Why is Honduras the world’s deadliest country for environmentalists?

berta     Lenca indigenous women protest against the murder of Honduran enviromnentalist Berta Caceres, in front of the Public Ministry in Tegucigalpa on April 5, 2016. Photograph: Orlando Sierra/AFP/Getty Images.

Since her mother’s murder a month ago, Bertha Isabel Zuniga Cáceres has scarcely had time to grieve. The 25-year-old student is adamant that her mother, Berta Cáceres Flores, will not become just one more Honduran environmental activist whose work was cut short by their assassination.

“Development in Honduras cannot continue happen at the expense of indigenous peoples and human rights,” says Zuñiga Cáceres, who met today with members of the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) and Honduran officials in Washington DC to call for an independent investigation into her mother’s killing. She also requested greater protection for her family and members of the Council of Popular and Indigenous Organizations of Honduras, the human rights group her mother co-founded.

A growing chorus of voices, from civil society groups to members of the US Congress, have reiterated the need for reform in Honduras in the month since Cáceres was shot dead by assassins in her home. Cáceres, founder of the nonprofit watchdog group National Council of Popular and Indigenous Organizations of Honduras (Copinh), died less than a week after opposing a major new hydroelectric project. Her death was followed two weeks later by that of her colleague Nelson García. While a suspect has been identified in García’s death, local activists are accusing the government of a cover-up.

A well known leader from the Lenca indigenous community, Cáceres received international recognition – and threats – for her efforts to halt the Agua Zarca hydroelectric dam on the sacred Gualcarque River. Last year, she was awarded the prestigious Goldman Environmental Prize for her work to uphold indigenous rights.

A deadly place for environmentalists

Honduras now has the highest murder rate for environmental activists in the world, and conflict over land rights is the primary driver. Rampant inequality, a weak judicial system, cozy relationships between political and business elites and near total impunity for crimes against human rights defenders have contributed to 101 murders of environmental activists between 2010 and 2014, according to the British NGO Global Witness.

It’s an upward trend: there were three times as many killings in 2012 as a decade earlier, and 2015 is likely to be the deadliest year on record for environmental defenders in Honduras, according to Billy Kyte, author of a 2015 report by Global Witness spotlighting the dangers faced by activists.

“The environment is the new battleground for human rights, and disputes over land form the backdrop to almost all the killings,” says Kyte.

The Global North’s “rapacious demand” for natural resources is fueling conflict on indigenous lands throughout the developing world, says Kyte. But in Honduras, corruption, organized crime, political instability and increasingly militarized policing have created a particularly acute crisis.

Since the 2009 coup that ousted democratically-elected president Manuel Zelaya, the right wing Honduran government has aggressively promoted investment and development in mining, agri-business and large scale energy infrastructure projects. It has privatized land and water resources and removed barriers to large scale development projects, often at the expense of indigenous and Afro-descendant communities and small scale campesino farmers.

In large part to meet the mining industry’s enormous demand for energy, the government has granted dozens of hydroelectric dam concessions. Global Witness found that the developers often disregard the land rights of indigenous communities, which become targets of threats and violence. Powerful drug trafficking gangs are also known to use mining and agri-business projects for money laundering.

Honduras is a signatory to the Indigenous and Tribal Peoples Convention, which requires the free, prior consultation and consent of indigenous communities for projects that impact their traditional territories. But the country has a poor track record when it comes to upholding those rights, according to George Redman, Honduras country director for Oxfam.

Please continue to read more @ the Guardian’s website.

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Food for Thought

“The Dirty Dozen” – (High Risk Produce):

The EWG (Environmental Working Group) has studied and compiled a list of 12 types of produce that are most likely to contain pesticide residue. These are the least safe types of produce to purchase from a grocery store setting (when you don’t know exactly where they came from). If purchased, they must be washed very thoroughly. They are:

1.     Apples

2.     Celery

3.     Cherry tomatoes

4.     Cucumbers

5.     Grapes

6.     Nectarines

7.     Peaches

8.     Potatoes

9.     Snap peas

10.  Spinach

11.  Strawberries

12.  Sweet bell peppers

Also of note: hot peppers and kale/collard greens

“The Clean 15” – (Low Risk Produce):

The EWG has studied and compiled a list of 15 types of produce that are least likely to contain dangerous pesticide residue. As you’ll see, many of these fruits and vegetables are protected by naturally durable and thick outer surfaces. They are as follows:

1.     Asparagus

2.     Avocados

3.     Cabbage

4.     Cantaloupe

5.     Cauliflower

6.     Eggplant

7.     Grapefruit

8.     Kiwi

9.     Mangoes

10.  Onions

11.  Papayas

12.  Pineapples

13.  Sweet Corn

14.  Sweet Peas

15.  Sweet Potatoes

Read more at http://indiancountrytodaymedianetwork.com/2016/02/17/well-culture-organic-101-163455

 

World’s biggest floating solar farm powers up outside London

Five years in planning and due to be finished in early March, more than 23,000 solar panels will be floated on the Queen Elizabeth II reservoir near Heathrow and used to generate power for local water treatment plants

Construction of Europe’s largest floating solar panel array is underway on London’s Queen Elizabeth II reservoir.

Construction of Europe’s largest floating solar panel array is underway on London’s Queen Elizabeth II reservoir. Photo Credit: Martin Godwin for the Guardian

READ MORE HERE.

Look at these Photos! WOW! Result of Rising Seawater…

A new study finds that even if we slow rising temperatures now, we could still be in for higher seas. Read more here or you can look at the photos right now by scrolling down.

Now as you look at these photos, you want to ask yourself if you are worried, if you care, and what can you do to make a difference?

