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By Carol Schachet
August 11th, 2016
Indigenous peoples, local communities – and likely the earth itself – are breathing a sigh of relief and celebrating a major victory. After years of organizing and a series of major environmental studies, São Luiz do Tapajós mega-dam, the largest hydroelectric project planned for the Amazon, has been canceled.
According to our partner, the Movement of People Affected by Dams (MAB), which has organized for years in opposition to the dam project, the Brazilian Institute of the Environment and Renewable Natural Resources (IBAMA) canceled the licensing of the São Luiz hydroelectric dam, citing an Environmental Impact Study.
July 8th, 2016
With heavy hearts, Grassroots International mourns the death of Lesbia Yaneth Urquía Urquía, a member of COPINH (Civic Council of Popular and Indigenous Organizations of Honduras), who was brutally killed on July 6, just 4 months after the assassination of Berta Cáceres. Lesbia Yaneth defended the rights of Indigenous communities and opposed the privatization of rivers in La Paz, Honduras. Since the 2009 military coup in Honduras, over 100 environmental activists (including Indigenous Peoples, peasant leaders, and more) have been killed, and thousands criminalized and jailed.
When Ben Achtenberg and his wife Emily joined the Grassroots International delegation to Mexico, he brought his camera and an eye for picture-taking, along with a deep history of engagement with global movements and political activism. You can read more about Ben's observations on his blog (Caring for Survivors of Torture), starting with "Indigenous farmers are protecting a way of life and a vital resource for the future...."
The whole blog appears here, with a snippet below:
Berta Cáceres – indigenous, environmental, and human rights defender and fierce feminist who was assassinated in Honduras on March 3rd, 2016 – was, among so many other things, a mother in resistance. She inherited this from her mother, who was an inspiration to her, and she passed this down to her own daughters and son.
Berta’s mother, Austra Bertha Flores Lopez, worked as a midwife and served as mayor of their town and then governor of their state. She taught her daughter about fighting for justice from the time she was a child. During the period of intense violence of the 1980s, Austra took in and cared for refugees from El Salvador, showing her children what real solidarity looks like.
This month Grassroots International has been able to make several grants to movements in Honduras that are organizing in response to the assassination of Berta Cáceres, an indigenous environmental leader who was killed on March 3. Plus, we’ve added our voice (and thousands more!) to calls for justice for Berta and her community – and several financiers have pulled out of the controversial dam project threatening the Lenca peoples’ sacred and beloved Gualcarque River.
Indigenous Peoples, women, youth, and diverse grassroots groups around the world have the solutions to our global climate crisis. The Grassroots Climate Solutions Fund finances and amplifies these solutions—to ensure a brighter future for us all.
“We are thrilled to join with sister foundations and move more funding and support to grassroots solutions to climate change,” says Chung-Wha Hong, Executive Director of Grassroots International. “Together our complementary strengths and common resolve can have a greater impact by supporting powerful, community-led and globally minded solutions.”
The Need for Grassroots Solutions
Over the last several weeks, I’ve come to see that solidarity can be a gritty, challenging, dig-deep-into-your-spirit kind of thing. But above all that, solidarity can be dangerous, and it matters.
On Thursday, March 17 movement organizations in Honduras showed the world – and most especially the Honduran government – what solidarity looks like. Fierce. Smart. Unrelenting.
This year Grassroots International is dedicating International Women’s Day – March 8 – to Berta Cáceres, courageous indigenous Lenca leader and coordinator of the Civic Council of Indigenous People’s Organizations in Honduras (COPINH).
Just days ago we learned that Berta was assassinated in her home. A leader in the Lenca community, Berta helped organize a powerful movement to stop the construction of the Agua Zarca dam and to protect the Gualcarque river basin. For more than a year the Lenca people maintained a human blockade to stop trucks from entering the dam construction site and thus halted its construction.
Last night indigenous rights leader and social justice warrior Berta Cáceres was murdered in her home in Honduras. This follows weeks of mounting threats and years of violence and aggression targeting indigenous peoples, women, small farmers and environmental activists in Honduras and throughout Central America.
What We Celebrate from Paris: 14 Moments and Connections for a Stronger Global Climate Justice Movement
In a previous blog, we shared our critiques of the Paris climate agreement, and analysis of what took place. In this photo blog, we share some of the moments and lessons that demonstrate what Grassroots International celebrates from what took place in Paris – the clarity and strength of social movements on the frontlines of the climate crisis, and in the forefront of struggle to expose false solutions and promote real solutions to achieve climate justice. We were honored to be in that space with our Global South partners, US and other international allies, making connections across geographies and issues – these relationships are a key part of what it will take to heal and cool the planet, while developing deep resilience to the shocks and slides to come.