INDIAN AND INDIGENOUS DEVELOPMENTS

Steve Sachs

Environmental Developments

      Jon Queally, "'Existential Threat to Civilization: Planetary Tipping Points Make Climate Bets Too Dangerous, Scientists Warn: I don't think people realize how little time we have left, said one co-author of a new paper warning that the systems of the natural world could cascade out of control sooner than was previously thought," Common Dreams , November 28, 2019, https://www.commondreams.org/news/2019/11/28/existential-threat-civilization-planetary-tipping-points-make-climate-bets-too, reported, " Citing an existential threat to civilization," a group of top climate scientists have put out a new paper warning that the latest evidence related to climate tipping points—when natural systems reach their breaking point and cascading feedback loops accelerate collapse—could mean such dynamics are more likely than was thought and could come sooner as well.
     In the paper, published as a commentary in the journal Nature on Wednesday, the group of researchers summarize the latest findings related to the threat of tipping points as part of effort to identify knowledge gaps and suggest ways to fill them. We explore the effects of such large-scale changes, the scientists explain, "how quickly they might unfold and whether we still have any control over them.'
     ' We'll reach 1.5°C in one or two decades, and with three decades to decarbonize it's clearly an emergency situation. —Owen Gaffney, Stockholm Resilience Center
     While the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) introduced the idea of tipping points two decades ago, the paper notes, it was long believed that what climatologists refer to as large-scale discontinuities in the planet's natural system were considered likely only if global warming exceeded 5°C above pre-industrial levels.' According to the researchers, however, more recent information and data—including the most recent IPCC summaries—suggest these frightening tipping points could be exceeded even between 1 and 2 °C of warming'—that means this century, possibly within just decades.
      'I don't think people realize how little time we have left, Owen Gaffney, a global sustainability analyst at the Stockholm Resilience Center at Stockholm University and a co-author of the paper, told National Geographic. 'We'll reach 1.5°C in one or two decades, and with three decades to decarbonize it's clearly an emergency situation."
     Gaffney added, Without emergency action our children are likely to inherit a dangerously destabilized planet.'
     According to the paper:
     " If current national pledges to reduce greenhouse-gas emissions are implemented—and that’s a big if'—they are likely to result in at least 3°C of global warming. This is despite the goal of the 2015 Paris agreement to limit warming to well below 2°C. Some economists, assuming that climate tipping points are of very low probability (even if they would be catastrophic), have suggested that 3°C warming is optimal from a cost–benefit perspective. However, if tipping points are looking more likely, then the optimal policy recommendation of simple cost–benefit climate-economy models 4 aligns with those of the recent IPCC report 2 . In other words, warming must be limited to 1.5  °C. This requires an emergency response."
      Among the key evidence that tipping points are underway, the paper highlights a litany of global hot spots where runaway warming could unleash—or is already unleashing—dangerous feedback loops. They include: frequent droughts in the Amazon rainforest; Artic sea ice reductions; slowdown in Atlantic Ocean currents; fires and pests in the northern Boreal forest; large scale coral reef die-offs; ice sheet loss in Greenland; permafrost thawing in Eastern Russia; and accelerating melting in both the West and East Antarctic. raising_the_alarm
     In an interview with the Guardian, Professor Tim Lenton at the University of Exeter, the lead author of the article, said: As a scientist, I just want to tell it how it is. It is not trying to be alarmist, but trying to treat the whole climate change problem as a risk management problem. It is what I consider the common sense way.'
     Citing campaigners around the world, including young people this year who kicked off global climate strikes, Lenton acknowledge that these people understand what world leaders seem unwilling to accept or act upon. [ We might already have crossed the threshold for a cascade of interrelated tipping points,[ Lenton said. The simple version is the schoolkids are right: we are seeing potentially irreversible changes in the climate system under way, or very close.'
     In their paper, the scientists write that 'the consideration of tipping points helps to define that we are in a climate emergency and strengthens this year's chorus of calls for urgent climate action—from schoolchildren to scientists, cities and countries.'
     Despite the frightening warnings and the scale of the threat, the researchers are not trying to be doom-and-gloomers who say that nothing can be done.
     In his comments to the Guardian, Lenton said, This article is not meant to be a counsel of despair. If we want to avoid the worst of these bad climate tipping points, we need to activate some positive social and economic tipping points [such as renewable energy] towards what should ultimately be a happier, flourishing, sustainable future for the generations to come.'But the paper makes clear that the climate emergency is here in very profound ways."In our view, the evidence from tipping points alone suggests that we are in a state of planetary emergency: both the risk and urgency of the situation are acute," the paper states. The researchers even provide a mathematical risk equation: screen_shot_2019-11-28_at_7
     The group of scientists also acknowledge that some in the scientific community believe their warnings exceed what the available evidence shows when it comes to the threat of tipping points or the timeline:
      Some scientists counter that the possibility of global tipping remains highly speculative. It is our position that, given its huge impact and irreversible nature, any serious risk assessment must consider the evidence, however limited our understanding might still be. To err on the side of danger is not a responsible option.
      If damaging tipping cascades can occur and a global tipping point cannot be ruled out, then this is an existential threat to civilization. No amount of economic cost–benefit analysis is going to help us. We need to change our approach to the climate problem.
     The Guardian spoke to Professor Martin Siegert at Imperial College London, about the researchers paper and whether or not its warning comes in too heavy. The new work is valuable, Siegert said. They are being a little speculative, but maybe you need to be.'
     In the end, the new paper's conclusion was twofold: more needs to be known about these crucial tipping points and that only urgent action can stave off the urgent threat an increasingly hotter world.
      'We argue that the intervention time left to prevent tipping could already have shrunk towards zero, whereas the reaction time to achieve net zero emissions is 30 years at best, the paper states. 'Hence we might already have lost control of whether tipping happens. A saving grace is that the rate at which damage accumulates from tipping—and hence the risk posed—could still be under our control to some extent. "
      'The stability and resilience of our planet is in peril, it concludes. " International action—not just words—must reflect this."
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      Brad Plumer, "The World’s Oceans Are in Danger, Major Climate Change Report Warns," The New York Times, September 26, 2019, https://www.nytimes.com/2019/09/25/climate/climate-change-oceans-united-nations.html, reported, " Climate change is heating the oceans and altering their chemistry so dramatically that it is threatening seafood supplies, fueling cyclones and floods and posing profound risks to the hundreds of millions of people living along the coasts, according to a sweeping United Nations report issued Wednesday.
     The report concludes that the world’s oceans and ice sheets are under such severe stress that the fallout could prove difficult for humans to contain without steep reductions in greenhouse gas emissions. Fish populations are already declining in many regions as warming waters throw marine ecosystems into disarray, according to the report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, a group of scientists convened by the United Nations to guide world leaders in policymaking."
     " Hotter ocean temperatures, combined with rising sea levels, further imperil coastal regions, the report says, worsening a phenomenon that is already contributing to storms like Hurricane Harvey, which devastated Houston two years ago .
     For decades, the oceans have served as a crucial buffer against global warming, soaking up roughly a quarter of the carbon dioxide that humans emit from power plants, factories and cars, and absorbing more than 90 percent of the excess heat trapped on Earth by carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases. Without that protection, the land would be heating much more rapidly.
      But the oceans themselves are becoming hotter, more acidic and less oxygen-rich as a result, according to the report. If humans keep pumping greenhouse gases into the atmosphere at an increasing rate, marine ecosystems already facing threats from seaborne plastic waste , unsustainable fishing practices and other man-made stresses will be further strained."
     The "Special Report on the Ocean and Cryosphere in a Changing Climate," summary for policy makers is available at: https://www.ipcc.ch/srocc/home/.


      Brad Plumer, "Carbon Dioxide Emissions Hit a Record in 2019, Even as Coal Fades," The New York Times, December 4, 2019, https://www.nytimes.com/2019/12/03/climate/carbon-dioxide-emissions.html, reported, " Emissions of planet-warming carbon dioxide from fossil fuels hit a record high in 2019, researchers said Tuesday, putting countries farther off course from their goal of halting global warming.
     The new data contained glimmers of good news: Worldwide, industrial emissions are on track to rise 0.6 percent this year, a considerably slower pace than the 1.5 percent increase seen in 2017 and the 2.1 percent rise in 2018. The United States and the European Union both managed to cut their carbon dioxide output this year, while India’s emissions grew far more slowly than expected.
     And global emissions from coal, the worst-polluting of all fossil fuels, unexpectedly declined by about 0.9 percent in 2019, although that drop was more than offset by strong growth in the use of oil and natural gas around the world."
      Slowing growth of greenhouse gas emissions is not enough. Steep reductions are needed to avoid catastrophic disaster.


      Kendra Pierre-Louis, "Waters Off California Acidifying Faster Than Rest of Oceans, Study Shows," The New York Times, December 16, 2019, https://www.nytimes.com/2019/12/16/climate/california-ocean-acidifying.html, "California’s coastal waters are acidifying twice as fast as the rest of the oceans, a study published Monday shows. And some of California’s most important seafood — including the spiny lobster, the market squid and the Dungeness crab — are becoming increasingly vulnerable."


      Naomi Oreskes, Michael Oppenheimer, Dale Jamieson, "Scientists Have Been Underestimating the Pace of Climate Change: A book entitled Discerning Experts explains why—and what can be done about it," Scientific American, August 19, 2019, https://blogs.scientificamerican.com/observations/scientists-have-been-underestimating-the-pace-of-climate-change/, reported, "Recently, the U.K. Met Office announced a revision to the Hadley Center historical analysis of sea surface temperatures (SST), suggesting that the oceans have warmed about 0.1 degree Celsius more than previously thought. The need for revision arises from the long-recognized problem that in the past sea surface temperatures were measured using a variety of error-prone methods such as using open buckets, lamb’s wool–wrapped thermometers, and canvas bags. It was not until the 1990s that oceanographers developed a network of consistent and reliable measurement buoys.
     Then, to develop a consistent picture of long-term trends, techniques had to be developed to compensate for the errors in the older measurements and reconcile them with the newer ones. The Hadley Centre has led this effort, and the new data set—dubbed HadSST4—is a welcome advance in our understanding of global climate change.
     But that’s where the good news ends. Because the oceans cover three fifths of the globe, this correction implies that previous estimates of overall global warming have been too low. Moreover it was reported recently that in the one place where it was carefully measured, the underwater melting that is driving disintegration of ice sheets and glaciers is occurring far faster than predicted by theory—as much as two orders of magnitude faster—throwing current model projections of sea level rise further in doubt.
     These recent updates, suggesting that climate change and its impacts are emerging faster than scientists previously thought, are consistent with observations that we and other colleagues have made identifying a pattern in assessments of climate research of underestimation of certain key climate indicators, and therefore underestimation of the threat of climate disruption. When new observations of the climate system have provided more or better data, or permitted us to reevaluate old ones, the findings for ice extent, sea level rise and ocean temperature have generally been worse than earlier prevailing views."


      Jessica Corbett, "'Another Year. Another Record.': Levels of Key Climate-Heating Gases Hit New Highs in 2018, UN Reveals: There is no sign of a slowdown, let alone a decline, warns the World Meteorological Organization chief," Common Dreams , November 25, 2019, https://www.commondreams.org/news/2019/11/25/another-year-another-record-levels-key-climate-heating-gases-hit-new-highs-2018-un, reported, " In yet another signal to global governments that greater ambition is needed to combat the climate crisis, an annual United Nations report released Monday revealed that levels of long-lived greenhouse gases in the atmosphere reached record highs last year.
     The latest World Meteorological Organization (WMO) Greenhouse Gas Bulletin (pdf) provided figures for globally averaged concentrations of three key climate-heating gases in 2018:
     Carbon dioxide (CO2), which reached 407.8 parts per million;
     Methane (CH4), which reached 1869 parts per billion; and
     Nitrous oxide (N2O), which reached 331.1 parts per billion.
     'These values represent, respectively, 147%, 259%, and 123% of pre-industrial (before 1750) levels," the bulletin noted. In terms of contributions to warming the climate
, carbon dioxide is the single most important anthropogenic GHG in the atmosphere among all long-lived greenhouse gases, the primary focus of the report.
     Both methane and nitrious oxide are emitted by natural sources, but about 60 percent of CH4 emitted into the atmosphere comes from human activities such as biomass burning, cattle farming, fossil fuel exploitation, landfills, and rice agriculture, according to the bulletin. About 40 percent of N2O comes from human sources, including fertilizer use and various industrial processes.
      From 2017 to 2018, concentrations of all three gases surged by higher amounts than the yearly increases documented over the past decade.
     , 'Since 1990, there has been a 43% increase in total radiative forcing —the warming effect on the climate—by long-lived greenhouse gases' the WMO said in a statement announcing the new bulletin.
     The U.N. agency warned that 'this continuing long-term trend means that future generations will be confronted with increasingly severe impacts of climate change, including rising temperatures, more extreme weather, water stress, sea level rise, and disruption to marine and land ecosystems."
     The bulletin was released a week before the next U.N. Climate Change Conference, COP 25, is scheduled to start. Representatives from across the globe will meet at the conference in Madrid to discuss governments commitments to tackling the human-caused climate emergency, including obligations under the 2015 Paris accord.
     WMO Secretary-General Petteri Taalas, in the agency's statement, tied the bulletin's findings to the necessity of bolder climate action on a global scale.
      'There is no sign of a slowdown, let alone a decline, in greenhouse gases concentration in the atmosphere despite all the commitments under the Paris agreement on climate change, Taalas said. 'We need to translate the commitments into action and increase the level of ambition for the sake of the future welfare of... mankind.'
     'It is worth recalling that the last time the Earth experienced a comparable concentration of CO2 was 3-5 million years ago," he added. "Back then, the temperature was 2-3°C warmer, sea level was 10-20 meters higher than now.'
     Inger Andersen, executive director of the U.N . Environment Program—which last week released a report detailing how projections for fossil fuel production by 2030 are dangerously out of step with global climate goals—connected the bulletin to UNEP's next annual Emission Gap Report, set to be published Tuesday.
     'The findings of WMO's Greenhouse Gas Bulletin and UNEP's Emissions Gap Report point us in a clear direction—in this critical period, the world must deliver concrete, stepped-up action on emissions," Andersen said. We face a stark choice: set in motion the radical transformations we need now, or face the consequences of a planet radically altered by climate change.'
     U.N. Secretary-General António Guterres shared the WMO's bulletin on Twitter Monday and wrote, another record that shows we are not doing enough to address the climate emergency.'
     The bulletin elicted renewed demands from activists for both governments and the private sector to ramp up efforts to drive down greenhouse gases, particularly by phasing out fossil fuels.'The record rise in greenhouse gas concentrations is a cruel reminder that for all the real progress in clean technology, we have yet to even stop global emissions increases,' Nick Mabey, chief executive of global think tank E3G, told The Guardian. The climate system cannot be negotiated with. Until we stop new investment in fossil fuels and massively scale up green power the risks from catastrophic climate change will continue to rise.'
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      Kendra Pierre-Louis, "The Return of the Blob': Hawaii's Reefs Threatened by Marine Heat Wave," The New York Times, October 21, 2019, https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2019/10/21/climate/hawaii-coral-bleaching.html, reported, " Parts of the Pacific Ocean are simmering, threatening coral reefs and livelihoods around Hawaii, and causing many to worry of worse to come.
     'The ocean is very important to us, said Ka’imi Kaupiko, who lives in Milolii, a community often called the last Hawaiian fishing village, on the Big Island . The way of life there depends on the fish provided by the reefs, reefs which are now becoming sick in the warming waters."
     “Researchers said the heat wave was reminiscent of 2014, when a hot spot that became known as the blob began forming in the Pacific. It expanded and lingered over much of the Pacific Coast from Mexico to Alaska for years."


      Jessica Corbett, "'This Is the Beginning': New Study Warns Climate Crisis May Have Been Pivotal in Rise of Drug-Resistant Superbug: Research argues that deadly Candida auris may be the first example of a new fungal disease emerging from climate change,'" Common Dreams, July 23, 2019, https://www.commondreams.org/news/2019/07/23/beginning-new-study-warns-climate-crisis-may-have-been-pivotal-rise-drug-resistant, reported, " A new analysis warns that global warming may have played a pivotal role in the recent rise of a multidrug-resistant fungal superbug, sparking questions and concerns about the emerging public health threats of the human-caused climate crisis.
      Reporting on the research Tuesday, CNN outlined the history of Candida auris:
     "Until recently, scientists considered it a mystery how C. auris popped up in more than 30 countries around the globe a decade after it was first discovered in 2009 . It emerged simultaneously on three continents—in India, Venezuela, and South Africa—between 2012 and 2015, each strain being genetically distinct."
     The study—published Tuesday in mBio, an open-access journal of the American Society for Microbiology—argues that Candida auris /may be the first example of a new fungal disease emerging from climate change./
      'The argument that we are making based on comparison to other close relative fungi is that as the climate has gotten warmer, some of these organisms, including Candida auris, have adapted to the higher temperature, and as they adapt, they break through human's protective temperatures, lead author Arturo Casadevall, chair of molecular microbiology and immunology at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, said in a statement.
      Fungal diseases are relatively uncommon in humans because of body temperature—but if they adapt to rising temperatures, and aren't easily treatable with medications, they could increasingly endanger human health on a global scale. Casadevall warned that while C. auris may be the first fungal disease whose emergence scientists have tied to rising temperatures, it potentially won't be the last.
     'Global warming may lead to new fungal diseases that we don't even know about right now," he said. "What this study suggests is this is the beginning of fungi adapting to higher temperatures, and we are going to have more and more problems as the century goes on.'
     Stat News published a piece Tuesday that mentions the new study but also addresses a series of pressing questions about the emerging superbug with help from experts who include Tom Chiller, chief of mycotic diseases at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and Tejas Bouklas, an assistant professor in the department of biomedical sciences at Long Island University.
     Among those questions is: Could C. auris help other fungi adapt to be bigger threats to humans?'
     That's a question Bouklas is wondering about. The more ubiquitous it becomes, the more problematic. Because now it could potentially transmit DNA to other Candida species. And maybe even bacteria, she said.
     That idea is not far-fetched. Fungi can mate sexually, Chiller pointed out, allowing them to swap large amounts of DNA.
     In light of the potential impacts of the climate crisis on public health highlighted in the study, Casadevall charged in his statement that "we need to make investments in better surveillance of fungal diseases."
     'We are pretty good at surveilling influenza and diseases that cause diarrhea or are contagious, but fungal diseases are not usually contagious and therefore nobody has really bothered to document them well, he said. If more fungi were to cross over, you really wouldn't know until somebody started reporting them in the literature.'
     Chiller, in his interview with Stat News, agreed that more research on the superbug is vital to protecting the public.
     Understanding C. auris's backstory is crucial, Chiller said, because these things are going to continue to emerge. And understanding how they emerge and where they emerge might lead us to prevention strategies or reactive strategies or preparation strategies for the next big thing.'
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      Andrea Germanos, "Earliest Ever Earth Overshoot Day Shows Humanity's Consumption of Planet's Natural Resources Raging Unabated: Systemic change isn't radical, it's what we need to survive, says Sunrise Movement," Common Dreams , July 29, 2019, https://www.commondreams.org/news/2019/07/29/earliest-ever-earth-overshoot-day-shows-humanitys-consumption-planets-natural, reported, There are more than five months left in the year, but on Monday humankind had already burned through the planet's ecological resource budget for 2019.
      It's the earliest the date—known as Earth Overshoot Day— has ever come , the Global Footprint Network, which tracks the metric, said in a statement.
     'Systemic change isn't radical, it's what we need to survive, said the Sunrise Movement in response to the milestone.Impacts of the overshoot back up Sunrise's call for sweeping action.
     'The costs of this global ecological overspending, says the Global Footprint Network, are becoming increasingly evident in the form of deforestation, soil erosion, biodiversity loss, or the buildup of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere.'
     The trend of overspending is clear: last year the day was on Aug. 1; in 2017 it was on Aug. 2; and in 2016 it was on
     Aug 8. In fact, say the network, Earth Overshoot Day has crept up two months over the past 20 years.
     Put another way, says the group, the world is using up resources like fisheries and forests 1.75 times faster than the planet's ecosystems can regenerate them. If everyone lived like U.S. population, we'd need five planets."
      'It is an ecological debt, and the interest we are paying on that mounting debt—food shortages, soil erosion, and the build-up of CO in our atmosphere—comes with devastating human and monetary costs, says the Global Footprint Network.
     Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg called attention to the milestone on Twitter, writing that for the rest of the year, we are stealing from future generations and poorer parts of the world.'
     To help nudge the Earth Overshoot Day further back, the network is encouraging people to take a number of steps.
     People can share solutions they are employing on a move the date interactive map and are encouraged to commit to taking individual actions such as calling on their local officials to adopt more ecologically-friendly policies, or committing to a more plant-based diet. If we reduced global meat consumption by 50 percent and used more calories from plants, we would move Overshoot Day 5 days! says the Global Footprint Network.
     People can also calculate their personal overshoot day at the Footprint Calculator.
     But the scale of the problem necessitates that those who wield power commit to action. That has some looking towards the upcoming United Nations climate conference in Chile known as COP25.
     'With Earth Overshoot Day occurring ever earlier in the year, and a big part of it being the growing amounts of CO2 emissions, the importance of decisive action is becoming ever more evident, said María Carolina Schmidt Zaldívar, who serves as Chile's environment minister and will chair COP25. For this reason, she said, we are working with all parties to find effective approaches.'
     The stakes, as Mathis Wackernagel, co-inventor of Ecological Footprint accounting and founder of Global Footprint Network, said, couldn't be higher.
     
     'We have only got one Earth, he said, this is the ultimately defining context for human existence.'
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      Jessica Corbett, "Leaked UN Draft Report Warns Rising, Warming Oceans Poised to Unleash Misery Worldwide: The assessment details anticipated declines in fish stocks as well as increases in damage by superstorms and displacement due to rising seas," Common Dreams, August 29, 2019, https://www.commondreams.org/news/2019/08/29/leaked-un-draft-report-warns-rising-warming-oceans-poised-unleash-misery-worldwide, reported, " A draft United Nations report warns 'the same oceans that nourished human evolution are poised to unleash misery on a global scale unless the carbon pollution destabilizing Earth's marine environment is brought to heel,' according to Agence France-Presse, which exclusively reported on the 900-page scientific assessment Thursday.
     The forthcoming report from a U.N. body that assesses science related to the human-caused planetary emergency is due to be released to the public Sep. 25, after diplomats and experts meet in Monaco to approve the final Summary for Policymakers.
     AFP, which obtained a draft of the U.N. assessment, reported:
      Destructive changes already set in motion could see a steady decline in fish stocks, a hundred-fold or more increase in the damages caused by superstorms, and hundreds of millions of people displaced by rising seas, according to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) "special report" on oceans and Earth's frozen zones, known as the cryosphere.
     As the 21st century unfolds, melting glaciers will first give too much and then too little to billions who depend on them for fresh water, it finds.
     Without deep cuts to manmade emissions, at least 30 percent of the northern hemisphere's surface permafrost could melt by century's end, unleashing billions of tonnes of carbon and accelerating global warming even more.
     The Special Report on the Ocean and Cryosphere in a Changing Climate will follow the IPCC's recent reports about what the world would look like with 1.5°C of warming above pre-industrial levels—the lower target of the global Paris climate agreement— and the need for transformative changes to land use to address both planetary heating and hunger.
     In a statement earlier this year, Debra Roberts, co-chair of IPCC Working Group II—which focuses on the vulnerability of socio-economic and natural systems to the climate crisis—noted that the U.N. body's October report showed the broad benefits to people and natural ecosystems of limiting global warming to 1.5°C.
     'The Special Report on the Ocean and Cryosphere in a Changing Climate takes this story one step further by evaluating how human and natural communities with be affected by the impacts of climate change on two earth systems that touch all of our lives directly or indirectly, the ocean and the frozen areas of the world, Roberts said. It also assesses how we can set the course for a more sustainable and equitable future by reducing or better managing this impact.'
     While those working on the IPCC's ocean report aim to provide the international community with yet another tool to help avert the most catastrophic potential consequences of rising temperatures, AFP pointed out that the crucial advice for policymakers will be released "too late to be considered by world leaders gathering two days earlier for a summit convened by U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres to extract stronger national commitments in confronting the climate crisis.'
     When it comes to the September summit, which is focused on the key goals of the Paris accord, AFP reported that Guterres may be disappointed by what the world's major greenhouse gas emitters put on the table, according to experts tracking climate politics in China, the United States, the European Union, and India.'
      'The Big Four—accounting for nearly 60 percent of global fossil fuel-based emissions—all face devastating ocean- and ice-related impacts, but none seem prepared just announce more ambitious goals for purging carbon from their economies, AFPcontinued, detailing some of those impacts based on the IPCC draft.
      By 2050, many low-lying megacities and small island nations will experience extreme sea level events every year, even under the most optimistic emissions reduction scenarios, the report concludes.
      By 2100, annual flood damages are expected to increase by two to three orders of magnitude, or 100 to 1,000 fold, the draft summary for policymakers says.
      Even if the world manages to cap global warming at 2°C, the global ocean waterline will rise enough to displace more than a quarter of a billion people.
     Experts are divided on the anticipated timeline for such mass displacement due to sea level rise. However, Ben Strauss, CEO and chief scientist of the U.S.-based research group Climate Central, told AFP that even if the number is 100 or 50 million by 2100, that's still a major disruption and a lot of human misery.'
     Strauss, whose research informs some of the IPCC report's conclusions, added that 'if we warm the planet by 2°C by 2100 we will only be at the beginning of a runaway train ride of sea level rise.'
     In an op-ed published Thursday by Reuters, Greenpeace International executive director Jennifer Morgan declared that tackling the climate emergency and protecting our oceans go hand-in-hand, noting that the oceans naturally take in huge amounts of carbon dioxide and are a key defense against the worsening impacts of climate change.'
     Morgan called on world leaders attending the U.N. summit in September to commit to adopting a strong Global Ocean Treaty in 2020." She wrote:
     The scope of this new global agreement could be huge: almost half of the planet. The High Seas, oceans beyond borders, cover more space on our planet than all continents combined. Sadly, today these international waters are being ruthlessly exploited. In addition to climate change, pressures from overfishing, deep sea mining exploration, oil drilling, and plastic pollution are pushing our oceans to the verge of collapse. Only around 1 percent of the global seas are properly protected. There is no effective legal instrument that allows the creation of ocean sanctuaries—areas off-limits to harmful human activities—on international waters.
     'Scientists are clear that we need to protect at least 30 percent of our global oceans by 2030 if we are to safeguard wildlife and to help mitigate the impacts of climate change," Morgan added. "But that will only happen if an ambitious ocean treaty is adopted fast and opens the door to creating effective ocean sanctuaries in international waters.'
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      Julia Conley, "'Completely Terrifying': Study Warns Carbon-Saturated Oceans Headed Toward Tipping Point That Could Unleash Mass Extinction Event: Once we're over the threshold...you're dealing with how the Earth works, and it goes on its own ride'" Common Dreams, July 09, 2019, https://www.commondreams.org/news/2019/07/09/completely-terrifying-study-warns-carbon-saturated-oceans-headed-toward-tipping, reported, " The continuous accumulation of carbon dioxide in the planet's oceans—which shows no sign of stopping due to humanity's relentless consumption of fossil fuels—is likely to trigger a chemical reaction in Earth's carbon cycle similar to those which happened just before mass extinction events, according to a new study.
     MIT geophysics professor Daniel Rothman released new data on Monday showing that carbon levels today could be fast approaching a tipping point threshold that could trigger extreme ocean acidification similar to the kind that contributed to the Permian–Triassic mass extinction that occurred about 250 million years ago.
     Rothman's new research comes two years after he predicted that a mass extinction event could take place at the end of this century. Since 2017, he has been working to understand how life on Earth might be wiped out due to increased carbon in the oceans.
     Rothman created a model in which he simulated adding carbon dioxide to oceans, finding that when the gas was added to an already-stable marine environment, only temporary acidification occurred.
      When he continuously pumped carbon into the oceans, however, as humans have been doing at greater and greater levels since the late 18th century , the ocean model eventually reached a threshold which triggered what MIT called a cascade of chemical feedbacks,' or excitation, causing extreme acidification and worsening the warming effects of the originally-added carbon.
      Over the past 540 million years, these chemical feedbacks have occurred at various times, Rothman noted.
     But the most significant occurrences took place around the time of four out of the five mass extinction events—and today's oceans are absorbing carbon far more quickly than they did before the Permian–Triassic extinction, in which 90 percent of life on Earth died out.
      The planet may now be at the precipice of excitation, Rothman told MIT News.
     On social media, one critic called the study's implications about life on Earth completely terrifying.'
     The study, which was completed with support from NASA and the National Science Foundation, also notes that even though humans have only been pumping carbon into the oceans for hundreds of years rather than the thousands of years it took for volcanic eruptions and other events to bring about other extinctions, the result will likely be the same.
     'Once we're over the threshold, how we got there may not matter, Rothman told MIT News. Once you get over it, you're dealing with how the Earth works, and it goes on its own ride.'
     Other scientists said the study, which will be published this week in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, represents a clear call for immediate action to drastically reduce the amount of carbon that is being pumped into the world's oceans. Climate action groups and grassroots movements have long called on governments to impose a moratorium on fossil fuel drilling, which pumps about a billion metric tons of carbon into the atmosphere every year.
     'We already know that our CO2-emitting actions will have consequences for many millennia, says Timothy Lenton, a professor of climate change and earth systems science at the University of Exeter. This study suggests those consequences could be much more dramatic than previously expected.'
      'If we push the Earth system too far, Lenton added, then it takes over and determines its own response—past that point there will be little we can do about it.'
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      Jessica Corbett, "New Study Warns 5 Billion People Could Face Higher Risk of Climate-Related Coastal Storms, Water Pollution, and Crop Losses by 2050: If we continue on this trajectory, ecosystems will be unable to provide natural insurance in the face of climate change-induced impacts on food, water, and infrastructure,'" Common Dreams, October 10, 2019, https://www.commondreams.org/news/2019/10/10/new-study-warns-5-billion-people-could-face-higher-risk-climate-related-coastal, reported, " By 2050, five billion people across the globe—disproportionately those in poorer communities—could face a higher risk of enduring coastal storms, water pollution, and crop losses linked to the human-caused climate crisis, warns a study published in the journal Science and reported on Thursday by The Scotsman.
     'Our analyses suggest that the current environmental governance at local, regional, and international levels is failing to encourage the most vulnerable regions to invest in ecosystems, said study co-author Unai Pascual, co-chair of the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES).
     'If we continue on this trajectory, Pascual added, " ecosystems will be unable to provide natural insurance in the face of climate change-induced impacts on food, water, and infrastructure.'
     According to The Scotsman:
     'The research team set out to understand and map where nature contributes the most to people's lives, and how many people might be impacted by climate change and changes in the way fossil fuels are used.
     They focused on three areas in which nature is considered to be hugely beneficial to people—water quality regulation, protection from coastal hazards, and crop pollination—and analyzed how they might change using open-source software.
      People in Africa and South Asia were projected to be most disadvantaged by diminishing contributions from nature.'
      'Determining when and where nature is most important is critical to understanding how best to enhance people's livelihoods and well-being, said study co-author Stephen Polasky of the University of Minnesota.
      The researchers have developed an online, interactive map for their findings. Lead author Becky Chaplin-Kramer of Stanford University said the group hopes the study will help inform and further galvanize global action.'
     'We're equipped with the information we need to avert the worst scenarios our models project and move toward an equitable, sustainable future, she added. Now is the time to wield it.'
      The study's warnings echo findings from previous research about the near-future consequences of human-driven global warming—such as a study from September on climate-related droughts and wheat production—and come as people around the world have taken to the streets since Monday for Extinction Rebellion's two weeks of action to pressure policymakers to pursue bolder climate action plans.
     Alongside demands from scientists and activists that governments worldwide urgently work to transition energy systems away from fossil fuels to fully renewable sources, experts and campaigners are now promoting the restoration of nature to help prevent more catastrophic impacts of rising temperatures.
     One such effort is the Natural Climate Solutions campaign
, which launched in April and received renewed attention during last month's global climate strikes. It calls for protecting and restoring ecosystems such as forests to draw carbon dioxide out of the atmosphere and lock it away to prevent further warming.
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      Jon Queally, "After Data Shows Last Month Was Hottest June on Record, Sanders Says Maybe Now Is Time to Start Treating This Like a Crisis and Not a Hoax: It's only the hottest June ever recorded on planet earth, said 350.org co-founder Bill McKibben with sarcasm. So, nothing at all to worry about.'" Common Dreams, July 03, 2019, https://www.commondreams.org/news/2019/07/03/after-data-shows-last-month-was-hottest-june-record-sanders-says-maybe-now-time, reported, "In response to news on Tuesday that a European Union satellite agency declared last month the hottest June ever recorded, 2020 Democratic candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders said, Maybe, just maybe, it's time to start treating this like a crisis and not a hoax.'
     With campaigners across the world demanding leaders respond to the crisis of the rapidly heating planet as the "climate emergency" it is, Sanders was responding to a tweet by 350.org co-founder Bill McKibben noting new data released by the UN-supported Copernicus Climate Change Service (C3S) that showed global temperatures last month were the highest ever recorded for June since records began in the late 19th century.
     As the story by the Independent newspaper on the temperature data was poorly worded or incorrectly reported, McKibben later returned to Twitter to clarify the report's findings, but he made it clear the reality should still be met with serious alarm:
      According to C3S, average temperatures across Europe "were more than 2°C above normal" and the "global-average temperature for June 2019 was also the highest on record for the month."
     Globally, the temperature average, the group noted, was about 0.1°C higher than that of the previous warmest June, in 2016, following a strong El Niño event."


      Julia Conley, "'Unprecedented Decline of Plants and Animals as Global Red List Reveals Nearly One-Third of Assessed Species Under Threat: We must act now both on biodiversity loss and climate change," Common Dreams, July 18, 2019, https://www.commondreams.org/news/2019/07/18/unprecedented-decline-plants-and-animals-global-red-list-reveals-nearly-one-third, reported, " Calling on global policymakers to act immediately to preserve biodiversity and save tens of thousands of species from extinction, the group behind the world's most definitive list of endangered animals and plants has added more than 2,600 threatened species to its annual report.
     The Red List,
published Thursday by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), revealed that one third of all species the group has assessed are now under threat due to overfishing, pollution, illegal logging and trafficking, threats to water sources and habitats due to the climate crisis, and other factors, including many human activities.
      Of the approximately 9,000 species the IUCN assessed over the past year, the group determined about 2,600 to be endangered, critically endangered, or threatened, bringing the total number of vulnerable species to about 28,000 of the more than 100,000 that have now been studied.
      'Nature is declining at rates unprecedented in human history,' said Jane Smart, global director of the IUCN Biodiversity Conservation Group. Decisive action is needed at scale to halt this decline; the timing of this assessment is critical as governments are starting to negotiate a new global biodiversity framework for such action.'A quarter of all mammals are threatened with possible extinction, while 40 percent of the world's amphibians and a third of reefs and corals—which in addition to providingthousands of species with habitats, also protect humans habitats by halting the erosion of coastlines—are now endangered.
     On social media, climate action and conservation advocates decried the "bleak assessment" and wrote that the Red List only bolsters the case for taking immediate action to move toward sustainable energy sources and curb the climate crisis.
     The updated Red List was released less than a year after the World Wildlife Federation revealed that 60 percent of all animal species have been wiped out since 1970 due to human activity.
     Plummeting biodiversity observed by scientists has prompted the IUCN to call for the United Nations, at its biodiversity summit planned for next year in China, to move toward bold reforms aimed at curbing fossil fuel emissions which have contributed to the climate crisis and ending other human activities linked to the decline of thousands of species.
      'Loss of species and climate change are the two great challenges facing humanity this century, Lee Hannah, a scientist with Conservation International, said. The Red List addresses both, by letting us know the extinction risk faced by all species, including climate change, in that assessment. The results are clear, we must act now both on biodiversity loss and climate change.'
     'This update clearly shows how much humans around the world are overexploiting wildlife," said the IUCN's acting director, Dr. Grethel Aguilar.
     Species newly listed as critically endangered'—the category most disconcerting to scientists after regional extinction and extinction in the wild—include the bleeding toad, the Northern Muriqui, the angelshark, and the Rabb's fringe-limbed treefrog.
     The South Asian river dolphin and the tri-spine horseshoe crab were also added as endangered.'
     
      A number of trees, including the formerly-common American elm tree, are now considered endangered. About 90 percent of forest trees native to Madagascar, whose wood is widely used and illegally trafficked around the world, are now threatened with extinction.
      'The implications for people are that we lose valuable resources such as rosewoods and elms, and we also lose ecosystem resilience, undermining the essential ecosystem services that forests provide, said Paul Smith, secretary general of Botanic Gardens Conservation International. 'It is imperative that we not only halt the loss of tree species diversity but that we restore habitats with a diverse range of tree species where these have already been degraded by human activities.'
      On the IUCN's assessment of more than 105,000 species around the world, no endangered or vulnerable animal or plant species was listed as having an improved outlook for its survival.
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      Madeleine Keck, "Australian Medical Association Declares Climate Change a ‘Health Emergency’," Global Citizen, September 5, 2019 https://www.globalcitizen.org/en/content/australian-medical-association-declares-climate-ch/, reported, " Australia’s top medical body has labeled climate change a “health emergency.”
      The Australian Medical Association (AMA) now joins the likes of the American Medical Association and British Medical Association in declaring that "climate change is real and will have the earliest and most severe health consequences on vulnerable populations around the world.”


     Christopher Flavelle, "Moody’s Buys Climate Data Firm, Signaling New Scrutiny of Climate Risks," The New York Times, July 24, 2019, https://www.nytimes.com/2019/07/24/climate/moodys-ratings-climate-change-data.html, reported, "Moody’s Corporation has purchased a controlling stake in a firm that measures the physical risks of climate change, the latest indication that global warming can threaten the creditworthiness of governments and companies around the world."


     Damian Carrington, "Just 10% of Fossil Fuel Subsidy Cash Could Pay for Green Transition': Redirecting small portion of subsidies would unleash clean energy revolution, says report," Portside (originally from the Guardian)August 7, 2019, https://portside.org/2019-08-07/just-10-fossil-fuel-subsidy-cash-could-pay-green-transition, reported, " Switching just some of the huge subsidies supporting fossil fuels to renewables would unleash a runaway clean energy revolution, according to a new report, significantly cutting the carbon emissions that are driving the climate crisis.
      Coal, oil and gas get more than $370bn (£305bn) a year in support, compared with $100bn for renewables, the International Institute for Sustainable Development (IISD) report found. Just 10-30% of the fossil fuel subsidies would pay for a global transition to clean energy, the IISD said."


      Jessica Corbett, "Citing $69 Trillion Price Tag by 2100, Moody's Warns Central Banks of Far-Reaching Economic Damage of Climate Crisis: There is no denying it: The longer we wait to take bold action to curb emissions, the higher the costs will be for all of us,'" Common Dreams , July 3, 2019, https://www.commondreams.org/news/2019/07/03/citing-69-trillion-price-tag-2100-moodys-warns-central-banks-far-reaching-economic , reported, "Noting previous warnings that the human-caused climate crisis could cause trillions of dollars in damage to the global economy by the end of the century, a new report from Moody's Analytics explores the economic implications of the international community's failure to curb planet-warming emissions.
     Moody's Analytics chief economist Mark Zandi told The Washington Post—which first reported on the new analysis—that this is 'the first stab at trying to quantify what the macroeconomic consequences might be" of the global climate crisis, and it comes in response to European commercial banks and central banks. The climate emergency is not a cliff event. It's not a shock to the economy. It's more like a corrosive, Zandi added. But it is getting weightier with each passing year.'
      The financial research and consulting firm's analysis (pdf) highlights a few key projections from a report published last October by the U.N. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC): if the average global temperature soars to 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels—the lower limit of the Paris climate agreement —the cost to the global economy is estimated to be $54 trillion in 2100, and under a warming scenario of 2°C, the cost could reach $69 trillion.
     Moody's—whose clients include multinational corporations, governments, central banks, financial regulators and institutions, retailers, mutual funds, utilities, real estate firms, insurance companies, and investors—notes researchers have found that warming beyond the 2°C threshold could hit tipping points for even larger and irreversible warming feedback loops, such as permanent summer ice melt in the Arctic Ocean.'
     One of the key takeaways, the report emphasizes, is that economically, 'the more draconian effects of climate change are not felt until 2030 and beyond. And they do not become especially pronounced until the second part of the century.'
     'That's why it is so hard to get people focused on this issue and get a comprehensive policy response, Zandi told the Post. Business is focused on the next year, or five years out.'
     'Most of the models go out 30 years, he said, but, really, the damage to the economy is in the next half-century, and we haven't developed the tools to look out that far.'
     Responding to the Post report, which emphasized Moody's warning of the anticipated damage to the global economy, some advocates of ambitious global action to slash human-generated greenhouse gas emissions pointed to recent findings from climate experts that the world's temperature could rise 3°C or higher by 2100, implying that the economic costs could exceed the IPCC's upper estimate.
     Linking to the Post report, Defend Our Future—a project of the Environmental Defense Fund that aims to empower young people interested in advancing climate and clean energy solutions—tweeted: There is no denying it: The longer we wait to take bold action to curb emissions, the higher the costs will be for all of us.'
     Moody's analysts examined the climate emergency's expected economic damage across six impact channels—sea-level rise, human health effects, heat effect of labor productivity, agricultural productivity, tourism, and energy demand—and created forecasts through 2048.
      'This analysis reveals that some countries are significantly exposed to rising temperatures while others, particularly in Northern Hemisphere climates, are well insulated, the report says. Those at the greatest risk, analysts found, are countries in hot climates, particularly those that are emerging economies such as Malaysia, Algeria, the Philippines, and Thailand, and oil producers such as Saudi Arabia, Qatar, and Oman.'
      On the agricultural front, rising temperatures are expected to impact both the health of farmworkers and crop yields, which particularly threatens less-developed nations that are economically dependent on farming. Echoing a U.N. report published this week, Moody's notes that 'heat stress, determined by high temperature and humidity, lowers working speed, necessitates more frequent breaks, and increases the probability of injury.'
     The report says that in terms of human health, the number of heat-related deaths worldwide is expected to increase as the global temperature does, and a hotter world " can lengthen the season and increase the geographic range of disease-carrying insects such as mosquitoes, ticks, and fleas, allowing them to move into higher altitudes and new regions.'
     Recognizing some limitations of its analysis, Moody's acknowledges that 'there are a number of factors that were not considered in this work. The foremost of these is the increasing frequency and severity of natural disasters. The report points to a U.S. government calculation that in the United States alone, disasters caused more than $300 billion in damage in 2017.
     As the environmental legal organization Earthjustice concluded in response to the report, 'We literally cannot afford inaction on this crisis.'
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     Rising seas as a result of global warming are increasingly creating climate refugees. Simon Montlake, "Alaska's Climate Refugees," Christian Science Monitor Weekly, July 1, 2019, reports that increasingly Alaska Native villages on the cost are being forced to move because of rising oceans and rivers and melting permafrost. This is not simply a matter of relocating, which is expensive and difficult to do, but relocation also threatens to destroy traditional culture and current livelihoods.


      Jessica Corbett, "Study Warns Melting of One of the World's Most Dangerous Glaciers Could Cause 20-Inch Sea Level Rise: NASA scientist says that "after reaching the tipping point, Thwaites Glacier could lose all of its ice in a period of 150 years,'" Common Dreams , "July 09, 2019, https://www.commondreams.org/news/2019/07/09/study-warns-melting-one-worlds-most-dangerous-glaciers-could-cause-20-inch-sea-level, reported, " New NASSA funded research warns that because of human-caused global heating, West Antarctica's massive Thwaites Glacier is at risk of reaching a tipping point that could raise the global sea level by about 20 inches.
     The study, published Monday in the journal the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, was conducted by researchers at the Georgia Institute of Technology, NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory, and the University of Washington.
      Though this team focused on the Thwaites Glacier—which is about the size of Florida or Britain—the report follows several others that have raised alarm about how rapidly ice is disappearing in Antarctica, including one study from May which found that the continent's ice sheets are thinning five times faster than they were in the 1990s.
     In a statement Monday, Georgia Tech explained that researchers found " instability hidden within Antarctic ice is likely to accelerate its flow into the ocean and push sea level up at a more rapid pace than previously expected."
      In the last six years, five closely observed Antarctic glaciers have doubled their rate of ice loss, according to the National Science Foundation. At least one, Thwaites Glacier, modeled for the new study, may be in danger of succumbing to this instability, a volatile process that pushes ice into the ocean fast.
     The Thwaites Glacier is often called one of the world's most dangerous glaciers because of its potential contributions to sea level rise. As Common Dreams reported in January, NASA scientists recently discovered a 1,000-foot deep cavity in the glacier large enough to have held about 14 billion tons of ice before it melted, which heightened concerns about the glacier's future.
     Researchers behind the new study weren't able to project exactly how much ice the Thwaites Glacier will lose in the next 50 to 800 years, due to unpredictable fluctuations in climate and the need for more data, but they factored the instability into 500 ice flow simulations for the glacier, which together pointed to the eventual triggering of the instability, according to the Georgia Tech statement.
      'If you trigger this instability, you don't need to continue to force the ice sheet by cranking up temperatures. It will keep going by itself, and that's the worry, said lead author Alex Robel, an assistant professor in Georgia Tech's School of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences. However, he added, 'climate variations will still be important after that tipping point because they will determine how fast the ice will move."
     The simulations spanned several centuries, as is common for studies on sea level rise. The models suggested that the glacier could reach the tipping point in the next 200 to 600 years, said co-author and NASA scientist Hélène Seroussi. "It depends on the bedrock topography under the ice, and we don't know it in great detail yet.'
      'After reaching the tipping point, Thwaites Glacier could lose all of its ice in a period of 150 years,' Seroussi said. 'That would make for a sea level rise of about half a meter (1.64 feet).'
      Experts have also raised alarm about how quickly ice is melting in Greenland and the Arctic , but Antarctica is of particular concern because, as Robel pointed, " there's almost eight times as much ice in the Antarctic ice sheet as there is in the Greenland ice sheet and 50 times as much as in all the mountain glaciers in the world."
     While the researchers acknowledged the need for further study, they also emphasized the importance of preparing for rising seas—which increasingly endanger island nations and coastal communities.
     'You want to engineer critical infrastructure to be resistant against the upper bound of potential sea level scenarios a hundred years from now, said Robel. It can mean building your water treatment plants and nuclear reactors for the absolute worst-case scenario, which could be two or three feet of sea level rise from Thwaites Glacier alone, so it's a huge difference.'
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     Kendra Pierre-Louis, "A Huge Iceberg Split From Antarctica. (They Just Grew Apart.)," The New York Times, https://www.nytimes.com/2019/10/01/climate/antarctica-iceberg-d28.html, reported, "A massive iceberg with the robotic sounding name D28 has separated in recent days from an ice shelf in Antarctica, prompting both awe and concern around the world. Measuring 610 square miles, D28 is slightly larger than Oahu, Hawaii, and some are worried that its fracture from the Amery Ice Shelf is a signal of climate change."


      Liz Alderman, "What Worries Iceland? A World Without Ice. It Is Preparing: As rising temperatures drastically reshape Iceland’s landscape, businesses and the government are spending millions for survival and profit," The New York Times, August 9, 2019, https://www.nytimes.com/2019/08/09/business/iceland-ice-melt-global-warming-climate-change.html, reported, on Iceland, " A warmer climate isn’t affecting just Höfn, where the waning weight of Vatnajökull on the earth’s crust is draining fjords and shifting underground sediment, twisting the town’s sewer pipes. As temperatures rise across the Arctic nearly faster than any place on the planet, all of Iceland is grappling with the prospect of a future with no ice.
      Energy producers are upgrading hydroelectric power plants and experimenting with burying carbon dioxide in rock , to keep it out of the atmosphere. Proposals are being floated for a new port in Finnafjord, now a barren landscape in the east, to capitalize on potential cargo traffic as shipping companies in China, Russia and Arctic nations vie to open routes through the melting ice. The fishing industry is slashing fossil fuel use with energy-efficient ships.
      Glaciers occupy over a tenth of this famously frigid island near the Arctic Circle. Every single one is melting . So are the massive, centuries-old ice sheets of Greenland and the polar regions. Where other countries face rising seas, Iceland is confronting a rise in land in its southernmost regions, and considers the changing landscape and climate a matter of national urgency."


      Iliana Magra, "Giant Glacier on Mont Blanc Is in Danger of Collapse, Experts Warn," The New York Times, September 25, 2019, https://www.nytimes.com/2019/09/25/world/europe/glacier-italy-climate-change.html, reported, " A giant section of a glacier on the Mont Blanc massif in the Alps is in danger of collapsing, experts warned on Wednesday, prompting the precautionary closing of two roads and the evacuation of mountain huts in northwestern Italy.
      A block of about nine million cubic feet of the Planpincieux Glacier on the peak of Grandes Jorasses, a mountain on the French-Italian border, has splintered and could give way, according to Daniele Giordan, a geologist working for the Italian National Research Council."


      Jessica Corbett, "New Research Warns Severe Climate-Related Droughts Could Threaten 60% of Global Wheat Crop by 2100: Even with ambitious global efforts to limit emissions, the study warns, /the increase in the frequency and extent of adverse weather extremes and related shocks on the production side would be unprecedented," Common Dreams, September 26, 2019, https://www.commondreams.org/news/2019/09/26/new-research-warns-severe-climate-related-droughts-could-threaten-60-global-wheat, reported, " Underscoring the necessity of aggressive action to combat human-caused global warming, research published Wednesday warns that the majority of the world's wheat fields are at risk of enduring severe, prolonged, and near-simultaneous droughts by the end of the century—raising serious concerns about future food insecurity and political instability.
     'If only one country or region sees a drought there is less impact, said study co-author Song Feng of the University of Arkansas. But if multiple regions are affected simultaneously, it can affect global production and food prices, and lead to food insecurity.'
     The peer-reviewed study, published in the journal Science Advances, was conducted by team of researchers from the United States, Europe, and Asia.
      Wheat accounts for about 20 percent of all calories consumed by humans worldwide and the global demand for wheat products such as cereal is expected to rise in the coming decades, according to the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO). Recognizing humanity's reliance on the crop as a key food source, the study's researchers analyzed various climate models to assess the rising risk of drought in wheat-producing regions.
      'Global warming is expected to increase the frequency and intensity of severe water scarcity (SWS) events, which negatively affect rain-fed crops such as wheat, the study says. Our projections show that, without climate change mitigation... up to 60 percent of the current wheat-growing area will face simultaneous SWS events by the end of this century, compared to 15 percent today."'
     Referencing a key goal of the Paris climate accord, researchers warn that 'even under the ambitious mitigation scenario aimed to stabilize global warming at 2°C compared to pre-industrial levels, the increase in the frequency and extent of adverse weather extremes and related shocks on the production side would be unprecedented.'
     The impact on food prices and security will depend on multiple factors. As the study explains, recent evidence suggests that variations in crop product prices are linked to simultaneously challenging economic factors, such as oil prices and exchange rates, as well as the occurrence of large-scale droughts and corresponding market and policy responses.'Reuters reported, citing co-author Petr Havlik, that Africa would be the most affected region by the middle of the century.'
     Europe, the United States, and Russia would be severely hit, said Havlik, deputy director at Austria's International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis.
     Africa is not a major wheat producer, but the crop provides 14 percent of the calories consumed by the continent's population, which is projected to double by 2050, Havlik said.
      FAO projects that by 2050, global demand for cereals will increase by 43 percent compared with the 2006 level, which is fairly conservative compared to other projections, and will predominantly come from developing countries, the study notes. If those nations can't sustainably boost their supply, they will increasingly depend on imports.
     Researchers warn that 'these developments may increase food insecurity and, consequently, political instability and migration.'
     The new study contributes substantially to the neglected area of climate extremes in agriculture, as it brings new data to light on how likely the shocks caused by drought might be in near future, Havlik told Bloomberg.
     The research follows a landmark U.N. report from August which called for a global overhaul of the ways humans use land—including forestry, agriculture, and industrial and urban development—to meet the food needs of the world's growing human population and ensure a habitable planet.
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      Jessica Corbett, "'This Is the Beginning': New Study Warns Climate Crisis May Have Been Pivotal in Rise of Drug-Resistant Superbug: Research argues that deadly Candida auris may be the first example of a new fungal disease emerging from climate change,'" Common Dreams, July 23, 2019, https://www.commondreams.org/news/2019/07/23/beginning-new-study-warns-climate-crisis-may-have-been-pivotal-rise-drug-resistant, reported, " A new analysis warns that global warming may have played a pivotal role in the recent rise of a multidrug-resistant fungal superbug, sparking questions and concerns about the emerging public health threats of the human-caused climate crisis.
      Reporting on the research Tuesday, CNN outlined the history of Candida auris:
     "Until recently, scientists considered it a mystery how C. auris popped up in more than 30 countries around the globe a decade after it was first discovered in 2009 . It emerged simultaneously on three continents—in India, Venezuela, and South Africa—between 2012 and 2015, each strain being genetically distinct."
     The study—published Tuesday in mBio, an open-access journal of the American Society for Microbiology—argues that Candida auris /may be the first example of a new fungal disease emerging from climate change./
      'The argument that we are making based on comparison to other close relative fungi is that as the climate has gotten warmer, some of these organisms, including Candida auris, have adapted to the higher temperature, and as they adapt, they break through human's protective temperatures, lead author Arturo Casadevall, chair of molecular microbiology and immunology at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, said in a statement.
      Fungal diseases are relatively uncommon in humans because of body temperature—but if they adapt to rising temperatures, and aren't easily treatable with medications, they could increasingly endanger human health on a global scale. Casadevall warned that while C. auris may be the first fungal disease whose emergence scientists have tied to rising temperatures, it potentially won't be the last.
     'Global warming may lead to new fungal diseases that we don't even know about right now," he said. "What this study suggests is this is the beginning of fungi adapting to higher temperatures, and we are going to have more and more problems as the century goes on.'
     Stat News published a piece Tuesday that mentions the new study but also addresses a series of pressing questions about the emerging superbug with help from experts who include Tom Chiller, chief of mycotic diseases at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and Tejas Bouklas, an assistant professor in the department of biomedical sciences at Long Island University.
     Among those questions is: Could C. auris help other fungi adapt to be bigger threats to humans?'
     That's a question Bouklas is wondering about. The more ubiquitous it becomes, the more problematic. Because now it could potentially transmit DNA to other Candida species. And maybe even bacteria, she said.
     That idea is not far-fetched. Fungi can mate sexually, Chiller pointed out, allowing them to swap large amounts of DNA.
     In light of the potential impacts of the climate crisis on public health highlighted in the study, Casadevall charged in his statement that "we need to make investments in better surveillance of fungal diseases.'
     'We are pretty good at surveilling influenza and diseases that cause diarrhea or are contagious, but fungal diseases are not usually contagious and therefore nobody has really bothered to document them well, he said. If more fungi were to cross over, you really wouldn't know until somebody started reporting them in the literature.'
     Chiller, in his interview with Stat News, agreed that more research on the superbug is vital to protecting the public.
     Understanding C. auris's backstory is crucial, Chiller said, because these things are going to continue to emerge. And understanding how they emerge and where they emerge might lead us to prevention strategies or reactive strategies or preparation strategies for the next big thing.'
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      Jessica Corbett, "'This Is Truly Terrifying': Scientists Studying Underwater Permafrost Thaw Find Area of the Arctic Ocean Boiling With Methane Bubbles: The lead researcher said that this is the most powerful methane seep he has ever seen. No one has ever recorded anything simila,'" Common Dreams, October 9, 2019, https://www.commondreams.org/news/2019/10/09/truly-terrifying-scientists-studying-underwater-permafrost-thaw-find-area-arctic, reported, " Scientists studying the consequences of methane emissions from underwater permafrost in the Arctic Ocean announced this week that they found a 50-square-foot area of the East Siberian Sea boiling with methane bubbles.''This is the most powerful seep I have ever been able to observe, lead scientist Igor Semiletov said Monday, using a term for methane gas bubbling up from the seafloor to the surface. No one has ever recorded anything similar.'
     Semiletov, a Russian researcher who has participated in 45 Arctic expeditions, set out on the Academic Mstislav Keldysh last month, accompanied by scientists from the United Kingdom, the United States, Italy, the Netherlands, and Sweden.
     Their discovery was announced in a statement from Russia's Tomsk Polytechnic University, where Semiletov is a professor. The researchers findings from the expedition and Semiletov's remarks were translated and reported on Tuesday by The Telegraph.
      Permafrost is a mix of soil, rocks, and sand bound together by ice that stays frozen for two or more years straight. As human activity causes global temperatures to rise, the world's permafrost is thawing— releasing ancient bacteria and viruses as well as greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide and methane that further heat the planet.
      Compared with carbon dioxide, methane has a shorter lifetime in the atmosphere but is better at trapping radiation, so methane's impact is more than 25 times greater than that of carbon dioxide over a 100-year period, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.
      Experts are increasingly concerned about the consequences of thawing permafrost that is located both beneath land and water in the planet's coldest regions. Last week, the Washington Post reported on 'stunning and dramatic scenes from a region of Eastern Siberia where sections of many older, wooden buildings already sag toward the ground—rendered uninhabitable by the unevenly thawing earth, and "rivers are rising and running faster," sweeping away entire neighborhoods.
     The Academic Mstislav Keldysh expedition's research team, led by Semiletov, traveled to an area of the Arctic Ocean known for methane fountains to study the effects of permafrost thawing. Around the powerful fountain they found east of Bennett Island, the concentration of methane in the atmosphere was more than nine times higher than the global average.
     Describing the researchers discovery of the fountain based on the university's statement, The Telegraph reported:
     When researchers drew near to the emerald-colored water of the methane fountain, they could see how gas was rising to the surface from the black depths of the sea in thousands of bubbly strands, according to expedition member Sergei Nikiforov.
     They took samples of bottom sediments, water, and gas, scooping up the extraordinarily large methane bubbles in buckets rather than small plastic capsules and filling several pressurized canisters.
     The next day, the expedition stumbled upon another giant seep of roughly the same size, even though discovering seeps among rough ocean waves is usually harder than finding a needle in a haystack, Mr. Nikiforov said.
     The expedition's findings, also reported on Tuesday by Newsweek, elicited alarmed reactions from readers and climate activists the world over:
     A New Zealand chapter of the Extinction Rebellion movement—which launched a fresh wave of peaceful acts of civil disobedience around the world on Monday to demand bolder climate policies—tweeted in response to the expedition's discovery, "This is why the disruption we caused is very minor in comparison to what's coming."
      'This is truly terrifying, tweeted Jim Walsh, an energy policy analyst at the U.S.-based group Food & Water Watch, linking to Newsweek's report. Noting scientists' concerns about permafrost thaw reaching a tipping point, he added that we can't get off fossil fuels fast enough.'
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      Denise Lu and Christopher Flavelle, "Rising Seas Will Erase More Cities by 2050, New Research Shows," The New York Times, October 29, 2019https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2019/10/29/climate/coastal-cities-underwater.html, reported, "Rising seas could affect three times more people by 2050 than previously thought, according to new research, threatening to all but erase some of the world’s great coastal cities.
     The authors of a paper published Tuesday developed a more accurate way of calculating land elevation based on satellite readings, a standard way of estimating the effects of sea level rise over large areas, and found that the previous numbers were far too optimistic. The new research shows that some 150 million people are now living on land that will be below the high-tide line by midcentury."
     Among the places likely to be inundated by rising seas are Mumbai, India, Alexandria, Egypt, The heart of Shanghai and numerous cities around it, most of Bannock, Thailand, and a great deal of South Vietnam
.


     Kendra Pierre-Louis, "Climate Change Poses Threats to Children’s Health Worldwide," The New York Times, November 13, 2019, https://www.nytimes.com/2019/11/13/climate/climate-change-child-health.html, reported, " The health effects of climate change will be unevenly distributed and children will be among those especially harmed, according to a new report from the medical journal The Lancet.
     The report compared human health consequences under two scenarios: one in which the world meets the commitments laid out in the Paris Agreement and reins in emissions so that increases in global temperatures remain “well below 2 degrees Celsius” by the end of the century, and one in which it does not.
     The report, published Wednesday, found that failing to limit emissions would lead to health problems caused by infectious diseases, worsening air pollution, rising temperatures and malnutrition."


      Kendra Pierre-Louis, "Climate Change Is Ravaging the Arctic, Report Finds," The New York Times, December 10, 2019, https://www.nytimes.com/2019/12/10/climate/climate-change-arctic-warming.html?te=1&nl=climate-fwd:&emc=edit_clim_20191211?campaign_id=54&instance_id=14464&segment_id=19516&user_id=2984790c14170290245238c0cd4fd927&regi_id=5223598120191211, reported, " Temperatures in the Arctic region remained near record highs this year, according to a report issued on Tuesday, leading to low summer sea ice, cascading impacts on the regional food web and growing concerns over sea level rise."
      With the temperatures in the Arctic the second highest since record taking began in 1900, the record highs were both in summer and in winter, in this the warmest decade ever in the Arctic. Impacts included record melts in sea ice, accelerating global warming world-wide as the ice reflects heat from the earth that is captured by the now exposed water. Record summer and winter temperatures were recorded in several far north nations in 2019. In Greenland, with melting beginning earlier than normal, a record 95% of the glacier thawed in the warmer months, and it is likely less will refreeze than last year. The speeding loss of Arctic ice is increasing the rate of ocean rise, at the current rate of increase, which is likely to accelerate, that alone would add an additional three inches to ocean rise by 2100.
     Kendra Pierre-Louis, "World’s Oceans Are Losing Oxygen Rapidly, Study Finds: The New York Times, December 7, 2019, https://www.nytimes.com/2019/12/07/climate/ocean-acidification-climate-change.html, reported, "The world’s oceans are gasping for breath, a report issued Saturday at the annual global climate talks in Madrid has concluded." The research by 67 scientists from 67 nations indicates that climate change is the major cause, followed by other human activity including nutrient run off from fertilizers applied in agriculture and lawn-garden care. Over all the loss of oxygen from 1960 to 2010 was 2%, but in some places as much as 40% to 50%. Even the 2% oxygen reduction is sufficient to impact the planetary cycling of elements such as nitrogen and phosphorous which are, essential for life on Earth. In places with greater than that average loss, the impacts on ocean life - including foods people eat, is serious to deadly.


     Mark Z. Jacobson, Mark A. Delucchi, Mary A. Cameron, Stephen J. Coughlin, Catherine A. Hay, Indu Priya Manogaran, Yanbo Shu, Anna-Katharina von Krauland, "Impacts of Green New Deal Energy Plans on Grid Stability, Costs, Jobs, Health, and Climate in 143 Countries," One Earth, December 2019, https://doi.org/10.1016/j.oneear.2019.12.003, abstract stated, "This paper evaluates Green New Deal solutions to global warming, air pollution, and energy insecurity for 143 countries. The solutions involve transitioning all energy to 100% clean, renewable wind- water-solar (WWS) energy, efficiency, and storage. WWS reduces global energy needs by 57.1%, energy costs by 61%, and social (private plus health plus climate) costs by 91% while avoiding blackouts, creating millions more jobs than lost and requiring little land. Thus, 100% WWS needs less energy, costs less, and creates more jobs than current energy." The i nvestment would pay for itself in less than seven years, counting only the direct economic costs and benefits, not considering the reduction in damage from climate change that would result.
      Matthew Taylor and Jonathan Watts, "Revealed: the 20 firms behind a third of all carbon emissions: New data shows how fossil fuel companies have driven climate crisis despite industry knowing dangers," The Guardian, October 10, 2019, https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2019/oct/09/revealed-20-firms-third-carbon-emissions, reported, " The Guardian today reveals the 20 fossil fuel companies whose relentless exploitation of the world’s oil, gas and coal reserves can be directly linked to more than one-third of all greenhouse gas emissions in the modern era.
     New data from world-renowned researchers reveals how this cohort of state-owned and multinational firms are driving the climate emergency that threatens the future of humanity, and details how they have continued to expand their operations despite being aware of the industry’s devastating impact on the planet."
     "The top 20 companies on the list have contributed to 35% of all energy-related carbon dioxide and methane worldwide, totalling 480bn tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent (GtCO2e) since 1965."
     " Those identified range from investor-owned firms – household names such as Chevron , Exxon, BP and Shell – to state-owned companies including Saudi Aramco and Gazprom.
     
Chevron topped the list of the eight investor-owned corporations, followed closely by Exxon, BP and Shell. Together these four global businesses are behind more than 10% of the world’s carbon emissions since 1965."
     "Twelve of the top 20 companies are state-owned and together their extractions are responsible for 20% of total emissions in the same period. The leading state-owned polluter is Saudi Aramco, which has produced 4.38% of the global total on its own."
     "The global polluters list uses company-reported annual production of oil, natural gas, and coal and then calculates how much of the carbon and methane in the produced fuels is emitted to the atmosphere throughout the supply chain, from extraction to end use.
     It found that 90% of the emissions attributed to the top 20 climate culprits was from use of their products, such as petrol, jet fuel, natural gas, and thermal coal. One-tenth came from extracting, refining, and delivering the finished fuels."


     "Cop25 Move To Spain Negatively Impacts Indigenous Peoples’ Participation," Cultural Survival, November 20, 2019, https://www.culturalsurvival.org/news/cop25-move-spain-negatively-impacts-indigenous-peoples-participation, reported, "On November 1, 2019, Chile cancelled its hosting of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change Conference of the Parties (UNFCCC COP 25) meeting due to unrest in the country, which also highlighted the marginalization of Indigenous Peoples. Spain will now host the meeting during the same time frame, on December 2 -13, 2019, in Madrid, under the presidency of the Chilean government. The move impacts Indigenous Peoples and delegates coming from the global south who are facing obstacles in obtaining visas, in event planning and implementation in this short period of time. Delegates will be greatly impacted financially with added air travel costs to Europe, costs of changing travel and housing plans, and differences of costs on the ground such as food and ground transportation.
     'Indigenous Peoples have long participated in the UNFCCC, and the United Nations more broadly, to ensure that their rights, knowledge, and jurisdiction are safeguarded by the decisions adopted there. This was formally recognized in 2000 when Indigenous Peoples were included as a formal constituency within the UNFCCC with specific rights to participate as observers in the climate negotiations,” stated a joint statement by Indigenous delegates affected by the move.
     'I am disappointed that the COP Secretariat could not wait until Chile resolved the crisis to reschedule, or at least moved it to another location in South or Central America. Many Indigenous Peoples from Chile, the Andes, and the Amazon basin were coordinating to attend. There were also events planned for the Indigenous pavilion in Santiago outside the UN venue for those without credentials to hold meetings, discussions, share developments, and arrange presentations on climate change impacting Indigenous Peoples and solutions based on our own knowledge systems. Large numbers of Indigenous Peoples that planned to be in Chile will not be able to be in Madrid, especially the Peoples from the region,” stated Andrea Carmen (Yaqui), executive director of International Indian Treaty Council and member of the UNFCCC Facilitative Working Group for the Local Communities and Indigenous Peoples Platform (LCIPP).
     
     As a result of the move, the large Indigenous community presence planned for COP25 will be lost, and their absence could negatively affect the outcome climate change talks. For decades Indigenous delegates have been pushing for inclusion of traditional knowledge and participation of Indigenous Peoples in mitigating climate change and for global climate action. “This has been represented by more than 60 decisions adopted by COP, or in reports adopted by subsidiary bodies that explicitly reference Indigenous Peoples and traditional knowledge. The Paris Decision text maintained this momentum, referencing Indigenous Peoples or traditional knowledge six times. Central to these references was a recognition that climate change poses a considerable threat to the realization of human rights, especially the rights of Indigenous Peoples; the Paris Agreement stressed that parties should, when taking action to address climate change, respect, promote, and consider their respective obligations on human rights,’ including the rights of Indigenous Peoples, stated the joint statement. This is why adequate and meaningful Indigenous participation is imperative. Indigenous delegates have been appealing for support via monetary donations, miles donations, and in-kind donations in the form of housing in Madrid.
      A major push for Indigenous delegates will be the adoption of the Facilitative Working Group for the Local Communities and Indigenous Peoples Platform's two-year work plan.
     'Full Indigenous participation at these international meetings is critical to change the dominant narrative by bringing in our traditional knowledge and perspectives for climate change mitigation. Without our participation as Indigenous Peoples, there can be no true lasting action. We are pushing for the West to stop seeing Mother Earth as a resource to be exploited but as a source from which we all originate and to which we are all connected, stated Galina Angarova (Buryat), executive director of Cultural Survival.
      This year, Indigenous delegates have faced many obstacles at UN events. In September, the participation of Indigenous Peoples at the UN Climate Action Summit was limited due to registration issues and the limiting of numbers of delegates, barring Indigenous voices from being heard."


     Lisa Friedman, "An American pledge at global climate talks," The New York Times, December 11, 2019, https://messaging-custom-newsletters.nytimes.com/template/oakv2?uri=nyt://newsletter/67b59585-174e-45b2-aae9-bfae41233d4b&te=1&nl=climate-fwd:&emc=edit_clim_20191211?campaign_id=54&instance_id=14464&segment_id=19516&user_id=2984790c14170290245238c0cd4fd927&regi_id=52235981lim_20191211, reported, " The second and final week of United Nations climate change talks in Madrid opened with a dash of optimism from the United States as a broad coalition of states, cities and businesses made a case that it could put a significant dent in planet-warming emissions without federal help."
     " Critically, the report found that there’s still time for the United States to hit net-zero emissions by midcentury. A recent United Nations report said countries would need to reach carbon neutrality by 2050 to avoid the worst consequences of climate change." But this will soon require a change in U.S. policy toward major, rapid action toward greenhouse gas reduction.


      Matina Stevis-Gridneff, "E.U. Climate Plan Would Sweeten Deal for Coal Countries: If approved, the proposal would pay nations that rely heavily on fossil fuels to change their ways," The New York Times, December 11, 2019, https://www.nytimes.com/2019/12/11/world/europe/eu-climate-plan-coal.html?te=1&nl=climate-fwd:&emc=edit_clim_20191211, reported, " The European Commission introduced on Wednesday its centerpiece climate strategy that, if approved, would pivot the world’s third-biggest polluter to climate-friendly economic policies and nudge coal-reliant nations with payouts worth billions of euros.
     Known as the Green Deal, the plan would require many European Union member states to radically change how they operate their economies and find new livelihoods for millions of citizens, risking a continentwide backlash akin to the 'Yellow Vest protest movement that has riled France."


     Ocean River Institute, https://www.oceanriver.org, Volume 170, December 2019, reported via E-mail, " Tesla announced that its solar roof will cost the same as a regular roof. Bloomberg announced that roughly two-thirds of buses worldwide will be electric by 2040 while passenger vehicles are on track to be over 50% on the same timeline. And even the auto industry stated it would adhere to the current emissions standards set by California, Massachusetts, D.C., and many other states instead of caving to the oil industry.
     And it's hard not to feel hopeful when you look outside your window on any given Friday and see hundreds of young children – millions across the world – marching to save our planet. Time's Person of the Year Greta Thunberg started a worldwide movement in Sweden last year. Isra Hirsi, 16-year-old daughter of Congresswoman Ilhan Omar, founded the U.S. Youth Climate Strike. Today's children are saving our planet.
     In a historic move by all parties, the largest conservation bill in more than a decade was signed into law in October, passing the House, the Senate, and the Oval Office. The John D. Dingell Jr. Conservation, Management, and Recreation Act incorporates over 120 proposals and protects nearly 2.5 million acres of land, 676 miles of rivers, and creates three new national parks. Additionally, it permanently helps pay for parks and recreation areas as well as preserves wildlife.
     Even corporations are getting in on the recycling fun! Many of them have announced a shift to biodegradable mushroom-based packaging in their products. Footwear companies are creating their signature products out of recycled plastic collected from the ocean.
     Finally, a startup called Heliogen (with the famous backing of Bill Gates) announced that they're able to create extreme heat above 1,000 degrees Celsius – about one-quarter of the temperatures on the surface of sun – to generate and store energy. They've engineered what the science world is calling an oven that's required to make steel, glass, cement, and other industrial processes that rely heavily on coal. For too long, people have been saying we must have coal for the production of steel – not anymore thanks to entrepreneurial innovators!"


     A Phoenix, AZ firm has submitted a plan - The Navajo Nation Salt Trail Canyon Pumped Storage Project - to build two hydroelectric dams - one on the Little Colorado River in the Little Colorado River Gorge - to pump water into storage for electricity generating release when solar/wind power are not sufficiently functioning (Krista Allen, "New plan would build dam on Little Colorado River," Navajo Times, October 3, 2019).


      Climate Change in Alaska is bringing a number of troubling changes. Rising seas flooding Native villages and already forcing them to move are only one. Another is that numerous animals that Native and other subsistence living people rely on are disappearing. Further , enormous cyst beds, that produce toxic algae when oceans warm, were discovered in the Chukai sea. The algae is poisonous to numerous species (Vera Trainer, Rick Thompson and Gay Sheffield, " As Sea Ice Recedes, So Does an Alaskan Way of Life," The New York Times, September 28, 2019).


      Henry Fountain, "Banned Ozone-Harming Gas, Once on the Rise, Declines Again," The New York Times, November 4, 2019, https://www.nytimes.com/2019/11/04/climate/china-cfcs.html, " Emissions of a banned ozone-destroying gas that had risen unexpectedly since 2012 appear to have declined in the last two years, according to preliminary data reported by scientists on Monday.
     The findings suggest that China, which was thought to be the source of most of the rogue emissions of the chemical, CFC-11, has made strides in clamping down on illegal production of the gas. CFC-11 is used to make insulating foams."


      Richard C. Paddock and Muktita Suhartono, "A Blood-Red Sky: Fires Leave a Million Indonesians Gasping: Wildfires burning across Indonesia have created respiratory problems for nearly a million people," The New York Times, September 25, 2019, https://www.nytimes.com/2019/09/25/world/asia/indonesia-red-sky-fires.html, reported, " Nearly 2,000 wildfires are burning across Indonesia, turning the sky blood red over central Sumatra and creating dense clouds of smoke that have caused respiratory problems for nearly a million people.
     Dense white smoke filled the air across Sumatra and Indonesian Borneo, known as Kalimantan, the two areas that were hardest hit. Many of the fires were set deliberately to clear land for plantations that produce palm oil and wood pulp for making paper."
     The fires that officials estimate have burned more than 800,000 acres occur annually as farmers clear land through slash and burn
. The spreading smoke causes discomfort and health problems as far away as Singapore and Malaysia. The fires also threaten several endangered species. The fires are burning more land than they have consumed in a number of years.


     The wildfire season in Australia has been the worst on record.
Livia Albeck-Ripka, "Saving the Fire Victims Who Cannot Flee: Australia’s Koalas: The plight of dozens of animals being treated for burned paws and singed fur is raising fears about climate change and the future of the species," The New York Times, November 14, 2019, https://www.nytimes.com/2019/11/14/world/australia/australia-koalas-fire.html, reported, "As catastrophic fires have burned more than two million acres in Australia, dozens of koalas have been rescued from smoldering trees and ashen ground. The animals, already threatened as a species before these latest blazes ravaged a crucial habitat, are being treated in rescue centers, and at least one private home, along the country’s east coast."


      Somini Sengupta, "Restoring Forests Could Help Put a Brake on Global Warming, Study FindsJuly 5, 2019, https://www.nytimes.com/2019/07/05/climate/trees-forests-climate-change.html, reported, " What if we stopped cutting down forests to produce palm oil and cattle? What if we grew new forests on vacant city lots, old industrial buildings — even golf courses?
     For the first time, scientists have sought to quantify this thought experiment. How many trees could be planted on every available parcel of land on Earth, where they could go, and what impact could that have on our survival?
      They concluded that the planet could support nearly 2.5 billion additional acres of forest without shrinking our cities and farms, and that those additional trees, when they mature, could store a whole lot of the extra carbon — 200 gigatons of carbon, to be precise — generated by industrial activity over the last 150 years."
      Critics agree on the amount of carbon that would be absorbed by the additional trees, but pointing out that a fair amount of that would be absorbed by the soil or seas, anyway, say that planting that many trees would take out of the air half as much carbon as the study predicts, still a very important part of solving the global warming problem, taking out of the air one-third, but not the studies projected two-thirds, of historic carbon emissions.


