Latest spill increases worries about Canada’s Trans Mountain pipeline

June 16, 2020 by  
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A major spill last Saturday has renewed Canadians’ worries about the Trans Mountain pipeline. Up to 50,000 gallons of crude oil flooded Sumas First Nation’s land in Abbotsford, British Columbia, spilling over an aquifer that supplies the community’s drinking water . “We cannot continue to have our land desecrated by oil spills,” Sumas First Nation Chief Dalton Silver said in a statement issued by the Union of British Columbia Indian Chiefs (UBCIC). This is the fourth spill on his community’s land in 15 years. Related: Dakota Access Pipeline placed under environmental review The cause is still under investigation, but may be connected with a fitting on a piece of pipe attached to the main line, Trans Mountain said in a statement . “Clean-up is well underway with trucks and crews working around the clock,” the company said. “The free-standing oil has been recovered and is being transported to an approved facility for disposal. The site has permanent groundwater monitoring in place and air monitoring continues. Monitoring has not identified any risk to the public or community.” While the company claimed to be working with Indigenous communities on cleanup, Silver told CityNews 1130 that Trans Mountain had not updated him about restarting the pipeline’s operation. “That they’re up and running Sunday afternoon, my sister just read that to me off her phone. That was the first I heard of it, so there you go with the openness and transparency,” Silver said. “I would really rather hear it from those at the incident command post.” Environmentalists and many First Nations communities oppose plans to triple the capacity of the pipeline, which carries oil from Alberta to the Pacific coast. They worry about threats to Indigenous sovereignty and clean water supplies. Increased tanker traffic could also harm already endangered orcas. “We conducted our own assessment of Trans Mountain using leading science and Tsleil-Waututh’s Indigenous law that concluded that oil spills are inevitable, can’t be fully cleaned up, and have devastating effects,” Chief Leah George-Wilson of Tsleil-Waututh Nation said in the UBCIC statement. “This most recent spill is another reminder that the risk is too great to accept. The Trans Mountain pipeline has already spilled more than 80 times since it began operating. This is why we continue to fight the Trans Mountain Expansion in the courts.” Via EcoWatch Image via Jim Black

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Latest spill increases worries about Canada’s Trans Mountain pipeline

It’s time to prioritize the survival of indigenous people, the world’s forest stewards

