Pressroom

GJEP’s Guide to International Day Against Monoculture Tree Plantations

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 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.

Photo: Langelle

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).

If companies like Suzano and Monsanto get their way, future plans for tree plantations will include use of genetically engineered (GE) trees. In the US right now the US Department of Agriculture is taking  a request by researchers for the unrestricted and unmonitored planting of the first genetically engineered forest tree.  This proposal must be stopped if we are going to prevent the onslaught of industrial GE tree plantations. https://stopgetrees.org/take-action/
It is critical that we stop the planned development of GE tree plantations that will intensify groundwater use and lead to hotter, more destructive and more deadly firestorms.

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

TimberWatch CoalitionThe Impact of Monoculture Tree Plantations in Africa (21 Sept 2020)

Take Action

Organizational Sign Ons
World Rainforest Movement
*Sign on by Saturday, 19 September 2020
Campaign to STOP GE Trees
*Sign on by Friday, 25 September 2020
Petition
Campaign to STOP GE Trees

Listen
Earth Radio Segments on Sojourner Truth with Margaret Prescod
*You can find all GJEP’s Earth Radio segments here

From the Archives

A photo essay from Langelle Photography. For Spanish click here
Interview with a militant of the MST /Entrevista com uma militante do MST (2017)
For the original GJEP post, including background on the interview click here

MST Women in Brazil Take Action Against Tree Plantations on International Women’s Day (2016)

CTNBio Meeting to Approve GE Trees Cancelled – FuturaGene Taken Over (2015)

About 1,000 women of the MST occupied the Suzano company (parent corporation to GE tree company Futuragene) in Itapetininga, Sao Paulo, Brazil.

10th Anniversary of the International Day of Action Against Monoculture Tree Plantations (2014)

“Plantations are not forests” Protest at the World Forestry Congress, Buenos Aires, Argentina, 2009 Photo: Petermann/GJEP-GFC

Timber Plantations Wreaking Havoc on Forests (2010)

Call for Solidarity After Paramilitaries Burn Zapatista Coffee Harvest in Chiapas

Zapatista commandante, La Realidad, Chiapas, Mexico. Photo: Langelle 1996 (photolangelle.org)

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

Dear friends,

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:

  1. Make a donation, no matter how small.
  2. Circulate this campaign far and wide.
  3. Read the articles below and stay informed.
  4. Organize with your friends and neighbors to pressure the Mexican government to stop the war on the Zapatistas. Please let us know if any actions or activities you create at zapatistasnoestansolxs@solidarityfrombelow.org and we will post them to www.solidarityfrombelow.org.
  5. If you did not receive this email from zapatistasnoestansolxs@gmail.com, write that email with the subject line “add me” and we’ll make sure you receive updates!

More information:

Luis Hernández Navarro: Arde Chiapas/ Chiapas on Fire

Gilberto López y Rivas: Alto a la guerra contra el EZLN! / Stop the War on the Zapatistas!

Sign-on letter in Rebelión: ¡Alto a las agresiones contra las y los zapatistas!

Context:

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@solidarityfrombelow.org!

Global Forest Coalition on REDD+: Has it been worth the money?

Photo: Langelle

New briefing explains the basics of REDD+ and why it’s so contentious

From Global Forest Coalition

It’s 15 years since the United Nations climate convention unveiled REDD (and then REDD+) as its much-hyped solution to carbon emissions from deforestation and forest degradation. Billions in public climate finance have been spent, but deforestation rates remain very high, particularly in the countries that have received the most finance.

Just last month, another 130 million dollars were awarded to Colombia and Indonesia by the Green Climate Fund (GCF) as a REDD+ “payment for results” achieved in recent years. However, Indigenous Peoples and other rightsholders are still being ignored or undermined in both countries, and there is a real risk that any progress will be canceled out by deforestation in other areas as land is cleared for the expansion of palm oil, mining and the extraction of other commodities.

The Global Forest Coalition’s new briefing (in English, Spanish and French) looks at where REDD+ has gone wrong and why it’s still such a controversial subject today. The briefing reflects on the impacts of such a widely-promoted and highly-financed “solution” to deforestation and climate change, and how, despite long-term opposition from many civil society groups and Indigenous Peoples’ Organisations in particular, it has failed to take a rights-based approach to climate finance.

REDD+ reduces complex forest ecosystems into one convenient value: the amount of carbon in trees. In doing so, it commodifies the key components of life that forest peoples depend on, handing control over forests and their use to powerful state and corporate actors. Community rights are protected on paper but not in practice, and in many cases, effective free, prior and informed consent (FPIC) and the meaningful participation of Indigenous Peoples, local communities and women are not prioritised.

With high levels of deforestation and forest degradation still being experienced across the globe and more and more evidence of conflicts and rights violations in REDD+ projects, equitable and effective alternatives to REDD+ that respect the rights, knowledge and practices of Indigenous Peoples and local communities must be given the support and protection they need.

Download the briefing: EnglishSpanish | French

From Global Forest Coalition

Zapatista Indigenous Governing Council statement on 8/22 attack by paramilitaries

Zapatista commandante, La Realidad, Chiapas, Mexico. Photo: Langelle 1996 (photolangelle.org)

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.

28 August, 2020 Chiapas, Mexico: Statement by the National Indigenous Congress-Indigenous Governing Council after paramilitary organization violently attacked Zapatista support bases

Originally published by National Indigenous Congress-Indigenous Governing Council.

