Celebrating our 20th Anniversary

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Photo of the Week: Chile Wildfires Six Years Later

Groups Call for Day of Action Following 2023 Wildfires in Chile

School in Chile
Deep in Wallmapu (Mapuche Territory-Chile): Paz, a school teacher, talks about the devastating impacts caused by loss of water in her community. Photo: langellephoto.org for Global Justice Ecology Project (2017)


22 March is World Water Day.


From 22-25 March 2017, Global Justice Ecology Project, OLCA-Chile and member groups from the Campaign to STOP GE Trees toured the Bio Bio and Araucanía regions of Chile to investigate the social and ecological impacts of industrial tree plantations in the region. These impacts included the loss of access to water in remote Mapuche communities whose ancestral lands were taken over for industrial tree plantations, and historically bad wildfires.


The 2017 wildfire season was the worst in the country’s history. The fires started in and were greatly exacerbated by industrial plantations of highly flammable and non-native eucalyptus and pine trees, combined with an historic drought and heatwave. It is estimated that eleven people were killed, 1,500 houses destroyed, thousands displaced and almost 300,000 hectares acres burned.


The delegation also spoke with residents like Paz, in remote Mapuche communities to investigate the impacts on water caused by these industrial tree plantations, some of which even surround Mapuche communities. The water-intensive plantations have caused a serious lack of water in these regions, with some communities that once had year-round water now having no water at all except what is brought in by trucks.


While the dire water situation only worsens with the expansion of the plantations, so does the problem of wildfires. In 2023, between 2 February and 4 March, 326,000 acres were burned by wildfires in the regions of Ñuble and Araucanía alone – causing multiple damages: loss of people and animals, loss of native forest, including flora and fauna, destruction of agricultural productions and devastation of communities.


Groups call for Day of Action Following 2023 Wildfires in Chile.


In response to this, Colectivo Viento SurEnvironmental Paper Network and Biofuelwatch have called for a Global Day of Action on 24 March 2023. For more information please see Wildfires in Chile – This is Our Story.


This year Global Justice Ecology Project is celebrating our 20th Anniversary.  As part of this year-long celebration, we will be posting photos by co-founder Orin Langelle, Director of Langelle Photography, documenting different aspects and achievements of GJEP over those 20 years, as well as photos from events and activities beginning 30 years ago in 1993 that led to the formation of Global Justice Ecology Project ten years later.


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