In 1992, OPIP, the Confederación de Nacionalidades Indígenas de la Amazonia Ecuatoriana (Confederation of Indigenous Nationalities and of the Ecuadorian Amazon, or CONFENIAE) and the Confederación de Nacionalidades Indígenas del Ecuador (Confederation of the Indigenous Nationalities of Ecuador, or CONAIE) organized a caminata, or march, with the explicit goals of “1.) The legalization of our territories” and “2.) The amendment of the constitution to reflect the rights of the plurinational and multicultural reality that is Ecuador today.”
Proposed in the mid-2000s, the Enbridge Northern Gateway Pipelines was a project to build a 731.4-mile-long twin pipeline from Bruderheim, Alberta to Kitimat, British Columbia. While its eastbound line would have carried 193,000 barrels of natural gas condensate per day, its westbound line would have moved 525,000 barrels of crude oil per day to a marine terminal, where it would be picked up by oil tankers destined for Asia. The initial budget for the project was $5.5 billion.
From 1943 to 1982, Escambia Treating Company (ETC) operated in Pensacola, Florida. Located in an industrial/residential zone, the location of a wood treatment facility threatened the health of Escambia County residents, who were primarily Black. Until the mid-1950s, ETC dumped creosote and pentachlorophenol (PCP) into an uncovered pit. In March 1992, community members founded Citizens Against Toxic Exposure (CATE) and launched a five-year campaign for relocation of the 358 households closest to the Escambia plant.
In the early 1950s, Royal Dutch/Shell purchased land in the community of Diamond, Louisiana and built a chemical plant. Margie Richard, a Black resident of Diamond, founded Concerned Citizens of Norco (CCN) in 1989 after two large-scale accidents at the Shell/Motiva Chemical plant. A pipeline explosion in 1973 killed two Diamond residents, while another event in 1988 killed seven workers.
The city of Rio de Janeiro is home to 6 million people with approximately 1.5 million residents living in favelas. These residential communities, named after the favela trees native to the region, are commonly misunderstood by outsiders. Although 32% of favela residents belong to the lower-class, a 2013 study found that 85% of people residing in favelas like where they live. Some favelas have high crime rates, but many are high-functioning, self-governing communities.
On 10 June 2014, the Guatemalan Congress approved Decree 19-2014, more commonly known as Plant Varieties Protection Bill or the Monsanto Law (because of Monsanto’s, a multinational company, promotion of the law) and it was planned to take effect on 26 September 2014. The Monsanto Law outlawed the replanting, transportation, or selling of privatized seeds without permission, and made these actions punishable by one to four years in jail and a fine of 1,000 to 10,000 quetzals (130 to 1,300 US dollars).
Casco Viejo, a historic district of Panama, was designated by the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) as a World Heritage Site in 1997. The popular cultural destination had long sustained a modest infrastructure, until the Panamanian government proposed to extend a national revitalizing plan known as “Cinta Costera” to the district in 2010.
Phulbari is a region in the northwest region of Bangladesh. It is an important agricultural region that is also home to low quality coal deposit. Several companies have proposed to use the open pit technique for mining the coal, which would displace thousands of people, many of them indigenous people. The proposed mining projects would destroy farmland, homes, and divert water sources to be used in the mining process.
The Puno Department is a high plateau region of southeastern Peru, nestled on the shores of Lake Titicaca and the Bolivian border. The people of this region are primarily indigenous Quechua and Aymara people who rely on a chiefly agricultural lifestyle based on quinoa, potatoes and alpacas. The region is also incredibly rich in mineral resources. Many land concessions have been made by the Peruvian government to international mining companies to extract these minerals. Between 2002 and 2010, the amount of concessions increased by 279% in the Puno department.
Navajo and Hopi tribes campaign to remain on Black Mesa lands and protect it from coal mining, United States, 1993-1996
The land on the Big Mountain reservation has been disputed by the U.S. Government and the Navajo and Hopi tribes since 1882. This area in Black Mesa, Arizona, which was extremely rich in sulfur coal deposit, attracted mining companies and the government due to the potential profit. Mining began on the Navajo and Hopi land and started to increase greatly by the 1970s. Congress signed a relocation act in 1974, which would allow one company, Peabody Coal, to mine this area uninhibited. The reservation lands of Black Mesa were then to be used as strip mining sites for private U.S.
In 1990, the Indian government and Tehri Hydro Power Corporation began planning to dam the Bhagirati River at the Himalayan foothill town of Tehri in Uttar Pradesh. Plans indicated that it would be the fourth largest dam in the world. Damming the river at this particular location would lead to flooding of the town and the displacement of up to ten thousand of its residents. Scientists also protested the construction of the dam because of its proximity to the central Himalayan Seismic Gap.
