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May Day 2020 in Wallmapu – Updates and Insights from Chile’s Grassroots–With Alejandra Parra

In this MayDay episode of Terra Verde on KPFA, host Gary Graham Hughes interviews Alejandra Parra, a founding member of RADA, a Temuco-based grassroots environmental and community rights organization that works to stop the construction of incinerators.

Parra speaks on the current situation for social movements in Chile.

Rising Deforestation Threatens Brazil’s Amazon

Log pile at a Veracel eucalyptus plantation in Bahia, Brazil  Photo: Petermann

As deforestation surges, Brazil moves to weaken indigenous and environmental safeguards

Unearthed 29 April 2020

Lucy Jordan & Ana Terra Athayde

With attention focused on the escalating healthcare crisis in Brazil, the administration of Jair Bolsonaro is attempting to push through new rules which would weaken safeguards against the invasion of indigenous lands and the deforestation of the Amazon.

Despite the pandemic, congress may soon take a hasty online vote on legislation that would effectively hand over swathes of illegally seized and deforested land to large-scale illegal land-grabbers, while Brazil’s Indigenous agency Funai has slashed its protection for undemarcated indigenous lands.

The moves come as deforestation – and attacks on land belonging to indigenous communities – are soaring during the pandemic.

In March, while much of the rest of the country stayed at home, deforestation rose by 30% compared to the same month a year ago, according to the country’s space research agency, INPE. Deforestation alerts for the first three months of this year were 51% higher than last year, with an area roughly the size of New York City lost in those three months alone.

To read more visit Unearthed

Chevron’s Treatment of Environmental Lawyer= ‘Judicial Harassment’

Photo courtesy of Creative Commons

Nobel laureates condemn ‘judicial harassment’ of environmental lawyer

The Guardian 18 April 2020

Johnathan Watts

Twenty-nine Nobel laureates have condemned alleged “judicial harassment” by Chevron and urged the release of a US environmental lawyer who was put under house arrest for pursuing oil-spill compensation claims on behalf of indigenous tribes in the Amazon.

The open letter signed by scientists, authors, environmentalists and human rights activists said the treatment of lawyer Steven Donziger, whose movements have been restricted for more than 250 days, was one of the world’s most egregious cases of judicial harassment and defamation.

Donziger represents 30,000 indigenous people and small farmers who won a $9.5bn class action lawsuit against Chevron in Ecuadorean courts in 2013, as compensation for the contamination of their land by oil extraction activities

This judgment was one of the largest ever against an oil company, but not a cent of these damages has been paid to the plaintiffs. Chevron does not have assets in Ecuador and has successfully argued in US courts that the initial ruling was flawed. In other countries, courts have ruled that Ecuador does not have jurisdiction to claim damages.

To read more visit The Guardian

Antartica Records Unprecedented Heatwave

Antarctica: what it means when the coldest place on Earth records an unprecedented heatwave

The Guardian 30 Mar 2020

Dana M Bergstrom, Andrew Klekociuk, Diana King and Sharon Robinson for the Conversation

While the world rightfully focuses on the Covid-19 pandemic, the planet is still warming. This summer’s Antarctic weather, as elsewhere in the world, was unprecedented in the observed record.

Our research, published today in Global Change Biology, describes the recent heatwave in Antarctica. Beginning in late spring east of the Antarctic Peninsula, it circumnavigated the continent over the next four months. Some of our team spent the summer in Antarctica observing these temperatures and the effect on natural systems, witnessing the heatwave first hand.

Antarctica may be isolated from the rest of the continents by the Southern Ocean, but has worldwide impacts. It drives the global ocean conveyor belt, a constant system of deep-ocean circulation which transfers oceanic heat around the planet, and its melting ice sheet adds to global sea level rise.

Antarctica represents the simple, extreme end of conditions for life. It can be seen as a “canary in the mine”, demonstrating patterns of change we can expect to see elsewhere.

To read more visit The Guardian