Answering a call from the Ka’apor people, activists from Greenpeace Brazil are working with the Ka’apor indigenous community to monitor and protect their lands from the invasion of illegal loggers in Maranhão state, Brazil.
Activists returned from a week in the forest with the Ka’apor people, building more accurate maps and installing motion and temperature sensored cameras to document the invasion of logging trucks inside their territory. The Ka’apor will also use electronic tracking devices to monitor the logging trucks as they travel in and around the Alto Turiaçu Indigenous Land.
“We are taking action because the forest is our home. It’s in the forest that lies our life. Without the forest, we are not the Ka’apor. ‘Ka’apor’ means ‘forest dwellers’ and this is why we must defend it”, said a leader from the Ka’apor community who asked not to be identified for security reasons.
The Alto Turiaçu Indigenous Land is one of the last remaining tracts of Amazon rainforest in the state of Maranhão, and it is increasingly vulnerable to invasions of loggers and hunters. By 2014, eight percent (nearly 41,000 hectares) of forest inside the indigenous land were cleared. According to official data, between 2007 and 2013, 5,733 hectares of forest were degraded by illegal logging within the Alto Turiaçu Land.
Loggers clear new roads and trespass on indigenous land in search of valuable species of timber such as Ipê, which is processed and exported to US and EU markets – fetching values of up to 1,300 euros per cubic metre. Since 2008, the Ka’apor have publicly called for an end to the invasions of loggers, an illegal practice often followed by violence and death.
According to the Indigenous Missionary Council (CIMI), four Ka’apor were killed and fifteen leaders suffered attacks over the last four years. On April 26, 2015, Eusébio Ka’apor, one of the most active leaders in the fight against deforestation, was shot dead returning from a visit with his son. Despite evidence of a link between the murderers and the loggers, the crime still has not been properly investigated by local authorities.
In early 2014, the Federal Justice ordered all authorities to submit a surveillance plan for the Ka’apor indigenous land and the installation of fixed security checkpoints within the area. So far, nothing has been done.
“These technologies will help improve the autonomous surveillance activities developed by the Ka’apor people to protect their lands. It will also provide additional evidence that the authorities must act to put a stop to the violence brought by illegal logging in the region”, says Marina Lacorte, Amazon campaigner at Greenpeace Brazil. “If the Ka’apor people are protecting their territory with their own resources and little technological support, why is the Brazilian government not able to do the same?” she questions.
In 2014, Greenpeace Brazil published a two-year investigation exposing widespread illegalities and manipulation of the Brazilian controlled system to launder illegal timber with legal paperwork, contributing to forest degradation and deforestation. The investigation outlined how the Brazilian timber sector is plagued by corruption, how Amazon forest criminals are aided by falsified documents and how laundered timber makes its way to global markets, despite laws in Europe and the US to combat trade of illegal timber.
Greenpeace is demanding that international market operators look beyond official documents to ensure that Amazon timber smuggled from indigenous lands is excluded from their supply chains. Greenpeace is calling on the Brazilian government to review all approved forest management plans since 2006 in the Amazon as a first step to end illegal and predatory logging in the Amazon. The Brazilian government must also ensure full and effective protection for all indigenous lands in the country
Two Ancient Japanese Philosophies Are the Future of Eco-Living
Our obsession with all things new has blighted the planet. We have a waste crisis, particularly when it comes to plastic. US scientists have calculated the total amount of plastic ever made – 8.3 billion tons! Unfortunately, only 9% of this is estimated to have been recycled. And current global trends point to there being 12 billion tons of plastic waste by 2050.
However, two ancient Japanese philosophies are providing an antidote to the excesses of modern life. By emphasizing the elimination of waste and the acceptance of the old and imperfect, the concepts of Mottainai and Wabi-Sabi have positively influenced Japanese life for centuries.
They are now making their way into the consciousness of the Western mainstream, with an increasing influence in the UK and US. By encouraging us to be frugal with our possessions, (i.e. using natural materials for interior design) these concepts can be the future of eco-living.
What is Wabi-Sabi and Mottainai??
