Woman with the Organization of Rural Women Workers protests Monsanto’s GMO seeds during a march in Curitiba, Brazil. Photo: Petermann (2006)
Note: For decades, rural women around the world have been on the front lines of the battles to stop the toxic and deadly impacts of both GMO monocultures and industrial tree plantations. Now, with the resurgence of the corporate effort to promote development of industrial plantations of genetically engineered (GE or genetically modified) trees in rural areas around the world, women are once again going to be forced to take a stand to stop this threat to their communities and the forests and ecosystems they depend on. Here in the United States, GE tree proponents are promoting the USDA deregulation of the genetically engineered American chestnut tree. If approved, this GE tree designed to be released into forests with no monitoring or oversight, would open the door to future approvals of GE trees designed for industrial tree plantations.
To stand up to the GE tree industry and take action to protect forests and communities around the world from the menace of GE tree visit https://stopgetrees.org/take-action/
15 October 2020
October 15th marks International Day of Rural Women. Today, along with eight of our member groups, we are celebrating the role and invaluable contributions of women and girls all around the world towards protecting forests and biodiversity, producing healthy and sustainable food and providing for their families and communities.
However, rural women are still among the most vulnerable and marginalized groups, showing that there is much work to be done in the struggle for gender equality. As our member groups show, women are self-organizing to overcome these challenges, demand their rights and bridge the gender gap. At the same time, they are contributing to the well-being of their communities and the ecosystems they depend on, as well as the planet overall.
The photographs and descriptions below are a brief glimpse into the inspiring work that our member groups have been leading through the Women2030 programme. Over the past five years, Women2030 has worked with partners all over the world to build the capacity and strength of women’s rights organizations to advance local, national and regional gender-responsive sustainable development policies.
To view the full photo-essay from Global Forest Coalition click here.
The Biscuit (1990)
Woman with monkey wrench atop buried Chevrolet Biscayne, nicknamed “The Biscuit,” in a car blockade of the Fairview timber sale in the Shawnee. The car blocked the entrance to the Shawnee National Forest during the EF! occupation. The car blockade was a replica of a photo taken during the then-ongoing “Oka Crisis.”
July 11-Sept. 26, 1990
By Alex Q. Arbuckle
“In the summer of 1990, long-simmering tensions among the First Nations of Canada reached a flash point around the Kanesatake Mohawk reservation 30 miles west of Montreal.
The reservation was surrounded by the town of Oka, which was preparing to build a members-only golf course and luxury condo development on a pine grove and cemetery where many Mohawk families’ ancestors were buried. The Mohawk had been contesting the Canadian claim to these sacred lands for centuries, but the courts rejected their attempts.
A determined group of Mohawk protesters finally took matters into their own hands, erecting a protest camp and barricades on the road to the proposed development site.”
Logging devastation in Mapuche Territory, Chile. Photo: Langelle/GJEP 2004
The Hill 23 Sept 2020
The bodies are still being counted. The land is still burning. Yet Big Timber is wasting no time greasing the wheels in Congress for another round of profiteering from the staggering community losses in the West.
In a recent op-ed published on The Hill, the author repeats tired old myths about logging, wildfires and climate change that science has thoroughly debunked but which serve logging corporations well. What the author fails to mention is that timber companies promote salvage logging on federal lands because it gives them an opportunity to buy top quality logs at heavily discounted fire-sale prices. Taxpayers and Forest Service revenues take the loss.
Logging makes fires worse, not better. One of the most fateful management choices Congress and our federal forest agencies made in the past was to allow logging corporations free reign on public lands to take the biggest, oldest, most fire-resistant trees with them and leave behind flammable piles of slash, dense plantations of young trees and networks of logging roads that would stretch from here to the moon and halfway back. With these roads come more human-sparked fires from logging equipment, irresponsible campers, gunfire and fireworks. Ninety percent of wildland fires are human caused and this labyrinth of logging roads provides the conduit.
To read more visit The Hill
Burned eucalyptus plantation in the community Manquo in Florida, in the zone of the wildfires near Concepción, Chile
Monday, 21 September marks the International Day of Struggle Against Monoculture Tree Plantations. Global Justice Ecology Project has compiled a list of resources to help stop the advance of tree plantations internationally and nationally. Massive tree plantations are falsely promoted as a solution to both climate change and our dependence on quickly depleting fossil fuels. However, tree plantations coupled with accelerating climate change and poor forest management practices are creating apocalyptic fire conditions. As we watch with horror the historic fires engulfing California and the Pacific Northwest, we are reminded of the devastation experienced by rural communities globally due to vast monoculture timber plantations.
GJEP was part of an expedition in Chile in 2017 that witnessed and documented the aftermath of the worst fires in the country’s history. These fires were fueled by eucalyptus and pine plantations, combined with drought and heat waves. As in the US, these fires wiped out entire communities and burned huge areas of native forest. That same year, in Spain and Portugal, similar conditions led to historic wildfires and firestorms in explosively flammable eucalyptus plantations, killing dozens.
Today peasants in Brazil are being attacked and their villages burned to make room for future timber plantations by companies like Suzano, a company in Brazil actively pursing GE trees for plantations (see sign on letter below).
