The Voice of the Mountain: Defending One of the Last Remaining Cloud Forests

In this interview, DGR Latin America correspondents Michael Robles and Alejandro Balentine speak to José Alfredo del Moral García who is part of  a movement called Por la Defensa de la Sierra (In Defense of the Mountain Range) in Coatepec, State of Veracruz (Mexico). Por la Defensa de la Sierra is looking to protect one of the last remaining cloud forests in the world from politicians and companies that wish to exploit the land for profit and urbanization.

Michael Robles – I am very pleased to meet you, José. I am Michael Robles and this is my friend from Colombia, Alejandro.

Alejandro Balentine – Alejandro Balentine.

José del Moral – Hello.

MR – We are here on behalf of Deep Green Resistance to interview you. Can tell us a bit about what is going on in your community. Okay, so, how are you?

JM – I’m well, though we have just received some disturbing news. One of our comrades was assaulted yesterday. She was chased down, and right now we are in a situation, a dilemma to find ways to help in this municipality; how we can help with this security issue.

AB – I see, in DGR we work and support those human and non-human people who are protecting the planet as well as all the living beings and territories that deserve to be protected. We are only just starting to be involved in Latin America as we are an organization that originated in the United States, but it is a movement for the whole world. We are pleased to be with you. Tell us a bit about what is going on in your land, what is the story behind the movement, of the resistance – to create awareness of what is happening to all of you.

JM – Yeah, well, our fight is the Fight for the Voice of the Mountain as we say here. We have become the voice of Mother Earth here in our municipality of Puerto de Veracruz in the state of Veracruz and in Mexico. Fortunately, we have found people with the same objectives on a global scale and we have made contact with Talking Wings in Canada, and we have exchanged information, more than anything else, on how we have lived our struggle because it is something, well, precious.

My life’s purpose is to fight for all living things. It has been a long fight, I have been hunted and even attacked. This makes my position here hard as there are precedents of this sort of thing in Mexico, and in this state, too. I will tell you a bit about this issue: the land we are talking about is special as it is one of the remnants of the main cloud forest in the state of Veracruz. It has such a broad and large ecosystem and it is currently considered in danger – it is categorized as a zone under risk. The Mountain provides water to many communities including local governments such as Xalapa, Cardel, and Coatepec, obviously. This one in particular is very special because around 35 waterfalls have been discovered. We consider there could be more as this zone is quite wooded and water has circulated including where houses have been built, and even more so where trees have been planted we have found water sources. “Ojo de agua” (water spring) as we call them, so we consider there could be more hidden. There are waterfalls inside caves that are such wonderful things, the ecosystem is really beautiful that one just falls in love and you feel the need to protect them. We also have, here in Coatepec, two archaeological sites and the area that is being affected the most is called Old Coatepec. It is an archaeological site that witnessed the arrival of Hernan Cortes and some French & Italian people. It is said that Napoleon’s brother passed through here, so there is a lot of history here in Coatepec. This also gives such value and wealth, both culturally and historically, to this area. We have around 90 endangered species of flora and fauna that are already catalogued. They have already been referenced under Federal law, so it can be said, they are known by federal authorities.

MR – Could you tell us more about these plants and animals?

JM – Sure, we have reptiles. We have one that we call Dragoncito del Sur (Abronia graminea) which is a type of lizard. We have another one that is actually related and is called Dragoncito de la Sierra Madre Oriental. They are very similar, only the size is different. We have another one that we call Abaniquillo del Bosque Nublado (Anolis schiedii) which is also a small type of lizard that climbs trees. There is a great variety and even though we have their scientific names pronouncing them is difficult for me. We have underwater snakes that we know as Culebra de Agua Nómada (Thamnophis eques). As far as mammals we have four species categorized as endangered such as the Tigrillo (Leopardus wiedii), a cat. We have the Tropical Porcupine (Coendou mexicanus). We also have a marsupial known as Cacomixtle (Bassariscus sumichrasti), also known as Seven Stripes. We also have, for example, fungi known as Santitos (Psilocybe barrerae). We have the Hongo del Genio (Psilocybe yungensis), Hongo del Derrumbe (Psylocybe caerulescens), Hongo de Cemita Rey (Boletus edulis) which are the most affected in this area as well as some plants that are mostly orchids (Orchidaceae), Boca del León (Antirrhinum majus), Helecho Maquique (Alsophila firma), Magnolia Chivillo (Magnolia schiedeana) which are also endangered species. We also have around thirteen trees, bushes, bromelias and eight kinds of ferns that we can add to the endangered species list in this area. All this information can be found on our Facebook page – Por la Defensa de la Sierra. On the page you can find some excellent illustrations done by our comrade Monserrat Sánchez Guzmán, who in the spirit of spreading the word and teaching, illustrated each one of the endangered animals, flowers and trees.

