Category: Sustainability and Global Affairs

Facing Devastation in the Amazon

by Guest Contributor, Alfredo Sirkis, Executive Director of the Brazil Climate Center / Climate Reality Project

 

The confrontation with donors like Germany and Norway, the increase of more than 273% of deforestation in the Amazon in July of this year, compared to the same month last year, the increase of invasions of indigenous land with the pollution of its rivers with Mercury; the sticking at IMPE (Brazil’s satellite image monitoring institute)  to “break the thermometer”, the foolish eager to hide the fever, are crazy episodes.

With an additional 5% of further destruction of the Amazon rainforest,  we can engender irreversible changes affecting the rain regime in the rest of the country. Floods, desertification, risks to agriculture, extreme winds, invasion of coastal areas by the sea, heatwaves make up the foretold drama of climate change. On the other hand,  global decarbonization action offers Brazil economic opportunities, if we can use and negotiate with intelligence the immense environmental services we offer, our advantages in low carbon agriculture and clean energy and the great availability for the reforestation and afforestation producing negative emissions.

Bolsonaro’s invectives and gross misinformation silence those in his government who understand the equation. Climate change is unquestionable, its recent extreme manifestations: the terrible cyclones in Mozambique, affecting three million people or the 46-degree heatwave in Nantes, France, are warnings of what is coming. 2019 will be the warmest year ever experienced by mankind.

The latest IPCC report, dealing with not exceeding 1.5 degrees by the end of the century, mentions the need to reforest an area the size of US territory. Brazil has at least 60 million hectares of degraded pasture for reforestation and afforestation, both native and economic. It has abundant sun and wind for clean energy, biofuels and is pioneering low carbon farming techniques. So why all this destruction?

It is not mainly modern agribusiness who illegally deforests, promotes land grabbing and spreads indigent livestock, purely for speculative purposes or poison rivers with mercury. These are criminal activities incited by president Bolsonaro and favored by his dismantling of federal environmental low enforcement institutions.  Agribusiness has much to lose from the international repercussions of the new outbreak of devastation, with worldwide repercussions.

Between 2004 and 2012, Brazil managed to reduce its deforestation in the Amazon from 27,000 km2 to less than 5,000 km2, reducing its CO2 emissions by 80%, more than any other country. Now the deforestation rises again, in full swing. How far will it go?

Bolsonaro hates environmental concerns. He believes they are “leftist stuff” but who were their pioneers in Brazil? Marshal Cândido Rondon, a life in defense of the Indigenous peoples, Major Manuel Archer, promoted greater urban reforestation to date, made in the Tijuca massif in the late 19th century, Admiral Ibsen Gusmão, all military.  Paulo Nogueira Batista, Marcelo de Ipanema, conservatives,  who can hardly be considered the “left-paws” of his idiosyncratic bullshit.

No, worrying about climate and biodiversity is not a “communist scheme”. It is our responsibility to the generation of our children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren, threatened by the catastrophic consequences that can still be contained but in a closing window of opportunity. Quickly.

Original Caretakers Director, Mindahi Bastida joins Indigenous Voices Gathered in Manaus, Brazil to Support Global Efforts at Achieving the SDG’s

In the International Decade of Action for Water (2018-2028) and International Year of Indigenous Languages 2019, and coinciding with the international day of indigenous peoples (August 9), the international hydrological program celebrated with a seminar on Indigenous Knowledge for Integral Water Management in Latin America and the Caribbean in Manaus, Brazil, August 8-9, 2019

Following the seminar, on August 10th in Manaus, indigenous leaders met for a time of reflection and discussion of Agenda 2030 for the Sustainable Development Goals. Indigenous peoples across the globe have long understood the value of water and the way it connects us.  CEE supports opportunities for indigenous peoples to gather, fortify their alliances and articulate wisdom that can inform new models of economic and environmental health for the well being of our people and our planet.

Center for Earth Ethics participates in the Annual Kofi Annan Faith Briefings

From the report by the Parliament of World Religions blog:

On Monday July 15th, 2019 the UN Task Force on Religion and Development and the Multi-Faith Advisory Council (CA) gathered for the Annual Kofi Annan Faith Briefings in New York.