      Jessica Corbett, "Climate Expert Says UN Emissions Report Makes Clear Only Solution Is to Cut Off Supply of Fossil Fuels at Their Source': Climate policy proposals that do not squarely confront the issue of supply are not making a serious attempt to avert catastrophe,'" Common Dreams, November 26, 2019, https://www.commondreams.org/news/2019/11/26/climate-expert-says-un-emissions-report-makes-clear-only-solution-cut-supply-fossil, reported, The urgent, necessary solution is to stop the supply of fossil fuels by banning fracking and all other forms of fossil fuel drilling, says climate campaigner Mitch Jones.
     An annual United Nations report published Tuesday on current and estimated future greenhouse gas emissions shows the urgent need for supply-side action to combat the climate emergency, according to the advocacy group Food & Water Action.
     Mitch Jones, director of Food & Water Action's Climate & Energy Program, released a statement responding to the new Emissions Gap report from the U.N. Environment Program (UNEP), which warned that global temperatures are on track to rise as much as 3.9°C by the end of the century.
      'The most urgent task for policymakers, political leaders, and the global climate justice movement is to demand solutions that cut off the supply of fossil fuels at their source, said Jones. We have no time left to waste on neoliberal market tweaks that only seek to saddle working families with paying the costs of climate action.'
     'The urgent, necessary solution is to stop the supply of fossil fuels by banning fracking and all other forms of fossil fuel drilling, he added. 'Climate policy proposals that do not squarely confront the issue of supply are not making a serious attempt to avert catastrophe.'
     Jones comments on the latest U.N. report echoed recent reactions from experts and climate campaigners to the Greenhouse Gas Bulletin published Monday by the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) as well as The Production Gap report published last week by UNEP and leading research institutions.
     The latter report found that, based on the goals of the 2015 Paris climate agreement, 'governments are planning to produce about 50% more fossil fuels by 2030 than would be consistent with a 2°C pathway and 120% more than would be consistent with a 1.5°C pathway.'
     In response to UNEP's findings last week, Leah Stokes, a climate researcher and professor at University of California, Santa Barbara, tweeted, We must start grappling with the supply side and start keep fossil fuels in the ground!'
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      Jessica Corbett, "The Climate Crisis Is a Health Emergency': New Report Warns US Fracking Boom Making People and Planet Sick: It is unconscionable that we continue to subject our communities to these risks when we have the technology to make a just transition to renewable energy,'" Common Dreams , November 27, 2019, https://www.commondreams.org/news/2019/11/27/climate-crisis-health-emergency-new-report-warns-us-fracking-boom-making-people-and, reported, " 'The actions we take now by extracting, transporting, and liquefying fracked gas will determine the health of generations to come.'
     That's according to Dr. Laalitha Surapaneni, an assistant professor at the University of Minnesota in the general internal medicine department and lead author of a report (pdf) published Tuesday by the nonprofit advocacy group Physicians for Social Responsibility (PSR).
     Surapaneni and co-author Zachary Morse's new report, which details how liquefied natural gas (LNG) threatens both human health and the planet, comes as the
Trump administration and bipartisan federal legislation continue to support its production.
     LNG is primarily composed of methane, a greenhouse gas that is 84–87 times more potent than carbon dioxide over a 20-year period. The United States has seen a boom in LNG production over the past 15 years, driven primarily by the extraction process known as horizontal hydraulic fracturing or fracking—which involves injecting water and a secret mix of chemicals into rock formations.
     The International Energy Agency (IEA) projected in June that the United States is on track to become the world's leading exporter of liquefied natural gas within five years. A Food & Water Watch report that shortly preceded the IEA's projection highlighted the more than 700 recently built or proposed U.S. facilities that aim to capitalize off of a glut of cheap fracked gas.'
     Surapaneni warned Tuesday that with LNG projects, we are locking ourselves into fossil fuel infrastructure that will heat up our planet and impose a human health cost.'
      'Our current climate crisis is a health emergency, she said. 'It is unconscionable that we continue to subject our communities to these risks when we have the technology to make a just transition to renewable energy.'
     The new 10-page report followed the sixth edition of the Compendium of Scientific, Medical, and Media Findings Demonstrating Risks and Harms of Fracking that PSR and Concerned Health Professionals of New York published in June—which led experts at PSR and elsewhere to reiterate that 'we need to ban fracking.'
     In PSR's latest report, a section on The Warming Planet emphasizes the heat-trapping abilities of methane and notes that the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), the U.S. Global Change Research Program, and The Lancet have all called for a rapid, unprecedented shift away from all fossil fuels in order to prevent potentially catastrophic climate change effects.'
     The report acknowledges research that has shown planetary heating caused by human activity leads to more intense extreme weather events, from fires to hurricanes, that can impact public health by increasing threats of heat stroke and exposure to waterborne illnesses.
     The report's polluting supply chain section warns about health risks related to the "slurry of chemicals" used in the fracking process as well as air quality concerns near LNG terminals.
     PSR references a U.S. Environmental Protection Agency webpage detailing the effects of particulate matter pollution, which range from premature death in people with heart or lung disease and nonfatal hearth attacks to aggravated asthma and decreased lung function.
     In terms of safety and security, PSR notes that LNG is a volatile and potentially explosive material, pointing to an 2014 incident in Plymouth, Washington that injured five people.
     'LNG also poses grounds for concern in regard to national security, the report says. 'A full LNG tanker carries the energy equivalent of 55 atomic bombs, making it a potential target for terrorist attacks, especially when at port near population centers.'
     Another section of the report points out how LNG production contributes to environmental injustice. As PSR explains:
      These facilities are often placed in areas that are predominantly home to African American, Native American, and Hispanic families, and families of lower socioeconomic status, and may be sited close to schools and nursing homes. Such proximity, often reflecting these communities lack of political power, intensifies the impact on vulnerable populations and people with pre-existing health conditions.
     After outlining how the United States is now rapidly building out its export capacity for LNG, it concludes with a call to action—urging readers to share information about the health risks, demand greater transparency and more scientific research, and advocate for an urgent transition to clean energy.
     'We have a unique opportunity, said Surapaneni, to shape a world that is healthy and equitable by moving away from fossil fuels.'
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     "Scotland Just Quietly Announced Some ‘Landmark’ Climate Policies. Here’s What You Need to Know : Nicola Sturgeon says Scotland’s a “leader on climate change.” But what do the experts think?" Global Citizen, September 10, 2019, reported, " Scotland’s First Minister Nicola Sturgeon just announced the new Programme for Government — and it puts a lot of emphasis on ending Scotland’s contribution to climate change.
     Scotland led the world in becoming the first nation to declare a climate emergency in April, closely followed by Wales and then the whole of the UK. Just days later, Scotland then set a national target of hitting zero emissions by 2045 — five years ahead of the legally-binding UK-wide target of 2050.
     Now, Sturgeon has outlined the plans for how Scotland’s going to hit that target, and consolidate Scotland’s reputation as a leader on climate change.'"
     "Protecting Scotland’s Future," Scottish Government,September 3, 2019, https://www.gov.scot/news/protecting-scotlands-future/, stated, "
     Programme for Government 2019-20.
      Ending Scotland’s contribution to climate change and securing a positive future for generations to come are the focus of this year’s Programme for Government, First Minister Nicola Sturgeon announced in Parliament.
     Following the First Minister’s acknowledgement of a global climate emergency earlier this year, the Programme for Government sets out the Scottish Government’s next steps to tackle climate change, including a landmark investment of more than £500 million to improve bus infrastructure across the country to encourage more people to use public transport.
     The First Minister also announced plans to decarbonise Scotland’s railways by 2035 and make the Highlands and Islands the world’s first net zero aviation region by 2040
.
     She also confirmed the first wave of schools to be built or refurbished through a new £1 billion school investment programme will be announced later this month and an extra £15 million will be provided to help improve additional support for learning.
     An additional £20 million of funding will help tackle the public health emergency of drug deaths in Scotland. The Child Payment, which will benefit low income families with young children by £500 each year, will now be introduced by Christmas 2020 – ahead of the original schedule.
      Other measures include:
     a ‘Green New Deal’, harnessing the power of the Scottish National Investment Bank and creating a £3 billion package of investments to attract green finance to Scotland
     develop regulations so that new homes from 2024 must use renewable or low carbon heat
     targeting a minimum of £30 million of support for renewable heat projects
     making the first Job Start Payments in spring 2020
     putting in place a Women’s Health Plan to tackle women’s heath inequalities
     continuing to support mental health, with a 24/7 crisis support service for children and young people and their families, a community wellbeing service enabling self-referral for children and young people and a £5 million investment in a community perinatal mental health service across Scotland
     taking forward planning to mitigate the worst consequences of a ‘no deal’ Brexit
     The First Minister also confirmed the Referendums Bill will go forward this year and that the Scottish Government will ask, during the passage of the Bill, for the transfer of power to hold an independence referendum within this term of Parliament
.The First Minister said:
     'This Programme for Government will put health, prosperity and wellbeing at its heart, and will reinforce Scotland’s place as a dynamic, open, innovative economy.
     'In the last 12 months we have made important progress in creating a better and fairer country and this year’s Programme for Government builds on that record.
     'Earlier this year, I acknowledged that Scotland – like the rest of the world – faces a climate emergency. We are now committed to achieving net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2045 at the latest – earlier than any other UK nation.
     'This year’s Programme for Government is an important part of our response to the climate emergency, containing measures which will reduce emissions while supporting sustainable and inclusive growth.
     'It sets out actions which will make a difference for years to come. It details measures which can help make our country the best in the world to grow up, learn, work and live. It meets the challenges of the future, while staying true to our enduring values.
     'However, alongside these crucial steps, we will continue to plan for the possibility of a ‘no deal’ Brexit and, as long as this remains a risk, the Scottish Government will work as hard as we can to mitigate the impact on families, communities and businesses across the country.'”


      Melissa Eddy, "Germany Passes Climate-Protection Law to Ensure 2030 Goals: The law aims to get the country in line to reduce its carbon dioxide emissions to meet Paris Agreement targets," The New York Times, November15, 2019, https://www.nytimes.com/2019/11/15/world/europe/germany-climate-law.html, reported, " Germany enshrined its fight against climate change into law on Friday in a bid to meet its targets under the Paris Agreement, approving a raft of measures including a $60 billion spending package, a fee system for carbon emissions and taxes to make flying more expensive.
     The law, which passed the lower house of Parliament and is expected to pass the upper house later this year, has been sharply criticized by opposition lawmakers and climate scientists alike for its lack of ambition and scope. They say it will not be enough to get the country to achieve its goal of reducing carbon emissions by 55 percent of 1990s levels by 2030."


      Jon Queally, "In European First, Proposed Constitutional Amendment in Sweden Would Enshrine Rights of Nature: When we're in the beginning of an ecological and climate collapse, said the lawmaker who introduced the measure, I hope we can re-think our relationship with Nature,'" Common Dreams, October 8, 2019, https://www.commondreams.org/news/2019/10/08/european-first-proposed-constitutional-amendment-sweden-would-enshrine-rights-nature, reported, "Heralded as the first of its kind in Europe, a proposed constitutional amendment in Sweden seeks to enshrine the rights of Nature to ensure that the creatures, fona, and features of the natural world are protected from exploitation and abuse by endowing them with legal status previously reserved only for humans and select animals.
     The proposed amendment to Sweden's Instrument of Government, the nation's constitutional document, would secure the Rights of Nature to existera, blomstra, regenerera och utvecklas—which translates as exist, flourish, regenerate, and evolve'—in order to provide the people and government of Sweden the ability to defend and enforce these rights on behalf of Nature.
     Introduced by Swedish MP Rebecka Le Moine with the backing of a coalition of national and international groups—including Rights of Nature Sweden, Lodyn, and the Community Environmental Legal Defense Fund's International Center for the Rights of Nature—the change to Swedish law mirrors that of others in the world but, if passed, would set a new precedent in Europe.
     'For twenty years, we have been working with the national environmental goals in Sweden. After all this time, we are barely reaching two of them, Le Moine said in a statement on Tuesday.
     'The underlying value in our society is that we are the dominators of this world, and Nature is just a resource for us to use, she continued. Economic growth has been the real goal, not a healthy environment. I'm tired of this era, where our arrogant worldview has driven us far beyond the planetary boundaries. Now, when we're in the beginning of an ecological and climate collapse, I hope we can re-think our relationship with Nature. And for me, it starts with admitting that Nature has rights."
     On its website, the group Rights of Nature Sweden explained the process for having the amendment adopted this way:
     A proposed rights of nature amendment to the Constitution could be introduced directly into the Riksdag by Members of Parliament. Members of Parliament may introduce private motions for consideration by the Riksdag. This occurs in the autumn, when the Riksdag opens, during which time Members may propose private motions. Each motion is referred to a parliamentary committee for its review and consideration (a rights of nature amendment possibly would be referred to the Committee on the Constitution, or the Committee on the Environment and Agriculture). The committee then examines the motion and presents a proposal for how the Riksdag should decide before it adopts a position in the Chamber.
     As the group also noted, this approach to defending the natural world is hardly new, with legal rights of nature having already been recognized in laws and court decisions in the United States, Ecuador, Bolivia, Brazil, India, New Zealand, and Colombia.'
     Mari Margil, associate director of CELDF's International Center for the Rights of Nature, championed the proposal and thanked Le Moine for her leadership.
     'We need to quickly make a fundamental shift in our relationship with the natural world, Margil said. Advancing the Rights of Nature in Sweden's constitution is an important step forward. We congratulate Parliamentarian Le Moine on taking this politically brave, and necessary, step.'
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      Jon Queally, "While Warning of Nazi-Like Fascism and Corporate Crimes, Pope Francis Proposes Adding Ecological Sin to Church Teachings: In remarks at the Vatican, the leader of the Catholic Church condemned the large-scale delinquency of corporations,'" Common Dreams, November 16, 2019, https://www.commondreams.org/news/2019/11/16/while-warning-nazi-fascism-and-corporate-crimes-pope-francis-proposes-adding, reported, " Pope Francis on Friday issued a warning against the rise of fascist forces worldwide that remind him of the Nazis of the 20th Century as he also railed against corporate crimes and announced consideration of adding "sins against ecology" to the church's official teachings."


     Lisa Friedman, "Trump Serves Notice to Quit Paris Climate Agreement," The New York Times, November 4, 2019, https://www.nytimes.com/2019/11/04/climate/trump-paris-agreement-climate.html, reported, "Trump administration formally notified the United Nations on Monday that it would withdraw the United States from the Paris Agreement on climate change, leaving global climate diplomats to plot a way forward without the cooperation of the world’s largest economy."


      Brady Dennis, Steven Mufson and Scott Clement, "Americans increasingly see climate change as a crisis, poll shows," The Washington Post, September 13, 2019, from a Ted Cloak E-mail, reported, " A growing number of Americans describe climate change as a crisis, and two-thirds say President Trump is doing too little to tackle the problem."
     "The poll finds that a strong majority of Americans — about 8 in 10 — say that human activity is fueling climate change, and roughly half believe action is urgently needed within the next decade if humanity is to avert its worst effects. Nearly 4 in 10 now say climate change is a “crisis,” up from less than a quarter five years ago."
      Read full Post-Kaiser poll results and how the survey was conducted at: https://www.washingtonpost.com/context/washington-post-kaiser-family-foundation-climate-change-survey-july-9-aug-5-2019/601ed8ff-a7c6-4839-b57e-3f5eaa8ed09f/.


      Food waste world-wide is a major contributor to climate change. In the U.S. food waste produces the same amount of greenhouse gas in a year as 37 million cars. However, a number of cities world wide have been taking steps to reduce the waste and use most of the remainder This is done by having supermarkets and restaurants distribute good food they can no longer sell to those who need it, by taxing food waste to discourage it, and by processing remaining food waste to produce energy. Soul, South Korea, has increased recycling food waste since 1995 from 2% to 95%. Some other cities and nations have taken some such steps and it will be a major positive move in several dimensions, including reducing greenhouse gas emissions, for others to do so (Amelia Nierenberg, "One thing your city can do: reduce food waste," The New York Times, December 11, 2019, https://messaging-custom-newsletters.nytimes.com/template/oakv2?uri=nyt://newsletter/67b59585-174e-45b2-aae9-bfae41233d4b&te=1&nl=climate-fwd:&emc=edit_clim_20191211?campaign_id=54&instance_id=14464&segment_id=19516&user_id=2984790c14170290245238c0cd4fd927&regi_id=52235981lim_20191211).


      Jessica Corbett, "Move Over, Peak Oil. Scientists Say Peak Livestock Must Arrive This Decade to Limit Global Heating: If the livestock sector were to continue with business as usual, experts warn, this sector alone would account for 49% of the emissions budget for 1.5°C by 2030,'" Common Dreams, December 12, 2019, https://www.commondreams.org/news/2019/12/12/move-over-peak-oil-scientists-say-peak-livestock-must-arrive-decade-limit-global, reported, "In an open letter to The Lancet Planetary Health journal Wednesday, a group of scientists called for setting a date to reach peak livestock production and pursuing dramatic efforts to restore vegetation in the next decade to curb planet-heating emissions, increase natural carbon sequestration, and avert climate catastrophe.
     Referencing the primary temperature rise targets of the 2015 Paris climate
agreement , the letter says that continued growth of the livestock sector increases the risk of exceeding emissions budgets consistent with limiting warming to 1.5°C and 2°C, limits the removal of CO2 from the atmosphere through restoring native vegetation, and threatens remaining natural carbon sinks where land could be converted to livestock production.'
     Specifically, the scientists warn that if the livestock sector were to continue with business as usual, this sector alone would account for 49% of the emissions budget for 1.5°C by 2030, requiring other sectors to reduce emissions beyond a realistic or planned level
.'
     Helen Harwatt, a fellow at Harvard Law School and lead author of the letter, has previously published research on the necessity of driving down meat and dairy consumption to achieve global climate goals.
      'Countries should be looking for peak livestock within the next 10 years, Harwatt told The Guardian Thursday. This is because we need steep and rapid reductions in greenhouse gas emissions, as we are reaching dangerous temperature tipping points .'
     The letter, which lists four other scientists as co-authors and over 50 (pdf) signatories, details four measures that the scientists believe high-income and middle-income countries should implement from 2020 onward to combat the climate crisis:
     First, declare a timeframe for peak livestock—i.e., livestock production from each species would not continue to increase from this point forward.Second, within the livestock sector, identify the largest emissions sources or the largest land occupiers, or both, and set appropriate reduction targets for production. This process would be repeated sequentially, to set reduction targets for the next largest emitter or land occupier.
     Third, within a reconfiguration of the agriculture sector, apply a best available food strategy to diversify food production by replacing livestock with foods that simultaneously minimize environmental burdens and maximize public health benefits—mainly pulses (including beans, peas, and lentils), grains, fruits, vegetables, nuts, and seeds.
     Fourth, when grazing land is not required or is unsuitable for horticulture or arable production, adopt a natural climate solutions approach where possible, to repurpose land as a carbon sink by restoring native vegetation cover to its maximum carbon sequestration potential with additional benefits to biodiversity.

     Experts and activists have increasing pushed for pursuing natural solutions to battle climate and ecological breakdown—including with a bold campaign that launched in April. In a video released in September that featured teen activist Greta Thunberg, writer and campaign leader George Monbiot explained that mangroves, peatbogs, jungles, marshes, seabeds, kelp forests, swamps, coral reefs, they take carbon out of the air and lock it away. Nature is a tool we can use to repair our broken climate.'
     The scientists behind the new letter acknowledge that their suggestions don't comprehensively cover climate mitigation actions related to agriculture, but they assert that their four key recommendations are necessary to adhere to the equity component of the Paris agreement, and are considered part of a suite of measures that are needed across all sectors to reduce the risk of reaching temperature levels beyond the Paris goals.'
     Harwatt said that we're fully aware that our call requires large-scale change across society and isn't something that can be achieved overnight or without challenges, while also noting that she has observed a recent rise in plant-based offerings.
     In January, as Common Dreams reported, the EAT-Lancet Commission called for a global agricultural revolution and urged people around the world to adopt a planetary health diet to both address the current food system's devastating impacts on the environment as well as mass malnutrition.
     University of Aberdeen professor Pete Smith, a signatory of the new letter and a senior author of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change's August report on land use and the climate crisis, pointed out that "ruminant meat is 10 to 100 times more damaging to the climate than plant-based food.'
     'As a planet, we need to transition away from a dependence on livestock, just as we need to transition away from fossil fuels, if we are to have any chance of hitting the goals of the Paris climate agreement, Smith told The Guardian. "Livestock numbers need to peak very soon and thereafter decline substantially."
     'Given the urgency of the climate emergency, this will need to be over the coming decade for sure, he added. But the transition will need to be managed fairly to allow citizens to change diets and for farmers, producers and agri-food chains to diversify. In poor countries, where over 800 million people are still undernourished, priorities obviously differ.'
     The letter came just ahead of the conclusion of the United Nations Climate Conference in Madrid, which is set to wrap up on Friday. The COP 25 summit has brought together government representatives from around the world to discuss their efforts to combat the climate crisis, including national commitments under the Paris accord."


     Ruby Prosser Scully, "Electric cars could charge in 10 minutes with a new kind of battery," New Scientist, 30 October 2019, https://www.newscientist.com/article/2221740-electric-cars-could-charge-in-10-minutes-with-a-new-kind-of-battery/, reported, "Electric vehicle owners may soon be able to fully charge their cars in as little as 10 minutes, thanks to a new design that heats the battery to increase the reaction rate." The heating prevents the shortening of life of current auto batteries that occurs from rapid charging.


      Hiroko Tabuchi, "Eastern States Introduce a Plan to Cap Tailpipe Pollution," The New York Times, December17, 2019, https://www.nytimes.com/2019/12/17/climate/tailpipe-emissions-cap-and-trade.html, reported, "A coalition of twelve mid-Atlantic and Northeastern states and the District of Columbia on Tuesday released a draft plan for an ambitious cap-and-trade program to curb tailpipe emissions from cars, trucks and other forms of transportation, tackling what has fast become the largest source of planet-warming gases."
     If approved, after public comment, the plan would require vehicle fossil fuel companies to purchase CO2 emissions permits, whose number would decline each year. Proceeds would go to reducing carbon emissions from transportation, including for installing electric vehicle charging stations. More than 20% of the U.S. population would be affected by the plan.


      Julia Conley, "Now Let's Do This Everywhere': Kansas City, Missouri Approves Free Public Transit for All: Measure championed as visionary' way to reduce inequality and better serve everyone in the community," Common Dreams, December 6, 2019, https://www.commondreams.org/news/2019/12/06/now-lets-do-everywhere-kansas-city-missouri-approves-free-public-transit-all, reported, " Lawmakers in Kansas City, Missouri took a visionary step on Thursday by unanimously voting to make public transportation in the city free of charge, setting the stage for it to be the first major U.S. city to have free public transit."


      Jake Johnson, "Condemning Inaction of Rich Nations, Oxfam Unveils Report Showing Climate-Related Disasters Displaced 200 Million People Since 2008: People are taking to the streets across the globe to demand urgent climate action. If politicians ignore their pleas, more people will die, more people will go hungry, and more people will be forced from their homes,'" Common Dreams, December 2, 2019, https://www.commondreams.org/news/2019/12/02/condemning-inaction-rich-nations-oxfam-unveils-report-showing-climate-related , reported, "As world leaders convened in Madrid for COP25 amid surging grassroots demands for radical action, the charitable organization Oxfam released new research Monday showing that climate-related disasters were the leading cause of internal displacement over the past decade, forcing an average of over 20 million people to flee their homes per year.
     That, according to Oxfam, amounts to one person every two seconds being forced from their home due to hurricanes, wildfires, cyclones, and other extreme weather.
     ' Our governments are fueling a crisis that is driving millions of women, men, and children from their homes and the poorest people in the poorest countries are paying the heaviest price, Chema Vera, acting executive director of Oxfam International, said in a statement.
     According to Oxfam's analysis (pdf), which relied on data Internal Displacement Monitoring Centre, the last decade has seen a dramatic increase in the number of extreme weather disasters that have forced people from their homes.
      'Today, you are seven times more likely to be internally displaced by extreme weather disasters... than by geophysical disasters such as earthquakes and volcanic eruptions, and three times more likely than by conflict," the organization found. "There was a five-fold increase in the reported number of extreme weather disasters that resulted in people being displaced over the last decade." oxfam
      Emphasizing that small island nations such as Tuvalu and Cuba face far higher risk of internal displacement due to extreme weather than rich European nations, Oxfam condemned the wealthy nations of the world for making little progress towards the provision of new funds to help poor countries recover from loss and damage resulting from the climate emergency.'
     'Rich donor countries have largely left poor countries to cover the rising costs of extreme weather disasters themselves, Oxfam said.
      To help vulnerable nations recover from previous disasters and prepare for future extreme weather, Oxfam called on world leaders at COP25 to commit to establishing an international Loss and Damage fund to assist displaced people and communities.
      Oxfam also urged nations to commit to deeper emission cuts and more rapid phase-outs of fossil fuels to limit global warming to 1.5°C by 2030.
      'People are taking to the streets across the globe to demand urgent climate action, Vera said. If politicians ignore their pleas, more people will die, more people will go hungry and more people will be forced from their homes.
     'Governments can and must make Madrid matter, Vera added. They must commit to faster, deeper emissions cuts and they must establish a new Loss and Damage fund to help poor communities recover from climate disasters.'
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      Andrea Germanos, "'We Are Furious': As COP 25 Draws to Close, Green Campaigners Fume as Rich Nations Move to Gut Paris Agreement: Just as we thought the slow pace and weak ambition shown at the climate talks couldn't get worse, along comes COP 25,'" Common Dreams, December 13, 2019, https://www.commondreams.org/news/2019/12/13/we-are-furious-cop-25-draws-close-green-campaigners-fume-rich-nations-move-gut-paris, reported, " With just hours left in the COP 25 climate conference taking place in Madrid, Spain, international climate campaigners said Friday they are furious' over rich countries refusal to adequately commit to addressing the urgency of and pay for their role in fueling the climate crisis.
     'Just as we thought the slow pace and weak ambition shown at the climate talks couldn't get worse, along comes COP 25, said Sara Shaw, Climate Justice and Energy Program coordinator for Friends of the Earth International (FOEI). She also criticized the advance of dodgy carbon trading that will only exacerbate the climate crisis and harm Southern communities.'
      As crunch time hits, hammering out a deal on controversial carbon markets is proving to be sticking point. Politico's Morning Energy newsletter noted Friday:
      'A group of large developing economies—China, Brazil, India, and South Africa—are pushing back on efforts to write the rulE-Book for international carbon trading regimes. That's a major priority for the meeting, and the nearly 200 countries attending the talks need to get that out of the way if they're going to move on to the next big task: preparing their new domestic climate targets for 2020's meeting in Glasgow. A failure to get a set of rules on trading in place is threatening to push back that effort to raise the world's climate ambition'—and could undermine the entire Paris agreement.'
      Climate Action Network International (CAN), in Twitter thread Friday, said the plans which have thus far emerged from the conference on carbon trading bode ill for the prospect of reducing emissions.
     The climate campaigners comments came on the final day of a conference that saw activists including Fridays for Future youth stage protests within the event hall demanding climate justice. The activists were kicked out of the conference, in their view, had their voices suppressed over those of corporate polluters.
     Speaking about the unrest at the conference, Nnimmo Bassey of Health of Mother Earth Foundation told Democracy Now! Wednesday that the protesters here are saying that the trajectory on which the COP negotiation is moving, which is towards market mechanisms rather than real climate action, is the wrong direction and that this cannot be accepted.'
      'We're seeing a situation where the rich, polluting countries are not ready to fund climate adaptation and mitigation to pay for loss and damage, said Bassey.
      Some countries, though, have made good pledges, as Jake Schmidt, Brendan Guy, and Han Chen wrote at NRDC's expert blog Thursday. 'The 80 countries that have committed to put forward stronger steps to curb climate change here at COP25 in Madrid are impressive."
      But the 80 countries represent only about 10% of global emissions . The 20 major emitters that account for approximately 80% of global emissions have stood nearly mute in Madrid. They've dithered over side issues and done absolutely nothing about the 800-pound gorilla in the room—the continually rising global emissions of greenhouse gases hurtling us toward catastrophe. The eyes of the world are squarely on them.It's no secret who those major emissions producers are.
      'The United States, which last month began withdrawing from the Paris agreement, is not a good actor here, Greenpeace International executive director Jennifer Morgan told CNN, adding that Saudi Arabia and Brazil are also thwarting progress. DeSmogblog also reported Friday that almost a third of Saudi Arabia's representatives attending the Madrid meeting, known as COP25, are associated with the oil and gas industry.'
     'I think that the climate politics are quite dark, Morgan continued. You have the oil majors working with the Trump administration, with others, to try and slow things down here. And you have others that just aren't prioritizing it. That means the role of countries or units like the European Union becomes even more important, but... it's like they're tired and they're not rising above the daily kind of issues and there's no time for that.'
     FOEI's Shaw, in her statement , suggested such inaction and active thwarting of progress was sabotaging the prospect of global temperature rise to below the threshold agreed to in the Paris climate accord.
     'Here, we have witnessed the gutting of the already weak Paris Agreement as well as a refusal by developed countries to pay up for loss and damage finance, while they try to introduce language that would remove their liability for the impacts their emissions have caused, she said.
      'We are furious that while so many are already suffering the impacts of climate change, corporations and rich country governments are working to destroy any hope of keeping global temperature rise below 1.5 degrees," said Shaw. And when we stood up in peaceful protest at COP 25, we were aggressively suppressed.'
     FOEI chair Karin Nansen from Uruguay was equally dismissive of that silencing.
     'The ambition claimed by developed country governments is a false one, she said. They are serving the interests of corporations aiming to profit from the crisis and secure capital accumulation. The voices of people defending the rights of Indigenous Peoples, women, and Southern communities were aggressively pushed out of the COP in a clear attempt to silence them.'
     'But peoples—in Madrid, Santiago, and around the world—are rising up and will continue to fight for environmental, social, gender, and economic justice and system change
," Nansen said. We will continue to demand that governments be accountable to people, not to corporate polluters.'
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      What was gutted by rich countries at COP 25: Christine MacDonald, " The U.S. and Other Rich Countries Stonewalled $300 Billion Climate Relief Fund: Furious activists protested, but mandatory measures remained lacking as negotiations continue into the night on Friday," In These Times, December 13, 2019, https://inthesetimes.com/article/22221/u.s.-and-other-rich-countries-successfully-stonewalled-300-climate-relief-f, reported, " ' It is the U.S., EU, Canada, Japan and Australia not allowing any progress.'
      With climate-related disasters happening at the rate of one a week, according to the United Nations, more than 150 civil society organizations around the world are using the UN climate negotiations this week to stand with the Global South. They are pushing for demands set out in an open letter to negotiators in November, including a new global climate fund to aid poor countries in the midst of climate catastrophes.
     The organizations say it’s about time for a rethink of climate financing as climate-related disasters like extreme storms, droughts, floods and famines take a mounting economic toll on poor countries. Worldwide costs are estimated to grow to between $300 and $700 billion a year by 2030. To cover the costs, poor countries must increasingly borrow from development aid, which is “pushing them into a debt trap,” says Harjeet Singh, global lead on climate change with ActionAid International, one of the 150-plus organizations that signed the letter.
     The United States and other wealthy countries made a pledge in 2010 to commit $100 billion annually to assist poorer countries, but wealthier countries have consistently failed to pay in. The new proposal calls for a comprehensive and mandatory new fund to help poor countries recover that would make an additional $50 billion available by 2022 and gradually increase the amount to $300 billion a year by 2030." But the wealthy nations refused to move on it in Madrid.


      Jordan Davidson, "Giant Floating Solar Farms Could Make Fuel and Help Solve the Climate Crisis, Says Study," EcoWatch, June 25, 2019, https://www.ecowatch.com/floating-solar-farms-climate-crisis-2638980599.html, reported, " Millions of solar panels clustered together to form an island could convert carbon dioxide in seawater into methanol, which can fuel airplanes and trucks, according to new research from Norway and Switzerland and published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences journal, PNAS, as NBC News reported. The floating islands could drastically reduce greenhouse gas emissions and dependence on fossil fuels."


      Maddie Stone, "Cement has a carbon problem. Here are some concrete solutions, Grist, By on November 20, 2019, https://grist.org/politics/cement-has-a-carbon-problem-here-are-some-concrete-solutions/, reports, "... one of the industries with the worst climate impact is all but ignored, even though its product literally supports our existence. I’m talking about the cement industry, which dumps more than 2 billion tons of carbon into the air each year to make its ubiquitous building material, roughly three times as much as the aviation industry."
     "To make cement, you have to heat limestone to nearly 1,500 degrees C. Unfortunately, the most efficient way to get a cement kiln that hot is to burn lots of coal, which, along with other fossil fuel energy sources, accounts for 40 percent of the industry’s emissions. Eventually, the limestone breaks down into calcium oxide (also known as lime) and releases CO2, which goes straight into the atmosphere, accounting for a further 60 percent of the industry’s emissions."
      There are numerous ways to reduce the carbon emissions in the heating process, but some of the most promising are not yet ready to apply, while others are expensive. But alternative fuels are already available which are less carbon emitting.
      However, 60% of the CO 2 in cement production is released from the limestone. This can be reduced inexpensively by changing the recipe, adding calcinate clays in the cement making process.


      Somini Sengupta, "Extreme Weather Displaced a Record 7 Million in First Half of 2019," The New York Times,
     Sept. 12, 2019, https://www.nytimes.com/2019/09/12/climate/extreme-weather-displacement.html, reported, " Extreme weather events displaced a record seven million people from their homes during the first six months of this year, a figure that put 2019 on pace to be one of the most disastrous years in almost two decades even before Hurricane Dorian battered the Bahamas."


      Jacey Fortin, "Flash Drought in the South Brings Record Heat Without Rain: Autumn is here, and it’s still hot. Here is what we know about the record-breaking temperatures and low precipitation across much of the American South," The New York Times, October 4, 2019, https://www.nytimes.com/2019/10/04/us/flash-drought-monitor.html, report, " It was a hot summer in the American South, and droughts have affected tens of millions of people there after one of the driest and hottest Septembers on record."


      John Ismay and Vanessa Swales, "The Arctic Plunge: From Feeling Like 92 to Freezing in a Day: Temperatures have plummeted across the eastern United States, but spare a thought for McAllen, Texas, where the drop was precipitous," The New York Times, November 12, 2019, https://www.nytimes.com/2019/11/10/us/veterans-day-cold-weather.html?rref=collection%2Fbyline%2Fadeel-hassan&action=click&contentCollection=undefined&region=stream&module=stream_unit&version=latest&contentPlacement=2&pgtype=collection, reported that temperatures across the U.S Plains, Midwest, and Texas East to much of the East Cost fell precipitously, November 11 "as a dip in the jet stream funneled Arctic air across the eastern half of the country.
      In Texas, recent warm weather gave way to numbing cold, with the feels like reading dropping from 92 to 31 in places. Schools from Ohio to Vermont called off classes as the snow piled up. People in Little Rock, Ark., could have been excused for thinking they were in Alberta, Canada. Churchill Downs in Louisville, Ky., canceled races, facing temperatures that were not fit for man or beast. And daily records were falling even in places like Chicago that are no strangers to the lower end of the thermometer.
     By the time the air mass moves on, it is expected to have broken more than 150 daily-temperature records."
      Vanessa Swales, "Canceled Flights, Snow and a ‘Bomb Cyclone’: A powerful storm is cutting across the country from Colorado to the Great Lakes, disrupting flights and dumping snow. Another threatens to bring hurricane-force winds to the West Coast," The New York Times, November 27, 2019, https://www.nytimes.com/2019/11/26/us/thanksgiving-weather-forecast.html, reported, " Heavy snows, reaching 30 inches in some areas, disrupted travel across the center of the United States on Tuesday and threatened to make more trouble on Wednesday as the Thanksgiving holiday approached. Hundreds of flights were canceled, thousands of travelers were stranded at airports, and stretches of major highways were closed because of unsafe conditions and periods of poor-to-nonexistent visibility.
     At the same time, the Northwest was warned of a separate “bomb cyclone” storm blowing in from the Pacific Ocean that could sock that region with powerful winds and heavy precipitation.
     Some coastal areas in Northern California and Oregon should brace for “stronger than hurricane-force winds
,” the National Weather Service said, warning that the high winds could bring down power lines, rip branches from trees and threaten to push eighteen-wheelers and RVs off the roads."
     The storms in the central U.S. heading East were expected to impact New England a few days later.
      Vanessa Swales, "Winter Storm Brings Snow to at Least 30 States: It’s rare for a storm to cross the entire country with such staying power," The New York Times, December 3, 2019, https://www.nytimes.com/2019/12/03/us/winter-storm-snowfall.html, reported, "A winter storm that barreled across the United States from Cedar Grove, Calif., where it dropped 49 inches of snow, to Ogunquit, Maine, which saw more than a foot, was finally departing on Tuesday, but not before giving New England one last whack.
     Having come ashore from the Pacific a week ago as a “bomb cyclone,” the storm dropped at least four inches of snow in 30 states . Its mix of cold, wind, snow, sleet and rain shuttered schools, blocked hundreds of miles of highways, scuttered scores of flights and was linked to multiple deaths over the long holiday weekend in Missouri , Arizona and South Dakota ."


     Margaret Toal, Sarah Mervosh and Mitchell Ferman, "‘I Can’t Do This’: Imelda Left Texas With at Least 5 Deaths and Historic Rainfall: One woman was still looking for a missing son after the seventh-wettest tropical cyclone in U.S. history. He can’t swim, she said," The New York Times, September 21, 2019, https://www.nytimes.com/2019/09/20/us/tropical-storm-imelda-houston-texas.html, reported, "As the remnants of [tropical storm] Imelda moved north on Friday, residents in southeast Texas were left to deal with waterlogged homes, blocked roads and flash flooding conditions from a storm that dumped as much as 43 inches of water in some areas to become one of the wettest tropical cyclones in United States history."


      Christopher Flavelle, In Houston, a Rash of Storms Tests the Limits of Coping With Climate Change," New York Times, October 2, 2019, https://www.nytimes.com/2019/10/02/climate/hurricane-adaptation-houston.html, reported, " After Hurricane Harvey hit in 2017, Houston jumped to the front of the pack in adapting to the threat of climate change. It passed tougher building codes, offered more buyouts for flood-prone homes and budgeted billions of dollars in new funding for flood control."
     "Then, two weeks ago,
Tropical Storm Imelda hit , flooding at least 1,700 homes in Houston and surrounding Harris County. The scope of the damage raises hard questions: Were the efforts able to make a difference and can cities act quickly enough for what’s coming?" How much, at what cost, can even a wealthy city do to adapt to climate change?


     Adeel Hassan, "Dallas Tornado Leaves Trail of Damage; Storm Causes Panic at Memphis Airport: A tornado destroyed buildings in Dallas and cut electricity to tens of thousands of people. The storm system is moving east, and has killed a man in Arkansas." The New York Times, October 21, 2019, https://www.nytimes.com/2019/10/21/us/dallas-tornado-damage.html, reported, "A dangerous storm system, with damaging winds and large hail, cut a destructive path across part of the southeastern United States on Monday, after spawning a tornado that barreled through the Dallas-Fort Worth area late Sunday, and others in rural areas of Oklahoma and Missouri. The violent weather was blamed for at least four deaths." The storm was still dangerous as it moved east.


     "
Alaska hits 90 degrees on July 4th, breaking 50-year-old record ," Daily Kos, July 5, 2019, https://www.dailykos.com/stories/2019/7/5/1869652/-Alaska-hits-90-degrees-on-July-4th-breaking-50-year-old-record, reported, "Alaska has been seeing a heat wave this spring and summer. Temperatures have been up in place like Utqiaġvik (formerly known as Barrow), 18.6 degrees Fahrenheit above normal. This Fourth of July was no exception to the record-breaking heat, as CNN reports that 90 degree temperatures in The Last Frontier were recorded July Fourth. The record-setting heat number was taken at Anchorage’s airport and broke the previous record set in 1969." This is all part of heat waves seen round the world this spring and summer.


      Amanda Schmidt, " Nearly a month’s worth of rain in 1 hour triggers travel nightmare in DC area," AccuWeather, July 8, 2019, https://www.accuweather.com/en/weather-news/nearly-a-months-worth-of-rain-in-1-hour-triggers-travel-nightmare-in-dc-area/70008762, reported, " Commuters in the D.C., and Baltimore area faced an extremely difficult and dangerous drive back to work on Monday morning following the long holiday weekend as heavy downpours flooded local roadways.
      Videos have surfaced on social media in which the raging floodwaters turned roads into rivers. One social media user captured a video while driving through high floodwaters in the Virginia Avenue Tunnel on Monday morning and said, You’re going to need a boat to pass underneath the Virginia Ave. underpass on I-66 in NW D.C."
     Several water rescues were performed as high waters overflowed the roads. Local officials urged motorists to stay off the roads on Monday morning due to flash floods. Numerous roads in downtown Washington, D.C., as well as surrounding areas, were closed on Monday morning due to the heavy floodwater."


      Hurricane Dorian, as of September 2, 2019, was unusual - likely because of climate change - because it was impossible to predict its movement, while at category 5 with 220 MPH winds was the strongest storm ever known to hit the northern Bahamas, and if it continued as expected would be the strongest storm to hit the U.S. southeast since the 1935 Labor Day hurricane ( Richard Fausset, Nicholas Bogel-Burroughs, Patricia Mazzei and Frances Robles, "Along Hurricane Dorian’s Tortured Path, Millions Are United in Fear," The New York Times, September 2, https://www.nytimes.com/2019/09/02/us/along-hurricane-dorians-tortured-path-millions-are-united-in-fear.html).
     Jake Johnson, "'It Is Pure Hell Here': Videos From Bahamas Show Devastation Left by Hurricane Dorian as Category 5 Storm Heads Toward US Coast: We are surrounded by water with no way out. Absolute devastation, there really are no words,'" Common Dreams, September 2, 2019, https://www.commondreams.org/news/2019/09/02/it-pure-hell-here-videos-bahamas-show-devastation-left-hurricane-dorian-category-5, reported, "Videos posted online late Sunday and early Monday provided the first glimpse of the scale of destruction Hurricane Dorian—a historic Category 5 storm—left in its wake in the Bahamas as it slowly moves toward the southeastern coast of the United States, forcing nearly a million residents of Florida, Georgia, and the Carolinas to evacuate.' I have seen utter devastation here... We are surrounded by water with no way out, said ABC News correspondent Marcus Moore, who was on the ground in Marsh Harbour.
      'Absolute devastation, there really are no words, said Moore, surveying destroyed homes and buildings. It is pure hell here on Marsh Harbour on Aboca Island in the northern part of the Bahamas.'
     The Guardian characterized Dorian as 'the biggest storm to hit the Caribbean island chain in modern times," with wind gusts reaching as high as 220 mph.
     During a press conference Sunday, Bahamian prime minister Hubert Minnis saidDorian will put us to a test that we've never confronted before.'
     'This is probably the most sad and worst day of my life to address the Bahamian people, said Minnis. I just want to say as a physician I've been trained to withstand many things, but never anything like this.'
      According to the National Hurricane Center, the storm remained at Category 5 strength Monday as it drifted over Grand Bahama Island, unleashing heavy rainfall and severe wind.
     'This is a life-threatening situation. Residents on Grand Bahama Island should not leave their shelter when the eye passes over, as winds will rapidly increase on the other side of the eye, the center said. These hazards will continue over Grand Bahama Island during most of the day, causing extreme destruction on the island.'Forecasters on Monday said the storm could get "dangerously close to the Florida east coast" as early as Monday night.
     Florida, Georgia, North Carolina, and South Carolina have declared a state of emergency as the hurricane crawls toward the U.S. coast.
     South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster on Sunday issued a mandatory evacuation order for 830,000 people along the state's coastline. The order is set to take effect Monday at noon.
     Our work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 License."


      Category Hurricane Dorian, the strongest storm ever to strike land in the Atlantic, was unprecedented in the total destruction it caused on Grand Bahama Island. As of September 8 there was no power, no water service and bodies were still being uncovered in the rubble. 44 were then known dead, with more being found. By September 9 the number had reached 50 ( Kirk Semple, "Corpses Strewn, People Missing a Week After Dorian Hit the Bahamas," The New York Times,
     
     September 8, 2019, https://www.nytimes.com/2019/09/08/world/americas/bahamas-dead-dorian.html).


      Patricia Mazzei, "82 Days Underwater: The Tide Is High, but They’re Holding On: A brutal king tides season made worse by climate change has flooded the streets of a Florida Keys community for nearly three months." The New York Times, November 24, 2019, https://www.nytimes.com/2019/11/24/us/florida-keys-flooding-king-tide.html, reported on flooding in the Florida Keys made much worse by climate change, " Life during the unusually high king tides in South Florida this fall has become a maddening logistical task for people along the Blackwater Sound, a scenic but low-lying stretch of the Upper Keys. For nearly three months, the residents of Stillwright Point’s 215 homes have been forced to carefully plan their outings and find temporary workarounds to deal with the smelly, stagnant water — a result not of rain, but a rising sea — that makes their mangrove-lined streets look more like canals."


     Ellen Barry, "Northeast ‘Bomb Cyclone’: Powerful Winds Knock Out Power to 500,000: Meteorologists were describing the storm as a bomb cyclone, in which masses of warm and cold air meet, creating a cyclonic effect," The New York Times, October 17, 2019, https://www.nytimes.com/2019/10/17/us/northeast-bomb-cyclone.html, reported, "Utility poles snapped, cruise ships sought shelter, boats broke from their moorings, trees were uprooted, and more than 500,000 customers in New England were without power at times on Thursday as a storm packing winds gusting to 90 miles an hour swept up the East Coast."


     And the results of this winter-spring U.S. Midwest climate change caused flood keep coming. Mitch Smith, Summer on the Swollen Great Lakes," The New York Times,August 25, 2019, https://www.nytimes.com/2019/08/24/us/great-lakes-water-levels.html, reported on the Great Lakes, " The lakes rose this year to levels not seen in decades. A 1,234-mile drive around one of them revealed what all that water has left behind — vanishing beaches, closed roads, new islands."


      The flooding in the Midwest by mid-summer strongly impacted a number of Indian Nations. "CALL TO ACTION: How You Can Help Tribal Nations in the Midwest Hit Hard by Recent Severe Storms and Flooding," National Congress of American Indians (NCAI), August 7, 2019, http://www.ncai.org/news/articles/2019/08/07/call-to-action-assisting-midwest-tribal-nations-impacted-by-severe-storms-and-flooding, reported, " Dangerous flooding and severe storms in the Midwest have devastated tribal nations across the region. This disaster has destroyed local roads, tribal buildings, and critical infrastructure. Tribal nations are working hard to address the needs of their citizens and repair damages, but they need your assistance."
     Those effected encompassed the Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe, the Menominee Indian Tribe of Wisconsin, the Rosebud Sioux Tribe, the St. Croix Chippewa Indians of Wisconsin, and the Yankton Sioux Tribe.


     The city of Miami and much of Ottawa County, OK, home to nine Indian nations, have suffered flooding for many years that has been made more serious by 2019's climate change caused exceptionally extreme weather. Miami is the capital of the Miami Nation, Modoc Tribe of Oklahoma, Ottawa Tribe of Oklahoma, Peoria Tribe of Indians, Seneca-Cayuga Tribe, and Shawnee Tribe The city and the tribes contend that the flooding would be greatly reduced, if not prevented, if water was let out of Pensacola dam before major storms so that Grand Lake, which is behind it, could contain most, if not all the additional water. The City and surrounding areas in the county have flooded more than two dozen times since 1990, causing 150 houses to be torn down and others abandoned. The 2019 flood put all but the roof tops of numerous buildings underwater as it completely flooded out many roads. The Eastern Shawnee Tribe reported that it had to evacuate 30 families because of the flooding, its ceremonial grounds were covered by three feet of water, and numerous roads remained impassable for weeks. When residents could finally go home, they found tremendous water damage and a serious mold problem. Moreover, the flooding brought a major insect infestation.
     The city and the county's Indian nations have petitioned to have water let out of the dam for many years. But the more wealthy Oklahomans who enjoy Grand Lake for fishing and boating have resisted, holding that the lake's water needs to be high to maximize its recreational activities. One of those supporting keeping the waters high is Oklahoma Senator James Inhofe, who has enjoyed the lake and owns a vacation home adjacent to it, while his wife owns $1 million of waterfront property on the lake.
      Tribes city and the tribes saw an opportunity for obtaining a policy change in 2019, with the dam's license up for renewal before the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission . However, Senator Inhofe, Chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, placed an amendment in the to the National Defense Authorization act that would limit the commission’s authority over lake levels and flood control. Moreover, that amendment states that federal land “shall not be considered to be a reservation,” which would destroy Indian nation right rights. The legislation was pending House-Senate reconciliation as of August 28. Many critics see Senator Inhofe's action as a totally improper conflict of interest ( Sarah Mervosh, " A Senator’s Lake House vs. a Town Fighting Flooding: For years, there has been fierce debate over water levels at a popular lake. Senator James Inhofe, who has a vacation home there, took the matter to Washington," The New York Times, August 28, 2019, https://www.nytimes.com/2019/08/27/us/grand-lake-oklahoma-inhofe.html; and "Miami, OK, Mapquest.com," https://www.mapquest.com/us/oklahoma/miami-ok-282034077).  


      Jim Robbins and Vanessa Swales, "40 Inches of Snow in Montana: ‘It’s a February Storm in September’," The New York Times, September 29, 2019, https://www.nytimes.com /2019/09/29/us/montana-snowstorm.html, reported that although it is September, not February, " A powerful winter storm socked much of Montana with a wave of heavy snowfall on Sunday, with weekend totals climbing to 40 inches in some places, and breaking century-long daily records."


     "Death Toll Rises to 6 in Torrential Rains in Southeast Spain," The New York Times, September 14, 2019, https://www.nytimes.com/aponline/2019/09/14/world/europe/spain-storms-deaths.html, reported, " Record rainfall and widespread flooding claimed two more lives in southeastern Spain, raising the overall death toll to six from the storms, authorities said Saturday."


     Elisabetta Povoledo, "Venice Flooding Brings City to ‘Its Knees’:
     The mayor called for a state of emergency after the Italian city was submerged under “acqua alta,” an exceptionally high tide — the worst in 50 years," The New York Times, November 14, 2019, https://www.nytimes.com/2019/11/13/world/europe/venice-flood.html, reported, "The mayor of Venice, who said that the city “was on its knees,” has called for a state of emergency and the closing of all schools after the Italian city was submerged under acqua alta, an exceptionally high tide — the highest in 50 years."


      Global warming induce climate change has brought regular heavy rains to Norway which caused the top of the mountain Veslemannen to collapse, sending a 50,000 ton rockslide which fortunately stopped just short of the town of Rauma, which had been evacuated several times in the face of its possibly being crushed by such a rockslide (Henrik Pryser Libell and Richard Martyn-Hemphill, "A Mountain Top Called ‘Little Man’ Falls in Norway, and Residents Weep," The New York Times,
     
     September 8, 2019, https://www.nytimes.com/2019/09/07/world/europe/norway-mountain-little-man.html).


      Amy Qin, "Death Toll From Typhoon Lekima in China Rises to 30," The New York Times, August 11, 2019, https://www.nytimes.com/2019/08/11/world/asia/china-typhoon-lekima.html, reported, " The death toll from a powerful typhoon sweeping across China’s east coast rose to 30 on Sunday, with at least 18 still missing, after torrential downpours forced over one million to leave their homes, the state news media reported."
     Typhoon Lekima caused the worst flooding in the city of Linhai in the 70 year history of the People's Republic of China with water levels as high has 36 feet, while over all the storm impacted 5 million people, interrupted land and air transportation, damaging more than 400,000 acres of crops and 34,000 homes in Zhejiang, bringing economic losses of over $2.2 billion
.


      Jamie Tarabay, "Typhoon Kammuri Kills at Least 17 as It Powers Through Philippines: Manila’s airport was shut for 12 hours and half a million people were evacuated as the typhoon swept through the archipelago," The New York Times, December 4, 2019, https://www.nytimes.com/2019/12/03/world/asia/philippines-typhoon-tisoy-kammuri.html, reported, " Typhoon Kammuri swept through the Philippines on Tuesday, ripping rooftops from houses, knocking down power lines and leaving a half-million people huddled in evacuation centers, waiting for the storm to pass. At least 17 people were killed.
     
Manila’s international airport was closed for 12 hours during the storm, resulting in the cancellation of nearly 500 flights. Officials suspended marine traffic in affected areas as Kammuri, packing wind gusts as high as 150 miles per hour, battered the Philippine archipelago for a second day.
     By early Wednesday the storm had weakened slightly, officials said, but heavy rainfall was expected to continue. Officials had feared that flooding could deluge Manila, the capital, and its surrounding areas, home to more than 10 million people."


      Somini Sengupta, "Rising Temperatures Ravage the Himalayas, Rapidly Shrinking Its Glaciers," The New York Times, June 19, 2019, https://www.nytimes.com/2019/06/19/climate/global-warming-himalayas-glaciers.html, reported, " Climate change is eating the glaciers of the Himalayas, posing a grave threat to hundreds of millions of people who live downstream, a study based on 40 years of satellite data has shown .
     The study, published Wednesday in the journal Science Advances, concluded that the glaciers have lost a foot and a half of ice every year since 2000, melting at a far faster pace than in the previous 25-year period. In recent years, the glaciers have lost about eight billion tons of water a year. The study’s authors described it as equivalent to the amount of water held by 3.2 million Olympic-size swimming pools.
     The study adds to a growing and grim body of work that points to the dangers of global warming for the Himalayas, which are considered the water towers of Asia and an insurance policy against drought
."


      A one two punch from very severe drought followed by flooding from exceptionally heavy monsoon rains in India have brought a severe shortage of onions in India, tripling the price, and causing the government to ban onion exports. India has been a major supplier of onions in Asia ( Jeffrey Gettleman, Julfikar Ali Manik and Suhasini Raj, "India Isn’t Letting a Single Onion Leave the Country," The New York Times, October 1, 2019, https://www.nytimes.com/2019/10/01/world/asia/india-modi-onion-prices.html).
      Bryan Denton and Somini Sengupta, " Throughout India, the number of days with very heavy rains has increased over the last century. At the same time, the dry spells between storms have gotten longer. Showers that reliably penetrate the soil are less common. For a country that relies on rain for the vast share of its water, that combination is potentially ruinous," The New York Times, November 25, 2019, https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2019/11/25/climate/india-monsoon-drought.html, reported, " India’s Ominous Future: Too Little Water, or Far Too Much.
     " Decades of short-sighted government policies are leaving millions defenseless in the age of climate disruptions – especially the country’s poor."


      Neil MacFarquhar, "Siberia Dispatch: Russian Land of Permafrost and Mammoths Is Thawing: Global warming is shrinking the permanently frozen ground across Siberia, disrupting everyday life in one of the coldest inhabited places on earth," The New York Times, August 4, 2019, https://www.nytimes.com/2019/08/04/world/europe/russia-siberia-yakutia-permafrost-global-warming.html, reported, " the Arctic, including much of Siberia, warms at least twice as fast as the rest of the world, the permafrost — permanently frozen ground — is thawing."
     "The thawing of the permafrost — along with other changes triggered by global warming — is reshaping this incredibly remote region
sometimes called the Kingdom of Winter. It is one of the coldest inhabited places on earth, and huge; Yakutia, if independent, would be the world's eighth largest country.
      The loss of permafrost deforms the landscape itself, knocking down houses and barns. The migration patterns of animals hunted for centuries are shifting, and severe floods wreak havoc almost every spring.
     The water, washing out already limited dirt roads and rolling corpses from their graves, threatens entire villages with permanent inundation. Waves chew away the less frozen Arctic coastline.
     Indigenous peoples are more threatened than ever. Residents joust constantly with nature in unpredictable ways, leaving them feeling baffled, unsettled, helpless, depressed and irritated
."


     Letícia Casado and Ernesto Londoño, "Under Brazil’s Far Right Leader, Amazon Protections Slashed and Forests Fall," The New York Times, July 28, 2019, https://www.nytimes.com/2019/07/28/world/americas/brazil-deforestation-amazon-bolsonaro.html, reported, "The destruction of the Amazon rain forest in Brazil has increased rapidly since the nation’s new far-right president took over and his government scaled back efforts to fight illegal logging, ranching and mining.
      Brazil’s part of the Amazon has lost more than 1,330 square miles of forest cover since Mr. Bolsonaro took office in January, a 39 percent increase over the same period last year, according to the government agency that tracks deforestation.
     In June alone, when the cooler, drier season began and cutting trees became easier, the deforestation rate rose drastically, with roughly 80 percent more forest cover lost than in June of last year.
      The deforestation of the Amazon is spiking as Mr. Bolsonaro’s government pulls back on enforcement measures like fines, warnings and the seizure or destruction of illegal equipment in protected areas.
     A New York Times analysis of public records found that such enforcement actions by Brazil’s main environmental agency fell by 20 percent during the first six months of the year, compared with the same period in 2018. The drop means that vast stretches of the rain forest can be torn down with less resistance from the nation’s authorities."
     


     Manuela Andreoni and Christine Hauser, "Fires in Amazon Rain Forest Have Surged This Year: The fires, most of which have been set by farmers clearing their land, are raging in uninhabited areas of rain forest and intruding on populated areas in the country’s north," The New York Times, August 22, 2019, https://www.nytimes.com/2019/08/21/world/americas/amazon-rainforest.html, reported, " Fires are burning in the Amazon rain forest at one of the fastest paces in years, Brazil’s space research center said this week.
     The center, the National Institute for Space Research, which monitors fires using satellite images, reported on Wednesday that it had detected 39,194 fires this year in the world’s largest rain forest, a 77 percent increase from the same period in 2018."
     "The blazes are so large and widespread that smoke has wafted thousands of miles away to the Atlantic coast and São Paulo, the country’s most populous city, according to the World Meteorological Organization ."
      Most of the Brazilian Amazon fires are not in old growth forest and involve farmers and ranchers clearing farming and grazing land, but this does include some land not previously farmed or grazed. The biggest problem is that without enforcement of laws making deforestation illegal, there has been a huge increase in the cutting down of the rainforest in Brazil. This is important, not only for global warming - as threes absorb huge quantities of carbon from the air - but also because 20% of the world's oxygen is produced by the Amazon Rainforest as it takes the carbon from carbon dioxide.
     World wide, in 2018,
the world lost about 30 million acres of tree cover, including 8.9 million acres of primary rain forest. In Brazil, under President Bolsonaro, cutting down of the rainforest has greatly accelerated. In the first half of 2019 1,330 square miles of forest has been cut down, 39% more than in the same period in 2018."
     International pressure has been so strong to the news of the fires, that the Brazilian President has said he is sending the army out to enforce laws protecting the forest.
( Alexandria Symonds, " Amazon Rain Forest Fires: Here’s What’s Really Happening: The rain forest, critical to absorbing the planet’s carbon dioxide, has seen an increase in deforestation under Brazil’s president, Jair Bolsonaro," The New York Times, August 23, 2019, https://www.nytimes.com/2019/08/23/world/americas/amazon-fire-brazil-bolsonaro.html?action=click&module=RelatedCoverage&pgtype=Article&region=Footer).


     Matt Sandy ‘The Amazon Is Completely Lawless’: The Rainforest After Bolsonaro’s First Year: Deforestation in the world’s largest rainforest, an important buffer against climate change, has soared under President Jair Bolsonaro of Brazil," The New York Times, December 5, 2019, https://www.nytimes.com/2019/12/05/world/americas/amazon-fires-bolsonaro-photos.html, reported that with Brazilian President Bolsonaro's good of it burns policy, in the Brazilian Amazon at the coming of rainy season, when burning by farmers, ranchers, miners and loggers ends, " The picture that emerged was anything but reassuring: Brazil’s space agency reported that in one year, more than 3,700 square miles of the Amazon had been razed a swath of jungle nearly the size of Lebanon torn from the world’s largest rainforest."


     Anatoly Kurmanaev and Monica Machicao, "As the Amazon Burns, Fires in next-Door Bolivia Also Wreak Havoc," The New York Times, August 26, 2019, https://www.nytimes.com/2019/08/25/world/americas/bolivia-fires-amazon.html, reported, "Amid growing international alarm over fires in Brazil’s Amazon region, neighboring Bolivia is facing devastating fires of its own, with flames devouring farmland and environmentally sensitive forests alike."
     Most of the fires have been started by farmers, clearing fields in an annual practice. But in this year's unusually dry weather many of the fires have been burning out of control
.


     Lisa Song, ProPublica, and Paula Moura for ProPublica, "If carbon offsets require forests to stay standing, what happens when the Amazon is on fire?, New Mexico Political Report, August 27, 2019, http://nmpoliticalreport.com/2019/08/27/if-carbon-offsets-require-forests-to-stay-standing-what-happens-when-the-amazon-is-on-fire/?mc_cid=607911b243&mc_eid=cde7993ced, reported, " NASA-fireNASA Earth Observatory images by Joshua Stevens, using MODIS data from NASA EOSDIS/LANCE and GIBS/Worldview, Fire Information for Resource Management System (FIRMS) data from NASA EOSDIS, and data from the Global Fire Emissions Database (GFED). Story by Adam Voiland, with information from Douglas Morton (NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center).
      Now that record fires are engulfing the Amazon , started by humans seeking to log, mine and farm on the land, supporters are using the international emergency to double down on their case for offsets. The Environmental Defense Fund posted a petition urging that state officials endorse the standard: The people — and wildlife — who call the Amazon home are running for their lives, it said. The entire world is counting on [the board] taking action. Ivaneide Bandeira Cardozo, who helped manage a Brazilian offset project that was derailed by illegal logging, said, “People who are against carbon credits are not suffering and don’t want to keep the forest standing.”
     But the devastating blaze encapsulates a key weakness of offsets that scientists have been warning about for the past decade: that they are too vulnerable to political whims and disasters like wildfires. As a recent ProPublica investigation noted, if you give corporations a pass to pollute by saying their emissions are being canceled out somewhere else, you need a way to guarantee that continues to be the case."


      Christopher Flavelle and Brad Plumer,
     "California Bans Insurers From Dropping Policies Made Riskier by Climate Change," The New York Times, December 5, 2019, https://www.nytimes.com/2019/12/05/climate/california-fire-insurance-climate.html, reported that insurance companies are having difficulties keeping up with the accelerating risks of climate change, " California’s wildfires have grown so costly and damaging that insurance companies — a homeowner’s last hope when disaster strikes — have increasingly been canceling people’s policies in fire-prone parts of the state. On Thursday, however, California took the highly unusual step of banning the practice, a decision that exacerbates the insurance industry’s miscalculation of the cost of climate change.
     The new policy imposes a one-year moratorium preventing insurers from dropping customers in or alongside ZIP codes struck by recent wildfires. The moratorium covers at least 800,000 homes around the state. The state has also asked insurers to voluntarily stop dropping customers anywhere in California because of fire risk for one year."


      Christopher Flavelle and Brad Plumer,
     "California Bans Insurers From Dropping Policies Made Riskier by Climate Change," The New York Times, December 5, 2019, https://www.nytimes.com/2019/12/05/climate/california-fire-insurance-climate.html, reported that insurance companies are having difficulties keeping up with the accelerating risks of climate change, " California’s wildfires have grown so costly and damaging that insurance companies — a homeowner’s last hope when disaster strikes — have increasingly been canceling people’s policies in fire-prone parts of the state.On Thursday, however, California took the highly unusual step of banning the practice, a decision that exacerbates the insurance industry’s miscalculation of the cost of climate change.
     The new policy imposes a one-year moratorium preventing insurers from dropping customers in or alongside ZIP codes struck by recent wildfires. The moratorium covers at least 800,000 homes around the state. The state has also asked insurers to voluntarily stop dropping customers anywhere in California because of fire risk for one year."


     Julie Turkewitz, "The Amazon Is on Fire. So Is Central Africa," The New York Times, August 27, 2019, https://www.nytimes.com/2019/08/27/world/africa/congo-angola-rainforest-fires.html, "As images of wildfires in South America’s Amazon region draw global attention, a large and potentially devastating series of fires is raging in Central Africa and parts of Southern Africa." This is the world's second largest rainforest in terms of acting to absorb carbon from the atmosphere. Some fires amidst the forest of Africa occur naturally, and others are from farmers burning fields. But when they get out of control in Africa, the nation's there have far less ability to fight them than in most other places.


     "Australia Bushfires Arrive Early, Destroying Historic Lodge in ‘Omen’ of Future," The New York Times, September 9, 2019, https://www.nytimes.com/2019/09/09/world/australia/bushfires-wildfires-climate-change.html, reported, "But over the weekend, a bushfire destroyed the beloved getaway, one of Australia’s oldest nature resorts [Binna Burra Lodge in Australia’s lush mountain rainforest] — drawing tears from neighbors and alarm from officials who warned that climate change and drought threatened to bring Australia its worst fire season on record."
     Andrew Sturgess, who oversees fire prediction for the state of Queensland, said that this fire “is a historic event. Fire weather has never been as severe this early in spring.”


     Kendra Pierre-Louis, " The Amazon, Siberia, Indonesia: A World of Fire: The growing intensity of wildfires and their spread to new corners of the globe raises fears that climate change is exacerbating the dangers," The New York Times, August 28, 2019, reported, " While the Brazilian fires have grown into a full-blown international crisis , they represent only one of many significant areas where wildfires are currently burning around the world. Their increase in severity and spread to places where fires were rarely previously seen is raising fears that climate change is exacerbating the danger" of hotter and drier seasons.
      In addition to the Amazon and Africa, areas in the Arctic, forest and tundra, that did not previously burn have been experiencing serious wildfires in summer 2019. Since July, Fire has consumed about six million acres of Siberian forest. In Alaska, fires have burned more than 2.5 million acres of snow forest and tundra, while Greenland also suffered from fire. The western United States continued to experience fires in summer 2019, but at a lesser rate than in recent years after a wet winter. But a dry summer may bring much more burning in the fall. And other places in the U.S. now suffer fires that did not previously, or at a greater rate, including in Florida.


      Kendra Pierre-Louis, "Invasive Grasses May Worsen Wildfires, Study Suggests," The New York Times, November 4, 2019, https://www.nytimes.com/2019/11/04/climate/invasive-grasses-wildfires.html, reported, "The fires that have ignited in California, leading to mass evacuations and seemingly otherworldly scenes , may have gotten their start from a surprising source.
     Invasive grasses, or grasses that have encroached from other regions, can make wildfires more frequent, not just in California but natio
nwide, according to a study published Monday in the journal PNAS. The study looked at grasses like cane grass, which is native to Myanmar but is damaging ecosystems in Florida, and buffelgrass , which is helping to ignite fires in the Southwest and has origins outside North America."


      Thomas Fuller, "PG&E Outage Darkens Northern California Amid Wildfire Threat: A deliberate power outage by the state’s largest utility sent residents scrambling — and debating whether it was worth it," The New York Times, October 10, 2019, https://www.nytimes.com/2019/10/09/us/california-power-outage-PGE.html, reported, " The lights went off in stages in Northern California on Wednesday, from the forests near the Oregon border, down the spine of the Sierra Nevada and finally through the dense hillside communities across the Bay from San Francisco.
     Hundreds of thousands of households lost power when California’s largest utility, Pacific Gas and Electric, shut down a vast web of electrical lines as a precaution against wildfires
. Not knowing how long the outage would last, residents hurried to gas stations and supermarkets, stocking up on essentials as if a hurricane were bearing down."
     The general consensus in California appeared to be that shutting down power to prevent deadly fires is an unacceptable approach. For some residents relying on electrically powered medical equipment the shutdown ranged from serious to life threatening. Many experienced having food spoil, while with businesses shut down there was considerable economic loss ( Ivan Penn, "‘This Did Not Go Well’: Inside PG&E’s Blackout Control Room, As the utility turned off power to millions of Californians, its website went down and it struggled to communicate with local officials and inform residents," The New York Times, October 12, 2019, https://www.nytimes.com/2019/10/12/business/pge-california-outage.html).  


     Louis Keene and Nicholas Bogel-Burroughs, "Saddleridge Fire Rips Through Southern California, Forcing Evacuations: The fire swelled overnight near Los Angeles, putting more than 100,000 people under a mandatory evacuation order," The New York Times, October 11, 2019, https://www.nytimes.com/2019/10/11/us/saddleridge-fire-california-power-outage.html, reported, " A fire tore through Southern California on Friday, forcing mandatory evacuations for more than 100,000 people and setting dozens of homes ablaze, just as power was being restored to hundreds of thousands of Northern Californians.
     The Saddleridge fire was burning over more than 7,500 acres in northwest Los Angeles as of Friday afternoon and was about 13 percent contained."
      But as California continues to suffer wildfires - at one point in October there were some 13,000 of them, the states three power companies continue to shut down power in especially threatened areas as a preventive measure. An important point is that with climate change, even though California's drought was broken by a quite wet winter, by the early fall, before the expected fall rains, with hotter temperatures than in the past drying the increased growth in vegetation, and with seasonal strong winds, the serious fire danger of the last years is back again (Kendra Pierre-Louis, "California Emerged From Drought and Is Still Catching Fire," The New York Times, October 26, 2019, https://www.nytimes.com/2019/10/25/climate/california-fires-climate-change.html).


      Derrick Bryson Taylor, " Cave Fire in Santa Barbara County Threatens Homes and Forces Evacuations : The fire started Monday afternoon in the Santa Ynez Mountains and quickly grew, the county said. So far, no injuries have been reported," The New York Times, November 26, 2019, https://www.nytimes.com/2019/11/26/us/cave-fire-santa-barbara.html, reported, " A brush fire that started [November 26, 2019 ] in the Santa Ynez Mountains of Santa Barbara County, Calif., had burned at least 4,262 acres as of Tuesday afternoon, prompting the county to declare an emergency and order some residents to evacuate, according to the authorities."


      New research projections show that climate change may bring slowing down of the Santa Ana winds in California in winter and fall, along with shifts in precipitation patterns that might extend fire season in California through the winter (Henry Fountain, "How Climate Change Could Shift California’s Santa Ana Winds, Fueling Fires," The New York Times, October 29, 2019, https://www.nytimes.com/2019/10/28/climate/santa-ana-winds.html).


      Damien Cave, "The World Burns All Year. Are There Enough Planes to Douse the Flames?: As climate change pushes California’s fire season into Australia’s, an intricate system of resource sharing struggles with the load," The New York Times, November 21, 2019, https://www.nytimes.com/2019/11/21/world/australia/fires-water-tankers-climate-change.html, reported, " Sharing the giant air tankers that fight fires 5,000 gallons of water at a time used to be simpler. California’s wildfires faded before Australia’s bush fires surged, leaving time to prepare, move and deploy planes from one continent to another.
     But climate change is
subverting the system.
     Fire seasons are running longer, stronger, hotter. The
major fires now blanketing Sydney in smoke started early, within days of the last California blazes.
      And the strain is global. Countries that used to manage without extra help, like Chile, Bolivia and Cyprus , have started competing for plane and helicopter contracts as their own fires intensify. That is stretching capacity for the companies that provide most of the globe’s largest firefighting aircraft, and increasing anxiety for fire officials worldwide."
     And it will get worse as fire seasons worsen and intensify with continued warming.


     "34 Dead in Kenya After Mudslides and Floods: The government sent military and police helicopters to help those affected by the floods, but the scope of the disaster was not yet clear," The New York Times, November 23, 2019, ttps://www.nytimes.com/2019/11/23/world/africa/kenya-floods.html, reported, " Heavy rains unleashed overnight floods in western Kenya. The country's interior cabinet secretary, Fred Matiangi, said 17 people died in a mudslide in the village of Takmal in the Pokot Central district, while 12 others lost their lives in mudslides in the villages of Parua and Tapach in Pokot South."
     "More than one million people in East Africa have been affected by flooding after higher-than-normal rainfall. The latest deaths in Kenya bring to 72 the number of people who have died in a month and a half due to flooding-related causes
."


      Palko Karasz, "Ethiopia Says It Planted Over 350 Million Trees in a Day, a Record," The New York Times, July 30, 2019, https://www.nytimes.com/2019/07/30/world/africa/ethiopia-tree-planting-deforestation.html, reported, " Ethiopia’s prime minister, Abiy Ahmed, has been getting his hands dirty this summer, and this week he got much of the nation to join him."
     "It was part of Mr. Ahmed’s campaign to plant four billion trees in Ethiopia before the fall to combat deforestation and global warming."
     "The aim was to put at least 200 million seedlings in the ground a day, and by day’s end, government officials said that more than 350 million had been planted." This work is intended to reverse the huge deforestation of Ethiopia since the end of the 19th century
      The figures could not be verified, but they far exceed the previous record. That is held by the Indian state of Uttar Pradesh, which in 2016 planted more than 50 million trees in one day, according to Guinness World Records ."
     The effort is part of the project of the Earth Day Network to plant 7.8 billion trees worldwide. Almost 3.5 million square miles of the planet's land is not used by people, and if planted fully with trees in a few years could absorb two-third of the carbon dioxide put into the atmosphere since the start of the industrial revolution. One of the organizations involved, Farm Africa, has been working on reforestation and helping farmers in several African nations develop forest compatible enterprises, including bee keeping and producing bamboo furniture, while making available fuel efficient stoves to reduce cutting of trees
.


     "Kenya launches largest wind power plant in Africa," CNN, July 20, 2019, https://www.cnn.com/2019/07/20/africa/africas-largest-wind-farm-intl/index.html, reported, " Kenya has launched Africa's largest wind power farm in a bid to boost electricity generating capacity and to meet the country's ambitious goal of 100% green energy by 2020 .
     The farm, known as the Lake Turkana Wind Power (LTWP) will generate around 310 megawatts of power to the national grid and will increase the country's electricity supply by 13%, President Uhuru Kenyatta said at the launch of the project on Friday."


      John Schwartz, "A Wet Year Causes Farm Woes Far Beyond the Floodplains," The New York Times, November 21, 2019, https://www.nytimes.com/2019/11/21/climate/farms-climate-change-crops.html, reported, " The damage from the destructive spring flooding in the Midwest has been followed in parts of the country by a miserable autumn that is making a bad farming year worse, with effects that could be felt into next spring."
     "The Agriculture Department tracks how many acres of insured farmland went unplanted, a statistic referred to as prevented planting, and this year’s figures are the highest since the agency started reporting the figures in 2007. "Over all, farmers reported being unable to plant on some 19 million acres for all crops in 2019 with more than 70 percent of those acres occurring in the rain-soaked Midwest.
     "For the two most important Midwestern crops, corn and soybeans, the 2019 figures showed 11.4 million acres for corn and 4.5 million acres for soybeans that went without crops being planted.
      That’s 13 percent of the total corn acreage in the United States that went unplanted, and nearly 6 percent of total soy acreage. By comparison, 2013 was another wet year but had just 3.9 percent and 2.3 percent unplanted acres."


     A heat wave across the Southwest in mid-June 2019, brought record 120 degree Farenheit temperature to Phioenix, AZ, June 19, 2019 (Acuweather.com, http://www.accuweather.com/en/us/phoenix-az/85004/weather-forecast/346935).


     " Huge area of the United States broils on what could be the hottest weekend in U.S. history," Daily Kos, July 20, 2019, https://www.dailykos.com/stories/2019/7/20/1873160/-Huge-area-of-the-United-States-broils-on-what-could-be-the-hottest-weekend-in-history?detail=emaildkre, reported, " The heat wave that has baked more than half the country over much of this week hits its peak in many areas this weekend with blazing heat, stifling humidity, and a combined heat index that’s not just a recipe for misery, but a serious health threat. Though only a handful of locations are expected to break their all time temperature records, the extent of this heatwave could still make for the hottest weekend ever recorded.
      Heat emergencies have been declared in over a dozen cities and scheduled events in many areas, including the New York Triathlon, have been cancelled because of the heat this weekend. However, many Americans are still working in positions that require them to be out in the sun. That includes utility workers trying to deal with an electrical grid straining under near record demand. If you have to be in the heat this weekend, watch yourself — and others around you — for signs of heat exhaustion and heat stroke.
     The National Weather Service has noted that this heat wave has been particularly prolonged and is especially dangerous because temperatures have also been well above normal overnight. High nighttime temperatures are regarded as a indicator of high risk to public health. So … watch it."


      Christopher Flavelle and Nadja Popovich, "Heat Deaths Jump in Southwest United States, Puzzling Officials," The New York Times, August 26, 2019, https://www.nytimes.com/2019/08/26/climate/heat-deaths-southwest.html, " Heat-related deaths have increased sharply since 2014 in Nevada and Arizona, raising concerns that the hottest parts of the country are struggling to protect their most vulnerable residents from global warming.
      In Arizona, the annual number of deaths attributed to heat exposure more than tripled, from 76 deaths in 2014 to 235 in 2017, according to figures obtained from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Heat-related deaths in Nevada rose almost fivefold during the same period, from 29 to 139.
     Most of those deaths were in the Phoenix and Las Vegas areas." Moises Velasquez-Manoff, "As Sea Levels Rise, So Do Ghost Forests: Saltwater is killing woodlands along the East Coast, sometimes surprisingly far from the sea," The New York Times, reported, " Up and down the mid-Atlantic coast, sea levels are rising rapidly, creating stands of dead trees — often bleached, sometimes blackened — known as ghost forests.
     The water is gaining as much as 5 millimeters per year in some places, well above the global average of 3.1 millimeters, driven by profound environmental shifts that include climate change
."
     The reason for the higher than the world average for ocean rise along the U.S. East coast is that the Arctic rapid ice melt is slowing the Gulf Stream, and causing water to back up along the U.S. shore. The rise of the oceans, increased in impact increasing more vigorous storms with strong tidal surge, is combining with drought - reducing the amount and pressure of fresh water to resist ocean saltwater incursion - to cause saltwater to enter the costal land water table. With considerable quite flat land along many stretches of the coast, saltwater has been penetrating far inland destroying forests and beginning the creation of marshland. The more favorable marsh development is with the growth of velvety tufts of cordgrass sprouts. But increasingly, impenetrable stands of cane-like invasive species, Phragmites, are becoming dominant.  