June 2, 2020 by  
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It’s time to prioritize the survival of indigenous people, the world’s forest stewards Carol Goodstein Tue, 06/02/2020 – 00:00 Hunting and gathering for food is taking on a whole new meaning of late. The ever-lengthening line at my local Whole Foods starts to wrap around the outside of the store before 7 a.m., as socially distanced shoppers — securely donned in gloves, masks and even plastic face shields — wait nervously to scavenge for their week’s worth of essentials along with their COVID-19 indulgences: the extra bars of Hu chocolates and Enjoy Life cookies, in my family’s case. We once thought of foraging as an activity engaged in only by our very remote ancestors and distant “primitive” people. But the spread of COVID-19 has heightened the subsistence survival instinct in all of us. In a way, we are not so dissimilar from “primitive” people in places such as the Amazon Basin as we might have thought.  And now, we’re all vulnerable to the same pandemic virus. Only with virtually no resistance, no access to medical treatment and a government that condones the deforestation and development of their lands, it’s far worse for indigenous people. Companies and consumers everywhere have a role to play. In fact, COVID-19 has created an opportunity for companies to be more cognizant and compassionate in their approach — more aware of the direct and indirect responsibility for the impact they have on people in places where they operate. So as the spread of COVID sickens and kills front-line workers in meat-packing plants across the country and suppliers are forced to curtail operations — leaving the meat section of local supermarkets looking, well, a little lean — what about the places where this meat comes from, namely Brazil, which according to the USDA is the world’s largest beef exporter? Tribal people living in the Amazon Basin have been made even more vulnerable to the virus by the recent uptick in deforestation. While many companies are doing right by their workers in U.S. plants, why not — in the spirit of cognizant corporate citizenship, stakeholder accountability and stewardship, let alone brand reputation — help to protect people in Brazil that are not only particularly vulnerable to the virus but whose very survival is directly linked to the protection of forests?  While the current pandemic may be overwhelming America’s medical system, killing our healthcare workers, tanking our economy and generally frying our collective nerves, the indigenous people of Brazil — the country from which a lot of our meat as well as the soy used to feed farm animals is produced — have virtually no access to healthcare, let alone hand sanitizer. President Jair Bolsonaro, along with slashing funding mandated to protect indigenous rights and proposing to open up oil and gas exploration and hydropower development on indigenous territories, effectively eliminated the availability of rural healthcare by driving out the thousands of Cuban healthcare providers who used to service indigenous communities prior to his presidency. As the nationwide death toll in Brazil soars above 11,000 and reliable data on indigenous infections and deaths is hard to come by, a recent survey by the Brazilian Indigenous Peoples’ Association found the virus has reached 38 groups in the country with 446 cases of the new coronavirus and 92 deaths reported as of mid-May, mainly in the Brazilian Amazon. Tribal people living in the Amazon Basin have been made even more vulnerable to the virus by the recent uptick in deforestation, up by nearly 64 percent in April, compared to the same month last year, according to data from Brazil’s National Institute for Space Research. Last month alone, more than 156 square miles of rainforest were destroyed — an area about the size of Philadelphia. While indigenous people are locking down like the rest us, when they do, their lands are left even more vulnerable to brazen land grabbing, which also has been alarmingly on the rise.  Well before the pandemic, Bolsonaro made no secret of his intention to open the Amazon to increased economic activity, and he’s been determined since the start of his time in office not to let indigenous tribes stand in his way. As he said, “They don’t work. They don’t bring in money for Brazil, only burdens.” Meanwhile, Bolsonaro has downplayed the effects of the virus even more than other presidents, describing it as a “little flu” and a trifling “cold” and accused the media of manufacturing “hysteria.” Emboldened by Bolsonaro’s stance, indigenous leaders have been targeted in increasing numbers over the past year — even before the outbreak of the virus. Last year, there were at least 10 documented indigenous murders, as Bolsonaro effectively has declared open season on indigenous peoples who stand in the way of economic expansion, writ deforestation. While the Bolsonaro administration has made its dismissive if not genocidal attitude toward indigenous people patently clear, agribusinesses operating in Brazil could, just for example, step in. The opportunity to display corporate social responsibility has taken on new urgency as indigenous leaders call out these businesses as culprits in the ravaging of their lands and families. “What we are asking from the multinationals is that they not buy commodities that cause deforestation and conflict and that are produced on indigenous lands. We are also demanding that bilateral trade agreements … demand respect for indigenous rights and ensure there are no products linked to deforestation coming into their countries,” declared Dinamam Tuxá , coordinator and legal adviser to the Association of Indigenous Peoples of Brazil. While a number of soy and beef producing companies have set time-bound targets for eliminating deforestation from their supply chains, deforestation continues to escalate.  Shoppers at Sam’s Club, Safeway and Target may notice a paucity of meat at their local megastores, but all of us have a collective responsibility to protect the indigenous people who help to protect lands and species on which we all depend.  In addition to banning, or at least dramatically reducing deforestation, why don’t companies, while they’re at it, support communities who know a thing or two not only about hunting and gathering but about protecting the lungs of our world? Pull Quote Tribal people living in the Amazon Basin have been made even more vulnerable to the virus by the recent uptick in deforestation. Topics Forestry COVID-19 Equity & Inclusion Featured in featured block (1 article with image touted on the front page or elsewhere) Off Duration 0 Sponsored Article Off

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It’s time to prioritize the survival of indigenous people, the world’s forest stewards

In 2020, Make Climate Change Personal

January 8, 2020 by  
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Author of award-winning book, The Four Sacred Gifts: Indigenous Wisdom … The post In 2020, Make Climate Change Personal appeared first on Earth911.com.

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In 2020, Make Climate Change Personal

Maven Moment: Traditions to Banish Bad Luck for the New Year

January 8, 2020 by  
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It is an old tradition in southern Italy to celebrate … The post Maven Moment: Traditions to Banish Bad Luck for the New Year appeared first on Earth911.com.

