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Brazilians Visit London to Protest Against UK Mining Giant, BHP Billiton



Drift of Harrachov Mine by Jakub Friedly via flickr

Today, one year after deadly Samarco dam disaster, Brazilians and other affected communities protest against BHP Billiton in London.

A farmer and a Franciscan affected by the tailings dam breach which killed 20 and polluted 280 miles of river in November 2015, are joined by affected communities from Colombia and Indonesia today to protest the world’s biggest mining company’s London AGM.

Communities impacted by the global operations of the world’s largest mining company are in London to challenge the BHP Billiton AGM this week. Outside the meeting, a street theatre re-enactment of the destruction of the Doce River in Minas Gerais, Brazil, accompanied by testimonials from frontline visitors affected by the company’s operations in Brazil, Colombia and Indonesia.

The AGM comes almost a year after the deadly Samarco dam disaster, which killed 20 (including a miscarriage that the company refuses to acknowledge responsibility for), flooded 280 miles of the Doce River and left 700 people homeless. Three delegates from Brazil, including Maria do Carmo Dangelo, a farmer impacted by the disaster – are in London to call-out the mining giant’s lack of accountability since the spill.

Maria is joined by Franciscan brother Rodrigo de Castro Amédée Péret and Leticia Oliveira from the Movement of People Affected by Dams (MAB). They have released a set of demands on the company, about community decision making over compensation, acceptance of wider responsibility for the impacts of the disaster, and against the building of a new dam on the site of a decimated village.

Two visitors from Colombia are in London to address BHP Billiton’s co-ownership of the Cerrejón coal mine, one of the largest sources of imported coal burnt in UK power stations. Luz Ángela Uriana Epiayú, a mother from La Guajira, has won a legal case against Cerrejón over the respiratory illness affecting her two-year-old son, due to the dust from the mine. Air pollution, along with the diversion of local water supplies and the eviction of whole villages for mine expansion, stand out among the unaddressed impacts of the BHP-co-owned mine. Luz Ángela is accompanied by her solicitor, Dr. Annelen Micus of the CAJAR lawyers collective.

Also, Arie Rompas of WAHLI and Friends of the Earth in Indonesia is in London to speak about BHP Billiton’s recent divestment from the IndoMet coal project in Central Kalimantan. This year the company sold their 75% stake in the mine without accepting responsibility for the damage already caused by its operations and a recent tailings spill. In light of a new report citing poor design and drainage as causes of the Brazil collapse, the failure raises questions about the company’s worldwide waste storage practices.

Rodrigo de Castro Amédée Péret said: “The dam break led to the destruction of all forms of life in the region. Mud covered everything, resulting in 20 deaths and unmeasurable environmental destruction. We have seen whole communities destroyed by BHP Billiton and Vale’s operations. They have lost everything, without receiving any real compensation. Instead of reparations for the victims, what is becoming evident is the blatant corporate capture of our government by transnational companies.”

Luz Ángela Uriana Epiayú said: “I remember Cerrejón came to La Guajira promising the world, but they never actually sat down and spoke to us. Now, at night, we barely sleep. The constant hum of the huge machines from the mine doesn’t let us. The air we breathe is polluted. The pollution also contaminates our water. This in turn generates health problems and illnesses, affecting our children. These are the consequences we face for having the Cerrejón mine for a neighbour.”

Arie Rompas said: “BHP Billiton is leaving a terrible legacy at the IndoMet coal project in Central Kalimantan, where my family comes from. The company is destroying what is left of the rainforest where the indigenous Dayak Murung people live and which they rely on for their livelihoods and traditions. BHP paid criminally-low compensation for the lands they have taken and now they are polluting our rivers and attempting to walk away from the mess they have made. They must be held accountable for all this.”

Organised by: London Mining Network, War on Want, Movimiento Jaguar Despierto, Coal Action Network, Colombia Solidarity Campaign and Gaia Foundation.



Extra-Mile Water Conservation Efforts Amidst Shortage



water conserving

While some states are literally flooding due to heavy rains and run-off, others are struggling to get the moisture they need. States like Arizona and California have faced water emergencies for the last few years; water conserving efforts from citizens help keep them out of trouble.

If your area is experiencing a water shortage, there are a few things you can do to go the extra mile.

Repair and Maintain Appliances

Leaks around the house – think showerheads, toilets, dishwashers, and more – lead to wasted water. Beyond that, the constant flow of water will cause water damage to your floors and walls. Have repairs done as soon as you spot any problems.

Sometimes, a leak won’t be evident until it gets bad. For that reason, make appointments to have your appliances inspected and maintained at least once per year. This will extend the life of each machine as well as nip water loss in the bud.