MR – Yes, I’ve seen some of her drawings, they are very well done and they explain why they are so special to this place. They are endemic.

JM – They are 100% endemic and we consider that the forest is a natural treasure and that lately it has become affected by a group that I will talk about later. For now, I want to talk about the history of this land.

MB – Yes, please do.

AB – What is the extent of the wooded area, approximately?

JM – The area that is being harmed, or rather violated, is around 2,000 hectares, that is twice the size of our municipality. So, the thing is, Coatepec is a municipality with a lot of history. As I said before we have two archaeological sites. We have a story regarding the jailing of one of our first presidents of Mexico, Antonio López de Santa Anna. He was a prisoner here and then he was taken to the United States for trial. Benito Juarez was here, also Venustiano Carraza. In other words, historically speaking, we have a lot to tell and moreover it has been said our land has been so fertile that, since Colonial times most crop species have been cultivated here. The land will germinate practically any kind of seed you plant here above sea level. We have everything connected to the sea, the woods, the rain forest which all have many dimensions. You have a question?

MR – Who were the original settlers of this territory before the Conquest?

JM – It is said to be the Nahuas. The archaeological vestiges are of Olmec origin. Here in Coatepec, we assume that in the south the Olmecs lived and in the north, the Nahuas. It is said that Maximiliano de Habsburgo lived some kilometers away in a community called Mahuixtlán. There he had a big parcel of land and it is said that the natives during their struggle, their resistance, chased this emperor away because he was stealing land, stealing water, stealing many things. So people organized and drove him away. In 1984, Coatepec again had civil unrest when water supplies were privatized and piped to take it to other places like Mexico City. Because of this a committee was formed and organized. People from many communities started to come here to the Municipal Capital, expressed their concerns and they were granted an agreement by decree that forests would be left untouched. Also, water, even though it is belongs to everybody, would be quantified to be distributed among the communities. Coatepec is on high-ground and all the micro-watersheds as well as important basins flow in this part of Coatepec. Then all of the water sources meet along a river that travels through Jalcomulco, and then onto José Cardel, and then Chachalaca and finally the sea. Therefore, all the communities that depend on this river whose source is here in Coatepec are also affected and we have had the opportunity to speak with groups that are protecting the water, the rivers, and they are very favourably disposed to helping us out. We support them with the distribution of information and with whatever else we can. However, their struggle is a slightly distinct from ours as an hydroelectric plant is to be built here and the headwaters will be taken away.

Go ahead, speak.

RM – Alejandro, do you have a question?

AB – It is very interesting how you describe this land, how it’s full of life, water, diversity. It is fertile and it is important to always be conscious of it so it can be kept that way. It is rich but it is also a struggle for the people and species that live there, isn’t it? Because, as you said, other people want to steal it.

MR – Yes, it is truly a treasure.

AB – Exactly, it is like a treasure.

