Editor’s Note: This is a press release regarding the wildlife photographer of the year selected by Natural History Museum, London. Nature photography, in the correct context, can be an efficient tool for conservation efforts. It not only helps to know about any given piece of land, but also is a powerful tool to raise mass awareness regarding conservation and endangered species. In a world where most humans live their lives, to a large extent, disconnected from the natural world, nature photography can help remind people of the natural world and to inspire a sense of respect for her.
French underwater photographer and marine biologist Laurent Ballesta was awarded for Wildlife Photographer of the Year 2023 for ‘The golden horseshoe’, an otherworldly image of a tri-spine horseshoe crab accompanied by a trio of golden trevallies.
The tri-spine horseshoe crab has survived for more than 100 million years but now faces habitat destruction and overfishing for food and for its blue blood, used in the development of vaccines. But, in the protected waters of Pangatalan Island in the Philippines, there is hope for its survival.
Chair of the jury and editor, Kathy Moran says, ‘To see a horseshoe crab so vibrantly alive in its natural habitat, in such a hauntingly beautiful way, was astonishing. We are looking at an ancient species, highly endangered, and also critical to human health. This photo is luminescent.’
Laurent is only the second photographer in the competition’s fifty-nine-year history to be awarded the Grand Title award twice. He was first awarded Wildlife Photographer of the Year in 2021 for his intriguing image of camouflage groupers exiting a milky cloud of eggs and sperm in Fakarava, French Polynesia.
Young Wildlife Photographer of the Year 2023
Seventeen-year-old Carmel Bechler from Israel was awarded Young Wildlife Photographer of the Year 2023 for his ‘Owls’ road house’, a dynamic frame of barn owls in an abandoned roadside building. Using the family car as hide, Carmel made the most of natural light and long exposure times to capture the light trails of passing traffic.
Carmel was just 11 years old when he began wildlife photography, and this is his first award in the annual competition. ‘I hope to share with my photography that the beauty of the natural world is all around us, even in places where we least expect it to be, we just need to open our eyes and our minds,’ says Carmel.
‘This photograph has so many layers in terms of content and composition. It simultaneously screams “habitat destruction” and “adaptation”, begging the question: If wildlife can adapt to our environment, why can’t we respect theirs?,’ says Kathy Moran.
Catalyst for change
The two Grand Title winners were selected from 19 astounding category winners that showcase the rich diversity of life on Earth. In an intensive process, each entry was judged anonymously by an international panel of experts on its originality, narrative, technical excellence, and ethical practice.
Dr Doug Gurr, Director of the Natural History Museum comments, ‘Whilst inspiring absolute awe and wonder, this year’s winning images present compelling evidence of our impact on nature – both positive and negative. Global promises must shift to action to turn the tide on nature’s decline.’
The newly redesigned exhibition also features videos showing the impact wildlife photography can have, and insights from jury members, photographers and Museum scientists to invite visitors to advocate for the natural world. The journey continues online with planet-positive actions audiences can take. The exhibition will tour across the UK and internationally to venues in Australia, Belgium, Canada, Denmark, France, Germany, New Zealand, Singapore, and more.
Exhibition at Natural History Museum, London
Opens Friday 13 October 2023 and closes Sunday 30 June 2024.
The exhibition is open Monday – Sunday, 10.00-17.50 (last admission at 16.30), and weekends sell out quickly.
Adult tickets from £17.50*, concession tickets £14.00*, and child £10.50*.
Off-peak Ault tickets from £15.00, off-peak concession ticket £12.00, and off-peak child ticket £9.00 (*Prices excluding optional Gift Aid donation to the Museum.)
Get behind the lens of some of the world’s best wildlife photographers with a new Wildlife Photographer of the Year exhibition tour: www.nhm.ac.uk/events/wildlife-photographer-of-the-year-tour
Editor’s Note: The impact of climate change has begun to impact the financial market. Insurance companies aim to make profit on risk coverage. However, if the risk for any sector runs too high, they tend not to invest in that. Nuclear reactors are a common example. Private insurance companies do not insure nuclear reactors as the associated risks are too high. With the rapidly increasing climate change, however, insurance in even the housing market has become too costly. The article describes this phenomenon.
