Friday, October 05, 2007

Sustainability Update 10-5-07: Ask Them, "What Is It That You Don't Understand?"

See The Eleventh Hour and Spread the Message to Your Friends and Colleagues

The forest is to be respected - it is not simply a resource, it's seen as a force which has sustained generations of pygmies.
The force within the forest is called Agengi, the god of pygmies everywhere.
Whether they are in the Democratic Republic of Congo, Gabon, or here in Cameroon, Chief Arweh tells me they can come to the forest and call out to Agengi and he will reply to them.
BBC, 5-7-06

Sustainability Update 10-5-07: Ask Them, What Is It That You Don't Understand?

By Richard Power

Stand on your head, and you will see the truth.

Spiritually speaking, the pygmies are giants, and the World Bank is destitute.

The World Bank encouraged foreign companies to destructively log the world's second largest forest, endangering the lives of thousands of Congolese Pygmies, according to a report on an internal investigation by senior bank staff and outside experts. The report by the independent inspectio panel, seen by the Guardian, also accuses the bank of misleading Congo's government about the value of its forests and of breaking its own rules
Congo's rainforests are the second largest in the world after the Amazon, locking nearly 8% of the planet's carbon and having some of its richest biodiversity. Nearly 40 million people depend on the forests for medicines, shelter, timber and food.
The report into the bank's activities in Democratic Republic of Congo since 2002 follows complaints made two years ago by an alliance of 12 Pygmy groups. The groups claimed that the bank-backed system of awarding vast logging concessions to companies to exploit the forests was causing "irreversible harm".
John Vidal, Guardian/UK, 10-3-07

Meanwhile, in Argentina, a recent symposium on the Initiative for the Integration of Regional Infrastructure in South America (IIRSA), highlighted threats to the Amazon.

Timothy Killeen, a U.S. biologist living in Bolivia who works for Conservation International’s Centre for Applied Biodiversity Science (CABS), presented his research report "A Perfect Storm in the Amazon Wilderness: Development and Conservation in the Context of the IIRSA", at one of the workshops. ...
Of the 10 corridors planned across the Amazon region, nine cross the highly biodiverse Amazon wilderness area, the world’s largest intact tropical forest, which provides global environmental services such as carbon sequestration, water resources and climate regulation. ...
"Unfortunately, IIRSA has been designed without adequate consideration of its potential environmental and social impacts. It should incorporate measures to ensure that the region’s renewable natural resources are conserved and its traditional communities strengthened," the report says.
Among his proposals, Killeen advocates programmes that reward people who do not deforest land, instead of those who do. According to his estimates, governments could subsidise longer logging cycles, or benefit from the new market in carbon credits.
"The largest -- and as yet unexploited -- economic asset in the Amazon is its carbon stocks, which we estimate to be worth 2.8 trillion dollars if monetised in today’s markets," according to the report.
If Amazonian countries agree to reduce their present rate of deforestation by five percent a year for 30 years, they would achieve a reduction in greenhouse gas emissions that could be converted into credits and used to pay for the health and education needs of thousands of municipalities in the region, the report says.
Marcela Valente, Inter Press Service, 10-3-07

The planet's largest forests, the Congo and the Amazon, are threatened in serious ways. When they are threatened, the life of the planet, as we know it, is threatened.

When you encounter those who urge on development, without sustainability factored in as the highest priority, ask them, "What is it you do not understand?"

See also Sustainability Update: Thom Hartmann & Bioneer Kenny Ausubel on Evolution, Not Devolution -- From Warring Tribes of Bacteria to Green Collar Justice and Sustainability Update 4-19-07: Simple Truths

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