In 2019, the program focused on the theme of Empowering People and Ensuring Inclusiveness and Equality: The Role of UN and Multi-Faith Collaboration and included keynotes from high-level experts and five panel discussions. The panel discussions focused on issues like multi-faith collaboration, intergenerational dialogue, the rights of children, and climate change. Explore the full list of programs here.

The Parliament participated in discussions moderated by Charles McNeill and Rev. Victor Kazanjian of URI and included eminent speakers including Jamil Ahmad from UN Environment,  Mary-Evelyn Tucker from the Yale Forum on Religion and Ecology, Gopal Patel from GreenFaith, Rev. Ken Kitatani from Forum 21, Karenna Gore from the Center for Earth Ethics, and Audrey Kitagawa from the Parliament of Worlds’ Religions.

More photos and Complete pdf Report

Council on Foreign Relations: CEE’s Karenna Gore presides over Combating Climate Change conversation

CEE Director, Karenna Gore presided over the conversation Combating Climate Change, Wednesday, June 26, 2019 at the Religion and Foreign Policy Workshop for the Council on Foreign Relations.

Distinguished Panel:

Jason Bordoff, Founding Director, Center on Global Energy Policy, Columbia University School of International and Public Affairs; Former Special Assistant to the President and Senior Director for Energy and Climate Change, National Security Council

Brenda Ekwurzel, Senior Climate Scientist and Director of Climate Science, Union of Concerned Scientists

Kanta Kumari Rigaud, Lead Environmental Specialist and Regional Climate Change Coordinator in the Africa Region, World Bank Group

***

Karenna opened the panel with this introduction:

“This is an important discussion to have in this place and time with exactly this group of people. The impacts of climate change are already here—stronger storms, record downpours and floods, deeper droughts, more destructive wildfires, melting ice and rising sea levels, loss of whole species of life in the sixth great extinction, and an increasing amount of strain and suffering among the most vulnerable peoples of the world. Week after week we see both scientific analysis and snapshots of experience. The news media is starting to connect the dots a bit more. This week, there are record high temperatures in Miami and Europe. This Friday, on the same day that our women’s soccer team is playing France in France, the temperature is expected to reach 113 degrees Fahrenheit in the southern part of that country.

The causes are also quite present among us. And if we can see them clearly, and confront and change them, we might be able to stop this tragedy from getting unimaginably worse. In addition to that, we must simultaneously work to adapt to the damage that has already been done to our ecological system, including those worsening impacts that will come no matter what we do now. And we must work to protect as many people from harm as we can.

The climate crisis is not merely an environmental crisis. It is an economic crisis. Yesterday’s New York Times included a report that Florida may have to build $76 billion worth of sea walls by 2040, perhaps causing some new thinking in that hotbed political state.

The U.N. Special Rapporteur on Extreme Poverty and Human Rights Philip Alston issued a report this week saying, “Climate change threatens to undo the last fifty years of progress in development, global health, and poverty reduction. It could push more than 120 million more people into poverty by 2030 and will have the most severe impact in poor countries, regions, and the places poor people live and work.”

It is a political crisis. We are already seeing the effect of the new government’s policies in Brazil in the Amazon rainforest and, of course, in this country as well. The outlines of the future of public discourse on this topic are already taking shape due to the demands and actions of a younger generation that is living the consequences. As the Swedish teenage activist Greta Thunberg has said, “Since our leaders are behaving like children, we will have to take the responsibility they should have taken long ago.”

It is a national security issue, as the United States military and intelligence communities have recognized and stated for decades. It is also a moral issue. It requires deep consideration of our moral obligations to one another across time and space. It asks us to consider our interconnections to nonhuman life, and whether we will value and protect it. It requires us to separate truth and delusion, and to have the courage to face down powerful interests as well as our own misguided habits and patterns. And for many, many people, it presents the question of the role of God or the divine, in whatever form or forms it takes, in the world.

Does God independently intervene in the course of events? Is God expressed within the laws of nature, in the chemistry, physics, and metaphysics of our world, in the very essence of the relationship between cause and effect, leaving us with free will to discern our fate? What is sacred? What is evil? The expertise of the world’s faith and wisdom traditions are seriously needed for this challenge.”

Combating Climate Change – complete video and transcript.

Poor Peoples Campaign Moral Action Congress in DC 2019

See complete summary and videos originally published at RepairersoftheBreach.org and more coverage from the Observer online.