JM – It is a treasure, really, that’s why there is such outrage, such unrest, such struggle. That’s why we say we are the Voice of the Mountain because she can’t speak for herself. She can only speak to those of us who are more aware because of environmental knowledge, judgment or conscience. There is a pre-Hispanic heritage that has been constantly sacked and violated by people who are ignorant of history. Their own history and the history of our municipality echoes from its very core. So, we have Nature, as Alejandro said, this treasure that everyone wants to visit and be there with their families, but no one wants to be held accountable, no one wants to preserve, no one wants to keep conserving that history of the land. That is the unrest and outage of many, and I say many because we have noticed when we gather for a demonstration, a “plantón” (occupation). We say here, a plantón (this word is also related to the word “plant”) we use it symbolically as it means “to be planted.” So when we gather for a plantón, we have noticed a lot of people arrive, even through social media there are people supporting us. They even sent food during our last gathering. So, it was surprising that people who wouldn’t even consider it before, now turn up and check what’s happening in the park. They now turn their heads to see what’s happening and have decided “hey, we do not want that.” We want the outsiders to go away, we want the people who are killing this place to be thrown out. There has been a lot of interest by the inhabitants and that is something that we could not achieve before.

Now, what is the current threat and what lies behind it? Right here, coming straight from all the history I told you about before, the constant threat has always been land occupation. Who is behind this? Well, some politicians with bad intentions who make promises, stir up trouble and divide the people. Since January, 2019, militiamen occupied different pieces of land in a zone called Jinicuil Manso. They cut down the woods with the purpose of urbanizing them. Due to this, the Coatepec society as well as the landowners, looked to the government for aid so that this ecocide could be averted. The response was not what was hoped for and these invaders have intensified their actions, justifying their actions by claiming ownership of these 2,000 hectares. Apparently, there was only one person who owned the two thousand hectares, so it has been said that for over forty years he was the owner. There are many persons or owners that have valid documentation and they say that there are Federal funds that have been paid over to them to keep the woods healthy. How is it that for the last 15 or 20 years, Federal projects have been consistently carried out there every 4 years? Now out of nowhere comes someone claiming “I am the owner of these two-thousand hectares. I am the landowner.” I mean, it is inconceivable that a single person is the owner of those two-thousand hectares. I mean, it’s inconceivable to anybody who lives in this municipality that someone has title to all that land.

AB – What are they doing there? I mean, specifically this individual who claims ownership, what is he or she doing in those 2,000 hectares?

JM – They want to build suburbs, streets. They want to build streets, they want to cut the forest down to build houses, stores, whatever they want – they do not cherish life…

AB – Urbanization?

JM – Yes, urbanization. We have given ourselves the task of investigating. We know they have also investigated, so we have given ourselves the task of asking questions and finding out. We know that they are people with economic power. They disguise themselves as low-income individuals, having no land and no house. We have found out that they own other houses and other plots of land which they have stolen in a similar fashion. This is bad situation, and it doesn’t make sense that the municipal, state and federal government act in their favor. I say act in their favor because we have employed investigative lawyers in order to find out why land rights are being handed over to these individuals when there are owners already. The municipality also has areas where water is sequestered for purification and use for the townsfolk. So we say it doesn’t make sense that now they act as if they don’t know who we are or who the owners are and give it all away to other people.

Now, this is not just any group, they are militiamen whose identity we have looked into. They are known as the Central Independiente de Obreros Agrícolas y Campesinos (The Independent Organization of Agricultural Laborers and Farmers). It is a group that escaped from Chiapas after an armed conflict against the Zapatistas. We know they also are responsible for the assassination of comrade Galeano. During confrontations that’s what they did, and, after investigations and findings they started to fragment. Some of them came here, Veracruz, and they came with the intention of stealing the land. Also, several landowners that we know of have been threatened, assaulted physically, verbally and psychologically. We have a comrade that lives up there and he has been kicked out of his house, it has been stripped away from him – they have left him on the streets and they won’t allow him to go home. They are malicious and that’s what troubles us. We are a very quiet community. We always have a lot of positive energy, or to put it another way we are always thinking about the common good and do no harm.

