broken, with nearly a billion hungry people around the world and millions more forced from their failed farms as industrial agriculture privatizes and despoils our water, soil and biodiversity.
On September 28, 2009, Ecuadorians approved a new constitution that includes an article granting nature the right to "exist, persist, maintain and regenerate its vital cycles, structure, functions and its processes in evolution." The new constitution recognizes the right of all Ecuadorians to have access to sufficient resources to feed themselves in a sustainable manner with respect to cultural differences between people and communities. A priority is local food production, recognizing implicitly that the right to adequate food represents, among many things, the right of the small food producers, harvesters and fisherpeople to acquire appropriate resources and the right to rely on the laws, measures and programs that assist them in providing food.
Recently Grassroots International made a grant to the Indigenous Council of Roraima through Caritas Brasil in support of their struggle to gain legal recognition of the 6,500 square mile Raposa Serra do Sol indigenous territory, in Brazil’s northern Roraima state. In what may set a significant precedent, one of Brazil’s Supreme Court justices ruled in favor of the Indigenous Council.
Rome, Italy, 3 June 2008
Watch the video of the action in Rome!
Farmer and civil society leaders carrying out a peaceful action today in Rome, Italy at the FAO Summit on the Food Crisis were forcefully removed from the premises. At around 1:30pm farmers and representatives of civil society organisations staged an action at the press room to deliver a message that millions of additional people are joining the ranks of the hungry as the corporations that control the global food system are making record profits.
By International Forum on Globalization
September 14th, 2007
Victoria Tauli-Corpuz, indigenous Igarot activist from the Philippines and Chair of the UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues, stated: “The 13th of September 2007 will be remembered as an international human rights day for the Indigenous Peoples of the world, a day that the United Nations and its Member States, together with Indigenous Peoples, reconciled with past painful histories and decided to march into the future on the path of human rights.”