The Poor People’s Moral Action Congress was held at Trinity Washington University from June 17-19, 2019, by the Poor People’s Campaign: A National Call for Moral Revival. Nearly one thousand poor people, moral leaders, activists, and advocates from over 40 states across the country convened in Washington, D.C., for three days to strategize, learn, and build power together.

During the Congress, the Poor People’s Campaign: A National Call for Moral Revival launched the Poor People’s Moral Budget that shows concretely how to enact the demands of the Campaign. We held a Forum with 2020 Presidential Candidates when poor people from across the country will ask questions about the issues that impact their lives and we will hold a hearing from those most impacted by systemic racism, poverty, ecological devastation, militarism, and the distorted moral narrative of Christian nationalism who are coming together to organize a movement.

On the second day of Congress, participants joined workshops or longer tracks to learn how and why we are building a moral fusion movement.

The last day featured a Congressional hearing before the house budget committee with voices from the campaign.

We closed with the exciting announcement of the Mass Poor People’s Assembly and Moral March on Washington next summer: June 20, 2020. Save the date!

***

Want to read more? 

How the Poor People’s Campaign is Building a New Electorate: A conversation with Rev Liz Theoharris and Greg Kauffman for The Nation.

On Food & Faith: 2019 Ministry in the Time of Climate Change Highlights; Beyond Religion; and More…

Dear Friends,

What a weekend!  We had 150 faith leaders, activists, farmers, academics, and community leaders from around the Midwest (coasts too!) come together at Methodist Theological School in Ohio (MTSO) to learn how our food systems and land use impacts and is impacted by climate change. There are so many highlights to share and here are two. One was touring Seminary Hill Farms at MTSO and seeing veggies harvested for dinner the next day. Another were the presentations from Dr. Rattan Lal and Mr. Al Gore who spoke of the massive challenges in front of us but also the opportunities for hope and change. Yes it will be hard but we left the training feeling more prepared, with a renewed sense of community, and ready to act. A special thanks to all of the speakers and participants at the training.  And of course, thank you to our partners the Climate Reality Project, the Initiative for Food and AgriCultural Transformation at Ohio State University, and MTSO.

Please enjoy our photo album of the event including several highlights from our speakers.

Andrew Schwartz, CEE Deputy Director 


CEE Team Members at MTSO left to right:  Karenna Gore, Peggy Cusack,
Andrew Schwartz, Mindahi Bastida, and Genie Cooper.

Original Caretakers Upcoming Events

Image result for pulitzer center beyond religion

Image result for mary evelyn tucker

CEE’s Original Caretakers Program Director, Mindahi Bastida Munoz, will participate in a panel discussion on Religion and the Environment with Tiokasin Ghosthorse, Kalyanee Mam and Marianne Comfort. The panel will be moderated by Mary Evelyn Tucker, Co-Director, Forum on Religion and Ecology, Yale University. For the full conference schedule , visit the Pulitzer Center website.  Beyond Religion will take place June 8-9 at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C.


Environmental Justice: The Accidental Environmentalist

CEE’s Catherine Coleman Flowers at the MOUNTAIN FILM FESTIVAL – Telluride, CO showing of THE ACCIDENTAL ENVIRONMENTALIST: Catherine Flowers.  
Watch this Documentary Short


Eco-Ministry & Sustainability and Global Affairs

CEE’s Director, Karenna Gore on today’s panel “Focus on Faith: Planting and Nurturing the Seed of Climate Responsibility” Civil Society Briefing at the UN in New York City.

CEE Spring / Summer Update

WORKING TOGETHER TO CARE FOR OUR COMMON HOME:

Dear Friends,In Laudato Si: On Care for Our Common Home, Pope Francis wrote, “It is essential to show special care for Indigenous communities and their cultural traditions. They are not merely one minority among others, but should be the principal dialogue partners, especially when large projects affecting their land are proposed.”

Inspired, the Center for Earth Ethics partnered with the Indigenous Environmental Network and Forum 21 to host an intimate dialogue between Indigenous leaders and a representative from the Vatican. Read more…

The CEE Team


ENVIRONMENTAL JUSTICE & CIVIC ENGAGEMENT:

On May 17 and 18, Virginians from all across the state will unite in common cause to oppose unjust and unneeded fracked-gas pipelines anywhere in the Commonwealth, and to stand in solidarity for environmental justice and the climate.