Then these groups arrive saying “We’ll give it to them. We’ll give them grants. We’ll take away from the rich” (meaning the landowners, meaning us). As defenders of this area we have been called foreigners, been called gringos, been called everything. It is not right that as landowners and as citizens of this town we are the ones that have to protect it because the government does nothing. Some weeks ago, the President of the Mexican Republic, Andrés Manuel [López Obrador] had promised during a speech that he would come to talk to the landowners, sit with us and discuss the matter. Well, he came and he just didn’t allow us to speak. They just sent government employees who we found out later were dismissed and relocated to other positions. In other words, nothing happened. And the investigation file that we have demanded to this day hasn’t been received by our lawyers or the landowners. In other words, they have done nothing. So everything is done out of sight. We know that our municipality’s current political party was paid to sign fake documents. They fraudulently created documents to make themselves appear as the landowners. We have asked for an audience with the State Governor, Cuitláhuac García Jiménez. We have not had any response. We have also asked for an audience with the president of the Republic and we have not yet received a positive response.

We are ridiculed by those who are there to protect the people. So, there’s is another discussion to be had: Which “people”? Who are these people? We have been labeled as priistas (militants from the PRI party), panistas (PAN party), everything. Even here, a PAN government, we have been labeled as morenistas (MORENA party) and the Morenistas have labeled us as priistas and panistas. Nobody really wants to face up to and solve the issue. We have given ourselves the task of spreading the word, bringing news to each of the inhabitants of this place and to those outside about this issue because we want them to unite as one voice and to say ‘Stop this! Stop cutting down the trees. Stop this ecocide! Enough of promises and of campaign commitments that are never delivered.’

Any questions?

AB – From what you’re saying I see the hypocrisy and cynicism of the governments that call themselves progressive. I am Colombian and when all Latin America celebrated López’ victory I know that the president portrayed an image of a progressive and supposedly he is in conversations with different social sectors. But in the end, he either can’t deliver or has given in to certain private interests. This seems to happen in different supposedly progressive governments in Latin America. It is very sad, but it is the way it is. I believe we should denounce that hypocrisy and make what they do known and make the lack of a proper response from this supposed government known because it should be there to protect these important lands.

JM – Yes, most importantly to be more conscious of so many things in the world that are being exhausted very quickly. Countries have been invaded so that their natural wealth can be stolen. In Coatepec, and perhaps I speak also for Jalcomulco, there have been many attempts to steal water, to undermine the ecosystem. People here have dedicated their lives to planting and harvesting coffee. We found out about contracts with international companies, and later we saw small planes spraying many places and the harvest ceased. The crops started to disappear and we had to resort to other crops. An international company entered our land and they wanted to sell us coffee when we know their chemicals only nurture their crops and that don’t work for our crops. Many things like that have happened around here. Coatepec was a great producer of oranges, bananas and coffee. Companies would arrive and introduce plagues and oranges were taken away from us, then bananas, then coffee. We considered this natural wealth as very important for ecotourism but now it just can’t be done. They are introducing people that aren’t from this land and they are cutting trees down and eliminating our last collective hope of subsistence – economically speaking. There are people who live up there, 100% farmers from generation to generation and they live off the land. There were agreements that said “look, if your land is about 8 hectares, 2 or 3 will be for you and the other ones will be part of the forest. We’ll pay you for forest preservation.” That’s a way to earn a living, isn’t? What I mean, it was a really good deal for them. What happened? Well, these people come, cut trees down, fine owners (because of course law is enforced for that) due to the government programs that were in existence. Therefore, those who are acting and destroying aren’t punished or kicked out. Nothing is done to them. They are even supported to do so, and, well, this is the reason of such outrage.

MR – Do they have a set timeframe? When will the building start or has anything of the sort been announced? Or is it just being done surreptitiously little by little?

JM – The buildings are already there, and they are being done by those people. They are laying out the streets, building stores, building houses. They started by placing some tents. Others would start with sticks and tarps and they progressed little by little. By the time we realized, there was a house there already. They started to bring in sheeting and materials. It is not all the time but sporadically. For example, the landowners and ourselves perform watches and we have asked the National Guard to be present so the destruction is halted. Every time a landowner cuts down a tree they get fined for using this federal resource. We asked for the National Guard to be with us (something that they do not consistently do) and the perpetrators just make sure that they carry on bringing materials and cutting and building when the Guard isn’t around. So, it has been in stages, but even the pyramids have been sacked due to this dream, this idea that inside of them there’s gold. Mounds have been brought down as well as some pyramids and they have placed their tents there.