      In New Mexico, as of the end of October 2019, a long dry summer into fall, and then early frost have hurt ranchers in Chaves and Union Counties, reducing and then damaging grass and other plants, forcing ranchers to haul water longer for cattle and provide supplemental feeding earlier than last year or than usual ("New Mexico ranchers deal with dry, cold conditions," Associated Press, October 28, 2019, https://apnews.com/aa107919b98f4791a8d700fb936fc8b4).


     Christine Hauser, "Mississippi Closes Beaches Because of Toxic Algae Blooms," The New York Times, July 8, 2019, https://www.nytimes.com/2019/07/08/us/toxic-algae-bloom-mississippi.html, reported, "The relentless heavy rains in the Midwest continue to cause damage, this time in the form of vast, harmful algae blooms off the gulf coast that have forced Mississippi to close all of its beaches."
     Christine Hauser, "Algae Can Poison Your Dog: Dogs have become fatally ill after frolicking in water infused with the toxic algae, owners said," The New York Times, August 12, 2019, https://www.nytimes.com/2019/08/12/us/blue-green-algae-dogs.html, reported, "Dog owners have reported this summer that their pets became fatally ill after swimming in freshwater lakes and ponds, apparently after ingesting water laden with toxic blue-green algae."


     Kendra Pierre-Louis, "Climate Change Fills Storms With More Rain, Analysis Shows," The New York Times, July 11, 2019, https://www.nytimes.com/2019/07/11/climate/hurricane-tropical-storms.html, reported, " When a tropical storm is approaching, its intensity or wind speed often gets the bulk of the attention. But as Tropical Storm Barry bears down on the Gulf Coast in the coming days, it’s the water that the storm will bring with it that has weather watchers worried."
     “ 'Climate change is in general increasing the frequency and intensity of heavy rainfall storms,” said Andreas Prein, a project scientist with the National Center for Atmospheric Research."
     This week’s rainfall came after the region experienced an extremely wet spring, causing the region’s rivers to swell, and raising concerns that the upcoming storm may overtop levees in New Orleans. If you look at the records, mostly it’s the water that kills most people, Dr. Prein said."


      Christopher Flavelle, ‘Toxic Stew’ Stirred Up by Disasters Poses Long-Term Danger, New Findings," The New York Times, July 15, 2019, https://www.nytimes.com/2019/07/15/climate/flooding-chemicals-health-research.html, reported, "New research shows that the extreme weather and fires of recent years, similar to the flooding that has struck Louisiana and the Midwest, may be making Americans sick in ways researchers are only beginning to understand.
     By knocking chemicals loose from soil, homes, industrial-waste sites or other sources, and spreading them into the air, water and ground, disasters like these — often intensified by climate change — appear to be exposing people to an array of physical ailments including respiratory disease and cancer
."


      The spread of suburban communities into wildlands in California (and elsewhere), and the movement of wildfires into inhabited communities is bringing a new danger to fire fighters and others: poisons in the air, on the ground and in the water from burned and burning plastics and other items containing toxic materials ( Julie Turkewitz, "New Threats Put Wildfire Fighters’ Health on the Line: America’s rapid suburban expansion into the wilderness, combined with the growing ferocity of wildfires, is posing new health threats," The New York Times, October 31, 2019, https://www.nytimes.com/2019/10/31/us/california-firefighters-chemicals.html).


      Amanda Schmidt, "Storm leaves city looking like dead of winter in middle of summer," AccuWeather, July 1, 2019, https://www.accuweather.com/en/weather-news/is-it-snow-is-it-hail-sweltering-mexican-city-experiences-extreme-summer-event/70008700, reported, " The Mexican city of Guadalajara woke up to a wintry surprise on Sunday morning [June 30, 2019]. The city, which has been experiencing a hot, sweaty summer, was blanketed with up to 3 feet of ice in some areas following a heavy hailstorm.
     Astonishing photos have appeared on the internet of what appears to be a winter display in the city, which is located in the western part of the country, about six hours west of Mexico City."


      Somini Sengupta, "A Heat Wave Tests Europe’s Defenses. Expect More," The New York Times, July 1, 2019, https://www.nytimes.com/2019/07/01/climate/europe-heat-wave.html, reported, " Across Europe in June, from the Czech Republic to Switzerland to Spain, new heat records tested the Continent’s defenses. Schools were shuttered. Villages were evacuated. Soldiers battled wildfires. And social workers raced to the homes of older people to prevent mass deaths.
     It wasn’t only monthly records that shattered. On Friday, a town in the south of France felt like Death Valley, Calif., in August: According to the French national weather agency , Gallargues-le-Montueux was 45.9 degrees Celsius, or 115 degrees, the hottest temperature ever recorded in the country .
      It is part of an unmistakable trend: The hottest summers in Europe in the last 500 years have all come in the last 17 years. Several of those heat waves bear the fingerprints of human-caused climate change. In years to come, scientists say, many more are likely to batter what is naturally one of the world’s temperate zones."


      Henry Fountain, "Europe’s Heat Wave, Fueled by Climate Change, Moves to Greenland," The New York Times, August 2, 2019, https://www.nytimes.com/2019/08/02/climate/european-heatwave-climate-change.html, reported, " Climate change made the stifling heat that enveloped parts of Europe last week much more likely and hotter, researchers said Friday.
     The heat wave, the second to hit Europe since late June, set temperature records in Paris, as well as in Germany, the Netherlands and other countries. Nuclear reactors in France and Germany were forced to reduce output or shut down because the water used to cool them was too warm.
     The hot air, which was trapped over Europe after traveling from northern Africa, lingered for about four days. It has since moved north over Greenland, causing the surface of the island’s vast ice sheet to melt at near-record levels."


     Henry Fountain, "How Hot Was July? Hotter Than Ever, Global Data Shows," The New York Times, August 5, 2019, https://www.nytimes.com/2019/08/05/climate/july-hottest-month-climate.html, reported, "European climate researchers said Monday that last month was the hottest July — and thus the hottest month — ever recorded, slightly eclipsing the previous record-holder, July 2016. While July is usually the warmest month of the year for the globe, according to our data it also was the warmest month recorded globally, by a very small margin,' Jean-Noël Thépaut, head of the Copernicus Climate Change Service, said in a statement."


      Jessica Corbett, "NOAA's Finding That Last Month Was Hottest June Ever Recorded Bolsters Calls for Radical Climate Action: Action is urgently needed at the world, federal, state, and local levels to rapidly cut fossil fuel pollution and to protect and rebuild naturally stored carbon,'" Common Dreams , July 18, 2019, https://www.commondreams.org/news/2019/07/18/noaas-finding-last-month-was-hottest-june-ever-recorded-bolsters-calls-radical, reported, "As meteorologists warned Thursday that temperatures above 100°F are expected to impact two-thirds of the country this weekend, U.S. government scientists revealed that last month was the hottest June ever recorded—bolstering calls for radical global action on the climate emergency.
     The revelation came in a new monthly climate report from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Scientists at the agency's National Centers for Environmental Information found that 'the global land and ocean surface temperature departure from average for June 2019 was the highest for the month of June in the 140-year NOAA global temperature dataset record, which dates back to 1880.'
     Meteorologist Jeff Masters, co-founder of Weather Underground, explained that 'the global heat in June is especially impressive and significant given that only a weak (and weakening) El Niño event was in place. As human-produced greenhouse gases continue to heat up our planet, most global heat records are set during El Niño periods, because the warm waters that spread upward and eastward across the surface of the tropical Pacific during El Niño transfer heat from the ocean to the atmosphere.'
     According to NOAA, 'Regionally, South America, Europe, Africa, the Hawaiian region, and the Gulf of Mexico had their warmest June in the 110-year record. Central and Eastern Europe, North-Central Russia, Northeastern Canada and Southern parts of South America endured the most notable departures from average June temperatures.
     And, as Masters noted , that high heat came with consequences:
     Three billion-dollar weather-related disasters hit the Earth last month, according to the June 2019 Catastrophe Report from insurance broker
Aon : a severe weather outbreak in Europe ($1.1 billion), flooding in China ($9+ billion, including losses up until July 16), and a drought in India ($1.75 billion). In addition, severe weather outbreaks in the U.S. in late May and mid-March accumulated more than $1 billion in losses by the end of June, bringing the 2019 tally of billion-dollar weather disasters to 14.
      Five of the disasters documented by Aon were in the United States. NOAA, in the climate anomalies and events section of its report, noted that higher than average rainfall across the Mississippi and Ohio Valleys and East Coast contributed to destructive flooding in those areas. Experts warn that as human behaviors continue to warm the planet, extreme weather events will become more intense and common.
     NOAA scientists found that January through June tied with 2017 for the second-highest average temperature ever recorded in that six-month period over the past 140 years. Though 2016 still remains the hottest first six months of the year on record, last month beat 2016's June temperature average by 0.04°F, with an average global temperature 1.71°F above the 20th century average.
     Jonathan Erdman, a senior meteorologist at The Weather Channel, wrote Thursday that although the increases may seem small, ultimately, what's most important is not whether a given month is a fraction of a degree warmer or colder; rather, it's the overall trend, which continues its upward climb since the late 1970s .'In response to NOAA's report, climate scientist Phil Duffy, president and executive director of Woods Hole Research Center, told Reuters that 'action is urgently needed at the world, federal, state, and local levels to rapidly cut fossil fuel pollution and to protect and rebuild naturally stored carbon.'
     The NOAA report, as Erdman noted, echoes conclusions about June temperatures by researchers at NASA's Goddard Institute for Space Studies, the Japan Meteorological Agency, and Europe's Copernicus Climate Change Service (C3S).
     Reacting to the C3S report earlier this month, the environmental advocacy group 350.org declared, We need to act like this is the climate emergency it is.'
     The findings about June come on the heels of new research from the Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS) that shows without urgent global action to curb planet-heating human activities, the number of days per year when the heat index—or feels like temperature—exceeds 100°F would more than double from historical levels to an average of 36 across the country by midcentury and increase four-fold to an average of 54 by late century.'
     The USC report warned that the global community must pursue ambitious climate action "if we wish to spare people in the United States and around the world the mortal dangers of extreme and relentless heat."Our work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 License."


      Madeleine Gregory, "The Arctic Is on Fire, and It Might Be Creating a Vicious Climate Feedback Loop': The worst Arctic wildfire season in recent history is releasing unprecedented emissions that feed into climate change, creating the conditions for more fires," Vice, July 29 2019, https://www.vice.com/en_us/article/qv7g3m/the-arctic-is-on-fire-and-it-might-be-creating-a-vicious-climate-feedback-loop, reported, " Wildfires have been raging across the Arctic for over a month now, releasing huge amounts of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere. Now, scientists worry that the fires are contributing to a climate change feedback loop that could make Arctic blazes more common.
     In June, unprecedented fires burned across the Arctic, breaking emissions records. The fires have continued to grow, spreading to other parts of Siberia and Alaska, according to Mark Parrington, a senior scientist working on wildfire emissions at the European Center for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts (ECMWF). As they grow, the fires are dumping so much smoke into the atmosphere that it can be seen from space.
      The smoke has already blanketed some Russian cities , making it hard to breathe ." The larger problem is that the huge amounts of carbon dioxide released increase atmospheric heating and making more fires likely."


     Bhadra Sharma and Mike Ives, "Flooding Kills Dozens in Nepal as Waters Rise Across Asia," The New York Times, July 15, 2019, https://www.nytimes.com/2019/07/15/world/asia/rains-nepal-india-flooding.html, reported, " The death toll mounted Monday from flooding and landslides caused by torrential weekend rains in India and Nepal, as rescuers carried out desperate searches for survivors and officials in nearby Bangladesh braced for the floodwaters to move downstream.
     The hardest-hit country appeared to be Nepal, where the police said on Monday that 67 people had died as a result of the monsoonal rains that began on Thursday night and set off widespread flooding, particularly in the country’s southern plains along the Indian border." flooding and landslides injured at least 68 others, with 30 people known missing, while 3,366 people had been rescued and 16,520 households had been displaced, with rescue efforts slowed by blocked and flooded highways and bad weather limiting air efforts.
      "In India, at least 25 people have died so far from the rains and floods, Mohamad Farukh, the chief executive of Rapid Response, a nongovernmental charity focusing on disaster relief, said in a text message on Sunday. Indian officials said a day earlier that about 750 people from the worst-affected states, Assam and Bihar, had been rescued over the preceding three or four days."
     " In Bangladesh, 14 deaths have been recorded as a result of flooding in low-lying areas of the country since July 9, and 60,000 families in those areas were still marooned in their home or community shelters as of Sunday, the Bangladesh Red Crescent Society said in a report.
      The rains have also flooded parts of the world’s largest refugee camp, in southeastern Bangladesh, which is home to more than half a million Rohingya Muslim refugees who fled violence in neighboring Myanmar, according to the United Nations."


      Motoko Rich and Ben Dooley, "Typhoon Hagibis Slams Into Japan After Landslides, Floods and a Quake: The storm made landfall Saturday evening. Record rainfall flooded rivers and tested dams as almost four million people were urged to evacuate," The New York Times, October 13, 2019, https://www.nytimes.com/2019/10/12/world/asia/typhoon-hagibis.html, reported, " Typhoon Hagibis, Japan’s largest storm in decades, lashed the country’s northeast early Sunday morning, just hours after hitting the Tokyo region with heavy rain and high winds that forced many residents to move to evacuation centers.
     Record rains flooded rivers, pushed dams to their limits and caused several landslides." Dozens were known dead in early reporting
.
      In order to adapt to climate change, with its more frequent and increasingly larger storms, Japan spent heavily on flood control. But Typhoon Hagibis with its record rains caused 55 levies to break bringing massive flooding. The superstorms are likely to get worse and more frequent raising the question of whether if there is anything that can be done to prevent widespread serious damage and a great many deaths for those who remain in those islands ( Ben Dooley, Makiko Inoue and Eimi Yamamitsu, "Japan Spent Mightily to Soften Nature’s Wrath, but Can It Ever Be Enough?: After a typhoon’s record-breaking rains breached dozens of levees, the country is wondering whether even the costliest systems can be future-proofed for the age of climate change," The New York Times, October 16, 2019, https://www.nytimes.com/2019/10/16/world/asia/japan-typhoon-hagibis.html).  


      Extreme drought and poor water management have left half of the 4.5 million residents of Harare, capital of Zimbabwe, with running water only once a week (Patrick Kingsley and Jeffrey Moyo, "In Zimbabwe, the Water Taps Run Dry and Worsen ‘a Nightmare’," The New York Times, July 31, 2019, https://www.nytimes.com/2019/07/31/world/africa/zimbabwe-water-crisis.html).  


     
Livia Albeck-Ripka, "As Water Runs Low, Can Life in the Outback Go On?: In Australia’s vast interior, rivers and lakes are disappearing. We’re starting to glimpse what the future is going to be like, one scientist said," The New York Times, December 8, 2019, https://www.nytimes.com/2019/12/08/world/australia/water-drought-climate.html, reported, " As a crippling drought and mismanagement have left more than a dozen Australian towns and villages without a reliable source of water, the country is beginning to confront a question that strikes at its very identity: Is life in Australia’s vast interior compatible with the age of climate change?"


     Christopher Flavelle, "Climate Change Threatens the World’s Food Supply, United Nations Warns," The NewYork Times, August 8, 2019, https://www.nytimes.com/2019/08/08/climate/climate-change-food-supply.html, reported, "The world’s land and water resources are being exploited at unprecedented rates, a new United Nations report warns, which combined with climate change is putting dire pressure on the ability of humanity to feed itself."
     The report put together by over 100 specialists from 52 nations finds that the initial problem is overuse, misuse and conflicting use of land as populations increase. Some of the initial problem is development encroaching on lands that can be used for farming and grazing. This includes taking land out of food production for palm oil and other biofood production as well as from urban sprawl. All of this is being greatly exacerbated by global warming induced climate change bringing drought, flooding and changes in weather patterns throwing farming out of sync with the weather. This sometimes changes what crops can be grown well, if at all, where, and when to plant and take various steps in the agricultural process. Since the change is continual and variable, along with the local weather, it often becomes unpredictable for agriculturalists what to do when. On top of that, the extreme weather may suddenly seriously damage, destroy, or make impossible even the best timed actions, such as being unable to plant at the proper moment because of extreme flooding.
      The world food situation is already seriously deteriorating with 10% of the planet's population undernourished, and many being forced to migrate because of long term agricultural failure, as has occurred in El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Syria, a number of areas in Africa and other places. Unless significant appropriate action is taken soon, the reduction of agricultural lands will continue increasing food insecurity and escalating the number of climate refugees. There is a clear danger that food crises could occur simultaneously on several continents causing world-wide food shortages, deaths and suffering amid economic chaos and civil unrest bringing political and violent conflict. The report found that currently half-billion people live in locations turning into desert, while soil is being lost between 10 and 100 times more rapidly than it is forming.
     " The report also offered a measure of hope, laying out pathways to addressing the looming food crisis, though they would require a major re-evaluation of land use and agriculture worldwide as well as consumer behavior. Proposals include increasing the productivity of land, wasting less food and persuading more people to shift their diets away from cattle and other types of meat."
     The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change released the summary report on August 8, 2019. The summary report is available at: https://www.ipcc.ch/site/assets/uploads/2019/08/4.-SPM_Approved_Microsite_FINAL.pdf.


      Jake Johnson, "To Prevent Climate Apartheid Scenario Where Rich Escape and Poor Suffer, UN Report Issues Urgent Call for Global Economic Justice: While people in poverty are responsible for just a fraction of global emissions, they will bear the brunt of climate change, and have the least capacity to protect themselves,'" Common Dreams, June 25, 2019, https://www.commondreams.org/news/2019/06/25/prevent-climate-apartheid-scenario-where-rich-escape-and-poor-suffer-un-report, reported, "A scathing United Nations report released Tuesday warned that the world is hurtling toward a climate apartheid scenario in which the wealthiest members of society will be able to buy their way to safety while hundreds of millions suffer from environmental catastrophe.
      'Economic prosperity and environmental sustainability are fully compatible but require decoupling economic well-being and poverty reduction from fossil fuel emissions."
     —Philip Alston, U.N. special rapporteur
     'Perversely, while people in poverty are responsible for just a fraction of global emissions, they will bear the brunt of climate change, and have the least capacity to protect themselves, U.N. special rapporteur Philip Alston, author of the new report, said in a statement.Even if warming is held to 1.5°C by the end of the century, Alston said, 'tens of millions will be impoverished, leading to widespread displacement and hunger.'
     Alston's 21-page report (pdf), which will be presented to the U.N. human rights council on Friday, predicts that millions of people across the planet could face malnutrition due to devastating drought" over the next few decades due to the climate crisis, and many more will have to choose between starvation and migration'
     To prevent this nightmare scenario, the report calls for a fundamental shift in the global economy aimed at protecting vulnerable populations from climate impacts while dramatically slashing carbon emissions.
     'Maintaining the current course is a recipe for economic catastrophe, Alston said in a statement. Economic prosperity and environmental sustainability are fully compatible but require decoupling economic well-being and poverty reduction from fossil fuel emissions.'
     'Climate change... could push more than 120 million more people into poverty by 2030 and will have the most severe impact in poor countries, regions, and the places poor people live and work, Alston added. We risk a climate apartheid scenario where the wealthy pay to escape overheating, hunger, and conflict while the rest of the world is left to suffer.'
      The report specifically calls for a robust social safety net and a well-managed transition to a green economy and points to growing support for the Green New Deal in the United States and other nations as a positive development.But there is alarming evidence that many countries are moving in the wrong direction. The report highlights U.S. President Donald Trump's efforts to roll back environmental regulations and Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro's deforestation in the Amazon as two prominent examples.
      'Time is running out to limit global warming, the report warns, and states are failing to meet even their current inadequate commitments.'Alston closes his report with a harsh assessment of U.N. human rights bodies, which he accuses of pushing "forms of incremental managerialism and proceduralism which are entirely disproportionate to the urgency and magnitude of the threat."
     'Ticking boxes, the report states, will not save humanity or the planet from impending disaster.'
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     Bengt Halvorson, "Free fast charging, Audi Q5 plug-in hybrid drive, gas and diesel bans: Today’s Car News," Green Car Reports, October 8, 2019, https://www.greencarreports.com/news/1125426_free-fast-charging-audi-q5-plug-in-hybrid-drive-gas-and-diesel-bans-today-s-car-news, reported, "The number of nations looking to phase out internal combustion engines continues to grow. A U.S. company is moving ahead with a plan to provide fast charging for free. Tesla is signaling another stage of intent for developing its own battery tech. And we drive an important supporting model in Audi’s transition to electric."
     "Volta, the California-based company aiming to provide free DC fast charging that’s ad supported, reports that its first hardware will be up and running later this month.
      Denmark has revived a proposal to ban gas and diesel vehicles , and it has an alliance with nine other countries to set timetables for sunsetting internal combustion. Meanwhile the UK is looking to accelerate its own bans.
      Tesla has quietly acquired a Canadian battery manufacturer, and it’s the latest, strongest signal that the electric-car maker plans to develop its own future battery technology. "
     "And the number of vehicle brands not considering a fully electric model is dwindling by the day."


      Eoin Higgins, "Study of Massive Smoke Cloud From 2017 Wildfires Offers Terrifying Hint of How Even Small Nuclear War Would Escalate Climate Crises: Scientists warn a nuclear war could cause climate change unprecedented in recorded human history and global food crises,'" Common Dreams, August 8, 2019, https://www.commondreams.org/news/2019/08/08/study-massive-smoke-cloud-2017-wildfires-offers-terrifying-hint-how-even-small, reported, " An enormous cloud of smoke from intense wildfires drifted over northern Canada on August 15, 2017. The image is a mosaic composed from several satellite overpasses because the affected area was so large. (Image: NASA Earth Observatory)
      If—or, depending on your outlook, when—the world ever endures a nuclear war, scientists have an inkling of what the environmental effects could be thanks to devastating Canadian wildfires from 2017.
      According to a new Rutgers University study published Thursday in Science Magazine, wildfires in British Columbia in August 2017 expelled so much smoke into the atmosphere that the pyrocumulonimbus (pyroCb) cloud sat in the upper atmosphere for eight months. Soot in the cloud was heated by solar radiation and lifted the cloud higher into the sky, combining with the dry air in the north to keep the cloud aloft until the next spring.
      'This process of injecting soot into the stratosphere and seeing it extend its lifetime by self-lofting, was previously modeled as a consequence of nuclear winter in the case of an all-out war between the United States and Russia, in which smoke from burning cities would change the global climate, study co-author and professor in the Department of Environmental Sciences at Rutgers University–New Brunswick Alan Robock said in a press release announcing the findings.
     Not that the world's two most powerful militaries need to be involved—a relatively low-level nuclear war between India and Pakistan, for example, could cause climate change unprecedented in recorded human history and global food crises, said Robock.
     The study used the smoke from the wildfires as a model, but the scale of smoke in the atmosphere from an all out nuclear war would be orders of magnitude greater.
     The smoke cloud contained only about 0.3 million tons of soot, while a nuclear war between India and Pakistan could produce 15 million tons and a U.S. vs. Russia war could generate 150 million tons. Still, the scientists validated their previous theories and the climate model they're using for ongoing research on nuclear war impacts by studying the wildfire, according to Robock.
     On Monday, Common Dreams reported on two potential crises going on right now that could result in nuclear conflagration: the dismantling of the 32 year-old Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty between Russia and the U.S. and rising tensions between India and Pakistan—and, reportedly, China, another nuclear-armed state—over the territory of Kashmir.
     Referring to the destruction of the INF treaty, Kate Hudson, general secretary of the U.K.-based Campaing for Nuclear Disarmament, said that it did not bode well for peace.
     'It's a game of nuclear tit for tat," said Hudson, "in which there can be no winners as the threat of nuclear war rises.'
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     [In the case of a nuclear war, sufficiently large and intense conventional war, or sufficiently large sending up a great deal of smoke, and or a great enough event sending up sufficient dust high in the atmosphere (as in a supper volcanic eruption), the result would be climate change in the opposite direction of global warming: rapid cooling. Thus a nuclear war with 200 hydrogen bomb explosions would quickly bring on a nuclear winter of several years with temperatures falling below freezing around much of the Earth, destroying almost all agriculture for a number of years. A smaller nuclear exchange would have less far reaching impacts on climate, but the Canadian fires indicate the impact would still be terrible world-wide. With larger conventional weapons now available, even a fairly large-scale conventional war could create a climate disaster. It may well be that the large-scale bombing and other actions in Europe in World War II contributed significantly for the winters at the end of the war being unusually cold.]


      In Thailand, numerous plants are salvaging what can be reused from old electronic equipment. The process is dangerous for workers and sends toxic smoke across the countryside (Hannah Beech and Ryn Jirenuwat, "The Price of Recycling Old Laptops: Toxic Fumes in Thailand’s Lungs: The e-waste industry is booming in Southeast Asia, frightening residents worried for their health. Despite a ban on imports, Thailand is a center of the business," The New York Times, December 8, 2019, https://www.nytimes.com/2019/12/08/world/asia/e-waste-thailand-southeast-asia.html).


      Jessica Corbett, "'Biggest Crisis No One Is Talking About': Quarter of Humanity Faces Extremely High Water Stress' Intensified by Climate Emergency: A new generation of solutions is emerging, but nowhere near fast enough,'" Common Dreams, August 6. 2019, https://www.commondreams.org/news/2019/08/06/biggest-crisis-no-one-talking-about-quarter-humanity-faces-extremely-high-water, reported, "An analysis released Tuesday warns that 17 countries which are collectively home to a quarter of the global population face extremely high water stress' that is on track to get worse—particularly because of the human-caused climate emergency.
     The data is part of the World Resources Institute's (WRI) Aqueduct Water Risk Atlas, a publicly available database and interactive tool designed to enhance global understanding of water scarcity, which WRI calls one of the defining issues of the 21st century.'
     'The newly updated Aqueduct tools allow users to better see and understand water risks and make smart decisions to manage them, WRI president and CEO Andrew Steer said in a statement. 'A new generation of solutions is emerging, but nowhere near fast enough. Failure to act will be massively expensive in human lives and livelihoods.'
      'Water stress is the biggest crisis no one is talking about, said Steer. Its consequences are in plain sight in the form of food insecurity, conflict and migration, and financial instability.'
     The WRI statement noted that 'the world has seen a string of water crises in recent years, as what's now known as Day Zero'—the day when the taps run dry—has threatened major cities from Cape Town to São Paolo to Chennai.'
     Betsy Otto, who directs WRI's global water program, told The New York Times that 'we're likely to see more of these Day Zeros in the future.'
     Otto, speaking to The Guardian, added that 'our populations and economies are growing and demanding more water. But our supply is threatened by climate change, water waste, and pollution.'
     In a blog post announcing the new data, WRI outlined three ways that communities and countries around the world can reduce water stress, regardless of where they rank on the group's list:
     Increase agricultural efficiency by using seeds and irrigation techniques that require less water, investing in developing technology that improves farming, and cutting back on food loss and waste;
     Invest in grey and green infrasturcture, improving everything from pipes and treatment plants to wetlands and watersheds.
     Treat, reuse, and recycle wastewater
.'
     The blog explained that countries rank at WRI's highest level for water stress if their irrigated agriculture, industries, and municipalities withdraw more than 80 percent of their available supply on average every year.'
     A dozen of the top-ranked countries are located in the Middle East and North Africa. The region is hot and dry, so water supply is low to begin with, wrote WRI, but growing demands have pushed countries further into extreme stress.'
      India, which has a population exceeding 1.3 billion, also ranks among the most water-stressed nations.
     Shashi Shekhar—former secretary of India's Ministry of Water Resources and a senior fellow at WRI India—noted that 'the recent water crisis in Chennai gained global attention, but various areas in India are experiencing chronic water stress as well.'
      'India can manage its water risk with the help of reliable and robust data pertaining to rainfall, surface, and groundwater to develop strategies that strengthen resilience, Shekhar said. Aqueduct can help identify and prioritize water risks in India and around the world.'
      Behind the 17 nations at WRI's top level are 44 countries—collectively home to another third of the world's population—that face high water stress, withdrawing on average more than 40 percent of their available supply annually.However, as WRI's blog post pointed out, 'pockets of extreme water stress exist even in countries with low overall water stress.'
      'For example, South Africa and the United States rank #48 and #71 on WRI's list, respectively, yet the Western Cape (the state home to Cape Town) and New Mexico experience extremely high stress levels, the group explained. 'The populations in these two states rival those of entire nations on the list of most water-stressed countries.' US water stress
     'The data is clear: There are undeniably worrying trends in water, WRI concluded. But by taking action now and investing in better management, we can solve water issues for the good of people, economies and the planet.'
     See the group's full ranking—which is based on United Nations member countries and does not include some small island nations due to model limitations—below: WRI water stress rankings
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      Kendra Chamberlain, "Groundwater levels on the rebound in Albuquerque," New Mexico Political Report, August 7, 2019, http://nmpoliticalreport.com/2019/08/07/groundwater-levels-are-on-the-rebound-in-albuquerque/?mc_cid=a4713b2c93&mc_eid=826ba2a634 , reported that while groundwater levels around Albuquerque, NM have been rising for a number of years, " Depleting groundwater across the country,
     Groundwater levels have dropped significantly across much of the West in recent years, impacting food production and drinking water access. Aquifers are being pumped dry in an effort to meet demand for water as populations boom throughout the West
."


      Saltwater desalinization is increasing internationally as a partial way to solve shortages of good water. The main difficulty is that to date, it remains very expensive, practical only for wealthy areas and countries ( Henry Fountain, "The World Can Make More Water From the Sea, but at What Cost?" The New York Times, October 23, 2019, https://www.nytimes.com/2019/10/22/climate/desalination-water-climate-change.html).
     There are thousands of potential Flint, MIs in the U.S. In California , Jose A. Del Real , " The Crisis Lurking in Californians’ Taps: How 1,000 Water Systems May Be at Risk: The troubled districts, which operate in mostly poor areas on thin budgets, receive little oversight and face a host of problems," The New York Times, July 24, 2019, https://www.nytimes.com/2019/07/24/us/the-crisis-lurking-in-californians-taps-how-1000-water-systems-may-be-at-risk.html, reported, " As many as 1,000 community water systems in California may be at high risk of failing to deliver potable water — one out of every three — according to a previously undisclosed estimate by senior officials at the California State Water Resources Control Board, which regulates drinking water. These troubled districts, which include Sativa, often operate in mostly poor areas on thin budgets. With little oversight, they face problems ranging from bankruptcy to sudden interruptions in water capacity, to harmful toxins being delivered through taps."
      Jose A. Del Real, " How Racism Ripples Through Rural California’s Pipes : In the 20th century, California’s black farmworkers settled in waterless colonies. The history endures underground, through old pipes, dry wells and shoddy septic tanks," The New York Times, November 29, 2019, https://www.nytimes.com/2019/11/29/us/water-racism-california.html, reported, "Amid a vast migration during the early 20th century, tens of thousands of black people like Ms. Beavers came to California’s farm country from far-off states in the Cotton Belt and the Dust Bowl.
     And as in other parts of the United States, black migrants were met with Jim Crow-style racism: Whites Only'signs, curfews and discriminatory practices by banks. Often, the only places black families could settle were on arid acres on the outskirts of cultivated farmland — places like Teviston, the all-black colony where Ms. Beavers raised 12 children in “a two-bedroom shack” with no bathrooms or running water."
     Today, the legacy of segregation in the Central Valley reverberates underground, through old pipes, dry wells and soil tainted by shoddy septic systems."


      Emma G. Fitzsimmons, "In Echo of Flint Lead Crisis, Newark Offers Bottled Water: Federal officials warned that home filters provided by the city were not enough," The New York Times, August 11, 2019, https://www.nytimes.com/2019/08/11/nyregion/newark-water-lead.html, reported that officials in Newark, NJ had been slow to admit that the city had a serious problem with led in much of its drinking water. "two days after a scathing letter from the E.P.A. raised concerns about the safety of the city’s drinking water — officials said they would start offering bottled water to residents.
     Gov. Philip D. Murphy of New Jersey and Newark’s mayor, Ras Baraka, said in a joint statement
that they would provide bottled water at four local centers, starting as early as Monday afternoon." Filters had been distributed earlier, but were ineffective. Some 285,000 people were involved.


      Coral Davenport, "New E.P.A. Lead Standards Would Slow Replacement of Dangerous Pipes," The New York Times,October 10, 2019, https://www.nytimes.com/2019/10/10/climate/epa-lead-water-pipes.html, reported, "The Trump administration on Thursday proposed new regulations on lead and copper in drinking water, updating a nearly 30-year-old rule that may have contributed to the lead-tainted water crisis in Flint, Mich., that began in 2015.
     The draft plan, announced by the Environmental Protection Agency administrator, Andrew Wheeler, at a news conference in Green Bay, Wis., includes some provisions designed to strengthen oversight of lead in drinking water. But it skips a pricey safety proposal advocated by public health groups and water utilities: the immediate replacement of six million lead pipes that connect homes to main water pipes. The proposed new rule would also more than double the amount of time allotted to replace lead pipes in water systems that contain high levels of lead."


     The Hopi Nation is being told by EPA that it must pay a $3800 fine for failing to follow through on a 2016 agreement to reduce arsenic content to a safe level in the drinking water at the Hopi Cultural Center
at Second Mesa, AZ (Donovan Quintero, "Hopi penalized for safe drinking water violations," Navajo Times, November 22, 2019).


      American Indians have the largest percent of their population of any group without direct access to safe drinking water. 58 Native households per 1000 do not have indoor plumbing, compared to 3 per 1000 white households. This is particularly a problem on the Navajo Reservation. Meanwhile 44 million people across the U.S. are served by water systems that recently were found to have safe drinking water violations (Laura Morales, "Native Americans have the most difficulty accessing safe water, report says," Navajo Times, November 22, 2019).


      In West Kaua'i and Moloka'i HI, where numerous Native Hawaiian and other residents have suffered from serious health problems from overuse of toxic pesticides in nearby fields, EPA has agreed to stricter enforcement of pesticide regulations in response to a suite by Earth Justice (Earth Justice, earthjustice.org).


     Andrea Germanos, "Putting Health of All Species in Danger, Trump EPA Proposal Guts Restrictions on Toxic Herbicide Linked to Birth Defects: The pro-industry zealots now running the EPA's pesticide office are making a mockery of science and eliminating key safety measures, all for company profits,'" Common Dreams, November 15, 2019, https://www.commondreams.org/news/2019/11/15/putting-health-all-species-danger-trump-epa-proposal-guts-restrictions-toxic, reported, " Environmental and public health advocacy groups expressed alarm Friday after the Trump administration moved to increase the allowable level in U.S. waterways of a common herbicide linked to hermaphroditic amphibians and birth defects, cancer, and other harmful health effects in humans.
     At issue in the
proposal posted yesterday by the EPA is the threshold level of atrazine, the second most widely used herbicide in the U.S. Manufactured by Syngenta, atrazine is primarily used in agriculture as a weedkiller on crops. It is not authorized for use in the European Union, as the body said there wasn't enough data to prove it wouldn't have a harmful effect on groundwater.
     'Human exposure to atrazine is linked to a number of serious health effects, according to a factsheet from Pesticide Action Network. A potent endocrine disrupter, atrazine interferes with hormonal activity of animals and humans at extremely low doses.'
     The proposed change, said Nathan Donley, a senior scientist at the Center for Biological Diversity, will likely lead to an increase in atrazine in drinking water, particularly in the Midwest.'
     As Donley's group and Environmental Working Group (EWG) explain in a press statement, the proposal regards what the EPA calls the Concentration Equivalent Level of Concern (CELOC).
     'Atrazine levels above this threshold require mitigations to bring the water body back into compliance. Below, this level, no action is required, as Donley said in tweet.
      Trump's EPA is proposing bumping up the level to a 60-day average concentration of 15 parts per billion (ppb) of atrazine, 50% higher than the current level of 10 ppb. In 2016 the agency proposed a level of just 3.4 ppb, but that Obama-era assessment, according to Trump's EPA, was fundamentally flawed and failed to take into consideration the relevance of the individual studies.'
     Driving the push towards higher acceptable levels of atrazine, according to EWG and the Center, is the administration's goal of appeasing Big Ag and the pesticide industry.
     'To please Syngenta, the Trump EPA has rejected decades of independent research showing atrazine can't be safely used at any level,' said Donley. The pro-industry zealots now running the EPA's pesticide office are making a mockery of science and eliminating key safety measures, all for company profits.'
     Olga Naidenko, EWG's vice president for science investigations, warned of the possible impacts to children.
     'Atrazine sprayed on the fields ends up in our drinking water and affects the development of the fetus, said Naidenko. Thus, she said, the proposal should provoke outrage as it will lead to more children being exposed to this toxic chemical.'
     'With Trump's EPA reversing even the most commonsense protections, added Donley, our health, and the health of all species, is in serious danger.'
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      Eric Lipton, "Government Studying Widely Used Chemicals Linked to Health Issues: The class of chemicals, known as PFAS, was used in nonstick pans, stain-resistant clothes and firefighting foam and is found in drinking water in some places," The New York Times,
     December 5, 2019, https://www.nytimes.com/2019/12/05/us/politics/pfas-water-contamination.html, reported, " Two decades after concern emerged about a class of chemicals used in everything from Teflon pans to firefighting foam, the federal government has started the first in a series of detailed studies of the impact the chemicals have had on human health.
     The goal is to determine what role the chemicals,
known generally as PFAS , play in a long list of health conditions including thyroid, kidney, liver, cardiovascular and autoimmune diseases, among other ailments. The studies will involve thousands of adults and children in eight communities nationwide, and the findings will help determine just how extensive of a cleanup is necessary at sites where groundwater or drinking water supplies have been contaminated."


     " Decision: In the 11th Hour, Court Halts Copper Mine from Desecrating Native American Tribes’ Ancestral Grounds ," Earth Justice, July31, 2019, https://earthjustice.org/library/Rosemont, reported, "The Tohono O’odham Nation, the Pascua Yaqui Tribe, and the Hopi Tribe asked a federal judge to stop destruction set to wipe out Tribes’ irreplaceable heritage in mere months." The court ordered the Rosemont copper mine project stopped.
     According to the Court Opinion, Center for Biological Diversity, et al., Plaintiffs, v. United States Fish and Wildlife Service, et al., Defendants, In the United States District Court for Arizona, Case 4:17-cv-00475-JAS Document 248 Filed 07/31/19, https://earthjustice.org/sites/default/files/files/Rosemont%20MSJ%20opinion%207%2031%2019.pdf, the mine's "circular pit will measure approximately 3,000 feet in depth and 6,000 feet in diameter. 3 In the course of digging through 3,000 feet of geologic material, Rosemont will penetrate the wall of the groundwater table lying beneath the Santa Rita Mountains and will need to pump groundwater out of the pit to continue their mining operations. After Rosemont ceases its mining operations in 20 to 25 years, Rosemont will turn off the pumps, and the pit will then act as a hydraulic sink such that the pit will fill with groundwater. To gain access to the valuable copper, molybdenum, and silver in the ore, Rosemont will have to extract approximately 1.2 billion tons of waste rock (i.e., geologic material without economic value) and approximately 700 million tons of tailings (i.e., waste material left over after extracting the valuable fraction from the uneconomic fraction of the ore) (collectively “1.9 billion tons of waste”). The Rosemont Mine will impact approximately 3,653 acres of the Coronado National Forest. Outside of the 955-acre pit, Rosemont will dump approximately 1.9 billion tons of its waste on approximately 2,447 acres4 of the Coronado National Forest." The court found that "Mine would be:
     
      Inconsistent with standards and guidelines [of the Forest Plan] related to the following:
     Maintenance, rehabilitation, and enhancement of visual resources Protection of cultural resources
     
     Maintenance and improvement of wildlife habitat
     Maintenance and protection of existing riparian resources Maintenance of wildlife and plant diversity
     Maintaining buffers around watering and feeding areas Retention of riparian area
     
     Amount of riparian area
     Diversity of riparian species
     Maintenance of riparian area productivity Minimizing soil damage
     ...
     
     Maintenance of vegetative structure
     Loss of horizonal structure
     Loss of vertical structure
     Delisting threatened and endangered species and reoccupying historic habitat"
      A large number of tribal historical sites would have been lost if the mine had been initiated.


      Maria Abi-Habib and Salman Masood, "Pakistan Blames India for Its Air Pollution. Its Citizens Disagree: Pakistan’s minister for climate change blames India for toxic smog. But residents of Lahore, one of the world’s most polluted cities, blame their country’s government, , November 22, 2019, https://www.nytimes.com/2019/11/22/world/asia/pakistan-lahore-air-pollution.html, reported, " A new front in the decades-long rivalry between India and Pakistan has emerged: which country is more responsible for the choking air pollution that straddles their shared, hostile border.
     As residents of Lahore, Pakistan’s second-largest city, complained of shortness of breath, stinging eyes and nausea from thick, acrid smog that they compare to living in the smoke of a camp fire, the country’s minister of state for climate change smelled a conspiracy."
     "On many winter days , Lahore competes with India’s capital, Delhi, for the unflattering distinction of the world’s most polluted city. But while Delhi has slowly woken up to the danger of its hazardous air quality and put in place some — although not enough — government action to tackle it, Lahore has been much slower to respond, let alone recognize the problem."


      Rick Rojas, "After a Giant Ship Goes Belly Up, Many Fear a Shoreline Is Next: The 656-foot vessel started capsizing in September, stirring concerns about the pollution creeping into the waterways. A shipping vessel called the Golden Ray has been capsizing off the Georgia shore since September, stirring fears of oil and fuel pollution," The New York Times, November 16, 2019, https://www.nytimes.com/2019/11/16/us/golden-ray-cargo-ship-georgia.html, reported, "The 656-foot vessel, called the Golden Ray, has been lying since early September off a slice of the Georgia coast specked with resorts and sprawling high-dollar homes. It has made for a jarring sight that has left many in the community unsettled by what it will ultimately mean for the economy and environment"
     "The shipping vessel started to capsize September 8 after a fire broke out on board. The signs of environmental damage were soon evident. Smoke clouded the sound and oil and fuel washed onto the shore. A dark horizontal band has been left on a long stretch of shoreline, a marker of the pollutants carried in by the high tides.
     Officials have since worked to stanch pollution and piece together a plan for dealing with the wreckage. More than 400 people and 70 vessels, along with some 51,000 feet of containment boom, have been deployed as part of the response, which is being handled jointly by the United States Coast Guard, the Georgia Department of Natural Resources and Gallagher Marine Systems, the contractor operating the ship for Hyundai."


      China is in the process of building a complex of 11 dams on the lower Mekong River and 300 more on its tributaries in and impacting Thailand, Cambodia, Laos and Vietnam along with roads and other infrastructure. Chinese projections are that the project will bring $30 million in benefits to the poor countries, and help China boost its slowing economy. But many villages will be flooded, the dam will disrupt the river's ecosystem, including its fish migration, and stop the flow of 97% nourishing sediment to the Mekong Delta that supports its agriculture. In Cambodia, its 16 million people receive 80% of their protein from the Mekong, which the dams would greatly reduce. An analysis by a commission of the four countries, which China has refused to join, predicts the dams will cause those nations a $7 billion loss, and that may be an under estimate ( Hannah Beech, "‘Our River Was Like a God’: How Dams and China’s Might Imperil the Mekong," The New York Times, October 12, 2019, https://www.nytimes.com/2019/10/12/world/asia/mekong-river-dams-china.html).  


     Wild Earth Guardians, "Forest Service Halts Massive Logging and Road Building Project," reported, June 21, 2019, https://wildearthguardians.org/press-releases/u-s-forest-service-pulls-medicine-bow-landscape-analysis-vegetation-project/, "Yesterday, we learned that, thanks to Guardians and allies, the Forest Service put the brakes on perhaps the largest logging and road building project in Wyoming’s history, the massive Landscape Analysis Vegetation (LaVA) Project.
     Located on the Medicine Bow National Forest, this project covered 850,000 acres and would have logged 360,000 acres, including 123,000 acres across 25 different Roadless Areas. It would also have included punching in 600 miles of temporary roads that rarely get completely removed.
     The Forest Service failed to provide the necessary details in its general analysis required under the National Environmental Policy Act, such as where it would build the roads or where it would actually log trees. Instead, with this leap first, look later approach, the agency said it would determine these crucial details after approval. By halting the project, we hope forest officials now understand they cannot continue to propose these massive projects that circumvent our laws to protect the environment and wildlife habitat."


      Christopher Flavelle, "With More Storms and Rising Seas, Which U.S. Cities Should Be Saved First?" The New York Times, June 19, 2019, https://www.nytimes.com/2019/06/19/climate/seawalls-cities-cost-climate-change.html , reported, " As disaster costs keep rising nationwide, a troubling new debate has become urgent: If there’s not enough money to protect every coastal community from the effects of human-caused global warming, how should we decide which ones to save first?
     After three years of
brutal flooding and hurricanes in the United States, there is growing consensus among policymakers and scientists that coastal areas will require significant spending to ride out future storms and rising sea levels — not in decades, but now and in the very near future. There is also a growing realization that some communities, even sizable ones, will be left behind."


      Lisa Friedman, "E.P.A. Won’t Ban Chlorpyrifos, Pesticide Tied to Children’s Health Problems," The New York Times, July 18, 2019, https://www.nytimes.com/2019/07/18/climate/epa-chlorpyrifos-pesticide-ban.html, reported, "The Trump administration took a major step to weaken the regulation of toxic chemicals on Thursday when the Environmental Protection Agency announced that it would not ban a widely used pesticide that its own experts have linked to serious health problems in children."


     Kendra Chamberlain, "Environment," New Mexico Environmental Report," December 12, 2019, https://mailchi.mp/nmpoliticalreport.com/environment-wrap-up-470789?e=cde7993ced, reported " EPA moves forward with sodium cyanide bomb rule: After retracting an earlier interim decision on authorizing the use of sodium cyanide in devices such as sodium cyanide bombs, also called M-44s, to kill predators that threaten livestock, the EPA released a new decision on the issue last week. EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler withdrew the agency’s interim decision in mid-August, just a few weeks after it had been released. Wheeler said at the time the issue warrants further analysis and additional discussions by EPA. The revised interim decision is more protective,” according to the EPA, but still allows the use of the bombs."
     " EPA pulls out of Superfund cleanup in Española: The Environmental Protection Agency announced it has finished funding the cleanup of a Superfund site in Española, [NM,] but the agency is leaving behind a large plume of toxic chemicals. The EPA is using a bioremediation process to eat away at the plume, which could take up to forty years to be completed, according to KRQE-TV: https://www.krqe.com/news/new-mexico/epas-decision-over-superfund-site-outrages-new-mexico-community/."  


     Coral Davenport, "Forest Service Backs an End to Limits on Roads in Alaska’s Tongass Forest," The New York Times, October 15, 2019, https://www.nytimes.com/2019/10/15/climate/tongass-forest-roads.html, reported, "The Trump administration on Tuesday took a step toward opening up the pristine woodlands of Alaska’s Tongass National Forest to logging and road construction, saying it would prefer an end to all road-building restrictions throughout the forest."


     Richard Pérez-Peña and Claire Moses, "Facing a Pollution Crisis, Netherlands Tells Drivers to Slow Down: The government lowered the daytime speed limit on Dutch highways, to 62 miles per hour, in an attempt to cut nitrogen pollution," The New York Times, November 14, 2019, https://www.nytimes.com/2019/11/14/world/europe/netherlands-speed-limit.html, reported, " The Dutch government has announced a sharp cut in highway speed limits and changes in farming practices, as it struggles to address a pollution problem that threatens to become an economic and political crisis.
     The Netherlands’ top administrative court ruled in May that the country was in violation of European Union pollution laws, a finding that threatened to block thousands of construction and farming projects, which could bring much of the economy to a standstill."


     "Some good news for bees: EPA bans 12 bee-killing pesticides," Environment New Mexico, Vol. 13, No. 1, 2019, reported that in the settlement of a lawsuit brought by the Center for Food Safety, EPA banned 12 neonicotinoid pesticides. This is a beginning, but others remain legal and in use.


     "Mexican Government Takes Action On Pesticides," International Indian Treaty Council (IITC), Via E-mail August 30, 2019, http://hosted.verticalresponse.com/1383891/f6447b7b48/545554959/aa063f1824/, reported, "On May 8th, 2018, the Mexican Government created the Inter-ministerial Group for the Regulation of Pesticides, composed of the Secretariat of Environment and Natural Resources (SEMARNAT) and several other Mexican government agencies. On May 31, 2019 representatives of the Mexican Government National Institute on Indigenous Peoples (INPI) met with the Yaqui Traditional Authorities and IITC in Vicam, Sonora Mexico to discuss the ongoing urgent need for the Mexican government to implement the 2015 recommendations made to Mexico by the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child as a result of IITC’s submission documenting the severe impacts on child and maternal health as a result of toxic pesticides used in Rio Yaqui, many of which are banned in the countries that export them to Mexico including the US and Germany. A follow-up letter sent by INPI’s Director Adelfo Rufino Montez to a Commission member, cc’d to IITC and the Yaqui Authorities, on June 19, 2019, called attention to the need to implement the CRC recommendations (available at: https://www.iitc.org/wp-content/uploads/Letter-from-INPI-re-CRC-Recommendations.pdf).
     
     The letter from INPI affirmed that the use of highly dangerous pesticides has significantly harmed the population of indigenous communities, as is the case of the Yaqui People-Tribe of the State of Sonora, which presented the effects that its members have been subjected to in the framework of the Meeting entitled, Human Rights Legal Review by the United Nations Special Rapporteur on the implications for human rights of the environmentally sound management and disposal of hazardous substances and wastes, and the United Nations Conventions on hazardous chemicals and wastes, in particular the Rotterdam Convention'.
     
This Expert Group Meeting in Mexico City on 19–20 January 2019 available at: https://www.iitc.org/wp-content/uploads/FOR-IMMEDIATE-RELEASE-UN-Expert-Meeting-2019-1.pdf), and in which INPI and several UN bodies participated, was co-hosted by IITC, CADPI and FILAC and included presentations of community-based studies by Indigenous Peoples from Rio Yaqui and other parts of Mexico, Argentina, Guatemala, Peru, Boriken (Puerto Rico), Nicaragua, Arizona and New Mexico United States, Brazil (Amazon region) and Alaska (Arctic region) [on the human rights and intergenerational health impacts of environmental toxics]. The Rapporteur’s Study and Legal review will be presented to the UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues and the UN General Assembly in 2020.
     
     Andrea Carmen, IITC’s Executive Director stated the IITC expresses its deep appreciation to all those who have contributed to the recognition by the United Nations of these urgent human rights and environmental health violations and to the current government of Mexico for taking steps to ensure that the CRC recommendations regarding toxic pesticides use in Rio Yaqui are finally implemented. We also share the heartbreak of the families who have lost so many children to this pernicious form of environmental violence which continues to enrich corporations at the expense of Indigenous children, women and families in Rio Yaqui, elsewhere in Mexico and around the world.'”


     Lisa Friedman and Coral Davenport, "Curbs on Methane, Potent Greenhouse Gas, to Be Relaxed in U.S." The New York Times, August 29, 2019, https://www.nytimes.com/2019/08/29/climate/epa-methane-greenhouse-gas.html, reported, "The Trump administration laid out on Thursday a far-reaching plan to cut back on the regulation of methane emissions, a major contributor to climate change. The Environmental Protection Agency’s proposed rule aims to eliminate federal requirements that oil and gas companies install technology to detect and fix methane leaks from wells, pipelines and storage facilities. It would also reopen the question of whether the E.P.A. had the legal authority to regulate methane as a pollutant. The rollback plan is particularly notable because major energy companies have, in fact, spoken out against it — joining automakers, electric utilities and other industrial giants that have opposed other administration initiatives to dismantle climate-change and environmental rules."
     One of the reasons that it makes sense for energy companies to support rules preventing/reducing methane leaks is that these leaks cause them to lose valuable gas. If all energy facilities are required to have them, there is no competitive loss from having them to save money.


      Hiroko Tabuchi, "Despite Their Promises, Giant Energy Companies Burn Away Vast Amounts of Natural Gas," The New York Times, October 16, 2019, https://www.nytimes.com/2019/10/16/climate/natural-gas-flaring-exxon-bp.html. "When leaders from Exxon Mobil and BP gathered last month with other fossil-fuel executives to declare they were serious about climate change, they cited progress in curbing an energy-wasting practice called flaring — the intentional burning of natural gas as companies drill faster than pipelines can move the energy away.
     But in recent years, some of these same companies have significantly increased their flaring, as well as the venting of natural gas and other potent greenhouse gases directly into the atmosphere, according to data from the three largest shale-oil fields in the United States.
     The practice has consequence for climate change because natural gas is a potent contributor to global warming. It also wastes vast amounts of energy: Last year in Texas, venting and flaring in the Permian Basin oil field alone consumed more natural gas than states like Arizona and South Carolina use in a year.
      Exxon’s venting and flaring has surged since 2017 to record highs, both in absolute terms and as a proportion of gas produced, the numbers show. Exxon flared or vented 70 percent more gas in 2018 than it did the previous year, according to the data, bringing an end to several years of improvements."


      Jake Johnson, "'It Happens Over and Over and Over and Over': Keystone Pipeline Leaks (at Least) 383,000 Gallons of Crude Oil in North Dakota: History has shown us time and again that there is no safe way to transport fossil fuels, and pipelines are no exception,'" Common Dreams, October 31, 2019, https://www.commondreams.org/news/2019/10/31/it-happens-over-and-over-and-over-and-over-keystone-pipeline-leaks-least-383000, reported, " Environmentalists were outraged but not at all surprised to learn Thursday that the Keystone pipeline sprung yet another massive leak, this time spilling 383,000 gallons of crude oil in North Dakota.
     'I wish I could say I was shocked, but a major spill from the Keystone pipeline is exactly what multiple experts predicted would happen, Greenpeace USA senior research specialist Tim Donaghy said in a statement. In fact , this is the fourth significant spill from the Keystone pipeline in less than ten years of operation. History has shown us time and again that there is no safe way to transport fossil fuels, and pipelines are no exception."
     As 350.org founder Bill McKibben tweeted in response to the leak, 'It happens over and over and over and over and over.'
     The latest Keystone spill was first detected Tuesday night by TC Energy, the pipeline's owner, and the extent of the damage to the surrounding areas is not yet known to the public. According to Greenpeace, the leak is already the eighth-largest pipeline oil spill of the last decade.'
     Brent Nelson, emergency manager for Walsh County, North Dakota, told the local Grand Forks Herald that the cleanup process could take months.
     'The roads around the spill area have been closed to assist with the cleanup, the Herald reported. Walsh County Sheriff Ronald Jurgens asks the public to avoid the area so the cleanup process can proceed. On-site security will stop and fine any driver ignoring the closed road signs.'
     TC Energy, previously known as TransCanada, denied that the spill had any impact on drinking water, a claim that was met with skepticism.Catherine Collentine, associate director of Sierra Club's Beyond Dirty Fuels initiative, said "this is not the first time this pipeline has spilled toxic tar sands, and it won't be the last.'
     'We've always said it's not a question of whether a pipeline will spill, but when, said Collentine, and once again TC Energy has made our case for us.'
      Keystone's leak in North Dakota was detected just hours after the U.S. State Department held a public hearing in Billings, Montana to solicit comments on the department's new analysis (pdf) of the potential environmental impact of the Keystone XL project.
     The Trump administration has worked hard to approve and accelerate the project over the protests and legal challenges of indigenous rights organizations and green groups.
     Joye Braun, frontline community organizer with the Indigenous Environmental Network, said the State Department meeting on Keystone XL seemed more like an industry showcase rather than public comment hearing.'
     'We stand firm in opposing this project as the latest spill is further evidence of just how dangerous pipelines are, said Braun.
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     The Iowa Supreme Court, in late May 2019, affirmed the legality of building the Dakota Access pipeline in the state (David Pitt, "Iowa Supreme Court, in late May 2019, affirmed the legality of building the Dakota Access pipeline project," NFIC, June 2019).


      Phillips 66 and Bridger Pipelines proposed the Liberty Pipeline, in June 2019, to move fracked oil from North Dakota to Oklahoma (James MacPherson, "New $1.6 B pipeline proposed to move North Dakota crude oil for Phillips 66 and Bridger Pipeline," News From Indian Country, November 2019).


      Julia Conley, "Climate Groups Applaud Newsom's Temporary Fracking Ban in California, But Say Other Critical Next Steps Still Needed: Relentless organizing by climate action groups across California forced the governor to call for a moratorium on fracking, 350.org co-founder Bill McKibben said." Common Dreams, November 19, 2019, https://www.commondreams.org/news/2019/11/19/climate-groups-applaud-newsoms-temporary-fracking-ban-california-say-other-critical, reported, " Anti-fracking advocates were cautiously optimistic Tuesday after California Gov. Gavin Newsom announced a moratorium on fracking in the state and new steps to mitigate the disastrous public health effects that extractive industries have on communities.
     Author and 350.org co-founder Bill McKibben credited relentless organizing with pressuring the Democratic governor to ban—at least temporarily—the high-pressure steam injection central to the fracking process and pledge to reverse the increase in drilling permits that's taken place under Newsom's administration.
      'It's not all that activists wanted, but that language is an important signal, McKibben wrote of the temporary fracking ban.
      Newsom announced that, along with the fracking lease moratorium, the state would also commission an independent audit of regulators tasked with overseeing the oil and gas industries and would have federal scientists conduct third-party reviews of all drilling lease requests going forward.
     The state will also strengthen protections for communities near oil and gas wells
.
     'These are necessary steps to strengthen oversight of oil and gas extraction as we phase out our dependence on fossil fuels and focus on clean energy sources, Newsom said.
     The governor's response to years of anti-fracking campaigning in California shows that the future of climate leadership means saying no to the fossil fuel industry's dreams of endless expansion, said Stephen Kretzmann, executive director at Oil Change International.
     'As the world's fifth-largest economy and home to substantial fossil fuel extraction, California has a responsibility to model a just transition away from fossil fuels in line with the scale of action needed to address our climate crisis, Kretzmann said. Phasing out existing extraction that's too close to communities, stopping all new permits that expand drilling, and investing adequate resources to ensure nobody is left behind in the transition to a renewable economy are critical next steps.'
     Oil Change International and other groups emphasized, however, that a full ban on fracking is needed.
     'Since Governor Newsom took office, thousands of new drilling permits have been issued
, said Alexandra Nagy, California state director for Food and Water Action. We urge Governor Newsom to immediately institute a complete ban on fracking, stop issuing new drilling permits—which have been increasing under his administration—and use his executive authority to protect communities across the state now.'
     While Tuesday's announcement certainly represents progress, said Nagy, much more should be done to address oil and gas issues in California.'
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      A rush to frack and extract natural gas has produced a glut dropping the price of natural gas so low oil and gas company profits are dropping and they are closing down many fracking operations - at least for now. Other factors are also impacting gas and oil firms as evidenced by Chevron reducing its statement of assets by many billions of dollars. One factor is that with the risks of investing in gas and oil rising, it is harder to attract investors. That may cut back future production (Clifford Krauss, "Natural Gas Boom Fizzles as a U.S. Glut Sinks Profits: Chevron’s multibillion-dollar write-down of gas assets is the most recent sign that the gas supply has far outstripped demand," The New York Times, December 12, 2019, https://www.nytimes.com/2019/12/11/business/energy-environment/natural-gas-shale-chevron.html).


      Elian Peltier,"U.K. Halts Fracking in England, Citing Quake Concerns: Boris Johnson’s government, which is preparing for a general election, said the ban would be in place until there was “compelling new evidence” that it could be carried out safely," The New York Times, November 2, 2019, https://www.nytimes.com/2019/11/02/world/europe/uk-fracking.html, reported, " Prime Minister Boris Johnson once hailed fracking as glorious news for humanity, and said the British government should leave no stone unturned, or unfracked.'
     But in a major U-turn, Mr. Johnson’s government announced on Saturday that it would temporarily halt fracking in the only active site in Britain, in northwestern England. The move came after a government agency, the Oil and Gas Authority, concluded this past week that it could not rule out unacceptable consequences for people living near fracking sites, including pollution risks and earthquake-related damage."


     The Audubon Society, in agreement with numerous other environmental and civic organizations, reported, August 8, 2019, https://www.audubon.org/news/us-forest-service-moving-roll-back-environmental-review-and-public-input," "U.S. Forest Service Moving to Roll Back Environmental Review and Public Input, " " Help Save a Fundamental Conservation Law : Tell the U.S. Forest Service to protect a strong National Environmental Policy Act.
     The National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) ensures there is public review of projects that impact birds, other wildlife, and the places they need. The law requires federal agencies such as the U.S. Forest Service take a hard look at the environmental consequences of their actions, base their decisions on accurate scientific data, and give the public a chance to weigh in before approving actions like logging, roadbuilding, and energy development
. NEPA requires federal agencies to prepare environmental assessments or environmental impact statements to thoroughly evaluate potential harm to resources, and this analysis ensures they consider ways to address those impacts, including choosing different measures to reduce impacts. Right now, the Forest Service is in the midst of revising its NEPA regulations, with its avowed intent to “increas[e] the pace and scale of work accomplished on the ground.” Unfortunately, the Forest Service would accomplish this goal by removing requirements for environmental review and public participation, undermining this bedrock conservation law and putting the resources of our National Forests at risk.
      Under the proposed changes to the current regulations, the majority of decisions would be made without any environmental analysis or public review, including high impact activities such as logging of up to 6.6 acres (4,200 acres), and construction of up to 5 miles or reconstruction of up to 10 miles of roads. In addition, the Forest Service would sidestep NEPA analysis on even more activities by allowing use of older environmental assessments or environmental impact statements, even though they were not prepared to specifically address the proposed logging, roadbuilding, or other activity in question. The new regulations would also eliminate the requirement to provide public scoping for categorical exclusions or preparation of environmental assessments, which is often the only notice the public would receive and the only chance to weigh in before the Forest Service moves forward to authorize potentially destructive activities. Further, the Forest Service would remove the presumption that projects in Inventoried Roadless areas and potential wilderness areas require more extensive analysis through preparation of environmental impact statements, even though these more intact lands require more scrutiny—and, of course, often provide the best habitat.
      A host of other proposed changes to the Forest Service’s NEPA rules all fit this theme: Approve potentially damaging activities in a way that totally avoids or limits environmental review, prevents a thorough analysis of impacts, and excludes the public from serving the vital function of overseeing how the Forest Service is managing these public resources. This is not how NEPA works and these regulations are in stark opposition to the letter and the spirit of this important law.
      The Forest Service seems to have lost sight of its obligation to manage our national forests in a way that supports the many resources they contain, including birds and the places they need to survive. We’re working to remind them and you can too—if you haven’t already, please submit your public comments through our Action Center. The deadline to comment is August 26."


     Lisa Friedman, "States Sue Trump Administration Over Rollback of Obama-Era Climate Rule," The New York Times, August 13, 2019, https://www.nytimes.com/2019/08/13/climate/states-lawsuit-clean-power-ace.html, " A coalition of 29 states and cities on Tuesday sued to block the Trump administration from easing restrictions on coal-burning power plants, setting up a case that could determine how much leverage the federal government has to fight climate change in the future."


     Coral Davenport and Hiroko Tabuchi, "Trump’s Rollback of Auto Pollution Rules Shows Signs of Disarray," The New York Times, Aug. 20, 2019, https://www.nytimes.com/2019/08/20/climate/trump-auto-emissions-rollback-disarray.html, "The White House, blindsided by a pact between California and four automakers to oppose President Trump’s auto emissions rollbacks, has mounted an effort to prevent any more companies from joining California."
     The three car companies joining California in the agreement are Honda, Ford, Volkswagen and BMW, with Mercedes-Benz preparing to join, as of August 21.


      Nadja Popovich and Denise Lu, " The Most Detailed Map of
     Auto Emissions in America
," The New York Times, October 10, 2019, is available at: https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2019/10/10/climate/driving-emissions-map.html .


      Walter Einenkel, " Trump administration sabotages the largest U.S. offshore wind farm project," Daily Kos, August 19, 2019, https://www.dailykos.com/stories/2019/8/19/1879969/-Trump-administration-sabotages-the-largest-U-S-offshore-wind-farm-project, "Last May, Massachusetts announced that Vineyard Wind—a project to build 800 megawatts worth of wind turbines off the coast of Martha’s Vineyard, had won a bid to begin production . The project promises to be the largest offshore wind complex in the United States. The Massachusetts project was announced along side Rhode Island’s decision to allow Deepwater Wind to begin production on a 400 megawatt offshore facility. This is great news and in line with Bay State’s 2016 decision to build '1.6 gigawatts of offshore wind power by 2027.'
     Now, Inside Climate News reports that the Trump administration, best known for expediting fossil fuel production in tandem with deregulating the industry, is slowing down the start of production—set for this year—on the Massachusetts’ project. The Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM), under Donald Trump’s Executive Order 13807, wants to really dig down deep on their new expanded review of the Vineyard Wind project.
     Inside Climate News explains that this delay impacts a big tax credit, set to end this year, which was a motivator for the beginning of construction; and while 'developers say they are still committed to the project, the potential loss of the tax credit could lead them to rethink their plans.”  


     Lisa Friedman, "E.P.A. Finalizes Its Plan to Replace Obama-Era Climate Rules," The New York Times, June 19, 2019, https://www.nytimes.com/2019/06/19/climate/epa-coal-emissions.html, reported, "The Trump administration on Wednesday replaced former President Barack Obama’s effort to reduce planet-warming pollution from coal plants with a new rule that would keep plants open longer and undercut progress on reducing carbon emissions."


     Anne Barnard, Algae Bloom Fouls N.J.’s Largest Lake, Indicating Broader Crisis," The New York Times, August 5, 2019, https://www.nytimes.com/2019/08/05/nyregion/lake-hopatcong-algae.html, reported, " Around Lake Hopatcong, New Jersey’s largest lake, workers have been laid off, sailing lessons canceled and summers ruined. The reason: clouds of blue-green algae in the water, blooming in quantities never before recorded."
     The problem of growth of an increase in blooms of cyanobacteria, which produces toxic substances, in lakes has caused bans on fishing and other uses of waters from the Mississippi coast to the Pacific Northwest in summer 2019. This is a result of global warming bringing unusually heavy rains flushing sewage, fertilizer and other nutrients into streams and lakes, combined with an increase in hot sunny days that stimulate growth of the organism
.


     "Florida’s Utilities Keep Homeowners From Making the Most of Solar Power: The political clout and incentives of the state’s big power companies have discouraged installation of rooftop solar panels," The New York Times, July 7, 2019, https://www.nytimes.com/2019/07/07/business/energy-environment/florida-solar-power.html, reported, "Florida calls itself the Sunshine State. But when it comes to the use of solar power, it trails 19 states, including not-so-sunny Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York and Maryland.
     Solar experts and environmentalists blame the state’s utilities.The utilities have hindered potential rivals seeking to offer residential solar power
. They have spent tens of millions of dollars on lobbying, ad campaigns and political contributions. And when homeowners purchase solar equipment, the utilities have delayed connecting the systems for months."
      Other Republican controlled states have also made it more difficult and expensive to install solar power.


     Milan Schreuer, "E.U. Leaders Fail to Strengthen Climate Target," The New York Times, June 20, 2019, https://www.nytimes.com/2019/06/20/climate/europe-carbon-neutral.html, reported, " European Union leaders failed to reach an agreement Thursday on a proposal to reduce their net carbon emissions to zero by 2050."
     "By the end of the meeting, however , leaders were only able to agree on a compromise resolution to study ways to make the bloc climate neutral' without mentioning a target date."


     Ireland to ban new petrol and diesel vehicles from 2030," BBC, 17 June 2019, https://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-48668791, reported, " The Irish government plans to ban the sale of new petrol and diesel vehicles by 2030, as part of a major strategy to protect the environment.
     The aim is to ensure that all new cars and vans on Irish roads in 11 years time are electric vehicle
s.
     The proposed legislation was among 180 measures in the government's Climate Action Plan, published on Monday."
     "The Climate Action Plan states that the Republic of Ireland is way off course in its attempts to achieve its emissions targets.Unveiling the plan on Monday, the Environment Minister ​Richard Bruton said Ireland was currently 85% dependent on fossil fuels.'"
     "Mr Bruton said the plan was a roadmap to achieving existing 2030 emissions targets and would put Ireland on a trajectory to achieve net zero carbon emissions by 2050'.
     The hope is that by the time the petrol and diesel vehicle ban is introduced in 2030 there will be 950,000 electric vehicles on Irish roads.
     The government is set to invest in a nationwide charging network to power the new vehicles.
     By 2025, at least one recharging point will be required at new non-residential buildings with more than 10 parking spaces."
     "Mr Bruton said climate targets would be set for every relevant sector of government and public body, including housing; transport; agriculture and the public sector."


      Jessica Corbett, "7,000+ Colleges and Universities Declare Climate Emergency and Unveil Three-Point Plan to Combat It: We all need to work together to nurture a habitable planet for future generations and to play our part in building a greener and cleaner future for all," Common Dreams , July 10, 2019, https://www.commondreams.org/news/2019/07/10/7000-colleges-and-universities-declare-climate-emergency-and-unveil-three-point-plan, " More than 7,000 colleges and universities across the globe declared a climate emergency on Wednesday and unveiled a three-point plan to collectively commit to addressing the crisis.
     The declaration came in a letter—which other education institutions are encouraged to sign—that was organized by the Environmental Association for Universities and Colleges (EAUC), U.S.-based higher education climate action organization Second Nature, and U.N. Environment Program's (UNEP) Youth and Education Alliance.
     The letter, according to a statement from organizers, marks the first time further and higher education establishments have come together to make a collective commitment to address the climate emergency, and outlines the three-point plan:
      Committing to going carbon neutral by 2030 or 2050 at the very latest;
      Mobilizing more resources for action-oriented climate change research and skills creation; andIncreasing the delivery of environmental and sustainability education across curricula, campus, and community outreach programs.
     'The young minds that are shaped by our institutions must be equipped with the knowledge, skills, and capability to respond to the ever-growing challenges of climate change, the letter says. We all need to work together to nurture a habitable planet for future generations and to play our part in building a greener and cleaner future for all.'
     
     The letter, which calls on other institutions and governments to declare a climate emergency and pursue urgent action to combat it, was presented at a Wednesday eventhosted by the Higher Education Sustainability Initiative—a partnership of various United Nations agencies—at U.N. headquarters in New York City."The expectation is that over 10,000 institutions of higher and further education will come on board before the end of the 2019, with governments invited to support their leadership with incentives to take action," said the organizers statement. So far, the letter has been signed by 25 networks that represent approximately 7,050 institutions and 59 individual institutions that, combined, have about 652,000 students.
     The individual institutions that have joined the declaration include five in the continental United States and two in Puerto Rico as well as colleges and universities in Argentina, China, Colombia, Costa Rica, Denmark, France, Germany, Honduras, India, Indonesia, Ireland, Kenya, Kuwait, Mauritius, Mexico, Nigeria, Panama, Saudi Arabia, Spain, Uganda, the United Arab Emirates, the United Kingdom, and Venezuela.
     'What we teach shapes the future. We welcome this commitment from universities to go climate neutral by 2030 and to scale-up their efforts on campus, said UNEP executive director Inger Andersen. Young people are increasingly at the forefront of calls for more action on climate and environmental challenges. Initiatives which directly involve the youth in this critical work are a valuable contribution to achieving environmental sustainability.'
     The declaration follows months of students—from all levels of education—taking to the streets around the world as part of the school strike for climate movement, which calls on governments and powerful institutions to pursue bolder policies targeting the human-caused climate crisis.
     Praising the college and universities letter on Wednesday, Charlotte Bonner of Students Organizing for Sustainability ( SOS) said that young people around the world feel that schools, colleges, and universities have been too slow to react to the crisis that is now bearing down on us.'
     'We welcome the news that they are declaring a climate emergency, we have no time to lose, Bronner added. We will be calling on those who haven't yet supported this initiative, to come on board. Of course, the most important element is the action that follows.'
     Read the full letter below. Representatives for education institutions can sign the letter here.
     As institutions and networks of higher and further education from across the world, we collectively declare a Climate Emergency in recognition of the need for a drastic societal shift to combat the growing threat of climate change.
     The young minds that are shaped by our institutions must be equipped with the knowledge, skills and capability to respond to the ever-growing challenges of climate change. We all need to work together to nurture a habitable planet for future generations and to play our part in building a greener and cleaner future for all.
     We are today committing to collectively step up to the challenge by supporting a three-point plan which includes:
      Mobilizing more resources for action-oriented climate change research and skills creation;Committing to going carbon neutral by 2030 or 2050 at the very latest;
     Increasing the delivery of environmental and sustainability education across curriculum, campus and community outreach programmes.
     We call on governments and other education institutions to join us in declaring a Climate Emergency and back this up with actions that will help create a better future for both people and our planet.Our work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 License."


      Isabella Kwai, "Sydney to Declare a Climate Emergency in Face of National Inaction," The New York Times, June 21, 2019, https://www.nytimes.com/2019/06/21/world/australia/sydney-climate-emergency.html, reported, " Sydney, the largest city in a country acutely vulnerable to global warming, moved on Friday to declare a climate emergency, joining hundreds of local governments around the world in calling for urgent steps to combat the crisis, some in the face of inaction by national politicians.
     The declaration does not include any major new actions. But Mayor Clover Moore said it was important that Sydney, which has already made ambitious pledges to reduce greenhouse emissions, raise its voice in a global demand for action."


     
Fossil Free News reported in an E-mail July 4, 2019, https://act.350.org/mailings/view/80827?t=1&akid=80827%2E51426%2EwWqrfX, "Breaking : A Kenyan court just revoked the license for Lamu coal plant. First proposed in 2015, the Lamu community have fought for years to stop Kenya's first coal-fired power plant being built. It's been challenged fiercely by local residents, activists, scientists & lawyers not only for its climate implications, but also because Lamu is a UNESCO heritage site preserved for its biodiversity and rich multicultural heritage. Watch: https://350.org/the-lamu-coal-plant-project-in-kenya-has-been-stopped-by-a-court-decision/?akid=80827.51426.wWqrfX&rd=1&t=6.
     
      On to the next one:
Another site of impressive natural heritage at risk from coal is due for its own decision. The Sundarban mangrove forest in Bangladesh is home to 4.5 million people and the royal Bengal tiger. Despite a years-long resistance from residents, the government is still pushing construction of Rampal coal plant in the forest. Earlier this month, the international union for nature conservation called for the site to be placed on UNESCO's endangered list, because of danger from the plant and other industry. UNESCO officials are currently meeting in Baku, Azerbaijan, where they’ll make the final decision soon. More: https://350.org/unesco-has-a-chance-to-protect-sundarbans-will-it/?akid=80827.51426.wWqrfX&rd=1&t=7.
      Iliana Magra, "Europe Suffers Heat Wave of Dangerous, Record-High Temperatures," The New York Times, July 24, 2019, https://www.nytimes.com/2019/07/24/world/europe/record-temperatures-heatwave.html, reported, " People across Western Europe are suffering through an intense heat wave this week, with the worst still to come on Thursday, when Britain, France, Germany and the Low Countries are expecting life-threatening, record-breaking temperatures.
     Officials sounded high-temperature health alarms on Wednesday, mindful that some previous heat waves have claimed thousands of lives across a region where people are not used to such weather, structures are not built for it and few homes have air conditioning.
      Paris is expected to record the highest temperature in its history on Thursday, with a predicted high of 42 degrees Celsius, or 107.6 Fahrenheit, shattering the record of 40.4, set in July 1947, according to Météo France, the national weather service. Bordeaux, in southwestern France, broke its record on Tuesday, reaching 106.1 Fahrenheit."
     "Global heating: India has been suffering from sustained deadly temperatures with some cities reaching 50˚C degrees and Europe was sweltering under record-breaking temperatures last week too. Scientists are still reeling from the desperate new data showing Greenland's unexpectedly rapid ice loss ," CNN, June 14, 29019, https://edition.cnn.com/2019/06/14/us/greenland-sudden-ice-melt-wxc/index.html.
     