When your appliances are beyond repair, look into Energy Star rated replacements. They’re designed to use the least amount of water and energy possible, without compromising on effectiveness.

Only Run Dishwasher and Washer When Full

It might be easier to do a load of laundry a day rather than doing it once per week, but you’ll waste a lot more water this way. Save up your piles of clothes until you have enough to fully load the washing machine. You could also invest in a washing machine that senses the volume of water needed according to the volume of clothes.

The same thing goes with the dishwasher. Don’t push start until you’ve filled it to capacity. If you have to wash dishes, don’t run the water while you’re washing. Fill the sink or a small bowl a quarter of the way full and use this to wash your dishes.

Recycle Water in Your Yard

Growing a garden in your backyard is a great way to cut down on energy and water waste from food growers and manufacturers, but it will require a lot more water on your part. Gardens must be watered, and this often leads to waste.

You can reduce this waste by participating in water recycling. Using things like a rain barrel, pebble filtering system, and other tools, you can save thousands of gallons a year and still keep your landscaping and garden beautiful and healthy.

Landscape with Drought-Resistant Plants

Recycling water in your yard is a great way to reduce your usage, but you can do even more by reducing the amount of water required to keep your yard looking great. The best drought-resistant plants are those that are native to the area. In California, for example, succulents grow very well, and varieties of cactus do well in states like Arizona or Texas.

Install Water-Saving Features

The average American household uses between 80 and 100 gallons of water every single day. You obviously can’t cut out things like showering or using the toilet, but you can install a few water-saving tools to make your water use more efficient.

There are low-flow showerheads, toilets, and faucet aerators. You could also use automatic shut-off nozzles, shower timers, and grey water diverters. Any of these water saving devices can easily cut your water usage in half.

Research Laws and Ordinances for Your City

Dry states like California, Arizona, New Mexico, and Nevada must create certain laws to keep the water from running out. These laws are put into practice for the benefit of everyone, but they only work if you abide by the laws.

If you live in a state where drought is common, research your state and city’s laws. They might designate one day per week that you’re allowed to water your lawn or how full you can fill a pool. Many people are not well versed in the laws set by their states, and it would mean a lot to your community if you did your part.

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Cyprus is the Forerunner for Ecotourism



When I was looking for a second citizenship, I happened to see One Visa’s offer on Cyprus Citizenship by investment program. I had heard about Cyprus being a beautiful country, but I did not know much else, so I decided to start my own research about this gem of a place.

After I did some research, I discovered that Cyprus is a popular destination for tourists. Unfortunately, heavy tourism and the associated development affected villages here and there, with some communities being slowly abandoned. To avoid this from happening any further, Cyprus went into ecotourism, and today, it is the forerunner in this arena. Let’s look in further detail at ecotourism in Cyprus here.

How was it started?

It all started in 2006 with the launch of the “Cyprus Sustainable Tourism Initiative.” This program has the sole scope of promoting ecotourism developments in the tourism industry. It concentrates on those areas which require conservation and environmental safety. At the same time, it helps develop social, as well as economic statuses in the rural parts of Cyprus. Through this program, the government was able to acknowledge that ecotourism will play an essential role in the future of Cyprus, with the concept gaining momentum among tourists from all over the globe.

How to go about it?

So, now you are interested in going for an ecotourism vacation in Cyprus. How will you go about it? I would immediately say that everyone should visit the quaint Cypriot villages spread throughout the island. These communities have a smaller population, and not many tourists visit. They make for a great relaxing spot. Enjoy seeing the bustle of village life go by where simple pleasures abound. Most hamlets are linked by specific minibus tours which ferry tourists to these havens. These trips will have a regular schedule, aimed at promoting ecotourism further. Such tours will be regulated to ensure that while the villages can benefit and develop, they do not get overpopulated or overcrowded with tourists. Therefore, you can be sure to enjoy the beautiful sceneries that nature has to offer here.

If you are wondering if there are any activities to do here, my answer would be: “Yes, plenty.” You can go for some guided walks across various regions here. Here you will be able to explore the diversified natural beauty and wildlife of the area. Several agritourism activities and services are planned to open shortly. Once launched, you will be able to engage in picking olives, milking goats, and several other such events here.

What can be learned?

Although we are aware that natural resources need to be preserved, we do not always remember it in real life. When we go on tours such as these, we can realize the significance of protecting nature. Also, when more and more people visit these places, the concept of ecotourism will become popular among more people. Awareness about ecotourism is set to grow and spread throughout the world. Subsequently, sustainable tourism will gain popularity around the globe with Cyprus being the forerunner for ecotourism .

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