Posted on November 30, 2009 with No Comments
‘Moves to stop global warming are devastating tribal people’, says new report
Sunday, November 22, 2009 at 9:22pm
Hydropower dams are being built across the Amazon in the name of combating climate change.
Measures to stop global warming risk being as harmful to tribal peoples as climate change itself, according to a new report from Survival.
1. Biofuels: promoted as an alernative, ‘green’ source of energy to fossil fuels, much of the land allocated to grow them is the ancestral land of tribal people. If biofuels expansion continues as planned, millions of indigenous people worldwide stand to lose their land and livelihoods.
2. Hydro-electric power: A new boom in dam construction in the name of combating climate change is driving thousands of tribal people from their homes.
Ever since colonial times there have been attempts to evict the Ogiek from their ancestral forest, usually on the pretext that they are degrading it. But when the Ogiek are removed, their forest is not protected but rather exploited by logging and tea plantations – some owned by government officials. This influx of illegal settlers has been so extreme in recent years that much of the Mau forest is severely degraded. The Kenyan government is trying to evict everyone from the forest, including the Ogiek who have been living there for centuries. If the Ogiek are evicted from their forest home it could spell disaster for the forest and for the Ogiek, who will become ‘conservation refugees’.
4. Carbon offsetting: Tribal peoples’ forests now have a monetary value in the booming ‘carbon credits’ market. Indigenous people say this will lead to forced evictions and the ‘theft of our land’.
The report calls for tribal people to be fully involved in decisions that affect them, and for their land ownership rights to be upheld.
Survival Director Stephen Corry said today, ‘This report highlights ‘the most inconvenient truth of all’ – that the world’s tribal people, who have done the least to cause climate change and are most affected by it, are now having their rights violated and land devastated in the name of attempts to stop it. Hiding behind the global push to prevent climate change, governments and companies are mounting a massive land grab. As usual, where money and vast profits are at stake, the world’s indigenous people are being shamefully swept aside.