Paraguayan Student Activist Speaks at UVM

For Immediate Release
September 30, 2008

Student Activist from Paraguay to Speak with Youth at the University of Vermont on Resistance Against Ecological and Social Exploitation in the Global South

Burlington, VT–Leticia Galeano, an active member of Movimiento Agrario y Popular of Paraguay will speak at UVM about her community’s organized resistance to exploitation by soy agribusiness. The event will be held this Friday, October 3 at 7 p.m. at the Livak Ballroom (Room 417-419) in the UVM Davis Center.

The central discussion, “Agriculture as Activism” will begin with Ms. Galeano sharing her direct experiences with the violence and forced displacement that has resulted from the expansion of the genetically engineered (GE) soy industry in Paraguay, as well as her community’s initiatives to secure food sovereignty through local, independent, and sustainable agriculture.

Ms. Galeano is visiting Vermont as a part of a larger tour throughout the U.S. with Rainforest Action Network to raise awareness about the increasing militarization of Paraguay and the role of agribusiness in these so-called ‘soy bean wars’ that threaten her community and many others.

Youth for Ecology Liberation!, a new Vermont-based youth organization, is hosting this discussion as the headliner to their kick-off event here in Burlington.  The discussion is free and open to the public.  Ben Dangl and April Howard of Toward Freedom Magazine and Upside Down World and Anne Petermann of Global Justice Ecology Project will present on how the forces of globalization have favored unsustainable industrial agriculture practices and how these can be challenged.  There will be an open discussion after the speakers.

The evening will also include a free give-away of seeds donated by High Mowing Seeds to encourage participants to start their own gardens in solidarity with the local and sustainable agriculture movement.

Frank Smecker, Youth for Ecology Liberation!’s founder said: “This is our kick-off event. YEL! is calling for an end to corporate greed and government complacency. Youth must be empowered to advance holistic approaches that help stop climate change and resist corporate profit-oriented false solutions like carbon trading, agrofuels, nuclear power, and ‘clean coal.'”  YEL! aims to spread awareness and help create a culture of understanding from which just and sustainable solutions can originate.

Dr. Rachel Smolker, from Global Justice Ecology Project underscores the importance of YEL!’s vision:  “Unfortunately there are a number of dangerous ‘false solutions’ to climate change which are nothing less than corporations profiting off the crisis we are faced with. It is critical that we distinguish between these and the real solutions that exist, and make the right choices. Educating and empowering youth is critical because they have more at stake.”

Ms. Galeano’s presentation will begin this new youth educational effort for YEL! and promises to be an exciting evening focused on strategies to empower youth to fight climate change.  YEL! http://www.youthforecology.org is an affiliate of Global Justice Ecology Project  http://www.globaljusticeecology.org.

This event is also sponsored by the Will Miller Social Justice Lecture Series and Students for Peace and Global Justice.

For more information, contact:
–Orin Langelle, Global Justice Ecology Project, Hinesburg, VT tel: 802-482-2689
mobile: 802-578-6980
–Colette Oesterle, Global Justice Ecology Project, Hinesburg, VT tel: 802-482-2689
mobile:  517-449-3978, <mailto:colette@globaljusticeecology.org>colette@globaljusticeecology.org
–Andrea Samulon, Rainforest Action Network, San Francisco, CA
mobile: 415-283-9503 <mailto:andrea@ran.org>andrea@ran.org

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