From California to Florida, homeowners have been facing a new climate reality: Insurance companies don’t want to cover their properties. According to a report released today, the problem will only get worse.
The nonprofit climate research firm First Street Foundation found that, while about 6.8 million properties nationwide already rely on expensive public insurance programs, that’s only a fraction of 39 million across the country that face similar conditions.
“There’s this climate insurance bubble out there,” said Jeremy Porter, the head of climate implications at First Street and a contributor to the report. “And you can quantify it.”
Each state regulates its insurance market, and some limit how much companies can raise rates in a given year. In California, for example, anything more than a 7 percent hike requires a public hearing. According to First Street, such policies have meant premiums don’t always accurately reflect risk, especially as climate change exacerbates natural disasters.
This has led companies such as Allstate, State Farm, Nationwide, and others to pull out of areas with a high threat of wildfire, floods, and storms. In the Southern California city of San Bernardino, for example, non-renewals jumped 774 percent between 2015 and 2021. When that happens, homeowners often must enroll in a government-run insurance-of-last-resort program where premiums can cost thousands of dollars more per year.
“The report shows that actuarially sound pricing is going to make it unaffordable to live in certain places as climate impacts emerge,” said David Russell, a professor of insurance and finance at California State University Northridge. He did not contribute to the report. “It’s startling and it’s very well documented.”
Russell says that what’s most likely to shock people is the economic toll on affected properties. When insurance costs soar, First Street shows, it severely undermines home values — and in some cases erodes them entirely.
The report found that insurance for the average California home could nearly quadruple if future risk is factored in, with those extra costs causing a roughly 39 percent drop in value. The situation is even worse in Florida and Louisiana, where flood insurance in Plaquemines Parish near New Orleans could go from $824 annually to $11,296 and a property could effectively become worthless.
“There’s no education to the public of what’s going on and where the risk is,” said Porter, explaining that most insurance models are proprietary. Even the Federal Emergency Management Agency doesn’t make its flood insurance pricing available to the public — homeowners must go through insurance brokers for a quote.
First Street is posting its report online, and it also runs riskfactor.com, where anyone can type in an address and receive user-friendly risk information for any property in the U.S. One metric the site provides is annualized damage for flood and wind risk. Porter said that if that number is higher than a homeowner’s current premiums, then a climate risk of some kind probably hasn’t yet been priced into the coverage.
“This would indicate that at some point this risk will get priced into their insurance costs,” he said, “and their cost of home ownership would increase along with that.”
Wildfires are the fastest growing natural disaster risk, First Street reported. Over the next 30 years, it estimates the number of acres burned will balloon from about 4 million acres per year to 9 million, and the number of structures destroyed is on track to double to 34,000 annually. Wildfires are also the predominant threat for 4.4 million of the 39 million properties that First Street identified as at risk of insurance upheaval.
“You don’t want someone to live in a place that always burns. They don’t belong there,” he said. “We’re subsidizing people to live in harm’s way.”
First Street hopes that highlighting the climate insurance bubble allows people to make better informed decisions. For homeowners, that may mean taking precautions against, say, wildfires, by replacing their roof or clearing flammable material from around their house. Policymakers, he said, could use the information to help at-risk communities adapt to or mitigate their risk. In either case, Porter said, reducing threats could help keep insurance rates from spiking.
Ultimately, though, Russell says moving people out of disaster-prone areas will likely be necessary.
“Large numbers of people will need to be relocated away from areas that will be uninsurable.” he said. “There is a reckoning on the horizon and it’s not pretty.”
Photo: Wildfire in Santa Clarita, California in October 2007. Photo by Jeff Turner via Wikimedia Commons
Ecology of Spirit
Species extinction. Chemical pollution. Global warming. The death of the oceans.