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Maven Moment: Traditions to Banish Bad Luck for the New Year

10 years after: the view from here, standing on the shoulders of giants

June 26, 2018 by  
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Revisiting the relevance of a world view based on respect for this planet and future generations in an age that continues to revere and depend on technology, the indigenous leaders who were involved with Hawaii’s initial clean energy and sustainability ambitions “talk story” about what’s happened over the past decade and offer their candid recommendations on what still needs to change. 

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10 years after: the view from here, standing on the shoulders of giants

Land fight could give tens of thousands of US Native Americans rights in Canada

February 22, 2018 by  
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A land battle in British Columbia could afford indigenous people residing in the United States rights in Canada . Rick Desautel, an American citizen who identifies as Sinixt, shot an elk in Canada 40 miles north of the border, and the British Columbian government decided to bring charges to court. While they lost an appeal in December, they filed papers last month to appeal again — but The Guardian said the fight could have the unintended consequence of giving Native Americans new rights . In 2010, Desautel shot an elk, dressed it, and packed the meat to his hunting camp in the western Canada forests. He called in the hunt to local conservation officers, and as a conservation officer himself, knew he’d receive tickets as an American citizen without permits to hunt in British Columbia, and then thought they’d be dropped. But the British Columbia government instead decided to take the charges to court. Over eight years, Desautel battled to show his indigenous heritage and right to hunt in the territory of his ancestors before country borders were drawn, according to The Guardian. Related: Tired of red tape, indigenous leaders are creating their own climate fund The Canadian government said the Sinixt First Nation went extinct in 1955, but Desautel identifies as one of the peoples whose territory once sprawled from Washington state into southern British Columbia. In March 2017, the court affirmed Desautel’s right to hunt in Canada and, according to The Guardian “restored the Sinixt’s legal status.” The British Columbia government seems to want to keep fighting with their appeals. But this case could have unexpected consequences. According to The Guardian, experts think the Desautel ruling might apply to tens of thousands of people living in America, giving them hunting and fishing rights in Canada. The Guardian said the British Columbia supreme court made the case about the border when they determined Desautel didn’t need to be a Canadian resident to be given hunting rights. The outlet said the United States-Canada border has acted as a barrier to recognizing the traditional lands of indigenous people. Desautel said of the border, “It cuts off my relationship to my ancestors. I can go just as far as the border. After that, [the government] says I have no more past.” Via The Guardian Images via Depositphotos and Wikimedia Commons

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Land fight could give tens of thousands of US Native Americans rights in Canada

UNStudios striking Paris cultural center contorts for optimal daylight

February 22, 2018 by  
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UNStudio has unveiled competition-winning designs for Centre Culturel DédiéAu 7è Art, a new cultural center that eschews traditional building forms for a twisted, sculptural shape. The eye-catching building, which comprises a cinema and “cultural laboratory,” will become part of EuropaCity , a £2.74 billion tourism and leisure district masterplanned by BIG . Terraced green roofs will top UNStudio’s design to provide thermal insulation, while visually complementing BIG’s “rolling hills” next door. Clad in weathering steel , Centre Culturel is made up of three interconnected volumes that project into different directions. UNStudio describes the design as “a cinema that is designed to go beyond the black box by becoming interactive, social and above all, accessible.” To that end, the architects embrace both an indoor traditional cinema as well as outdoor screens placed on the side of the building and on the rooftop terraces. Restaurants, cafes, and panoramic views can also be enjoyed from the landscaped roofs. Related: BIG Unveils Winning Plans for Massive Green-Roofed Europa City Outside of Paris Film genres will dictate the organization of each of Centre Culturel DédiéAu 7è Art’s three volumes, which will also contain training and production studios. The center’s location and angular rooflines will be optimized for daylighting conditions. Wind studies will also inform the shape of the building. + UNStudio Via Dezeen UNStudio design images by Flying Architecture , EuropaCity masterplan by BIG

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UNStudios striking Paris cultural center contorts for optimal daylight