     " Youth Power: Hundreds of youth in cities across South Africa marked the anniversary of the Soweto youth uprising, a historic turning point in the movement against apartheid. This time, they're standing up against ecological apartheid and climate crisis. Their actions resonated far and wide, with President Ramaphosa responding in his annual State of the Nation address. https://www.dailymaverick.co.za/article/2019-06-17-this-youth-day-young-people-are-demanding-climate-justice/.
     No further : From June 20 to 24, thousands from across Europe came together to shut down a coal mine through peaceful direct action. Every year the number of jump-suited activists willing to descend into the dirty heart of Germany's lignite mines grows. And this time, 40,000 more striking students stood with them in solidarity. Read more: https://350.org/one-struggle-one-fight/?akid=80827.51426.wWqrfX&rd=1&t=10.
      Wait, what?: One day after declaring a climate emergency in Canada, Justin Trudeau approved the Trans Mountain Expansion pipeline to transport Alberta's tar sands to the western coast. Trudeau's hypocrisy is in stark contrast to the 7,000 people who showed up at over 200 town halls to develop the detail of a Green New Deal for Canada. Spoiler alert: there's no room for tar sands expansion in the deal. Read more: https://www.theguardian.com/world/2019/jun/18/canada-trans-mountain-pipeline-expansion-approved-trudeau."


      Jake Johnson, "Warnings of Grave Climate and Human Rights Impact as US Export-Import Bank Approves $5 Billion for Natural Gas Project in Mozambique: If there is a project with serious alarm bells, it's this one,'" Common Dreams, August 23, 2019, https://www.commondreams.org/news/2019/08/23/warnings-grave-climate-and-human-rights-impact-us-export-import-bank-approves-5, reported, " Environmentalists reacted with outrage after the U.S. Export-Import Bank's board of directors on Thursday approved $5 billion in funding for a liquefied natural gas plant in Mozambique that could pump an estimated 5.2 million tons of planet-warming carbon dioxide into the atmosphere each year.
     Doug Norlen, director of the economic policy program at Friends of the Earth, called EXIM's decision irresponsible and said it proves the agency can't be trusted to manage billions of dollars in public funds.'
      'By approving $5 billion in fossil fuel financing, EXIM is accelerating the climate crisis while causing local environmental damage and propelling human rights violations in Mozambique, Norlen said in a statement. 'Either EXIM financing for fossil fuels must be stopped or the agency should not be reauthorized by Congress.'Climate groups have repeatedly raised alarm over the bank's funding of fossil fuel projects and demanded fundamental reforms.
      According to Reuters, the Mozambique natural gas plant is the agency's largest export deal in years.
     'The project would be the single biggest financing deal since EXIM's full lending powers were restored in May with the confirmation of three new board members, Reuters reported Thursday. EXIM said the Mozambique [liquefied natural gas] project would begin to develop the Rovuma Basin, one of he world's most extensive untapped reserves of natural gas.'
     U.S. Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross applauded the project as a win for American companies and workers as well as the people of Mozambique.'
     Daniel Ribeiro of Friends of the Earth Mozambique said the opposite is true, warning in a statement that—in addition to its significant climate impact— the project will fuel the numerous local land conflicts, the human rights abuses, and infrastructure bottlenecks in the African nation, which was devastated by two powerful cyclonesearlier this year.
      'If there is a project with serious alarm bells, it's this one, said Ribeiro. 'This dirty project is located in a sensitive world biosphere, embroiled in an emerging extremist armed conflict. It is being pushed by a government that has recently faced one of the biggest corruption cases in Africa.'
     "'It makes one worry about Mozambique's future, Ribeiro added. Investment from the U.S. will only amplify all of the troubles and conflicts in Mozambique caused by this project and push them out of control.'
     Our work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 License. "


     "Compendium of Scientific, Medical, and Media Findings Demonstrating Risks and Harms of Fracking (Unconventional Gas and Oil Extraction), Sixth Edition, Concerned Health Professionals of New York and Physicians for Social Responsibility, June 19, 2019, https://concernedhealthny.org/compendium/, reported, "The Compendium of Scientific, Medical, and Media Findings Demonstrating Risks and Harms of Fracking (the Compendium) is a fully referenced compilation of evidence outlining the risks and harms of fracking.
     The Compendium is organized to be accessible to public officials, researchers, journalists, and the public. In addition, the Compendium is complemented by a fully searchable, near-exhaustive citation database of peer-reviewed journal articles pertaining to shale gas and oil extraction, the Repository for Oil and Gas Energy Research, that was developed by PSE Healthy Energy and which is housed on its website ( https://www.psehealthyenergy.org/our-work/shale-gas-research-library/).
      Download the full 6th Edition of the Compendium at: https://concernedhealthny.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/06/Fracking-Science-Compendium_6.pdf.
     For this sixth edition of the Compendium, as prior ones, we compiled findings from three sources: articles from peer-reviewed medical or scientific journals; investigative reports by journalists; and reports from, or commissioned by, government agencies. Peer-reviewed articles were identified through databases such as PubMed and Web of Science, and from within the PSE Healthy Energy database. Our entries briefly describe studies that document harm, or risk of harm, associated with fracking and summarize the principal findings.
     The studies and investigations referenced in the dated entries catalogued in Compilation of Studies & Findings are current through April 1, 2019.In our review of the data, seventeen compelling themes emerged; these serve as the organizational structure of the Compendium. Readers will notice the ongoing upsurge in reported problems and health impacts, making each section top-heavy with recent data.The Compendium focuses on topics most closely related to the public health and safety impacts of fracking. These include risks from fracking infrastructure, including compressor stations, pipelines, silica sand mining operations, natural gas storage facilities, the manufacture and transportation of liquefied natural gas (LNG), and, for the first time, gas-fired power plants. Fracking, a major source of two greenhouse gases, carbon dioxide and methane, is incompatible with climate solutions. Climate change is a public health crisis and receives our close attention in the sixth edition.
     Given the rapidly expanding body of evidence related to the risks and harms of unconventional oil and gas extraction, we plan to continue updating the Compendium approximately every year. It is a living document, housed on the websites of Concerned Health Professionals of New York and Physicians for Social Responsibility. Read more about the process and scope of our work in the About this Report and the Foreword to the Sixth Edition sections of the Compendium."


      In Holland, drilling for natural gas in the Groningen gas field has caused earthquakes causing widespread damage, including to historic buildings, that out ways the benefits of the extraction. Since 2013 the government has reduced production by two-thirds, and all extraction is to stop by 2022 (Stanley Reed, "Earthquakes Are Jolting the Netherlands. Gas Drilling Is to Blame. Tremors from extraction are blighting 350 square miles. Thousands of homeowners claim damage, and production will end in 2022," The New York Times, October 24, 2019, https://www.nytimes.com/2019/10/24/business/energy-environment/netherlands-gas-earthquakes.html).


      John Schwartz, "Fossil Fuels on Trial: New York’s Lawsuit Against Exxon Begins," The New York Times, October 23, 2019, https://www.nytimes.com/2019/10/22/climate/new-york-lawsuit-exxon.html, reported, "After four years of legal sparring and finger-pointing , oil-industry giant Exxon Mobil went to court on Tuesday to face charges that the company lied to shareholders and to the public about the costs and consequences of climate change.
     The case turns on the claim that Exxon kept a secret set of financial books that seriously underestimated the costs of potential climate change regulation while claiming publicly that it was taking such factors into account. It follows a sprawling investigation that included millions of pages of documents and allegations of a chief executive’s secret email account.
     In his opening statement, Kevin Wallace, a lawyer with the New York Attorney General’s office, argued that the gap between what Exxon said it was doing and was actually doing was significant, and had an impact on the bottom line.'”
      John Schwartz, "New York Loses Climate Change Fraud Case Against Exxon Mobil," New York Times, December 10, 2019, https://www.nytimes.com/2019/12/10/climate/exxon-climate-lawsuit-new-york.html?te=1&nl=climate-fwd:&emc=edit_clim_20191211?campaign_id=54&instance_id=14464&segment_id=19516&user_id=2984790c14170290245238c0cd4fd927&regi_id=5223598120191211, reported, " A New York state judge on Tuesday handed Exxon Mobil a victory in the civil case brought by the state’s attorney general that argued the company had engaged in fraud through its statements about how it accounted for the costs of climate change regulation.
     After some four years of investigation and millions of pages of documents produced by the company, the judge said, attorney general Letitia James and her staff failed to establish by a preponderance of the evidence that Exxon violated the Martin Act, New York’s powerful legal tool against shareholder fraud, in the closely watched case."


      Eoin Higgins, "Coal Knew Too: Explosive Report Shows Industry Was Aware of Climate Threat as Far Back as 1966: It wasn't just big oil that knew about climate change decades ago,'" Common Dreams, November 2 2, 2019. reported, " A new report shows conclusively that the coal industry was aware of the climate impacts of burning fossil fuels as far back as 1966—and, like other sectors of the fossil fuel industry with knowledge of the consequences of their business model, did next to nothing about it.
     The revelation was published in an article by Élan Young at HuffPost Friday."


     "Zack Colman, "The new science fossil fuel companies fear: Researchers can now link weather events to emissions – and to the companies responsible. A string of lawsuits is about to give attribution science a real-life test," Politico, October 22, 2019, https://www.politico.com/agenda/story/2019/10/22/attribution-science-fossil-fuels-climate-change-001290, reports that the development of attribution science has made it possible to state how much greenhouse gas emissions particular companies, organizations and other entities have put into the atmosphere, and to calculate how much of the damage from global warming they are responsible for. This has led to a large number of law suits demanding the polluters pay their share of the damages. It remains to be seen how these suits will fare in court.


      Andrea Germanos, "U.S. Set to Blow Other Countries Away With Staggering Scale of New Oil and Gas Production" "Over next decade, unless its trajectory changes, 61 percent of new global production will come from the United States," Common Dreams, August 21, 2019, https://www.commondreams.org/news/2019/08/21/us-set-blow-other-countries-away-staggering-scale-new-oil-and-gas-production, reported, " A new analysis reveals that the United States is expected to be the main contributor to a looming carbon time bomb.'
     Released Tuesday by human and environmental rights group Global Witness, the
report (pdf) shows how the U.S. is on track to dwarf other nations shares of new oil and gas production over the next decade. In fact, says the analysis, 61 percent of all new global production is likely to come from the United States.
      'The scale of new production forecast from the U.S. is staggering, said Murray Worthy, senior campaigner at Global Witness, in a statement. No other country comes even close.'
     The projected scenario, which relies on data from industry analysts Rystad Energy, reveals the country is on a path to ramp up oil and gas production by 25 percent—even in the face of the climate crisis, which has triggered global protests and demands for bold legislative action .
     Over the 2020-2029 period, seven of 10 biggest new oil and gas producers are expected to be U.S. states, with Texas projected to produce more than a quarter of all this new production.
     Along with Texas, Pennsylvania, New Mexico, North Dakota, and Oklahoma together would account for 75 percent of all U.S. production over the time frame.
      An action plan for a different energy trajectory, says Global Witness, must include two key steps—ending fossil fuel subsidies and curbing political influence of the fossil fuel industry.
     Given that nothing less than planetary stability is at stake, the group is part of a chorus of climate campaigners demanding the issue be given the full focus of a Democratic presidential debate.
     'The next U.S. president needs to have a credible plan for tackling climate change, Global Witness says in a related briefing paper. And any credible plan to tackle climate change has to prevent the U.S. from drowning the world in oil.'
     With that concern in mind, the group lays out specific questions for candidates to answer:
     What action do you intend to take to curb oil and gas production from public lands and waters?
     Will you end government subsidies for oil and gas production? How will you ensure the money saved benefits the communities affected?
     Will you commit to not approving new oil and gas pipelines, export terminals, and other infrastructure?
     How will you ensure your appointees to key agencies like the Environmental Protection Agency and the Department of the Interior serve the public interest and not the fossil fuel lobby?
     'We urge the Democratic National Committee to vote yes to holding a dedicated climate debate, said Worthy. Presidential candidates should have the opportunity to clearly outline for the American people where their priorities lie and what their plan is to tackle this looming carbon time bomb.'
     Our work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 License."


     Eoin Higgins "'A Breath of Fresh Air': Offshore Wind Power Could Produce More Electricity Than World Uses: Let's get going!'" Common Dreams, October 25, 2019, https://www.commondreams.org/news/2019/10/25/breath-fresh-air-offshore-wind-power-could-produce-more-electricity-world-uses, reported, "A new report from the International Energy Agency released Friday claims that wind power could be a $1 trillion business by 2040 and that the power provided by the green technology has the potential to outstrip global energy needs.
     'Talk about a breath of fresh air," tweeted writer Steven E. de Souza.
     The IEA report looks at the business of wind power and opines that as investment increases and the technology becomes cheaper, the sector could explode.
     The IEA finds that global offshore wind capacity may increase 15-fold and attract around $1 trillion of cumulative investment by 2040. This is driven by falling costs, supportive government policies and some remarkable technological progress, such as larger turbines and floating foundations. That's just the start—the IEA report finds that offshore wind technology has the potential to grow far more strongly with stepped-up support from policy makers.
     'Offshore wind currently provides just 0.3% of global power generation, but its potential is vast, said IEA executive director Fatih Birol.
     It would take a major infrastructural commitment to develop wind power to the point that the renewable energy resource could take over the majority of global energy needs, but it's not impossible. As The Guardian pointed out Friday, 'if windfarms were built across all useable sites which are no further than 60km (37 miles) off the coast, and where coastal waters are no deeper than 60 metres, they could generate 36,000 terawatt hours of renewable electricity a year.'
      'This would easily meeting the current global demand for electricity of 23,000 terawatt hours, added The Guardian.
      Such a change in worldwide energy demand would require a massive investment of public pressure, business leadership, and political leadership, green group Friends of the Earth said on Twitter.
     350 Action founder Bill McKibben saw no need to wait.
     'Wind turbines in the shallow parts of the planet's oceans can provide more electricity than the planet uses, McKibben tweeted. So let's get going!'Our work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 License."  


     
Jon Queally, "Offering National Model, This New England Town Just Banned Natural Gas and Oil in New Home Construction: Brookline is making history,'" Common Dreams , November 22, 2019, " Setting a new standard for other communities in the United States and elsewhere to follow in this age of climate emergency, the suburban town of Brookline, Massachusetts this week passed a sweeping new bylaw that prohibits nearly all use of natural gas and oil in the construction of new homes or in the renovation of existing ones."


      The Nebraska Supreme Court, in late August 2019, approved the route of the Keystone XL oil pipeline through Nebraska. This is a major step toward its being built, but there remain other hurdles. Several landowners have refused to sign agreements for the pipeline to cross their land and a federal lawsuit in Montana challenging the pipeline construction has yet to be resolved. In addition, American Indian and environmental activists are prepared to take steps to prevent completion of construction, or at least delay the project long enough for a new administration to kill it (Mitch Smith, "Court Ruling Clears Path for Pipeline in Nebraska," The New York Times, August 24, 2019).
     
      Kendra Chamberlain, " Center For American Progress: Report: 95% of oil and gas leases on public lands in NM are in ‘extremely high’ water stress areas," New Mexico Political Report, November 14, 2019, http://nmpoliticalreport.com/2019/11/14/95-of-oil-and-gas-leases-on-public-lands-in-nm-are-in-extremely-high-water-stress-areas/, reported, " Oil and gas activity in New Mexico may be exacerbating water stress in the state, according to an analysis by a liberal public policy think tank.
     The Center for American Progress determined that 387 of 402 leases granted by the U.S. Bureau of Land Management in the state in the last two and a half years are located in areas that are considered by the World Resources Institute to be “extremely high” in water-stress. CAP_infographicSource: Center for American Progress
     World Resources Institute released its global Aqueduct Water Risk Atlas earlier this year. The interactive online tool maps water stress at the national and sub-national level for countries around the world. It ranked New Mexico as an area of extreme water stress, on par with areas in the Middle East and North Africa. US_waterstress
     New Mexico is the most water-stressed state in the U.S., according to the World Resources Institute. Source: World Resources Institute
     The Center for American Progress report analyzed BLM leasing data across the U.S. It found that the bureau has offered oil and gas leases “in some of the most arid and water-stressed areas of the country,” the report said. “The significant overlap of water-stressed areas in Western states and recent oil and gas leasing deserves greater scrutiny.”
     The report follows an earlier analysis by the organization, which found the federal government “has no standard reporting requirements for energy companies related to water use.”
      'The expansion of fossil fuel development on U.S. public lands could endanger the quantity and quality of water that is available to farmers, towns, and other water users in the region, said report author Jenny Rowland-Shea, a senior policy analyst for Public Lands at Center for American Progress, in a statement.
      The report pointed to a federal court decision in May that cited BLM for failing to fully consider the cumulative impacts of oil and gas activity in the Greater Chaco landscape located in northwestern New Mexico.
      'BLM has not developed adequate guidance for how the agency should take water impacts into consideration for oil and gas leasing decisions,” it said. “BLM should develop specific agency-wide guidance to ensure adequate and consistent consideration of potential energy-development impacts on watersheds.”


     Muktita Suhartono, Indonesia Confronts, Belatedly, a Huge Oil Spill Near Jakarta," The New York Times, August 28, 2019, https://www.nytimes.com/2019/08/27/world/asia/indonesia-pertamina-oil-spill.html, reported, " Fish and crustaceans usually run strong in the Java Sea, but the men of Sedari village, on the northern coast of the Indonesian island of Java, have no plans to go out on its waters.
     Weeks after an unexpected gush of crude oil from an offshore well sent an inky stain across 12 miles of shoreline that is home to a dozen villages, Sedari’s fishermen are still grounded by the huge spill
" from an offshore oil well owned by the national oil company, which was slow to react to the leak.


      Kendra Chamberlain, "Nuclear Colonialism: Indigenous opposition grows against proposal for nation’s largest nuclear storage facility in NM," New Mexico Political Report, November 14, 2019, http://nmpoliticalreport.com/2019/11/14/nuclear-colonialism-indigenous-opposition-grows-against-proposal-for-nations-largest-nuclear-storage-facility-in-nm/?mc_cid=31ccd931fd&mc_eid=cde7993ced, reported, " A proposal for New Mexico to house one of the world’s largest nuclear waste storage facilities has drawn opposition from nearly every indigenous nation in the state. Nuclear Issues Study Group co-founder and Diné organizer Leona Morgan told state legislators last week the project, if approved, would perpetuate a legacy of nuclear colonialism against New Mexico’s indigenous communities and people of color.
     Holtec International, a private company specializing in spent nuclear fuel storage and management,
applied for a license from the federal Nuclear Regulatory Commission to construct and operate the facility in southeastern New Mexico.
     The proposal, which has been in the works since 2011, would see high-level waste generated at nuclear power plants across the country transported to New Mexico for storage at the proposed facility along the Lea-Eddy county line between Hobbs and Carlsbad. Holtec representatives say the facility would be a temporary solution to the nation’s growing nuclear waste problem, but currently there is no federal plan to build a permanent repository for the waste.
      Legislators, activists and residents alike share concerns about the proposals. Some fear the interim storage facility could become a de facto permanent storage facility if no other repository is built; others question the site selection for a nuclear facility so close to oil and gas activity in the Permian Basin. Increased transport of high-level radioactive waste across the state could also lead to potentially dangerous nuclear releases, leaving impacted communities responsible for emergency responses.
     Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham told U.S. Secretary of Energy Rick Perry in a letter that she opposes the project, while state Land Commissioner Stephanie Garcia Richard voiced safety concerns with the proposal. Several state industry associations, state legislators, and residents also oppose the project. NISG_chart
     A map of nuclear power plants across the country that may begin shipping high-level waste to New Mexico if Holtec’s proposal is licensed. This map was part of Nuclear Issues Study Group co-founder Leona Morgan’s presentation to the Legislature’s interim Radioactive and Hazardous Materials Committee. Source: Nuclear Issues Study Group
     Morgan briefed members of the Legislature’s interim Radioactive and Hazardous Materials Committee on how the proposal fits into a wider pattern of negligence and environmental racism on behalf of the federal government towards one of the United States’ poorest majority-minority states.
     'New Mexico doesn’t make the waste, why should we take the waste? Morgan said. What we’re advocating for is not a temporary, band-aid solution, but something more scientifically sound. The waste does have to go somewhere. However, storing it in New Mexico temporarily is not the right idea. It’s not safe; it’s not supported by the local communities; and New Mexico does not want it.'
      'We see this as environmental racism and perpetuating nuclear colonialism that is going to result in a continuation of a slow genocide, she said.
     A ‘temporary’ solution to the Yucca Mountain problem
     The federal government spent years searching for a location to store nuclear waste. The Nuclear Waste Policy Act of 1982 designated a deep underground repository as the national strategy for permanent storage of spent nuclear fuel. After a lengthy back-and-forth between federal agencies and scientists over the parameters needed to safely and permanently store spent nuclear fuel in perpetuity, the government settled on the Yucca Mountain site, a volcanic structure located in Nevada, as the repository to receive high-level waste generated by nuclear power plants across the country.
     Local communities and state lawmakers in Nevada, along with mostly Democrats in Congress, strongly opposed the project. Former President Barack Obama campaigned and made good on a promise to shutter the project, establishing the now-defunct Blue Ribbon Commission to explore alternatives for dealing with the waste.
     So far, no alternative solution has been proposed, nor are there any plans to build another permanent storage facility anywhere else in the country. Meanwhile, nuclear power utilities across the country have sued the federal government over a breach of contract for failing to establish a permanent repository for the waste.
     'That’s why I’m here, Holtec program manager Ed Mayer told the committee during a presentation earlier that day.
     RELATED: With no permanent repository for commercial nuclear waste, NM is in the spotlight
     Holtec’s proposal would see the majority of high-level nuclear waste in the U.S. transported to a consolidated interim storage facility located in southeastern New Mexico. If licensed, the facility would house up to 100,000 metric tons of high-level waste at capacity — more nuclear waste than currently exists in the country — for up to 40 years, while the federal government either re-opens Yucca Mountain or establishes a new deep repository to permanently store the waste.
     But according to New Mexico Attorney General Hector Balderas, if the federal government fails to establish a permanent repository, the state’s options are limited.
     'The simple answer is that federal law does not appear to afford the state any legal recourse, Balderas said in a 2018 letter to state Sen. Jeff Steinborn, who sits on the Radioactive and Hazardous Materials Committee. Balderas also said that state approval is not a prerequisite to the licensure of an interim storage facility.
     The federal government does have a duty to establish a permanent repository at Yucca Mountain, Balderas said, but, as a result of political uncertainty and a lack of real progress over the years, there simply is no telling when Yucca Mountain or some other permanent facility will be constructed.'
     Nuclear colonialism and legacy waste
     Nuclear colonialism, a term first coined by environmentalist Winona LaDuke and activist Ward Churchill, describes a systematic dispossession of indigenous lands, the exploitation of cultural resources, and a history of subjugation and oppression of indigenous peoples by a government to further nuclear production of energy and proliferation of weapons.
     'All of the impacts from nuclear colonialism can be simplified by explaining it as environmental racism, Morgan told state legislators last week. She pointed to the health and environmental consequences of uranium mining on the Navajo Nation during the last century.
     'My family lives in areas where there was past uranium mining. We’re still dealing with the legacy of all of the mining that fuelled World War II and the Cold War,” Morgan said. “This legacy is still unaddressed — not just in New Mexico, but in the entire country. For that reason, my concern is the health of our people, our environment.'
     RELATED: Trump’s message for tribes: Let them eat yellowcake
     Morgan explained to the committee that Diné people’s relationship to the landscape of the Navajo Nation goes beyond what’s recognized by most state and federal laws.
     'We do not believe we are separate from the environment, Morgan said. We are not here to protect the environment as land and as mountains, but as living, breathing entities.'
     Similar beliefs, sometimes referred to in policy discussions as environmental personhood, have gained recognition among regulators in countries across the world in recent years.
     'If there were to be any shipments that could possibly have an accident in these areas, they would severely impact not just the human populations, but also the cultural resources of these areas, which include medicines and our spiritual deities that live on these mountains, she said.
     State Rep. Angelica Rubio, who chairs the committee, also acknowledged the troubling nuclear history of the state.
     'There’s some historical trauma that exists in our state, the Las Cruces Democrat said at the conclusion of the Holtec presentation. It’s important to recognize that many communities and many of our land and water and our species have all been directly impacted by nuclear at one point in our history.'
     Indigenous sovereignty
      Nearly all of the state’s indigenous nations have formally opposed the project. Most recently, the All Pueblo Council of Governors adopted a resolution opposing the project, citing lack of tribal consultation as a key concern.
     'It’s quite significant, because it’s all of the pueblos of the state, Morgan said. It’s very important, because of the amount of history and cultural resources that they are also trying to protect. I’m very thankful to them for passing such a resolution.'
     RELATED: All Pueblo Council of Governors say no to nuclear waste storage Morgan argued that the proposed facility, should it be approved by the NRC, may also infringe on the sovereignty of the Navajo Nation.
     The Holtec proposal would see nuclear waste transported via railway to the facility in the southeast corner of the state. The Navajo Nation is located in the northwest corner of the state, but one major railway traverses the boundaries of the nation. Depending on where the nuclear waste is coming from, some of those shipments may travel across Navajo land.
     Such transportation would be illegal under Navajo Nation law, Morgan said. The Navajo Nation has passed what is called the Radioactive Materials Transportation Act of 2012, which prohibits the transport of all radioactive materials throughout the Navajo Nation, she said.
     The federal government, on the other hand, adopted in 2016 a declaration of the rights of Indigenous peoples, as a member of the Organization of American States. The declaration states indigenous peoples have the right to promote, develop and maintain their institutional structures and distinctive customers, spirituality, traditions, procedures, practices and, in the cases where they exist, juridical systems or customs, in accordance with international human rights standards. It also states that indigenous law and legal systems shall be recognized and respected by the national, regional, and international legal systems.'
     'The Radioactive Transportation Act is a law of our Navajo Nation, she said. The United States is subject to our Navajo Nation law and that it should be respected. And New Mexico, as a state, should be aware that this is our law. We ask for your help as legislators to ensure that our sovereignty is respected.'
     Morgan pointed to the federal government’s management of legacy uranium waste located on the Navajo Nation.
     'The [Department of Energy] currently has two sites in New Mexico — one in Shiprock and one in Churchrock. Their preferred alternative in Shiprock for clean up is no action, and they have cited, ‘let mother nature take its course, let mother nature take care of the mess,’ she said.
     'If that’s an example of how the federal government treats us, I would ask that we prevent any future risk to our state, she said.
     UPDATE: An earlier version of this story included a quote from Leona Morgan saying the Department of Energy has proposed “no action” as the preferred alternative for clean up for a site in Shiprock and a site in Churchrock. Morgan later clarified her comments to NM Political Report that the DOE has proposed “no action” only for the site at Shiprock. The text has been edited to reflect the correction."


      Julia Conley, "Plan to Release Radioactive Fukushima Wastewater Into Pacific Ocean Panned by Critics: Another reason to not build nuclear power plants,'" Common Dreams, September 10, 2019, reported, " The far-reaching dangers of nuclear power were on full display Tuesday as Japan's environmental minister recommended releasing more than one million tons of radioactive wastewater from the Fukushima Daiichi plant into the Pacific Ocean nearly a decade after a tsunami caused a meltdown at the coastal facility.
     'There are no other options other than dumping the water into the ocean and diluting it, Yoshiaki Harada said at a news conference in Tokyo.‪
     Chief cabinet secretary Yoshihide Suga disputed Harada's claim, saying the government has not settled on a method of disposing of the wastewater. Other options include vaporizing the water and storing it on land.
      But critics on social media said the suggestion of pouring contaminated water into the Pacific is more than enough evidence that the risks associated with nuclear power are too great to continue running plants like Fukushima.
     The wastewater has been stored in tanks at Fukushima since the 2011 tsunami, when a meltdown at the plant forced the evacuation of tens of thousands of people.
      For years since the disaster, the plant has pumped tens of thousands of tons of water to help cool its damaged reactor cores and keep them from melting. After the water is used and contaminated with radionuclides and radioactive isotopes, it is stored in the tanks, but the plant expects to run out of room in 2022.
     The Atomic Energy Society of Japan
said recently that it could take 17 years for water to meet safety standards after it is diluted.
      Greenpeace, which has long called on the Japanese government to invest in technology to remove radioactivity from the water, said the environmental minister's proposal is unacceptable.
      'The government must commit to the only environmentally acceptable option for managing this water crisis which is long-term storage and processing to remove radioactivity, including tritium, Shaun Burnie, a senior nuclear specialist the group's German office, told France 24.
     The government of neighboring South Korea expressed grave concerns over the potential plan to dump the water into the Pacific, saying it planned to work closely with Japan to come up with an alternative.
     'The South Korean government is well aware of the impact of the treatment of the contaminated water from the Fukushima nuclear power plant on the health and safety of the people of both countries, and to the entire nation, the government said.
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      Andrew E. Kramer, "Radiation Is Said to Be Released in Russian Military Accident," The New York Times, August 8, 2019, https://www.nytimes.com/2019/08/08/world/europe/russia-radiation-accident.html, reported, " A fire that broke out on Thursday at a weapons testing range in northern Russia killed two people, briefly raised radiation levels and prompted the authorities to prohibit shipping and sailing in parts of the White Sea for a month, according to officials and news media reports.
     Russia’s military said that the fire occurred when a liquid-fueled rocket engine exploded at the testing site, but that radiation levels remained at normal background levels, contradicting reports from the municipal authorities in nearby Severodvinsk. It was the second lethal accident involving the Russian Navy in just over a month."
     The Russian military generally has been slow to admit accidents and harm that may stem from them. However, the Russian military has confirmed that radioactive material was involved in the event, and that there was a spread of radiation ( Andrew E. Kramer, "Russia Confirms Radioactive Materials Were Involved in Deadly Blast Andrew E. Kramer, August 10, 2019, https://www.nytimes.com/2019/08/10/world/europe/russia-explosion-radiation.html).


      Amy Qin, "Air Pollution Is Linked to Miscarriages in China, Study Finds: A new study published on Monday adds to growing evidence of the negative health effects of air pollution on pregnant women and their fetuses," The New York Times, October 14, 2019, https://www.nytimes.com/2019/10/14/world/asia/china-air-pollution-miscarriages-study.html, reported, " Researchers in China have found a significant link between air pollution and the risk of miscarriage, according to a new scientific paper released on Monday.
      While air pollution is connected to a greater risk of respiratory diseases , strokes and heart attacks , the new findings could add more urgency to Beijing’s efforts to curb the problem, which has long plagued Chinese cities. Faced with a rapidly aging population, the government has been trying to increase the national birthrate, which dropped last year to the lowest level since 1949.
     In a study published in the journal Nature Sustainability , scientists from five Chinese universities examined the rate of missed abortions in the first trimester, which can occur in up to 15 percent of pregnancies."


      Lisa Friedman, "E.P.A. to Roll Back Rules to Control Toxic Ash from Coal Plants," The New York Times, October 31, 2019, https://www.nytimes.com/2019/10/31/climate/epa-coal-ash.html, reported, " The Trump administration is expected to roll back an Obama-era regulation meant to limit the leaching of heavy metals like arsenic, lead and mercury into water supplies from the ash of coal-fired power plants, according to two people familiar with the plans.
     With a series of new rules expected in the coming days, the Environmental Protection Agency will move to weaken the 2015 regulation that would have strengthened inspection and monitoring at coal plants, lowered acceptable levels of toxic effluent and required plants to install new technology to protect water supplies from contaminated coal ash
."


      Lisa Friedman, "E.P.A. to Limit Science Used to Write Public Health Rules," November, 11, 2019, https://www.nytimes.com/2019/11/11/climate/epa-science-trump.html, reported, " The Trump administration is preparing to significantly limit the scientific and medical research that the government can use to determine public health regulations, overriding protests from scientists and physicians who say the new rule would undermine the scientific underpinnings of government policymaking.
     A new draft of the Environmental Protection Agency proposal, titled Strengthening Transparency in Regulatory Science, would require that scientists disclose all of their raw data, including confidential medical records, before the agency could consider an academic study’s conclusions. E.P.A. officials called the plan a step toward transparency and said the disclosure of raw data would allow conclusions to be verified independently."


      Jake Johnson, "'Disgusting and Disturbing': Trump Guts Endangered Species Act in Gift to Big Business: "This administration seems set on damaging fragile ecosystems by prioritizing industry interests over science,'" Common Dreams, August 12, 2019, https://www.commondreams.org/news/2019/08/12/disgusting-and-disturbing-trump-guts-endangered-species-act-gift-big-business, reported, " Environmentalists denounced the Trump administration for crashing a bulldozer through the Endangered Species Act on Monday after the Interior Department finalized a series of rollbacks to the 46-year-old law that will further imperil hundreds of vulnerable animal and plant species while paving the way for business development projects.
     'We are in the midst of an unprecedented extinction crisis, yet the Trump administration is steamrolling our most effective wildlife protection law, Rebecca Riley, legal director of the nature program at the Natural Resources Defense Council, said in a statement. This administration seems set on damaging fragile ecosystems by prioritizing industry interests over science.'
     As the New York Times reported, the Trump administration's rollbacks will very likely clear the way for new mining, oil and gas drilling, and development in areas where protected species live.'
     Noah Greenwald, the Center for Biological Diversity's endangered species director, said the dramatic rule changes could be the beginning of the end for hundreds of species such as wolverines and monarch butterflies.
     'We'll fight the Trump administration in court to block this rewrite, which only serves the oil industry and other polluters who see endangered species as pesky inconveniences,'
     said Greenwald.
      The Washington Post (https://www.washingtonpost.com/climate-environment/2019/08/12/new-trump-rules-weaken-wildlife-protections/) summarized the Trump administration's sweeping changes to the widely popular law:
      Potential threats to business opportunities and other costs of listing a species [as endangered] must now be considered and shared with the public...
     The administration will also shrink the number of habitats set aside for threatened wildlife. Currently, land that plants and animals occupy is set aside for their protection, in addition to areas that they once occupied but abandoned.
     For the threatened species, unoccupied habitat might not be protected, opening it up for oil and gas exploration or other forms of development
.
     Conservationists and some politicians decried the changes as a major rollback of the 46-year-old law credited with saving the bald eagle, grizzly bear, humpback whale, American alligator, and Florida manatee from extinction.
     The administration's rollbacks, which sparked a torrent of public opposition, come just months after a dire United Nations report warned that human activity has pushed a million plant and animal species to the brink of extinction.
     The Sierra Club said in a statement that the administration's far-reaching rule changes, which the group dubbed Trump's extinction plan, will accelerate that alarming trend.
     'Undermining this popular and successful law is a major step in the wrong direction as we face the increasing challenges of climate change and its effects on wildlife," said Lena Moffitt, director of Sierra Club's Our Wild America campaign. "The Endangered Species Act works; our communities—both natural and human—have reaped the benefits. This safety net must be preserved.'
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      Andrea Germanos, "Trump Administration Reauthorizes Cyanide Bombs to Kill US Wildlife: Conservation groups say the devices are indiscriminate killers that should be banned," Common Dreams, August 9, 2019, https://www.commondreams.org/news/2019/08/09/trump-administration-reauthorizes-cyanide-bombs-kill-us-wildlife, reported, " Brushing off overwhelming public opposition, the Trump administration this week re-approved the use of so-called cyanide bombs to kill wild animals on public lands.
     Known officially as M-44s, the devices can't be used safely by anyone, anywhere,'
said Collette Adkins, carnivore conservation director at the Center for Biological Diversity, noting that they claim the lives of target animals like coyotes as well as non-target animals including foxes, bears, and family pets.
     The announcement was posted in the Federal Register, authorizing their use on an interim basis—until a final decision can be made in 2021, as Newsweek reported. It authorizes their use by Wildlife Services, a program of the U.S. Department of Agriculture, and by state agencies in South Dakota, Montana, Wyoming, New Mexico, and Texas, said the Center for Biological Diversity.
     Wildlife Services—which has been in the crosshairs of animal welfare and conservation groups—says its mission is to resolve wildlife conflicts to allow people and wildlife to coexist. However, critics like the Humane Society say (pdf) it has shown a preference for lethal methods in resolving conflicts and has been exterminating wildlife as a government subsidy for private ranchers and other special interests, using inhumane and ineffective methods, while the U.S. taxpayers foot a large share of the bill.'
     Agence France-Presse reported:
     'The devices, known as M-44s, which are implanted in the ground and resemble lawn sprinklers, use a spring-loaded ejector to release sodium cyanide when an animal tugs on its baited capsule holder.
      The government halted the use of the devices last year after one of them was responsible for injuring a boy and killing his dog in Idaho.'
     BBC News added:
     But the EPA has decided they are still safe for use, after support from rancher groups and stakeholders including farmers groups.
     It said that the cyanide bombs stopped predators from killing livestock and that a ban would result in farmers losing money.
     The Center for Biological Diversity, in a tweet, called M-44s horrific death traps.'
     When the EPA earlier this year proposed their reinstatement, the Center for Biological Diversity and Western Environmental Law Center analyzed a batch of over 22,000 public comments.
      Public sentiment was clear, said the groups, as 99.9 percent of people supported a ban on the cyanide bombs.
     The conservation groups also pointed to Wildlife Services own data showing that out of the nearly 6,600 animals it killed in 2018, over 200 were non-target animals—a death toll they say is likely an under-count.
      'EPA is blatantly ignoring its fundamental duty to protect the public, our pets, and native wildlife from the cruel, lethal impacts of cyanide bombs lurking on our public lands,'
     said Kelly Nokes, a wildlife attorney with the Western Environmental Law Center.The EPA did add restrictions—including increasing the amount of space between a public roadway and the devices, and the distance between warning signs and the cyanide bombs—but those changes did little to assuage conservation groups concerns.
     'Tightening up use restrictions is turning a blind eye to the reality of M-44s, said Brooks Fahy, executive director of Predator Defense.
     'In my 25 years working with M-44 victims I've learned that Wildlife Services agents frequently do not follow the use restrictions. And warning signs will not prevent more dogs, wild animals, and potentially children from being killed, he continued. They cannot read them.'
     'M-44s are a safety menace, said Fahy, and must be banned'
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      Lisa Friedman, "Court Blocks Trump’s Plan to Ease Bird Protections on Oil Lands," The New York Times, October 16, 2019, https://www.nytimes.com/2019/10/16/climate/trump-sage-grouse.html, reported, "A federal judge on Wednesday blocked the Trump administration’s plan to ease protections for an iconic bird that makes its home on millions of acres of oil and gas-rich sagebrush lands, dealing a blow to government efforts to allow more drilling, mining and logging in the west.
     Judge B. Lynn Winmill of the United States District Court for the District of Idaho granted a preliminary injunction that suspends efforts by the Department of Interior’s Bureau of Land Management to weaken protections for the bird, known as the greater sage grouse , in ten states.
      While the halt is temporary, the judge indicated that the environmental organizations that brought the legal challenge — arguing that the Interior Department failed to consider reasonable alternatives and did not thoroughly examine the environmental consequences of its actions — is likely to prevail."


      The Minnesota Court of appeals stayed the water quality permit for the proposed OlyMet copper-nickel mine in northeast Minnesota, ruling the permit did not fit the concerns expressed in the process of considering it ("Minnesota appeals court blocks key permit for PolyMet mine," NFIC, August 2019).


      Jake Johnson, "Alarming' Explosion of Toxic Pesticide Use Causing Insect Apocalypse in United States: Study: Insect abundance has declined 45 percent. This is a global crisis—we must ban neonics to save the bees!'" Common Dreams, August 7, 2019, https://www.commondreams.org/news/2019/08/07/alarming-explosion-toxic-pesticide-use-causing-insect-apocalypse-united-states-study, reported, " The rapid and dangerous decline of the insect population in the United States—often called an insect apocalypse by scientists—has largely been driven by an increase in the toxicity of U.S. agriculture caused by the use of neonicotinoid pesticides, according to a study published Tuesday in the journal PLOS One.
      The study found that American agriculture has become 48 times more toxic to insects over the past 25 years and pinned 92 percent of the toxicity increase on neonicotinoids, which were banned by the European Union last year due to the threat they pose to bees and other pollinators.
     Kendra Klein, Ph.D., study co-author and senior staff scientist at Friends of the Earth, said the United States must follow Europe's lead and ban the toxic pesticides before it is too late.'It is alarming that U.S. agriculture has become so much more toxic to insect life in the past two decades, Klein said in a statement. We need to phase out neonicotinoid pesticides to protect bees and other insects that are critical to biodiversity and the farms that feed us.'
      'Congress must pass the Saving America's Pollinators Act to ban neonicotinoids, Klein added. In addition, we need to rapidly shift our food system away from dependence on harmful pesticides and toward organic farming methods that work with nature rather than against it.'
      According to National Geographic, neonics are used on over 140 different agricultural crops in more than 120 countries. They attack the central nervous system of insects, causing overstimulation of their nerve cells, paralysis, and death.'
      With insect populations declining due to neonic use, the numbers of insect-eating birds have plummeted in recent decades, National Geographic reported. 'There's also been a widespread decline in nearly all bird species.'
     As Common Dreams reported in February , scientists warned in a global analysis that by decimating insect populations, widespread use of pesticides poses a serious threat to the planet's ecosystems and ultimately to the survival of humankind.
     Klein said the good news is that neonics are not at all necessary for food production.
      'We have four decades of research and evidence that agroecological farming methods can grow our food without decimating pollinators, said Klein.
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      Julia Conley, "Study Predicts Frightening Future for North American Birds, With Two-Thirds of Species Extinct by 2100 If Earth Warms More Than 1.5 Degrees: There's hope in this report, but first, it'll break your heart if you care about birds and what they tell us about the ecosystems we share with them. It's a bird emergency,'" Common Dreams, October 11, 2019, https://www.commondreams.org/news/2019/10/11/study-predicts-frightening-future-north-american-birds-two-thirds-species-extinct, reported, "In a new study published Thursday by the National Audubon Society, scientists say that saving hundreds of bird species from extinction by the end of this century is entirely possible—but that without commitment from policymakers to end human-caused global warming, two-thirds of North America's birds could be gone by 2100.
     The report, "Survival by Degrees: Bird Species on the Brink," found that 389 out of 604 North American bird species are at risk of extinction by 2100 if the Earth's temperature rises by 3 to 5º Celsius, as it's projected to if the current trend of emitting millions of tons of carbon each year continues.
     The Society released its report less than a month after the Bird Conservancy of the Rockies revealed that nearly a third of North American birds—about three billion—were lost over the last five decades.
     Thursday's study predicts "an even more frightening future" unless the climate crisis is stopped, Audubon Society CEO David Yarnold said in a statement.
     The group looked at 140 million bird records and measured the effects of sea level rise, urbanization, and extreme heat on bird populations. Many of the changes caused by increased carbon in the atmosphere will drastically reduce the range in which birds are able to live, the study found.
     'Birds will be forced to relocate to find favorable homes, reads the report. And they may not survive.'
     The Audubon Society created an interactive graphic allowing users to view how warming of 3º Celsius or more would affect various species versus warming of 1.5º, which the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change says is the upper limit for global warming in order to avoid the worst effects of the climate crisis.
     The bobolink, which lives in the northern U.S. and southern Canada, would lose 88 percent of its current habitat range by 2100 if policymakers don't pass laws to help limit the warming of the globe, and would be forced to move north. The species would lose only 43 percent of its range if the Earth warms 1.5º Celsius.
      Other birds at risk for drastic habitat loss include the Baltimore oriole, the saltmarsh sparrow, and the purple finch.
      The prediction of an extreme loss of bird species by 2100 also points to danger for humans as well, the Audubon Society said.
     'Birds are important indicator species, because if an ecosystem is broken for birds, it is or soon will be for people too
, said Brooke Bateman, senior climate scientist for the Society.
     But the group stressed that with commitment from government leaders around the world, more than three-quarters of bird species in North America are expected to have far greater outcomes at the end of the century, retaining more of their habitats.
      'By stabilizing carbon emissions and holding warming to [1.5º Celsius] above pre-industrial levels, 76 percent of vulnerable species will be better off, and nearly 150 species would no longer be vulnerable to extinction from climate change, the report reads.
     Renee Stone, the group's vice president for climate, called on the public to make clear to election officials that reducing carbon emissions to net zero in the next decade, and therefore stemming the crisis, is a top priority for them.
     'We already know what we need to do to reduce global warming, and we already have a lot of the tools we need to take those steps. Now, what we need are more people committed to making sure those solutions are put into practice, said Stone.
     While there's hope in this report, Yarnold said, it'll break your heart if you care about birds and what they tell us about the ecosystems we share with them. It's a bird emergency.'
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      In addition to many species of birds being threatened with extinction, most of those who survive, though in most cases in smaller numbers, in most instances will have to shift where they live in the face of changing climate. For example, Brad Plumer, "These State Birds May Be Forced Out of Their States as the World Warms," The New York Times, October 10, 2019, https://www.nytimes.com/2019/10/10/climate/state-birds-climate-change.html, reported, " Each state in America has an official state bird, usually an iconic species that helps define the landscape. Minnesota chose the common loon, whose haunting wails echo across the state’s northern lakes each summer. Georgia picked the brown thrasher, a fiercely territorial bird with a repertoire of more than 1,000 song types.
     But as the planet warms and birds across the country relocate to escape the heat, at least eight states could see their state birds largely or entirely disappear from within their borders during the summer, according to a new study (available at: https://www.audubon.org/climate/survivalbydegrees)."


     "Save the Bees: Ban Bee Killing Pesticides," Action Network reported by E-mail, September 13, 3019, https://actionnetwork.org/petitions/i-support-local-action-to-ban-bee-killing-pesticides/, reported, " Bees are declining at an alarming rate. Last winter, bee-keepers reported that nearly 40% of their hives died suddenly, an all-time record. Bees are already facing a dire threat from global climate change, and bee-killing pesticides could push bee species to extinction."


     Steve Mashuda, "Court Rules In Key Case To Protect One Of Earth’s Rarest Whales: Victory: A federal court bars use of entangling nets in vital right whale habitat," Earthjustice, October 29, 2019, https://earthjustice.org/news/press/2019/critically-endangered-north-atlantic-right-whales-court-rules-to-protect-from-fishing-gear, reported, " A federal court has ruled that federal fisheries managers failed to protect critically endangered North Atlantic right whales when opening nearly 3,000 square miles of previously protected New England marine waters to dangerous fishing gear.
     There are only around 400 North Atlantic right whales left on earth. In response to litigation from the Conservation Law Foundation (CLF) and Earthjustice, the court ordered that, until the government complies with wildlife and fishery protection laws, it must not allow a certain type of entangling fishing gear in areas where right whales are known to gather."


      Marissa Higgins, " On remote islands, plastic pollution confused, trapped, and killed half a million hermit crabs," Daily Kos, December 5, 2019, https://www.dailykos.com/stories/2019/12/5/1903748/-On-remote-islands-plastic-pollution-is-confusing-trapping-and-killing-hermit-crabs?detail=emaildkre, reported, " More than half a million hermit crabs have died after getting stuck in plastic pollution on two remote tropical island groups, according to a new study. Researchers behind the study, published in the Journal of Hazardous Materials, say that plastic pollution served as deadly traps for the crabs. The result? Tons of dead hermit crabs—and bigger picture concerns about ecosystems and tourism. Researchers estimate that around 508,000 hermit crabs in the four Cocos Islands in the Indian Ocean died this way, while about 61,000 on Henderson Island in the Pacific Ocean met the same fate.
      Loss of hermit crabs could have a real impact on ecosystems , as hermit crabs fertilize the soil and disperse seeds."  


      Liz Karan, "High Seas Treaty Advances, Could Protect Last Global Common: August meeting offers U.N. chance to negotiate safeguards for marine biodiversity," Pew Charitable Trust, August 19, 2019, https://www.pewtrusts.org/en/research-and-analysis/articles/2019/08/19/high-seas-treaty-advances-could-protect-last-global-common, reported, "From August 19 to 30, an intergovernmental conference will convene at the United Nations in New York to continue negotiations toward a treaty to ensure the conservation and sustainable use of the high seas—the two-thirds of the world’s ocean beyond the jurisdiction of any country.
     At this meeting—the third of four substantive sessions— governments will be working to agree on the details of a global mechanism to establish marine protected areas and standards for assessing the environmental impacts of human activities in these international waters. The high seas are currently governed by a patchwork of international bodies that is failing to protect this vast and ecologically vital wilderness, which is also the last global common.
      The recent Global Assessment Report on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services , prepared by 145 experts from 50 countries, found that roughly 66 percent of Earth’s marine environment has been significantly altered by human activity, and that the numbers and health of flora and fauna are declining globally at rates unprecedented in human history. This is due to numerous factors, including climate change, and to help slow the damage and better safeguard biodiversity, the report recommended expanding the current network of marine protected areas.
     In another international forum, the Convention on Biological Diversity, governments are starting to call for protecting and conserving at least 30 percent of the ocean and sustainable management of the whole ocean by 2030. With this backdrop, the U.N. talks to protect the high seas are taking place at a critical time. It is now up to world leaders to finalize this treaty before humankind runs out of chances to secure the health of our oceans for present and future generations."


     "Tell Credit Suisse to Ditch Norway’s Ocean Dumpers! They won’t get our fjord,'" Earthworks, August 8, 2019, http://org.salsalabs.com/o/676/p/dia/action4/common/public/?action_KEY=23753&okay=true, stated, " Since 2016 Sámi Indigenous People have said no to the Nussir copper mine that would dump 30 million tonnes of mine tailings into their fjord. This pollution will smother important fishing grounds and threaten the Sámi way of life.But the mine is moving forward, thanks to Credit Suisse.
      Credit Suisse props up Nussir, along with other irresponsible companies whose mines threaten ecosystems and Indigenous communities. Mine waste dumping is an outdated practice that should be banned once and for all - not backed by big banks.
     Take Action: Sign the petition calling on Credit Suisse to respect Sámi Indigenous communities and Ditch Ocean Dumping."
     
     
No rest for Australian activists: Adani received approval for the enormous Carmichael Mine, which plans to export coal through the Great Barrier Reef. Snap climate emergency actions are being held across the country in response. More on the approval: https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2019/jun/14/campaigners-criticise-reckless-approval-adani-mine-australia."


      Jessica Corbett, "Example of Unknown Unknowns, Study Detailing Almost Instant Mortality of Corals Suggests Crisis Worse Than Previously Understood: The water temperatures are so warm that the coral animal doesn't bleach... the animal dies and its underlying skeleton is all that remains,'" Common Dreams, August 9, 2019, https://www.commondreams.org/news/2019/08/09/example-unknown-unknowns-study-detailing-almost-instant-mortality-corals-suggests, reported, " As the human-caused climate crisis drives up ocean temperatures at a rate that has scientists worried, a study published Thursday in the journal Current Biology reveals that warming waters are an even bigger threat to coral reefs than experts previously realized.
     Past research has raised alarm about how ocean pollution and rising temperatures cause coral bleaching—which is when coral expels algae, its main food source, and turns white. Although more susceptible to disease and death, bleached coral can recover if temperatures fall, so some scientists have been hopeful that urgent climate action could revive impacted reefs.However, the new study—conducted by researchers at the University of New South Wales Sydney, the University of Newcastle, the University of Technology Sydney, James Cook University, and the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)—heightens concerns about the future of coral reefs in a warming world.According to the study:
      Severe marine heatwaves have recently become a common feature of global ocean conditions due to a rapidly changing climate. These increasingly severe thermal conditions are causing an unprecedented increase in the frequency and severity of mortality events in marine ecosystems, including on coral reefs... [M]arine heatwave events on coral reefs are biologically distinct to how coral bleaching has been understood to date.
     "Until now, we have described coral bleaching as an event where the symbiotic relationship between coral and its microbes breaks down and corals lose their main source of nutrition, and the coral can die if the symbiosis is not restored,
co-author Tracy Ainsworth, an associate professor at Australia's University of New South Wales Sydney, explained in a statement.
     'But what we are now seeing is that severe marine heatwave events can have a far more severe impact than coral bleaching, Ainsworth continued. 'The water temperatures are so warm that the coral animal doesn't bleach—in terms of a loss of its symbiosis—the animal dies and its underlying skeleton is all that remains.'
     'We find that the skeleton is immediately overgrown by rapid growth of algae and bacteria, said co-author Bill Leggat, an associate professor at the U.K.'s University of Newcastle. By CT scanning the coral skeleton, Leggat said, the team found that this process is devastating not just for the animal tissue, but also for the skeleton that is left behind, which is rapidly eroded and weakened.'
     Laura Richardson at the U.K.-based Bangor University's School of Ocean Sciences—who was not involved in the study— told BBC News that the team's significant discovery was 'the rapidity with which the reef skeleton breaks down when you have these severe heatwaves.'
     
They are the first researchers, as Richardson noted, to document that such events are causing 'almost instant mortality of corals.'
     'Climate scientists talk about unknown unknowns'—impacts that we haven't anticipated from existing knowledge and experience, said study co-author Scott Heron of Australia's James Cook University. This discovery fits into this category.'
     'As we begin now to understand this impact," Heron added, "the question is how many more of these unknown unknowns might there still be that could bring faster and greater damage to coral reefs from climate change.'
     Though the study generated alarm, the researchers expressed hope that it will spur public outcry for policymakers to pursue bolder efforts to combat the climate crisis—and, specifically, protect coral reefs, particularly considering the anticipated consequences of inaction.
     PBS News Hour reported that 'without the option to recover, the world may start seeing corals die off faster than expected. And the death of corals would come with a steep cost for humans: flood protection that's worth tens of millions in the U.S. alone, plus an estimated value of almost $30 billion each year globally in tourism, fishing, and other benefits.'
     'Across the globe coral reefs are still a source of inspiration and awe of the natural world, as well as being critically important to the communities that rely upon them, said Ainsworth. 'Given that the degradation of coral reefs will result in the collapse of ecosystem services that sustain over half a billion people, we urgently need actions both globally and locally that protect and conserve these truly wonderful places.'
     Our work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 License."


     
Walter Einenkel, " Alaska's water temperatures have been so hot this summer that salmon are dying off in large numbers," Daily Kos, August 21, 2019, https://www.dailykos.com/stories/2019/8/21/1880433/-Alaska-s-water-temperatures-have-been-so-hot-this-summer-that-salmon-are-dying-off-in-large-numbers?detail=emaildkre, reported, " Salmon are showing up dead in record numbers across Western Alaska this summer, and scientists believe it is due to an unprecedented heat wave. Stephanie Quinn-Davidson, a scientist and director of the Yukon Inter-Tribal Fish Commission, led a group of fellow scientists to investigate along the Koyokuk River and counted “850 dead unspawned salmon on that expedition, although they estimated the total was likely four to 10 times larger.” The scientists saw no signs of disease or infections. These salmon, they believe, are dying off in record numbers due to the heat."


      "Save the Bees: Ban Bee Killing Pesticides," Action Network reported by E-mail, September 13, 3019, https://actionnetwork.org/petitions/i-support-local-action-to-ban-bee-killing-pesticides/, reported, " Bees are declining at an alarming rate. Last winter, bee-keepers reported that nearly 40% of their hives died suddenly, an all-time record. Bees are already facing a dire threat from global climate change, and bee-killing pesticides could push bee species to extinction."


      Warming weather with mild winters allowing wasps to survive, in spring 2019, brought an increase of super wasp nests with up to 18,000 aggressive wasps from the usual one or two to perhaps 90. The wasps are quite territorial, and pose a serious danger to people, sometimes for quite young people ("Officials Warn of Wasp ‘Super Nests’ in Alabama: A colony can grow to be as big as a Volkswagen Beetle and can have 15,000 wasps. The last time scientists saw such an unusually high number of enormous nests was in 2006Officials Warn of Wasp ‘Super Nests’ in Alabama," The New York Times, June 30, 2019, https://www.nytimes.com/2019/06/30/climate/yellow-jackets-wasp-nests.html).


     Michael Gerstein, "Game and Fish joins pact to protect Mexican gray wolf," Santa Fe New Mexican, November 14, 2019, reported, " The New Mexico Department of Game and Fish announced Thursday that it has joined a federal and state Mexican gray wolf protection pact.
     The head of the department and director of the New Mexico State Game Commission signed a document with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to work together on a plan to protect the endangered species at a signing ceremony Wednesday, according to the department."
     "The Arizona Game and Fish Department, White Mountain Apache Tribe, U.S. Forest Service, U.S. Bureau of Land Management and other agencies are also part of the recovery pact."


      Kai Schultz, "India’s Wild Tiger Population Rises, Despite Conflict With Humans," The New York Times, July 29, 2019, https://www.nytimes.com/2019/07/29/world/asia/india-tiger.htmlm, reported, " India’s population of endangered Bengal tigers is on the rise, officials said Monday.
     According to a government estimate, there are nearly 3,000 Bengal tigers in the wild in India, a 33 percent increase since 2014. Wildlife experts say better safety monitoring and stricter wildlife policies have helped the tiger population grow to its largest in about two decades."
     "But as the number of tigers has increased, so have the human-tiger conflicts in India, a country of 1.3 billion."


      Palko Karasz, "200 Reindeer Starved to Death. Experts Call It a Sign of Climate Change," The New York Times, July 31, 2019, https://www.nytimes.com/2019/07/31/world/europe/norway-reindeer-climate-change.html, reported, " Two hundred reindeer died of starvation last winter on a remote Arctic archipelago, researchers in Norway reported, highlighting what they said were the effects of climate change on vulnerable ecosystems."
     "Ashild Onvik Pedersen, a terrestrial ecologist at the institute, said on Wednesday that climate change had increased the frequency and amount of rain in the high Arctic. Heavy winter rains had then turned to ice, preventing reindeer from reaching their usual vegetation."


      Richard Walker, "Seven ways tribes are repairing the Salish Sea and Washington waterways," ICT, June 20, 2019, https://newsmaven.io/indiancountrytoday/news/seven-ways-tribes-are-repairing-the-salish-sea-and-washington-waterways-VRALLUa5hkqZ9WD-rUqT4Q/, reported, " Tribal nations in Washington state are facing environmental challenges ranging from protecting wildlife habitats and waterways to protecting the livelihood of Washington state residents from toxic chemicals that have been released into the environment and water for decades.
     Here are seven eco-disasters affecting Washington tribes as well as efforts to improve the waters on which all inhabitants depend
.
      Everything interrelates: The Salish Sea Campaign
     
Due to a consistent decline in the number of orcas that inhabit the Salish Sea, the Lummi Nation launched the Salish Sea Campaign on June 15 at the Olympic Sculpture Park in Seattle, calling for communities of the Salish Sea to stand together to protect the Southern resident orcas from extinction."
     "All representatives called for several initiatives to include a study on the cumulative impacts of human-caused stressors to the Salish Sea; a moratorium on any new stressors until salmon populations have been restored to 1985 levels; ceremonial feedings of the qwe’ lhol mechen — the Lummi name for orca, meaning our relations below the waves — and the development of a multi-phased pilot project to save the Southern resident orcas."
      "Seeking to restore balance between Salmon and Sea Lions
     The good news: The California and Steller sea lion populations have rebounded since the passage of the Marine Mammal Protection Act in 1972, according to state Fish and Wildlife regional director Kessina Lee. But that’s meant bad news for endangered and threatened fish populations that are trying to rebuild.
     Sea lions have been preying on those fish, particularly at Bonneville Dam, the first dam on the river that salmon and steelhead encounter, as they make their way upriver to spawn. As a result, the Washington state Department of Fish and Wildlife and Treaty Tribes are seeking permission from the National Marine Fisheries Service to “lethally remove” sea lions preying on threatened and endangered salmon and steelhead runs in the Columbia River and its tributaries."
     “ Teck Metals’ decades of toxic waste into the Upper Columbia River
     For over 65 years, the industrial company Teck Metals has been intentionally discharging millions of tons of slag into the Upper Columbia River affecting the Colville Tribes. In December 2018, people living downriver from Trail, British Columbia in Canada filed a class action lawsuit against Teck Metals, claiming high rates of disease which they have attributed to pollution from the smelter. According to extensive reporting by CBC News in Canada, Teck Metals has a history of dumping and spills at its smelter (an installation or factory for smelting a metal from its ore) in Trail, British Columbia."
     "In September of 2018, the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled Teck Metals was liable for discharging several million tons of toxic wastes into the river. Teck Metals appealed and the U.S. Supreme Court declined on June 11 to hear the company’s appeal of a decision awarding more than $8 million in costs to the Colville Tribes for cleanup of the company’s toxic waste into the upper Columbia River."
     " The Lower Duwamish River: Owners agree to cleanup
     The Lower Duwamish River was modified beginning in the mid-1800s to accommodate industries that used the river to ship their products near and far via Puget Sound and the Pacific Ocean.
     But those companies were not always careful about what went into the water, and a five-mile stretch of the lower river is now a Superfund clean-up site. Two of those property owners have agreed to cleanup plans." The industry-lined Duwamish River has been polluted for a hundred years or more and its bottom five miles ruled a Superfund site.One owner of a 1.3-acre industrial property on the lower Duwamish has agreed to clean a portion of the site and test all of it for soil and groundwater contamination, a step toward planning a future final cleanup.
     " Congress voices concern about proposed Upper Skagit River copper mine
     Nine members of Congress from Washington state have written U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, voicing opposition to a proposed mine in the headwaters of the Upper Skagit River in British Columbia. They say mining could harm downriver wildlife and habitats and would “undercut the spirit” of a 1984 treaty between the United States and Canada relating to the Skagit River and Ross Lake."
     " For the love of salmon: Washington Gov. Jay Inslee pledges nearly $275 million for culvert replacement
     Washington Gov. Jay Inslee, a candidate for the Democratic presidential nomination, recently used his budget transfer authority to direct the state Department of Transportation to allocate $275 million toward replacement of culverts that block fish migration.
     The legislature had appropriated $100 million to the effort."


      Louis Sahagun, Phil Willon, "California becomes first state to ban fur trapping after Gov. Newsom signs law," The Los Angeles Times, September 4, 2019, https://www.latimes.com/california/story/2019-09-04/fur-trapping-ban-california-law, reported, " California has enacted a new ban on fur trapping for animal pelts, making it the first state to outlaw a centuries-old livelihood that was intertwined with the rise of the Western frontier."


     Global Citizen, " It’s Now Illegal to Distribute Plastic Bags in Panama ," July 24, 2019, https://www.globalcitizen.org/en/content/panama-plastic-bag-ban/, reported, " The country just banned plastic bags from supermarkets, retailers, and pharmacies in a major effort to end the waste crisis."


      Anemona Hartocollis, "Less Trash, More Schools — One Plastic Brick at a Time," The New York Times, July 27, 2019, https://www.nytimes.com/2019/07/27/world/africa/recycled-plastic-school-building-conceptos-plasticos.html, reported that in, the Ivory Coast plastic garbage collected by a women’s group is being recycled into bricks and used to build schools.


      Jessica Corbett, "Scientists Urge UN to Add Environmental Destruction to Geneva Conventions List of War Crimes: Despite calls for a fifth convention two decades ago, military conflict continues to destroy megafauna, push species to extinction, and poison water resources," Common Dreams, July 24, 2019, https://www.commondreams.org/news/2019/07/24/scientists-urge-un-add-environmental-destruction-geneva-conventions-list-war-crimes, reported, " In a letter to the editor published Tuesday by the journal Nature, two dozen scientists from around the world urged the United Nations International Law Commission to adopt a Fifth Geneva Convention that creates protections for the environment in armed conflicts."


      Christopher Flavelle, "Climate Fwd," The New York Times, September 11, 2019, via-Emil, "When the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration rebuked its own meteorologists on Friday for contradicting President Trump, the uproar that followed demonstrated more than the usual concern over political interference in science.
     That pushback, which now includes inquiries from both Congress and the inspector general responsible for NOAA , reflects a deeper anxiety: The notion that one of the country’s leading science agencies, which has thus far received more autonomy from Mr. Trump’s White House than other parts of the federal government, might now be losing that autonomy."

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U.S. Developments


     Many of the reports in this issue of U.S. government legislation, agency action, and court decisions are informed by electronic flyers from Hobbs, Straus, Dean and Walker, LLP, 2120 L Street NW, Suite 700, Washington, DC 20037, http://www.hobbsstraus.com. Reports from Indian Country Today, from the web, are listed as from ICT. Reports from News From Indian Country Today are listed as from NFIC.

U.S. Government Developments

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Presidential Actions


      Kolby KickingWoman, "Trump establishes ‘Operation Lady Justice’ task force," ICT, November 26, 2019, https://newsmaven.io/indiancountrytoday/news/trump-establishes-operation-lady-justice-task-force-bLWSI2bWVEyvxvuwz3rr6w/, reported, " President Donald J. Trump signed an executive order creating a White House task force on missing and slain American Indians and Alaska Natives.
     The task force will be overseen by Attorney General William Barr and Interior Secretary David Bernhardt. It is tasked with developing protocols to apply to new and unsolved cases and creating a multi-jurisdictional team to review cold cases."
     "The National Institute of Justice estimates that 1.5 million Native American women have experienced violence in their lifetime, including many who are victims of sexual violence. On some reservations, federal studies have shown women are killed at a rate over 10 times the national average."

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Congressional Developments


     "Congress Passes FUTURE Act Supporting Tribal Colleges and Universities," NCAI, December 11, 2019, http://www.ncai.org/news/articles/2019/12/11/congress-passes-future-act-supporting-tribal-colleges-and-universities, reported, "Yesterday, in a 316-92 vote, the U.S. House of Representatives passed a Senate-amended version of the Fostering Undergraduate Talent by Unlocking Resources for Education (FUTURE) Act. On the same day, the Senate passed the FUTURE Act by a voice vote.
     'Tribal Colleges and Universities fulfill a fundamental role in supporting American Indian and Alaska Native higher education and maintaining, preserving, and revitalizing irreplaceable American Indian and Alaska Native languages and cultural traditions, said Kevin J. Allis, Chief Executive Officer of the National Congress of American Indians. We are thrilled to see the House pass the FUTURE Act, which provides Tribal Colleges and Universities funding for student support services, faculty development, academic curriculum, classroom construction and modernization, courses to strengthen our tribal nations, and many other important educational activities.'
      
      The FUTURE Act permanently extends mandatory funding at current levels for the following types of higher education institutions: Tribal Colleges and Universities at $30 million, Alaska Native-Serving Institutions and Native Hawaiian-Serving Institutions at $15 million, and Native American-Serving Non-tribal Institutions at $5 million. In addition, the FUTURE Act streamlines the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) verification process.
     
     The FUTURE Act (H.R. 5363)
now heads to the President for his signature.
     
     To view NCAI’s resolution supporting this legislation, please click here: http://www.ncai.org/REN-19-038_FINAL.pdf.
      
     To view NCAI’s letter of support for this legislation, please click here."


     "Congress Passes the Esther Martinez Native Languages Programs Reauthorization Act," NCIA, 9, 2019, http://www.ncai.org/news/articles/2019/12/09/congress-passes-the-esther-martinez-native-languages-programs-reauthorization-act, reported, "Today, in a voice vote, the U.S. House of Representatives passed the Esther Martinez Native Languages Programs Reauthorization Act.
     'The protection and preservation of our Native languages is crucial to the cultural identities and lifeways of tribal citizens and the overall sustainability of tribal nations, said Kevin J. Allis, Chief Executive Officer of the National Congress of American Indians. We are thrilled to see the House pass the Esther Martinez Native Languages Programs Reauthorization Act, which provides tribal nations the critical resources needed to ensure Native languages continue to be spoken for generations to come. We appreciate Representative Luján and Senator Udall’s tireless efforts to get this important legislation through Congress.'
      The passage of the Esther Martinez Native Languages Programs Reauthorization Act comes after the U.S. Senate passed the bill in June by voice vote.
     The act reauthorizes two Native American language programs until 2024 and expands eligibility for smaller-sized tribal nations by reducing classroom size requirements. In addition, the bill expands potential funding from three to five years for both programs
.
     The Esther Martinez Native Languages Programs Reauthorization Act will now head to the President for his signature.
     To view NCAI’s resolution supporting this legislation, please click here: http://www.ncai.org/attachments/Resolution_rSMesZOspDnVpUdGPCppbqTbdCQWTFEsduavSLifpwyQGjeUteA_REN-19-026.pdf.
     
     To view NCAI’s letter of support for this legislation, please click here: http://www.ncai.org/NCAI_Esther_Martinez_Support_Letter_S._256_and__H.R._912.pdf."


     The Senate passed the Respect Act, in November 2019, which would repeal several outdated federal laws that discriminate against American Indians and Alaska Natives, including measures that would subject Native people to forced labor and to having their children forced to go to boarding schools ("Bill to repeal outdated laws passes Senate," Navajo Times, November 27, 2019).


     Jennifer Bendery, "Elizabeth Warren Unveils Bill Revoking Medals Of Honor For Wounded Knee Massacre: The Remove the Stain Act strips the highest military award from 20 U.S. soldiers who slaughtered hundreds of Native women and children," Huffington Post, November 27, 2019, https://www.huffpost.com/entry/elizabeth-warren-revoking-medals-wounded-knee-massacre_n_5dde7cc6e4b0d50f329a68bf?ncid=newsltushpmgpolitics, reported," Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) introduced legislation on Wednesday [November 27, 2019] that would rescind 20 Medals of Honor awarded to U.S. soldiers who slaughtered hundreds of Lakota Indians — mostly women and children ― in the Wounded Knee Massacre of 1890."
     This bill, the Remove the Stain Act, is the Senate equivalent of a bill introduced by Representatives. Denny Heck (D-WA), Paul Cook (D-CA.) and Deb Haaland (D-NM), one of two Native American women in Congress. The text of the Senate version is available at the above web address.


     The Indian Health Service Health Professions Tax Fairness Act was introduced in the U.S. Senate, in November 2019, that would exempt Indian Health Service (IHS) scholarship and loan repayment programs from IRS regulations. In fall 2019, IHS had to employ 25% of its scholarship and loan repayment programs to pay taxes on its recruitment efforts. As of November, IHS had 1500 vacancies in health provider positions. The measure would make the IHS scholarship and loan repayment programs tax treatment the same as those of other federal agencies, which are tax free ("Bill would provide tax equity to IHS scholarship, loan repayments," Navajo Times, November 27, 2019).


     U.S. Senator Lisa Murkowski (R-AK), in October 2019, introduced Alaska Tribal Public Safety Empowerment Act which, in a pilot project, would give five tribes predominantly Native villages jurisdiction over everyone in their village, including non-Natives, with the ability to prosecute for crimes of domestic and sexual violence, crimes against children, drug and alcohol violations, and assault of law enforcement or corrections officers (Joaqlin Estus, "The fix for Alaska's public safety crisis? Recognize tribal powers," ICT, October 31, 2019, https://newsmaven.io/indiancountrytoday/news/the-fix-for-alaska-s-public-safety-crisis-recognize-tribal-powers-j1XtjF7qWkmVDZ0eXmYp9Q/).


     The Safeguard Tribal Objects Patrimony (STOP) act was proposed in the Senate by Senator Lisa Murkowski (R-AK), July 18, 2019, which would prohibit the export of sacred Naive American items and increase penalties for stealing and trafficking such items (Bill would prohibit exporting sacred Native American items," NFIC, summer-fall 2019).


      Savana's Act, which would require the U.S. Department of Justice to review how law enforcement agencies respond to cases of missing Native American women was reintroduced in the House by a bipartisan group of house members, in May 2019. The bill had passed in the Senate during the previous session but failed to pass the House ( Marie Hudetz, "US bill calls for DOJ review of Indian Country probes of missing women," NFIC, June 2019).

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Federal Agency Developments


     The Department of the Interior granted trust status to the Three Affiliated Tribes of Idaho, in November 2018, for the 9300 acre Figure Four Ranch, which the nation purchased in 1999 to raise buffalo ("Three Affiliated Tribes get trust status for historic ranch after ten year wait," NFIC, summer-fall 2019).


     "IHS FY 2019 Tribal Self-Governance Program Planning Cooperative Agreements," Hobbs-Straus General Memorandum 19-014, October 4th, 2019, http://www.hobbsstraus.com/general-memorandum-19-014, reported, "On August 9, 2019, the Indian Health Service (IHS) announced in the FEDERAL REGISTER the availability of FY 2019 cooperative agreements for planning purposes under the Tribal Self-Governance Program (TSGP). This competitive grant program is authorized by Title V, Tribal Self-Governance Amendments of 2000, of the Indian Self-Determination and Education Assistance Act, PL 93-638, as amended. The TSGP is designed to promote self-determination by allowing tribes to assume more control of IHS programs and services through compacts negotiated with the IHS. Applications are due by October 23, 2019. A copy of the notice is available here: https://www.govinfo.gov/content/pkg/FR-2019-08-09/pdf/2019-17137.pdf
      The purpose of this cooperative agreement is to provide planning resources to tribes interested in participating in the TSGP and/or existing Self-Governance tribes interested in assuming new or expanded Programs, Services, Functions and Activities (PSFAs). Under the agreements tribes may undertake planning such as legal and budget research that leads to a greater understanding of which PSFAs they may want to assume and any organizational changes that may be necessary to do so. They may also be used to help identify programmatic alternatives that will better meet tribal needs. Receipt of a planning grant is not a pre-requisite to enter the TSGP.
     There is $600,000 available to fund an expected five awards at $120,000 each.To be eligible for the planning agreement, the applicant must be a tribe, tribal organization or inter-tribal consortium; and demonstrate financial stability and management capability by having had no significant and material audit exceptions for three previous fiscal years. Alaska Native Villages or Village Corporations are not eligible to apply for this funding if they are located within an area served by an Alaska Native regional health entity (including the Native Village of Eyak, the Eastern Aleutian Tribes, and the Council for Athabascan Tribal Governments which have been deemed Alaska Native regional health entities and are eligible to apply) already participating in the Alaska Tribal Health Compact.
      With regard to the required submission of resolutions accompanying the application, IHS states:
     'Submit Tribal resolution(s) from the appropriate governing body of the appropriate Indian Tribe to be served by the ISDEAA Compact authorizing the submission of a Planning Cooperative Agreement application. Tribal consortia applying for a TSCP Planning Cooperative Agreement shall submit Tribal Council resolutions from each Tribe in the consortium. Tribal resolutions can be attached to the electronic online application.'
     The solicitation also provides that an official signed Tribal resolution must be received by the Division of Grants Management prior to a Notice of Award being issued to any applicant selected for funding.
     Applications are to be submitted electronically via www.Grants.gov. Detailed eligibility, application criteria and contact information are contained in the announcement."


     "IHS FY 2019 Self-Governance Program Negotiation Cooperative Agreements," Hobbs-Straus General Memorandum 19-015, October 4th, 2019, http://www.hobbsstraus.com/general-memorandum-19-015, reported, "On August 9, 2019, the Indian Health Service (IHS) published in the FEDERAL REGISTER a notice of the availability of FY 2019 cooperative agreements for negotiation under the Tribal Self-Governance Program (TSGP). This competitive grant program is authorized by Title V, Tribal Self-Governance Amendments of 2000, of the Indian Self-Determination and Education Assistance Act, PL 93-638, as amended. The TSGP is designed to promote self-determination by allowing tribes to assume more control of IHS programs and services through compacts negotiated with the IHS. Applications are due by October 23, 2019. A copy of the notice is available here: https://www.govinfo.gov/content/pkg/FR-2019-08-09/pdf/2019-17135.pdf
      The purpose of the negotiation cooperative agreement is to defray some of the costs tribes incur in preparing for and negotiating compacts and funding agreements. A tribe is not required to have had a negotiation agreement in order to enter the TSGP.
     There is $240,000 available to fund approximately five tribes to enter the TSGP negotiation process for compacts. Awards are expected to be $48,000 each.
     To be eligible for a negotiation cooperative agreement, the applicant must be a tribe, tribal organization or inter-tribal consortium; and demonstrate financial stability and management capability by having had no significant and material audit exceptions for three previous fiscal years. Alaska Native Villages or Village Corporations are not eligible to apply for this funding if they are located within an area served by an Alaska Native regional health entity (including the Native Village of Eyak, the Eastern Aleutian Tribes, and the Council for Athabascan Tribal Governments which are deemed Alaska Native regional health entities and are eligible to apply) already participating in the Alaska Tribal Health Compact.
     With regard to the required submission of resolutions accompanying the application, IHS states:
     'Submit Tribal resolution(s) from the appropriate governing body of the appropriate Indian Tribe to be served by the ISDEAA Compact authorizing the submission of a Negotiation Cooperative Agreement application. Tribal consortia applying for a TSCP Negotiation Cooperative Agreement shall submit Tribal Council resolutions from each Tribe in the consortium. Tribal resolutions can be attached to the electronic online application.'
     The solicitation also provides that an official signed Tribal resolution must be received by the Division of Grants Management prior to a Notice of Award being issued to any applicant selected for funding.
     Applications are to be submitted electronically via www.Grants.gov. Detailed eligibility, application criteria and contact information are contained in the notice."


     The Indian Health Service (IHS) authorized the Cherokee Nation of Oklahoma to carry out a new HIV prevention program aimed at identifying the most effective HIV preventive measures ("IHS & Cherokee Nation launch new HIV piolet project," NFIC, summer-fall 2019).