The first step to stopping this disaster is keeping the door shut to GE trees. GE trees have never been approved in the US and we must ensure they never are. For more information visit https://stopgetrees.org/take-action/
Webinars on the Impacts of Industrial tree plantations on women, forests, water and communities
From the Archives
Timber Plantations Wreaking Havoc on Forests (2010)
Building with Zapatista murals in Amador Hernandez. Photo: Langelle
Note: Global Justice Ecology Project has always stood in solidarity with the Zapatista autonomous communities in and around the Selva Lacandona in Chiapas, Mexico. In 1996 GJEP co-founder Orin Langelle traveled to La Realidad, home to the headquarters of the Zapatistas, in Chiapas for the First North American encuentro. Prior to that GJEP co-founders Petermann and Langelle organized to stop the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), which the Zapatistas called a “death sentence for the Indigenous Peoples of Mexico.” When NAFTA went into effect on January 1, 1994, the Zapatistas rose up and took over many of the municipalities in Southeastern state of Chiapas. They created autonomous zones that continue to function to this day.
Originally published by Autonomy Solidarity Organization
Two weeks ago in Zapatista territory, paramilitaries linked to the ruling party in Mexico looted and burned two Zapatista warehouses which stored this year’s coffee harvest. This is the latest in an accelerating series of attacks on the Zapatista project since the current administration of Andrés Manuel López Obrador (AMLO) took office.
Many of you will remember that in 2017 as Trump took office, the Zapatistas sent four tons of their coffee harvest to migrant and other communities in struggle in the United States as an organizing resource. Now we need to organize our own coffee solidarity effort—not only to help recover the cost of the lost harvest, but to show there is widespread solidarity with the Zapatista project.
The Zapatistas have been one of few voices to denounce AMLO’s purportedly “progressive” government for doubling down on previous administrations’ socially and environmentally destructive capitalist mega-projects. These policies have dispossessed hundreds of thousands of their land and resources and made indigenous and other communities resisting such projects the target of state and paramilitary repression. It is important to note that one of the principal investors in these mega-projects is the world’s largest financial firm, BlackRock [more information below].
Support the Zapatista project, a project that has not only created a horizon of dignified self-organization that has inspired all of us, but also shown profound and far-reaching solidarity with our own struggles. Solidarity means acting from the knowledge that in the face of destruction and dispossession, our best resource is each other!
Show your support:
Sign-on letter in Rebelión: ¡Alto a las agresiones contra las y los zapatistas!
Despite the unfolding of multiple crises in Mexico around the pandemic response and economic shutdown of 2020, the purportedly “progressive” López Obrador administration has accelerated the capital-intensive and resource extraction-based megaprojects that have been lurching along since the late 1980s amidst the fierce resistance of indigenous peoples and other organized communities against the ecological destruction, population displacement, and territorial re-ordering they imply.
The Zapatistas and the National Indigenous Congress warned early on that the AMLO’s mega-project makeover (the same projects under a different name) would threaten not only their own self-governing communities, but any remaining alternatives to the capitalist destruction that has ceded half the national territory to multinational mining companies, spawned narco-paramilitary forces all over the country to clear coveted territories of community resistance, and made Mexico the most violent country in the world.
Indeed, AMLO’s administration has prioritized precisely those projects affecting southern Mexico—the tourist “Mayan Train” that would penetrate the forests, bioreserves, and indigenous territories of Campeche, Yucatán, Quintana Roo, and Chiapas; the “Trans-oceanic Corridor” which will harness and industrialize the Isthmus of Tehuantepec in Oaxaca to connect the Pacific Ocean and the Gulf of Mexico; and the conversion of collective landholdings and the biodiverse forests of the southeast into sites of agro-industrial production.
We must note here that barely a year ago, the Zapatistas unexpectedly announced the creation of 7 new caracoles (centers of self-government, of which there were already 5) and 11 new Centers of Autonomous Zapatista Rebellion and Resistance (in addition to the 27 already existing autonomous municipalities),making a total of 43 self-governing entities in the state of Chiapas.
As of the 2019 deployment of AMLO’s newly formed National Guard, Chiapas is now the most militarized state in the country. Then in May of this year, López Obrador authorized the presence of the military on the streets of Mexico for the next five years to take charge of “domestic security”. The counter-insurgency role inherent in this deployment has been accompanied by the increase in paramilitary activity which, in Chiapas and elsewhere, plays the ground game of looting and burning, harassing and terrorizing local communities in the attempt to dismantle the social fabric which sustains collective resolve and resistance. In a clear attempt to further militarize the situation, a new wave of coordinated slander against the Zapatistas has hit Mexico’s airwaves, attempting to tie the EZLN to organized crime—a preposterous claim that would be laughable were its aim not the violent elimination of tens of thousands of Zapatistas for the benefit of the “Mayan Train’s” primary investor and the world’s largest financial firm, BlackRock. Not coincidentally, the construction contract for the section of the “Mayan Train” that is to run through Chiapas was granted to the army itself.
The López Obrador government dreams of pulling off what neither the administrations of the far-right PAN nor the institutionalized mafia of the PRI could: the destruction of the largest anti-capitalist resistance in the Americas that has worked ceaselessly below and to the left to create an example of a different world where we can all decide what life is for and create the organization and infrastructure to sustain it.
Help keep the Zapatista resistance alive—we all need them as a light and a source of courage for our own emerging struggles, fighting to come up through the cracks of a collapsing capitalism.
Make a donation, circulate this information, read the linked articles above, organize with your friends and neighbors, and let us know of any activities you organize at zapatistasnoestansolxs@