Sustainable Livelihoods

Hurricane Noel Flooding Hurts Haiti’s Poorest Worst of All

Last week Hurricane Noel brought torrential rains and catastrophic floods to nearly the entire nation of Haiti, along with vast swaths of the rest of the Caribbean, Central America and Mexico. The terrible human cost of the storm in Haiti is only now becoming clear.

We need your donation today to help the people of Haiti recover from this disaster and rebuild their lives and their communities.

The hardest hit by this catasrophe are Haiti's poorest, who were already living on the edge of deadly poverty.

Stop Israeli Policy of Siege and Isolation of the Gaza strip

The Government of Israel continues to tighten the noose on the Palestinian People through imposing the economic closure on the Gaza Strip as a form of collective punishment. Israel has declared the Gaza Strip "a hostile entity," and is beginning to translate this declaration into practical steps; for example, Israel doesn't permit any access to raw materials, so 85% of Gaza manufacturing business has been closed down with over 35,000 workers laid off. An additional 35,000 workers have been laid off from other sectors including construction, trade and service sectors. All imports and exports remain blocked while few basic materials are allowed to enter the Strip. Medical supplies are lacking in the hospitals which reduces hospitals' capacity to treat patients.

Senate to Vote on Local Food Aid in Farm Bill Next Week

We have some exciting news to share.

Your voice was heard in the U.S. Senate.

The Farm Bill, scheduled to be voted on by the full Senate next week, includes funding for a $25 million pilot project for locally-sourced food aid for hungry people around the world.

We want to thank you for your support of this crucial legislation.

This is a big win.

At the last minute, Senator Pat Roberts (KS-R) threatened to call an amendment that would have squashed the pilot project. Thanks to the support of activists like you, this program that will offer support to family farmers around the world and improve our ability to feed the hungry is alive.

Protestor Assasinated During Direct Action in Brazil

Private security forces hired by the multinational agribusiness Syngenta shot and killed Valmir Motta de Olivera, a leader of the Landless Workers Movement (MST) and the Via Campesina during a direct action protest on Sunday, Oct 21 in the southern Brazilian state of Paraná. Eight other protestors were wounded in the attack. The landless workers were occupying the site, where Syngenta runs field trials for genetically modified seeds. The land borders an ecologically important national park area, and the Via have proposed that the land be developed instead as a center for agroecology and creole seed production.

Days of Action

Today is Blog Action Day and more than 15,000 bloggers with a combined reach of more than 12 million subscribers are joining forces to blog about the environment. 

Tomorrow is World Food Day, a day created by the UN's Food and Agriculture Organization, a day that's dedicated to bringing awareness to the struggles of the 800 million people who go hungry every day. Thousands of people around the world will take action to fight hunger.

It's too bad these two days didn't coincide, because so many of the problems related to hunger are environmental, and so many of the solutions are ecological.

The ABCs of Rainforest Destruction

The Rainforest Action Network (RAN) officially launched their new Rainforest Agribusiness campaign this week, targeting ADM, Bunge and Cargill (ABC) for the role they are playing in the massive expansion of soy and palm oil plantations throughout the world. Global South movements including our partners in the Via Campesina are doing similar campaigns in various parts of the world.

Congress Urged to Ditch Energy Bill Renewable Fuel Standard

WASHINGTON -- Congressional leaders are being urged by environmental, family farmer, and social justice organizations to ensure that a radical biofuels provision passed by the Senate be left out of final energy legislation under consideration this fall.

In a letter being sent to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid today, the groups warn that the massive Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) passed by the Senate earlier this year could lead to significant environmental and social harm. The RFS would mandate the use of 36 billion gallons of biofuel by 2022, a five-fold increase over current levels.

Biofuels: The Beautiful Dream and the Painful Reality

In the last month or so, magazines as diverse as the venerable National Geographic and the next-gen Wired have featured stories about the almost magical properties of industrial-scale agrofuel production, claiming that biofuels will lift the rural poor out of misery by providing high-paying jobs, reversing global warming and ending war in the Middle East.

Agrarian Reform and Peasant and Women's Leadership Strengthened at the Francisco Morazan Central America Peasant School

It is my seventh day traveling around Central America and I have filled many, many pages with notes. As much as I want to know, it is impossible to absorb so much information and history in a week. Conversations here are a rich experience often sprinkled with bountiful details of local and Latin American history.

Over the last two days, I have been participating as an observer in the Central American Regional Conference on Agrarian Reform of the Via Campesina at the Francisco Morazan Central American Peasant School, named after the 19th century Central American leader who tried to create a united, progressive Central America.

Central America's Women Fighting Oppression

[In September 2007, Saulo Araujo, our Global Programs Assistant, is visiting our partners in Mesoamerica. He'll be reporting back about resource rights and food sovereignty issues in the region. This is the first of a series of three articles. --Ed.]

As I waited for my flight to El Salvador on Tuesday, I decided to browse the newspapers for news about the election in Guatemala and saw a small blurb about the defeat of Rigoberta Menchu. The newspaper article reads that Rigoberta Menchu, a Nobel Peace Prize laureate, received only 3% of the valid ballots in last Sunday's presidential election in Guatemala.