Traditional fishers defend Colombia’s largest wetland ecosystem
Protecting the vital Mompós Depression Wetlands and its traditional fishing communities
In November, a group of traditional fishers met on the banks of the Cascaloa Ciénaga. Nilton Chacon, a leader of a local association of artisanal fishers, stood to speak.
Mexico scores historic legal victory in defense of native corn
Mexican Supreme Court ratifies restraining order for protection from contamination by GMOs
The Supreme Court of Mexico announced two decisions that protect the human right to corn biodiversity — banning permits to sow genetically modified corn in Mexico. That right was challenged in court by the transnationals Bayer-Monsanto, Syngenta, Pioneer-Dupont, and Dow Agrosciences.
Mexican Village Sets International Precedent in Water Conflict Resolution
Temaca celebrates victory after winning the right to not be flooded, with reparations for 17 years of human rights violations
After nearly 17 years of creative resistance and six visits from the man who is now Mexico’s president – three of them in recent months — the tiny colonial town of Temacapulín stands poised to become a model in the resolution of water-related conflicts.
The Arhuacos: A Message from the Mamos, the Prophets of the Sierra Nevada
The Arhuacos have warned of this crisis for generations. Now their spiritual guides say Covid is only the first of four pandemics.
When news of Covid-19 came to the enigmatic white-clad peoples of the high Sierra Nevada of Santa Marta, nobody was very surprised. Trained since birth in the ways of looking to Nature for guidance, these spiritual guides of the Sierra Nevada predicted this pandemic and other current crises decades ago.
The Kamëntšá Biyá: Land Use Planning in Defense of the Sacred
Territorial planning and protection of sacred sites is integrally connected with public health for the Kamentsá
Territorial planning is sacred work for the Kamëntsá Biyá people of the Upper Putumayo region in Colombia. Their approach reflects a radically different view of land use — one that is integrally connected with their view of public health.
Art to Breathe: A Festival with a Cause
From Haiti to Uruguay, artists highlight creative resistance at Festival for the Dignity of Peoples
“Art to Breathe” is an international festival that was born in the spring of 2020. The festival came about in the context of the repression and death suffered in many of the participating countries, coupled with the crisis of a pandemic that literally took the breath away and paralyzed to the world. It was necessary to […]
Water and Power in Wirikuta
Threats New and Old Menace the Sacred Peyote Grounds of the Chihuahuan Desert
When it rains in the high plateaus of San Luis Potosí, Mexico, the dampened earth releases a scent that showcases its unique biodiversity. During the rainy season, greasewood bushes, mesquites, yucca and a wide variety of cacti flower and give their fruits, while the locals plant their cornfields that grow according to the nourishment they […]
AMLO Comes to Temaca, the Town That Refuses to Drown
Villagers face a crossroads as president puts a monumental decision in their hands
Saturday, Aug. 14, was a day that would be marked as a turning point in the history of Temaca. And the Carbajal sisters, together with scores of other defenders of the historic village, would be ready.