      Vincent Schilling, "Veterans secretary promises better healthcare for Native and rural veterans: Veteran’s Secretary Wilkie met with Native veterans to share that the Veterans Administration is working to increase tribal outreach virtually in cooperation with Indian Health Services," ICT, Oct 3, 2019, https://newsmaven.io/indiancountrytoday/news/veterans-secretary-promises-better-healthcare-for-native-and-rural-veterans-DxakB-VgIkGDp0phPhupbA/, reported, " United States Secretary of Veterans Affairs Robert Leon Wilkie Jr. met with Native American veterans, tribal leaders and members of The Retired Enlisted Association in South Dakota on Wednesday to discuss efforts to help Native American military veterans, specifically in the field of healthcare."
     In an interview with Indian Country Today, the Secretary said he wanted to "shorten the distance between people" in need of veterans services.
     He added, "In speaking with the tribal representatives today, I talked about increasing Veteran Administration's reach into tribal communities with things like telehealth, visits from VA representatives and closer cooperation between the VA and Indian Health (Services)."
     "Wilkie explained that Veterans Affairs — an organization responsible for nearly three-quarters of a billion dollars worth of services offered by Indian Health Services — would be effectively opening the aperture on giving support to tribal governments and urban area localities." He noted that outreach methodologies needed to be updated with electronic technologies, especially to serve veterans far from VA facilities."
     He stated, “Let me give you an example of what's happening here in South Dakota on the Standing Rock reservation and in the Cheyenne lands. We've now distributed tablets and computers that allow veterans in those communities to virtually gain access to doctors, nurses, and benefits officers. This allows us to schedule appointments for them and it brings VA a little closer to home. We've started here in South Dakota and we'll expand it. I was up in North Dakota talking to the governor yesterday and we're going to expand it there and to Montana, as well as Wyoming. So those are the kinds of things that we are doing on a national level to change the true trajectory of where Native veterans should be in relation to their VA.”
     "In an email to Indian Country Today, the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs Office of Public Affairs provided a substantial list of efforts currently underway to benefit military veterans and families of veterans:"
     " Greater access to care through “The Mission Act of 2018
     Secretary Wilkie worked with Congress to create the MISSION Act, which streamlines VA’s community care programs, strengthens health care options for our nation’s Veterans, whether in the VA or in the community and, most importantly, centers those decisions on what is best for our Veterans.
     More information about the Act can also be found at https://www.missionact.va.gov/.
      Connecting virtually via “Telehealth”
     As acting VA secretary, Secretary Wilkie announced that VA is adopting a joint electronic health record integrated across all DoD and VA components, using the same system as the Department of Defense. This will ultimately result in all patient data residing in one common system and enable seamless care between the VA and DoD.
      Suicide Prevention
     According to the latest VA data, the number of Veteran suicides decreased from 2015 to 2016, and on average, about 20 current or former service members die by suicide each day. Of those 20, six have been in VA health care and 14 were not.
     As the Joint Commission explains: The US Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) has been able to reduce the number of in-hospital suicides from 4.2 per 100,000 admissions to 0.74 per 100,000 admissions on mental health units, an 82.4% reduction, suggesting that well-designed quality improvement initiatives can lead to a reduction in the occurrence of these tragic events.'
      Studies show that suicides occur less frequently on VA campuses than on non-VA campuses.
     Also, according to the latest VA data:The number of Veteran suicides decreased from 2015 to 2016.The Veteran unadjusted suicide rate decreased from 30.5/100,000 to 30.1/100,000 from 2015 to 2016.
     Additionally, since the department in 2017 began tracking suicides at VA facilities there have been more than 260 suicide attempts, 240 of which have been interrupted.
     Suicide prevention is VA’s highest clinical priority. One life lost to suicide is one too many.
     That’s why VA is implementing a wide range of prevention activities to address many different risk factors. We are working alongside dozens of partners, including DoD, to deploy suicide prevention programming that supports all current and former service members – even those who do not come to VA for care. Examples of joint efforts to prevent Veteran suicide include the Mayor’s Challenge and our work under Executive Order 13822.
     Our approach is summarized in the National Strategy for Preventing Veteran Suicide, which provides a framework for identifying priorities, organizing efforts, and contributing to a national focus on Veteran suicide prevention.
     We encourage any Veteran, family member or friend concerned about a Veteran’s mental health to contact the Veterans Crisis Line at 1-800-273-8255 and press 1 or text 838255. Trained professionals are also available to chat at www.veteranscrisisline.net. The lines are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
     All VA facilities provide same-day urgent primary and mental health care services to Veterans who need them, and any time an unexpected death occurs at a VA facility, the department conducts a comprehensive review of the case to see if changes in policies and procedures are warranted.
     For more info on VA suicide prevention programs, including the Veterans Crisis Line, see below and here: https://www.mentalhealth.va.gov/suicide_prevention/docs/VA_Suicide_Prevention_Program_Fact_Sheet_508.pdf
      VA Suicide Prevention by the Numbers
     VA spent $12.2 million on suicide prevention outreach in the fiscal year 2018, including $1.5 million on paid media. During the fiscal year 2019, our total budget for suicide prevention is approximately $47.5 million, and we plan to spend $20 million of that budget on outreach.
     VA suicide prevention coordinators are managing care for almost 11,000 Veterans who are clinically at high-risk for suicide.
     Under VA’s new universal screening for suicidal intent, almost 900,000 Veterans have received a standardized risk screen since October 1, 2018.More than 30,000 of these Veterans have received more complex screening based on a positive initial screen and more than 3,000 have received a full clinical assessment after screening positive.
     VA Suicide Prevention Coordinators conducted more than 20,000 outreach events in FY18, reaching almost 2 million people.
     In FY18, the Veterans Crisis Line:
     Dispatched emergency services for callers in immediate danger an average of 80 times per day
     Received an average of 1,766 calls per day
     Received an average of 203 chats per day
     Received an average of 74 texts per day
     VA has achieved its goal of hiring 1,000 more mental health providers – adding 1,045 as of January 31, 2019.
     VA made the commitment to hire additional mental health providers in June 2017 as part of VA’s top clinical priority of eliminating Veteran suicide."  


     "Treasury Announces Consultation on the Tax Status of Tribally-Chartered Corporations," Hobbs Straus General Memorandum 19-013, October 1st, 2019, http://www.hobbsstraus.com/general-memorandum-19-013. reported, " The Department of the Treasury (Treasury) has announced that it will conduct consultation on the income tax treatment of corporations chartered under tribal law. Tribes have asserted, and the Internal Revenue Service has acknowledged, that the lack of published guidance on this issue has hindered tribal efforts to pursue economic development opportunities.
     Treasury will hold an in-person Tribal Consultation and Listening Session on October 8, 2019, at the Native American Financial Officers Association's (NAFOA) Fall Conference at the Mystic Lake Casino Hotel in Prior Lake, Minnesota. Treasury has invited tribal leaders (or their designated representative) to participate in a government-to-government Tribal Consultation during a session scheduled from 3:45 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. (local time) followed by a Listening Session open to public comments.
     A national Tribal Consultation will also be held via teleconference on October 10, 2019, from 3:00 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. EST. Call in details to be provided upon RSVP: https://www.mymeetings.com/emeet/rsvp/index.jsp?customHeader=mymeetings&...Treasury is also accepting written comments at tribal.consult@treasury.gov."


      Recent Federal Communication Commission programs are increasing access to the internet on a number of Indian reservations. For example, on the Chickasaw Nation, in Oklahoma, as of September 2019, tribally owned Trace Fiber was building a 500 mile fiber ring. On the Coeur d'Alene Reservation, in Idaho, Red Spectrum Communications was expanding broadband to tribal members by using fiber and fixed wireless technologies. At Jemez Pueblo in New Mexico, a school received reliable wireless service first the first time. On the Pine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota, Golden West was in the process of bringing fiber connections to 90% of locations. On the Wind River Reservation of Wyoming, high speed connections were in the process of going to 849 homes and businesses (Ajit Pai, "New FTC programs closing the digital divide," Navajo Times, September 26, 2019).


     The U.S. Census Bureau, at a November 14, 2019 briefing , stated what it was doing to work with Tribes for the 2020 census. The Bureau stated that it is working closely with tribes to have as complete a census as possible. The Bureau was moving to hire people in each community to carry out the census work, offering competitive pay and flexible schedules. Census specialists have been communicating with tribal leaders on how to best understand the census questionnaires, including how to indicate their identity. Native people can either check that they are American Indian or Alaska Native, writing in their tribal affiliation, or report that they are multi-race/tribe. In most tribal locations families are scheduled to receive questionnaires in mid-March, but in Alaska villages and some other rural locations in person census taking is set to begin in January 2020. For the third time, begun in 2000, the census will undertake AIAN advertising, including on local radio, about participating in the census ("Census Bureau outlines plans for 2020 Census to count American Indians and Alaska Natives," Southern Ute Drum, December 6, 2019).


      The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, in summer 2019, proposed changes in who may legally possess eagle feathers from the current federally recognized tribal members only to also encompass "sincere religious believers" who use eagle feathers in their religious practice ("Proposed changes coming to the protection of eagle feathers," NFIC, summer-fall 2019).


     Jourdan Bennett-Begaye, "‘Delivering enchantment’ and love to U.S. Capitol," ICT, December 5, 2019," https://files.constantcontact.com/c2394f27001/14c47f53-6c5a-42e7-8b9c-c88cfc74e6f3.pdf, reported, "The People’s Tree’ traveled through tribal nations in New Mexico.
     The U.S. Capitol Christmas Tree received a lot of love from Native communities in New Mexico. From the selection of the tree to its delivery and setup, Native people contributed more than an ornament this year.
      Erica Enjady, Mescalero Apache, worked on the U.S. Capitol Christmas Tree Project all year. In fact, they knew they were going to provide the tree since last summer."

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Federal Indian Budgets


     "Bipartisan Budget Act of 2019 Lifting Budget Caps and Suspending the Debt Ceiling Expected to be Enacted into Law," Hobbs-Straus General Memorandum 19-010, July 26th, 2019, http://www.hobbsstraus.com/general-memorandum-19-010, reported, "On July 25, 2019, the House of Representatives approved HR 3877, the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2019, legislation which will avert what otherwise would have been a massive sequestration of federal funds and a federal default on our Nation's obligations. Under the Budget Control Act of 2011 (PL 112-25) discretionary budget caps were set at such a low level that discretionary spending in FY 2020 would be reduced by 10 percent ($125 billion) below the FY 2019 level. The Bipartisan Budget Act of 2019 will raise the spending caps for FYs 2020 and 2021, thus stopping the imposition of an across-the-board sequestration. The legislation also averts the impending federal government default on our Nation's already incurred obligations by suspending the limit on public debt for two years.
     The Bipartisan Budget Act of 2019 is the result of negotiations among House and Senate leaders of both parties (notably House Speaker Pelosi) and the Administration (primarily Treasury Secretary Mnuchin). While there is certainly opposition to the bill, mainly because its cost is not fully offset and that it increases the deficit, Senate passage and a signature by President Trump are expected. (We note that the bill will also provide an additional $2.5 billion to the Census Bureau for the 2020 count and that those funds will not count against the discretionary spending cap.) Congressional Leadership released an 8 -point description of how they and the Administration intend to implement this budget agreement. A copy is attached.
      Under the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2019, discretionary caps would be raised as follows:
     FY 2020 non-defense would be raised by $78.3 billion for a total of $621.5 billion (a 4.3 percent increase over FY 2019 enacted);
     FY 2020 defense would be raised by $90.3 billion for a total of $666.5 billion;
     FY 2021 non-defense would be raised by $71.6 billion for a total of $626.5 billion; and
     FY 2021 defense would be raised by $81.3 billion for a total of $671.5 billion
     Impact on Mandatory Spending. We note that the Budget Control Act of 2011 not only placed caps on discretionary spending but it also made cuts to some categories of mandatory spending. As originally enacted, both the caps and the cuts were set to expire after FY 2021; however, in order to partially offset some of the increases for the discretionary spending caps, the end date for the cuts to mandatory spending has been repeatedly extended. The Bipartisan Budget Act of 2019 will extend these cuts for an additional two years, through FY 2029. Many large, mandatory funded programs are largely exempt from required annual reductions, i.e., Medicaid, Social Security. However, the two percent reduction to Medicare providers will continue.
     FY 2020 Appropriations. Given the short time before the beginning of the fiscal year (October 1) and that Congress is out during August and through Labor Day, there is the distinct chance that there will be a number of Continuing Resolutions (CRs) as the House and Senate negotiate the details of these bills. As of this writing, the House has approved 10 of its 12 appropriations bills – only Homeland Security and Financial Services remain to be approved by the House. However, the House-approved bills total $15 billion more than the new FY 2020 non-defense spending cap, so those bills will need to be re-worked or will have to be dealt with in conference with the Senate. The Senate, on the other hand, wanted to wait to begin markup of its appropriations bills until adjustments to the FY 2020 spending caps were agreed to. The Senate Appropriations Committee will thus begin markup of its appropriations bills after they return to session on September 9; however, there will have been behind-the-scenes work during the August Recess. It is anticipated that the 12 appropriations bills will be grouped into several bills, rather than having a single omnibus piece of legislation."


     "House and Senate Approve FY 2020 Continuing Resolution through December 20; President Expected to Sign the Bill," Hobbs Straus General Memorandum 19-016, November 21st, 2019. http://www.hobbsstraus.com/general-memorandum-19-016, reported, " The House and Senate have approved a second FY 2020 Continuing Resolution (CR) to fund the federal government through December 20, 2019, at largely FY 2019 terms and spending levels. As a procedural matter, Congress used HR 3055, a bill previously passed by the House, and then substituted the text of the CR into it. HR 3055, as amended, is now entitled the "Further Continuing Appropriations Act 2020, and Further Health Extenders Act of 2019". The White House has indicated that the President "remains on track" to sign the bill. The first FY 2020 CR (HR 4378, PL 116-59) expires at midnight tonight. (See our General Memorandum 19-012 of September 26, 2019.)
      As of this writing, none of the twelve FY 2020 appropriations bills have been enacted; however, some progress on negotiating these 12 bills has been possible because of the enactment of the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2019 (HR 3877, PL 116-37) which raised the overall spending caps for FYs 2020 and 2021. (See our General Memorandum 19-010 of July 26, 2019.) Still at issue is the division of this funding among the twelve spending bills (called "302(b) allocations") and the question of funding for the wall on our nation's southern border.
     It has unfortunately become the norm that federal agencies are funded for periods of time for under CRs, limiting their ability to plan and wasting time on the constant reallocation of funds. Tribes and tribal organizations are directly affected in the same manner and as a result, are asking Congress to pass legislation authorizing advance appropriations for certain core tribal programs.
     In addition to the CR, the following "anomalies" are included in HR 3055:
     • Extension of funding for the Special Diabetes Program for Indians, Community Health Centers Fund, National Health Service Corps, and the Teaching Health Center Graduate Medical Education Program through December 20, 2019;
     
     • Extension of funding for the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families Program (TANF) and the Health Profession Opportunity Grant demonstration program through December 20, 2109;
     • Extension through December 20, 2019, of the Alaska moratorium provision that, with some exceptions, prohibits IHS from contracting directly under the Indian Self-Determination and Education Assistance Act (ISDEAA) with any tribe that is a member of a regional tribal health organization;
     • The bill also addresses in the Indian Health Service budget the staffing and operation needs for facilities that were opened, renovated or expanded in FYs 2019 and 2020, providing $26,574,167 in the Services account and $1,209,111 in the Facilities account. In the Administration’s request for anomalies for the CR they listed the Cherokee Nation Regional Health Center and the Northern California Youth Regional Treatment Center as the facilities to receive these funds; and
     • The Census Bureau will be able to increase its rate of spending in preparation for the 2020 Census.
     As is common in CRs, the funds will not be distributed for programs that may have high initial rates of operation or for funds which are fully distributed at the beginning of the fiscal year. This is because of the possibility that Congress might eliminate or reduce funding for those particular programs in a final appropriations bill. The CR directs agencies to use the most limited funding action permitted in the Act in order to provide for continuation of projects and activities. Agencies will be allowed to apportion funds in a manner that would avoid furloughing employees.
     Attached is a section- by-section summary of the CR as prepared by the House Appropriations Committee [at the end of: http://www.hobbsstraus.com/sites/default/files/generalmemo/GM_19-016_President_Expected_to_Sign_the_House_and_Senate-Passed_CR_Through_Dec.20.pdf]."


     "House and Senate Approve FY 2020 Continuing Resolution through November 21; President expected to Sign the Bill," Hobbs-Straus General Memorandum 19-012, September 26th, 2019, http://www.hobbsstraus.com/general-memorandum-19-012, reported, " The House and Senate have approved HR 4378, a Continuing Resolution (CR) to fund the federal government through November 21, 2019, at largely FY 2019 terms and spending levels. The White House has indicated that the President will sign the bill. The CR is designed to give Congress leeway to continue negotiating the FY 2020 spending bills even after the beginning of the new fiscal year (October 1, 2019). None of the twelve FY 2020 appropriations bills have been enacted. As of this writing the House had approved all but two of its appropriations bills, including passage of the Interior, Environment and Related Agencies bill. The Senate has yet to finish any of its appropriations measures, although the Senate Appropriations Committee has marked up its version of the Interior, Environment and Related Agencies bill. We will provide a comparison of the House and Senate Interior bills as they go to conference.
     It has unfortunately become the norm that federal agencies are funded for periods of time for under CRs, limiting their ability to plan and wasting time on constant reallocation of funds. Tribes and tribal organizations are directly affected in the same manner. The Consolidated Appropriations Act for FY 2019 was signed four and a half months into the fiscal year. The House Natural Resources Subcommittee on Indigenous Peoples of the United States held a hearing on September 25, 2019, regarding pending bills (HR 1128 and HR 1135) which would authorize advance appropriations for some areas of the Indian Health Service (IHS) and/or the Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) and Bureau of Indian Education (BIE) budgets. (The Senate companion bills are S 229 and S 2541, respectively). There was considerable testimony about the problems caused by federal agencies having to operate under the restrictions of CRs.
     In addition to the CR, the following anomalies are included in HR 4378: Extension of funding for the Special Diabetes Program for Indians, Community Health Centers Fund, National Health Service Corps, and the Teaching Health Center Graduate Medical Education Program through November 21, 2019, all of which were facing expiring authorizations on October 1, 2019;
      Extension of funding for the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families Program (TANF) and the Health Profession Opportunity Grant demonstration program through November 21, 2109, which also faced expiration of their authorizations on October 1, 2019; Extension through November 21, 2019, of the Alaska moratorium provision that, with some exceptions, prohibits IHS from contracting directly under the Indian Self-Determination and Education Assistance Act (ISDEAA) with any tribe that is a member of a regional tribal health organization;
      The bill also addresses in the Indian Health Service budget the staffing and operation needs for facilities that were opened, renovated or expanded in FYs 2019 and 2020, providing $18,397,500 in the Services account and $631,000 in the Facilities account. In the Administration’s request for anomalies for the CR they listed the Cherokee Nation Regional Health Center and the Northern California Youth Regional Treatment Center as the facilities to receive these funds; and
     The Census Bureau will be able to increase its rate of spending in preparation for the 2020 Census.

     As is common in CRs, the funds will not be distributed for programs that may have high initial rates of operation or for funds which are fully distributed at the beginning of the fiscal year. This is because of the possibility that Congress might eliminate or reduce funding for those particular programs in a final appropriations bill. The CR directs agencies to use the most limited funding action permitted in the Act in order to provide for continuation of projects and activities. Agencies will be allowed to apportion funds in a manner that would avoid furloughing employees.
     Attached is an 8-page section- by-section summary of the CR as prepared by the House Appropriations Committee at: http://www.hobbsstraus.com/sites/default/files/generalmemo/GM_19-012_President_Expected_to_Sign_House_and_Senate-Passed_CR_Through_Nov21.pdf."

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In the Courts

The U.S. Supreme Court


     The Supreme Court, in May, upheld the hunting rights, under an 1868 treaty, of members of the Crow nation to hunt off reservation, in this case in the Bighorn National Forest (Jessica Gresko, "U.S. Supreme Court sided with Crow treaty rights to hunt," NFIC, June 2019).


      Adam Liptak, "Supreme Court to Rule on Whether Much of Oklahoma Is an Indian Reservation: The court was poised to decide the question in its last term but appeared to have deadlocked," The New York Times, December 13, 2019, https://www.nytimes.com/2019/12/13/us/supreme-court-oklahoma-indian-reservation.html, reported, "The Supreme Court agreed on Friday to decide whether much of eastern Oklahoma is an Indian reservation, a question that could have enormous consequences for the area’s 1.8 million residents in matters of criminal justice and commerce.
     The court tried to resolve the question in a different case in its last term [ Carpenter v. Murphy, in November 2018], but it appeared to have deadlocked 4 to 4. Justice Neil M. Gorsuch had recused himself from the case, which was an appeal from a decision of the court on which he once sat, the United States Court of Appeals for the 10th Circuit, in Denver." The earlier circuit Court decision, relying on precedent, had held that a reservation could only be disestablished if Congress explicitly so declared, which was not the case in the relevant section of Oklahoma. Justice Gorsuch did not participate in that circuit court decision.
     The current case of McGirt v. Oklahoma involves McGirt, a Muskogee Indian convicted of a sex crime in state court, in Oklahoma. McGirt, like Murphy, argued that the crime took place on Muscogee land, and hence only the federal government had jurisdiction to try him. In Murphy's case, had he been under federal jurisdiction, the court could not impose the death penalty upon him.

Lower Federal Courts


     "Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals Reaffirms the Constitutionality of ICWA," National Congress of American Indians (NCAI), August 9, 2019, http://www.ncai.org/news/articles/2019/08/09/fifth-circuit-court-of-appeals-reaffirms-the-constitutionality-of-icwa, reported, "Today, the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals published its decision in Brackeen v. Bernhardt, the federal court challenge to the Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA). The court’s decision affirmed the constitutionality of ICWA, recognizing the unique political status of tribal nations and upholding the federal law that is so critical to safeguarding Indian child welfare. It is a resounding victory for the law and those who fought to protect it.
     ICWA is vital for protecting the well-being of Native children. Today’s decision reaffirms tribal nations’ inherent sovereign authority to make decisions about Native children and families wherever those children and families may live.
     As today marks the International Day of the World's Indigenous Peoples, the Protect ICWA Campaign Partners celebrate this decision as it upholds centuries of Supreme Court precedent and protects the best interests of Native children and families.
     'This ruling is a strong affirmation of the constitutionality of ICWA and the inherent tribal authority to make decisions about the well-being of member children, whether they live on or off of tribal lands. ICWA remains the gold standard of child welfare policy and practice; it is in the best interest of Native children, said Sarah Kastelic, executive director of the National Indian Child Welfare Association.
     'The National Congress of American Indians commends the efforts of the intervening tribes—the Cherokee Nation, Morongo Band of Mission Indians, the Navajo Nation, the Oneida Nation, and the Quinault Indian Nation—the Bureau of Indian Affairs, the Department of Justice, and all others in Indian Country that joined this fight to protect our Native children. Today’s decision that clearly defines the breadth of the relationship between the federal government and tribal nations, sends a sharp message as to the strength of tribal sovereignty, which will safeguard Indian Country from such misguided litigation in the future, said Kevin Allis, CEO of the National Congress of American Indians.
     Shannon Keller O’Loughlin, executive director and Attorney for the Association on American Indian Affairs ecstatically stated, the Association has fought since the early 1960s to make sure that Indian children and their extended families can stay connected and that our diverse cultures can be passed on to coming generations. The Fifth Circuit’s decision today acknowledges Indian Nations’ important political and sovereign rights to protect Indian children and families and strengthen the continuation of our cultures.'
     John Echohawk, executive director of the Native American Rights Fund, applauded the Fifth Circuit’s return to core Indian law principles that go back to the founding of the United States. “It is so great to see the Fifth Circuit follow federal Indian law as we know it and uphold the constitutionality of the Indian Child Welfare Act,” he said.
     To view the opinion, please visit: https://www.narf.org/nill/documents/20190809brackeen-icwa-opinion.pdf."


     "Tribes Prevail in Federal Court Challenge to FCC 'Small Cell Wireless Order, Hobbs-Straus General Memorandum 19-011, August 16th, 2019, http://www.hobbsstraus.com/general-memorandum-19-011, reported, On August 9, 2019, the United States Court of Appeals for the DC Circuit issued its decision rejecting the Federal Communication Commission's (FCC) 2018 Order exempting small cell wireless facilities from historic-preservation review under the National Historic Preservation Act (NHPA) and environmental review under the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA). Hobbs Straus represented the Seminole Tribe of Florida in this matter and filed suit, along with other tribes and interested parties, to challenge the FCC's Order, which allowed telecommunications companies to place new small cell infrastructure on sites of religious and cultural importance to tribes without notifying tribes or assessing the effects of that construction under relevant federal law.
     This ruling by the DC Circuit is an important victory for Indian tribes across the country, which are fighting to protect their religious and cultural sites. Hundreds of thousands of small cell wireless facilities are expected to be deployed to facilitate the roll out of 5G wireless technology. The FCC argued that it could entirely exempt small cells from review under the NHPA and NEPA. This would have left tribes in the dark about where these facilities would be located, leaving tribes little opportunity to stop irreparable damage to historic and cultural sites before it occurred.
      The DC Circuit ruled for tribes on the main issue in the case, finding that the FCC arbitrarily and capriciously made a public interest determination that the costs of NHPA and NEPA review for small cells outweighed the benefits. The court found the FCC failed to support its claim that small cell deployment would cause little or no harm and did not properly consider cumulative effects or the benefits of review. The court vacated that part of the Order.
     The court did not agree with tribes that the Order's terms regarding tribal involvement in the review process, such as the FCC's guidance on fees, should be vacated. With respect to fees, however, the court included strong language confirming the FCC's non-delegable duty to consult with tribes regarding the effects of tower siting on properties of significance to tribes under the NHPA. Although the court also disagreed with the tribes argument that the FCC failed to consult with tribes, the opinion implicitly affirmed the FCC's tribal consultation obligation, which the FCC had long maintained is not judicially enforceable
.
     The court remanded the Order to the FCC. Barring further court action if the FCC seeks rehearing by the DC Circuit or review by the U.S. Supreme Court, the FCC will need to develop policy consistent with the ruling during the remand process."


     "Court Rules Tribal College Immune from Title VII Civil Rights Act Suit," Hobbs-Straus General Memorandum 19-017, December 2nd, 2019, http://www.hobbsstraus.com/general-memorandum-19-017, reported, " The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled on November 20, 2019, in an unpublished opinion that the Salish Kootenai College ("the College"), a company incorporated under Montana and tribal law, enjoys tribal sovereign immunity because it qualifies as an arm of the Confederated Salish Kootenai Tribes of the Flathead Reservation ("CSKT"). The ruling is an important victory for tribal colleges in general, and the Salish Kootenai College in particular because allowing the suit to proceed forward would potentially expose the college to lawsuits challenging the college's tribal employment preference, its focus on tribal culture, or even jeopardize its funding under the requirements of the Tribally Controlled Colleges and Universities Assistance Act.
     In McCoy v Salish Kootenai College, Inc., No. 18-35729 (9th Cir. Nov. 20, 2019), the plaintiff, a school official, said that he was forced to resign as the result of a hostile work environment at the college. McCoy alleged that harassment and a hostile work environment constituted sex-based discrimination in violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Montana Human Rights Act. The district court dismissed McCoy's claims, ruling it lacked subject matter jurisdiction over the claims because the school was not an "employer" under the definition of Title VII because the statute expressly excludes Indian tribes from its coverage and the college functioned as an arm of the Tribe.
      In McCoy, the Ninth Circuit found that the tribal college shared in the tribe's immunity based on the five criteria used in the Ninth Circuit to determine whether an entity is an arm of a tribe. The five criteria are set forth in White v. University of California, 765 F.3d 1010 (9th Cir. 2014):the method of creation of the economic entities;their purpose;their structure, ownership, and management, including the amount of control the tribe has over the entities;the tribe's intent with respect to the sharing of its sovereign immunity; andthe financial relationship between the tribe and the entities.
     In finding that the Salish Kootenai College satisfied the White criteria, the Ninth Circuit wrote,
     'Even though the college is incorporated under Montana law, the record demonstrates that CSKT has significant control over the college and that the college is structured and operates for the benefit of CSKT. … Because a proper weighing of the White factors demonstrates, by a preponderance of the evidence, that the college is an arm of CSKT, the college is entitled to tribal sovereign immunity.'
     The Court's approach is significant because it decided that the fact that a tribal college was incorporated under state law was not dispositive by itself. Instead, the Court found that state law incorporation – which falls under the first of the White criteria – was outweighed by the four other White factors. The college was incorporated under both tribal and state law. While the plaintiff argued that the dual incorporation led to two separate entities, the tribe argued that they were in fact one and the same. At the district court level, the court found that, "[t]he dual incorporation of the college under tribal law and state law does not disqualify the college from functioning as a tribal entity." The Ninth Circuit, however, did not address the issue of how many college entities were created but instead approached the case as if the suit was only against a state-chartered entity.
     With respect to the second White criteria, the entity's purpose, the Ninth Circuit agreed with the lower court that the purpose of the college is to benefit the Tribe. With respect to the third White criteria, the Ninth Circuit found that the Tribe has significant control over the college and its structure benefits Tribe. The Ninth Circuit did not discuss the fourth and fifth White criteria other than to say that the factors weighed in favor of the tribal sovereign immunity for the college. We note that at the district court level, the court determined that the Tribe had met the fourth White criteria of intention to share its sovereignty by incorporating the college as a Section 16 tribal corporation, by limiting its ability to be sued to tribal court, and by various tribal declarations. The district court also found that the college and the Tribe were financially interconnected, satisfying the final White criteria."


     The U.S. 10th Circuit Court of Appeals, in July 2019, upheld the lower court decision ordering a redistricting of the San Juan County, UT county commission and school board districts on the grounds that the existing districts were in violation of the Voting Rights Acts. The districts in question had placed 95% of the large Native population into one of three districts. Under the redistricting plan, Navajos had won a majority of the seats (Cindy Yurth, "Appeals court upholds nation's position in SJC gerrymandering case," Navajo Times, July 18, 2019).


     
The 9th US Court of Appeals held that FMC Corporation must continue to pay the Shoshone-Bannock Tribes an annual fee for storing hazardous waste from a now closed phosphate processing plant. The firm had argued as the site was now a superfund cite the company should not have to continue to pay the fee because the clean up might take years or forever. The company had stopped paying when it shut down the phosphate operation. The court of appeals agreed with the tribal court that the hazardous waste on the reservation provides “an ongoing and extensive threat to human health” threatening the “welfare and cultural practices of the Tribes and their members" (Mark Trahant, "Shoshone-Bannock Tribes win regulatory case on hazardous waste storage," ICT, November 18, 2019, https://newsmaven.io/indiancountrytoday/news/shoshone-bannock-tribes-win-regulatory-case-on-hazardous-waste-storage-cwgCEzfxrkyr4MGQYG778A/).


      The Navajo Nation and Apache County Arizona agreed, in September 2019, to a settlement in a voting rights case brought by the nation complaining that the county had provided insufficient services to Navajo voters. The settlement covered 5 points. The county agreed to provide more early voting sites on the reservation, and to develop and share with the nation a voter registration plan. The county agreed to pay for radio spot commercials about upcoming elections in the Navajo language and in print media to make the voting process more understandable. The county consented to providing an interpreter at each voting site trained by the tribe. The county agreed to allow voters time to cure their ballots if they had not signed them properly. Both parties agreed to have the case remain in court jurisdiction for three years to resolve any related problems that might arise during that period. The original case also involved Coconino and Navajo Counties. The nation reached a similar settlement with Coconino County in August 2019. As of October 2019, negotiations were continuing between the nation and Navajo County (Bill Donovan, "Apache Co., tribe reach settlement in voting lawsuit," Navajo Times, October 10, 2019).


     The EVE auction House in Paris is to turn over to the U.S. Embassy in Paris for repatriation to Acoma Pueblo a shield under the settlement in U.S. District Court in New Mexico
between the Pueblo and a New Mexico resident who said he had inherited the mask from his mother ("Agreement calls for shield's return to tribe in New Mexico," NFIC, July 2019).


     The Navajo Nation and Wells Fargo reached agreement in a 2017, involving a complaint that the bank had engaged in widespread "unfair, deceptive, fraudulent and illegal practices." This involved deceiving Navajos into signing up for saving accounts that they neither needed or understood. The bank agreed to pay the tribe $6.5 million (Arlyssa Becenti, "Wells Fargo, tribe settle law suit for $6.5 million," Navajo Times, August 29, 2019).


      The Navajo education agency, Dine Bi Olta School Board Association filed suit in federal court, in August 2019, against the Bureau of Indian Education, demanding that the Bureau turn over public documents that it had failed to do so for three years under freedom of information requests. The association trains school board members of federally funded schools on the reservation, and assists them in better doing their jobs (Bill Donovan, " Dine Bi Olta sues to get BIE documents," Navajo Times, August 29, 2019).

Tribal Courts


     Ginny Underwood, "Muscogee (Creek) Nation’s court voids first primary election after two petitions filed: Back to the ballot box for Muscogee (Creek) Nation after ‘invalidated’ election." ICT, October 3, 2019, https://files.constantcontact.com/c2394f27001/55e67791-75fb-466c-81dc-eb81f990c47d.pdf, reported. " The Muscogee (Creek) Nation Election Board is moving forward with plans to hold a new primary election after the tribe’s Supreme Court voted to nullify the Sept. 21 results.
     Two petitions were filed after the election, the first claiming fraud and irregularities in the voting process. The second petition requested a recount of the absentee ballots for the candidates for the Office of the Principal Chief."  


     The Eastern Shoshone and the Northern Arapahoe nations of the Wind River Reservation in Wyoming reinstated their wellness court which functions following tribal culture to deal with substance abuse cases without having to sentence offenders to jail time ("Wind River Reservation set to restart wellness court," NFIC, July 2019).

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Tribal Government and State and Local Government Developments,


     "Legacy Of Genocide Resurfaces In Boston As Construction Planned On Burial Site," July 27, 2019, https://www.culturalsurvival.org/news/legacy-genocide-resurfaces-boston-construction-planned-burial-site-0, reported, " Nestled amongst the beauty of Boston’s historic coastline lies an intensifying disagreement over Long Island, one of the 34 islands comprising Boston Harbor Islands National and State Park , part of the U.S. National Register of Historic Places , and, less well known, the site of a former concentration camp and Native burial ground.
     In 2014, a 3,400-foot bridge connecting Long Island to Quincy’s Moon Island was closed down and demolished due to structural degradation. In 2018, Boston Mayor Marty Walsh announced his $92 million project to rebuild the bridge by 2021 and construct a drug treatment center and recovery campus on Long Island. The City of Quincy contests the construction of a new bridge and is fighting to prevent the project’s implementation, claiming that a new bridge will increase traffic.
      Lesser known to the public are the Native American Tribes who share an important stake in the outcome of this battle. The genocide, ethnic cleansing, and colonial policies wreaked upon Indigenous Peoples is by colonial Massachusetts is largely unknown, even in today’s Massachusetts, as the state mandated history curriculum for secondary education begins at the American Revolution.
      The King Philip’s War (1675-1680) was the last major effort by a number of the Indian nations in today’s southern New England region to resist English colonial military and political control over their lands. Following a retaliatory raid in Swansea (New Plymouth Colony) due to an unaddressed killing of a Native man, the English colonies of Massachusetts Bay and Connecticut used the Swansea incident to join with New Plymouth to unilaterally take coercive and military actions against many of the Indian nations of the region.
      Among the coercive actions taken by the United Colonies of New England, the Massachusetts Bay Colony set up what became a concentration camp system on August 30, 1675, ordering all Indians (“all those Indians, that are desirous to approve themselves faithful to the English”) into a series of Indian villages turned internment zones (the rest of the colony was considered a “free-fire zone”). The civilian Native populations from these zones/camps were later either forcibly removed to Deer Island, or fled the English controlled areas as refugees.  
      Deer Island then became the centerpiece of the Massachusetts Bay Colony concentration camp system, and from that island Indians were later transferred to Long Island (also in Boston Harbor). The exact number of the interned Indians on the Boston Harbor Islands during the war, the number of deaths that occurred due to the conditions of the camps and location of the concentration camp burial ground sites remain unknown.
      
     During the winter of 1675-1676, hundreds of Native people suffered severely from the conditions of the camp on Deer Island, conditions that included freezing temperatures, limited food supplies and illness brought on by contaminated clams. If the Native persons attempted to leave the islands and return to the mainland, settlers were encouraged to kill and destroy them as they best may or can.'
     The Native men interned were pressured to join an English proxy Native militia force that was used to attack the Native people around the Wachusett area and other areas. When the English people began a process of repatriation of the Indian people on the islands back to the mainland, they also restricted release from internment to those who would cooperate with the English: 4. That such Indians as shall be impeached by name by any English, as not to be confided in or meet to have this liberty, be continued at the island, until the council, on hearing the matter, shall take further order for their disposal. (The Massachusetts Bay Colony Records of 1675-1686 (Volume 5, page 86).
      Along with Deer Island, Long Island was also used as a concentration camp, and the Commonwealth of Massachusetts informed the MICDI Indian tribes in 1992 that there remained a large Indian burial ground on that island from the concentration camp era. Since 1996 the MICDI Tribal governments have sought the transfer of the title of the land(s) on Long Island of the burial ground site of 1676 (identified by the Commonwealth) from the City of Boston to federal multi-tribal Indian trust status.
     For decades, the governments of the Muhheconneuk Intertribal Committee on Deer Island (MICDI) and the Muhheconnew National Confederacy (MNC), recently joined by the North American Indian Center of Boston (NAICOB), have attempted to work with the City of Boston to protect Indian burial ground sites on the Boston Harbor Islands from infrastructure projects and to appropriately honor and memorialize the Native people held there and those that died there during the war.
      The concerns of the MICDI governments took formal shape in 1991, as the tribes publicly noted the anniversary of the first forced removal to Deer Island (from Natick) in October of that year. A formal Accord was reached between tribal representatives and the state agency overseeing construction on that island, the Massachusetts Water Resources Authority (MWRA), on December 27, 1991, guaranteeing to the tribes information about (and permission to be on site) of the planned demolition of the prison on the island, the allowance of the tribes to conduct their own archaeological studies on the island, and guaranteeing the tribes’ right for their own memorial on the island.
     In 1985, the Environmental Protection Agency’s Public Archeology Laboratory partnered with the University of Massachusetts Boston to conduct an archeological survey of both Long Island and Deer Island prior to the construction of a wastewater treatment facility on Deer Island. The survey results concluded that Deer Island yielded “ no potential significant prehistoric or historic period cultural resources.” The report also established that while “ cultural resources may have survived in the area as remnants it is not likely that they would have retained sufficient integrity to meet normal standards of significance.” “Normal standards of significance’’ and according to whom, was not defined.
      Collaboration between the MICDI governments, and state and federal bodies over the past 30 years has fluctuated in its degree of success. When the sewage treatment construction began on Deer Island in 1991, it appeared that the MWRA would work with the Tribes to erect a memorial on the island as well as grant them the right to conduct their own archeological survey. The Muhheconneuk Intertribal Committee on Deer Island revealed, however, that in June 1992 and again in September 1994 the MWRA backed out of these agreements, and the agency was caught removing soil (which contained bones) from the island, in violation of its commitment to the MICDI governments that it would not do so, and dumped the Deer Island soil into the Quincy Quarry.
      The 1985 archeological survey of Long Island did however yield results necessary to garner historical preservation. The report disclosed that Long Island is considered to be a significant complex of prehistoric and historic period cultural resource much of which may be eligible for inclusion in the National Register of historic places.
     In the late 1990s, Tribes began to gain traction in their efforts to receive proper recognition of the atrocities committed against Native Americans on the Harbor Islands. The Muhheconnew National Confederacy and the City of Boston partnered in 1996 to host a commemoration on Long Island of Proclamation Day, August 30,1675 in remembrance of the internment of Native Americans and suspension of their civil liberties.
     The Boston Harbor Islands National Park was also founded in 1996. The MICDI and the MNC worked jointly with the City of Boston and the National Park Service (NPS) to support the federal legislation that created the park, once the original bill was amended to require mandated policies and programs “Protecting and preserving Native American burial grounds connected with the King Philip’s War internment period and other periods” in the required park plan (16 USC 460 kkk (f)(2)(B)(vi)). While collaboration between groups appeared progressive in the initial years of the park’s creation the MICDI and MNC later found of their efforts to implement the law was blocked by the Partnership board, the board that was created in the same federal legislation, and included representation by the NPS, Massachusetts state agencies (including the MWRA), the City of Boston and other entities. Since the July 17, 2001 vote to approve the park plan in violation of the law that created the park, relations between the board and the MICDI/MNC governments have remained frozen and the island owners have proceeded with plans for the islands indifferent to the law and the intent of Congress to protect the Indian burial grounds in coordination with the respective Native governments.
     After enduring years of fruitless negotiations with state institutions, today the plans for bridge construction offers a new challenge and opportunity to address the native burial grounds on Long Island. The MICDI and MNC, with the support of the North American Indian Center of Boston, have opened dialogue with the City of Boston to ensure that the burial grounds and surrounding land containing historically poignant artifacts will remain preserved and untouched by possible construction.
     Tribal organizations were confronted by another setback, however, on October 2, 2018, when the Committee on Planning, Development, and Transportation and Committee on Homelessness, Mental Health, and Recovery held a “ joint hearing to discuss the current status of plans for the new bridge.” While third party organizations were permitted to provide testimony neither the MICDI, MNC, nor NAICOB received an invitation to attend the hearing. The Tribes lamented the passage of a vital opportunity to contribute input due to the city’s failure to inform and consult Tribal representative bodies of the hearing’s formation.
     
     The Muhheconneuk Intertribal Committee on Deer Island published a written testimony on October 16, 2018, in response to their unintended absence at the October 2 hearing. The MICDI maintains that while it has not yet taken a stance on the construction of a new bridge, it remains imperative that Tribes be informed and consulted on future policy decisions by both the Boston and Quincy governments.
      On Monday April 1, 2019, a hearing was held at Quincy City Hall for the purpose of allowing the Muhheconneuk Intertribal Committee on Deer Island and the North American Indian Center of Boston to share the dark history that took place on the Harbor Islands, voice potential concerns regarding the construction of a new bridge, and propose solutions to preserve Long Island’s burial grounds. Testimony by a member of the North American Indian Center of Boston’s board during that hearing resonated powerfully when he declared, These aren’t just bones in the soil. They have names that are attached to them.'
      The question of development on Long Island provides an opportunity for us to reckon with a dark history in a public way and educate our fellow citizens about the rich cultures and histories of local Native American Tribes. The cities of Quincy and Boston are required to adhere to international human rights standards enshrined in the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, endorsed by the United States in 2007, when engaging with the human remains that exist on Long Island, and can take this opportunity to engage Tribes in the area with the goal of seeking their free, prior and informed consent before any further projects take place that will affect these important historical sites. It is important to actively seek participation from and include any affected Tribe and First Nation whose history is connected the regional colonial governmental genocide policies of the past in any decision making that involves the remains of their ancestors."


      Joaqlin Estus, "This is not the end’ Alaska legislators fight budget cuts with ‘urgency’," ICT, July 15, https://newsmaven.io/indiancountrytoday/news/this-is-not-the-end-alaska-legislators-fight-budget-cuts-with-urgency-rN52saJNYk2ixtWHJHNeHg/, reported, " Legislators in Alaska missed Friday’s deadline to override $440 million in budget line item vetoes made from Governor Mike Dunleavy, a Republican. They needed 45 votes to override the 182 vetoes.
     And, like last week, legislators still cannot agree on a meeting place, much less find the three-fourths majority needed to vote for an override.
     But they haven’t given up."
     " The legislative leaders cited cuts that will leave service providers facing dire choices.“
     "Last week, along with dozens of other organizations, the Alaska Federation of Natives called for an override. AFN represents Alaska Natives, some 18 percent of the state’s population."

     "The new budget went into effect July 1, 2019; the start of the 2020 fiscal year." The cuts have been drastic in many areas. Schools, Universities and scholarships have been severly hit. Medicaid was reduced by 20%.
"Hospitals, tribal health organizations, and health care providers will be struggling to regroup and adjust." Senior benefits assistance funding was eliminated along with other cuts."


     "'What’s wrong with this picture, commissioner?'," ICT, October 18, 2019, https://newsmaven.io/indiancountrytoday/news/what-s-wrong-with-this-picture-commissioner-d8EfW-YH502I76N7wMzUhQ/, reported, " Alaska in 2018 saw its highest violent crime rate in five years, according to a recent Anchorage Daily News story. That’s saying a lot since the state already had the nation’s highest rape rate , by far. Yet, sexual assault numbers went up 11 percent from 2017 to 2018, making Alaska’s rate four times the national average," with Alaska Native Women, 20% of the population, constituting almost half the rape victims. That is an improvement from 2003-04 when at least seven-eights of Alaska rape victims were Native.
     A number of law and order commissions have reported that a large part of the problem is that one-third of the state's Native villages have no law enforcement. However, Native rape rates are high in cities also. One factor in obtaining enough village public safety officers has been the complexity of the process of gaining funds. Unlike funding for other Alaska public safety personnel, the money has to be appropriated by the legislature for the department of public safety which then has to review grant applications to fund each position.
     Director of the University of Alaska Northwest campus Barbara Amarok, Inupiaq, stated, “For several years we've been actively trying to promote and ensure effective and equitable response to sexual assault, particularly for Alaska Native women. We recognize the need for more law enforcement to participate in training, professional development, to learn more about our culture and our life-ways and also to understand the complicated and complex history of race relations that we have in Alaska.”
     " The Alaska Legislative Public Safety Workgroup is working on legislation that would increase crime-prevention services such as behavioral health intervention, substance abuse treatment and mental health support."
     Some help is coming from the U.S. Department of Justice which announced an award in October of $42 million for public safety in rural Alaska, in addition to $10.5 million awarded in May, when Attorney General Barr declared a law enforcement emergency in Alaska and awarded $6 million to the state for grants for critical infrastructure, such as holding cells, and $4.5 million for 20 officer positions and training. Some of that money has been awarded to tribes to support village public safety and victim services.


     The South Dakota legislature passed, and the governor signed, a measure requiring the state Division of Criminal Investigation to collect data on missing and murdered Indigenous people, and create procedures and training for investigating cases of missing and murdered Indigenous women and children ("New South Dakota law focuses on missing Indigenous women," NFIC, June 2019).


     The Governor of Montana, on June 11, 2019, appointed the members of the states new Missing Indigenous Persons task force, including a representative of each of the state's eight Indian nations ("Montana's Missing Indigenous Person's task force named," NFIC, June 2019).


     The Urban Indian Health Board in Washington state published a report correcting the inaccuracies of the state legislature mandated Washington State Patrol report on missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls. The institute's report criticized the patrol's report for misstating its accountings of the ten patrol meetings in Native communities to discuss the topic, and for lacking any meaningful or scientific analysis of the knowledge shared in them. The institute report provided both a corrected meeting accounting and an in depth analysis ("New report corrects severely lacking' Washington State Patrol Study," Navajo Times, September 26, 2019).


     The Oglala Sioux Nation Council, at Pine Ridge, SD, voted unanimously, in May 2019, to ban South Dakota Governor Krisi Noem (R) from the reservation until she rescinds her support for anti-protest legislation ("United States: Oglala Sioux Nation Bans South Dakota Governor from Reservation," Cultural Survival Quarterly, June 2019).


      A federal, state and tribal collaborative investigation led to the arrest of 246 people, over two weeks in June 2019 on and near the Yakama reservation in Washington for a variety of crimes including sexual assaults, robbery, fire arms violations, burglary, kidnapping, arson, narcotics violations and murder ("Crackdown in Yakama nets 246 arrests," Navajo Times, September 12, 2019).  


     "Native Hawaiian Coalition Submits Cerd Early Warning Urgent Action Update on The Protection Of Mauna Kea," Cultural Survival, July 22, 2019, https://www.culturalsurvival.org/news/native-hawaiian-coalition-submits-cerd-early-warning-urgent-action-update-protection-mauna-kea, reported, " Protests near the sacred summit of Mauna Kea in Hawai’i are increasing in urgency as Native Hawaiians fight to prevent the construction of the Thirty Meter Telescope (TMT). Mauna Kea is the tallest mountain in the Pacific and has traditionally been the site of religious ceremonies for Native Hawaiians, or Kanaka Maoli. The telescope has been scheduled for construction for over a decade, and has been the subject of legal contestation as Free, Prior and Informed Consent has not been given by Native Hawaiians. A state of emergency was issued on July 17, 2019, by governor David Ige as tensions continue to escalate and arrests continue to increase. The ACLU has noted that the state has purchased sound cannons in anticipation of protests to be used against the protestors as intimidation mechanisms. At least 34 protesters have been detained and arrested for civil disobedience, including many elders. Beginning on June 20, 2019, the state of Hawai’i has participated in the active destruction of religious structures and has effectively closed the mountain off to Native Hawaiians.
     The state justifies the TMT’s construction through supporting the location of Mauna Kea as the best place for the telescope’s successful operation, and through the institutional support of major stakeholders. The failure of the scientific community to co-manage natural resources, to respect the human contexts around them, and to acknowledge the rights, legal personhood, and contributions of global Indigenous populations is representative of a wider set of civil rights injustices that have come to define our contemporary legal landscape. The violent destruction of places of worship was intended to systematically silence Native people and represent an aggressive threat towards of Native persons dissenting injustice. Because some of the sacred monuments in question are continuously used, the state claims that they are not old enough to be protected, forcing a static view of Native Hawaiian culture and religion and overstepping their boundaries in determining whether something is sacred.
     On March 22, 2019, Cultural Survival, at the request of a Native Hawaiian coalition, submitted a report to the Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination's (CERD) 98th Session under the Early Warning and Urgent Action Procedures highlighting the risks of construction on sacred land without consent, and providing recommendations for the successful co-management of resources. Our warnings have increased, and we have amended our recommendations to emphasize the urgent consequences of extreme dispossession and denial of civil rights. The coalition now requests that the Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination provide an immediate response to extreme acts of aggression and racism perpetuated by the policy state towards all Native Hawaiians. This amendment provides further recommendations to avoid inconsistencies with commitments made under the ICERD and UNDRIP.
     The updated policy conclusions and requests to CERD include recommending that the United States government and the state government of Hawai’i work to bring a stop to any activities that infringe on the rights of Indigenous people including halting immediate work on the progress of the TMT, revoking the permits granted for construction, compensating the cultural practitioners, and allowing Native Hawaiians to protest construction without fear of physical and legal retaliation. We also request that the UN Special Rapporteur on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples communicates with the government and prepares a report on this brutal treatment. The state’s legal and physical intimidation of Indigenous people standing together in protest is an affront to the fabric and integrity of our political system. The State’s aggressive actions against Native Persons, including the purchase of sound cannons, diminishes their voices. The destruction of altars and places of worship also extended beyond the direct site of Mauna Kea and into the area’s proximity. The State of Hawai’i has also intimidated citizens from going higher than the main highway, which is substantially lower than the mountain’s summit and prevents citizens from accessing the domain effectively eliminating full access to the mountain. Read the full update here: https://www.culturalsurvival.org/sites/default/files/Update%20to%20Early%20Warning%20Urgent%20Action%20Submission.pdf."


     Katherine Hamilton, "'It’s Called a Genocide: The Strength Of Language In U.S. Government Apologies To Native Americans," Cultural Survival, July 02, 2019, https://www.culturalsurvival.org/news/its-called-genocide-strength-language-us-government-apologies-native-americans, reported, " There has been a broad range of sincerity, depth, and publicity within the few apologies offered by the United States government to Native American Peoples throughout history. One more apology was added to this short list on June 18, 2019, delivered on behalf of the state of California by Governor Gavin Newsom.
      What stood out about Newsom’s statement was his description of the crimes for which he expressed regret: It’s called a genocide, he said. No other way to describe it. And that’s the way it needs to be described in the history books. In 1851, California’s first governor, Peter Burnett, vowed to fight Native Americans until they became extinct.'
      Newsom spoke during a ceremony in West Sacramento, where the California Indian Heritage Center is to be constructed, about the executive order that formally recognizes the state’s discriminatory history against Indigenous Peoples. The order marks one of the first state-wide apologies to Native Americans to be issued in the United States.
     New Mexico Congresswoman Debra Haaland (Laguna Pueblo) remarked that this country was founded on genocide, but California’s history is particularly atrocious because its crimes occurred later than the rest of the country.
     Almost exactly ten years before Newsom’s statement, the Senate passed an official apology to all Native peoples of the United States, which was later signed by Obama in December 2010. While the bill was historic in many ways, it also received criticism for its almost complete lack of publicity, with the White House making no announcement about it.
     Obama’s apology took far less of a stance than Newsom’s, neglecting to address any specific tribes and noting that the bill does not settle or support any legal claims. A large portion of the bill is dedicated to thanking Native Americans for their role in helping colonizers in the earliest European settlements, as well as their high participation in the U.S. military and protection of various lands. It apologizes on behalf of the people of the United States, rather than from the government itself. Its description of the crimes against Native Americans also contrasts in strength to the California order, stating that while establishment of permanent European settlements in North America did stir conflict with nearby Indian tribes, peaceful and mutually beneficial interactions also took place.'
     Oglala Sioux poet La yli Long Soldier quoted this particular segment of the bill in her collection of poetry Whereas, which was published in 2017 as a direct response to the apology. Whereas earned Long Soldier a number of awards, including National Book Critics Circle Award and the Griffin Poetry Prize. In addition to her poetry and activism work, Long Soldier is also a contributing editor to Drunken Boat journal and an adjunct professor at Diné College in Navajo Nation.
     In Whereas, she critiques the use of the word conflict rather than genocide to describe the systemic violence against Native Americans over centuries. In fact, the majority of her collection examines the use of language in United States legislation and grammar, and how it maintains colonial and oppressive ideals. She challenges the rules' of traditional English poetry and language by breaking visual boundaries to reconstruct Obama’s bill, along with other historical events. The use of the term genocide has always held great weight, and it seems to be gaining traction as the most suitable word to describe the mass atrocities committed consistently against Native Americans and Indigenous Peoples everywhere.
     The term genocide was used again this year to describe violence against Indigenous Peoples in the Canadian National Inquiry report on oppression of Indigenous women, girls and LGBTQ+ people. The report declared that Canada’s rate of violence against this group “amounts to genocide” and included over 2,000 testimonies from survivors and families of victims.
     While recent acknowledgements and apologies have made stronger and more decisive statements in support of Indigenous Peoples, many people still see an absence of legal action. The Canadian report included 231 calls for justice, but the government has not yet acted on these. California’s order has mandated a Truth and Healing Council which will work with tribes to create a written report by January 2025 about the historical relationship between the state and Native Americans. Additionally, last year’s state budget included a $100 million allotment to build the California Indian Heritage Center However, Newsom said he had not yet considered other forms of healing relations with California Native Americans, such as financial reparations or altering the state curriculum.
     Many Indigenous leaders discussed the need for further action beyond the apology. Traces of California’s genocidal past are still present; many communities are still named after men who persecuted Native Americans and the statue that represents California in the U.S. Capitol depicts Father Junipero Serra, who began the first Catholic missions.
     In May, Maine passed a bill banning all schools in the state from having a mascot or name that refers to a Native American tribe or custom. The state also replaced Columbus Day with Indigenous Peoples Day, joining a growing portion of the country in this holiday change.
     Moke Simon, chairman of the Middletown Rancheria of Pomo Indians of California in Lake County, spoke about the general lack of awareness about Native Peoples today. More than often, you hear at the county courthouse and other things, ‘Oh, when the Indians were here.’ Well, we’re still here, he said, arguing that the state could do more to educate young people about Native governments and history.
     Governor Newsom himself admitted to his previous ignorance of California’s past, saying it was humbling to learn how ashamed I should be as a Californian.'”


      Arizona, in October, renamed sections of a number of highways to honor American Indian veterans. The portions of highways renamed became: Navajo Code Talkers Highway, Hopi Code Talker Highway, Native American Women Veterans Highway and Native Veterans Highway ("AZ highway signs honoring Native vets to be unveiled," Navajo Times, October 10, 2019).


      The Colorado Commissioners of Indian Affairs, with the Colorado Lt. Governor in attendance, met on the Southern Ute Reservation in October 2019. The central foci of the meeting were education, health, natural resources and environmental policy (Fabian Martinez, "Parents raise concerns at annual IPP meeting," Southern Ute Drum, November 8, 2019)


     Richard Walker, "Seattle leaders approve resolution for missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls," ICT, September-October 2019, https://files.constantcontact.com/c2394f27001/e19936c1-bf50-47c7-8f05-ec11ca4209ee.pdf, reported, " Seattle City Council unanimously approved a resolution that lays out a plan and timeframe to improve data collection and build collaboration with tribes and city officials."
     " Some key points in the resolution:
     The City Council and Mayor Jenny Durkan will work together to create sustainable investments in research and direct services, and create racially appropriate and accurate data collection methods” regarding Murdered and Missing Indigenous Women and Girls.
     The City will work with the Seattle Indian Health Board to identify strategies for improving the City’s collection of data to more effectively understand and address issues facing Native communities.'
     The City will consult with local tribal nations and urban Indian organizations to improve tribal-municipal collaboration and communication.
     By the first quarter of 2020, the mayor will submit to the council a report that includes recommendations on developing a citywide tribal consultation to better serve Native communities.
     The City will create a culturally attuned police liaison position to build relationships between the Seattle Police Department and Native communities. The liaison will coordinate with the Seattle Indian Health Board to assist with trainings relevant to interactions between Seattle police and Native communities -- including interactions that might result in the correct identification and recording of racial identity.
     The City will coordinate with the health board to train Seattle Police in how to record the tribal enrollment or affiliation of victims in databases.
     The City will coordinate with the health board to determine the amount of funding available for sexual assault prevention and treatment programs, homelessness response, mental health services, and substance use disorder services.
     The police department will develop guidelines on inter-jurisdictional cooperation among law enforcement agencies at the tribal, federal, state, and local levels, including inter-jurisdictional enforcement of protection orders for members of Native communities."


      Richard Walker, "Program for Native students fights eviction, sues Seattle school district," ICT, September 18, 2019, https://newsmaven.io/indiancountrytoday/news/program-for-native-students-fights-eviction-sues-seattle-school-district-WJcE7JSsKkqSSa8WrPfZ8A/, " The Urban Native Education Alliance, or UNEA, is suing Seattle Public Schools in King County Superior Court," alleging the district’s decision to terminate the partnership between the Alliance and the schools was erroneous, arbitrary and capricious, and that the district’s racially imbalanced enrollment policies have resulted in an assimilationist scattering of Native students throughout the district. Court proceedings are scheduled to begin in Superior Court in January 2020 in Sense-Wilson et al vs. Seattle School District No. 1, case number 19-2-17721-7.
     Before its demolition in 2015, American Indian Heritage High School had continually graduated 100% of its students in the 1980s and 1990s. Since its closing Native students have been scattered among other schools where they are invisible, in culturally and academically unfriendly learning environments, without adequate support. As a result, Native graduation rates have fallen to 56%. To increase Native student performance and well being, UNEA has been working in collaboration with the Seattle Public Schools providing free academic, athletic, and culture-based after-school programs. Twice-weekly, they have hosted cultural activities, dinners, employment and college readiness classes, fitness classes, tutoring. In 2019, Seattle Public Schools ended its 11 year partnership with the non profit Urban Native Education Alliance.  


      Washington, DC, in October 2019, joined the growing number of U.S. municipalities changing their holiday to Indigenous Peoples Day from Columbus Day ("NCAI Applauds Washington, D.C. City Council's Vote to Declare Indigenous Peoples Day," The National Congress of American Indians (NCAI), October 8, 2019, http://www.ncai.org/news/articles/2019/10/08/ncai-applauds-washington-d-c-city-council-s-vote-to-declare-indigenous-peoples-day). Salem, IN, in October 2019, became one of 20 U.S. cities to declare Native American Month (Kate Wehlann, Salem, Ind., Mayor declares Native American Month," Navajo Times, November 14, 2019). Vermont is one of the states that has taken this step in 2019.


      Two Idaho high schools changed their mascots from Indian to non-Indian in summer 2019. Teton High School retired "Red Skins," while the Boise School District changed its mascot from "the Braves" to "the Brave" ("Idaho high school replaces Braves mascot," NFIC, August 2019).


      The Brookings, SD School District apologized for taking an Eagle feather from a graduating high school senior who wore it to graduation, May 26, 2019. The superintendent said that the district will work to ensure that students can express pride in their tribal heritage ("School district apologizes for taking eagle feather from student before graduating," NFIC, June 2019).

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Tribal Developments


     Katherine Hamilton, "Five Indigenous Children Have Died at Border Patrol Since December 2018," Cultural Survival, July 08, 2019, https://www.culturalsurvival.org/news/five-indigenous-children-have-died-border-patrol-december-2018, reported, "On May 20, 2019, 16-year-old Carlos Gregorio Hernandez died in a Texas Border Patrol station, after being diagnosed with influenza and waiting a week in holding facilities. He was the fifth Indigenous child to die on the border since December.
     In September 2018 , the first migrant child to die in federal custody since 2010 passed away due to heart complications. Since then, five more minors have died at Border Patrol, all of them from Guatemala, a country whose population is majority Indigenous.
     Hernandez, who was Maya Achi, had traveled without family members from his home in Baja Verapaz, Guatemala, and arrived at the Texas border on May 13, according to an article in The New York Times. He was still waiting in holding facilities a week later when he first reported feeling ill. Under federal law, children and teenagers must be placed in a Health and Human Services shelter within 72 hours after being detained. Officials have not answered questions about this delay in placing Hernandez.
     A sixteen-year-old and two-year-old also died at the border earlier this spring, both from the Maya Ch’ort’i region of Chiquimula, Guatemala, according to the International Maya League.
     Guatemala’s Foreign Relations Ministry responded by recommending that families not expose the lives of their children by sending them on an irregular trip to the United States, which is very dangerous.'
     However, the families of the children have cited the intense poverty that has pushed entire communities into migration. PBS reported that education initiatives have been abandoned in some Guatemalan villages because so many young people have left for the United States. This was the case in Yalambojoch, Guatemala, the home of eight-year-old Felipe Gomez Alonzo, who died at the border on Christmas Eve. Yalambojoch is an extremely impoverished village of Maya Chuj people who, like many other Maya Peoples, were displaced from their land during the violent 36-year civil war. Alonzo’s family said that the Guatemalan government has ignored the plight of the Indigenous population in the country, 80% of which lives below the poverty line.Maya Peoples have suffered discrimination and displacement since colonization, but in the 1980s the Guatemalan military, with training and weapons from the US, used scorched-earth techniques to destroy Indigenous communities, leaving the Maya people to flee their land or be taken into violent military communities. Although the Peace Accords were signed in 1996 guaranteeing Indigenouos Peoples certain reparations and human rights standards, implementation efforts have been largely unsuccessful due to governmental corruption and systemic racism.
     President Trump responded to Alonzo’s death by stating that both he and Jakelin Caal – a Maya Q’eqchi’ girl who died at the border earlier in December – were “very sick” before reaching the border. However, both children passed the initial health inspection at Border Patrol, as did Carlos Gregorio Hernandez. These medical complications highlight concerns about the health and safety of Customs and Border Protection services, which have become greater challenges in recent months as migrant numbers surge.
     Trump also blamed Democrats and “pathetic immigration policies” for the deaths, tweeting that “if we had a Wall, they wouldn’t even try.”
      A report from the National Conference of State Legislatures stated that Guatemala was the third highest country of origin for asylum seekers and unauthorized immigrants in the United States. However, no research has been released that counts the number of Indigenous people who pass through the border to the United States.
     Professor and Tzotzil interpreter John Haviland said that he has noticed an increase in Indigenous-speaking migrants. For many Maya Peoples, Spanish is not their first language. The inability to effectively ask for and receive help, be informed of what is happening, and understand legal documents, is a major to harm being brought to migrant children and has contributed to family separation.
     'Nobody can actually contradict the claim that can be made by social services that an Indigenous mom is an incompetent mom, because basically, they can’t talk to the mom. Haviland said in an interview with High Country News last year. He also stated that child-parent separation has been an issue for Indigenous minors long before the Trump administration.
     Almost all migrants are interviewed in Spanish, making it more difficult for Indigenous parents who speak little or no Spanish to defend their stories and keep their children from being taken away.
     Indigenous individuals also face greater struggles than non-Indigenous migrants when they arrive in the United States. Finding work and education poses a much greater challenge to those who are not fluent in neither English nor Spanish.
     Sadly, miscommunication and health issues are not the only causes of tragedy within Border Protection facilities. Last May, Claudia Patricia Gómez González, a 20-year-old Maya Mam woman, was shot and killed by an agent on the Texas border. The murder was caught on film and Customs and Border Protection released two public statements, the first referring to Gómez González as an assailant who resisted arrest at a detention center along with a group of other migrants. After cancelling a press conference, Border Protection released the second statement with a few details changed. A year later, no more information has been released and Gómez González’s family is working to sue Border Protection and seek justice.
     The influx of migrant deaths at the border has raised a wide range of safety concerns, said a Time article. Earlier in June, a man and a woman died at Border Patrol. The news was announced just a few days after the death of transgender asylum seeker Joana Medina Leon, who was migrating from El Salvador and tested HIV positive.
     'This is yet another unfortunate example of an alien who enters the United States with an untreated, unscreened medical condition, said El Paso field office director Corey A. Price.
     Medina Leon’s death in El Paso raised concerns for the safety and health of LGBTQ+ migrants.
     On June 14, the Border Network for Human Rights issued a report based on testimony from immigrants describing the bleak conditions of Border Control. Much of the report scrutinizes the holding center in El Paso, Texas, where indoor facilities are so overcrowded that many migrants have been moved to tents outside. Those who provided testimony also spoke of inadequate food and hygiene resources.
     The report was released after an advocate described finding a 17-year-old mother and her premature infant unattended in the large fenced-in areas of Border Patrol. It was stated that the baby should have been hospitalized yet the woman had spent a week in the detention center.
     The extensive time spent in the detention center was one of the most common critiques found in the report. Many migrants are being held in the center past the 72-hour processing time, just as was done to Carlos Gregorio Hernandez before he died. In 2017 , the UN reported that 191 migrants died in Texas alone, a 26% increase from the previous year. They also said that the vast majority of deaths occur on the United States side of the border, although this may be due to the fact that doctors and coroners north of the border are more likely to report a death.
     This May, agents apprehended a record 84,542 adults and children travelling together, and over 11,000 children travelling alone, according toTime."
     Harmeet Kaur, "The Cherokee Nation [of Oklahoma] wants a representative in Congress, taking the US government up on a promise it made nearly 200 years ago," CNN, August 25, 2019, https://www.cnn.com/2019/08/25/politics/cherokee-nation-congressional-delegate-treaty/index.html, reported, "The Cherokee Nation announced Thursday that it intends to appoint a delegate to the US House of Representatives, asserting for the first time a right promised to the tribe in a nearly 200-year-old treaty with the federal government," 1835 Treaty of New Echota, which involved the Cherokee being removed to Oklahoma. The treaty did not specify whether or not the Cherokee delegate would have the authority to vote. It seems likely, that if the Congress accepts the Cherokee delegate, that the Cherokee representative would join the 6 other non-voting representatives from the district of Columbia and Pacific Ocean U.S. territories. The Cherokee Nation nominated Kimberly Teehee to serve as its congressional delegate. If completed, this would be another step in including American Indian Nations in U.S. federalism, which includes the National government, State governments (and the local governments in the states), and tribal governments. The inclusion of the Cherokee having the right to have a representative in Congress in the Treaty of New Echota follows the older arrangement in Maine of having the Penobscot and Passamaquoddy nations have non-voting representatives in the state legislature."


      The Indian Health Service (IHS) is underfunded and understaffed, especially on some reservations. Nationally, in 2017, IHS spent only $3,332 per patient, while Medicare spent $12,829 per patient and Medicaid paid out $7,789 per patient. While even if fully staffed, IHS would not have enough personnel to provide adequate care, with low salaries and many facilities in fairly isolated locations, IHS facilities cannot fill the available positions. In some facilities, only half the existing positions are filled. In states with IHS hospitals, the death rates for preventable diseases, such as alcohol-related illnesses, diabetes and liver disease, are three to five times higher for Native Americans, who largely rely on those hospitals, than for all other races combined. Partly because of inadequate health care, in South Dakota, the life expectancy for Native Americans is 57, 24 years less than for white residents.
     Meanwhile , Native people seeking healthcare outside of IHS often find that IHS does not have the funding to cover the expenses, in many instancs saddling those people with extensive debt.
     Thus, an increasing number of Indian Nations have been running their own health programs, sometimes by themselves, sometimes in conjunction with other Nations. This has been easiest for nations whose finances have greatly improved, while quite difficult for those who continue to have limited incomes.
      Among the difficult attempts to assume responsibility for health services has been the taking over, in July2019, of the Sioux San Indian Health Service Hospital by the Great Plains Tribal Chairmen’s Health Board, a nonprofit organization representing 18 tribal communities in South Dakota, North Dakota, Nebraska and Iowa. Sioux San Hospital has experienced especially serious problems. Five federal investigations have found that patients have died at Sioux San from inadequate care, are often given wrong diagnoses and are treated by staff members who have not been screened for hepatitis and tuberculosis. As a result, Sioux San’s emergency room and inpatient unit were shut down by the Indian Health Service and Congress in 2017. Only an often understaffed urgent care clinic, often understaffed, remained open.
      The Great Plains Tribal Chairmen’s Health Board has developed a plan to reopen the inpatient hospital and the emergency room, recruit a larger number of qualified doctors and other health care workers, while upgrading equipment. To do this will require additional millions of dollars over what IHS, Medicaid and Medicare makes available. As the concerned nations do not generate the funding to do that, they are seeking additional government grants to make the plan a reality. Sioux San is one of six IHS hospitals converted to private management, since 2009, in South Dakota, Nebraska and Arizona. In Alaska, Native health care has been paid for largely by aggressively seeking grants, a partnership with the Veterans Administration, and billing Medicaid and Medicare. Whether the Tribal Chairmen’s Health Board can do the same, or an equivalent is unclear (Mark Walker, Fed Up With Deaths, Native Americans Want to Run Their Own Health Care," The New York Times, Oct. 15, 2019, https://www.nytimes.com/2019/10/15/us/politics/native-americans-health-care.html).


     The groundbreaking ceremony for the National Native American Veterans Memorial in Washington, D.C., took place on September 21, 2019. The memorial will face the U.S. Capitol on ground near the National Museum of the American Indian. The dedication is planned for Veteran’s Day, November 11, 2020. Updated information will be available on the National Native American Veterans Memorial website: https://americanindian.si.edu/nnavm/ (Jourdan Bennett-Begaye, "Breaking ground on Native American veterans’ memorial, ICT, September - Octoer 2019, https://files.constantcontact.com/c2394f27001/e19936c1-bf50-47c7-8f05-ec11ca4209ee.pdf).


     Greg Vine, "Ancestral land to be returned to Nipmuc tribe," Greenfield Recorder, September 16, 2019, https://www.recorder.com/A1-Nipmuc-land-returned-28435807, reported, "A small step toward addressing some of the injustices suffered by area Native Americans — specifically, in this case, the Nipmuc tribe — will take place Saturday in Petersham[, MA]. University of the Wild founder Dr. Larry Buell said a public Ceremony of Acknowledgement of the return of the Nipmuc’s ancestral land will start at 4 p.m. at the University of the Wild, 39 Glasheen Road."
     "Buell said he gave the tribe a 2½-acre tract in 2016. On June 14, the tribe paid Buell $107,000 to purchase an additional 18½ acres."


     The Herring Pond Wampanoag Tribe of Plymouth, MA received back a piece of land that was an ancient burial ground, in October 2019 ("Herring Pond Wampanoag Win Bid for Their Burial Ground," Cultural Survival Quarterly, December 2019).


     The Cherokee Nation of Oklahoma opened the Cherokee National History Museum in Tahlequah, OK ("Cherokee Nations celebrate opening of new museum," NFIC, summer-fall 2019).


      Kaylea Hutson-Miller, "Wyandotte Nation to receive deed to sacred site," Joplin Globe, September 14, 2019, https://www.joplinglobe.com/news/local_news/wyandotte-nation-to-receive-deed-to-sacred-site/article_f154f340-3430-5e62-89a3-39b028fa8ad5.html, reported, "On Saturday, the tribe will receive the deed to a historic tract of land in Ohio that it considers sacred. It is part of the last federal reservation the Wyandot tribe, now known as the Wyandotte Nation, had in Ohio.
     Although small — only 3 acres — it is also home to a historic mission begun in 1819 by John Stewart, a minister sent to the tribe by the denomination’s forerunner, the Methodist Episcopal Church. The tribe’s history after Europeans arrived was one of disruption and removal. Once found along the upper Great Lakes and the St. Lawrence River, the tribe relocated to Ohio beginning after 1700."
     Lakota People's Law Project reported via E-mail, July 18, 2019, "Last week, the Oglala Sioux Tribe passed South Dakota’s first marriage equality law. Two days later, our Law and Order Committee forwarded a resolution to the tribal council requesting adoption of a hate crime measure that would ensure that all our tribal citizens can enjoy safety, security, and equality on the Pine Ridge Reservation."


      Mary Annette Pember, "‘A safe place’ at Pine Ridge," ICT, October 2, 2019, https://newsmaven.io/indiancountrytoday/news/a-safe-place-at-pine-ridge-tHw-LpCegUKauBeoKE-sqw/, reported, " Nagi Nunpa Hocaka, the Two Spirit Circle, is working to reduce the high rate of suicide and substance abuse on the reservation." It "is Pine Ridge’s first official safe place for young people who are lesbian, gay, bi-sexual, transgender and queer or questioning -- known collectively as LGBTQ.
     The circle was created as part of Native Connections, a Lakota Sioux Housing program, and was designed to alleviate the high rates of youth suicide and substance abuse. After Native Directions Director Lisa Schrader secured a grant from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration for the project last year, she and facilitator Darin Janis realized that the program needed an LGBTQ component in order to reach every young person.
      LGBTQ youth seriously contemplate suicide at almost three times the rate of heterosexual youth, according to a 2016 report from the Centers for Disease Control and Protection. The CDC also reports that suicide among Native Americans is 3.5 times higher than other ethnic groups. In 2015, there were at least 103 suicide attempts on the Pine Ridge Reservation during a 4-month period among people ages 12-24." The program hosts weekly circles for LGBTQ people seeking counseling.


      Navajo Nation held a Navajo Nation healing ceremony, in July 2019, with members of all branches of the Nation's government participating, to heal the frustrations, resentments and other negative feelings that occur in the course of governing and to restore a feeling of unity and collaboration. [Ceremony alone will not overcome disharmony, but it plays a useful role in doing so that the U.S. and many state and local governments might note] (Rima Krist, "Healing the Nation ceremony launched summer session," Navajo Times, July 17, 2019).
     "Braves Pivot from ‘Tomahawk Chop’ Chant After a Cardinal's Criticism: Just days after St. Louis pitcher Ryan Helsley, a member of the Cherokee Nation, spoke out against the chant, Atlanta said it would curb its use during Wednesday’s playoff game," The New York Times, October 9, 2019, https://www.nytimes.com/2019/10/09/sports/baseball/atlanta-braves-tomahawk-chop-helsley.html, reported, " The Atlanta Braves took a significant, if limited, step away from their tomahawk chop chant on Wednesday ahead of Game 5 in the team’s National League division series against the St. Louis Cardinals.
     Cardinals pitcher Ryan Helsley, a member of the Cherokee Nation, had criticized the use of the chant earlier in the playoff series
.
     For the decisive Game 5, the Braves said in a statement that they had decided not to distribute red foam tomahawks — long a fixture at Braves games — on the seats at SunTrust Park. The team also said that the thumping backup music to the team’s chant would not be played over the park’s sound system if Helsley was in the game. The Cardinals, however, did not call on him during their 13-1 victory.
     The Braves’ tomahawk logo still appeared on the park’s video screen during the presentation of Atlanta’s starting lineup, and a tomahawk was painted onto the grass behind home plate. But as first pitch approached on Wednesday evening, the team did not play the chant’s audio track, which stadium workers have used for years to prompt fans to gesture."


     "New Mexico," U.S.A. Today, October 15, 2019, reported that to that date police data indicated that 42 American Indians had been reported missing in 2019, following 36 reported missing in 2018 in New Mexico.


      The Navajo Nation, with limited resources, continues to experience difficulties in the process of decentralizing governmental functions to chapters with the competence to handle all the technicalities of doing so, including handling finances properly, despite providing regional technical support. In 2019 an audit of the Round Rock Chapter found that it was not undertaking the process of spending funds correctly. The tribal auditors made a series of recommendations to the chapter to correct the problem, which chapter officials said their personnel were expecting to complete putting fully into effect by the end of October 2019 (Bill Donovan, "Round Rock audit finds officials did not follow money rules," Navajo Times, October 12, 2019).


      Strong Families New Mexico produces voter's guides for members of the Navajo Nation. The 2018 guide explained who can vote in tribal elections, when the next ones would be held, how to register, and what Navajo Nation offices can be voted for by whom (Strong Families New Mexico, forwardtogether.org/StrongFamiliesNM).


