Breaking Waves: Ocean News

07/21/2018 - 00:15
Birhan Erkutlu and Tuğba Günal wanted to ‘get away from it all’ but are now leading a campaign to protect rivers and trees from hydropower plants Birhan Erkutlu and Tuğba Günal moved into the forests of Antalya to get away from it all. They wanted a natural, peaceful life free of capitalism, consumer culture, social media, the internet, even electricity. Fate had other plans. Fourteen years on, the two artists are now figureheads of a campaign to protect rivers and trees from a cascade of hydropower plants. Their tweets and Facebook posts attract hundreds of thousands of followers. They use drones to expose wrongdoing. And they have overcome threats, warning shots and a hostile political culture to lobby successfully for the creation of a new protected area. Continue reading...
07/21/2018 - 00:15
Robert Chan risks his life to stop poachers and powerful developers destroying precious marine life in the Philippines Confiscated bottles of cyanide, fishing dynamite and more than 600 chainsaws decorate the office of Robert Chan , leader of arguably the world’s most effective direct-action eco-vigilante organisation. The Palawan NGO Network Incorporated risk their lives to protect reefs and coastal forests in the Coral Triangle, a global hotspot for marine biodiversity and violent environmental crime. Continue reading...
07/21/2018 - 00:15
Fatima Babu’s decades-long campaign against a toxic copper smelter in Tamil Nadu says the cost of victory was too high For 24 years, Fatima Babu struggled to galvanise the citizens of Tuticorin in the southern Indian state of Tamil Nadu against the toxic threat posed by the Sterlite Copper smelter. Often working thanklessly and sometimes alone, she filed lawsuits, organised workshops and gave interviews to raise awareness. The English professor-turned-activist hoped that people would eventually rally to the cause, but never in her wildest dreams did she imagine how quickly opinion could change or how violently the authorities would respond. Continue reading...
07/21/2018 - 00:15
Ranger Samuel Loware’s life is under constant threat in his efforts to conserve wildlife from heavily armed guerillas The bullet that pierced the shoulder of Ugandan ranger Samuel Loware had already taken one life and could easily have added his. The shell was fired by a Sudanese poacher trying to flee back over the border with contraband meat from the Kidepo Valley national park. Loware had been tracking the fugitive - one of a band of heavily armed raiders - from the early morning with the help of a local villager. As the two pursuers approached a gully, the poacher opened fire from behind a tree trunk that had been pushed down by an elephant. One shot passed through the chest of the villager into the body of the ranger, who was returning fire. Continue reading...
07/21/2018 - 00:15
Nonhle Mbuthuma is battling for her community’s right to say no to the exploitation of their territory in a hangover of the apartheid era As a child, Nonhle Mbuthuma would wake up in her family’s thatched hut listening to the waves crashing on South Africa’s Wild Coast , then go and play on the sand dunes, head off to school or help her parents cultivate sweet potatoes and bananas on the family plot. Today, she can rarely stay in the same place for any length of time and is more likely to be keeping her ears alert to signs of danger. At times she needs bodyguards or goes into hiding. Continue reading...
07/21/2018 - 00:15
Villagers massacred amid conflict between indigenous community and coffee plantation When the soldiers opened fire on Datal Bonglangon village, there was first confusion, then terror, then grief. But Marivic Danyan – one of the younger, quieter members of the community – decided to be strong. Reluctantly, heartbreakingly strong. The young T’boli woman had been preparing lunch when her remote, indigenous community on the southern Philippine island of Mindanao was peppered with gunfire. One bullet ripped into the wooden wall beside her. Another pierced the corrugated tin roof. Continue reading...
07/21/2018 - 00:14
Nurse-turned activist Isela Gonzalez lives with bodyguards and constant threat in her fight against destructive economic interests Not all land defenders fight in remote forests and coastlands. Some take the battle to the centres of power: to courtrooms, parliament buildings and corporate headquarters. The veneer of urban civility may be glossier here, but the struggle is no less dangerous. In some cases, it can be worse. Isela Gonzalez has been threatened more times than she can remember by university-educated men in suits, whose business interests – in logging, mining, agriculture and narcotics – are challenged by her work as director of Alianza Sierra Madre to protect indigenous land rights in Mexico’s western Sierra Madre. Continue reading...
07/21/2018 - 00:14
Ramón Bedoya says his father, a land activist, was shot by local paramilitaries in league with agribusiness and narcos who fill the void left by Farc rebels The bullet-proof 4x4 is speeding through the countryside of western Colombia with two armed bodyguards, reggaeton is blasting out from the speakers, banana trees flit past the reinforced windows and the protected passenger – a threatened, recently bereaved 18-year-old campesino (poor farmer) – is explaining from bitter personal experience why he thinks Netflix’s Narcos TV series is trash. “It glorifies killers,” says Ramón Bedoya. “Drug dealers and paramilitaries. These are the type of people who murdered my dad.” Continue reading...
07/21/2018 - 00:12
In Brazil, Maria do Soccoro Silva is leading Amazonian forest people against alleged land-grabbing, corruption and pollution A warning voice on the telephone, a home intrusion, a punch in the face, a pistol barrel prodded against the ear. The intimidation of Maria do Socorro Silva has come in many forms since she began defending her Amazonian home against the world’s biggest alumina refinery and its local government backers. Continue reading...
07/20/2018 - 23:30
St Dominic, Tamar Valley: This year’s exceptional cherry harvest has seen our feathered friends gorge on maturing fruit Abundant fruit reflects the sun as we pick cherries in the cool of evening. The spreading trees in James and Mary’s orchard of traditional varieties provide oases of shade among dried-up grasses and help protect the shallow roots from drought; despite the hot weather, rustling leaves remain fresh and bright green. A few weeks ago, pigeons and jackdaws flocked here to gorge on maturing fruit, breaking off new shoots and littering the ground with wizened stones. Since these birds left for alternative venues and feasts of ripening grain, the remaining fruit has become plump and juicy, tasting sweet and slightly tart, as delicious as that of ancestor trees. These were common in the valley’s widespread orchards during the 18th and 19th centuries, with only a few surviving until the 1980s. Continue reading...