 

To the peoples of Mexico and the world.

The Indigenous Government Council-Indigenous National Congress repudiate the cowardly attack by members of the paramilitary group called the Regional Organization of Coffee Growers of Ocosingo (ORCAO), who on Saturday August 22 around 11:00 in the morning robbed and burned the facilities from the Nuevo Amanecer del Arcoiris Trade Center, which is located in the place known as the Cuxuljá crossroad, Lucio Cabañas Autonomous Municipality, within the official municipality of Ocosingo, Chiapas.

The paramilitary organization ORCAO has maintained constant pressure on and violence against the Zapatista communities for years; as is the case of the Moises Gandhi Autonomous Municipality, to stop the autonomous organization and to privatize the lands that have cost the struggle and organization of the original peoples, who are Zapatista support bases. They have intimidated and threatened the compañeros and compañeras that from below bet on hope, such as the various attacks against compañeros of the National Indigenous Congress, who were violated and kidnapped by paramilitaries from ORCAO, the Chinchulines, and people from the MORENA party.

We denounce the war that, from above, is being deployed against the Zapatista communities’ organizing, at the same time that above the bad governments seek to impose, throughout the country, megaprojects of death that we oppose and will oppose, because we are not willing to give up our territories and allow the destruction promised by the powerful.

We hold the paramilitary organization ORCAO, the MORENA party, the state government, and the federal government responsible for these events.  They have not stopped sowing violence in the region in order to hit not only our sisters and brothers in the Zapatista communities, but to all the peoples who dream of fighting for life, of healing our mother earth and not letting her be privatized, so that the capitalist bosses and bad governments never return to the autonomous Zapatista territories, and may that light continue to flourish in the territories of the original peoples of the CNI-CIG and all of humanity.

We call on the compañeras y compañeros of support networks and networks of resistance and rebellion to speak out and mobilize against the war of extermination, which is dangerously sharpening against our sisters and brothers of the Zapatista peoples, who teach us to never stop sowing rebellion and hope.

To the peoples of Mexico and the world.

The Indigenous Government Council-Indigenous National Congress repudiate the cowardly attack by members of the paramilitary group called the Regional Organization of Coffee Growers of Ocosingo (ORCAO), who on Saturday August 22 around 11:00 in the morning robbed and burned the facilities from the Nuevo Amanecer del Arcoiris Trade Center, which is located in the place known as the Cuxuljá crossroad, Lucio Cabañas Autonomous Municipality, within the official municipality of Ocosingo, Chiapas.

The paramilitary organization ORCAO has maintained constant pressure on and violence against the Zapatista communities for years; as is the case of the Moises Gandhi Autonomous Municipality, to stop the autonomous organization and to privatize the lands that have cost the struggle and organization of the original peoples, who are Zapatista support bases. They have intimidated and threatened the compañeros and compañeras that from below bet on hope, such as the various attacks against compañeros of the National Indigenous Congress, who were violated and kidnapped by paramilitaries from ORCAO, the Chinchulines, and people from the MORENA party.

We denounce the war that, from above, is being deployed against the Zapatista communities’ organizing, at the same time that above the bad governments seek to impose, throughout the country, megaprojects of death that we oppose and will oppose, because we are not willing to give up our territories and allow the destruction promised by the powerful.

We hold the paramilitary organization ORCAO, the MORENA party, the state government, and the federal government responsible for these events.  They have not stopped sowing violence in the region in order to hit not only our sisters and brothers in the Zapatista communities, but to all the peoples who dream of fighting for life, of healing our mother earth and not letting her be privatized, so that the capitalist bosses and bad governments never return to the autonomous Zapatista territories, and may that light continue to flourish in the territories of the original peoples of the CNI-CIG and all of humanity.

We call on the compañeras y compañeros of support networks and networks of resistance and rebellion to speak out and mobilize against the war of extermination, which is dangerously sharpening against our sisters and brothers of the Zapatista peoples, who teach us to never stop sowing rebellion and hope.

Sincerely,

For the integral reconstitution of our peoples

Never Again a Mexico Without Us

National Indigenous Congress-Indigenous Governing Council

Militant Protests for Mumia Abu-Jamal / Burlington, VT / 25th Anniversary Photo Essay

Two protesters slammed to the asphalt by police as they tried to block President Blll Clinton and his motorcade from attending the National Governor’s Association conference in the Sheraton Hotel in Burlington, VT – Photo: Langelle (1995)


GJEP co-founders, Anne Petermann and Orin Langelle, were involved in the organizing of four days of militant protest in defense of political prisoner Mumia Abu-Jamalin in Burlington, Vermont on July 28-Aug 1, 1995


Burlington, VT – A coalition of groups demonstrated against the impending execution of award-winning journalist and political prisoner Mumia Abu-Jamal during the National Governors Association conference held in that city. The militant protests spanned five days from July 28th to August 1st, and were directed at Pennsylvania’s then Governor Tom Ridge, who signed the death warrant for Jamal. Jamal was to be executed August 17, 1995.  Ultimately the death warrant was rescinded and Abu-Jamal is still alive.  Ridge later became the Director of Homeland Security after September 11, 2001.

For the full photo essay visit: https://photolangelle.org/2020/08/8380/