     The Navajo Nation Council was unable to pass a renewable energy bill that had broad support, in October, because of lack of consensus on the details of how the tribe would develop renewable energy. Some such development is already occurring in the nation (Rima Krisst, "'Were going to lose big:" Council kills renewable energy bill," Navajo Times, October 12, 2019).


     In mid-November 2019 arrangements were being worked out between the Navajo Nation and the New Mexico Department of Human Services to have a Navajo entity deliver Medicaid on the Navajo Reservation (Rima Krisst, "Naat'aanii partnership poised to deliver Medicaid to Navajo," Navajo Times, November, 2019).


      The Navajo Nation broke ground on a $122 million, 162,00 square foot medical center at its Dilkon, AZ community, in June, 2017 (Cindy Yurth, "Ground broken for new Dilkon Medical Center," Navajo Times, June 27, 2019).


      The Navajo Tribal Utility Authority (NUTA), having completed a piolet program bringing electricity to 233 families on the reservation, 175 of whom were not on anyone else's list to receive power, was preparing to expand its Light Up Navajo Program. 11 years ago, some 18,000 Navajo homes had no electricity. As of summer 2019, 5000 of them have been brought on line (Arlyssa Becenti, "NUTA plans second Light Up Navajo," Navajo Times, August 22, 2019).


     Many households on the Navajo reservation still do not have running water, though that has been improving in recent years. In June 2019, three Dine families had their homes connected to drinking water systems thanks to volunteers from the U.S. and Australia working with International Water, Sanitation and Hygiene Foundation
("Water: Families get running water from volunteers," Navajo Times, June 27, 2019).


     On Navajo Nation, the fact that the Nation took out crop insurance with the U.S. Department of agriculture for all its agricultural land and individual farmers took out crop insurance on their land on the reservation has caused confusion preventing anyone from being payed, at least temporarily, for heavy losses due to drought. The department could not determine who to pay how much given the conflicting claims. The impacted ranchers were working, in July 2019, to develop a plan to the Northern Navajo Grazing Committee, which if approved they hoped would could then go to the Navajo Nation Council's Resource and Development committee which oversees the Agriculture Department which would be directed to work with the U.S. Department of Agriculture to find a solution so the ranchers could be paid, and a repeat of the problem avoided ("Tribe's drought insurance disrupts individual claims," Navajo Times, June 27, 2019).


      The Southern Ute Tribe of Colorado continued to return to traditional participatory inclusion, in September 2019, in seeking membership input on a new enrolment ordnance being considered by the tribal council that would include provisions on disenrollment and relinquishment, absent in the existing statute (Tribal Council Seeking Tribal Member Comments on Revised Enrolment Ordinance," Southern Ute Drum, September 13, 2019).


      The Southern Ute Tribe of Colorado broke ground, in September 2019, on a settling pond that will provide a reserve in an emergency of 20 days supply of water, in comparison ot the one day supply of water in the existing reservoir (McKayla Lee, "Settling pond breaks ground, expands water security," Southern Ute Drum, September 13, 2019).


     The Southern Ute Tribe closed its detention center, in October 2019, because its use had fallen off to the point where it was far more expensive to keep operating than to rent space for Southern Ute offenders needing to be incarcerated in the jails of the surrounding counties. The Southern Ute facility had also served other tribes, but with the decline in the number of inmates, the cost of continuing to offer the service became too burdensome ("Tribe announces closure of detention center," Southern Ute Drum, October 11, 2019).


     "A Native Tribe Wants to Resume Whaling. Whale Defenders Are Divided: The Makah are the only Native Americans with a treaty right to hunt whales, but they have not been allowed to do so for 20 years. A recent proposal could change that," The New York Times, November 15, 2019, https://www.nytimes.com/2019/11/14/us/whale-hunting-native-americans.html, reported, " The Makah are the only Native Americans who have a treaty with the United States government that explicitly allows them to hunt whales. But [except for their one renewal of the right to hunt whales in 1999,] they have not because of a protracted administrative and legal battle waged by conservationists and animal rights activists, who call the practice “barbaric” and have generated a wave of negative sentiment against the tribe.
      The two-decade tussle could flare in the coming weeks over a proposal that would allow the Makah to resume whaling as early as next year. Tribal members say the struggle goes beyond their right to hunt, and see it as a fight over restoring Native identity, honoring indigenous treaty rights and respecting age-old traditions."  


     Frank Hopper, "Snoqualmie Tribe buys ancestral Snoqualmie Falls from Muckleshoot for $125 million," ICT, November 7, 2019, https://files.constantcontact.com/c2394f27001/90c32b24-4704-4192-8695-195dbdf57f24.pdf, reported that the Snoqualmie nation purchased their sacred ancestral land and two businesses from the Muckleshoot Tribe to stop development and construction projects.
     "When the Salish Lodge was built on sacred Snoqualmie land in 1916, Indians were not allowed inside. Now the Snoqualmie tribe owns it."  
     The 700 member Duwamish Tribe, which is landless and receives no federal funds, is receiving reparations from the voluntary Seattle group, Rent Duwamish, for the taking of the nation's land which encompasses Seattle, WA ("U.S.: Seattle Residents y Reparations to Native American Tribe," Cultural Survival Quarterly," December 2019).


     Joaqlin Estus, "New $1 coin to honor Tlingit civil rights leader Elizabeth Peratrovich," ICT, October 10, 2019, https://files.constantcontact.com/c2394f27001/19c978e9-4c12-4fc2-8081-01d581e643b1.pdf, reported, " The US Mint announced last week that it will honor Elizabeth Peratrovich, Tlingit, on the 2020 dollar coin. In 1945 Peratrovich gave a passionate speech to the Alaska Territorial Legislature that is credited with convincing legislators to adopt the Alaska Anti-Discrimination Law, the first such law in the United States. Peratrovich was Grand President of the Alaska Native Sisterhood at the time. "
     Aliyah Chavez, "Isleta Pueblo chief justice makes history by being the first Native person to give an opening prayer on the House floor," ICT, November 14, 2019, https://files.constantcontact.com/c2394f27001/9f31f8d7-882b-4c9f-b8fe-7f7987f0e2bd.pdf reported, " Verna Teller is chief justice of Isleta Pueblo ... and she made history this morning. She was the first Native person to deliver an opening prayer on the floor of the U.S. House of Representatives."
      Raquel Montoya-Lewis, Isleta Pueblo, became the first Native American appointed as justice on the Washington State Supreme Court, on December 4, 2019 (Richard Walker, "History? Yes. ‘She is the best person for the job’," ICT, December 5, 2019, https://files.constantcontact.com/c2394f27001/14c47f53-6c5a-42e7-8b9c-c88cfc74e6f3.pdf).


     Richard Walker and Kolby KickingWoman, "'Our common cause with Native candidates," ICT, November 6, 2019, https://newsmaven.io/indiancountrytoday/news/our-common-cause-with-native-candidates-VPuzq2zF1EGyGR-scfixSw/, reported, "UPDATED: #NativeVote19 elections roundup : Native American candidates elected to city councils, school boards in Washington, Kansas:"
     "Local voters in Washington state elected several Native Americans to the county office, city councils, and school boards Nov. 5."
     In Seattle’s City Council District 5 Debora Juarez, Blackfeet, was leading in her bid for a second term. Steve Oliver, Lummi, was unopposed for a fourth term as the Whatcom County Treasurer.
      City councils
      Ashley Brown, Nooksack, was unopposed for a position on the City Council in Everson. Debora Juarez, Blackfeet, was reelected to a second term on the Seattle City Council from District 5. In Auburn, Seattle Indian Health Board president Chris Stearns, Navajo, became the first Native American elected to the City Council in that city. Waiting for late returns: Teresa Noreen Taylor, Lummi, hoped to win a second term on the City Council in Ferndale; and Diana White, Potawatomi, was running for City Council Position 6 in Edmonds, where she was president of the Edmonds School Board.
      School boards. Marlys Baker, Swinomish, a community health representative for the Swinomish Tribe’s health department, was leading for the school board in La Conner, across the channel from the Swinomish Reservation. Titus Capoeman, Quinault, was unopposed for reelection to the school board in Taholah, on the Quinault Nation Reservation . Greg Colfax, Makah, was unopposed for reelection to the school board in Cape Flattery, on the Makah Nation Reservation. Jessie Deardorff, Lummi, was unopposed for a position on the school board in Ferndale. Chandra Hampson, Winnebago/White Earth Chippewa, was leading for Seattle School Board, District 3. Meghan Jernigan, Choctaw, was ahead for District 1 on the Shoreline School Board. Merian Juneau, Quinault, was unopposed for reelection to the Taholah School Board. Cindy Webster-Martinson, Suquamish, was waiting to see if she would be reelected to the North Kitsap School Board. Tracey Rascon, Makah, was unopposed for reelection to the Cape Flattery School Board. Jenny Slagle, Yakama, was leading for Spokane School Board Position 2.
      KANSAS
      Carole Cadue-Blackwood, Kickapoo, and Paula Smith, Sisseton Wahpeton Oyate, came in third and fourth respectively to be two of the four top vote getters gaining seats on the Lawrence School Board.
      UTAH
      A ballot initiative in San Juan County that would expand the three-member county commission to five members was on its way to defeat . The measure was seen by many as a move to undermine the Native vote within in the county that had elected a majority of the commission, following a court ordered redistricting.
      NEW MEXICO
     In Albuquerque, Verland Coker, Muskogee (Creek) Nation, ran unsuccessfully for one of three open school board seats."


     The Lakota People's Law Project reported via E-mail, August 28, 2019, "Last week, Lakota Law director Dan Nelson and I joined Oglala Sioux Tribe President Julian Bear Runner on a trip to Sioux City for the first-ever Frank LaMere Native American Presidential Forum. We listened intently as several 2020 hopefuls described their plans to address systemic injustices in our communities, and we took the opportunity to meet with many of the key players.
     We are thrilled that many major presidential contenders came to Indian Country to court our votes and address our key issues, both in-person and in their platforms. To see what they had to say, you can view full videos of several of the candidates here: https://www.lakotalaw.org/news/2019-08-27/na-presidential-forum."


     Jourdan Bennett-Begaye, "‘It’s time to put a Navajo in Congress,’" ICT, Otober 10, 2019, https://files.constantcontact.com/c2394f27001/19c978e9-4c12-4fc2-8081-01d581e643b1.pdf reported, " One Republican, One Democrat seek the House seat representing northern New Mexico #NativeVote20.
      Two citizens of the Navajo Nation will compete for a seat in Congress. Karen E. Bedonie and Dineh Benally each hope to represent northern New Mexico."
     "Another contender in the Senate race is Gavin Clarkson, Choctaw, who ran for the 2nd congressional district in 2018 and was defeated in the GOP primary. He later ran as the Republican candidate for N.M. Secretary of State."


     Jourdan Bennett-Begaye, "Tricia Zunker’s journey from school board to Congress," ICT, October 17, 2019, https://files.constantcontact.com/c2394f27001/9de21b3a-7cf5-468a-ba91-884b0aae8843.pdf, reported, "On Indigenous Peoples Day, the founder of the Central Wisconsin Indigenous Peoples’ Day Committee announced her campaign to run for Congress in the state of Wisconsin.
     Tricia Zunker, Ho-Chunk, will run on the Democrat ticket to take the 7th congressional seat in a special election
."


     Kolby KickingWoman "Shane Morigeau hopes to add a Native voice as Montana's next state auditor ," ICT, July 11, 2019, https://files.constantcontact.com/c2394f27001/3709dab5-61f5-4670-9480-35bc7efd871a.pdf, reported, "State Representative Shane Morigeau, Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes, announced last week that he will be running for [Montana] state auditor in 2020 as a Democrat."

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Economic Developments

     The Seminole Nation opened its $1.5 billion Hard Rock Guitar Hotel in Hollywood, FL, October 24, 2019 (Sandra Hale Schulman, "Seminole’s $ 1.5 billion Hard Rock Guitar Tower is ‘beyond mind-blowing,’" ICT, October 31, 2019, https://files.constantcontact.com/c2394f27001/1b4855ee-1fcd-4cf9-954d-d31086dd8a68.pdf).
     
     "2018 Indian Gaming Revenues of $33.7 Billion Show a 4.1% Increase​," National Indian Gaming Commission, September 12, 2019, https://www.nigc.gov/news/detail/2018-indian-gaming-revenues-of-33.7-billion-show-a-4.1-increase, reported, "Today, Vice Chair Kathryn Isom-Clause, and Associate Commissioner E. Sequoyah Simermeyer of the National Indian Gaming Commission (NIGC) released the Fiscal Year 2018 Gross Gaming Revenue numbers. FY 2018 revenues total $33.7B, an overall increase of 4.1% over FY 2017.
     The GGR for FY 2018 is the highest in Indian gaming history; and, unlike previous years, all of the NIGC’s administrative regions experienced positive growth in FY 2018. The Portland Region showed the highest growth, with an 8.2% increase, followed by the Oklahoma City Region with a 7.3% increase. Graphics that show the growth across each of the NIGC Regions are available for download on the NIGC website.
     'The GGR calculation process is an example of the partnership between tribes and the NIGC to ensure effective regulation for a successful tribal gaming industry, said Vice Chair Kathryn Isom-Clause. These numbers reaffirm the industry’s health as a stable economic driver for Indian Country, she said.
     Revenues are calculated based on 501 independently audited financial statements, comprised of 241 federally recognized Tribes across 29 States. The GGR for an operation is calculated based on the amount wagered minus winnings returned to players.
     'The annual GGR tells a positive story about Indian gaming’s economic success and the industry’s ongoing contribution to a strong economy. It also tells the story of how collaboration among tribes, industry and the regulatory communities can build a strong reputation for reliability and integrity in the GGR calculation, said Commissioner Simermeyer."


     The state of Arizona reported that during the 2019 fiscal year, ending September 30, revenue to the state from the some $2 billion Arizona tribal gaming rose 4.2% over FY 2018 to a record $111.3 million (Bill Donovan, "AZ reports $111.3million from tribal gaming," Navajo Times, October 10, 2019).


     The Navajo Nation's Fire Rock and Northern Edge Casinos have been having a joint income of $19 to $21 million per quarter, which is expected to increase with the addition of sports betting
(Gaming: Fire Rock, Northern Edge bring in $19 to $21 million each quarter," Navajo Times, September 19, 2019).
     "'Once there was nothing … now we have this’: Pascua Yaqui Tribe adds second hotel," ICT, December 4, 2019, https://newsmaven.io/indiancountrytoday/news/once-there-was-nothing-now-we-have-this-aBs6TF7UbEy70cVOa4oCwg/, reported, “'We started out with high expectations and we weren’t disappointed. This place is absolutely stunning and there isn’t a department in this entire operation that didn’t have some part in helping build it, doing their jobs perfectly.'
     With that comment, Kimberly Van Amburg, CEO of the Pascua Yaqui Tribe’s Casino Del Sol, welcomed the crowd to the unveiling of the tribe’s second hotel, Estrella at Casino Del Sol, an 18-month building project from groundbreaking to the grand opening."


     " Community Impact: Citizen Potawatomi Nation Paves Way For New Jobs In OklahomaCitizen Potawatomi Nation Paves Way For New Jobs in Oklahoma," National Indian Gaming Commission, December 17, 2019, https://www.nigc.gov/public-affairs/community-impact/citizen-potawatomi-nation-paves-way-for-new-jobs-in-oklahoma, reported, " Located in Oklahoma, the Citizen Potawatomi Nation is the federally recognized government of the Potawatomi people.. Gaming revenue has enabled the Citizen Potawatomi Nation to diversify their economy to become the largest employer in Pottawatomie County with more than 2,300 employees and is the largest creator of new jobs in Shawnee, Oklahoma.
     According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, between 2003 and 2013 the net new jobs in Shawnee increased by 2,045 and during that same time period, the Citizen Potawatomi Nation created 1,422 new jobs — a 70% increase.
      In 2017, the Citizen Potawatomi Nation had a $518 million economic impact in the State of Oklahoma including $89 million in wages and benefits, directly supporting more than 2,300 jobs. Tribal purchasing contributed to a $330 million impact on the local economy.
     Citizen Potawatomi Nation owns FireLake Discount Foods, the largest tribally-owned grocery store in the United States. It also owns the largest tribally-owned national bank chain, First National Bank and Trust Co. with a number of banks throughout the state. Other Tribal enterprises include a Cultural Heritage Center, FireLake Golf Course, FireLake Ball Fields and the Grand Casino Hotel and Resort, which have become popular destinations for Oklahoma residents and out of state tourists.Job Creation
     In the past decades, tribes have undertaken major reinvestments of gaming revenues to create more diverse economies. Today, tribes manage a broad assortment of businesses, public services, and governmental enterprises that create significant progress all across Indian Country."


     " Community Impact: Seminole Tribe Of Florida Achieves Self-Sufficiency: High Stakes in Hollywood: Seminole Tribe of Florida Achieves Self-Sufficiency," National Indian Gaming Commission, October 26, 2019, https://www.nigc.gov/public-affairs/community-impact/, reported, " Based in the Florida Everglades, the Seminole Tribe was one of the first federally recognized tribal pioneers of Indian Gaming in 1979 opening a high‐stakes bingo hall on the Hollywood Florida Seminole Reservation . Over the past several decades, the Seminole Tribe’s gaming has become one of the most successful and profitable gaming operations in the world. Today, the Seminole Tribe is the owner of a number of successful gaming operations including the Seminole Hard Rock Casino Hollywood and the Seminole Hard Rock Casino Tampa.
     As the result of its gaming revenue, the Seminole Tribe can assist Tribal citizens to become self
sufficient and pursue the education of their choice. Prior to gaming, the Seminole Tribe of Florida struggled to maintain a small number of programs and experienced extreme poverty and joblessness. Today, the Tribe has over 100 programs and is an example of a thriving self-governing community, helping its tribal citizens in every imaginable way. Governmental expenditures are used to support police and fire protection, emergency medical services, education, healthcare, housing, water treatment, economic development, and parks and recreation.
      Self Determination
     Tribal gaming enterprises provide their communities with the financial base necessary to fund social service programs and to support tribal self-determination and to revitalize Native communities. Gaming revenues are also used for infrastructure development such as building new roads, new sewer and water systems, housing and other developments. Gaming proceeds support community self‐empowerment and financial independence for tribes, reducing dependence on federal, state and local resources. In fact, Indian gaming revenue has been able to support local community infrastructure development as well as job creation."


     " Community Impact: Blue Lake Rancheria Invests In Clean Energy Self-Sufficiency," National Indian Gaming Commission, August 25, 2019, https://www.nigc.gov/public-affairs/community-impact/blue-lake-rancheria-invests-in-clean-energy-self-sufficiency, reported, " The success of the Blue Lake Casino and Hotel has created significant economic opportunities for the Blue Lake Rancheria Tribe. Casino revenue has provided investment capital, allowing for diversification and development of the Tribe’s economy and contributes to improving the health and environment for the region’s population. The Tribe has partnered with the State of California, academia, the federal government, and industry to install a community-scale microgrid with solar photovoltaic (PV) power and advanced energy storage as its backbone. For day-to-day activities, the microgrid provides cleaner and far less expensive power -- but in emergencies, the Tribe can disconnect from the larger grid and generate emergency power for as long as needed.
     'This project is an exemplary and successful collaboration between tribal, local, state and federal entities, assertively working toward clean energy initiatives, said Jana Ganion, Energy Director for the Blue Lake Rancheria Tribe. When the Tribe started working on climate issues, it had a primary goal of powering the Rancheria with renewable resources. With this project, we are over halfway there.'
      The Tribe has added to its clean energy initiatives and has also established a food sovereignty program. The purpose of this program is to increase food security and replace shipped-in staples with locally grown products, ensuring there is enough nutritious food within the region to meet local needs, so tribal families may provide for their children. The program has reduced costs and improved the nutritional value of food for the community. In addition, the Tribe has an Office of Emergency Services, a certified tribal police force, and a wildland fire department to help ensure the ongoing safety of the tribal community and the surrounding region. Looking to the future, the Tribe is exploring a community water system, starting first with an emergency water treatment and storage venture.
     As a result of the Tribal programs made possible by the success of their gaming operations, the Tribe is one of the largest employers in Humboldt County. Over the years, the Tribe’s gaming and other facilities have infused over $60 million into the local economy with direct and indirect economic impacts through employment and capital investments. The Tribe’s low-carbon, secure energy development, and energy efficiency work has increased the Tribe’s workforce by 10% and reduced costs of energy by $250,000 annually. In March of 2017, the Tribe surpassed $1.5 million in educational donations to the local school, student scholarships, and workforce development in the community.
     The Blue Lake Rancheria consists of approximately 91 acres in far northwestern California, north of the City of Arcata, approximately five miles inland from the Pacific Coast. For more information on The Blue Lake Rancheria, visit http://bit.ly/2ssWWzb."


     " Community Impact: Choctaw Nation: The First Tribe To Fund Its Own Hospital," National Indian Gaming Commission, August 1, 2019, https://www.nigc.gov/public-affairs/community-impact/choctaw-nation-the-first-tribe-to-fund-its-own-hospital, reported, " The Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma is a federally recognized tribe with a jurisdictional area comprising twelve tribal districts in Oklahoma. In 1999, gaming revenue made it possible for the Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma to become the first tribe to build its own hospital with its own funding. Today, the Choctaw Nation’s gaming revenue supports the health, safety, and welfare of rural communities throughout southeastern Oklahoma.
     Located in Talihina, Oklahoma, the Choctaw Nation Healthcare Center is a 140,000 square foot health facility, which serves as the center, or hub, of health care services covering 10 ½ counties of southeastern Oklahoma. Choctaw Nation Health Services provide more than just hospital care. In addition to being a 44‐bed hospital, the Talihina facility includes Dental, Laboratory, X‐Ray, CT and MRI Scanning, Mammography, Ultrasound, Pharmacy, Primary Medical Care, Surgical Care, Emergent Care, Physical and Respiratory Therapy, Transportation, Women’s Health, Pediatrics, Podiatry, Telemedicine, and Ophthalmology. Also on campus is a Diabetic Wellness facility with a fitness center. Additional services located off-campus include Behavioral Health, Women’s and Men’s Substance Abuse facilities and Optometry. Gaming revenue enables Choctaw Nation Health Services to provide medical care through both inpatient services and over 540,000 outpatient visits annually.
     Since the development of the Talihina Healthcare Center, the Choctaw Nation has added clinics throughout the Tribe’s geographic boundaries including facilities in Atoka, Broken Bow, Durant, Hugo, Idabel, McAlester, Poteau, and Stigler.
      Health Care
     Tribal gaming has given tribal governments a source of funding that has transformed healthcare throughout Indian Country. It is reported that over 17% of funding derived from gaming supports healthcare for Native communities. With gaming revenue, tribes are building their own hospitals staffed by Native American doctors and nurses. Many tribes have established health clinics, dialysis centers, and fitness centers to benefit the health of their communities."


     Tsanavi Spoonhunter, "Vegas. Casinos. Tourists. And the world's largest cannabis dispensary (Paiute owned)," ICT, August 2, 2019, https://files.constantcontact.com/c2394f27001/1d5ea128-b718-481d-8dc5-767a56b27835.pdf, reported, Las Vegas... is also home to the largest cannabis dispensary in the world -- owned by the Las Vegas Paiute Tribe.
     Fourteen tribes in Nevada negotiated a bill with the governor's office two years ago that allowed each to use marijuana on tribal lands. After that bill was signed into law, the Las Vegas Paiute Tribe took on the challenge of opening not just any cannabis dispensary, but a state of the art, Las Vegas style enterprise."  


     The Navajo Nation has had to plan for tighter budgets from the closure of the Navajo Generating Station and the Nation's coal mine, and depending on the details of the decision of the New Mexico Public Regulation Commission (PRC) concerning the pending closure of the San Juan Generating Station in 2022 will lose $20-$30 million and 400 jobs (Cindy Yurth, "PRC hearings: Northern Navajo economy hangs in the balance," Navajo Times, December 12, 2019O).


      Navajo Nation, in November 2019, withdrew its indemnity to the nation's NETEC in relation to its purchase of 3 coal mines in Wyoming without consulting with the nation. As it is increasingly difficult to make money in coal, the nation did not want to be responsible for any debts or liabilities NETEC might incur as a result of the purchase (Mark Trahant, " Navajo Nation rips support of coal company, ITC, November 12, 2019, https://newsmaven.io/indiancountrytoday/news/navajo-nation-rips-support-of-coal-company-0NrLksCVpE6STGfnktgfEQ/).


     The Navajo Nation's Navajo Tribal Utility Authority (NTUA) put its Kayenta II Solar Project on-line, September 20, 2019. Together, Kayenta I and II generate 55 megawatts, enough to electrically power 30,000 homes and businesses across the reservation (Krista Allen, "The move towards renewables," Navajo Times, October 3, 2019).


      The Standing Rock Sioux Tribe of North Dakota put a solar electric farm on-line, in July,2019, as a first step in providing clean renewable electricity to all 12 of the reservation's communities and achieving clean energy independence (Standing Rock launches solar farm," NFIC, August 2019).


      The Northern Cheyenne Nation of Montana was awarded $2 million in federal funds to construct the White River Solar Project to produce electricity of about 100 homes on and off the reservation (Northern Cheyenne receive funding to build solar farm," NFIC, August 2019).


      Tactus LLC, under an agreement with Navajo Nation, began extracting and processing helium on the Navajo Nation in 2018, in the only new source of the inert gas used for cooling estimated to provide the Navajo Nation $40-$60 million a year in royalties and taxes (Rima Krisst, "Company: Navajo could be Saudi Arabia of helium," Navajo Times, Octomber 12, 2019).


     The Native American Agriculture Company opened a hemp dispensary on the Navajo Nation, October 5, 2019, under an exclusive contract to do so with the Nation. The Company had 3 million plants on 300 acres (Cindy Yurth, "Nation's first hemp dispensary to open Oct. 5," Navajo Times, September 26, 2019).


     The Navajo Budget and Finance Committee, in August 2019, approved allocating $19.9 million to expand the Church Rock Industrial Park, allowing the Rhino Health Glove Factory there to expand into a new building, eventually expanding its workforce from the current 30 to 250, while bringing more revenue to the Navajo Nation above and beyond replacing the investment (Arlyssa Becenti, "B&F approve $19.9 million for glove factory," Navajo Times, August 29, 2019).


     "Ute Indian Tribe Engages on the Uinta Basin Railway Project," Ute Bulletin, July 22, 2019, http://www.utetribe.com/images/Departments/Bulletin/Paper/BulletinJuly22.pdf, (6/19/2019 Press Release - Ute Indian Tribe Engages on the Uinta Basin Railway Project), stated, " The Ute Indian Tribe has been engaged for several months with the Seven Coun- ties Infrastructure Coalition on the proposed Uinta Basin Railway Project. The Tribe’s Natural Resources, Cultural Rights & Protections, Energy & Minerals, and Fish & Wildlife offices are reviewing the proposed alignments, and considering the impact to natural resources that the Tribe deems important. When these offices have completed their internal review, we will provide input on how to shape the project as it develops further.
     6/19/2019 Press Release - Ute Indian Tribe commends the CIB for Funding the Uinta Basin Railway Project Planning, The Ute Indian Tribe, like all of those who live in the Uinta Basin, understands the significance that railway infrastructure has on our community. Our isolated basin has long dealt with transportation constraints which cripple our energy development and prevent much needed economic diversification from moving forward. The opportunities associated with planning and development of large scale infrastructure and transportation projects for the Uinta Basin cannot be overstated. To this end, we commend the recent decision by the Community Impact Board to continue funding the planning process for the Uinta Basin Railway Project."  


     The Forrest County Potawatomi Insurance Department, specializing in providing administrative services to tribal nations, has taken on tracking medical claims for the Southern Ute Nation of Colorado (McKayla Lee, "Benefits plan, new and improved," Southern Ute Drum, November 22, 2019).


      Sioux Chef Sean Sherman is starting what he’s calling the Indigenous Food Lab and a new brick and mortar restaurant in Minneapolis that is to feature some of Indian country's signature traditional dishes in his effort to increase the food sovereignty movement's impact in facilitating Native people to eat better to overcome major problems including obesity and diabetes ( Lyric Aquino , "Indigenous food sovereignty movement gains traction," ICT, November 28, 2019, https://newsmaven.io/indiancountrytoday/lifestyle/indigenous-food-sovereignty-movement-gains-traction-zn4taE4-MUi8LaJNCEhGuw/).


      Native Women Lead was formed to empower Native American women's entrepreneurship. There are around 180,300 Native women-owned businesses in the U.S., around 1.4 percent of all women-owned businesses in the country. But Native women earn only about 58% as much as white men. The Native Women’s Business Summits feature technical training on how to develop a business plan, access capital and reach out to investors, while including on-site child care so that mothers can participate. In in 2018 the organization hosted the largest gathering of Native women entrepreneurs in history, involving more than 200 women from over 65 tribal nations. Native Women also works to achieve pay equity for women.
      Native Women Lead has gained collaboration in its efforts from Harvard University. The organization played a key role in getting the New Mexico legislature to pass a measure appropriating $150,000 to support Native women entrepreneurs. ( Aliyah Chavez, "VIDEO: Native women as community leaders, CEOs and drivers of Indigenous economies," ICT, November 4, 2019, https://newsmaven.io/indiancountrytoday/news/video-native-women-as-community-leaders-ceos-and-drivers-of-indigenous-economies-TS6vwcMrq0S8Z2SCDoPlUw/).

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Education and Culture


      The first Native American social work program in the U.S., the Facundo Valdez Social Work Institute, was created at the Albuquerque campus of Highlands University in New Mexico by act of the New Mexico state legislature in October 2019. The institute has begun work the development of the Native American Clinical Practices Concentration which will incorporate Indigenous research methodology and an analysis of federal and state policy relating to the Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA).
     For information, contact Evelyn Lance Blanchard, Director: eblanchard@nmhu.edu, (505)2277326.


      The Navajo Nation Commission launched a new business program for a select number of Dine college students that will include hands on experience in starting a business. The program was initiated after research showed that the one of the primary reasons for the failure of reservation businesses was lack of business experience by the people launching them (Bill Donovan, "Gaming begins business program for college students," Navajo Times, September 26, 2019).


     "Press Release: National Congress of American Indians releases new report featuring a landscape analysis on the availability of education about Native Americans in K-12 schools," National Congress of American Indians (NCAI), October 10, 2019, http://www.ncai.org/news/articles/2019/10/10/press-release-national-congress-of-american-indians-releases-new-report-featuring-a-landscape-analysis-on-the-availability-of-education-about-native-americans-in-k-12-schools, reported, " The National Congress of American Indians (NCAI) released a new report today summarizing the landscape of current efforts by states to bring high-quality educational content about Native peoples and communities into all kindergarten to 12th grade (K-12) classrooms across the United States. The report was completed in partnership with IllumiNative, the National Indian Education Association (NIEA), the National Education Association (NEA), and Wend Collective.
     The report, Becoming Visible: A Landscape Analysis of State Efforts to Provide Native American Education for All is being released today in conjunction with NIEA’s Annual Convention and Tradeshow in Minneapolis, Minnesota.
     'NCAI works to advance the inherent sovereign rights of tribal nations and we know that tribal leaders and advocates must spend a huge amount of time educating policymakers and their staff about the sovereign rights of tribal nations and issues Native Americans face, said Kevin Allis, Chief Executive Officer, National Congress of American Indians. 'Our landscape analysis report provides information and tools to help address the lack of quality and accurate education in the K-12 system about Native Americans.
     The purpose of the Becoming Visible report was to determine the extent to which states require or provide support for Native American K-12 curricula for all public school students and to review the policies, laws, and practices that states currently use to authorize, provide, or improve the delivery of their Native American K-12 curriculum. The report includes the following results:
     Almost 90 percent of states surveyed said they have
current efforts underway to improve the quality of and access to Native American curriculum; and
     A majority of the states surveyed indicated that
Native American education is included in their content standards , but far fewer states require Native American education curriculum to be taught in public schools;
     'Reclaiming Native Truth found that the K-12 education system in its current form largely serves to perpetuate and institutionalize invisibility, stereotypes, and misinformation about Native peoples today that fuels misinformation and bias. This landscape analysis shows there is momentum across the majority of the country to improve the quality and access to Native American curricula,” said Crystal Echo Hawk, Executive Director of IllumiNative. “This is consistent with findings that 72% of Americans support significant changes to K-12 education to ensure accurate Native history is taught in schools
.'
     
     The Becoming Visible report is intended to inform key stakeholders about the current state of Native American education for all students in K-12 schools and provides recommendations for catalyzing the implementation of meaningful Native American education policies, curricula, and professional development.
     'We thank NCAI for conducting this landscape analysis because the findings reveal that efforts are happening around the country to bring high quality educational content about Native Americans into all K-12 classrooms in the United States, yet much more work needs to be done, said Jodi Archambault, Director of Indigenous Peoples Initiatives, Wend Collective. We hope that tribal nations and education advocates will take these findings and tools and work in their state towards Native American education for all K-12 students.'
     NCAI's release of this report comes on the same day that the Shakopee Mdewakanton Sioux Community is announcing its launch of Understand Native Minnesota , a $5 million, three-year strategic initiative and philanthropic campaign to improve the Native American narrative in Minnesota schools.
     'This new research validates what Native leaders in Minnesota have increasingly come to realize – that our state needs to work harder to provide students and educators with modern, comprehensive education about Native Americans, said Shakopee Mdewakanton Sioux Community Secretary/Treasurer Rebecca Crooks-Stratton. This is a priority for the Shakopee Mdewakanton Sioux Community, and we are proud to be launching our own new strategic initiative and philanthropic campaign dedicated to improving the Native American narrative in Minnesota schools.'
     In order to raise awareness about the findings and galvanize action to advance Native American education for all K-12 students, the report includes a tool kit of resources for those working to advance state support and implementation of Native American education curricula. In addition, special breakout sessions will be held today at NIEA’s Annual Convention and at the 2019 NCAI Annual Convention and Marketplace in Albuquerque, New Mexico on Tuesday, October 22, 2019. These sessions will provide information for tribal leaders, Native education specialists, and other stakeholders to coordinate and effectively advocate for Native American education for all K-12 students in their respected states.
     
     You can view the report and other research and data resources from NCAI’s Policy Research Center at http://www.ncai.org/prc. Please direct any questions to NCAI Press at ncaipress@ncai.org."


     The Youth Conservation Corps has been running a series of projects in the Navajo Nation Shiprock Chapter to give young people 14-25 the opportunity to learn new skills while giving back to the community. Projects have included building a porch on the Ship Rock Chapter House for elders to sit under, creating a flower garden, and clearing land behind the chapter house for a two mile trail (Pauly Denetclaw, "Giving back to Shiprock," Navajo Times, June 27, 2019).


     At the meeting of the Colorado Commissioners on Indian Affairs on the Southern Ute Reservation, October 28, the Ignacio School district, which is within the reservation and attended by many Southern Ute young people, reported that its rates of academic achievement, including indications in test scores, had improved, as the district's elementary and high schools moved from being categorized as needing "priority improvement" to being classified as "improving," while the middle school maintained a "performing rating." The district reported that it is working to improve its overall attendance rate from 90% to 95%. The district was concerned that greater parent participation was needed, as indicated that of the 300 surveys of parent concerns about the schools were sent out, only 13 were returned, while only a few parents attended the education discussion at the commissioners meeting. The parents present expressed a number of concerns. These included why the teaching of Native American history and culture, and Native cultural activities, only took place in November, Native American Heritage Month, and not throughout the year. Administrators stated that the Ute language class was not then being taught for insufficient student enrolment and lack of a teacher certified by the Southern Ute Tribe as qualified, as required by a tribal council - school board agreement.
     The Southern Ute Tribe's Montessori Academy reported that it was making improvements including adopting the 95% attendance standard and increasing academic accomplishment by extending instruction time in classes from one to three hours. Teachers initiated using testing to map students progress and identify their needs in such areas as reading (Fabian Martinez, "Parents raise concerns at annual IPP Meeting," Southern Ute Drum, November 8, 2019).--==+==--


     Dev Kumar Sunuwar, "Purdue University Hosts Conference On World’s Indigenous Languages," Cultural Survival, November 12, 2019, https://www.culturalsurvival.org/news/purdue-university-hosts-conference-worlds-indigenous-languages, reported, "On October 30 - November 2, 2019, Purdue University in Fort Wayne, Indiana, USA, hosted a four-day conference to celebrate the world’s Indigenous languages by raising awareness among universities and other actors about the global movement for Indigenous language revitalization and promotion.
     UN General Assembly proclaimed 2019 as the International Year of Indigenous Languages to raise global attention on the critical risks confronting Indigenous languages and their significance for sustainable development, reconciliation, good governance and peace-building. At least 43 percent of the 7000 languages spoken in the world are endangered. Many of these belong to Indigenous Peoples and if action is not taken soon, UNESCO predicts that as many as 3000 Indigenous languages will be lost by the end of this century.
     According to UNESCO, the secretariat for this global campaign has prepared draft action plans and is advocating for the UN General Assembly to declare the year 2021-2022 as a preparatory year and proclaim 2022-2032 as International Decade of Indigenous Languages. a measure adopted unanimously by the Third Committee of the UN General Assembly by resolution.
     The symposium, International Year of Indigenous Languages 2019 : Perspective, brought together over 400 language experts, linguistic departments of various universities, policy makers, academicians, linguistics, members of the UNESCO International Year of Indigenous Languages steering committee including Indigenous representatives from Africa, Asia, Europe, the Americas, the Middle East and Oceania, as well as Indigenous poets and artists. Participants shared their experiences and knowledge about bringing Indigenous Peoples’ voices on policy implications and academic interventions.
      The aim of the symposium was to create a space to bring Indigenous perspectives to the forefront through discussions, keynote presentations, interactions between Indigenous language speakers with academic scholars, educators, and policy makers. It equally aimed to share the initiatives undertaken on the ground and to explore the diverse perspectives in revitalization of Indigenous languages and to engage the wider community in the preservation of Indigenous languages, according to Shannon Bischoff, a member of the conference organizing committee. Bischoff commented that coordinated cooperation and collective action around the world are the key to achieving the major objectives of the International Year of Indigenous Languages. The International Year’s main objectives are to focus global attention on the critical risks confronting Indigenous languages, their significance for sustainable development, reconciliation, good governance and peacebuilding; take target steps that will improve quality of life, enhance international cooperation, strengthen intercultural dialogue, reaffirm cultural and linguistic continuity; and to increase the capacity of all stakeholders to take measures that will support, access and promote indigenous languages in accordance with the legitimate rights of the people who speak them.'
     'The loss of language is the loss of everything-- the loss of our culture, knowledge systems, oral literacy, cultural practices, artistic skills, our history,” said Nicholas Barla, member of UNESCO’s International Year of Indigenous Languages Steering Committee, adding, “therefore revitalization of languages today should be the most important undertaking of all academia, educational institutions, government etc.'
     The reason for language loss is that Indigenous Peoples are living under threats themselves. Academics presenting papers at the symposium stated that governments have launched mother tongue education in schools in many countries across the globe, but have not allocated adequate resources for teachers and for the production of learning materials. Moreover, many Indigenous children do have access to adequate education services and not have access to favorable environments in the classroom, which contributes to loss of their mother tongues.
     Historically and even in some cases today, in many parts of the world Indigenous Peoples were discouraged from, forbidden, and even punished for speaking their languages. As a consequence, many have lost their vocabularies and associated knowledge of how their community named their specific world. Many Indigenous Peoples are traumatized about the profound loss of their languages.
     To some extent, the International Year of Indigenous Languages, has raised awareness and gained some momentum for communities as well as States to work to maintain and revitalize the languages. Language activists like Richard Grounds (Yuchi) have been pressing for involvement of more Indigenous people in the organization and implementation of the International Year. [IYIL] organizers had failed to address the most relevant context of all: the oppressive colonialism that is choking our languages, while at the same time soaking up all the available funding—as is the nature of colonial relations...the longstanding pattern of funding Indigenous language work has hardly budged from the old, unquestioned arrangements set up under raw intellectual colonialism. The priority in the colonial model is always to document and collect raw Indigenous materials that can be taken away, processed in Western intellectual mills, and stored in colonial capitals rather than investing directly in living Indigenous communities and their knowledge systems, writes Grounds, the absolutely critical outcome for the Year is the growth of new language speakers within our Indigenous communities in order to ensure the life of our languages for generations to come.'
     The UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous People (UNDRIP) recognizes “the right to language as an inherent human rights of Indigenous Peoples. UNDRIP Article 13 states, Indigenous Peoples have the right to revitalize, use, develop and transmit to future generations their histories, languages, oral traditions, philosophies, writing systems and literatures and designate and retain their own names for communities, places and persons.'
     Speaking at keynote panel during the symposium, Aleksey Tsykarev, member of UNESCO IYIL Steering Committee and a member of the UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues (UNPFII) said, language loss and revitalization are human rights issues. The revitalization efforts of Indigenous languages should not be looked at without addressing Indigenous Peoples’ larger struggles for self-determination and their rights.'”


      First Nations Development Institute, https://www.firstnations.org, has been running its Native Language Immersion Initiative since 2017, including projects to revitalize Yuchi language and to build opportunities for Salish Language interaction and transmission. First Nations Native Language Immersion Initiative Years 1 & 2 Outcomes Report is available at: https://www.firstnations.org/publications/native-language-immersion-initiative-years-1-2-outcomes-report/.


      There are a great many fine Indigenous artists, quite a number of whom are acclaimed. It is significant that the front page of the printed The New York Times, Sunday, October 20, 2019 included a story on Inuit painter, Ooloosie Saila, "a rising star in the Canadian art world," as she had her debut in a Toronto art show. The article correctly pointed out that the popularity of Inuit, and, more widely, Indigenous art has not transformed life in poor and to often inharmonious Indigenous communities. But that popularity is an important step in numerous dimensions (Catherine Porter, "Drawn From Poverty: Art Was Supposed to Save Canada’s Inuit. It Hasn’t. Indigenous work is all the rage in the Canadian art world. But life in the North is as much a struggle as ever," The New York Times, October 19, 2019, https://www.nytimes.com/2019/10/19/world/canada/canada-indigenous-art.html). @@@@@@@

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International Developments

International Organization Developments


     
Dillon Kim, "Global Report Acknowledges Threats to Indigenous Rights Remain," Cultural Survival, September 19, 2019, https://www.culturalsurvival.org/news/global-report-acknowledges-threats-indigenous-rights-remain, reported , "The 4th edition of the State of the World’s Indigenous Peoples : Implementing the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples was released on September 17, 2019 by the United Nations. The report’s authors-- the Department of Economic and Social Affairs Division for Inclusive Social Development, Indigenous Peoples and Development Branch, and the Secretariat of the Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues-- look back at the past 12 years since the adoption of the United Nation Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP) in 2007. They assess the multilevel, yet uneven progress that has been made at the international, national, and regional scale of implementing the declaration. The report begins with a series of questions, inquiring whether the declaration’s adoption in 2007 has made a difference? And if so, what challenges and gaps remain? The report acknowledges that major threats to the rights of the world’s Indigenous Peoples remain and identifies natural resource extraction, large scale agriculture, infrastructural development, and conservation development as major offenders in violating the rights of Indigenous Peoples.
     The authors of this report conclude that while grave and significant challenges face the conditions of the rights of Indigenous people there is great reason for optimism in reviewing the progress made by the implementation of various aspects of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. Miriam Wallet Aboubakrine (Tuareg), chair of the Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues, notes that the formal recognition of Indigenous rights articulated in the Declaration has succeeded in bringing to the table multiple actors and stakeholders who have begun and carried on the work of making the Declaration a living document and not just an empty promise.'
     The report provides a framework for understanding how exactly the Declaration has been implemented and what this means at different levels of political life. From the realm of international organizations and governance, to national legislative bodies and courts, and regional inter-state bodies, the report details how the Declaration has been a source of revision and a mechanism for advancing further implantation of rights of Indigenous Peoples. The authors also note that language is a key aspect of implementation, as of 2019 the Declaration has been translated into 59 languages in addition to the UN utilized languages.
     At the national level, the report highlights how legislative and judicial bodies have been influenced by the Declaration across continents. There are differences across regions, showing that there is a variable nature, particularly in the legislative adoption of the Declaration’s articles. In constitutional adaptation responding to provisions of the Declaration, Latin America holds some of the strongest, on paper, implementations. Bolivia is noted to be a unique case of integrating the Declaration into its domestic legislation, via Law No. 3760 in November of 2007. In juridical proceedings provide an overview of important court cases that have been influenced by the articles of the Declaration. Domestic “courts in Belize, Botswana, Canada, Chile, Colombia, Guatemala, Kenya, Mexico, the Russian Federation, and others have cited the Declaration in decisions involving Indigenous Peoples.”
      Regional level governance and juridical proceedings have shown in the past 12 years to be influenced in many instances by the adoption of the Declaration by the UN General Assembly. The report highlights several inter-state and regional bodies like the European Union, the Organization of American States, the Nordic/Euro-Arctic Cooperation, along with the Inter-American Court of Human Rights, the African Commission and Court on Human Rights all sharing significant instances of drawing inspiration from the Declaration. Several cases that stand out are the European Union’s External Policy on Indigenous Peoples from 2016, the Nordic Sámi Convention, and the Endorois Welfare Council v. Kenya decision adopted by the African Union on 2 February 2010. These cases provide insights into how bodies of governments long attributed with colonization and the gross disrespect of the rights of Indigenous people, as in the EU External Policy on Indigenous Peoples can take a positive turn a la support of the Declaration in the international sphere. The authors note that the Nordic Sámi Convention provides a potentially relevant framework for transnational populations of Indigenous people to structure regional bodies for the advancement of their rights. In the case of Endorois v. Kenya , this ruling was the first in Africa to expressly recognize African Indigenous Peoples’ rights to ancestral lands setting an important precedent in the regional courts of the African Union.
     By way of concluding on the implementation, the consideration of how the articles of the Declaration have been regarded at the international level by international governing bodies and the vital importance of these tenants as it regards the rights of women and children suffices to provide insight into the report’s key observations. Attention is made towards the widespread and growing mainstream recognition of Indigenous Peoples in the Indigenous-specific mechanisms in the UN and the increased consideration of Indigenous Peoples in UN Treaty Bodies.
      In examining the specific and distinct status of Indigenous women and children we see the divergence of where there has been success and where tremendous work remains to be done. The cases detailed by the report show how Indigenous women have been at the forefront of the struggle to implement the articles of the Declaration and have provided leadership in the cases of the gravest injustices. Insight is presented on the remaining gaps of implementation, where Indigenous women still are subject to lack of protection by states and remain a critically high risk of violence and sexual violence.
     The State of the World’s Indigenous Peoples report finds a serious lacking when it comes to how states are taking national censuses, resulting in a persistent statistical invisibility of Indigenous people. The lack of concrete disaggregated data only worsens this problem. Disaggregated data, being data, figures, and demographics that are broken down into categories relevant for understanding who is really being counted. The UN Statistical Division and UN Sustainable Development Goals agree that disaggregated data is crucial for states to be able to address the gross inequalities and discrimination that Indigenous Peoples face. Sadly, only 23.1% of national censuses (43 out of 184 countries) attempt to collect information on some or all Indigenous people represented in their area of survey. The authors observe that the Americas and Oceania fair slightly better in this regard yet are by no means perfect. Asian states, which are home to 3/4 of the world’s Indigenous population are particularly resistant to gathering this disaggregated data which would provide clear pictures of Indigenous people living in Asia.
     Recognition of and respect for Indigenous Peoples and their rights; assessment of progress made in the implementation of the Declaration, awareness, information, and coordinated action; and practical constraints are four critical areas highlighted as priorities in approaching the rights of the world’s Indigenous Peoples. Recognition still remains of vital importance;
      'Many in indigenous communities have been subjected to violent attacks and threats, enforced disappearances, illegal surveillance and travel bans. Women, persons with disabilities, and other vulnerable or marginalized groups within indigenous populations face particular challenges. The number of indigenous human rights defenders who die every year while attempting to defend their rights under the Declaration is on the rise. There is a growing trend towards criminalizing indigenous activists, organizations and movements, often engendered by conflicts over investment projects in indigenous territories.'
      
     The report argues that the mechanisms of assessment by the UN of the state of implementation of the Declaration remains a vital role in the advancement of the goals and aims of the Declaration in the advancement of the rights of Indigenous Peoples. Further, the raising of awareness and coordination of action is identified as an important priority.
     The report concludes with a five-point recommendation scheme, to:
     Strengthen and Coordinate the Roles of Indigenous-Specific UN Mechanisms
     Strengthen the Role of the Inter-Agency Support Group on Indigenous Issues
     Ensure the Sustainable Development Goal Processes Focus More Strongly and Explicitly on Indigenous People
     Ensure the Respect for Indigenous Peoples within the Private and Public Sectors
     Strengthen Capacity, Networking, and Strategizing Among Indigenous People

     The report highlights the foundational role that Indigenous people play within these goals. The importance of Indigenous people leading the decision-making processes that affect their communities and future is paramount.
      Read the full report here: https://social.un.org/unpfii/sowip-vol4-web.pdf."  


      The United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues launched a Global Campaign Against the Criminalization and Impunity of Indigenous Peoples at its session in April 2019 ("UN to Launch Campaign Against Criminalization of Indigenous Peoples," Cultural Survival Quarterly, June 2019).


     "Indigenous Peoples Intervene At Organization Of American States." July 16, 2019, https://www.culturalsurvival.org/news/indigenous-peoples-intervene-organization-american-states, reported, "On June 26, 2019, the Organization of American States (OAS) held it's 49th regular session in Medellin, Colombia. The OAS is an organization of states in the Western hemisphere that provides a forum for political and policy discussion and decision-making. It was founded to build solidarity, promote peace and justice, and encourage collaboration. It focuses on four main pillars: democracy, human rights, security, and development. Some topics they address are observing electoral processes to promote democracy, documenting human rights violations, supporting countries efforts to form trade agreements, and supporting programs to reduce violence.
     This year marks the first time that Indigenous Peoples participated as part of a permanent coalition to the OAS.
In 2016, the OAS adopted the American Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (ADRIP), which guarantees Indigenous Peoples the right to self-determination, rights to education, health, and lands, and protections for those living in voluntary isolation. The Declaration commits to eliminating violence and discrimination toward Indigenous Peoples, especially women and children.
      
     In 2017, the OAS adopted the Plan of Action on the American Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, which aims to implement public administrative, legislative, judicial and budgetary policies to ensure that the rights of the Indigenous Peoples of the Americas are fully protected and respected, in accordance with the ADRIP. It will remain in effect for four years from its adoption date. Some specific actions include spreading accessible information about the ADRIP and the rights it includes, and developing training programs for civil servants, especially those whose work directly relates to Indigenous rights. The action plan also asks the OAS to develop a monitoring mechanism to observe how the ADRIP is implemented across the Western hemisphere
.
     It has been two years since the action plan was adopted, and there has not been discussion of a mechanism to monitor the implementation of the ADRIP. Since only two years remain to accomplish this action plan, the Indigenous Nations and Organizations Coalition is urging the OAS to fulfill its commitment to implement the plan in a timely manner. A monitoring system is a crucial aspect of completing the action plan according to the deadline.
     The statement of the Indigenous Peoples coalition was delivered by Luis Fernando Arias (Kankuamo) from Colombia. In the statement, Arias discussed, on behalf of the Indigenous Nations and Organizations Coalition, the importance of a long term monitoring system for the action plan, as well as two specific proposals the Coalition has for the OAS. First, the OAS must hold a high-level, two-day consultation with Indigenous Peoples on the Plan of Action, especially on the monitoring and implementation mechanism...Second, the OAS must establish a new status for the permanent and more appropriate participation of Indigenous Governments in OAS activities ...Two of the most important provisions of the Declaration, Articles 3 and 4, recognize Indigenous Peoples’ right of self-determination and self-government. This organization’s current rules of participation calling for the participation of Indigenous Peoples as Civil Society Organizations do not meet these standards...Indigenous Peoples should not be assimilated to Civil Society Organizations. As political and legal entities, entirely distinct from the general Civil Society, Indigenous Peoples of the Americas must have our own specific representation within the OAS.'
      Arias closed by addressing the real danger Indigenous Peoples face in the Americas when States fail to honor and protect their rights. 'Lastly, we are mindful of the fact that as we speak today, Indigenous Peoples’ physical and cultural survival is under threat throughout the Western hemisphere. States are purposely failing to provide legal security to collectively-held indigenous lands, especially across the Amazon rainforest… Indigenous Peoples are distinct peoples, legally and historically, whose rights must be honored as agreed upon in the Plan of Action.'
     For the OAS to classify Indigenous Nations with NGOs instead of with the governments of States is not only disrespectful to Indigenous Peoples’ right to self-determination and self-governance, but it ultimately attempts to erase the sovereignty of Indigenous Peoples. Organizations like the OAS have a responsibility to treat Indigenous Peoples with full respect and acknowledgement of their autonomy as peoples that never gave up their rights to govern themselves
."


     
Sócrates Vásquez García, "International Summit Of Indigenous Communication Unifies Indigenous Voices Of Abya Yala," Cultural Survival, October 29, 2019, https://www.culturalsurvival.org/news/international-summit-indigenous-communication-unifies-indigenous-voices-abya-yala, reported, "'From Patagonia to Alaska, Indigenous communicators have called ourselves as Indigenous communicators to tell the world that we are here, we exist as Peoples.'
      Indigenous communicators from Abya Yala gathered in the ancestral and rebellious territory of Tupac Amaru and Micaela Bastida--leaders who led rebellions against European colonizers. More than 400 Indigenous journalists, community broadcasters, and media professionals gathered at the International Summit of Indigenous Communication, held in Cusco, Peru on October 10-12, 2019, to analyze the challenges, advances, and strengths in exercising the right to communication of Indigenous Peoples in Latin America and the Caribbean. They also sought to reflect on other Indigenous Communication Summits that have taken place in different territories to build a continental agenda of Indigenous communication and generate platforms for knowledge exchange and forms of communication.
     At the opening ceremony, organizers mentioned that it was at the Fourth Indigenous Continental Summit in Puno, Peru, in 2009, where we agreed to globalize our struggles and organize the First Indigenous Communications Summit in Cauca, Colombia, in 2010,'with the objective of making Indigenous communication visible as a political tool for the defense of Indigenous lands.
     The declaration drafted in Cochabamba, Bolivia, in 2016, stated The summit is of the Peoples and not of the States. Since the third summit was co-opted by the Bolivian State, that is why Peru's commitment was to organize a small international meeting so as not to lose the essence of the meetings and follow up on the continental articulation.'
      Participants and organizers recapped the main agreements that have been established at different summits to take stock of their scope, achievements, and relevance at this stage. One agreement stands out: To build platforms to connect as Indigenous communicators; To influence legislative changes that promote our own communication systems in our countries; To establish an itinerant school of integral Indigenous communication; To create a continental archive of video, newspapers, audiovisual productions; To encourage the use of free software for technological sovereignty; and To conduct a continental campaign against the crisis and climate catastrophe.'
     During the three days the several thematic areas were addressed including: advances, setbacks and challenges of the right to communication for Indigenous Peoples; Indigenous communication and Indigenous language use; training in Indigenous and intercultural communication; Indigenous communication for the defense of Mother Earth, autonomy, and Indigenous rights.
     Cultural Survival participated in the Summit and facilitated the participation of communicators from Mexico and Guatemala, leading a delegation that bore fruit in the agreement for Guatemala to host the next Summit of Indigenous Communication in 2022. Among the different Indigenous nationalities participating were communicators from Colombia, Peru, Bolivia, Ecuador, Guatemala, Mexico, Chile, United States, Panama, Nicaragua, Paraguay, Argentina, Spain and Germany.
      The Summit outcome declaration condemned the political situation in Ecuador, demanding an end to censorship and criminalization Indigenous Peoples of Ecuador. The declaration also reaffirmed the rights of Mother Earth, “The raw testimonies we have heard during these three days of deliberation have led us to the conclusion that our planet, our Mother Earth, is in danger, as the predatory capitalist neoliberal system advances quickly over our territories, with a neo-colonial extractivist objective, driven by greedy and corrupt governments, allies of multinational corporations, who continue to seek unlimited profits, at the cost of the death of our communities and Peoples.” It was emphasized that Indigenous communication is closely linked with the defense of territory and life, “We reaffirm our commitment to continue working to recover and affirm an integral and integral vision of communication rooted in traditional knowledge, territory, spirituality and decolonization."
     Summit participants renewed their commitments to promote the right to Indigenous communication without restrictions and conditions of the legislative frameworks of the States with effective actions. Four agreed upon points in the
outcome declaration include: 1. To coordinate network actions or links, with collaborative productions and communication events between Summits. 2. To coordinate joint actions and strategies in training and educating Indigenous communicators, taking up the proposed advances in the itinerant schools strategy. 3. To coordinate advocacy actions with governments and international organizations to guarantee the right to communication. 4. To guide our communication actions with a free perspective and with technological sovereignty. In this sense, we are committed to implementing technologies and free software in all our communication processes...”


     "Indigenous Peoples Participate At The Global Investigative Journalism Conference In Hamburg," Cultural Survival, October 28, 2019, https://www.culturalsurvival.org/news/indigenous-peoples-participate-global-investigative-journalism-conference-hamburg, reported, " The Global Investigative Journalism Conference is an event that is held every other year at different venues around the world, organized by Global Investigative Journalism Network, Netzwerk Recherche, and Interlink Academy. This year’s event, on September 26-29, 2019, saw over 1700 journalists descend upon the port city of Hamburg, Germany. Cultural Survival’s Indigenous Rights Radio Producer Shaldon Ferris (Khoe and San) from South Africa was present and was joined by our Central America Media Coordinator, Diana Pastor (Maya Ki’che’) from Guatemala.
     Over 15 Indigenous journalists participated at this year’s event. Three sessions were held with specific focuses on Indigenous Peoples. The first was a session in which the power of podcast was discussed. Connie Walker from the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC) spoke about her award winning documentary podcast,
Missing and Murdered: Finding Cleo . Finding Cleo chronicles the story of Cleopatra Semaganis Nicotine, an Indigenous girl from Canada who went missing from her Cree family in what later became known as the Sixties Scoop, a period which saw many First Nations children sent to foster care, to be later split up and be adopted by non-Indigenous families.
     In the same session, we were also introduced to Allan Clarke (Muruwari), an award-winning investigative journalist, producer and presenter and also a podcast producer from Australia, who brought us Unravel: Blood On The Tracks podcast based on the murder of Mark Haines, an Indigenous Australian teenager who was murdered on the train tracks. Clarke’s investigative piece about the 30-year-old murder mystery has since seen a reward of $500,000 offered to anyone who has information about that fateful night when Mark Haines lost his life.
     Other sessions at the conference included a networking session, in which journalists from Indigenous communities exchanged details on the work that they do, the countries that they reside in, and the mediums in which they work. This was an excellent opportunity for Indigenous journalists and producers to come together and to look at means of sharing content.
     Cultural Survival shared information about our work in radio with Indigenous communities around the globe, including our Community Media Program and Indigenous Rights Radio. While this is not a conference that is set up specifically for Indigenous Peoples, we commend the organizers for creating spaces for sessions specific for journalists from Indigenous communities. We hope more sessions will be offered in the future."


     "Central America Donors Forum Honduras 2019 Takes Small Steps In Including Indigenous Peoples," Cultural Survival, November 13, 2019, https://www.culturalsurvival.org/news/central-america-donors-forum-honduras-2019-takes-small-steps-including-indigenous-peoples, reported, "On October 23-25, 2019, The Central America Donors Forum was held in Tegucigalpa, Honduras, with over 300 attendees, 100+ panelists, and more than 30 sessions addressing migration, corruption, democracy, economic development, and social movements. It was a fully packed three day gathering where public and private sectors had the opportunity to bridge alliances. cultural survival’s rosy gonzález (kakchiquel maya), Indigenous rights radio program coordinator, and Nati Garcia (Maya Mam), Indigenous youth community media fellowship coordinator, participated in the conference.
     Since 2012, the Central America Donors Forum has received support and collaboration from Seattle International Foundation to bring together donors, philanthropy, private and public sectors in discussing opportunities in successful development within Central America. This year’s 8th forum was grounded on the realities of Central America, reflecting on the root causes of corruption and migration, and the impacts on communities. It was a multi-sectoral networking space to learn and exchange experiences in advancing solutions for an equitable sustainable future, themed progress at a crossroads.'
     Lt takes effort in unifying multiple sectors with the international philanthropic community from the ground, governmental, and private levels to make an influential impact. in fostering equitable and sustainable development for communities In Central America, it is vital to be inclusive with the participation of Indigenous peoples whom are greatly impacted by the corruption and migration crisis occurring in Central America. Potential solutions can be feasible with more participation of Indigenous people at the forum in paving a prospering future. Indigenous peoples have historically been excluded and are less frequently involved in the discussions of development processes, and still face political and economic discrimination. Indigenous peoples can have a profoundly positive influence in leveraging sustainable development and key actors in confronting the realities of their communities. for this reason, it is vital to ensure the participation of Indigenous peoples in forums such as Central America Donors Forum to strengthen collaborative approaches and advance equitable futures for Central America.
     The presence of Maya women from Guatemala beaming in their traditional clothing brought attention and interest from many conference attendees, opening a platform for partnership and collaboration. the closing reception and interview with Sara Curruchich, a maya kakchiquel singer, songwriter, and activist for the rights of women and Indigenous peoples in Guatemala, brought light and reflections. This was a small stepping stone but a large success for the Central America Donors Forum in deepening transparent relationships among diverse sectors of society. More access for Indigenous participation is still needed in generating new knowledge, mechanisms, and economic contribution towards the progress at the crossroads."


      Pope Francis has been working to repair Church relations with Indigenous people. Within the Church, this is supported by "liberals," but strongly opposed by many "conservatives. Sharon Kuruvilla, "Catholicism’s Civil War Spills into Bolivia: The pope is reaching out to indigenous people, and the right aren’t happy," FP, December 1, 2019, https://foreignpolicy.com/2019/12/01/francis-vatican-pachamama-amazon-morales-catholicisms-civil-war-spills-into-bolivia/, reported, "On Oct. 21, two men broke into the Church of Santa Maria in Traspontina in Rome. But they were not thieves. They were a very specific type of vandal—traditionalist Catholics who believed that they were doing God’s work against paganism in the church. They were there for three statues, which they threw in the Tiber River.
      The statues had come a long way before they arrived in Rome for the Synod of Bishops for the Amazon, an event to highlight paths for evangelism of indigenous people and the Amazon’s environmental role, held by the Vatican from October 6 to 27. If you asked advocates for the synod, the statues were of the Virgin Mary or St. Francis’s “Mother Earth.” If you asked its opponents, they depicted the Andean goddess Pachamama and were a sign of the apostasy of Pope Francis’s papacy.
      The Vatican’s outreach to indigenous groups matters, especially within the context of a Latin American Catholicism that has often equated natives with the devil.
     As right-wing Bolivians celebrate the ouster of an indigenous president and the supposed return of the Bible to politics, these issues are not just ones of theological or doctrinal debate but are politically critical."

Regional and Country Developments


     "Tiny House Warriors Land Defenders Arrested For Bugging Workers In Secwepemcul'ecw," Cultural Survival, October 21, 2019, https://www.culturalsurvival.org/news/tiny-house-warriors-land-defenders-arrested-bugging-workers-secwepemculecw, reported, "At 9 a.m. on October 19, 2019 Kanahus Manuel and Isha Jules of Tiny House Warriors were arrested on Highway 5. They had stopped to tell construction workers they had no Secwepemc consent to flag in preparation for roadwork. Police arrived on the scene and within minutes arrested Manuel and Jules for the crime of bugging.'
     A bail hearing will be held for Manuel and Jules in the Kamloops courthouse at 455 Columbia Street at 9:30 a.m. Monday October 21, 2019. The family is calling for people to come to the courthouse to show their support.
     Manuel communicated this charge via social media post from the back of a police van, reporting that she was “slammed to the ground” by the RCMP that morning.
      Manuel and Jules were staying nearby at a camp they built with the Tiny House Warriors to protect a river crossing from the proposed Trans Mountain pipeline. They also live at Blue River, located further south, a Tiny House Warriors camp that blocks construction of a man-camp they warn will threaten Indigenous women, trans, and Two-Spirit people in the territory.
     Manuel and Jules were taken to the Clearwater police station, around 200 kilometers south from where they were arrested, where police refused to allow their lawyer or family to see them, claiming the station was understaffed. Their transport without access to legal counsel is an egregious Charter violation. When asked by their legal counsel why they were denied rights given even to murderers, an RCMP officer advised that it was necessary for “officer safety” as they did not know who could be waiting for them in the bush.'
      Defence counsel was not permitted to see Manuel or Jules for five hours. Initially, counsel was told this was because RCMP did not have the manpower to facilitate a visit. Later – almost 10 hours after the arrest – he was called from an ambulance transporting Manuel to the Kamloops hospital (130 kilometers south of Clearwater) for injuries to her wrist sustained during her arrest. Her lawyer had been kept waiting in Clearwater by police under instructions that he would be able to meet with her there. Shortly after placing her in an ambulance, RCMP added a further charge of intimidation for her and Jules to the first charge of mischief.
     Though family attempted to visit the Royal Inland Hospital in Kamloops once they learned of her whereabouts, eight police officers and hospital staff would not allow them to see her. Manuel could only communicate by shouting to family: Tell mom I was in a lot of pain all day and they would not bring me to hospital. In response, her mother Beverly Manuel stated, The RCMP are dangerous and I am concerned about my daughter and son-in-law’s safety, and outright angry with the RCMP for treating her so violently. We have occupied our Secwepemc Homelands forever.'
     When Manuel was discharged from the hospital she remained in RCMP custody. Unusually, police did not contact Crown counsel at any time during the day, who could have consented to Manuel and Jules’ release on a promise to appear. Instead, they waited until 10pm at night to seek their remand in custody until Monday morning. This is very irregular as people with much more serious charges and extensive criminal records are routinely released on a promise to appear and conditions."


      Steps have been underway for some time in Canada by First Nation groups and by public policy to reverse the extensive taking of Indigenous children from their families, and placing them in non-First Nation foster homes. Catherine Conroy, British Columbia Minister of Children and families says stopping the extensive taking of First Nation children is a top priority of her department and that from 2008 to 2018 there has been a 51% reduction. Meanwhile, there has been a growing movement of First Nation groups reclaiming traditional birth practices and providing support for families along traditional lines, including connecting young families to elders (Sara Miller Llana, "Canada's Indigenous seek to break vicious cycle tearing families apart," Christian Science Monitor, June 24, 2019).
     This is only one of a wide range of efforts across Canada by First Nation peoples to reclaim there culture, which have so far accomplished much more to revitalize traditional language and other aspects of culture than has government action (Sara Miller Llana, "Tired of waiting for Canada, Native peoples reclaim their culture" Christian Science Monitor, August 5, 2019).


     Mark Trahant, "Indigenous leader falls short in Manitoba election bid," ICT, September 12, 2019, https://files.constantcontact.com/c2394f27001/1bdf2843-68d3-4974-8a70-c9bfbfa1da64.pdf, reported, " Manitoba voters stuck with the Progressive Conservative Party to continue running the province. Premier Brian Pallister won a second term in office.
     But while Wab Kinew, Anishinaabe, fell short, in his bid, the election did result in his New Democratic Party increasing its presence in the Manitoba Legislative Assembly from 12 to 18 seats. Kinew is a former a former journalist, a hip hop artist, and was one of four candidates seeking to lead the province. His party will be the official opposition party."
     " Kinew would have been the first Indigenous person to lead Manitoba as the chief executive of the province."


      Jorge Barrera, Jessica Deer, "4 federal candidates accused of Indigenous identity appropriation by Halifax academic: as Indigenous base their claims on a long-ago ancestor," CBC News, October 10, 2019, https://www.cbc.ca/news/indigenous/federal-candidates-claims-indigenous-identity-1.5314614?fbclid=IwAR2VXgn_RnIWdX9w1gWd_k5VL1aqOyubArV27da7NeWdJxdOdSRp4oR5Dxk, reported, "Darryl Leroux, an associate professor of social justice and communities studies at Saint Mary's University, says at least four federal candidates from the Liberal, Conservative and Green parties have made dubious claims of Indigenous identity.
     Leroux, who recently published a book called
Distorted Descent: White Claims to Indigenous Identity , said all four claims seem to cling to the largely discredited idea that having one Indigenous ancestor somewhere in the past can bestow someone with an Indigenous identity."


     "Ten First Nation Organizations and Institutions Sign Protocol on Cooperation and Communication," Press release, November 7, 2019, stated, "(Coast Salish Territory, Vancouver, British Columbia) Today, ten First Nation organizations and institutions gathered in Vancouver to sign a Protocol on Cooperation and Communication. The signatories commit to coordinating their efforts to support capacity development in governance and governance administration in First Nation communities in British Columbia.
     The protocol voices the pressing need to assist all First Nations in BC in moving beyond the existing fiscal relationship with the Crown and the delivery of delegated programs services. The protocol also addresses the need for relevant and effective information sharing to support First Nations in key fiscal issues, capacity development, and exercising their inherent right of self-determination, self-government, including authorities and jurisdictions. The protocol will help support First Nations to drive fiscal discussions and develop capacity in a manner that supports the work of their respective First Nation governments.
     The signatory organizations affirm their intentions to work together in a cooperative manner and to provide support for one another’s efforts to advance the recognition, respect and accommodation of Aboriginal Title and Rights, Treaty Rights and to improve the lives of First Nations people in British Columbia.-more-The Signatories include:British Columbia Assembly of First NationsThe First Nations SummitThe Union of BC Indian ChiefsThe First Nations Financial Management BoardThe First Nations Tax CommissionThe First Nations Finance AuthorityThe Lands Advisory BoardThe Aboriginal Financial Officers Association of BCThe First Nations Public Service SecretariatThe New Relationship TrustFor more information please contact: BCAFN: Annette Schroeter, Communications Officer, Tel: 778-281-1655, Email: Annette.schroeter@bcafn.ca,Follow: @BCAFNFNS: Colin Braker, Director of Communications, Tel: 604-926-9903 ext. 110, Email: cbraker@fns.bc.ca, Follow: @FNSummitUBCIC: Andrea Glickman, Policy Director, Tel: 604-684-0231, Email: andrea@ubcic.caFollow: @UBCICFNFMB: Yogita Grover, Communications Specialist, Tel: 604-925-6665 ext 246, Email: Yogita_Grover@fnfmb.com, Follow: @FNFMBFNTC: Sarah Jules, Director of Communications, Tel: 250-828-9857, Email: sjules@fntc.caFNFA: Ernie Daniels, President & CEO, Tel: 250-768-5253, Email: edaniels@fnfa.caLAB: John Makson, Manager of Communications, Tel: 778-657-5766, Email: jmakson@labrc.com, Follow: @FNLMRCAFOABC: Krysta Elliott, Communications Coordinator, Tel: 604-925-6370, Email: kelliott@afoabc.org, Follow: @afoabcFNPSS, Jehan Casey, Director, Tel: 604 926 9903 ext.119, Email: jcasey@fnps.ca. Follow: @fnpublicservice, NRT: Chanze Gamble, Tel: 604-925-3338, Email: cgamble@nrtf.ca, Follow: @NRT_BC"


     "UN Calls On Mexico To Protect Indigenous Journalists And Support Community Radio Stations," Cultural Survival, September 25, 2019, https://www.culturalsurvival.org/news/un-calls-mexico-protect-indigenous-journalists-and-support-community-radio-stations, reported, "In July, Cultural Survival was part of a coalition of 12 organizations that submitted an alternative report on Mexico's Indigenous rights record to the Committee. Cultural Survival contributed information on the issue of freedom of expression of Indigenous Peoples. Community radio stations are a tool that helps fulfill the essential right of Indigenous Peoples to their freedom of expression. Community radio is used to transmit and provide access to information in Indigenous languages and strengthens democratic participation in society. Indigenous Peoples use radio to promote cultures, languages, ​​and traditions and plays a decisive role when the territories have been threatened by mining megaprojects such as the Sierra Negra de Puebla or San José del Progreso. Yet , journalists in Mexico regularly come under threat of violence. In 2017, Mexico was considered the most dangerous country for journalists. Many of the cases of murders of journalists in Mexico are directly related to their investigative and journalistic work, including covering Indigenous rights violations. A clear example is Cándido Ríos Vásquez who was killed in 2017 covering Indigenous and migrant women. Marcos Hernández was investigating Indigenous radio stations and was killed in Oaxaca in 2016. There are many more cases of deaths of radio broadcasters and journalists which remain without investigation.
      Cultural Survival’s report also focused on the difficulty that Indigenous communities face in accessing licenses for broadcasting, despite a 2014 law authorizing Indigenous communities legal use of radio frequencies. The 2014 law also mandated that government agencies devote a fraction of their communications budgets to broadcast on the air at Indigenous community radio stations, yet five years later, this source of funding is not being equitably distributed, and not reaching to Indigenous community radio stations.
      
     In its Concluding Observations, regarding the freedom of expression of Indigenous Peoples, the Committee stated: The Committee is seriously concerned about information that accounts for attacks on life committed against journalists and community communicators who report violations of human rights, especially of indigenous peoples and their territories. Attacks on journalists have reportedly increased by more than 163% between 2010 and 2016. It is also concerned about administrative difficulties in registering community radio stations, including Indigenous community radio stations and limited budget support for its operation...
     'The Committee urges the State party to carry out thorough investigations of all attacks on life, acts of harassment and harassment against journalists in general and community communicators and journalists, in particular those who defend the rights of Indigenous Peoples , and properly prosecute and punish those responsible. The Committee recommends that the State party take the necessary measures to facilitate the process of registering Indigenous community radio stations and to ensure compliance with the Federal Telecommunications and Transmission Law so that Indigenous community radio stations have the necessary financial support for their proper functioning by virtue of the fundamental role they play in the transmission of Indigenous knowledge, culture and traditions
.'”
      
     Read the Cultural Survival’s Alternative CERD Report here: https://www.culturalsurvival.org/sites/default/files/executive-summary-CERD.pdf.


     "Report On Mexico’s Indigenous Rights Record Presented To Cerd," Cultural Survival," August 2, 2019, https://www.culturalsurvival.org/news/report-mexicos-indigenous-rights-record-presented-cerd, reported, " During the month of July 2019, a report on Mexico's Indigenous rights record was submitted to the United Nations Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination (CERD). Twelve organizations that work on issues of human rights, legal assistance, migration, Indigenous Peoples, development and research collaborated to prepare this report. Each of the co-authors provided a series of case studies in Mexico and made recommendations to solve each issue.
     Among the organizations that joined forces in the preparation of the alternative report were la Asistencia Legal por los Derechos Humanos, Centro de Derechos Humanos Fray Bartolomé de las Casas', Centro de Derechos de las Mujeres de Chiapas, Centro de Derechos Humanos Fray Francisco de Vitoria, Centro Mexicano de Derecho Ambiental, Comité de Defensa Integral de Derechos Humanos Gobixha, Cultural Survival, Fundar, Proyecto Sobre Organización, Desarrollo, Educación e Investigación, Red Nacional de Organismos Civiles de Derechos Humanos Todos los Derechos para Todas y Todos". The report seeks to present different situations that describe how the situation of migrants, Indigenous Peoples and Afro-descendant populations in Mexico has changed since 2017, the year in which the last report was submitted to CERD. According to data from the National Institute of Statistics and Geography (INEGI), the Indigenous population represents 21.5% of the total Mexican population, with the majority living in the territories from Oaxaca, Chiapas, Veracruz, State of Mexico, Puebla, Yucatán, Guerrero, and Hidalgo. The absence of the Mexican State as a guarantor of the rights and demands of Indigenous Peoples is evident. Indigenous populations face obstacles accessing basic services such as water, health, and education.
     The report details cases that exemplify forced displacements of Indigenous communities, violence against women, discrimination against Indigenous people in the justice system, and the issue of freedom of expression and access to information of Indigenous Peoples. Although the government has the responsibility to create a legal framework to protect and assist the needs of displaced communities, in Mexico the situation is contrary. Infrastructure, mining, fracking, mineral and hydroelectric extraction projects affect the health, housing, work, education and security of Indigenous communities and often cause forced displacement.
     The issue of violence against women in Mexico was reported by UN Women, who indicated that at least 6 out of 10 women have been victims of some type of violence, specifically 41.3% have been victims of sexual violence, and 9 women are killed every day. If one takes into account that there is violence against women in general, when attention is given to the issue of Indigenous women, a series of factors must be added, such as the fact of being Indigenous, poor, discriminated, and living in a rural community. Impunity is a major problem. Although there is a high number of femicides in Indigenous communities, the situation is ignored by municipal authorities.
     Regarding discrimination against Indigenous people in the justice system, it is visible how the Indigenous population has to engage in a justice system that is based on arbitrary detentions rooted in stereotypes and discrimination against Indigenous people, Language barriers also contribute to marginalization as often Spanish is the second language spoken. According to the AsiLegal organization, three factors are related to human rights violations of Indigenous persons deprived of liberty: the right to adequate defense; the right to a translator; and the right to have your identity recognized and respected.
     Cultural Survival contributed information on the issue of freedom of expression of Indigenous Peoples. Indigenous community radio stations are a tool that helps fulfill the essential right to transmit and provide access to information in Indigenous languages. Community radio seeks to promote cultures, languages, ​​and traditions and plays a decisive role when the territories have been threatened by mining megaprojects such as the Sierra Negra de Puebla or San José del Progreso. The situation of Indigenous radio journalists in Mexico has become very challenging. In 2017, Mexico was considered the most dangerous country for journalists. Many of the cases of murders of journalists in Mexico are directly related to their investigative and journalistic work, including covering Indigenous rights violations. A clear example is Cándido Ríos Vásquez who was killed in 2017 covering Indigenous and migrant women. Marcos Hernández was investigating Indigenous radio stations and was killed in Oaxaca in 2016. There are many more cases of deaths of radio broadcasters and journalists which remained without investigation.
      To read the full report, go here: https://www.culturalsurvival.org/sites/default/files/executive-summary-CERD.pdf."  


