The environment - Worth dying for?

 

Honduras is the deadliest country in the world for environmental and land activists. The murder of Berta Cáceres just ads to the list of already 124 killed campaigners opposing mines, dams, logging and tourist resorts since 2010.

Cáceres was leading the campaign against the Agua Zarca dam project on the Gualcarque river, which is a sacred river for the Lenca people.

The company behind the project is Desarrollos Energeticos SA (Desa) with two major shareholders: Potencia y Energia de Mesoamerica (Pemsa) and Inversiones Laz Jacaranda. The former is registered in Panama with Robert Castillo, a former military intelligence officer, as president (also president for Desa) and the later, is owned by the the Atala Zablah family. Desa secured loans from Dutch bank FMO, Finnish finance company FinnFund and the Central American Bank of Economic Integration (Cabei).

She pledged to the financers not to give funding but they didn’t suspend their loans until police arrested a Desa employee about her murder in May 2016. The three investors have now decided to withdraw from the Agua Zarca project.

Unfortunately, this is not a rare case. There are several investments launched regularly in South America that violates human rights and the environment. Those investments could be funded by regular citizens in countries like Sweden.

If you are holding funds or stocks I would recommend you go through their sustainability profile. In Sweden, there’s a tool call “hållbarhetsprofilen” where you can find funds not investing in the most unsustainable business. However, the sustainability profile among the funds are filled in by the funds themselves are there is no third part controlling its content. I have also e-mailed the organisation Swesif behind the tool regarding the aspects of mining and hydroelectric dam building. These several industries not listed among the unsustainable ones that the funds are guaranteeing not to invest in. 

The Whale Warrior

 
 

Tonight at Yoga Barn they showed the documentary The Whale Warrior - A Pirate for the Sea from 2008. It's about Paul Watson, an environmental activist who has dedicated his life to save endangered marine spices. Watson was one of the founders of the Canadian branch of Greenpeace, but was forced to leave the group when they thought his tactics, like attacking ships hunting whales, were too radical.   

The film affected me on a very emotion level. To see animals suffer by the hands of human cruelty is heart-breaking. However, no matter if you have that compassion with animals or not, in the film there are several important messages, based on scientific facts, we need to consider.

At the moment we are experiencing the sixth mass extinction. So far planet earth has experienced five of them on a long expanse of 450 million years. This extinction is different from the previous ones in several ways, it is driven by one world spread species only inhabiting planet earth for 200 000 years. Humans have created homogenisation of flora and fauna, where biodiversity is declining rapidly and we have become the top predator on land and across seas. Our species is using 25 to 40 % of the planet’s net primary production only for our own purpose!

In the film, Watson and his team are fighting against whale hunters. Six out of 13 great whale species are classified as endangered. Few as 300 North Atlantic right whales remain. Industries are harming whales by entanglement in fishing gear, by collision with ships and by oil and gas development causing noise that disrupt and damage whales hearing. Despite a moratorium on commercial whaling and a ban on international trade of whale products, countries like Iceland are still hunting whales for their own markets. About 1000 whales are killed in this way every year.

Every year the Canadian government give green lights to hunters to kill thousands of baby harp seals. During slaughter they are clubbed and dragged with metal-hook-tipped-clubs while still being conscious. Then their bodies are being thrashing for its fur. There is no culture in this slaughter and seal fur is forbidden for trade in EU, it is a pure sport done by drunken men who want to have fun. There is no excuse for this cruelty.

 

What you can do:

-       Create awareness by sharing this video or similar information

-       Never buy fur products

-       Do not consume fish products unless you are certain on the species (catch your own fish for example)

-       Sign petitions and protest when possible

-       Support Sea Shepherd, Greenpeace and similar organizations being present in the field where the killing is happening. 

 

Source: The Guardian, WWF and PETA

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