Protecting the páramos in Colombia
Biodiversity hotspots face interconnected threats
On a recent, pre-pandemic journey to the High Andes of Colombia, I found myself surrounded by one of the region’s emblematic species, the flowering shrubs known locally as frailejones or “big monks.” These giant plants, relatives of sunflowers from the Espeletia genus, mesmerized me, their yellow buds and silvery hairs glistening in the intense, ephemeral sunlight. Looking out over […]
Mexico Makes Strides in Agroecology
The Agroecological Advances of Mexico's 4T Government
Sept. 8, 2016, was a tragic day. At a massive event on that day, Enrique Peña Nieto, president of the country, dramatically announced that he was a daily consumer of Coca~Cola. His words were celebrated with applause and laughter by businessmen and officials who listened to him; meanwhile, 6.4 million citizens were suffering from diabetes, […]
Turning the Tide on Megadams
Colombian activists and scientists boost resistance to large-scale hydropower by showing their destructive impacts
Miller Dussán is one of those rare people who can just as comfortably traverse the traditional fishing villages and small farms of the countryside as he can the halls of research and policy-making institutions. In Colombia, a dynamic, water-rich country that is highly dependent on increasingly controversial hydropower, Dussán plays a vital role in these two spaces. In […]
Migrant ‘Protection’ Protocols Survivor Stories #4: Enrique
His resilience, leadership and loyalty make him an asset to any nation, yet all Trump & Co could see was Brown
The brothers were ambushed on the Ides of March 2019. It happened as they walked toward their childhood home in Quetzaltenango. Guatemala’s second-largest city, boasting a rich Mayan heritage and a dramatic natural backdrop, Xela (as it’s known to locals) is where I went to buy presents for my host family when I lived in […]
Migrant ‘Protection’ Protocols Survivor Stories #2: Perla
Fleeing political persecution only to be persecuted by politics at the US border, this front-line worker finally gets her day in court
Perla has been a professional pharmacist for 22 years. Even as a political refugee living in a tent meant for weekend camping, trapped by circumstance and a cruel immigration policy, the Nicaraguan grandmother managed to ply her trade and make herself useful to the thousands of other refugees halted at the US border by the […]
Colombia's resilient Wayuu resist global and local threats
Colombia's largest Indigenous ethnic group preserves vibrant traditions in the face of a potentially desolate future
La Guajira is a dry and windy peninsular desert region between Northeast Colombia and Northwest Venezuela. The striking landscape has been harsh and borderline uninhabitable for many thousands of years. The southernmost parts of the peninsula border the slopes of the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta mountain range, where the principal waterway of La Guajira is born, […]
México: The 4th Transformation in a Global Context
Strenghtening the defense of human values and those of nature
It is becoming clear that the future of the planet is red and green. It is equally clear that Mexico’s situation is neither exclusive nor unique, but rather replicates what is happening on a global scale, where the citizens of the world take on diverse forces in order to reduce, stop or suppress the double exploitation that a minority of minorities is imposing on the work of humans and of nature. The enormous ignorance prevailing among leaders and theorists of Mexican emancipation about what is taking place in the rest of the world, limits and reveals them. It is not only about keeping in mind the social and environmental struggles of Latin America, but of many other regions.
Defending the Birthplace of the Sun
Wixárika People mark a decade of struggle against the extractive industries in the sacred desert of Wirikuta
It’s been a decade now since Mexico experienced its Standing Rock moment. It was the native Wixárika people—better known internationally by their Spanish name, the Huicholes—who galvanized a global movement with their call for help. In the north-central state of San Luis Potosí, one of their most sacred sites—the Birthplace of the Sun—was being readied for […]
Caring for Colombia's Dynamic Rivers
Indigenous Perspectives, Integrated Science and the Rights of Nature
From the emblematic Magdalena River, which begins high in the Andes as a Sacred Source and descends into the industrial valleys to a overused and contaminated course, to the groundbreaking case of the Atrato River, which gained international attention in 2017 when it was granted the rights of personhood under Colombia’s Rights of Nature law, Colombia’s rivers have much to teach us.
Bringing the Pachamama to the Presidency
An Andean View of Governance: A Different Kind of Acceptance Speech
For those of us who cherish the wellbeing of life on Earth, for those of us who love and long for peace, for those who envision a future that lifts up the peoples of our millenary cultures and all cultures, we celebrate as we enter an era of new possibilities. In the US, we are […]
Ecocide in the Bolivian Chiquitanía
Rights of Nature Tribunal: Government, agribusiness guilty in the burning of 5 million hectares
As a new round of forest fires gained momentum in the tropical Bolivian forests of Chiquitanía, the International Tribunal for the Rights of Nature placed the blame for last year’s 5 million-hectare “ecocide” on the Bolivian government and the agribusiness industry. And now, as the government gears up for another election season, it has declared a state of emergency in the Chiquitanía.