On Friday, May 17, continuing the work of bringing people together for good, William Joseph Barber III, Co-chair of the N.C. Poor People’s Campaign Ecological Justice Committee, Karenna Gore (Center for Earth Ethics) and Pastor Paul Wilson (Union Grove Baptist Church) will join local leaders to march across the Robert E. Lee Bridge where 51 years ago, almost to the day, civil rights activists marched during Martin Luther King Jr.’s historic Poor People’s Campaign for economic justice. We’ll end at the Oregon Hill Overlook for a concert and rally.  May 18th events will happen in Leesburg.  More information…

Join us for this important event! #noMVP #noACP


ORIGINAL CARETAKERS EVENTS DURING EARTH WEEK:

Indigenous leaders from around the world gathered at the United Nations Headquarters and at events throughout New York City during Earth Week.


Delegates from the Mapuche Nation and Likanantay brought awareness to Human Rights Violations at the UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues


ECO-MINISTRY UPCOMING EVENTS:

Special Evening Event
Wednesday, May 22, 7 pm

An Evening with Karenna Gore
Director, Center for Earth Ethics, Union Theological Seminary

The intersection of religion and the environment reflects on faith and love for the earth.
A reception follows.  

Throughout the Easter season, St. Bart’s is excited to present a variety of programs focusing on stewardship of the earth.  Other Upcoming Events in the series include: May 19th, Keep it Local: Addressing Racial and Socioeconomic Disparities in Climate Justice with Elizabeth Yeampierre, Executive Director, Uprose; and June 2nd, In the Garden: St. Bart’s and The Rooftop of the Waldorf-Astoria with Leslie Day, naturalist and author of Honeybee Hotel.

Original Caretakers Participate in the UNPFII 2019 and Side Events in photos

Dr. Mindahi Bastida and Geraldine Ann Patrick Encina of the Center for Earth Ethics Original Caretakers Initiative joined indigenous leaders from around the world in dialogue at the United Nations Headquarters and at events throughout New York City during Earth Week.  Topics included care for the environment, trade agreements and human rights.

At The New School, NYC with Geraldine Ann Patrick Encina, Scholar in Residence at Union Theological Seminary, Center for Earth Ethics.

 

At Columbia University with Tiokasin Ghosthorse of First Voices Indigenous Radio.

 

18 UNPFII — at United Nations Headquarters

 

CEE’s Mindahi Bastida with Tom BK Goldtooth of the Indigenous Environmental Network, Paty Gualinga and Grandma Catalina Chumpi

 

With the Siberia-Russian Delegation together with Chandra UNPFII 18

 

Mindahi Bastida with Taily Terena, Brazilian Forest and Land Defender, Youth Activist for Women and Gender

 

Delegates from the Mapuche Nation and Likanantay bring awareness to Human Rights Violations at the UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues

New York, United States of America – from Desarrollo Intercultural Chile

The Mapuche Nation and Likanantay were present at the opening of the United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues

Delegates representatives of communities and organizations of the Mapuche and Lickanantay Nations, arrived today at the United Nations building in New York to participate in the Permanent United Nations Forum on indigenous issues (UNPFII) with the aim of denouncing the Chilean State in front of The violation of their human rights and the lack of indigenous consultation in the process of processing and ratification of the international treaty TPP11 that a week ago was voted in the chamber of deputies and is in process of processing in the high chamber.

It also marks an important precedent as the event participates delegations from Peru and Mexico affected by the same situation, who will work together in front of the involvement of their rights by having scheduled participation in the events of the international system of the United Nations and hearings with the Body of rapporteurs and treaty systems.

These delegates participate as members of the indigenous council for the protection of the territory, traditions, languages and seeds, (Ciproter) of which are members of the United States of America, Mexico, Guatemala, Ecuador, Peru and Chile; in addition to that they traveled in a self-managed way supported by their own communities and social movements with technical advice by ECOSOC agencies to the United Nations.

They participated in the opening of the session where the president of the 73th General Assembly of the United Nations, Ms. Maria Fernanda Espinosa Garcés, recognized and greeted all indigenous peoples, emphasizing the need to strengthen collective rights and generate inclusion processes that allow self-determination of peoples.