(Images: Courtesy Climate Central)

Venice Beach Boardwalk, Venice Beach, California

Venice Beach Boardwalk, Venice Beach, California—Before

Venice Beach Boardwalk, Venice Beach, California—After

AT&T Park, San Francisco

AT&T Park, San Francisco—Before

AT&T Park, San Francisco—After

Back Bay, Boston

Back Bay, Boston—Before

Back Bay, Boston—After

Ocean Drive, Miami

Ocean Drive, Miami—Before

Ocean Drive, Miami—After

Citadel Military College, Charleston, South Carolina

Citadel Military College, Charleston, South Carolina—Before

Citadel Military College, Charleston, South Carolina—After

San Diego Convention Center, San Diego

San Diego Convention Center, San Diego—Before

San Diego Convention Center, San Diego—After

Statue of Liberty, New York City

Statue of Liberty, New York City—Before

Statue of Liberty, New York City—After

Washington National Monument, Washington D.C.

Washington Monument, Washington, D.C.—Before

Washington Monument, Washington, D.C.—After

Crissy Field, San Francisco

Crissy Field, San Francisco—Before

Crissy Field, San Francisco—After

Harvard University, Cambridge Massachusetts

Harvard University, Cambridge, Massachusetts—Before

Harvard University, Cambridge, Massachusetts—After

 

Good news! Supertrawlers banned from Australian waters!

Supertrawlers wreak havoc on marine life, coral reef habitats, and the sea bed. Banning them from Australian waters is a start, we need to continue the trend and ban them worldwide. Here is some more information provided by the Guardian,

 

Supertrawlers to be banned permanently from Australian waters

Move follows temporary bans on large freezer-factory vessels as well

 

superLabor banned supertrawlers after outcry from the public. The Stop the Supertrawler petition has nearly 63,000 signatures. Photograph: Pierre Gleizes/Greenpeace

 

Arizona Desert Botanical Garden Scholarship deadline is January 15

Scholarship Deadline is Tomorrow!  January 15th!! I hope you got those applications turned in on time for The Garden Club of America Award in Desert Studies awarded by the Arizona Desert Botanical Garden, Phoenix.

For Graduate Students and Advanced Undergraduates

The Garden Club of America Award in Desert Studies was established to promote the study of horticulture, conservation and design in arid landscapes. The award, which can be in the form of either an internship or funding for a research related topic, is for advanced undergraduate and graduate students studying horticulture, conservation, botany, environmental science and landscape design relating to the arid landscape.

Students must be enrolled at an accredited U.S. college or university. While the award is intended to have a wide scope pertaining to the arid environment, preference will be given to students wishing to gain practical field experience — specifically, planning and design for sustainability, rainwater harvesting and plant management, etc. — through structured internships at accredited botanical gardens or arboreta.

Students wishing to intern should contact a local botanical garden to frame a plan of work that will guide both the intern and the garden staff in implementation and monitoring. This plan should include the time period in which the student will be available for internship. The student should also check with the student’s advisor office to see if university credit will be given for the internship program, although academic credit is not required.

Doctoral research field projects will also be considered for the GCA Award in Desert Studies, but will not have funding preference.

At the completion of the internship or proposed project, the student would submit a written report of achievements to both the accredited botanical garden or arboreta and the GCA.

Scholarship Information

  • Funds one or more applicants for one year at $4,000
  • Deadline: January 15
  • Contact:
    Mr. Kenny Zelov, Assistant Director of Horticulture, Desert Botanical Garden
    Phone: 480 481.8162
    Email: kzelov@dbg.org

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Application Information

Candidates should submit the following required information to kzelov@dbg.org, with “GCA Award in Desert Studies” as the subject line:

  1. A current resume that includes:
    • Address, phone and email
    • Educational background including relevant education, work experiences and publications if any
    • Name of a contact person at the accredited botanical garden or arboretum where you would like to complete your internship.  Include a letter from the contact person confirming your acceptance into the program; OR
    • If not applying for an internship, a description of your proposed project
  2. A 1-2 page essay that includes the following:
    1. Your career aspirations
    2. Your specific interests in sustainability in the arid environment and what you hope to achieve through the internship if selected.
  3. Contact information for one reference qualified to describe the student’s character and ability
  4. A letter of recommendation from your advisor, using the Academic Advisor Recommendation form (download form as a word document). Letter of recommendation should be completed, signed and sent to:
    Mr. Kenny Zelov
    Desert Botanical Garden
    1201 N. Galvin Parkway
    Phoenix, AZ 85008

DEADLINE

Applications must be received by January 15.

San Francisco Bans Plastic Water Bottle Sales

San Francisco initiating a sales ban on plastic water bottles that hold 21 oz. or less. Personally, I know I need to stop buying water by the case.

Every time I buy a case of water, I have this guilty conscience looming over me for as long as I can remember.

I tried making the adjustment of refilling gallon water jugs at the water dispensary  for a quarter a gallon, it never seemed to stick because my family likes the individual portion and not having to wash dishes; it’s just more convenient.

Not exactly convenient for the environment.

I’m glad San Francisco initiated this ban. I can only hope other cities will follow the same trend.

Compare this to the replacement of plastic grocery bags to reusable grocery bags, that trend hasn’t completely swept the nation.

Still, a small majority of states continue the ban of plastic bags or charge a few cents for every plastic bag used.

All I can hope for, is we all make small changes daily, weekly, monthly, yearly.

Read more about the ban…San Francisco Becomes First City To Ban The Sale Of Plastic Bottles . Have a good day!

 

glassTea!!

 This is one of the few recent changes I made in my life, I started keeping glass jars and using them as cups and water bottles, great for holding soup to take to lunch or food storage containers, they are multipurpose.