MR – What a tragedy! It has been happening little by little in the shadows and they have been gaining ground and they have also sought political backing.

JM – Exactly. Now, who’s behind, politically, this Central Independiente de Obreros? There are two parties that we know of. In fact, you can go to the official website and it shows that they are under command of Panistas and the Partido Verde Ecologista (Green Party). They are the ones who support that group politically and probably economically and they have greeted them with open doors to perform this ecocide.

AB – What have been the strategies that you have applied to oppose this? Resistance? Awareness raising? Protests? How can you defend yourselves?

JM – Well, we consider that it is fundamental to spread the word. We have a local radio station which is the Teocelo Community Radio. We are constantly in communication with them. So, if something happens, we immediately talk to them, they broadcast live and we give them the news of what is going on. A few journalists have also shown up. Many of them have been assaulted. They have been chased away. Some of them have been assaulted and their cameras taken off them because they don’t want the news to spread.
We also know the land very well so we can take alternative routes and still take pictures of the whole process. Every weekend, they throw huge parties with huge feasts where we have seen a lot of people who are not from here and its they who throw their parties here. So, we make ourselves aware of what is going on and then we spread the word. We have pictures of how they pollute the river and how they use it for waste disposal. What was once life, what was once a clean river, full of life, is now nothing but sewage. That’s what outrages us.

What we are also doing is resisting through our movement, “Por la Defensa”, we have been interviewed for different media outlets such as Jornada Veracruz, El Socialista, Radio Teocelo, Radio Huaya and have spread the news. This is pretty much what we are dedicating ourselves to, telling people where we stand on these matters and all the actions that we are carrying out. We do it just as our comrade Montserrat does through her illustrations. We do so through videos that I have sent to Michael – they are on the Facebook page. You can also find information on Youtube as “Por la Defensa.” We have participated in international and national gatherings such as Talking Wings and even through Max [Wilbert]. We have also participated via some comrades, spokeswomen of our struggle who fight under the name of Mujeres Zapatistas and, well, all of us have spread the voice of the Mountain and we have shared it with everyone. We consider it important because the more people who know about this, the more people can take the matter into their own hands. Globally, we also thank those people who have created links to sign petitions and make other countries aware of the situation. Such is the case in Switzerland and the United States that have helped to spread the news to our compatriots abroad, not only in Veracruz and Mexico.

MR – Yes, that’s very good and that takes us to our next question – what can the people from Mexico and abroad do to support The Voice of the Mountain?

JM – Well, our actions, which we share, are always focused on supporting, on spreading information, on being the spokespeople of the land, Mother Earth. Everyone should request a meeting with leaders, not only from Mexico but from around the world so we can stop this. I believe we are involved in a process to save the land. There is no turning back, it is now or never. That is what we and what I personally believe; we have arrived at a point of no return. It is now or never! Because there is only one life, we only live once. We have to enjoy life as a whole race not only as a few people, don’t you think? Let’s pay our respects to the land. If you consider it important to spread the word, then you’re welcome to do so. If you think there is another way you consider could help then you can contact us on social media: on Facebook, on Instagram, “Por la Defensa de la Sierra” and we can reach and decide what might be best. We can not only spread the word about our struggle, we can also be spokespeople for other struggles around the world.

AB – These people who are threatening the forest and your community, I imagine that they perceive it as a nuisance that news of this issue is spreading and that leads to their aggressiveness and threats. The violence has escalated against you. You must keep being a thorn on their side until they go away, until they leave your land. Do you think that would dissuade them? Because as we see through history, spreading the word sometimes is not enough, but sometimes it could be. I mean, it has to be a combination of different strategies.