They finally expressed the need to recognize the broad right of indigenous peoples to lands, territories and resources, in addition to setting out the main problems affecting their traditional forms of life. This is based on the United Nations Declaration on the rights of indigenous peoples and the international Labour Organization Convention 169

Photo by: Juan Carlos labarca jclabarca.com


Please enjoy the following videos capturing the work of the panels during #EarthWeek

April 24th, 2019: Strengthening Territorial Resilience with Knowledge and Traditional Practices

Side event “Fortaleciendo la Resilencia Territorial con el Conocimiento y las Prácticas Tradicionales. Experiencias Zapoteca, Sápara, Ashuar, Likanantay y Mapuche” en el marco del 18vo Foro Permanente de las Naciones Unidas sobre Cuestiones Indígenas, Nueva York.

Side event ” Strengthening Territorial Resilience with Knowledge and Traditional Practices. Experiences Zapotec, Sapara, Ashuar, Likanantay and Mapuche ” within the framework of the 18th Permanent Forum of the United Nations on Indigenous Issues, New York.

Side event "Fortaleciendo la Resilencia Territorial con el Conocimiento y las Prácticas Tradicionales. Experiencias Zapoteca, Sápara, Ashuar, Likanantay y Mapuche" en el marco del 18vo Foro Permanente de las Naciones Unidas sobre Cuestiones Indígenas, Nueva York.

Posted by Desarrollo Intercultural Chile on Wednesday, April 24, 2019


April 26th, 2019:   The Involvement of TPP11 and other Treaties that Violate Indigenous Rights

Side event “La afectación del TPP11 y otros tratados que vulnera derechos indígenas. Casos de México, Ecuador y Chile” con líderes Zapoteca, Hñahñu, Sápara, Ashuar, Likanantay, Mapuche Lafkenche, Mapuche Pewenche y Mapuche Nagche en el marco del 18vo Foro Permanente de las Naciones Unidas sobre Cuestiones Indígenas, Nueva York.

Side event ” the involvement of TPP11 and other treaties that violate indigenous rights. Cases of Mexico, Ecuador and Chile ” with leaders Zapotec, Hñahñu, Sapara, Ashuar, Likanantay, Mapuche Lafkenche, Mapuche Pewenche and Mapuche Nagche within the framework of the 18th Permanent Forum of the United Uations on Indigenous Issues, New York.

Side event "La afectación del TPP11 y otros tratados que vulnera derechos indígenas. Casos de México, Ecuador y Chile" con líderes Zapoteca, Hñahñu, Sápara, Ashuar, Likanantay, Mapuche Lafkenche, Mapuche Pewenche y Mapuche Nagche en el marco del 18vo Foro Permanente de las Naciones Unidas sobre Cuestiones Indígenas, Nueva York.

Posted by Desarrollo Intercultural Chile on Friday, April 26, 2019

More Videos from the delegation during #EarthWeek are available at Desarrollo Intercultural Chile

Catherine Flowers Gives Testimony to House Committee on Water Resources and Environment

The Clean Water State Revolving Fund: How Federal Infrastructure Investment Can Help Communities Modernize Water Infrastructure and Address Affordability Challenges

Excellent testimony before the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure Subcommittee on Water Resources and Environment by at 31:30 mark on this link.

We must confront inequities in wastewater treatment+ invest in sustainable solutions for those most in need.

LiveStream from 10 am, Thursday, March 7th

Witnesses:

Mayor David A. Condon, City of Spokane, Washington, on behalf of the United States Conference of Mayors

Mr. John Mokszycki, Water and Sewer Superintendent, Town of Greenport, New York, on behalf of the National Rural Water Association

Ms. Catherine Flowers, Rural Development Manager, The Equal Justice Initiative, Montgomery, Alabama

Ms. Maureen Taylor, State Chairperson, Michigan Welfare Rights Organization, Detroit, Michigan

Mr. Andrew Kricun, P.E., BCEE, Executive Director/Chief Engineer, Camden County Municipal Utilities Authority, Camden, New Jersey, on behalf of the National Association of Clean Water Agencies

Professor Jill Heaps, Assistant Professor of Law, Vermont Law School, Burlington, Vermont