     In Mexico, the Zapatistas have expanded their autonomous territory in creating seven new caracoles and four new autonomous municipalities ("Zapatistas Announce Territory Expansion," Cultural Survival Quarterly, December 2019).


     ICG, Tiziano Breda, Researcher, Northern Triangle and Nicaragua, "Curtain Falls on Guatemala’s International Commission against Impunity," Q&A / Latin America & Caribbean 3 September 2019, https://www.crisisgroup.org/latin-america-caribbean/central-america/guatemala/curtain-falls-guatemalas-international-commission-against-impunity, commented, " President Jimmy Morales has made good on his promise to shut down a UN-backed commission fighting rampant crime and impunity in Guatemala. Though it leaves a vital legacy, the commission’s exit risks strengthening the hand of criminal networks that operate with state complicity.
      What happened? The UN-backed International Commission against Impunity in Guatemala (CICIG) closes its doors today, twelve years after embarking on its mission to help the country prosecute serious crimes and support the rule of law. The CICIG worked with Guatemala’s security and judicial institutions to dismantle criminal organisations and impede their collusion with state officials. The expansion of these criminal networks had contributed to the doubling of murder rates in Central America’s most populous country between 1999 and 2006. By then, the annual homicide rate had reached an historic high of 43.6 killings per 100,000 inhabitants, leading a UN rapporteur to rue that Guatemala was a good place to commit a murder, because you will almost certainly get away with it.
     Guatemala’s outgoing president, Jimmy Morales, initially supportive of the CICIG, made terminating it a policy priority over the past two years. A political novice famed for comedy sketches on television, Morales swept to office in 2015 on a wave of public outrage at the political establishment following then-president Otto Pérez Molina’s resignation and arrest on corruption charges in a case of customs fraud filed by the CICIG, for which he is still untried.
     Even though its case against Pérez Molina helped pave the way for his election, Morales later argued that the commission trampled on the nation’s sovereignty and routinely overstepped its mandate. His hostility escalated markedly after CICIG decided to investigate him, his son and his brother for fraud, embezzlement and campaign finance violations in 2017. Even though the Guatemalan Congress refused to lift President Morales’ immunity in September 2017 – in effect shielding him from prosecution – and his brother and son were recently acquitted, Morales’ relationship with the CICIG soured permanently. In August 2017, Morales declared the CICIG’s head Iván Velásquez, a Colombian jurist, persona non grata. Then, in 2018, he announced that the commission’s mandate, due to expire in September 2019, would not be renewed. The commission’s closing today marks the fulfilment of that pledge.
      How did the U.S. and other donors react?
      Although Morales’ decision not to renew the CICIG’s mandate sparked domestic and international outcry, the U.S. – the commission’s main donor with almost $45 million in contributions – chose not to push back. In September 2018, the CICIG donors’ group (known as the G13), released a statement regretting the government’s decision, which the U.S. did not sign.
      The U.S.’s about-face on the commission was partly the product of an effective influence campaign. Intense lobbying in Washington by Guatemalan politicians and business figures, many alarmed by probes into the thicket of collusion between companies and political leaders, helped to turn various U.S. politicians against the commission. Unproven allegations that Moscow had penetrated the commission’s 2015 investigations against the Bitkov family, who came to Guatemala fleeing Russian persecution and were then accused of securing their residency papers through corrupt means, helped give the campaign against the CICIG some traction in the U.S. Congress.
      President Morales, meanwhile, curried favour with the Trump administration by moving the Guatemalan embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem in February 2018, and aligning closely with U.S. efforts to dislodge Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro. He also bowed to Washington’s hard line on migration control, signing a Safe Third Country agreement in July 2019. Should it be ratified by the Guatemalan Congress, the agreement will oblige asylum seekers transiting through Guatemala, largely from other Central American countries, to file their requests there rather than in the U.S.
      Right-wing President-elect Alejandro Giammattei has already stated he will not reverse Morales’ decision. He has his own grievances with the CICIG, which helped convict and imprison him in 2010 for his alleged involvement in executing seven prisoners while he was head of Guatemala’s prisons, for which he was later exonerated. But CICIG’s popularity among donors and the Guatemalan people – 70 per cent of whom support the commission – has at least persuaded Giammattei to promise a replacement body, funded by the state and headed by three Guatemalan commissioners who, in his words, “will not only prosecute corrupt figures, as did CICIG, but attack the system that fosters corruption”. Doubts remain over the effectiveness of such a new body, both because it would need years to become operational, as did the CICIG, and because commissioners would be designated by the incoming government, raising questions about its independence despite Giammattei’s promise to ensure a transparent, inclusive selection.
      Did the commission achieve its goals?
     The CICIG made impressive progress, playing a central role in numerous high-profile prosecutions and in reducing violence across the country. Among other things, the CICIG piloted reforms creating a witness protection program, tighter gun controls and rules for court-ordered wiretaps. It spurred the establishment of high-risk crime courts to protect the safety of individuals involved in the prosecution of especially grave crimes, and a special prosecutor’s office against impunity (FECI in Spanish) within the Attorney General’s office. It also trained dozens of prosecutors and police officers in scientific criminal investigation techniques – achieving notoriety in 2010 by proving that a presumed murder victim who claimed in a widely-circulated video that senior officials, including former president Álvaro Colom, had threatened his life, had actually
plotted his own homicide in an act of despondency.
      Hundreds of investigations hatched or supported by the CICIG have successfully broken up rackets involving prominent officials, business leaders, drug traffickers, extortionists and street gangs. Its work helped oust a dozen corrupt judges, and led to the removal of 1,700 police officials accused of corruption and incompetence. According to the CICIG , unsolved murder cases fell from 95 per cent in 2009 to 72 per cent in 2012.
     As Crisis Group has previously
reported , these achievements saved lives. In the first seven years of the commission’s operations, while the country’s neighbours and regional peers experienced a 1 per cent annual rise in homicide rates on average, Guatemala saw an average 5 per cent decline, according to World Bank’s figures . Overall, Crisis Group estimates that the CICIG has contributed to a net reduction of more than 4,500 homicides between 2007 and 2017.
     What risks does Guatemala face after CICIG’s exit
?
     The greatest danger is that impunity for serious crimes will rise again, with murder rates and emigration following suit
.
     According to a recent CICIG report, criminal networks have already begun to revive techniques for obstructing judicial investigations. This has contributed to a fresh spike in impunity rates, which ticked back to 94.2 per cent for homicide cases in 2018, indicating that fragile improvements can easily erode as political support wanes. Had its mandate been renewed, the CICIG might have helped stem the tide, as its presence brought with it UN, U.S. and European backing for robust judicial operations and protection for Guatemalan prosecutors and magistrates. As the lapse of its mandate has approached, threats and attacks have already risen against judges in the Constitutional Court. Attorney General Consuelo Porras has committed to consolidating FECI’s role, but has not confirmed whether her prosecution service will employ the dozens of Guatemalan professionals who built considerable expertise working for the commission.
      With the CICIG’s exit, high-level officials and politicians may take advantage of weaker oversight, falling back into the patterns of corruption and state collusion with drug trafficking and other criminal organisations that multiple CICIG cases uncovered. Violence against land rights and other political activists, for which Guatemala already reports the highest per capita rate in the Americas, could worsen. We are already starting to see a deceleration in the long-term trend of homicide reduction', said an analyst at the Guatemalan Observatory of Violence.
      Although Guatemalans already try to migrate to the U.S. in large numbers for mainly economic reasons, increasing corruption and insecurity are likely to accelerate flight to the north, creating opportunities for criminals who prey on vulnerable migrants through extortion, human smuggling and sexual exploitation.
      What significance does CICIG’s closure have for the region?
     The CICIG’s closure sets an alarming precedent. The commission had a worthy mandate, more than enough work to do, and the support of the Guatemalan people. What it lacked, in recent years, was sufficient support from the U.S. The evaporation of Washington’s support sends a stark message that the Trump administration is ready to trade away the fight against corruption and for protecting the rule of law in favour of other objectives – including restricting migration and eliciting support for its Israel policy. Honduran President Juan Orlando Hernández could feel tempted to follow Morales’ example as he considers the fate of the Mission to Support the Fight against Corruption and Impunity in Honduras (MACCIH), a body backed by the Organization of American States whose mandate expires in January 2020. Although the U.S. embassy in Tegucigalpa has reiterated its support for MACCIH, it has also backed the Honduran government’s request that the OAS assess the body’s work before it takes a final decision. It will be critically important that the U.S. not repeat the cold shoulder posture that led to the CICIG’s demise
.
      At the same time, the CICIG leaves behind a set of accomplishments that others in the region would do well to emulate. Whereas anti-corruption campaigns in other Latin American countries, especially Brazil, have faced criticism over their allegedly selective choice of culprits, political bias and failure to address the conditions that enable graft and impunity to flourish, this charge is far harder to level against the CICIG. Indeed, both candidates in the second round of the last presidential election in Guatemala faced CICIG investigations, and one of them (Sandra Torres) was actually detained on 2 September on illicit electoral financing and unlawful association charges. In scything through the political establishment, the commission spurred its unpopularity with high-level officials – both hastening its demise and securing a legacy that future reformers can look to in taking up the work it was prematurely forced to set aside."
     
     "Militarization in Eastern Guatemala Threatens Freedom of Expression and Indigenous Human Rights Defenders," Cultural Survival, September 11, 2019, https://www.culturalsurvival.org/news/militarization-eastern-guatemala-threatens-freedom-expression-and-indigenous-human-rights, reported, " Since September 4, 2019, 22 municipalities in Eastern Guatemala have been militarized by right-wing president Jimmy Morales after declaring a state of siege or martial law in the largely Indigenous region of the country, for a minimum period of 30 days. A state of siege suspends civil rights including freedom of action, freedom of movement, right to assembly and demonstration, carrying of arms, and supports legal detentions and interrogations of detainees and prisoners, putting at risk the freedom, security, life and peace of the inhabitants of the affected areas. Restrictions apply to all those living in Izabal and in the municipalities of Tactic, Senahú, Tamahú, La Tinta, Tucurú, Cahabón, Panzós, Chahal and Fray Bartolomé de las Casas, Alta Verapaz; Río Hondo, Teculután, Gualán and Usumatlán, Zacapa; San Agustín Acasaguastlán and San Cristóbal Acasaguastlán, El Progreso, Purulhá, Baja Verapaz, and San Luis, Petén.
      The state of siege was declared after three military members were ambushed and killed during rounds to monitor drug trafficking activities in the area on September 3. However, a large part of the municipalities included in the state of siege are ancestral and current territories of the Maya Q’eqchí, Poqomchi’ and Garífuna Peoples, who have been organizing and resisting in defense of their territories and natural resources against exploitation. Community leaders believe the executive branch has used the incident to criminalize and control Indigenous community organizing and freedom of expression.
      In El Estor, the persecution of the civilian population has recently intensified in response to community members opposing mining extraction and African palm plantations without their Free, Prior and Informed Consent. Community leaders and community media journalists are under threat and are being criminalized as a result of their work to organize and inform their audiences on the risks and human rights violations related to these development activities.
     In a press conference shared via video, members of community radio station Radio Comunitaria Nakoj, alongside other members of the community radio movement in Guatemala, announced,
     ' We reject that since 24th of July, unidentified people from Public Prosecutor's Office have been arriving to photograph and ask questions about personnel at Radio Nakoj, gathering necessary information to justify a raid on our station. This is a threat meant to intimidate us and is a violation of our right to freedom of expression, guaranteed to us by the constitution, international treaties and conventions, and the Guatemalan Peace Accords. Since the state siege, two community radio stations in the area have shut down operations for fear of reprisal.
     Independent media Prensa Comunitaria reported that their journalists Baudilio Choc Mac and Rony Morales Tot were not allowed to interview community leaders without being accompanied by the army.
     In addition to the three members of the Guatemalan military who were killed, other victims include two campesinos, an elder man and woman, who suffered injuries while caught in the crossfire during the ambush and were brought to a nearby hospital, as well as Agustín Chub Chub, a victim of apparent suicide after he was accused on social media of involvement in the death of the soldiers. The accuser, Ricardo Méndez Ruiz , is a right-wing columnist who has previously been censured by the Human Rights Ombudsman in Guatemala for hate speech against human rights defenders.
     Cultural Survival supports Indigenous and social organizations that express their rejection of the state of siege and the militarization in their region. We also denounce the suspension of human rights, which can lead to more criminalization of leaders, detentions, false criminal charges and evictions of communities. Militarization disproportionately affects Indigenous communities, civil society, social organizations, community leaders, community media and journalists rather than the criminals it is meant to deter. For survivors of the Guatemalan civil war, militarization invokes the trauma of past experiences of brutal massacres, rape, and terror inflicted on the communities by the Guatemalan military.
     Community radio and alternative media are the only spaces that communities have to report to the broader public on what is happening, given the pro-business, pro-government bias of corporate media monopoly. The lack of legal recognition for community broadcasting endangers the freedom of expression of the Indigenous communities by limiting their rights established in article 35 of the Guatemalan Constitution.
     Cultural Survival reiterates its commitment to uphold the human rights of Indigenous Peoples, the integrity and security of women and children in the communities under siege, and stands in solidarity with the families affected by this violence.
      We urge the government of Guatemala to do the following:Repeal of the State of Siege imposed in 22 municipalities in the northeast of the country in government decree number 1-2019;
     Carry out rigorous investigations to find the whereabouts of those responsible for the killings and punish the perpetrators;
     Uphold the right of freedom of expression of Indigenous Peoples, guaranteeing the use of community radio, tv and other platforms;
     Fulfill its commitment to Indigenous Peoples with the Peace Accords signed in 1996; and,
     That the Attorney General for Human Rights be vigilant about any violation of human rights and collective rights of Indigenous Peoples during this time, among other guarantees of citizenship;
     That the Public Prosecutor's Office refrains from conducting raids against community radio stations, which have no legal basis
."


     "First Communication Workshop Takes Place in Nebaj-Quiche," Cultural Survival, August 15, 2019, https://www.culturalsurvival.org/news/first-communication-workshop-takes-place-nebaj-quiche, reported , "The underrepresentation and the absence of media in the hands of Indigenous Peoples has led to the loss of various elements of cultures over the years and has lead to assimilation, especially of youth. After a brief screening of radio and television in the Ixil region of Guatemala, one realizes that the majority of the stations are religious and tend to limit space to organizations that promote the rights of Indigenous Peoples.
      Association Q'imb'al is an organization that in recent years has promoted the empowerment of Ixile women. They have held workshops that facilitate the possibility of installing a community radio, managed by the community and for the community. Upon learning about Cultural Survival’s Community Media Grant Project, they decided to apply. Fundamaya and the Maya Ixil University were included in their proposal. The proposal was approved and now they are in the implementation stage.
     
     On August 8- 9, 2019, in Nebaj-Quiche, the Women’s Association Q'imb'al, the University Ixil, Fundamaya, Q'asabyol, Red Laval Iq', with the support of Cultural Survival, and WAAC, developed the first workshop to learn about and analyze the media in Guatemala. Whose hands are the media in? What sources of media are there? What content do they offer to the community? What articles of the constitution and international conventions support the right of Indigenous Peoples’ to access their own media?
     During the workshop, the participants stated, AS INDIGENOUS PEOPLES, WE ALSO HAVE THE RIGHT TO OUR MEDIA, the Identity and Rights of Indigenous Peoples Agreement clearly states that the State must provide media to the Indigenous Peoples to promote their languages, their music, their cultures, as does Article 35 of the Constitution of the Republic of Guatemala, and several international human rights agreements. Unfortunately, the State of Guatemala has not complied with its obligations.
     In other countries such as Mexico, Colombia, Bolivia, the State has already provided access to media such as radio and television to Indigenous Peoples and supports their efforts
.
     Ana Cheel, coordinator of the project, said she had no prior knowledge of the right to media of Indigenous Peoples. Now we are clear about our rights, a community broadcaster must allow everyone’s participation. We need to train journalists and announcers who will be on the radio to make educational content, make women's rights programs, and involve ancestral authorities among others.'
     Elías Solis, youth representative, points out, It is necessary to know our fundamental rights. Broadcasters need to ensure community participation, and have a clear objective for the benefit of the majority. Community radio is a medium where the municipality participates. On air, youth, women, and elders can develop issues about the principles and values ​​of our grandparents and speak about how to take care of mother earth.'
     The workshop was attended by 20 people, including women, youth, and representatives of several organizations."


     ICG, Tiziano Breda, Researcher, Northern Triangle and Nicaragua, "Crackdown Raises Stakes as Honduran Protesters March On," Q&A / Latin America & Caribbean 2 July 2019, https://www.crisisgroup.org/latin-america-caribbean/central-america/honduras/crackdown-raises-stakes-honduran-protesters-march, commented, " Ten years after a coup, Honduras remains deeply polarised. Mass protests and the government’s heavy-handed response have damaged the economy and sparked deadly violence. Crisis Group Northern Triangle Analyst Tiziano Breda explains the origins of the intense public discontent that is roiling the country.
      What is happening in Honduras?Tensions between the administration of President Juan Orlando Hernández and a months-old national protest movement have intensified in recent weeks and crossed the line into violence. On 24 June – four days after Hernández ordered the military to crack down on demonstrations across the country – military police burst onto the campus of the Autonomous University of Honduras in the capital city of Tegucigalpa. They opened fire on students, wounding at least four. Altogether clashes have claimed at least three protesters’ lives – and resulted in dozens more injuries (chiefly on the protesters’ side).
     The tensions initially arose in reaction to a government initiative to restructure the country’s health and education systems – both segments of the economy that employ large numbers of public-sector workers. The Hernández administration kicked off the reform initiative by decree early in 2019 but protests began in earnest only after the Honduran Congress enacted implementing legislation in late April. Fearing that reform would result in privatisation and mass layoffs, trade unions representing doctors, nurses and teachers urged their members into the streets. May saw several national strikes, with protesters blocking major highways in mass mobilisations
.
     By early June, both the administration and Congress had walked back their formal actions – revoking the relevant decrees and nullifying the legislation – but by then the range of protesters had expanded and the grievances they were protesting had multiplied. It did not help that in early May the government published a new penal code creating new penalties for public criticism of government figures and feeding worries that the government would use the law to suppress free expression and peaceful assembly when it is scheduled to come into effect in November. (The government has since agreed in principle to amend the new code.) T he protest movement grew beyond the trade unions that were initially involved and came to include other unions, university students, human rights defenders and land rights activists; even some branches of the police joined the demonstrations. Protesters also came to focus on a new demand: calling for President Hernández’s resignation.
      Other government efforts at calming the waters have also failed to win over the protesters. On 13 June, following failed attempts to engage with a handful of health and education associations, the government sought to launch a national dialogue. But the Platform for the Defence of Health and Education – a Honduran consortium that brings together key representatives from its namesake professions – chose not to take part in the dialogue, imposed a list of nine preconditions for its participation going forward, and convened its own parallel talks on 18 June.
     Facing a growing protest movement that shows no signs of abating, and after clashes between protesters and police became more dangerous, Hernández ordered troops deployed on 20 June.
      What’s the background to the protests?
      The protests reflect public discontent with the current government – led by the weak and increasingly isolated President Hernández – and are exacerbated by the growing political polarisation that has enveloped the country since a coup ousted former president Manuel Zelaya (now leader of the left-wing opposition party Libre) ten years ago.
     Hernández has served two scandal-ridden terms. In 2015, he faced accusations that his 2013 presidential campaign had benefited from funds illegally siphoned from the Honduran Social Security Institute. In 2017, accusations of fraud marred his election to a second term, and violence marked the aftermath. Post-electoral clashes between police and protesters resulted in 23 deaths and 1,351 arrests amid allegations by the UN that the police used excessive force.
     Moreover, last year, U.S. authorities detained Hernández’s brother in the U.S. on drug trafficking charges, and prosecutors recently revealed that the Drug Enforcement Administration investigated Hernández himself for the same crimes in 2013. Recent surveys by Cid Gallup show the president’s approval rating dropped from 61 to 36 per cent since 2017. Another recent poll found that more than 80 per cent of interviewees said they do not trust the country’s main judicial and political institutions.
     President Hernández has weathered political turbulence thanks in part to the backing of some powerful allies – including the Catholic Church, the ruling National Party, the private sector, the security forces and the U.S. – but some of those allies are showing signs of frustration. After years of support for Hernández, the Episcopal Conference, which heads the Honduran Catholic Church, issued an unusual statement at the start of June, condemning the Honduran government’s response to the protests, criticising the judicial system’s lack of independence and lamenting the political elite’s estrangement from the Honduran people.
     Within the National Party (which has enjoyed a near monopoly on political power since the coup), high-level figures such as the president of the Congress, Mauricio Oliva, have kept their distance from Hernández during the crisis, rarely accompanying him in public appearances. Former President Porfirio Lobo went so far as to leave the party, found a new political movement and suggest that Hernández resign. While business organisations in Tegucigalpa have stayed loyal to the president, the Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Cortés, a leading private-sector association based in the country’s most industrialised region, stated on 2 June that corruption and mismanagement have damaged the Honduran economy more than the protests have.
     Anger has bubbled up even among the security forces, whose loyalty has been a pillar of support for the National Party
. Since the coup, they have fared well – benefiting from frequent funding increases and doubling in size over ten years. Nevertheless, on 18 June, several hundred members of the police special forces refused to leave their barracks, explaining that they did not wish to “repress the people” and demanding better working conditions. Although the strike ended two days later, the action left an impression of weakening support for the administration.
     The U.S. has also slightly toned down its political support after years of praising the Hernández government for fighting drug trafficking and organised crime, although its embassy in Tegucigalpa has been quite reluctant to adjust its message. It maintained its supportive tone even after President Trump’s March 2019 announcement that he would cut $615 million in aid to the Northern Triangle countries, including Honduras, because they were doing too little to curb northward migration. (Washington has since partly restored the aid.) After protesters set its front entrance on fire on 31 May, the embassy released a statement in support of the president. But when clashes with protesters turned deadly, and human rights organisations began denouncing the police for use of excessive force, the embassy shifted its rhetoric to demanding accountability for the deaths and injuries in the streets.
      The country’s growing political polarisation is to some extent a reflection of wounds that have not healed from the 2009 coup that drove Manuel Zelaya from office. Hondurans who did not support the coup have from the beginning tended to see in the Hernández government what one civil society leader called a soft dictatorship'. A UN-backed dialogue among the country’s three main parties last year managed to channel grievances into a debate on electoral reforms. But, despite modest progress, the process has stalled during the current crisis, and inter-party relations – which were not strong to begin with – have dramatically deteriorated. Emboldened by the recent street protests, Libre started staging what it called a legislative insurrection'. Since May, its deputies have been performing acts such as burning the constitution in Congress (ostensibly to protest its constant infringement by the current government) and throwing firecrackers during votes. They are demanding that the Hernández government step down.
      Where is the crisis headed?
     Honduras finds itself in a vicious cycle: the current crisis is partly a response to worsening economic, security and humanitarian conditions, which the unrest could turn still worse. The government is not completely intransigent – it stepped back from some of its most unpopular moves and has shown an openness to dialogue. But it has also been prone to misread the challenges it is facing, branding protests, street blockings and looting as a conspiracy between the opposition and criminal elements to destabilise the country
.
     Instability is badly hurting the Honduran economy. Juan Carlos Sikaffy, president of the Honduran Council of Private Enterprise, recently estimated that since April the economic damage of national strikes, street closures and mobilisations, compounded by vandalism and looting, has been over $400 million, or around 1 per cent of the country’s GDP. Already 60 per cent of the population live below the poverty line and only 20 per cent earn the minimum wage, which by itself is nowhere near sufficient to support a household. The unrest could press more Hondurans into economically precarious lives.
     Hernández’s has staked much of his claim to public and international support on Honduras’ record of halving the number of homicides over the past eight years, but the statistics remain jarring and have recently taken a turn for the worse
. Honduras is still among the most violent countries in the hemisphere, with around 40 murders per 100,000 inhabitants, and impunity rates for these crimes remained at 87.3 per cent in 2017, according to a report by the Alliance for Peace and Justice. Moreover, the police reported 192 more homicides between April and the end of June than over the same period last year, and the Honduran Observatory of Violence reports a 50 per cent increase in mass killings over roughly the same period. With the country beset by protests and many security personnel focused on containing them, there is a risk that unchecked criminal violence will further intensify.
      Political instability, widespread insecurity and impunity, and economic distress, accentuated by climate change-induced droughts – affecting more than 170,000 families living in the country’s Dry Corridor, according to the National Commissioner for Human Rights – push thousands of desperate Hondurans to flee every month. Although the mass exodus started well before the current crisis, the number of departures has leapt since April. Around 300 people leave Honduras every day, and around 175,000, or almost 2 per cent of the total population, have been apprehended at the U.S. southern border since October 2018. Apprehensions have boomed in the past couple of months, numbering more than 36,000 in May alone, compared to fewer than 10,000 in October 2018.
     What can be done?
      The immediate goal for all parties should be de-escalation. To help set that in motion, the government should make another effort to enter into substantive dialogue with the Platform for the Defence of Health and Education. To avoid the cold shoulder it received when it last made this offer, it should make clear that it is prepared to make concessions on issues of core concern to the Platform, including exploring whether there are more resources in the national budget to invest in health and education infrastructure. It should also commit to reining in security forces’ heavy-handed response to protests and to promoting accountability for human rights violations that they may have perpetrated during the crackdown. While this dialogue cannot address the full range of frustrations that have surfaced during the recent wave of protests, it would be at least a beginning, and could offer a reason for both sides to step back from the increasingly dangerous escalatory cycle that has developed.
     On the political front, opposition parties, particularly Libre, should temper their demands that Hernández resign. His immediate exit would merely lead to early polls under the same flawed electoral system the opposition says produced a fraudulent result in 2017. The opposition’s focus should shift to ensuring the implementation of critical electoral reforms. These include the digitisation of the national registry of persons, which would help mitigate voting irregularities, and the creation of a national electoral council to oversee elections and an electoral justice court to settle disputes. Congress passed a package of constitutional changes to enable the creation of these institutions in January 2019, but they require implementing legislation to become a reality.
     Finally, foreign partners, particularly the U.S., should make clear that political support for the Hernández government is conditional on the latter taking steps toward dialogue with the opposition and advancing the fight against corruption and impunity. In this connection, Washington should press Honduras to commit to renewing the four-year mandate of the Organization of American States-backed Support Mission Against Corruption and Impunity in Honduras.While none of these steps will in itself be sufficient to reverse the polarisation that has pulled Honduras apart, they might help stop the situation from worsening in a country that can ill afford further strain
."


     Teresita Orozco, "Indigenous Women Of Wangki, Nicaragua: Weaving Autonomy And Peace," Cultural Survival, October 28, 2019, https://www.culturalsurvival.org/news/indigenous-women-wangki-nicaragua-weaving-autonomy-and-peace, reported, " In Wangki Awala Kupia, Waspam municipality, in the north Caribbean coastal region of Nicaragua, the Eleventh Meeting of Wanki Indigenous Women took place, bringing together more than one thousand Miskita women for four days on October 19-22, 2019.
     Fourteen work spaces were created, each with 60 to 70 participants. The women reflected and contributed ideas on the issues raised including: healing and spirituality for the survivors of violence; Wangki Indigenous women as human rights promoters and defenders; economic empowerment of Wangki women; Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) and Indigenous women; and intercultural communication. The workshop on intercultural communication for women was facilitated by Cultural Survival.
     Indigenous Miskita promoter and communicator, Vilma Washington, highlights, We dialogue with our authorities of the regional government of the North Caribbean Coast and our Indigenous municipal mayor's office. We talked with officials and officials of the institutions, about the programs they carry out in our communities, presenting our proposals and joint responsibility commitments for their implementation.'
      The fruit of the articulated efforts of Miskito Indigenous Women has made the Wangki Women's fora possible. For 11 consecutive years, they have brought together hundreds of women from the communities of the Coco River, from other regions of the country, and even have included some international participation. The women meet to raise their considerations on existing policies, the work of civil society organizations, and for cooperation, as well as the identification of concrete actions for the problems they face, among which the most pressing is gender violence.
     'We travel from our communities, adding to the fabric of peace and autonomy, convened by the organization of indigenous women Wangki Tangni to the Eleventh Forum of Indigenous Women of Wangki. We come from the eight Indigenous territories (Kipla Sait, Li Lamni, Li Auhbra, Amasau, Wangki Awala Kupia, Wangki Twi Tasba Raya, Wangki Maya Yahbra Tah), we, women, men, youth, midwives, promoters, wihtas (Miskito judges), Indigenous leaders of the 115 communities of the Waspam municipality, states Indigenous Mayor Rose Cunningham who, from her work with Indigenous women in her territory, saw this initiative born and strengthened.
     Dr. Myrna Cunningham, stresses that 'violence and non-resolution in our communities in the cases of rape and murder, is still a challenge. Women continue to be attacked and killed. We reiterate the need for the presence of the National Police, the National Army and the strengthening of the judicial system in many of our communities to complement the security measures that we ourselves promote. The dialogue with the local, municipal, and national authorities with the wihtas and leaders, Indigenous promoters will continue to bear fruit to promote the rights of women and children, and strengthen Indigenous governance, in a context of legal pluralism, autonomy and peace.'"


     John McPhaul, "Costa Rica Recognizes The Nationality Of Trans-Border Indigenous Communities," Cultural Survival, August 12, 2019, https://www.culturalsurvival.org/news/costa-rica-recognizes-nationality-trans-border-indigenous-communities, reported, "On August 9, 2019, Costa Rican President Carlos Alvarado signed a law to recognize the nationality of 3,000 members of the Ngäbe Indigenous population who live on Costa Rica's southern border with Panama as part of the commemoration of the International Day of the World’s Indigenous Peoples. Today we reaffirm our commitment to guarantee the right of all peoples to self-determination, said President Alvarado when signing the law, which makes it easier for some 3,000 Ngäbe to access Costa Rican identity documents. The lack of nationality has been a historical obstacle preventing Indigenous people living on Costa Rica’s borders in accessing basic services such as healthcare, education and social assistance.
      Meanwhile, Alvarado's government continues to come under pressure from rights groups to solve the murder of Bribri leader Sergio Rojas , who was killed in his home on March 18, 2019. Rojas lead a movement to recover Indigenous land occupied by settlers which rightfully belong to the Bribri communities. A total of 257 Costa Rican and international human rights groups and leaders have signed a petition demanding that the government solve the murder. We are talking about a political assassination. Sergio Rojas was a defender of human rights at the national level. He was a member of the National Indigenous Front. Indigenous people continue to be at the frontline of violence," said Marcela Zamora of the Friends Peace Center. Nayala Campbell of the human rights group Hablemos de Derecho Humanos said that Rojas murder has not been given the weight that it deserves. "The murder of Sergio Rojas has been minimized inside the country. The gravity of what it means to kill a defender of human rights has not been seen, said Campbell.
     On May 20, 2019, a delegation from the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) met in Costa Rica with President Carlos Alvarado, who had extended a formal invitation to the organization on March 22, four days after Rojas murder. The delegation was headed by Commissioner Joel Antonio Hernández, the IACHR Rapporteur for Costa Rica. Hernández was accompanied by Jorge Humberto Meza, coordinator of the Precautionary Measures Section, and Fernanda Alves Dos Anjos, coordinator of the Monitoring Section of the Special Follow-up Mechanism for Nicaragua (Meseni). Human rights specialists Alexandro Álvarez, Pilar Victoria and Lucía Azofeifa also participated in the mission, as well as photographer Erick Mendonca Dau. Our expectation of this meeting is to understand the state of these two peoples (Bribris and Terabas) and the measures that the State must continue to grant to guarantee the security and rights of Indigenous People. We are very pleased to be making this visit and very grateful to the President for having swiftly sent an invitation to the Commission after the tragic events of March 18, said Hernández before starting the delegation.
     Rojas was murdered even though the IACHR had ordered the government to take precautionary measures in 2015 after a series of attacks on Indigenous people led by Rojas attempting to recover their land. Costa Rica is home to over 106,000 Indigenous people belonging to eight different Indigenous Nations."


      The Agrarian Court of the Second District of San Jose, Costa Rica, in September 2019, revoked the sentence ordering removal of Boran land activists from land in their traditional territory that they had reoccupied in the Crun Shurin Estate in the Indigenous Territory of Terraba ("Costa Rica: Court Rules for Indigenous People ," Cultural Survival, December, 2019)


      Nicholas Casey, "They Survived Colonization and War. But Venezuela’s Collapse Was Too Much," The New York Times, July 30, 2019, https://www.nytimes.com/2019/07/30/world/americas/venezuela-indigenous-wayuu.html, reported, " They had lived off the land for hundreds of years, before Venezuela or Colombia had even been founded. The Wayuu, an indigenous group of shepherds in South America, had survived war, upheaval, revolution and even being separated from one another by the creation of national borders.
     Yet for the Wayuu living in Venezuela, the breaking point finally came with the economic devastation under President Nicolás Maduro and the American sanctions against his government."
     The Wayuu in Venezuela, no longer able to survive the shortages there, fled across the boarder to join their poor neighbors in Colombia. But the resources in the Colombian region have been insufficient to provide for the combined populations, bringing serious malnutrition
.
     
      Following months of frustration in the implementation of the Colombia-FARC peace agreement: Nicholas Casey and Lara Jakes, "Colombia’s Former FARC Guerrilla Leader Calls for Return to War," The New York Times, August 29, 2019, https://www.nytimes.com/2019/08/29/world/americas/colombia-farc-rebel-war.html, reported, "A former top commander of Colombia’s largest rebel group [and a key facilitator in achieving the peace agreement], the Revolutionary Armed Forces, vowed a return to war and issued a new call to arms on Thursday, almost three years after the rebels signed a peace deal to disarm.
     The commander, whose real name is Luciano Marín but is known by the alias Iván Márquez, said in a video that his group, known as the FARC, would return to fighting because of what he called the government’s violations of the peace agreement.
     The announcement could signal a shattering of the agreement, which ended a war that lasted 52 years, displaced millions from their homes, and left at least 220,000 dead."


     "Support Indigenous Defenders In Ecuador," Cultural Survival, October 15, 2019, https://www.culturalsurvival.org/news/support-indigenous-defenders-ecuador, reported, " After eleven days of massive protests in Quito, Indigenous organizations and the Moreno administration reached a deal on Sunday, October 13, to revoke pro-International Monetary Fund Decree 883 by cancelling the disputed austerity package, and end strikes across the country. Although this is a historic win, Indigenous communities are suffering the aftermath: 10 people have died, 100 are missing, over 2000 have been injured and over 1000 are detained. Indigenous rights defenders are asking for medical supplies and aid, legal assistance for those criminalized and accused of terrorism, and support of families of the victims who gave their lives fighting for the rights of Indigenous Peoples in Ecuador. As we celebrate the victory, let's not forget that the fight is far from being over. It will be a long road to achieve justice and fulfillment of Indigenous rights and peace will only depend on how the Ecuadorian government will respect, protect, and fulfill Indigenous Peoples rights, its accountability for the excessive force used and rights violations during the strike, and on the details of the new agreement that will replace Decree 883. This repeal is a product not only of the Indigenous struggle, but also of the Ecuadorian people, this struggle belongs to the people. As CONAIE, we will continue in the unfailing struggle for our rights, our territories, and for the freedom of all our social fighters who have been criminalized during this process of resistance. #Thefightcontinues, stated CONAIE."


      Ernesto Londoño, "Morales Averts Runoff in Bolivia, Officials Say, but Anger and Doubt Remain," The New York Times," October 25, 2019, https://www.nytimes.com/2019/10/25/world/americas/bolivia-election-president-evo-morales.html, reported, " Bolivia’s electoral tribunal announced late Friday that President Evo Morales[, the country's first Indigenous president,]had won this week’s presidential election by a margin large enough to avoid a runoff, a finding that incensed the opposition and raised international doubts about a race that has been dogged by allegations of fraud."


     Mónica Machicao and Ernesto Londoño, "Bolivia’s Democracy Faces Pivotal Test as Unrest Spreads: Allegations that the governing party rigged the Oct. 20 election have sparked violent protests and calls for a new election." The New York Times, November 1, 2019, https://www.nytimes.com/2019/10/31/world/americas/bolivia-election-protests.html, reported, "Tension over Bolivia’s disputed presidential elections escalated sharply this week as a protest that turned violent left two people dead, and a sizable segment of the armed forces warned that they would not crack down on demonstrators on behalf of President Evo Morales."
      Clifford Krauss, "Evo Morales of Bolivia Accepts Asylum in Mexico: The former president, who faced weeks of protest, said he had been forced out in a coup. He leaves Bolivia in a power vacuum, with politicians scrambling to form a caretaker government." The New York Times, November 13, 2019, https://www.nytimes.com/2019/11/11/world/americas/bolivia-evo-morales.html, reported, "Evo Morales, the former president of Bolivia who resigned under pressure from street protests and the military, was granted asylum in Mexico on Monday, departing from the country at a time when it is deeply polarized and leaderless."
     Discussions on Democracy Now, November 10, 2019, report that there is no evidence to support the claims of irregularities in the Bolivian elections that fueled the protests against the reelection of President Evo Morrales, and were used by the leadership of the Bolivian army to force Morales to resign from the presidency.
     Anatoly Kurmanaev and Clifford Krauss, "Ethnic Rifts in Bolivia Burst Into View With Fall of Evo Morales: As the country’s first Indigenous president has tumbled from power, Indigenous Bolivians fear the loss of their hard-won political gains, and say a racially tinged backlash has begun," The New York Times, November 15, 2019, https://www.nytimes.com/2019/11/15/world/americas/morales-bolivia-Indigenous-racism.html, " In the days since the ouster of Evo Morales , Bolivia’s first Indigenous president, deep ethnic tensions that have long divided the country have erupted, complicating efforts to move Bolivia out of political crisis.
     Mr. Morales, a champion of the Indigenous, has now been replaced by an acting president of European descent, and resentments have surfaced. Police officers have ripped the Indigenous insignia off their uniforms. Protesters have burned the Indigenous flag. And the acting president, who posted tweets many consider racist, initially appointed a cabinet without a single Indigenous member."


     "'This is What a Dictatorship Looks Like': Bolivian Security Forces Open Fire on Indigenous Protesters in City of Cochabamba: State violence in Bolivia,'" Common Dreams, November 15, 2019, https://www.commondreams.org/news/2019/11/15/what-dictatorship-looks-bolivian-security-forces-open-fire-indigenous-protesters, reported, " Bolivian security forces opened fire on Indigenous protesters Friday in the city of Cochabamba in response to demonstrations against the right-wing regime that forced democratically-elected President Evo Morales to resign on Sunday.
     'This is what a dictatorship looks like," said attorney and activist Eva Golinger in a tweet sharing images of police forces opening fire on protesters.
     As Common Dreams reported, a mass demonstration movement against the unelected government of interim acting President Jeanine Añez spread across the country Friday. Protesters are demanding Añez step down and that Morales be restored to power. The protesters in Cochabamba were majority Indigenous, according to reports. Many of the demonstrators in the city were coca growers .
      'Footage emerging from Cochabamba, Bolivia shows the aftermath of a massacre of indigenous protesters carried out by coup soldiers and police," tweeted filmmaker Dan Cohen.'This will be ignored by western media.'
     Images and video from the protest and attack show the violence in explicit detail."
     "Our work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 License."


      Medea Benjamin, "'They're Killing Us Like Dogs'—A Massacre in Bolivia and a Plea for Help: Writing this dispatch from Bolivia, the conflict here is spiraling out of control and I fear it will only get worse," Common Dreams, November 22, 2019, https://www.commondreams.org/views/2019/11/22/theyre-killing-us-dogs-massacre-bolivia-and-plea-help, reported, "I am writing from Bolivia just days after witnessing the November 19 military massacre at the Senkata gas plant in the indigenous city of El Alto, and the tear-gassing of a peaceful funeral procession on November 21 to commemorate the dead. These are examples, unfortunately, of the modus operandi of the de facto government that seized control in a coup that forced Evo Morales out of power.
      The coup has spawned massive protests, with blockades set up around the country as part of a national strike calling for the resignation of this new government. One well-organized blockade is in El Alto, where residents set up barriers surrounding the Senkata gas plant, stopping tankers from leaving the plant and cutting off La Paz’s main source of gasoline.
     Determined to break the blockade, the government sent in helicopters, tanks and heavily armed soldiers in the evening of November 18. The next day, mayhem broke out when the soldiers began teargassing residents, then shooting into the crowd. I arrived just after the shooting. The furious residents took me to local clinics where the wounded were taken. I saw the doctors and nurses desperately trying to save lives, carrying out emergency surgeries in difficult conditions with a shortage of medical equipment. I saw five dead bodies and dozens of people with bullet wounds. Some had just been walking to work when they were struck by bullets. A grieving mother whose son was shot cried out between sobs: “They’re killing us like dogs.” In the end, there were eight confirmed dead.
     The next day, a local church became an improvised morgue, with the dead bodies—some still dripping blood—lined up in pews and doctors performing autopsies. Hundreds gathered outside to console the families and contribute money for coffins and funerals. They mourned the dead, and cursed the government for the attack and the local press for refusing to tell the truth about what happened.
      The local news coverage about Senkata was almost as startling as the lack of medical supplies. The de facto government has threatened journalists with sedition should they spread disinformation by covering protests, so many don’t even show up. Those who do often spread disinformation. The main TV station reported three deaths and blamed the violence on the protesters, giving airtime to the new Defense Minister Fernando Lopez who made the absurd claim that soldiers did not fire a single bullet and that terrorist groups had tried to use dynamite to break into the gasoline plant.
     It’s little wonder that many Bolivians have no idea what is happening. I have interviewed and spoken to dozens of people on both sides of the political divide. Many of those who support the de facto government justify the repression as a way to restore stability. They refuse to call President Evo Morales’ ouster a coup and claim there was fraud in the October 20 election that sparked the conflict. These claims of fraud, which were prompted by a report by the Organization of American States, have been debunked by the Center for Economic and Policy Research, a think tank in Washington, D.C.
     Morales, the first indigenous president in a country with an indigenous majority, was forced to flee to Mexico after he, his family and party leaders received death threats and attacks—including the burning of his sister’s house. Regardless of the criticisms people may have of Evo Morales, especially his decision to seek a fourth term, it is undeniable that he oversaw a growing economy that decreased poverty and inequality. He also brought relative stability to a country with a history of coups and upheavals. Perhaps most importantly, Morales was a symbol that the country’s indigenous majority could no longer be ignored. The de facto government has defaced indigenous symbols and insisted on the supremacy of Christianity and the Bible over indigenous traditions that the self-declared president, Jeanine Añez, has characterized as “satanic.” This surge in racism has not been lost on the indigenous protesters, who demand respect for their culture and traditions.
      Jeanine Añez, who was the third highest ranking member of the Bolivian Senate, swore herself in as president after Morales resignation, despite not having a necessary quorum in the legislature to approve her as president. The people in front of her in the line of succession—all of whom belong to Morales’ MAS party—resigned under duress. One of those is Victor Borda, president of the lower house of congress, who stepped down after his home was set on fire and his brother was taken hostage.
     'It is not hyperbole to suggest that this could result in a civil war.'
     Upon taking power, Áñez's government threatened to arrest MAS legislators, accusing them of " subversion and sedition," despite the fact that this party holds a majority in both chambers of congress. The de facto government then received international condemnation after issuing a decree granting immunity to the military in its efforts to reestablish order and stability.
     This decree has been described as a " license to kill" and " carte blanche" to repress, and it has been strongly criticized by the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights.
     The result of this decree has been death, repression and massive violations of human rights. In the week and a half since the coup, 32 people have died in protests, with more than 700 wounded. This conflict is spiraling out of control and I fear it will only get worse. Rumors abound on social media of military and police units refusing the de facto government's orders to repress. It is not hyperbole to suggest that this could result in a civil war. That's why so many Bolivians are desperately calling for international help. "The military has guns and a license to kill; we have nothing," cried a mother whose son had just been shot in Senkata. "Please, tell the international community to come here and stop this."
      I have been calling for Michelle Bachelet, the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights and former president of Chile, to join me on the ground in Bolivia. Her office is sending a technical mission to Bolivia, but the situation requires a prominent figure. Restorative justice is needed for the victims of violence and dialogue is needed to defuse tensions so Bolivians can restore their democracy. Ms. Bachelet is highly respected in the region; her presence could help save lives and bring peace to Bolivia."


     ICG, Bram Ebus, Consultant, "Savannah Strife: Brazil’s Combustible Border with Venezuela," Commentary / Latin America & Caribbean 5 September 2019, https://www.crisisgroup.org/latin-america-caribbean/andes/venezuela/savannah-strife-brazils-combustible-border-venezuela, commented, " The frontier between Brazil and its crisis-ridden neighbour Venezuela has become a major migration route, a hotspot for crime and a flashpoint for violence. This is the first of three commentaries on Venezuela’s troubled borderlands.
      The 2,199-kilometres frontier between Venezuela and Brazil – a sparsely populated stretch of jungle and bush – has been transformed by the political and economic crisis wracking Venezuela into a region scarred by transnational crime, displacement and violence. The potential for bloodshed became real in late February 2019, when a confrontation between a convoy of Venezuelan National Guardsmen and a small group of residents in the town of Kumarakapay set off a deadly series of events that shook the whole region.
     According to witnesses, inhabitants of the town, which sits in Venezuela’s Bolívar state approximately 50 kilometres north of the Brazilian border, were sound asleep early on 22 February when several armoured vehicles stormed in. The soldiers on board were heading southward to block the humanitarian aid that Venezuela’s opposition was planning to bring into the country the next day – part of a campaign supported by the U.S., Brazil and several Latin American countries to split the military and topple President Nicolás Maduro.By some accounts, the villagers – who belonged to the indigenous Pemon community that enjoys formal autonomy in their territory – sought to block the soldiers from continuing their journey because they wanted the aid to come in. According to others, the villagers simply wanted to talk to the intruders and ask what they were doing. In any case what happened next is clear: soldiers from the convoy opened fire, killing one woman on the spot and leaving at least fifteen wounded.
      The incident sparked six days of lethal skirmishes. Venezuelan security forces and irregular groups clashed with protesters along the border, with seven people reportedly killed and at least 62 detained. Around 70 school buses, filled not only with soldiers but also government-allied paramilitary groups, called colectivos, and prison inmates freed so they could enlist in the effort, headed to the border to block the incoming aid, according to a local human rights defender and several locals who fled to Brazil. The full extent of casualties remains unclear. Following her investigation of the February violence, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet cited 'reports of a possible mass grave, which warrants further investigation'.
      The frontier appears peaceful again, but the political, economic and demographic realities that fuelled the February clashes and related ills persist. These realities extend far beyond the international standoff that sparked the Kumarakapay confrontation. The region is a hive of illegal mining ventures and home to brutal, expansionist criminal groups that work in concert with corrupt security forces. Residents facing harassment and extortion by these groups sometimes lash out, but often seek to escape fear and impoverishment by migrating to Brazil, which struggles to absorb them. Human trafficking and other illicit activities thrive. As tension builds between vulnerable civilians and the groups that prey on them, the threat of violence is never far. bg_colored_1x1
      A Mining Boom and a Predatory Guard
     The recent spike in tensions between Venezuelan security forces and locals near the Brazilian border is partly an outgrowth of the mining boom underway across the Gran Sabana region in Bolívar state – which itself has been driven by criminal groups and the cash-starved government’s push to accelerate gold and diamond exports.
      The country’s armed forces are nominally in control of the mining industry, but they also work with criminal entrepreneurs, who have aggressively expanded their mining interests with impunity. Venezuelan organised crime groups called sindicatos and Colombian guerrillas have become major players in the mines of Bolívar and neighbouring Amazonas state, and often work in volatile alliances with corrupt state forces. As these groups pursue their hostile takeover of mineral-rich land and mines operated by locals, violence sometimes flares. The sindicatos violently control mining hotspots such as El Dorado and Las Claritas.
      Indigenous leaders say that criminal groups have high-level political blessing. According to these sources, political representatives across the eleven municipalities of Bolívar state, loyal to the government in Caracas and to the chavista regional administration, turn a blind eye to these groups’ criminality and instead share in the mining profits, which in turn provides a financial lifeline for the state and its officials amid Venezuela’s economic ruin.
     A former Venezuelan National Guard member who deserted and now lives in Brazil observed that Brazilian entrepreneurs are also part of the problem. He said they send truckloads of food across the border to feed the Venezuelan military and miners and are paid with often illegally-mined gold. This may explain why the Brazilian border state of Roraima exports more gold than it produces. bg_colored_1x1
     For their part, Venezuelan security forces reap the benefits of mining not only by taking a share of illicit profits, but through a panoply of criminal activities. Along some routes, they even traffic goods across borders. Alongside crime groups that are involved in human trafficking, underpaid guardsmen generate cash by extorting payments for similar cross-border movements. In the months when the Venezuelan government closed the border, from 22 February to 10 May, guardsmen demanded a payment of 150 Brazilian reals (roughly $36) for each car that passed one of the illegal border crossings, according to the defected officer. Each suspected migrant crossing either by foot or by car was forced to pay between 100 and 150 reals ($24-$46), the former guardsman recounted.But guardsmen do not necessarily get to keep these takings for themselves. According to the National
     Guard deserter with whom I spoke, rank-and-file members of the Guard themselves live under the constant shadow of extortion. Both at the border and the regional airport in Santa Elena, he explained, a superior demands weekly payments from his subordinates totalling the equivalent of $2,000.
     Fed up with poverty-level wages and the terrible requirements of the job, many guardsmen contemplate abandoning their posts. Sources in the diplomatic community reported that 77 have deserted and fled over the border since February, but many are too afraid to follow suit. The former guardsman I spoke to sent his family into hiding before crossing the border, and reported that the security forces have already come looking for them. “They are capable of murder”, he said. Recalling with shame the brutality he witnessed from inside the force, he said that on the day violence flared up across Gran Sabana, guardsmen were instructed to shoot at members of the indigenous population without justification. He remembers the order as: “Indio que llegue, indio que le disparamos” (“Indian that arrives, Indian we shoot at”).
     Locals confirm that such abuse has fed deepening anger toward security forces across the region. This ill-will is exemplified on a small scale by the occasional capture of a guardsman by indigenous communities, which is often followed by violent military reprisals against civilians. On a larger scale, mounting frustration exacerbates the likelihood of escalating violence of the kind the region experienced in February.
      Flight to safety?
      Against this backdrop, Venezuela’s border with Brazil functions as an escape valve for Venezuelans seeking safety or greater economic opportunity. Immediately across the border, Brazil’s Roraima state is the point of arrival for most Venezuelans fleeing south. But for too many, flight to Roraima involves trading one set of risks and dangers for another. bg_colored_1x1
     In some respects, Roraima is well-suited to be the first port of call for fleeing Venezuelans. Cross-border political, cultural, and business ties between Roraima and Venezuela are extensive and important. Standing physically much closer to Caracas and other Venezuelan urban centres than to Brazil’s capital, Brasilia, Roraima is even connected to the Venezuela electricity grid (although it has not purchased any electricity since Venezuela’s March 2019 blackouts). State governor Antonio Denarium is an admirer of Brazil’s far-right president, Jair Bolsonaro, an ardent enemy of chavismo, but he has been careful not to alienate his neighbours. When asked in an interview to choose between Maduro and National Assembly chair Juan Guaidó, who has asserted his claim to be interim president, Denarium refused to take sides. Members of the Pemon community in Brazil indeed welcomed hundreds of their fellow Venezuelan tribespeople who fled during the February crackdown.
     Nevertheless, Roraima – one of Brazil’s most impoverished regions – has struggled with the Venezuelan influx. According to the Brazilian military, there are now 40-45,000 Venezuelans in the whole of Roraima state, out of a total population of 520,000. Many are highly vulnerable, their needs neglected.The border town of Pacaraima became notorious after anti-migrant riots broke out in August 2018. A business owner was attacked and robbed by unknown assailants, triggering a violent xenophobic outburst by residents, who suspected Venezuelan migrants were responsible, and targeted the entire refugee and migrant population camping out in the village. Hundreds were chased back across the border.
     Now, more than a year later, calm has returned to Pacaraima – where Venezuelan day visitors and migrants can often be identified by their tricolour backpacks – but it is straining to support the growing Venezuelan presence. The town’s tumultuous main street is crammed with day visitors from Santa Elena, buying basic goods unavailable in Venezuela and exchanging currency. Pacaraima also houses hundreds of migrants and refugees too poor to continue their journeys into Brazil. They sell coffee and cigarettes, and haul luggage for better-off migrants. At the end of the afternoon, many Venezuelans in the town return to their home country with shopping. Those who remain start to gather cardboard from piles of trash to sleep on, as local shelters cannot cope with the influx. bg_colored_1x1
      One consequence of the need, misery and lawlessness along the border is an alarming surge in human trafficking. The streets are showcases of people', says Socorro Santos, an expert on the issue based in Roraima’s capital city of Boa Vista – three hours by car from the border. She explains that organised crime groups, formed by Venezuelan and Brazilian nationals, lure poor and desperate women in Venezuela to Brazil with false promises of employment. She and other experts also express deep concern about Venezuelans employed in food-for-work deals in rural Roraima, where migrants and refugees are forced to work on large estates in slave-like conditions and paid only in meals.
     The Brazilian borderlands expose refugees to other risks as well. An estimated 2,400 Venezuelans sleep rough in Boa Vista, a town of some 330,000 people. And the city’s eleven shelters, which according to the Brazilian army now host 6,500 people, have become dangerous places.
      A big part of the problem is lack of resources. The army, which is in charge of the shelters alongside the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees, has money for food, but not enough to cover most education or health needs, or leisure activities. Informal employment is simply unavailable for most. While about 2,500 Venezuelan youngsters are enrolled in local schools, teachers often do not speak Spanish. Bored and restless, Venezuelan youngsters in Boa Vista and elsewhere in Roraima are an attractive target for gangs and other criminal groups, which can use them as mules to slip unobtrusively across the border with contraband and arms. These criminal groups cast a large shadow over the community: former gang members living in Boa Vista comment that three of Brazil’s most prominent networks (Comando Vermelho, PCC, and Família do Norte) now have a local presence. bg_colored_1x1
     Problems with the refugee and migrant shelters are no secret. A young Venezuelan migrant – one of the lucky few who obtained a residency permit, apartment and job – spoke fearfully about the refugee shelter across the street from where she lives. She believes its residents are involved in local street crime and has observed Venezuelan minors, some aged under ten, dealing drugs at the bus stop she uses in the morning. A representative of the army-led “Operação Acolhida” (“Operation Welcome”), in charge of receiving Venezuelans migrants and refugees, downplayed the problems, but did not deny reports of violence, robbery, sexual abuse and drug use in the shelters. He complained that Venezuela does not share the names of former or wanted criminals with Brazilian authorities, making it impossible to control who crosses the border and enters the shelters.
      The Brazilian government has tried to help relieve some of the pressure on Roraima created by the growing Venezuelan population. It has already arranged air transport for thousands of the displaced in an effort to spread migrants and refugees more evenly across the country. But the effect of these efforts on migrant numbers in the state is limited. More people are arriving than being ferried to alternative destinations, and many Venezuelans would prefer to stick close to the border for a possible return home or so they can visit their families. International humanitarian support for shelters and social services for new arrivals will remain essential for some time to come.
      Remedies for the Frontier
     Surveying both sides of the Venezuela-Brazil border, it is now easier to see how the situation could get worse than to imagine how it might get better. Deteriorating relations between Venezuela’s government and opposition as well as galloping economic decline – with the country’s GDP expected to fall 23 per cent this year, according to the UN – seem poised to intensify migration at the Venezuela-Brazil border, boost the quest for mining riches, spur the expansion of non-state armed groups and perpetuate bilateral tensions.
     The most hopeful path forward for the region lies with the negotiations between Venezuela’s government and opposition, however great the obstacles they face. If the arrangements that emerge from those negotiations recognise the challenge on Venezuelan southern border, the importance of meaningful protections for the communities ravaged by the mining boom, and the need for cross-border cooperation to counter illicit groups that prey so many innocents, that would be a good beginning.
     Without these changes, the border with Brazil will remain unstable and the region’s residents subject to violent and criminal activity even if the struggle for control in Caracas relents. For the thousands of displaced Venezuelans afraid to return home but facing bleak prospects in Brazil, this is a tough scenario to contemplate. On a recent rainy day in Pacaraima, a Venezuelan father tried to ease the painful situation with a joke. He slapped his hand on a stack of cardboard on his lap and declared, These are our mattresses'. But his son sitting next to him, who abandoned his studies in Venezuela to migrate to Brazil, had no smile on his face
."


     ICG, Bram Ebus, Consultan, "Venezuela’s Mining Arc: A Legal Veneer for Armed Groups to Plunder, " Op-Ed / Latin America & Caribbean 8 June 2019, Originally published in The Guardian , https://www.crisisgroup.org/latin-america-caribbean/andes/venezuela/venezuelas-mining-arc-legal-veneer-armed-groups-plunder, commented, " Late 2016, Nicolás Maduro tweeted a photograph of himself with a smile on his face and a gleaming ingot in his hands – but not all that glitters is gold.
     Venezuela claims to possess some of the largest untapped gold and coltan reserves in the world, and the country’s gold rush picked up when the president decreed the creation of a massive area of 112,000 sq km destined for mining, known as the Orinoco mining arc. In a recently published development plan Venezuela set the goal to produce more than 80,ooo kilos of gold a year by 2025.The project, launched in February 2016, was supposed to drive development, but many mining projects announced by the government have failed to materialize, and the mining arc now seems little more than a legal veneer for plunder by an expanding range of armed groups.
     Multiple non-state armed groups are spreading their hold over southern Venezuela, adding another unpredictable factor to the country’s current crisis – and complicating any efforts for a peaceful resolution.Their methods and origins may be different, but their motivation is one which has driven violence in Latin America since colonial times: a hunger for gold and other valuable minerals
.
      Venezuelan crime syndicates have run informal mines for years. More recently, Colombian guerrillas – dissidents from the now-demobilized Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (Farc) and members of the National Liberation Army (ELN) – have expanded their reach hundreds of miles into Venezuela.
      The groups are deeply entrenched in local communities, and often work in volatile alliances with parts of the military who privately profit from illegal mining.
     At least 300,000 people work at wildcat mines which have caused huge environmental damage, and sparked a malaria epidemic.
      Confrontations between the rival armed groups make southern Venezuela one of the most violent regions in Latin America. Everybody wants to be boss, explained a former miner who fled to Colombia to avoid the escalating violence.
     Numerous sources confirm the army’s participation in illicit mining and report that military death squads have occasionally entered mines to settle disputes. Most killings go unrecorded, but local media have reported more than a dozen massacres since 2016. Municipalities in the mining region cope with homicide far above that of Caracas, the world’s most violent capital city.
     Of these factions, the ELN is one of the most prominent, operating in 13 of Venezuela’s 24 states and extending its reach across the southern mining regions to form a corridor across Venezuela to near its disputed border with Guyana.
      The ELN’s tactical and ideological alignment with the Venezuelan government is grist to the mill for those arguing for a military intervention against Maduro.
      But any foreign incursion could potentially trigger a disastrous escalation of violence, possibly leading to a low-intensity conflict that would cause tremendous suffering for Venezuela’s most vulnerable populations.
     The ELN is now Latin America’s biggest guerrilla army, and has vowed to defend Maduro’s government in the event of a foreign intervention.
     Local sources have described how the guerrillas embed themselves in local communities, giving political and military training.
     'They make [the locals] fall in love, offer them weapons and they indoctrinate them, said one indigenous leader from Bolívar state. As in Colombia, the rebels intervene in local disputes and offer a measure of authority in lawless areas – wildcat miners confirm that they prefer the presence of the guerrillas over the brutal and less tolerant Venezuelan crime syndicates.
      So what should be done? The freedom with which armed groups operate south of the Orinoco river reflects the weakness of the Venezuelan state. But threats of foreign military intervention will simply embolden the guerrillas and strengthen their ties to Caracas.
     Humanitarian aid is essential for the inhabitants of the region, but its safe entry will depend on the Venezuelan government’s consent – and will not be served by the sort of forced entry attempted in February
.
      The communities facing the most urgent humanitarian needs are remote and indigenous populations in the south, which are already suffering from epidemics and shortages. Food shortages are exacerbated by the dependence on gold as currency in mining towns.
      Outside actors should work to clean up Venezuelan mineral supply chains. Foreign states should enforce due diligence frameworks on mineral exporters and commodity exchanges to minimize risks that they buy minerals that finance conflict and human rights abuses.
     For now, the extraction of gold, coltan and other minerals funds armed groups and harms indigenous communities. Even the minerals that are sold by Venezuelan state companies and the Venezuelan central bank (BCV) stem in part from the same mines controlled by armed groups and should therefore be classified as conflict minerals.
     Forgotten parts of southern Venezuela are of key importance to the political future of the country. Communities abandoned by the state – and the armed groups that prey on them – merit more concern from international actors disputing Venezuela’s future. Peace in Venezuela cannot be achieved without taking the south into account
."


      Jessica Corbett, "Brazilian Experts Warn in Open Letter to President Bolsonaro a Genocide Is Underway Against Uncontacted Tribes: The experts wrote that they are extremely worried about the firing of a top official at the agency that handles policies on Indigenous peoples," Common Dreams, October 7, 2019, https://www.commondreams.org/news/2019/10/07/brazilian-experts-warn-open-letter-president-bolsonaro-genocide-underway-against, reported, " In an open letter to Brazilian society and right-wing President Jair Bolsonaro, a group of experts warned that a "genocide is underway" against uncontacted tribes because of Bolsonaro's efforts to strip away Indigenous peoples rights and lands and open up more of the Amazon rainforest to agribusiness and mining.The letter (pdf), released in Portuguese on Friday, came after Bruno Pereira was dismissed last week as the coordinator for uncontacted tribes at FUNAI , the Brazilian government agency for policies relating to Indigenous peoples. Signatories include previous coordinators at FUNAI, Indigenous people, and field workers.
     The human rights group Survival International translated some of the letter into English and circulated it online Monday:
     The experts are extremely worried that Pereira has been sacked for no apparent technical reason, and that his dismissal represents yet another backwards step in the policy to protect uncontacted tribes. They note that this upheaval will provoke the genocide of uncontacted and recently contacted Indigenous peoples.'
     Survival International's advocacy director, Fiona Watson, pointed out that for decades, Brazil has led the way in the protection of uncontacted tribes lands, recognizing that they're the most vulnerable peoples on the planet.'
     'But President Bolsonaro is clearly intent on completely dismantling this work, and wants to open up indigenous territories across Brazil to loggers, miners, and ranchers, she said. He doesn't care how many Indigenous people die in the process, and has openly expressed his racist contempt for them on many occasions.'
     'This is a pivotal moment for the future of uncontacted tribes, and therefore for all humanity, Watson concluded. Either people around the world stand shoulder to shoulder with the Indigenous peoples fighting for their very survival, or we watch as genocide is committed in front of our eyes.'
      Last week saw not only Pereira's dismissal but also, as The Guardian noted , an announcement from Bolsonaro's mining minister, Bento Albuquerque, that draft legislation to allow mining and agriculture on Indigenous lands should be ready later this month.'
     According to the newspaper, which reported on the experts letter Monday:
     Pereira said he could not comment on the reason for his dismissal as he didn't have any information about it. He said FUNAI should be the ones to explain why he was fired.
     'Isolated Indigenous people are extremely vulnerable. They don't have political support; they don't speak with journalists or other Indigenous groups, Pereira said.
     FUNAI described Pereira's dismissal as part of a management restructuring to optimize work in progress. His replacement, Paula Wolthers de Lorena Pires, is an anthropologist and Indigenous specialist.
     José Carlos Meirelles, a signatory of the letter who pioneered FUNAI's no contact'" policy, told The Guardian that 'it's almost as if this government has a rule: to remove dedicated and competent people and put incompetents in their place.'
      Reporting on the letter came as Pope Francis delivered a speech Monday as part of a three-week synod that began at the Vatican Sunday to address religious and environmental issues in the Amazon region. The Associated Press reported that Indigenous people from several regional tribes as well as over 180 South American cardinals, bishops, and priests have traveled to the Vatican for the meeting.
     One of the experts invited to the synod, United Nations Special Rapporteur Victoria Tauli-Corpuz, told the AP that deforestation is leading to violence against Indigenous people. As she put it, If we refuse to surrender our territories for cattle ranchers and soybean farms—two of the main drivers of deforestation in the Amazon—we are often labeled criminals, illegals, or terrorists
.'
     Based on data from FUNAI, Brazil has more uncontacted tribes than any other country. A recent report from Brazil's Missionary Indigenous Council found at least 160 cases of possessive invasions, illegal exploitation of natural resources [and] damage to heritage on Indigenous lands since Bolsonaro took office for his first term in January. That figure compared with 111 recorded cases for all of 2018 under Bolsonaro's predecessor.
     When those findings were released on Sept. 24, the AP reported that Catholic priest Roque Paloschi, who heads the council, said in a press conference that Bolsonaro's aggressive rhetoric fuels violence against Indigenous land and peoples.'
     The council's report was released the same day that Bolsonaro gave his first speech to the U.N. General Assembly—during which he reiterated some of his common messages about Indigenous people in Brazil and claimed that his government is solemnly committed to environmental preservation and sustainable development, despite mounting global concern and criticism over the summer surge in deforestation and fires in the Amazon rainforest.
     'As expected, Bolsonaro's speech at the United Nations has doubled down on division, on nationalism, and on ecocide, the Brazilian Climate Observatory said at the time. 'Bolsonaro's policies bring an immediate risk to all humankind.'
     Our work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 License."  


     "Police attack Kinikinawa indigenous community in Brazil," Survival International, August 2, 2019, https://www.survivalinternational.org/news/12190, reported, "Reports are emerging that heavily armed police have attacked Kinikinawa indigenous people on their land in central-western Brazil, terrorizing the community and injuring several people.
     Video footage shows the police arriving in several land vehicles and a helicopter, and a Kinikinawa man bleeding with head injuries.
     He said, I am shedding blood on my land. We won’t stop fighting.'
     Yesterday (1 August 2019), the Kinikinawa reoccupied a patch of their ancestral land, which was stolen from them years ago to make way for ranchers. Soon after the Kinikinawa made their move, the police arrived and attacked them.
     It is believed that the police had no official order from a Judge to remove the Kinikinawa from the reoccupied territory, and were instead acting on orders from a local mayor and rancher.
      A leaked audio message appears to reveal the mayor saying, immediately before the attack, that the Kinikinawa would be evicted, willingly or by force and notifying others that there are two buses to take 90 police agents, and there are already 40 there, so the [Kinikinawa] will be evicted… This is good news and the government needs to take a stance and bring peace and order to everyone who lives in this country.'
     The neighbouring Guarani indigenous people have released a statement expressing their anger that the ranchers and police are acting illegally and attacking indigenous people. For decades we have been asking for our land back, as is ordered by national and international law, but we’ve been ignored. Our lands are still invaded and occupied by ranchers and politicians, so we are reoccupying our land. We will resist and respond to the ranchers’ warfare against us, indigenous peoples.”
      President Bolsonaro has virtually declared war against Brazil’s indigenous population. The number of land invasions and attacks against them has skyrocketed since he took office on 1 January 2019.
     Indigenous peoples across Brazil, and their supporters around the world, are campaigning to #StopBrazilsGenocide."


     Manuela Andreoni and Letícia Casado, "‘Guardian’ of the Amazon Killed in Brazil by Illegal Loggers: His death comes as illegal miners, loggers and land grabbers are making more, and bolder, incursions into Indigenous land under the far-right Bolsonaro administration," The New York Times, November 5, 2019, https://www.nytimes.com/2019/11/04/world/americas/brazil-indigenous-amazon.html, reported, " In the months before an Indigenous leader was killed with a gunshot in the face in the Amazon reserve he had spent much of his life protecting, at least two efforts were made to warn Brazil’s government of the risks posed by illegal loggers in the region.
     In April, members of the Guajajara Indigenous group went to the capital, Brasília, to plead for protection from loggers invading their land in the state of Maranhão. In August, the state’s head of human rights wrote to the federal police to say loggers were threatening the Guajajara in the Araribóia Indigenous Land.
     But those warnings didn’t help Paulo Paulino Guajajara during a hunting trip with a friend in the Araribóia reserve on Friday, when they were ambushed by a group of five loggers working illegally in the area."


     "Indigenous leader murdered in northern Amazon," Survival International, July 29, 2019, https://www.survivalinternational.org/news/12183, reported, " A leader of the Wajãpi tribe has been murdered in Brazil.
     Emyra Wajãpi’s body was found by members of the tribe on 23 July.
APINA , the association of Wajãpi villages, has released a statement saying that although no Wajãpi witnessed the killing, they believe Emyra was killed by outsiders the previous day.
     On 26 July the Wajãpi of Yvytotõ community – in the region where the murder occurred – reported that heavily armed goldminers had invaded their village. The miners threatened them and forcibly occupied a Wajãpi house.
     The entire community fled to a neighbouring village which sent out an SOS on the radio for help from the federal police. A police team arrived in the Wajãpi territory on 28 July.
     COIAB, the Coordination of Indigenous Organizations of the Brazilian Amazon, released a statement expressing its outrage about the invasions of indigenous territories, which it says are encouraged by the irresponsible, authoritarian and prejudiced stance of the current government – especially President Bolsonaro – and its attack on the rights of this country’s first peoples.”
     The Guarani people of central-western Brazil said, We invite everybody to fight alongside indigenous peoples against the genocidal attack which is currently underway, and which has been reactivated by the current government.'
     Stephen Corry, Director of Survival International, said: President Bolsonaro’s recent comments on opening up indigenous territories to mining are emboldening illegal goldminers and other invaders. He has virtually declared war on Brazil’s indigenous peoples. They, and their allies around the world, will not stop fighting back.'”Survival International is condemning the illegal invasion of the Wajãpi territory by goldminers and calling on the government to evict them and bring them to justice.The Wajãpi Indians were contacted by outsiders in 1973 when the military dictatorship bulldozed a highway through part of their land. The highway paved the way for multiple invasions by goldminers who caused immense destruction of the forest and spread diseases which killed many Wajãpi.They campaigned for years for their land rights, mapping out their territory themselves. It was finally officially recognized as indigenous land in 1996.
     Today they number about 1,500 people and depend entirely on the forest and rivers for their livelihood, and like all tribal peoples they have a deep spiritual connection to their land. A Wajãpi man told Survival: Our life depends on the life of the earth and of the forest.'”


     "Thousands of goldminers invade Yanomami territory," Survival International, July 1, 2019, https://www.survivalinternational.org/news/12158, reported, " Up to 10,000 goldminers have invaded Yanomami lands in northern Brazil, spreading malaria in the region and polluting many of the rivers with mercury.
      Although most Yanomami are in contact with non-indigenous society, one uncontacted group is known to live in the area being invaded, and authorities are investigating signs of up to six other uncontacted communities living there.
      The massive influx has been blamed by local indigenous leaders for the deaths of four children already. They say the miners are building settlements and airstrips, emboldened by President Bolsonaro’s support for land invaders, and constant attacks on indigenous people.
     Some mining camps are just a few miles from uncontacted Yanomami
.
     The Yanomami association Hutukara estimates the number of miners at up to 10,000.
     They also report devastation to the fish and game they rely on for their livelihood.
     
     The Yanomami are pushing the government to remove the miners. Earlier this year Brazilian Indians led the biggest ever international protest for indigenous rights, after President Bolsonaro effectively declared war on them and their rights.
     The 35,000 Yanomami straddle both sides of the Brazil-Venezuela border. 20% of the Yanomami population in Brazil died from diseases brought in by goldminers during a previous gold rush in the late 1980s and early 90s.
     After a long international campaign led by Davi Kopenawa Yanomami, Survival and the CCPY (Pro Yanomami Commission), Yanomami land in Brazil was finally demarcated as the ‘Yanomami Park’ in 1992. The Yanomami territories in Brazil and Venezuela together form the largest forested indigenous territory in the world.
     Davi Kopenawa, known as the Dalai Lama of the Rainforest said: 'Four of our rivers – the Uraricoera, Mucajaí, Apiaú and Alto Catrimani – are polluted. It’s getting worse, more miners are coming in. They’re not bringing anything [good], they’re just bringing trouble. Malaria has already increased here, and killed four of our children.'
     Survival International Director Stephen Corry said today: Bolsonaro’s racism has tragic consequences – and the gold rush underway in northern Brazil is just one example. It’s devastating the Yanomami people, who were attacked and massacred thirty years ago during the region’s last bout of gold fever. Bolsonaro’s happy to stand by and watch as the people die and the forest is destroyed – only a public outcry in Brazil and internationally can stop him.'”
     


     "Criminally Set Fires Destroy Xavante Lands And Livelihoods," Cultural Survival, November 12, 2019, https://www.culturalsurvival.org/news/criminally-set-fires-destroy-xavante-lands-and-livelihoods, reported, "In August and September 2019, Xavante Indigenous Territories in Mato Grosso, Brazil -- islands surrounded by a vast sea of monoculture agribusiness -- suffered a record number of fires. In several cases, fires – many of which Xavante leaders believe to have been criminally set – destroyed entire villages and subsistence gardens. The Xavante Warã Association (AXW), an Indigenous nonprofit that works to advance Xavante Peoples’ self-sufficiency and sustainability is sending this report and call for assistance.
     In September 2019, Xavante relatives informed Xavante Warã Association of incidents of fires in the Xavante Indigenous Territories of Areões, São Marcos and Parabubure. While this is the dry season, a period when fires typically occur in the cerrado region, we believe that some of the fires in Xavante Territories are the result of criminal actions. Further, we believe that these fires were inspired by the the Bolsonaro government’s incendiary rhetoric, for example rhetoric surrounding Fire Day ( Dia do Fogo, August 10, 2019) when agricultural producers in Brazil’s northern area coordinated action to ignite fires in the world’s largest tropical forest.
     In early October 2019, AXW conducted a survey of fire outbreaks in Xavante Territories. We verified oral reports with data from the National Institute of Space Research’s “Burn Program” data base. Our study confirmed that 20% of the fires in Indigenous Territories within Brazil’s Mato Grosso state occurred in Xavante Territories. 1,114 fires started between August 31 and October 6, 2019. Of these, 287 occurred in a single Xavante Territory: Areões. The Xavante Territory of Areões ranked first in the number of fire foci occurring within Indigenous Territories in Mato Grosso state.
      An estimated 1,800 Xavante were directly impacted by the fires in September: Five hundred people, approximately 100 families, in Areões Indigenous Territory; 300 people (30 families) in São Marcos Indigenous Territory; and 1,000 people (100 families) in Parabubure Indigenous Territory. Reports from our relatives testify that, in some cases, entire villages and their swidden gardens were completely burned. Community members lost all of their material possessions and subsistence gardens.
     Given the severity of the situation, AXW requests technical and financial support for emergency actions in affected Xavante Territories. Assistance will be directed to ensure food security for families affected by the fires, to purchase food and water, medicines, and for reconstruction of food systems through the purchase of seeds, seedlings, equipment and tools. We also need support to equip local fire brigades which need equipment and tools. We also need to lease vehicles and purchase fuel so that we can access the affected areas and convey support.
     About the Xavante Warã Association (AXW) and Xavante: The Xavante Warã Association is an Indigenous non-profit organization. For the last twenty years, AXW has been developing projects to advance Xavante Peoples’ self-sufficiency and sustainability. AXW’s projects have focused extensively on the preservation and conservation of the cerrado biome that we inhabit, and projects that promote the preservation of our unique knowledge and understanding of this environment. AXW began its work in villages located in the Sangradouro and Volta Grande Indigenous Territories. Building on the success and effectiveness of projects in these Territories, AXW expanded its mode of working and has begun to field proposals for collaborative projects and to addresses the concerns of our relatives who live in other Xavante Indigenous Territories. Working in collaboration with several organizational partners, including the Center of Indigenous Labor (Centro de Trabalho Indigenista, CTI), Cultural Survival and Rainforest Action Network, as well as our relatives across Xavante Indigenous Territories, the organization is building a unified movement of Xavante Peoples. AXW seeks to overcome the fragmentation of Xavante people, which is the result of state policies that fragmented our land, and focus on issues that affect our rights and territory. A major goals is to promote coherent, coordinated and powerful political action across Xavante communities and territories.
     Xavante Indigenous Territories are located in the eastern part of the Brazilian state of Mato Grosso. They are islands of cerrado biome entirely surrounded by agribusiness dedicated to the industrial production of soybeans, sorghum, and cotton. Changes in federal policy, and the complete disconnect between international climate agreements and human rights discourse and the current government’s positions on environmental regulation and the protection of Indigenous rights has drastically altered the social and political context of Brazil’s Indigenous Peoples’ efforts to protect our rights. This has serious consequences for ongoing projects and actions."