Our planet is in crisis. And while the wealthy and governments pour trillions into technological so-called “solutions,” things are spiraling out of control.
What if solving the ecological crisis depended on decolonizing our minds and altering our very cosmology?
What if a biocentric worldview — one which places the natural forces shaping our world at the center of our morality — could help us access the courage we’ll need to stop the destruction?
On October 21st, join us for special 3-hour live streaming event: Ecology of Spirit: Biocentrism, Animism, and the Environmental Crisis. Access the event on https://www.facebook.com/events/
This event will explore issues of biocentrism with a focus on direct relationship to the spirit world and on organized political resistance to the destruction of the planet. There will be opportunities to ask questions and participate in dialogue.
The mainstream environmental movement is funded mainly by foundations which often do not support foundational or revolutionary change. Radical organizations like Deep Green Resistance therefore rely on individual donors to support our activism around the world, which is why “Ecology of Spirit” is also a fundraiser.
We’re raising funds to support global community organizing, fund mutual aid and direct action campaigns, and sustain our core outreach and organizational work.
Editor’s Note: We bring to you a combination of two posts. The first is about a mass arrest of activists during climate protests on September 18. The protests were part of a global coordinated climate action. The second is about the new permits issued in the US for offshore oil drilling. For a president who ran his election on not allowing any more drillings, the move is a shift from his electoral promises. Though reflecting a lack of integrity, it still does not come as a surprise. Both the Democratic and Republican parties have shown, time and again, to favor corporations over nature, people, justice and freedom. This crackdown on protestors and permission for new drilling projects are just a reflection of that. As much as we oppose fossil fuels and oil drilling, DGR does not believe a renewable transition to be a solution to it. And calling a climate emergency to pursue that purpose would be folly.
114 Climate Defenders Arrested While Blocking Entry to NY Federal Reserve
A day after tens of thousands of climate activists marched through Manhattan’s Upper East Side demanding an end to oil, gas, and coal production, thousands more demonstrators hit the streets of Lower Manhattan Monday, where more than 100 people were arrested while surrounding the Federal Reserve Bank of New York to protest fossil fuel financing.
Protesters chanted slogans like “No oil, no gas, fossil fuels can kiss my ass” and “We need clean air, not another billionaire” as they marched from Zuccotti Park—ground zero of the 2011 Occupy Wall Street movement—to pre-selected sites in the Financial District. Witnesses said many of the activists attempted to reach the New York Stock Exchange but were blocked by police.
“We’re here to wake up the regulators who are asleep at the wheel as they continue to let Wall Street lead us into ANOTHER financial crash with their fossil fuel financing,” the Stop the Money Pipeline coalition explained on social media.
Protests against 300-mile-long oil pipeline through the Appalachians
Local and national media reported New York Police Department (NYPD) officers arrested 114 protesters and charged them with civil disobedience Monday after they blocked entrances to the Fed building. Most of those arrested were expected to be booked and released.
“I’m being arrested for exercising my First Amendment right to protest because Joe Manchin is putting a 300-mile-long pipeline through my home state of West Virginia and President [Joe] Biden allowed him to do it for nothing in return,” explained Climate Defiance organizer Rylee Haught on social media, referring to the right-wing Democratic senator and the Mountain Valley Pipeline.
As she was led away by an NYPD officer, a tearful Haught said Biden “sold us out.”
“He promised to end drilling on federal lands, and he’s selling out Appalachia’s future for profit,” she added.
The demand is: declare a climate emergency
Responding to the “block-long” line of arrestees, Climate Defiance asked: “Why are we getting handcuffed while people who literally torch the planet get celebrated for their ‘civility’ and their ‘moderation’?”
Alicé Nascimento of New York Communities for Change told WABC that the protests—which are part of Climate Week and are timed to coincide with this week’s United Nations Climate Ambition Summit—are “our last resort.”