JM – Well, for example, the first time we gathered for a plantón the world turned upside down. They wanted to punish us for gathering people together when it is prohibited because of the pandemic. However, the town mayor allows all the townsfolk to make a pilgrimage and hold a mass in church. His arguments are illogical, but we noticed something: at the beginning of our struggle, we were told not to say anything, that we should stay on the sidelines because it would be counter-productive to spread it around. The landowners started to get scared and there is something here that I would like to highlight: there’s the landowners and the movement. We as a movement wanted to partner with the landowners and help them spread the word on this particular issue. Four of us started the movement and then we started to grow. We were then told not to spread the word around because it would be counter-productive, legally speaking. We would say, how is something that is public knowledge be counter-productive or be legally harmful? It is illogical. Yet we respected the landowners decision during that time until we realized that their land was going to be taken away when the Mexican Secretariat for Agrarian, Land and Urban Development (SEDATU) arrived and said that they would establish boundaries in order give away their land and this is when we recognized that it was time to start spreading the word. We started to spread around as much information as possible; we copied documents, who was the sole owner, what was the urbanization project and we started to disseminate the information.

The lives that are in danger, the rivers, the trees, the mammals, we started to disseminate everything we had, and we had to make everyone aware of it. Then we started to share the videos and many other things. Eventually the second plantón took place. We were surprised to find out the crowd was bigger. There were people present that said, “I disagree with the forests being cut down” “I disagree with the pollution of rivers” “I disagree with the murders.” We started to have many more Voices of the Mountain and that encouraged us to keep spreading the word until we can do so no more. Yes, we are running towards danger. Yes, in Mexico there have been missing comrades who have fought in favor of the land, but this is not only in Mexico, it is around the world. What we want is to spread information about what is unfair and whatever is against life itself. That’s why it is important for us to spread the word.

Today, we received some news saying that Veracruz’ judicial branch president was relieved of her position, probably because of legal non-compliance. This is because she acted illegally, and word got out. In our case, we want to get to all organizations of all kinds so they know and become aware and take action in these matters because we are tired when a politician comes in and messes around with the needs of the people. We are tired of being promised land, being promised a wholesome life. Mexico has a great cultural diversity and it is not really fit for only one Nation project but for several kinds of Nation projects. We want to keep spreading the news until it is heard on every corner, that it echoes from the last tree and plant and animal so they feel safe knowing that there are people reporting what’s going on here.

MR – Thank you very much for such important work. I don’t know if you have more questions, Alejandro?

AB – Yes, actually, I wanted to ask, when you mentioned about this person that has self-proclaimed ownership of these two-thousand hectares – does it mean that you have information about this person. Do you know who it is? Or do you keep that information to yourselves as a safety measure?

JM – Let me double check that information. I didn’t consider we would talk about this person because he is a senior citizen that we think was brainwashed and was promised a lot of things. His name is Francisco Ruiz, the self-proclaimed landowner of the two-thousand hectares.

AB – Is it a natural person or does he represent a company?

JM – We do not know if he is a farmer or not, but he is not from here. He provided a fake address and we asked around. We were told that nobody knows him, they don’t even know who he is. We showed a picture of him and they said “we don’t know him, he’s not from here.” We continued investigating. He has a brother named Valerio Ruiz. I know they are from another place, another municipality and that they only put their names to become owners of that land, but they have nothing to do with Coatepec.

AB – Have you asked the Coatepec authorities? What answers have been given to you? What is the reason for this happening?

JM – We have been promised answers to our questions. Up until now we have had no answers. There was a meeting, on July 10th there was a convention to give the land to these people. Obviously as landowners and citizens we opposed the agreement because it would require the trees to be cut down, passing through where life thrives and we didn’t want any more setbacks. We chose not to let it through and we went to the meeting which was in session at that very moment and we were asked absurdities such as, “if you are the owner, how many trees are on your land?” There are people who have records of their trees and harvest and so they can give that information, but there are also farmers who say, “well, sir, I just sowed maize and I have delivered the harvest, I have already sold it” and it’s like, I don’t know, it’s just not logical. If you didn’t have that information then you couldn’t participate and the meeting was orchestrated by the mayor. There were meetings which ended up being outrageous because we were labeled as ignorant, labeled as demagogues, labeled as Morenistas, while all us who are defending the land including the landowners were labeled as invaders. Till this day we have received nothing substantial. We are told they will provide answers tomorrow, in two weeks, in a month, and just like that there are no answers from the municipality or the state. We have no way to establish contact with the Coatepec citizens and if we do, we are sent to the mayor and the mayor only talks about what will benefit him. He doesn’t listen to the voice of the people, he actually just listens to the voice of the politicians and it seems pointless to explain their interests.