     "Ayoreo environmental defender latest victim of deadly epidemic," Survival International, August 6, 2019, https://www.survivalinternational.org/news/12198, reported, " Chagabi Etacore, one of the Ayoreo-Totobiegosode’s most-loved leaders and environmental defenders, has died. He is the latest in a long line of victims of an epidemic of tuberculosis and related diseases which has been devastating Paraguay’s Ayoreo-Totobiegosode communities.
      Like many in his community, he contracted tuberculosis when he was forced out of the forest as a child and had suffered chronic lung disease ever since – a sign of the neglect of recently-contacted Ayoreo communities by Paraguay’s medical services.
     In the 1970s and 1980s the fundamentalist American missionary group, New Tribes Mission (now Ethnos360), organised ‘manhunts’ in which large groups of uncontacted Ayoreo were captured in the forest and brought to the mission base. Here they were exposed to diseases to which they had no immunity. Many Ayoreo died as a direct result of these forced contacts, and many more have died over the past 40 years as a result of secondary infections.An unknown number of Ayoreo remain uncontacted in the forest, avoiding contact with outsiders. They are the last uncontacted indigenous people the Americas outside of the Amazon, and live in the heart of the Paraguayan Gran Chaco, the forest with the fastest rate of deforestation in the world.
     Survival opposes attempts by outsiders to contact uncontacted tribes. Initiating contact must be their choice alone. Those who enter uncontacted tribes’ territories deny them that choice. Some academics continue to advocate for “forced contact.” However, indigenous people including those recently contacted have attacked these ideas as “arrogant,” “dangerous,” and “genocidal.”
     Chagabi worked for decades alongside his people to defend their ancestral land and uncontacted relatives from outsiders who invade their territories and steal their resources. A pillar of his community, he worked as an educator, translator, health worker and filmmaker.Earlier this year, the Ayoreo celebrated a land victory , securing ownership papers to a portion of their ancestral land. However, the majority of it has been sold to companies that have deforested their territory to make way for cattle. The Ayoreo continue to demand full recognition and protection for their forests and their uncontacted relatives who live in them. The Paraguayan government has not done so, despite demands from the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights – the continent’s human rights body.
     A few months before his death, speaking of the future, Chagabi told a Survival campaigner: I think we can be hopeful, but we can’t afford to wait much longer.'”


     Alexandra Carraher-Kang, "Indigenous Peoples Lead The Resistance Movement In Chile," Cultural survival, November 12, 2019, https://www.culturalsurvival.org/news/indigenous-peoples-lead-resistance-movement-chile, reported, "On October 18, 2019, the Chilean government decided to raise the metro fare by 4 percent. Although a seemingly benign act, especially in a country praised by many for its stability and economic success, this fare increase of 30 peso—roughly four cents USD—has led to massive protests all over the country. These protests are not only against the fare increase, but also against expensive education costs—the highest in South America, the status of water as a private good, poor healthcare, and police and government corruption. Since the protest began, protestors have burnt metro stations and looted buildings, but in addition, at least 19 deaths and 2000 detentions have occurred under the shadow of President Sebastian Piñera and his government’s violent repression. However organizations on the ground report that the real figures of deaths, detentions, and human rights violations, including disappearances, torture, and rape, are in reality higher than the numbers reported by the Chilean authorities. A state of emergency was called and a curfew was put in place. Although started by students, these protests have grown to include many different social groups, with Indigenous Peoples, of which the largest community are the Mapuche, at the forefront.
      Indigenous communities have long been frustrated with the Chilean government due to years of repression and second-class treatment. Numbering at roughly two million people and 10 percent of the population, their numbers are not small, but still their needs and rights have been marginalized by Piñera and previous administrations . One of the chief demands of Indigenous communities in the current protest movement is a formation of a plurinational state, in which Indigenous communities are granted more sovereignty and self-determination. Just under a year before the protests began, Camilo Catrillanca, a Mapuche farmer, was shot in the back and killed by the police. His image has become one of the symbols held up by protestors, and especially by the Indigenous community, as the Chilean government has killed about fifteen Mapuche since 1990 . Only days before the mass protests began, on October 13 —known officially in Chile as the Day of the Meeting of Two Worlds—thousands of Indigenous people marched peacefully in the capital, Santiago. They called for the release of detained activists, greater rights, and the return of ancestral lands taken by the government. The daughter of detained Indigenous activist Alberto Curamil read out a letter of his: Today we reaffirm that there is nothing to celebrate on these dates, but that we must make visible all the resistance that the community has made to the attacks of destruction that are being carried out by large national and international companies in our territory.'
     
      Of particular concern for Indigenous communities now is oil fracking, which has resulted in the dispossession and discrimination. One Campo Maripe member told of how the fracking boom has led to environmental, health, and agricultural problems. The oil companies entered our land without our permission, he tells, and we had goats born without jaws, without mouths. Other individuals in the area note suffering from health problems such as bone decalcification, respiratory issues, and skin lesions. The community began blocking roads to the fracking wells starting in 2014 and it has remained a pressing issue at the current protests.
     A key moment came just a week after the protests began, on October 25, as Indigenous protesters in Chile blocked access to lithium operations with a road blockade, thus limiting lithium production for the world’s top producer, Chile’s SQM. They’re completely shut down...the roads are closed' Sergio Cabillos, president of the Atacama Indigenous Council, told Reuters. Lithium is an essential element in the manufacturing of almost all the electronics used today, including laptops and cell phones, and electric and hybrid cars. Chile is the world’s foremost producer of this element. This blockade was not only linked to the economic-based protests sweeping over the rest of the country, but also to the fear of harmful environmental and social impacts due to lithium mining in Chile’s desert salt basin. 'We hope to continue protesting until the state hears us and attends our legitimate demands, Cabillos stated. The same day, over one million protesters marched for Piñera’s resignation, a president who is, in his own words, willing to use violence with no limits.'
     
     Soon after, Mapuche protesters in Temuco, several hundred kilometers south of Santiago, acted to tear down symbolism venerating Chile’s colonial history. According to The Guardian , hooded demonstrators lassoed a statue of a 16th-century Spanish conquistador last week and yanked it to the ground. Bystanders cheered the demonstrators on. Other statues of Spanish colonialists had similar fates, with busts of General Cornelia Saavedra and founding father Diego Portales also being defaced. On October 20 in the northern city of La Serena, a statue of Francisco de Aguirre was taken town by protestors and replaced by the torso of Milanka, Mujer Diaguita, a woman belonging to the Diaguita Indigenous community. The word 'genocido,' a Spanish word for someone who commits genocide, was written underneath the destroyed statue of de Aguirre.
      The once-repressed Mapuche flag has become a symbol for all Chileans protesting against the government, with news outlets calling it an emblem of rebellion. Mapuche organization leader Aucán Huilcamán stated the rest of Chile now understands the Mapuche struggle due to the criminalization of the current protests. Thus, the protests mark a moment of convergence between non-Indigenous Chileans and the Indigenous People in the nation, with both experiencing economic turmoil and repression, and pushing for reform. This is highlighted by protest signs loosely quoting Eduardo Galeano, todos tenemos sangre mapuche, los pobres en las venas y los rico en las manos'—we all have Mapuche blood, the poor in their veins and the rich on their hands.
      These protests have continued since the day they began, with thousands still pouring out onto Chile’s streets to demand change. Although Piñera has made concessions in attempts to win his people back over, such as raising taxes on the upper class and raising pensions, protestors have been left unsatisfied. His approval rating is easily under 20 percent , and the nation’s currency has fallen to a record low. Now, the fare hike is distant memory: Chileans, including its Indigenous Peoples, want constitutional reform, in addition to other demands such as the nationalization of resources and an end to centuries-long government repression of the Indigenous communities. To quote Stephanie Diaz , a 28-year old sports teacher from Santiago, This protest is not about 30 pesos, but 30 years...It’s been 30 years since the return to democracy, but we have preserved a constitution made under the dictatorship.'
     
      Under pressure, Piñera listened to the protestors, and on November 15, lawmakers agreed to hold a referendum on replacing the constitution in April.
     On November 5, 2019, Cultural Survival submitted an alternative report to the Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination (CERD) highlighting the issues that have been brought to attention during the protests. Chile has failed to adequately align its constitution and national legislation with international standards of Indigenous rights, it states, and 'efforts towards consultation with Indigenous Peoples have been multiple but lack coordination and direction, and depth of engagement with Indigenous Peoples according to their own forms of decision making and on issues of importance to them. It goes on to discuss further issues, such as how Indigenous efforts to protects their rights are discredited by the State’s ongoing discriminatory application of the anti-terrorism laws criminalizing peaceful protest and is indicative of deep-rooted discrimination against Indigenous groups in Chile. This history of discrimination is present not only in the judicial system—including systematic corruption in national polices forces'—in Chile, but also in Chile’s mainstream media. One of the main recommendations of the report is focused on a new constitution. It recommends that Chile should Continue a process of engagement with Indigenous Peoples regarding the construction of a new constitution...State actors should travel to Indigenous territories to engage with Indigenous leadership directly and on their terms...Consultation with Indigenous Peoples should establish the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples as the minimum standard for defining Indigenous rights and should move forward with the declaration as a starting point…[and[ Indigenous Peoples must be consulted regarding the functional operationalization of Indigenous political rights into new Chilean law, rather than simply cultural rights.'
     It remains to be seen what the new constitution will include, and how it will be drafted, but if the people of Chile— both Indigenous and non-Indigenous alike—are not directly included in its drafting, the political situation of oppression and protest is likely to continue for the foreseen future."


      In Finland, the District Court of Lapland overturned the fines imposed for illegal fishing on Sami fisherman, holding that the Sami have a right to fish in their home rivers under the nation's constitution ("Finland: Finland District Court Rules in Favor of Sami Right to Fish," Cultural Survival Quarterly, September 2019).


      A truth commission was being established in Finland, in September 2019, to look into the past ill treatment of the Sami by the government ("Finland: Truth Commission to Be Established for Sami," Cultural Survival Quarterly, December 2019).


     "New Report Highlights Indigenous Rights Violations in Russia," Cultural Survival, July 11, 2019, https://www.culturalsurvival.org/news/new-report-highlights-indigenous-rights-violations-russia, reported, "In June 2019, Dmitry Berezhkov and Pavel Sulyandziga authored a report titled, Acts of intimidation, criminalization and other types of activities with the aim to prevent human rights work of Indigenous activists in Russia. ” Berezhkov is the director at Arctic Consult, a database of documentation that Indigenous Peoples have compiled about their rights on land, resources, and self-determination. Sulyandziga is the chair of the board at the International Fund for the Development of Indigenous Peoples in Russia “Batani.” The report highlights how the Russian government has been preventing the work of Indigenous human rights activists in Russia.
     Indigenous Peoples live on a vast range of territories in Russia, although the word Indigenous does not exist in Russian law without a numerical descriptor. 'Indigenous small-numbered peoples of the North, Siberia and the Far East of the Russian Federation refers to over forty Indigenous Peoples with a population of less than 50,000 each. Indigenous Peoples in Russia occupy a large amount of land due to their nomadic lifestyle. They are among the poorest groups in the Russian population. They do, however, occupy regions that are rich in natural resources, and so they have had to contend with the State for their right to maintain control over these lands.
      The Russian State has developed systemic methods to prevent Indigenous human rights activists from carrying out their work, including smear campaigns, personal intimidation, and inhibiting activists from crossing the Russian border.
     The authors of the report gathered the information from open sources, mass-media and internal information exchange from the independent, non-formal and officially non-registered network Aborigen Forum', which unites Indigenous experts and activists around Russia with the aim to protect indigenous peoples rights on lands, resources, and self-determination.
      'Lach is an ethno-ecological information center that was created in 2001 to spread information about Indigenous People’s rights in the Kamchatka peninsula in Russia. In 2008, anonymous writers began to publish articles accusing the Lach center of being in conflict with interests of the Russian Federation by preventing extractive industries from developing, spreading negative information about the regional government, and sending human rights reports to the UN.
      Because of this smear campaign, Lach lost two of its primary funders, Danish Environmental Protection Agency (DEPA) and Pacific Environment (PERC -- US), which had to close their activities in Russia. PERC was added to the list of unwanted organizations in the Russian Federation, and the “Lach” center had to fire all staff members and cease most of its activities.
      Since 2010, the oil company OJSC Surgutneftegas has been working near the Imlor Lake in northwest Russian Siberia, where the Khanty Indigenous People have historically lived. Most of the Khanty people have moved out of the area since then, due to pressure from the oil company and pollution, but one person, shaman Sergey Kechimov, still lives there. He has been protesting the pollution caused by this oil company, but law enforcement has been pushing back against him. For example, in 2015 the oil company accused Kechimov of threatening to kill oil workers. He denied these charges, but despite this and his poor understanding of Russian, he was still convicted and sentenced to 30 hours of community service.
     In recent years, articles have been published online criticizing Sami activists in Russia for their connection with those in Scandinavia, and their partnerships with Scandinavian NGOs. The articles claim that the development of Sami self-governance in Russia is a threat to Russian state integrity because it promotes separatism.
     In 2014 , six Sami activists were prevented from leaving the country in order to attend the first World Conference on Indigenous Peoples. Some of their passports were intentionally torn by border patrol officers. Others were beaten by unknown perpetrators. Two missed their flight to New York because they couldn’t drive to the airport because their car’s tires were slashed. They then took a taxi to the airport, but the taxi was pulled over three times and the police checked the activists’ documents. According to the police, a car similar to their taxi was wanted by the authorities. As a result of these events, the activists missed their flight to New York.
     Another case is that of Ivan Moseev (Pomor). The Pomor people are descendants of the Russian people that migrated into Northern Russian many ages ago and intermarried with the Indigenous Tribes there. They are not recognized as Indigenous by the Russian government, but they have been fighting to be recognized as such. Ivan Moseev was a chair of the Association of Pomor people in the Archangelsk region, and he and other supporters were organizing the Pomor people to fight for self-governance, including organizing several Congresses of the Pomor people. However, the Russian Federal Security Service (FSB) considered these actions separatism, and took Moseev to court for treason. While the FSB did not prove high treason in court, Moseev was fined, and he was put on the Russian state list of separatists and terrorists.
      The Centre for the Support of Indigenous Peoples of the North (CSIPN/RITC) is one of the most prominent indigenous human rights organizations in Russia. Representatives of the Centre and the chair, Rodion Sulyandziga, have had their rights violated concerning their political activities. Sulyandziga was one of the six activists who were unable to cross the Russian border to attend the World Conference on Indigenous Peoples.
     In 2015, CSIPN/RITC and two other Indigenous organizations were added to the Russian authorities’ List of Foreign Agents. While the list is meant to just refer to NGOs that receive foreign funding and influence political life in Russia, experts have noticed that the State uses this list to repress independent activity that is poorly connected to political life.
     Gennady Schukin is another Indigenous activist who has experienced repression by the Russian State. Schukin recently focused his efforts on fighting for the self-governance of the Taimyr region and for the rights of Indigenous hunters. In 2017 he was convicted of organizing illegal hunting of wild reindeers and so he was unable to participate in the Taimyr regional election campaign. Schukin declared that the sentence was illegal, and went to the Russian Constitutional Court. The Court confirmed that Schukin was correct and ordered a reconsideration of the criminal case on illegal hunting.
      The Kemerovo Oblast region is one of the main coal mining areas in Russia. The Shor People live in villages in the southern part of the region, and Shor activists have been protesting the coal mining, which keeps moving further south. A smear campaign was launched against the Shor activists, and after several street protests, the police told Yana Tannagasheva, a leader of the Shor community, that she was criminally responsible for organizing the actions. She was also fired from her position as a teacher and received threats from the police regarding her activism.
     Indigenous representatives have also experienced smear campaigns or pressure from authorities before or after their engagement with one of the UN events regarding human rights. There are numerous cases of the Russian Federation intimidating and taking criminal action against Indigenous rights activists, including against the authors of this report, Dmitry Berezhkov and Pavel Sulyandziga.
     Dmitry Berezhkov is an Indigenous human rights activist that got started in 2001 at the Lach Information center in the Kamchatka peninsula. He eventually became the Vice President of the Russian Association of Indigenous Peoples of the North (Raipon) in Moscow. In 2004, he began negotiating with local FSB officers about the violations of Indigenous peoples’ rights to fish in Kamchatka. In 2010, an FSB officer asked him to write a false report that Raipon was engaging in activities that were anti-state, and Berezhkov refused. In 2011 he was interrogated by the police about Raipon’s activities, and he was told by his friend in the FSB that he would have problems with the FSB if he did not cooperate with them, and so Berezhkov moved out of Moscow for security reasons.
     He moved to Norway to continue his activism, but there he was arrested by Norwegian police in 2013 just after a meeting for the World Conference on Indigenous Peoples. This happened per request from the Russian General Prosecutor’s office, which blamed Berezhkov for fraud. However, after two court sessions in Norway, the request from Russia was confirmed politically motivated, and so Berezhkov has been able to receive political asylum in Russia so he can continue his work.
     Pavel Sulyandziga has been one of the leaders of the Russian Indigenous human rights movement since the late 1980s. He was one of the Udege leaders that protected their territories from logging companies. From 1997 to 2010 he was the first Vice President of Raipon in Moscow. In Russia, he was also a Chair of the Board of the International Foundation for the Development of Indigenous Peoples “Batani.” Since 2010, Russian authorities have developed smear campaigns against Sulyandziga and used intimidation to try to prevent his activities. In a confidential analytical report of the Presidential Administration in 2012, Sulyandziga was described as a “poorly controlled person, who negatively comments on the situation of Indigenous Peoples’ rights in Russia at international forums.” Also in 2012, when Sulyandziga announced that he would run for President of Raipon, and in the next year the Russian Ministry of Justice attempted to shut Raipon down.
     In 2015, Russian law recognized the Batani foundation, which Sulyandziga chaired, as a foreign agent, and in 2017 the foundation was liquidated by the Russian Ministry of Justice. Pavel moved to the U.S. with his family and applied for political asylum, but continues to be labelled as a “foreign agent” by Russian representatives.
     There are numerous similarities across the experiences of Russian Indigenous human rights activists. Many are the victims of smear campaigns that attempt to paint these activists as working with Western nations against the interests of the state or promoting separatism. One especially noteworthy example is the case when six activists from four different regions were stopped in some way by Russian authorities when they were on their way to the World Conference on Indigenous Peoples. Indigenous activists often experience difficulties with authorities when crossing the border into or out of Russia. The activities Russian authorities are engaging in is not a random coincidence, but a coordinated effort to prevent the work of Indigenous human rights activists.
      Read the full report here: https://www.culturalsurvival.org/sites/default/files/2019.05-Berezhkov-D.-and-Sulyandziga-P.-Criminalization-of-indigenous-activists-in-Russia%20%281%29%20%281%29.pdf."


     Anton Troianovski, "‘An Exorcism Must Be Done’: An Anti-Putin Shaman Sets Off Unrest," The New York Times, October 9, 2019, https://www.nytimes.com/2019/10/09/world/europe/shaman-putin-dissent.html, reported that in Russia, " A long-haired shaman arrived on foot from the frozen north , dragging a cart with yurt poles and a stove, and preaching that the president is a demon. Days later, a cabby, invoking the shaman, strode up to the Kremlin-allied mayor of this Siberian city, yelled a string of grievances and posted his rant on YouTube.
      Public protests erupted and continued for weeks, but the shaman kept walking west — headed to Moscow, the heart of evil, he said, to exorcise Russia’s president, Vladimir V. Putin. Then, what he called dark forces — a SWAT team — packed him onto a plane to Yakutsk, a remote regional capital in eastern Siberia."


     "Exposed: WWF Execs Knew They Were Funding Rights Abuses in Africa, But Kept Report Under Wraps," Survival International, October 18, 2019, https://www.survivalinternational.org/news/12247, reported, " A new and devastating investigation by Buzzfeed News has revealed that the charity’s director & board had detailed evidence of widespread atrocities being committed by rangers it funds and equips, but kept the information secret.
     It’s the latest finding from a Buzzfeed investigation that has brought to light a series of secret WWF reports, proving the organization has known for years that the rangers it funds in central Africa commit gross human rights abuses among the local population.
     Survival International has been highlighting these abuses, among the Baka and Bayaka people, for more than three decades, but WWF has always claimed ignorance.
      It’s now proven that the highest levels of management in WWF have known about the abuses, but continued funding and equipping the rangers, and pushing for the creation of yet more protected areas on Baka and Bayaka land.
     Buzzfeed has revealed a series of reports:
     - April 2015: WWF commissioned an indigenous expert to prepare a report on the charity’s work in Cameroon. He found WWF “shared responsibility” for ranger violence.
     - July 2017: WWF sent a consultant to a proposed new park, Messok Dja, in the Rep. of Congo. He found villagers were afraid of “repression from eco-guards.”
     - January 2018: WWF asked UK-based human rights lawyer Paul Chiy to follow up on the 2015 Cameroon report. He finds “valid” and “grossly understated” evidence of human rights abuses.
     - December 2018: WWF asked Chiy to conduct another assessment into parks it funds in Dem. Rep. of Congo, Rep. of Congo and Central African Republic. Its contents are unknown.
     - March 2019: A confidential report commissioned by WWF and the Congolese government finds evidence that WWF-backed rangers raped pregnant women and tortured villagers.
     The charity is now being investigated by authorities in the U.S., UK and Germany.
Survival is campaigning for the organization to scrap its plans for a new protected area, Messok Dja, in the Congo, which does not have the Baka’s consent.
     Survival International Director Stephen Corry said today: WWF has known that it funds human rights violations and criminal activity for years, even decades. That’s not an unfortunate consequence of its work, it’s built into its core beliefs and way of working, and always has been. It wants to control large areas of the world which actually belong to others, so it uses its money and power to dominate them. It’s a disaster for environmentalism as it’s destroying the very people who are the best conservationists. The wider environmental movement remains silent when confronted with this because it is also widely dominated by the power and money of WWF and similar big NGOs.'”


     "Germany freezes funding to WWF following human rights abuse in Congo," Cultural Survival, July 25, 2019, https://www.survivalinternational.org/news/12178, https://www.survivalinternational.org/news/12178, reported, " The German government has frozen funding to WWF following a series of investigations by Buzzfeed revealing that the charity funds, equips, and works directly with forces that have tortured, raped and killed people.
      WWF has repeatedly suppressed accusations of violence and abuse. Earlier this month, BuzzFeed revealed that WWF had kept evidence of gang rape and torture at its German- and US- funded Salonga park under wraps.
      Investigations into WWF’s involvement in atrocities against indigenous people are also underway in the US and UK. In the US, lawmakers on the House Committee on Natural Resources are looking into whether American taxpayer money has gone to forces that have committed human rights abuses. In the UK, the Charity Commission is investigating whether WWF’s UK branch conducts proper due diligence to ensure it does not financially support violence.
     The frozen funds were earmarked to go to the Salonga National Park in the Democratic Republic of Congo, where WWF had concealed evidence of gang rape and torture. A confidential report commissioned by the charity found that guards had raped and tortured four women, two of whom were pregnant, and had tied male villagers’ penises with fishing lines. Documents seen by BuzzFee d show that WWF requested that German authorities treat all details of the investigation and its findings in a “non-public fashion.”
     Survival International has been campaigning since the early 1990s against atrocities committed by rangers funded and supported by WWF. Director Stephen Corry said today:
     'Let’s hope the German decision is the start of real change on the ground. For decades, governments have funded well-documented land theft and human rights abuses by big conservation NGOs. Taxpayers shouldn’t tolerate it, nor should the EU Commission, still one of the biggest funders of Messok Dja protected area, in Congo, which is stealing Baka land today.'”


     The Association for the Survival of the Cultural Heritage of the Nyindu Indigenous Peoples (ASPHAN) in the Democratic Republic of Congo received a grant from the Keepers of the Earth Fund to create a first dictionary of the Kinyindu language and a calendar demonstrating their traditional system of time (Association for the Survival of the Cultural Heritage of the Nyindu Indigenous Peoples (ASPHAN),Democratic Republic of Congo, "Revitalizing the Kinyindu language," Cultural Survival, December 2019).


     The Centre for Humanitarian Dialogue (HD Centre), " Dafi, Samoko, Fulani, Dogon and Bozo communities sign peace agreement in Baye in the Mopti region of Mali ," July 26, 2019, http://secure.campaigner.com/csb/Public/show/dyiz-17swl7--ltp2e-7fh5qj68, reported, " The Dafi, Samoko, Fulani, Dogon and Bozo communities of the Baye municipality, located in the area ("circle") of Bankass and the region of Mopti in Mali, signed a peace agreement on Thursday, 25 July 2019 in Baye. The Agreement puts an end to a year-long intercommunal conflict among these communities.
     The Baye Agreement is a result of mediation efforts supported in the past month by the Centre for Humanitarian Dialogue (HD). Signed by five community leaders on behalf of the parties, the Agreement puts an end to a year of intercommunal conflicts marked by the loss of lives, displacement of populations, massive theft of livestock and severe restrictions on the freedom of movement of goods and persons.
     Through this Agreement, both communities have committed to:
     Making an appeal to the community armed groups to put an immediate end to the violence;Referring to the competent authorities in case of threats or attacks and strongly denouncing all acts of violence committed in the future by members of their community;
     Contributing to lifting all embargoes imposed on villages and markets, and facilitating in the rapid return of all displaced persons;
     Opposing the theft of livestock regardless of which community the owner is a member of, and facilitating the smooth functioning of rural and pastoral activities;
     Informing and raising awareness among community leaders to commit to peace and to only disseminate peaceful messages through social media;
     Urging authorities to take all necessary steps to ensure the security of populations and their belongings in the concerned area and in the region of Mopti in general.
     'Since the Ogossagou massacre and with the intensification of clashes between armed groups, the smooth functioning of the 2019 transhumance period and agricultural season is severely under threat, said Abdel Kader Sidibé, HD’s Head of Mission for the Sahel. "The Agreement symbolizes the willingness of the Baye communities to reverse this trend and can foster other similar initiatives.” Originating from the struggle for access to natural resources, this conflict was exacerbated by the strong presence of community armed groups and jihadists in the Circle of Bankass.
     The mediation process, which was supported by HD, brought together and engaged all the leaders of the different communities, women and youth, members of the municipality of Baye, state authorities, as well as elected officials. The community leaders involved in the process informed local armed groups at each step to ensure their support in the implementation of the Agreement.
     HD intends to continue its work by supporting the follow-up committee created at the time of the signature and which is responsible for overseeing the implementation of the Agreement.
     
     The Baye Agreement is part of HD’s mediation efforts aiming to support stabilization efforts in the border regions of Mali, Niger and Burkina Faso.
     HD would like to express its gratitude to Canada for its support to its activities in the region.
     A copy of the Baye Peace Agreement is available here: https://www.hdcentre.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/07/Accord-de-Baye.pdf.
     For any further enquiries, please send us an email to: pr@hdcentre.org."


     
The Centre for Humanitarian Dialogue (HD Centre), " Signing of a humanitarian agreement between farmer and herder communities as well as hunters from the area of Djenné in Mali, http://secure.campaigner.com/csb/Public/show/dyiz-18dj76--lx1vp-7fh5qj67, reported August 2, 2019, "
     Bambara and Bozo farmers, Fulani herders as well as hunters from the area (‘circle’) of Djenné signed a
humanitarian agreement on Thursday, 1 August 2019 through which they have committed to guaranteeing the physical integrity and the freedom of movement of people, goods and livestock in the Circle of Djenné in the Mopti region of Mali.
     
     The Agreement is the result of ten months of mediation efforts led by the Centre for Humanitarian Dialogue (HD). It was signed in Djenné by representatives of the farmers and hunters (a self-defence group which protects the farmers’ interests) as well as Fulani leaders, in the presence of the Malian authorities represented by the Prefect of the Circle of Djenné.
     Through this Agreement, the parties have committed:
     To ceasing and preventing any resort to violence against civilians;
     To respecting established transhumance corridors and facilitating the transhumance process;
     Not to impede the agricultural season/campaign;
     To easing the population’s access to weekly fairs and health centres in the area of Djenné;
     To encouraging community leaders to commit themselves to peace through the dissemination of messages of cohesion and appeasement;
     To opposing the theft of livestock regardless of which community the cattle’s owner is a member of, and facilitating the search for stolen goods and livestock.
     The humanitarian Agreement puts an end to more than two years of intercommunal clashes between (Bambara and Bozo) farmers and Fulani herders which have caused the death of about a hundred people and the displacement of more than 5,000 persons. The intercommunal conflict, which originates from a struggle for access to natural resources, was exacerbated by the presence in the area of Djenné of jihadist armed groups as well as the emergence of the hunters’ self-defence group.
     The mediation process, which was initiated at the request of the communities and the local authorities themselves, involved all the parties which have an influence over the conflict, including leaders of the Fulani, Bambara and Bozo communities, officials from the group of hunters, as well as women and youth representatives from all communities. Malian authorities have also been kept closely informed of progress in the mediation process by HD.
     A first agreement was signed in Djenné by farmers and herders in November last year. This agreement allowed for a first peaceful seasonal move of livestock. The 1st August Agreement is more inclusive and has a greater reach than the November 2018 one. Abdelkader Sidibé, HD’s Head of Mission for the Sahel, explained. It demonstrates that mutual trust is gradually being restored between the communities, and represents another step towards intercommunal reconciliation. The Malian authorities’ support will be instrumental in consolidating this milestone.'
     HD will remain involved in the Circle of Djenné, supporting the follow-up committee (set-up during the Agreement’s signing ceremony) in charge of overseeing the implementation of the Agreement.
     The Djenné Agreement is part of HD’s mediation initiative which seeks to support stabilization efforts in the regions of Mopti and Ségou in Central Mali.
     HD would like to thank the Kingdom of Denmark for its support to the organisation's activities in Mali and in the Sahel.
     A copy of the Djenné Humanitarian Agreement is available in French at: https://www.hdcentre.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/08/Accord-humanitaire-entre-les-communautés-dagriculteurs-déleveurs-et-les-chasseurs-dozons-du-cercle-de-Djenné-1er-août-2019.pdf. For any further enquiries, please send us an email to: pr@hdcentre.org."
     "Crisis in Ethiopia: People are being killed and children are starving while the world ignores this crisis," Care, July 24, 2019, http://view.mc.care.org/?qs=8c481728438066464463a8bceb3c79a32dbefe3ffc08b4417fedffc0472abfda4c6eced6690e440b2a98ad0966725ddf9bc4a7d8f6ba7c263d091f1e016e8512856d43feeebbcc7bbd144477485d9c50, reported, " There is a massive humanitarian crisis happening! But it’s completely off the world’s radar. More than 1 million children and families in Ethiopia are displaced and at risk of extreme hunger. Deadly violence is escalating, and six years of consecutive drought are taking an unrecoverable toll on people there.
     More than 800,000 fled violence to neighboring countries in the first part of last year alone.
     Severe drought is worsening extreme hunger; children are impacted the most.
     Lack of clean water makes the outbreak of deadly disease more likely.
     Living conditions are deteriorating every day for everyone
     As this crisis worsens by the day, an entire country is suffering in silence. We must do everything we can to help those who have been forgotten."
     "Six consecutive years of drought and current violence are spawning massive displacements. Last year, Ethiopia’s worst drought in decades was fueled by the El Niño weather pattern — dangerous for a country where more than 80% of the people are farmers. Living conditions are worsening, the number of malnourished children is constantly growing, and women and girls are at risk of abuse."
     Maria Gerth-Niculescu, "Ethiopia’s ethnic violence shows Abiy’s vulnerability," ECADF, July 1, 2019, July 1, 2019," https://ecadforum.com/2019/07/01/ethiopias-ethnic-violence-shows-abiys-vulnerability/, reported, "Isso, along with hundreds of thousands of people of the Gedeo ethnic minority, had run from violent clashes between Gedeos and neighboring Oromos, Ethiopia’s largest ethnic group.
     The looting and killing was triggered by long-simmering conflict over land."
      The crisis is undermining the position of Prime Minister Abiy.


     Simon Marks, "Protests in Ethiopia Threaten to Mar Image of Its Nobel-Winning Leader," The New York Times, October 23, 2019, https://www.nytimes.com/2019/10/23/world/africa/ethiopia-protest-abiy.html, reported, " Protests against Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed of Ethiopia erupted on Wednesday, threatening to taint the aura around his newly won Nobel Peace Prize, after a prominent critic accused the police of attempting to orchestrate an attack on him.
     The accusations made by the critic, Jawar Mohammed, founder of an independent media network, fueled simmering political tensions in the landlocked nation of 110 million, the most populous in Africa after Nigeria. The protests came a day after Mr. Abiy warned in Parliament that unidentified media owners were fomenting ethnic unrest."
     " The supporters, of the Oromo ethnic group, denounced the prime minister, who won the 2019 Nobel Peace Prize less than two weeks ago for his work in ending the protracted war between Ethiopia and neighboring Eritrea, and restoring some political freedoms in his country."


     ICG, "Time for Ethiopia to Bargain with Sidama over Statehood," Briefing 146 / Africa 4 July 2019, https://www.crisisgroup.org/africa/horn-africa/ethiopia/b146-time-ethiopia-bargain-sidama-over-statehood, commented, " Southern Ethiopia’s largest ethnic group, the Sidama, is set to declare a new regional state on 18 July. To reduce conflict risks, the Sidama should resolve sensitive issues before forming the entity, while the government should urgently organise a constitutionally mandated referendum on the question.
      What’s new? Officials representing the Sidama, southern Ethiopia’s largest ethnic group, are threatening to unilaterally declare the formation of a new regional state within Ethiopia’s federation on 18 July, unless the government meets a constitutionally mandated deadline to organise a referendum on the issue before that date.
      Why does it matter? Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed’s planned transition toward multi-party democracy has already been marred by violence. If the federal government accedes to the Sidama’s constitutional demands without proper preparation, it could aggravate deadly unrest. But seeking to frustrate the demands is equally perilous.
      What should be done? Abiy should offer Sidama leaders a referendum date that is the earliest operationally feasible. If the Sidama still declare their state unilaterally on 18 July, they should delay its formation until sensitive issues, particularly relating to multi-ethnic Hawassa city, are resolved.
     I. Overview
Leaders of the Sidama people in southern Ethiopia have threatened to unilaterally declare their own regional state within Ethiopia’s federation on 18 July 2019. Each of the country’s ethnic groups is constitutionally entitled to a vote on forming a new state if its governing council requests one. The poll is supposed to take place within a year of the request, which in the Sidama’s case came on 18 July 2018. Yet with the deadline for the vote only two weeks away, the Ethiopian authorities have neither set a date nor started preparations. If poorly managed, Sidama statehood aspirations could fuel violence and deepen an ongoing crisis within Ethiopia’s ruling coalition. Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed and other coalition leaders should seek agreement with Sidama leaders, ideally on a later referendum date. If that proves impossible, and the Sidama declare a new state unilaterally, then their leaders should delay the state’s implementation while the parties resolve contentious issues. Deploying the army to stop the Sidama from declaring statehood, as Abiy seems ready to do, risks provoking greater bloodshed.
     With little time remaining, the government has no good option. Granting the Sidama their state could trigger unrest in the restive Southern Nations Nationalities and Peoples Regional State that is home to around one fifth of Ethiopia’s more than 100 million people. A particular flashpoint is Hawassa city, now the Southern Nations regional capital, which the Sidama intend to designate as their own capital, potentially provoking opposition and triggering a fraught contest for what are currently Southern Nations’ assets. Minorities in the city and elsewhere could resist the new Sidama state. Moreover, its formation would intensify other statehood demands, particularly those of the Wolayta, the second largest ethnic group in the south. It could catalyse a violent unravelling of the Southern Nations.
     Conversely, seeking to block Sidama statehood would likely lead to mass protests by Sidama that could also turn lethal. The Sidama are in no mood to accept further delays to forming a state for which they have long campaigned. Their quest has gathered momentum that will be hard to stop. Sidama activists from the Ejjetto (“hero”, in the Sidama language) movement that has spearheaded the campaign say failing to hold the vote on time would breach their constitutional rights and justify self-declaration. The Ethiopian constitution and electoral laws make no provision for what happens if a statehood referendum does not take place within a year of its request, beyond that the upper house of parliament should resolve any dispute.
     The Southern Nations upheaval comes at a difficult time for the country. Since assuming office, Prime Minister Abiy has embarked upon important reforms but contended with burgeoning inter-ethnic violence, which has killed thousands and displaced millions in the past two years. The Ethiopian Peoples’ Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF), the ruling coalition which comprises four regional parties, is fraying. The EPRDF party that governs Southern Nations has lost most of its authority. The EPRDF parties representing Ethiopia’s two large ethnic groups, the Amhara and Oromia, are squeezed by ascendant ethno-nationalist movements within their own regions and, in response, have adopted harder-line positions in power sharing and territorial disputes. The killings of five top officials, including the military chief of staff, on 22 June, both reflected the EPRDF’s internal crisis and threaten to aggravate it. The EPRDF has proved incapable of responding effectively to the brewing crisis in Southern Nations, while national security concerns have hardened the mood in the capital Addis Ababa.
      It is imperative that Prime Minister Abiy and federal authorities hold immediate talks with Sidama leaders. Deploying the security forces in a bid to prevent the Sidama from self-declaring may prove costly. It could leave Ethiopian troops policing mass Sidama protests that turn violent, pitting protesters against security forces and Sidama against other ethnicities. Instead, Prime Minister Abiy should seek an agreement with Sidama leaders that ideally entails a date for a referendum as early as operationally feasible, and, assuming that voters in that plebiscite endorse the proposal, a timeline for that state’s formation. For their part, Sidama leaders should accept such a compromise, which would hew closely to the constitution and would carry the smallest risk of conflict.
      If it proves impossible to reach such an agreement and Sidama leaders move toward declaring their own state on 18 July, they should at a minimum agree to delay its formation to give themselves time to resolve contentious issues related to the new state. Particularly important is to soon reach agreement among federal and regional authorities, Sidama leaders and other Southern Nations ethnic groups’ leaders on plans for Hawassa, a fair division of regional assets and the relocation of the Southern Nations capital. The government also must manage other statehood aspirations that the Sidama’s new state will likely fuel. Prime Minister Abiy and other senior officials should build on a regional government study to negotiate with other groups on arrangements for a possible new configuration of multi-ethnic southern states formed from the rump Southern Nations. International partners and the federal government could offer increased budgetary support to help fund the new states and offset losses from the inclusion of relatively prosperous Hawassa within the new Sidama state."


     Simon Marks, "After a Massacre, Ethiopia’s Leader Faces Anger, and a Challenger: Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed, who won this year’s Nobel Peace Prize, now faces an influential competitor — Jawar Mohammed, the founder of a media network and a former ally," The New York Times, November 18, 2019, https://www.nytimes.com/2019/11/18/world/africa/ethiopia-jawar-mohammed-abiy-ahmed.html, reported, "Sitting at a table in a state conference room in the capital, Addis Ababa, the two men [Jawar Mohammed, a media baron and one of Ethiopia’s most prominent political activists, and Prime Minister Abiy Ahm] met on November 3 to talk about preventing more of the ethnic violence that erupted in October after Mr. Jawar’s supporters began protesting his botched arrest. Eighty-six people died in two days.
     Since the bloody protests, the two men have agreed to tone down the violence, and Mr. Jawar has announced plans to take his case to the ballot box. He intends to run in next year’s elections to unseat Mr. Abiy, his one-time ally."
     " Ethiopia has nine semiautonomous regions, where ethnic conflict is rampant and groups that have been newly empowered by the recent democratic overhaul are demanding the ability to run their own affairs.
     One ethnic group — the Sidama — is seeking to create a 10th semiautonomous region. A referendum that would decide the matter is scheduled for Wednesday, and there are fears that the vote could descend into further violence
."


     Katherine Hamilton, "Ethiopian Development Projects Devastate Indigenous Communities, Report Says, Cultural Survival, August 2, 2019, https://www.culturalsurvival.org/news/ethiopian-development-projects-devastate-indigenous-communities-report-says, reported, " A series of new development programs in Ethiopia’s Lower Omo Valley has resulted in disastrous consequences for local Indigenous communities, a new report from the Oakland Institute says. The report , “How They Tricked Us” includes findings from field research with the Mursi, Bodi, and Kwegu Peoples who are reeling from the impacts of the Gibe III Dam and Kuraz Sugarcane Development Project (KSDP). Government promises of compensation to Indigenous Peoples have been repeatedly broken, and resettlement and aid efforts deeply inadequate.
      The Omo Valley of southern Ethiopia is home to over 12 Indigenous Tribes, eight of which rely significantly on the Omo River for livelihood, culture, and identity. The river and its floods allow for many of these groups’ traditional agriculture practices, as well as upkeep of cattle, which are an integral part of both survival and societal practices, like marriage and other ceremonies. Among the Omo Valley tribes are the Dassanech, Nyangatom, Murle, Kara, and Mugudji, but the report by the Oakland Institute focused mainly on the Bodi, Mursi, and Northern Kwegu Peoples, who they stated were hardest hit by recent development projects.
     The Gibe III Dam and sugarcane plantations came about as part of a 1996 African Development Omo-Gibe Masterplan. Dam construction began in 2006 and land allocation for plantations occurred five years later. From the very start, major environmental concerns have been raised and human rights abuses reported, including forced evictions, crop destruction, and rape. Significant donors such as the World Bank, African Development Bank, and European Investment Bank originally refused to fund the dam due to its social and environmental violations. However, the World Bank eventually provided indirect financial support, along with funding from the China Development Bank and Ethiopian Sugar Corporation.
      No environmental and social impact assessment was done for the Gibe III Dam and the assessment of the Kuraz sugarcane project took place after construction began and was never publicly released.
     In the early days of planning for the Gibe Dam, the Ethiopian government made clear the many benefits it would have for local communities. They cited the massive 2006 flood as hugely devastating to regional populations of the area, but in reality, it yielded an unusually abundant harvest and may not have caused the chaos described by dam supporters. Flooding is a vital aspect to the agriculture and livelihood practices of the Mursi Peoples who reside around the Omo River, but with the Gibe III Dam, these floods seem to be permanently stopped. The report interviewed over 40 Mursi in the Omo Valley, and all of them reported that there had been no floods since the dam first started producing energy in 2015.
      During construction, the Ethiopian government vowed to continue artificial floods in order to account for the needs of the Mursi Peoples. The dam construction company, Salini, incorporated a flood gate into the dam and promised to open it to create floods for ten days of the year. However, Salini later revealed in a statement that these artificial floods were to be temporary as a transition period for the Mursi to shift from traditional agriculture practices to more “modern” development. Additionally, a 2010 review of the dam noted that the controlled floods were unlikely to ever be released; a ten-day pause in electricity production would cause a revenue loss of 7-10 million USD and the flood would potentially damage irrigation infrastructure downstream.
      Already, the lack of flooding has resulted in immediate and measurable harm to Mursi communities. According to the Institute, field research was done in an atmosphere of intense hunger among the Mursi, who are now sustaining themselves on the milk and blood from their cattle and the small amount of grain that can be exchanged for the cattle. Additionally, some Mursi have moved to the resettlement plots that were allotted, but the sites were too small to sufficiently feed a family. In one site, a family cultivated a maize crop, only to have it plowed over and replaced by a sugarcane plantation. Other promises of the resettlement sites, including schooling, health care, and food aid, have remained unfulfilled.
     Reports from both the Mursi and the Bodi seem to show that the Ethiopian government is pressuring Indigenous Peoples to stop traditional cattle herding in order to transition toward modern development practices. Many people chose to leave resettlement sites because the government was threatening to seize or kill their cattle, according to one testimony. The Bodi are also told repeatedly that they can only have two head of cattle per household.
      The Northern Kwegu have also been forced into resettlement sites due to loss of livelihoods. Almost all their territory has been overtaken for sugarcane plantations, but the massive job opportunities they were guaranteed have not materialized – only four percent of the predicted 700,000 jobs have actually employed Indigenous residents. Some Kwegu men have been employed by the government to hunt buffalo that eat sugarcane, but these jobs are temporary and low-paid, causing them to “live a precarious existence dependent on the whims of the government,” according to the Oakland Institute. The pressure to abandon traditional livelihoods has increased dependence in Indigenous communities that have long evaded state control.
      The plantation jobs have also altered the demographics on the Omo Valley, as a majority of the employment is given to migrants from other parts of Ethiopia. The increased migrant population has increased HIV infections and alcohol accessibility in the region. Within communities, as well, there has been fracturing between those who support and benefit from the plantations and those who are against it. Recently, 13 died in a night shooting over disagreements about the sugarcane.
      Along with local impacts, both projects have been economic failures. With most of the budget for the sugarcane plantations spent, the project is still only about halfway finished. The dam project has also gone over-budget, contributing to, rather than addressing, Ethiopia’s monumental foreign debt.
      Currently, the Gibe IV and V Dam projects are underway, threatening to further harm Indigenous communities of the Omo Valley. The Institute’s report concludes by making a call for action and recognition from the Ethiopian government. The nation’s new Prime Minister, Abiy Ahmed has made promises to focus more on human rights and equity, and the report argues that this must focus particularly on the lower Omo region. Additionally, it is vital that the government acknowledges the failures of its development projects and acts to compensate for the harm it has already caused.
      Read the full report here: https://www.oaklandinstitute.org/gibe-dam-sugarcane-plantations-southwest-ethiopia."


      China has said it has closed its Uighur detention centers, but research by the New York Times makes it appear that they are still operating at a high level ("China Said It Closed Muslim Detention Camps. There’s Reason to Doubt That," The New York Times, August 9, 2019, https://www.nytimes.com/2019/08/09/world/asia/china-xinjiang-muslim-detention.html).


     Dev Kumar Sunuwar, "Community Radio Helps Indigenous Peoples Win Legal Battle Against Nepalese Government," Cultural Survival, June 19, 2019, https://www.culturalsurvival.org/news/community-radio-helps-indigenous-peoples-win-legal-battle-against-nepalese-government, reported, " The Newar Indigenous Peoples in Kathmandu, Nepal, who have battled for over seven years for justice against an illegal road expansion, finally achieved a victory in their legal fight against the government. On June 30, 2018, the Supreme Court of Nepal issued a judgement directing the government to compensate the concerned landowners and conduct road widening only with the consent of the local people impacted. Following the judgement, National Human Rights Commission asked the government to comply with the legal procedure and immediately ensure the rights of Newar Peoples to their land and territories.
      'The triumph is also because of public awareness about their rights secured in international law and advocacy to the concerned authority, says Suresh Prasad Sayanju, station manager of Radio Janasanchar, one of Cultural Survival’s Community Media Grant Project partners. With a grant from the Project, Radio Janasanchar, a community radio station established in 2009 by a group of Newar communities, organized 20 public debates about the impact of the road expansion and also produced and widely broadcast radio documentaries.
     According to Sayanju, the debate organized by Radio Janasanchar complemented the efforts to overcome the struggles of Newar communities. Their effort also prompted Newar members to organize themselves into a committee and put pressure on the government to respect the right of the Newar community to development.
      Development projects in Nepal are often conducted by state and private entities on the lands and territories of Indigenous Peoples and are planned and constructed without obtaining Free, Prior and Informed Consent and without meaningful participation in the decision making process by impacted communities.
     'The road expansion was against the principle of the self-determined development of Indigenous Peoples, says Advocate Shankar Limbu, who was one of the leading advocates at Lawyers Association for Human Rights of Indigenous Peoples (LAHURNIP), who took up the case against the road expansion and who compelled the Supreme Court to direct the stop to displacement by the project.
     According to Limbu, the road expansion across Kathmandu Valley was done illegally, without giving prior information and without paying fair compensation to those impacted. It is estimated that over 150,000 people have been displaced from their land, and about 90 percent of them are Newar Indigenous Peoples, who were forced out of their homes and off their lands.
     In 2011, the government initiated the road expansion drive in the Kathmandu Valley to address traffic congestion. In an 8-year period, a total of 999 km of roads were widened. The road expansion added misery to the lives of many locals, making some places look like a war zone. Authorities bulldozed individual houses including heritage structures like temples. Authorities did not consider it necessary to consult with the affected communities. Many were evicted forcibly, many suffered mental illness and some even committed suicide, as they lost all their belongings and faced grave realities.
     Newar communities then undertook continuous street protests, filed litigation in courts and judicial bodies and also in with various UN mechanisms, citing the government’s failure to conduct meaningful consultation and pay proper compensation to the victims.
     Nepal is party to ILO Convention no. 169 and has endorsed the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP), two major international legal guiding procedures for governments in undertaking development projects on Indigenous lands and territories. Both the international laws require the government to obtain the Free, Prior and Informed Consent of Indigenous Peoples before carrying out a project that could potentially affect their lifeways and livelihoods. In this case, neither were the Newar consulted, nor were they provided information beforehand, nor given fair compensation.
     Road widening was also undertaken against national legal provisions. Article 3 of the Environment Protection Act of 1986 clearly requires environmental impact assessments to be conducted prior to undertaking any development projects and requires plans to address or mitigate impacts on the environment caused by development works. Article 27 of Nepal’s new Constitution from 2015 guarantees the right to live in a healthy and clean environment, also Article 30 ensures the right of individuals to have access to any information affecting them. The Local Governance Act of 1999 ensures the meaningful participation of Indigenous Peoples in the decision making of any development being undertaken on their lands and territories.
     The Newar, who are one of the 59 Indigenous Peoples recognized in Nepal and are original inhabitants of the Kathmandu Valley, are not against the development. They are aware that wider roads eventually benefits them as well, as it will increase the value of their land. They are protesting because the road expansion was carried out haphazardly, without Free, Prior and Informed Consent, without assessing its social and cultural effects and had no plans to address them, and did not involve the impacted communities in decision-making processes.
     'We are not against the development. The development is meant for empowering people, says Suman Sayami, coordinator of Kathmandu Valley-wide Struggle Committee, the road expansion drive in Kathmandu Valley has destroyed our houses, temples, heritage sites haphazardly. Government has never consulted with us or gave us any information in regards to the road expansion.'
     The proper implementation of the landmark judgement by the Nepalese government is yet to be seen."


     "UN Special Rapporteur Raises Concerns On The Rights Of Indigenous Peoples In The Congo," Cultural Survival, November 6, 2019, https://www.culturalsurvival.org/news/un-special-rapporteur-raises-concerns-rights-indigenous-peoples-congo, reported," UN Special Rapporteur on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples Victoria Tauli-Corpuz undertook an official mission to the Republic of Congo at the invitation of the Congolese government on October 14-October 24, 2019 and recently released her final report . The purpose of the mission was to assess progress made in the implementation of Indigenous rights. Tauli-Corpuz met with Indigenous representatives in Brazzaville from the Lekoumou, Pool, and Plateaux departments and travelled 800 km north to meet with three Indigenous forest communities in Pokola and Kabo, speaking with members and representatives of the Ngatongo, Bomassa, Peke and Djaka communities.
      
     Tauli-Corpuz congratulated the Congolese government for adopting Law No. 5-2011, celebrating its foundation for Indigenous Peoples to claim their rights, protect their cultures, and access social services. Indigenous Peoples were also recognized in the new Constitution in article 16. The Congolese government is taking steps to initiate access to basic social services and education for its Indigenous population.
      Unfortunately, the observations of the previous Special Rapporteur on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples James Anaya remain the same. There is no representation of Indigenous people in dominant positions of the government and Indigenous peoples continue to suffer threats and violations to their basic human rights in ways not experienced by the Bantu majority. What is especially concerning is that most government officials assured Tauli-Corpuz that no such discrimination exists and that any issues they face are the same issues non-Indigenous Peoples face in the Congo. While the Bantu also suffer from a lack of services, that does not negate the history of persecution against Indigenous Peoples in the country.
      While Law No. 5-2011 is a breakthrough for Indigenous Peoples, it does not recognize the discrimination Indigenous people still face and does not offer solutions on how to combat it. The draft National Action Plan (NAP) to Improve the Quality of Life of Indigenous Peoples (2019-2021) says Indigenous Peoples …still suffer from marginalization and discrimination in all sectors of social life; their access to basic social services is a bottleneck, especially in the most remote areas, precisely: education, health, culture, sports, water and energy; but also access to land, resources, civil and political rights... Representation of Indigenous Peoples and the creation of laws on their behalf means nothing if government officials use those as props to argue that discrimination is nonexistent.
     In regard to education, it is necessary for Indigenous Peoples to be able to pursue programs that are culturally-appropriate and provide the tools that help them to become leaders in their communities. The right of Indigenous Peoples both to establish and control their own education systems and to access State education without discrimination is further reinforced in the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. In the Republic of Congo, education is free for children ages 6-16, and for Indigenous Peoples it is meant to correspond with their way of life and be culturally relevant and utilize Indigenous languages.
      The National Action Plans adopted by the government have delivered partial results, including equipment, construction of classrooms, provision of teaching materials, the opening of school canteens, and mobilizing Indigenous communities. Work still needs to be done though, as illiteracy continues to be widespread among the Indigenous Peoples. UNFPA reported that 65 percent of Indigenous children between 12 and 15 are not in school, a disproportionate rate compared to 39 percent at the national level. Indigenous educators cite a lack of finances as the main reason, as most teachers in the Republic of Congo are recruited through parental contributions, something most Indigenous families cannot afford.
      The internationally-funded ORA schools, specifically for Indigenous children, are the only existing form of free education in the Congo. In Kabo, Tauli-Corpuz visited an ORA school attended by around 150 Indigenous children, under the tutelage of 3 non-Indigenous teachers. The teachers affirmed how they tried to create a curriculum catered to their Indigenous children but were not paid consistently. The material they provided to the children was also exclusively in French, a language Indigenous children do not speak. Indigenous children have the right to be taught in their mother tongues.
     Creating school systems that cater more to Indigenous children can increase Indigenous students attendance, creating the potential for more leaders in Indigenous communities. The methods include speaking in their mother tongues and studying their history, inviting Indigenous figures to keep students engaged and alert. Tauli-Corpuz’s visit to the Ngomba and Sembola communities highlighted the problem with student drop-outs. Indigenous children are also often bullied by other students. The Minister of Primary and Secondary Education and Literacy has rejected this, however statistics from his own ministry show that Indigenous adolescents represent 0.05 percent of junior high school students and 0.008 percent of high school students, and emphasize that girls especially are excluded from education.
     Regarding health services, Title V of Law 5-2011 lays out important guidelines on Indigenous Peoples’ access to healthcare. The implementation of the decree, which says providing for special measures to facilitate access of Indigenous Peoples to health care and to protect their traditional medicine, is an important step towards implementing these guarantees. The decree also calls for health facilities to supply healthcare free of charge to members of impoverished Indigenous communities. It also protects Indigenous Peoples’ traditional medicine. However, the NAP does not have a specific strategy to improve Indigenous Peoples’ access to health care, and the government argues that catering specific actions towards a certain ethnic group would be hypocritical to public health principles.
      Indigenous people in the northern part of the country discussed a lack of access to health care as troubling issue. Visiting the State-run hospital in Ouesso, the main reference hospital for the region, on a day of heavy rains, Tauli-Corpuz witnessed the hospital walkways completely flooded, there was no running water, a lack of toilets in every section but the maternity ward, and there was no functioning equipment for sterilization. Only three members of the medical staff at the hospital were paid on a consistent basis. While the hospital director assured Tauli-Corpuz that Indigenous patients in the hospital are treated for free, Indigenous Peoples nearby contradicted his statement.
      In addition to a lack of resources, Indigenous Peoples complain about discrimination from Bantu doctors. Indigenous women in particular were treated as though they were dirty. Unfortunately, there are no statistics on Indigenous Peoples’ experiences. The Minister of Health and Gender has acknowledged the situation at the hospital of Ouesso, and explained the circumstances are similar for many countries across the Congo. The Minister discussed her hopes that a project dedicated to access to maternal health care in Sangha and Lekoumou départements would start soon, and hospitals would begin to be refurbished. She also talked about efforts to recruit Indigenous medical personnel, which would especially help Indigenous patients feel more comfortable and integrate the full understanding of Indigenous medicinal systems.
      Indigenous rights to land are still not respected in the Congo. Though Law 5-2011 recognizes their right to own, possess, access and use the lands and natural resources that they have traditionally used or occupied for their subsistence, pharmacopeia and work, the state is still able to take land away from Indigenous Peoples. Indigenous people discussed how they have yet to be given any land titles, and land that they occupy is given to conservation and forest areas without consulting the Indigenous Peoples that live on the land. Indigenous individuals complained about harassment from police and violence suffered from eco-guards, and some have been thrown in jail accused of poaching, despite practicing customary traditions such as hunting.
      Tauli-Corpuz echoes her predecessor’s sentiments, recommending that the government develops and fully implement a new procedure for demarcating and registering lands in accordance with Indigenous Peoples’ customary rights and tenure, and new mechanisms for identifying and securing specific rights on natural resources. Indigenous people should be consulted first and foremost over decisions made about the future of their lands. Legislation is needed on land, forests and protected areas to ensure that these are aligned with the Law No. 5-2011. As of right now, there is no particular mention in the NAP on actions to recognize and protect the rights of Indigenous Peoples to their lands, and Tauli-Corpuz calls on the government “to edit this plan to include recognition of Indigenous land rights as a priority.”
     
      Indigenous women and girls raised the lack of access to sexual education and reproductive healthcare, impacts of domestic violence, sexual assault, maternal and infant mortality, early marriage, and lack of access to food. In their communities, there are usually no active water facilities, which increases their burden to provide for themselves and their children, often times putting them in danger. It is necessary that healthcare services be more accessible to Indigenous women so they did not have to risk their lives to find clean drinking water. Most Indigenous women give birth at home, due to hospitals being too far or that being their choice. Infant mortality is high due to infections from improper sterilization practices of medical equipment.
      Lack of access to employment was another issue raised by members of Indigenous communities. The same companies that occupy Indigenous lands like the CIB logging company and the National Wildlife Conservatory will not hire Indigenous people due to high levels of illiteracy, lack of qualifications, and the semi-nomadic lifestyle in northern Congo. Tauli-Corpuz recommends that the government consult with Indigenous communities to ensure the implementation of professional training and education to help Indigenous Peoples build their skills in order to have more access to jobs in both the public and private sector. Employers on Indigenous lands have a responsibility to consult with Indigenous communities to create environments that better fit the social and economic aspects of the local Indigenous communities.
      Access to justice is a major issue for Indigenous communities. Many Indigenous people feel they have nowhere to turn when they are being persecuted and their rights are violated. This is especially the case for Indigenous women assaulted and raped by Bantu men. Their complaints to police go unheard. There are a disproportionate amount of detainees of Indigenous descent, and they become extremely malnourished due to poor conditions and overall cruelty, despite the state saying it is mandatory they are fed and given decent treatment. Families cannot or are unable to visit their family members in jail due to a lack of accessibility.
     No Indigenous person has ever been elected to the National Assembly and Indigenous Peoples have no representation further contributing to the marginalization of their rights and issues. Tauli-Corpuz urges the government to adopt a decree that would facilitate the recognition of Indigenous communities’ hamlets, which are usually subjected to the authority of a Bantu village, as self-standing villages recognized by the State as equal in stature to Bantu villages.'
     The government has made efforts to ensure Indigenous people are registered in civil status. Tauli-Corpuz welcomed a decree to provide special measures to grant Indigenous peoples official and civil documentation. She was also informed that the government was about to launch a nationwide census to collect data on Indigenous communities, in order to ensure Indigenous Peoples will be directly accounted for.
     The lack of true implementation of legislation and the abuses of Indigenous Peoples are deeply troubling. Tauli-Corpuz concluded her report, Indigenous Peoples should not be considered as burdens or obstacles to development and as backward, primitive people. They should be regarded as human beings who have dignity and equal rights with all other people and who have and continue to do their role in saving and protecting biodiversity and forests. They can contribute their traditional knowledge on natural resource management, climate change mitigation and traditional medicines and they enhance the cultural and linguistic diversity of this country.'
      Read the full report here: http://unsr.vtaulicorpuz.org/site/index.php/en/statements/308-end-mission-rcongo."


      Chris Buckley, "China’s Prisons Swell After Deluge of Arrests Engulfs Muslims," The New York Times, September 1, 2019, https://www.nytimes.com/2019/08/31/world/asia/xinjiang-china-uighurs-prisons.html, reported, " The Chinese government has built a vast network of re-education camps and a pervasive system of surveillance to monitor and subdue millions from Muslim minorities in the Xinjiang region.
      Now China is also turning to an older, harsher method of control: filling prisons in Xinjiang.
     The region in northwest China has experienced a record surge in arrests, trials and prison sentences in the past two years, according to a New York Times analysis of previously unreported official data."


     Available from The New York Times, Austin Ramzy And Chris Buckley, "The Xinjiang Papers: ‘Absolutely No Mercy’: Leaked Files Expose How China Organized Mass Detentions of Muslims: More than 400 pages of internal Chinese documents provide an unprecedented inside look at the crackdown on ethnic minorities in the Xinjiang region," The New York Times, November 16, 2019, https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2019/11/16/world/asia/china-xinjiang-documents.html.


      Cambodia's agricultural ministry, in April 2019, returned to Indigenous peoples in Ratanatiri Provence lands taken for development of rubber plantations by a foreign corporation a decade previously. Local communities receiving the land were requesting additional compensation for land and waterway restoration ("Cambodia: Land Returned to Indigenous People," Cultural Survival Quarterly, June 2019).


     ICG, "Myanmar: A Violent Push to Shake Up Ceasefire Negotiations," Briefing 158 / Asia 24 September 2019, https://www.crisisgroup.org/asia/south-east-asia/myanmar/b158-myanmar-violent-push-shake-ceasefire-negotiations, commented, " A trio of ethnic armed groups have escalated their fight with the military in Myanmar’s Shan State. This alliance has long been outside the country’s peace process. With China’s help, the government should pursue bilateral ceasefires – and longer-term rapprochement – with the three organisations.
      What’s new? On 15 August, an alliance of ethnic armed groups staged coordinated attacks against strategic targets in northern Myanmar. The offensive left up to fifteen people dead, and clashes reportedly continue in the northern part of Shan State, creating concerns for civilians’ safety.
      Why did it happen? The three ethnic armed groups behind the attacks have been largely excluded from the peace process for the past five years. In recent months, the government has proposed bilateral ceasefires to the groups but has set unrealistic demands and accompanied the offers with military pressure.
      Why does it matter? The attacks mark a serious escalation in Shan State’s conflict. They represent a rejection of bilateral ceasefire terms that the Myanmar government has proposed to the armed groups. While the Myanmar military has not yet responded with significant force, the brunt of mounting violence will inevitably fall on civilians.
      What should be done? Both the Myanmar military and the armed groups should exercise restraint, allow humanitarian agencies to safely provide assistance and pursue ceasefire talks. The military and government should review their earlier ceasefire proposal, while China should continue to use its influence in Myanmar to encourage an end to the fighting.
     I. Overview

     On 15 August, a trio of ethnic armed groups calling themselves the Brotherhood Alliance staged coordinated attacks on targets in Myanmar’s Mandalay Region and Shan State, killing up to fifteen people, mostly soldiers and police officers. Clashes have recurred daily across northern Shan State since then, resulting in combatant deaths on both sides as well as civilian fatalities. The alliance – comprising the Arakan Army (AA), Ta’ang National Liberation Army (TNLA) and Myanmar National Democratic Alliance Army (MNDAA) – said it mounted the attacks in response to military aggression in both Rakhine and northern Shan States. The three groups had been negotiating bilateral ceasefires with the government that would have brought them into the broader peace process for the first time. However, unrealistic demands from Naypyitaw have undermined those negotiations, and the attacks represent a rejection of the government’s proposed terms. The government and military should moderate those terms, notably by abandoning their insistence that the groups give up territory they have acquired over the past five years.
     The attacks on 15 August hit a Myanmar military training academy, a bridge and police outpost on an important highway, a military battalion and a narcotics control checkpoint. Myanmar’s military has alleged that they were payback for a recent raid on a drug production lab in northern Shan State. It says the key target was a narcotics control unit situated on the main highway running from Mandalay, Myanmar’s second largest city, to the border with China.In truth, the attacks reflect longstanding tension over the status of Brotherhood Alliance members within Myanmar’s national peace process. Only signatories to the nationwide ceasefire agreement introduced in 2015 can take part in political negotiations with the government aimed at ending Myanmar’s civil conflicts. For most of the past five years, the Myanmar military (and, to a lesser extent, the civilian government) have excluded the three groups from this process, by setting stringent preconditions for talks toward signing the nationwide ceasefire.
      More recently, the military and government have shifted their position, opening negotiations with each group aimed at individual bilateral ceasefires (they have also adopted this approach with a fourth ethnic armed group that does not have an existing bilateral ceasefire, the Kachin Independence Organisation). The bilateral negotiations, supported by neighbouring China, commenced in December 2018, when the three groups issued a statement pledging to stop “military actions” and expressing a desire for dialogue. The Myanmar military responded by announcing a unilateral ceasefire. Progress toward bilateral ceasefires had stalled in recent months, however. The government’s peace team put forward terms that were unfavourable to the insurgents – notably, a demand that they give up territory – while the Myanmar military continued to exert pressure on them in Rakhine and Shan States. Increasingly, the ethnic armed groups view both the unilateral ceasefire and the bilateral ceasefire negotiations as ploys to allow Naypyitaw to gain the upper hand rather than a genuine attempt to end the conflict.
     An immediate goal of the attacks appears to have been to relieve pressure on AA forces in Rakhine State – an area not covered by the military’s unilateral ceasefire and that has seen significant fighting since January 2019 – by forcing the Myanmar military to shift forces to northern Shan State. But the Brotherhood Alliance members’ broader objective is to compel the Myanmar military and government to accept ceasefire terms that grant the groups political recognition, cement their territorial gains and potentially give them access to new economic opportunities. Toward these ends, the attacks appear aimed at forcing stronger intervention from China on the groups’ behalf.
     Myanmar’s military has not retaliated in the heavy-handed way many observers expected, given the attacks’ provocative nature. Instead, it has focused on securing key infrastructure and reopening the highway to the border with China. Contrary to most expectations, the military has also extended its unilateral ceasefire from 31 August to 21 September. The government negotiating team has moved quickly to resume talks with the groups, with meetings held on 31 August and 17 September. On 9 September, the Brotherhood Alliance announced a one-month ceasefire but also warned that it would retaliate if attacked. China, which wields strong influence in the border areas and over some of the groups, has also been encouraging dialogue and de-escalation.
     The Myanmar military could still decide to strike back, however
. A counteroffensive would have dire consequences for the area’s civilian population, particularly ethnic Ta’ang (also referred to as Palaung), whom government forces suspect of providing support to the TNLA. Myanmar’s military and, to a lesser extent, the three ethnic armed groups have a history of human rights violations. Already, there are reports of indiscriminate shelling and mortar fire, as well as attacks on local aid groups’ vehicles and civilian cars and trucks on the highway. Thousands of residents have fled their homes, some pre-emptively out of fear of being targeted by forces on either side. Humanitarian access, which is already constrained, is likely to become more difficult.
      Further clashes can and should be avoided. The Myanmar military’s extension of its unilateral ceasefire and the Brotherhood Alliance’s announcement of its own unilateral ceasefire are welcome steps. Both sides should continue to exercise restraint and also pursue negotiations aimed at reaching a bilateral ceasefire. Beyond that, the following steps could reduce civilian harm, reduce the likelihood of further violence and improve prospects for progress in the peace process:All sides should allow humanitarian aid to reach those in need and ensure aid workers are not targeted or unnecessarily put at risk.
     Naypyitaw should drop its insistence that the three groups return to their places of origin and abandon territorial gains. This demand is unrealistic and will hinder progress on bilateral ceasefires. The three groups’ inclusion in the peace process will be essential for future stability, if not progress toward a comprehensive peace settlement between Naypyitaw and Myanmar’s ethnic armed groups.
     To enhance prospects for bilateral ceasefires, the military should broaden its unilateral ceasefire to Rakhine State and lengthen the time horizon.
     China should also use its significant influence over both sides to encourage an end to the fighting."


      Marlise Simons, "Myanmar Genocide Lawsuit Is Filed at United Nations Court: Gambia, on behalf of Rohingya Muslims, opens an international dispute with Myanmar in an effort to have the country’s leadership tried for genocide," The New York Times, November 11, 2019, https://www.nytimes.com/2019/11/11/world/asia/myanmar-rohingya-genocide.html, reported, " An arsenal of international laws has failed to confront the impunity of Myanmar’s government and security forces for their deadly purge of the country’s Rohingya Muslim minority, forcing hundreds of thousands to flee a campaign of rape, arson and killing .
     But on Monday, Gambia filed a lawsuit accusing Myanmar of genocide, summoning the case before the United Nations’ highest court in an effort to open a legal path against the country’s authorities."


     ICG, "Peace and Electoral Democracy in Myanmar," Briefing 157 / Asia 6 August 2019, https://www.crisisgroup.org/asia/south-east-asia/myanmar/b157-peace-and-electoral-democracy-myanmar, commented, " Myanmar’s 2020 polls are a chance to consolidate electoral democracy in the country. Yet many ethnic minorities doubt that voting gives them a real say. To preempt possible violence, the government and outside partners should work to enhance the ballot’s inclusiveness and transparency.
      What’s new? Myanmar will go to the polls in late 2020. Political positioning has begun in earnest, affecting important governmental decision-making. In ethnic-minority areas, particularly Rakhine State, there is growing disillusionment with electoral democracy that could fuel escalating violence.
     Why does it matter? The pre-election period of political contestation will likely exacerbate ethnic tensions and conflict risks, particularly in the country’s periphery. At the same time, balloting will be a crucial opportunity to consolidate gains in electoral democracy – an important if insufficient step toward long-term peace and stability in Myanmar.
      What should be done? To bolster ethnic minorities’ faith in elections, the government should signal its intention to appoint state chief ministers from the winning party in each state, rather than imposing National League for Democracy-led governments everywhere. More transparent decision-making about the likely cancellation of voting in conflict-affected areas would also help.
     I. Overview

     More than a year ahead of national elections in Myanmar, the key protagonists’ political positioning is already affecting policy on everything from the peace process to the economy. Political actors now see important decisions through an electoral lens. Political contestation during the campaign risks aggravating ethnic tensions and conflict, particularly in the country’s periphery; Rakhine State, where the anti-government Arakan Army continues an insurgent struggle for greater regional autonomy, is a likely flashpoint. The elections could also be a crucial if imperfect next step toward consolidating electoral democracy in Myanmar. The election commission and its international partners should focus on both mitigating conflict risks and enhancing the polls’ credibility.
     As Aung San Suu Kyi remains hugely popular with her ethnic-majority Burman base, the election result is not really in doubt. The party she leads, the National League for Democracy (NLD), will handily win a majority of parliamentary seats.
      What is in doubt is the salience of elections for those other than her core supporters. More and more, minorities feel excluded from or ill served by the electoral system . The alienation is clearest in Rakhine State, where most of the Rohingya remaining after the expulsion of more than 700,000 of them in 2017 have no prospect of gaining the vote. The ethnic Rakhine population – another minority – also feel that politics has failed them. The landslide victory of the main Rakhine party in 2015 was followed by the presidential imposition of an NLD government and a lack of subsequent national government engagement with Rakhine leaders. Angered, many ethnic Rakhine now support the Arakan Army insurgency.
      As other ethnic minorities also chafe at the perception of a Burman nationalist NLD leadership, the elections could be a pivotal moment. On the one hand, they could help defuse tension by showing a peaceful method for these communities to gain a greater voice in their own governance. On the other, they could cement the impression that the NLD has a hammerlock on power at all levels and lead to dangerous scepticism of electoral democracy.
      The government should take steps now to lay the groundwork for elections that instil greater confidence in the democratic process within these minority communities. One important measure would be for it to commit to appointing chief ministers (the top executives for each state) from the party that wins the most seats in state legislatures. Such appointments would go a long way toward giving minorities a say in their own governance and in official decisions affecting their lives – and would almost certainly build greater support for the electoral process.
      A more transparent and inclusive electoral process in conflict-affected areas would also help mitigate the erosion of confidence in democracy. In places where the election commission will cancel voting for security reasons, it should be more transparent about the basis on which such decisions are made. The election commission and its international partners should also take advantage of the coming year to enhance the polls’ credibility, especially in the priority areas identified by election observation organisations. Improvements should include accurate updating of the voter rolls to ensure the registry of some five million new voters who have turned eighteen since 2015. Promoting greater representation of women, as candidates and on the currently all-male election commission, should also be a priority. Given the risks of conflict and the broader importance of making the elections as credible as possible, international partners should invest in long-term observation of the electoral process, not only election-day monitoring."


     The government of Japan, in legislation, formally recognized the Ainu as an Indigenous People, in February 2019. This goes beyond previous recognition of the Ainu as an official minority, ending a long history of repression and forced attempts at assimilation ("Japan: Ainu People Recognized as Indigenous," Cultural Survival Quarterly, June 2019).


     "Indian government prepares all-out assault on tribal rights," Survival International, June 17, 2019, https://www.survivalinternational.org/news/12153, reported, " A meeting taking place in Delhi tomorrow could determine the fate of eight million tribal people and other forest dwellers in India.The talks between states and the Ministry of Tribal Affairs follows February’s hugely controversial Supreme Court order to evict millions of people whose land rights claims have been rejected. The next Supreme Court hearing in the case will be on 24 July, when the court may once again order the eviction of millions of people. This comes at a time when India’s tribal peoples are facing an unprecedented assault on their rights. India’s new Minister of Environment and Forests, who has spoken in support of shoot on sight policies, will also try to push through a draft amendment to the British-era Indian Forest Act. The proposed changes have been described as even more draconian than the original.
     The draft amendment, which was leaked to the press, was drafted by senior forestry officials, lawyers and the CEOof WWF-India, Ravi Singh. The new act includes:
     - A huge program of militarization of India’s forests and tiger reserves, with thousands of officials routinely armed.
     - Forest Department officials given the right to shoot people to prevent forest offences and enjoy virtual immunity from prosecution.
     - Forest officers given the right to shoot, search, seize property, and arrest citizens, while the burden of proving innocence would lie with the accused.

     
     – The undermining of groundbreaking legislation that sought to redress the historical injustices to India’s tribal peoples. State governments able to take away forest rights, in the name of conservation.

      In India’s Kaziranga National Park a similar level of militarization and impunity for guards resulted in 50 people being shot dead in three years and a 7-year-old boy maimed for life. A recent Dutch documentary highlighting abuses and evictions in Kaziranga, along with WWF’s support for the park, is
      The UN Special Rapporteur on the rights of indigenous peoples has criticized the Supreme Court order, saying: The basic premise of this ruling, which treats tribal peoples as illegal residents of the forest, is wrong—Indigenous Peoples are the owners of their lands and forests.'
     Survival International Director Stephen Corry said today: Colonial conservation took three or four generations to steal the lands of about 10-15 million indigenous people throughout the world. India is now looking to steal the lands and livelihoods of a further 8 million tribal and other forest dwellers in a few months, and to shoot them if they try and go back. The militarization of India’s forests is being done under the guise of a law, drafted with WWF, supposedly in aid of conservation. One of the most massive human rights violations in the world is being planned, with almost no voices outside India raised in opposition.'”


     "Violent Protests in Papua Leave at Least 20 Dead," The New York Times, September 23, 2019, https://www.nytimes.com/2019/09/23/world/asia/papua-protests.html, reported, "Violent protests by hundreds of people on Monday touched off by rumors that a teacher insulted an indigenous student in the restive Indonesian province of Papua have left at least 20 civilians dead, including three who were shot by the police, officials said." The province has long suffered conflicts between Indigenous people and the Indonesian authorities, who human rights groups report have committed a great many human rights violations. There has also been unrest amongst non-Indigenous people in the poor province.


     "Papuans killed as anti-racist protests continue," Survival International, September 2, 2019, https://www.survivalinternational.org/news/12219, reported, " Seven Papuans are reported to have been killed as police and military fire at protesters. Six are believed to have died in the Deiyai area of West Papua last week and a Papuan student was shot dead during a raid on a student dormitory yesterday. Many other protestors are said to be injured and one policeman has been killed. The authorities dispute these numbers.
     The continuing protests, some of which have resulted in the burning of public buildings, have been held across West Papua (the western half of the island of New Guinea) following the racist abuse of Papuan students in the Javanese city of Surabaya.
      Crowds of people shouting ‘monkeys,’ ‘pigs’ and ‘dog