Farmers Rain on Monsanto's Parade
'Milpa Mexico' events combine culture, art and science in defense of Native Corn
A crisis facing Mexican corn farmers emerged decades ago as corporate giant Monsanto pushed to get the country to use its GMO corn seed. As a result, a movement was spawned to prevent industrial agriculture from threatening the sustainability of thousands of years of farming tradition. In February, we visited Oaxaca to report on an […]
Spinning a Lifeline in Zapotec lands
The COVID-19 pandemic has hurt communities all over Mexico. But a network of Indigenous artisans is finding a way to survive during the shutdown.
High up in the southern sierra of Mexico’s state of Oaxaca, an innovative nonprofit business inspired by Mohandas Gandhi is helping Indigenous Zapotec families to weather the economic storm that COVID-19 has brought to the Mexican countryside. San Sebastian Rio Hondo, a Zapotec highland village like many others, has traditionally supplemented its agrarian way of […]
A Little Bit of Gandhi in Oaxaca
Khadi Oaxaca lifts up village life with farm to wardrobe movement
A century after Gandhi’s original Khadi Movement helped Indians to attain economic self-sufficiency and ultimately independence from Great Britain, the movement is having an unlikely revival in indigenous Zapotec communities in rural Mexico. “Khadi” means handspun cloth, and like its original Indian counterpart, Khadi Oaxaca has re-established a farm-to-garment ethic that restores dignity to its […]
Protecting our Guardians in Oaxaca
Celebrating and honoring Native Corn and Indigenous Defenders of Earth’s Biodiversity
It was an unusual Calenda (traditional procession) even for Oaxaca, a city used to these colorful, musical and boisterous parades often led by giant puppets (monos) and a marching band for weddings, quinceañeras, and religious observances. This specific Calenda was dedicated to the protection of the guardians of native corn, to defenders of ecological diversity, […]
Heathy Children, Healthy Future in Ecuador
Indigenous Kañaris place the child at the center of the Andean world — and their commitment to a return to food sovereignty
Indigenous Kañaris place the child at the center of the Andean world
Turning trash into groceries in Oaxaca
Mexican student's innovative plastic waste initiative cleans up rural town
A “pet” is a PET-type plastic bottle. Its worth is equivalent to about a penny, and gathering together several of them you can purchase some basic food items through a project developed by a university student and implemented by his local government.
The Town That Refuses to Drown
The Mexican village of Temaca has become a beacon in the global movement to democratize water and energy management.
This remote Mexican pueblo has stepped into the national spotlight, standing up to a total of eight governors in two different states over the years and taking their fight all the way to Los Pinos, the Mexican White House. If the townsfolk get their way, it will probably be the first time that a mega-dam will be dismantled before it is ever used.
Creating a Kañari future based on tradition in the Ecuadorian Andes
Lino Pichasaca and I walked the rough footpaths, the chakiñanes in Kichwa, around the Hacienda Guantug in the province of Cañar, Ecuador. It was 1967, and the Ecuadorian agrarian reform was getting started. Leaders like Lino saw great possibilities and huge obstacles.
Megadam: ‘Obsolete technology’ wreaks havoc across the Americas
A global boom in major dam construction, mainly in developing countries, is currently underway, with an estimated 3,700 now under construction or in the planning stages. Latin America is ground zero for much of this development.
Native Flower Rebellion in Argentina
'Self-Convoked' Indigenous Women Occupy Interior Ministry to Demand: Stop the Terricide
As the Extinction Rebellion shuts down the system in the North, Indigenous women in Argentina stage an uprising of their own. The Native Flower Rebellion, they are calling it: an occupation of “self-convoked” Mapuche, Qom and other Indigenous women have traveled from all corners of the republic to demand an accounting from their government, and to unite in a powerful message: The Terricide must stop.