As a community, as owners nothing has been given to us and when we go to court for support there really isn’t anything. Both parties must show up: the owners and the pseudo-owner of the land. When the latter doesn’t show up, we are simply told that there can be no audience because he didn’t come. But it could happen that if we don’t appear to court one day, they could say to him: “if you are the only person interested then we shall make a ruling.” Both results and actions are quite ambiguous. Nothing is clear. That’s why we are spreading the word around. We don’t have any other choice but to do so. People find out about what is happening, what is being carried out and they can’t really organize. They can’t really choose a way through, or say we have done this and that, because both the landowners and citizens aren’t aware of the issue so the perpetrators feel they can do what they want. When the spread of the information began, we managed to achieve a stalemate because nothing else could be done by the perpetrators. Therefore, there are many versions from the self-proclaimed owner, the mayor and from us who are in the movement. We protect ourselves in accordance to what the true landowners report to us as they are the ones who have direct contact with the issue. We spread the information and we perform watches and we do investigations, but the most tangible stuff is with the landowners.

AB – Thank you very much for your work. You are very brave.

JM – More than being brave, I think that as humans we must know that life comes from Nature. Culture comes from Nature. Everything comes from her and we go back to her. We have to be more conscious of that and thank you very much.

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5 thoughts on “The Voice of the Mountain: Defending One of the Last Remaining Cloud Forests”

  1. My reaction to human destruction of the Earth, its ecosystems, and all that lives here consists of equal parts sadness and rage. Even the tiny portions of the Earth and their inhabitants that have been spared so far continue to be in danger from the humanpox, because human attitudes toward the natural world have not gotten better in any significant way (hand-wringing doesn’t count!). Until and unless humans as a whole begin to prioritize the Earth and all naturally evolved life on it over all else AND ACT THAT WAY, human destruction of the natural world will continue apace, sad to say.

    1. Derrick Jensen: The Age of the Sociopath
      March 1, 2013 Deep Green Resistance News Service
      By Derrick Jensen

      The term Anthropocene not only doesn’t help us stop this culture from killing the planet – it contributes directly to the problems it purports to address.

      First, it’s grossly misleading. Humans aren’t the ones “transforming” – read, killing – the planet. Civilized humans are. There’s a difference. It’s the difference between old growth forests and New York City, the difference between 60 million bison on a vast plain and pesticide- and herbicide-laden fields of genetically modified corn. It’s the difference between rivers full of salmon and rivers killed by hydroelectric dams. It’s the difference between cultures whose members recognize themselves as one among many and members of this culture, who convert everything to their own use.

      1. I strongly disagree. Traditional indigenous humans are only a small fraction of 1% of current humans. “Humans” means humans in general, and a few rare exceptions don’t change that. Humans virtually all live in civilization, so this distinction is meaningless.

        I understand that people don’t want to think badly of their own species, but it’s way past time to face facts and stop making excuses or engaging in sophistry. Humans fit the medical definition of being a cancerous tumor on the Earth, despite the fact that a tiny fraction of them are an exception to that. Instead of drawing meaningless distinctions, we should be figuring out how to get humans to evolve mentally and spiritually so that they stop all their bad behavior.

          1. I never said that traditional indigenous people don’t exist. What I said is that they’re such a tiny fraction of the human race at this point that they’ve become rare exceptions, not the rule. Today, “humans” means modern, civilized, agricultural humans, not hunter-gatherers.

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