Wabi-Sabi emphasizes an acceptance of transience and imperfection. Although Wabi had the original meaning of sad and lonely, it has come to describe those that are simple, unmaterialistic and at one with nature. The term Sabi is defined as the “the bloom of time”, and has evolved into a new meaning: taking pleasure and seeing beauty in things that are old and faded.
Any flaws in objects, like cracks or marks, are cherished because they illustrate the passage of time. Wear and tear is seen as a representation of their loving use. This makes it intrinsically linked to Wabi, due to its emphasis on simplicity and rejection of materialism.
In the West, Wabi-Sabi has infiltrated many elements of daily life, from cuisine to interior design. Specialist Japanese homeware companies, like Sansho, source handmade products that embody the Wabi-Sabi philosophy. Their products, largely made from natural materials, are handcrafted by traditional Japanese artisans – meaning no two pieces are the same and no two pieces are “perfect” in size or shape.
Mottainai is a term expressing a feeling of regret concerning waste, translating roughly in English to either “what a waste!” or “Don’t waste!”. The philosophy emphasizes the intrinsic value of a resource or object, and is linked to hinto animism, the notion that all objects have a spirit, or ‘kami’. The idea that we are part of nature is a key part of Japanese psychology.
Mottainai also has origins in Buddhist philosophy. The Buddhist monastic tradition emphasizes a life of frugality, to allow us to concentrate on attaining enlightenment. It is from this move towards frugality that a link to Mottainai as a concept of waste can be made.
How have Wabi-Sabi and Mottainai promoted eco living?
Wabi-Sabi is still a prominent feature of Japanese life today, and has remained instrumental in the way people design their homes. The ideas of imperfection and frugality are hugely influential.
For example, instead of buying a brand-new kitchen table, many Japanese people instead retain a table that has been passed through the generations. Although its long use can be seen by various marks and scratches, Wabi-Sabi has taught people that they should value it because of its imperfect nature. Those scratches and marks are a story and signify the passage of time. This is a far cry from what we typically associate with the Western World.
Like Wabi Sabi, Mottainai is manifested throughout Japanese life, creating a great respect for Japanese resources. This has had a major impact on home design. For example, the Japanese prefer natural materials in their homes, such as using soil and dried grass as thermal insulation.
Their influence in the UK
The UK appears to be increasingly influenced by thes two concepts. Some new reports indicate that Wabi Sabi has been labelled as ‘the trend of 2018’. For example, Japanese ofuro baths inspired the project that won the New London Architecture’s 2017 Don’t Move, Improve award. Ofuro baths are smaller than typical baths, use less water, and are usually made out of natural materials, like hinoki wood.
Many other UK properties have also been influenced by these philosophies, such as natural Kebony wood being applied to the external cladding of a Victorian property in Hampstead; or a house in Lancaster Gate using rice paper partitions as sub-dividers. These examples embody the spirit of both philosophies. They are representative of Mottainai because of their use of natural resources to discourage waste. And they’re reflective of Wabi-Sabi because they accept imperfect materials that have not been engineered or modified.
In a world that is plagued by mass over-consumption and an incessant need for novelty, the ancient concepts of Mottainai and Wabi-Sabi provide a blueprint for living a more sustainable life. They help us to reduce consumption and put less of a strain on the planet. This refreshing mindset can help us transform the way we go about our day to day lives.
What Should We Make of The Clean Growth Strategy?
A Strategy, Instead of a Plan
A 12 Month Green Energy Initiative with Real Teeth
Electrical Storage Development at Center of Broader Green Energy Push
It’s a step in the right direction. But, inevitably, there’s much more work to do.
- Energy2 weeks ago
How Much Energy Does Bitcoin Use, Really?
- Environment3 weeks ago
Biggest Tip to Eco-Friendly Car Ownership (Which May Surprise You)
- Energy3 weeks ago
Top 5 Changes You can Make in Your Life to Reduce Your Carbon Footprint
- Energy3 weeks ago
4 Energy Efficient Home Upgrades that You Can Install Yourself