Uganda in East Africa has a large rainforest area, the Mabira Forest, that has been protected since 1932. In 2007 Ugandan President Yoweli Kaguta Museveni announced a plan to hand over one-third of the Mabira rainforest to the Sugar Corporation of Uganda Limited (SCOUL). The plan was to turn the forest into land for growing sugarcane.
In April 2006, the United States and Peru signed a Free Trade Agreement (FTA), which they planned to implement on 1 February 2009. The United States required that Peru make certain regulatory changes in law to allow access to the Amazon rainforest before implementing the FTA. In late 2006, President Alan García passed Law 840, known as the “Law of the Jungle,” which undermined the collective property rights of indigenous groups by giving land concessions to foreign investors.
On 6 August 1996, Argentinean General Fuel Company, also known as Compañía General de Combustibles (CGC), signed a contract with the Ministry of Energy and Mines in Ecuador without consultation of Kichwa natives of Sarayaku. The contract allowed CGC to exploit and explore 200,000 hectares of Block 23.
The Ogharefe people of Nigeria suffered from the effects of oil pollution and oil exploration. The Ogharefe community was afflicted with a number of health issues, ranging from skin rashes to stomach ailments, from the gas flares and release of "oil production water." Additional damage from oil production included heavy metals in the water, the eroding of iron roofs due to corrosive ash from gash flares, and the decline of productive fishing ponds and farming land.
In February 2010, U.S.-based Newmont Mining Company proposed a joint venture with the Peruvian company Mina Buenaventura to build the Conga mine, a new gold mine, in the Cajamarca region of Peru. Newmont proposed investing $4.8 billion in the project, the largest investment in Peru’s history, and the mine would become the second largest gold mine in the world. Newmont hoped to begin production in either 2014 or 2015, upon getting permission from the Peruvian government. Newmont submitted an environmental impact study for the Conga mine, which the Peruvian government approved.
After his election to office in 2005, Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa announced he would work to bring peace and economic prosperity to all communities of Sri Lanka with his Mahinda Chinthana development program. The program included his SeaPlane project, a plan to build a number of seaplane airports to encourage tourism to more secluded areas of Sri Lanka such as Negombo Lagoon.
On 29 June 2012, the Shifang government in China’s Sichuan province announced the construction of a molybdenum-copper alloy factory. High school students in the area who were concerned about the factory’s environmental impacts sent the government a petition calling for it to cancel the construction. Reports estimated that the factory would pollute a radius of 60 km, encompassing Chengdu, the capital of Sichuan Province.
Having overfished their own fish stocks, European and other foreign countries have turned to African waters to sustain their fishing industries. At the time of this campaign, the EU had Fisheries Partnership Agreements (FPA) with seven West African countries including Mauritania and Mozambique and had an FBA with Senegal that the EU discontinued in 2006. The EU also had a Common Fisheries Policy (CFP) that managed the exploitation of living aquatic resources and ensured sustainable economic, environmental and social conditions.
In the 1950s the Eisenhower administration enacted the Relocation and Termination programs in regard to American Indian federal policy. The first part meant that Native Americans were to relocate from their respective reservations into big cities. In doing this, Native Americans would lose the unity of the immediate communities as they individually integrated as citizens into separate cities. Meanwhile, the reservation lands would be liquidated into the hands of the federal government. The second part, termination, was a broader result of the relocation.
Following an industrial boom during World War II, Chester, Pennsylvania began an economic decline. In 1990, the census reported that about 60% of residents were African American, 25% were living below the poverty line, and 20% were unemployed.
The right to Aboriginal reserve land has been a contested issue throughout Canadian history, but perhaps one of the most disturbing violations of Aboriginal land rights is illustrated through the Lubicon Cree, a First Nations band in northern Alberta.
In the 1980’s and 90’s South Korea’s nuclear industry was growing, and the Korean environmental and anti-nuclear movement grew along with it. During the 1980’s, over fifty percent of the country’s electricity came from nuclear power, so that by the end of the decade, storage of the radioactive waste posed a formidable challenge as on-site storage facilities began to reach capacity.
Coal is the main commercial energy in India and the government launched an internal improvement program in the early 2000s to bring energy to the hundreds of millions of people in the country without technology and other modern conveniences. Andhra Pradesh was the most ambitious state in this endeavor, as it proposed for 7 major and 30 smaller coal-powered power stations.
South Korean environmentalists protect Gyeyang Mountain against golf course development, Incheon, 2006-2011.
Incheon is a dense city of 3 million in the northern part of South Korea. One significant destination in the area is Gyeyang Mountain, which lies adjacent to the city and attracts 10,000 tourists daily. Gyeyang is largely undeveloped and is home to over 600 endangered species. Since 1989, there have been four attempts by corporations to develop the slopes of the mountain, but all plans have been rejected by the regional government.