This breezy bamboo amphitheater pops up in just 25 days

February 22, 2018 by  
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A beautiful bamboo amphitheater has risen in the lush tropics of Rio de Janeiro. Brazilian studio Bambutec Design crafted the 2,150-square-foot structure with the help of computer modeling in addition to old-fashioned model making by hand. The Bamboo Amphitheater Space Structure was built for the green campus of the Pontifical Catholic University and was assembled in 25 working days. Set on the banks of the Rainha River and screened in by bamboo, this bamboo structure complements its verdant surroundings with its dark green roof and exposed bamboo frame. The 1.4-ton amphitheater was built atop a foundation previously designed by architect Carlos Pingarrilho. Low landscape impact was emphasized throughout the design and build process, which made use of mobile prefabricated modules, pantographic grids, textile membranes, and a mobile lifting device. The ultra-lightweight dome is anchored to the ground with reinforced concrete and six touch-down pylons. Related: Dumping ground reborn as a bamboo and rammed-earth community space in Vietnam “The dome employs a textile hybrid space structure formed by self-supporting treated bamboo bipods, tensile pantographic gridshells and self-stressed active bending beams, avoiding buckling of the structural members,” wrote the design team. “Gridshell modules were disposed discontinuously in overlapping steps 0.5m apart, allowing air circulation and natural lighting. Active bending beams and pantographic gridshells were subjected to prescribed external loads in a process of elastic deformation during assembly.” The project was inaugurated in 2014 and used to host events, shows, and lectures. + Bambutec Design Via ArchDaily Images via Bambutec Design

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This breezy bamboo amphitheater pops up in just 25 days

Gold miners claim they butchered uncontacted Amazon tribe members in Brazil

September 11, 2017 by  
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Around 10 tribe members who had little to no contact with the outside world are now dead in Brazil . The uncontacted Amazon tribe members were collecting eggs by a river when it appears they encountered gold miners, who later boasted about the killings in a bar. Federal prosecutors have started an investigation, but the incident may reveal that dangers to endangered indigenous groups in the country are growing. The gold miners said they had to kill the uncontacted tribe members or be killed, according to Leila Silvia Burger Sotto-Maior of Funai , the country’s agency on indigenous affairs. The killings reportedly happened last month, and were alleged to have taken place in the Javari Valley, Brazil’s second-biggest indigenous reserve. The gold miners had a hand-carved paddle they said came from the tribe, according to Funai. Related: Watch as Isolated Amazon Tribe Makes Contact With the Outside World for the First Time Sotto-Maior, who is the coordinator for recently contacted and uncontacted tribes, said, “It was crude bar talk. They even bragged about cutting up the bodies and throwing them in the river.” Funai lodged a complaint with the Amazonas prosecutor’s office. Prosecutor Pablo Luz de Beltrand said he investigated a similar episode earlier this year. In February, uncontacted Indians were reported killed, and the case is open. Beltrand said, “It was the first time that we’d had this kind of case in the region. It’s not something that was happening before.” Brazil’s president Michel Temer ‘s government has reduced funding for indigenous affairs, and in April Funai shut down five of 19 bases they use to watch and protect isolated tribes. At other bases, they cut staffing. These bases are used to prevent invasions from miners and loggers, and connect with tribes that have recently been contacted. Sarah Shenker, senior campaigner with global indigenous rights group Survival International , said, “If the investigation confirms the reports, it will be yet another genocidal massacre resulting directly from the Brazilian government’s failure to protect isolated tribes – something that is guaranteed in the Constitution…When their land is protected, they thrive. When their land is invaded, they can be wiped out.” Via The New York Times Images via Wikimedia Commons ( 1 , 2 )

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Gold miners claim they butchered uncontacted Amazon tribe members in Brazil

Environmental activist Berta Cáceres found murdered in her home

March 4, 2016 by  
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Environmental and human rights activist Berta Cáceres was murdered in her home this week by two gunmen . Cáceres, like many activists, knew that her work made her a target, and she had received numerous death threats during her fight to improve the planet and her country. While the crime was reported as a simple robbery, many believe that it was an assassination, possibly planned by the Honduran government. Read the rest of Environmental activist Berta Cáceres found murdered in her home

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Environmental activist Berta Cáceres found murdered in her home

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