“We’re bringing the crisis to their doorstep and this is what it looks like,” said Nascimento.
As they have at similar demonstrations, protesters called on Biden to stop approving new fossil fuel projects and declare a climate emergency. Some had a message for the president and his administration.
“We hold the power of the people, the power you need to win this election,” 17-year-old Brooklynite Emma Buretta of the youth-led protest group Fridays for Future told WABC. “If you want to win in 2024, if you do not want the blood of my generation to be on your hands, end fossil fuels.”
‘Gross Denial of Reality’: Biden Infuriates With Approval of More Offshore Drilling
Rejecting the corporate media’s narrative that U.S. President Joe Biden’s newly-released offshore drilling plan includes the “fewest-ever” drilling leases, dozens of climate action and marine conservation groups on Friday said the president had “missed an easy opportunity to do the right thing” and follow through on his campaign promise to end all lease sales for oil and gas extraction in the nation’s waters.
The U.S. Interior Department announced Friday its five-year plan for the National Outer Continental Shelf Oil and Gas Leasing Program, including three new areas in the Gulf of Mexico where fossil fuel companies will be permitted to drill.
Government won’t reach it’s climate goals whith new drilling leases
The industries have already bought 9,000 drilling leases – to which the new leases will be added. This is “incompatible with reaching President Biden’s goal of cutting emissions by 50-52% by 2030,” said the Protect All Our Coasts Coalition, citing the findings of Biden’s own Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and its Office of Atmospheric Protection earlier this year.
Texan citizens suffer under pollution in the Gulf region
While the final plan scales back from the eleven sales that were originally proposed, said the coalition, “the plan is a step backwards from the climate goals the administration has set and for environmental justice communities across the Gulf South, who are already experiencing the disproportionate impact of fossil fuel extraction across the region.”
The coalition includes the Port Arthur Community Action Network, which has called attention to the risks posed to public health in the Gulf region by continued fossil fuel extraction.
“Folks in Port Arthur, Texas die daily from cancer, respiratory, heart, and kidney disease from the very pollution that would come from more leases and drilling,” said John Beard, the founder, president, and executive director of the group. “If Biden is to truly be the environmental president, he should stop any further leasing and all forms of the petrochemical build-out, call for a climate emergency, and jumpstart the transition to clean green, renewable energy, and lift the toxic pollution from overburdened communities.”
Our fossil fuel-lifestyle incompatible with the survival of the earth
Kendall Dix, national policy director of Taproot Earth, dismissed political think tanks that applauded the “historically few lease sales” on Friday.
“The earth does not recognize political ‘victories,'” said Dix, pointing to an intrusion of saltwater in South Louisiana’s drinking water in recent weeks, which has been exacerbated by the fossil fuel-driven climate crisis.
“As the head of the United Nations [António Guterres] has said, continued fossils fuel development is incompatible with human survival,” he added. “We need to transition to justly sourced renewable energy that’s democratically managed and accountable to frontline communities as quickly as possible.”
Biden’s drilling plans break his campaign promises
Along with groups in the Gulf region, national organizations on Friday condemned a plan that they said blatantly ignores the repeated warnings of international energy experts and the world’s top climate scientists who say no new fossil fuel expansion is compatible with a pathway to limiting planetary heating to 1.5°C.
“Sacrificing millions of acres in the Gulf of Mexico for oil and gas extraction when scientists are clear that we must end fossil fuel expansion immediately is a gross denial of reality by Joe Biden in the face of climate catastrophe,” said Collin Rees, United States program manager at Oil Change International. “Doubling down on oil drilling is a direct violation of President Biden’s prior commitments and continues a concerning trend.”
Rees noted that 75,000 people marched in New York City last week to demand that Biden declare a climate emergency and end support for any new fossil fuel extraction projects.
Protesters fear the destruction of land based communities and wildlife
“End Fossil Fuels is pretty clear,” said Rees, referring to campaigners’ rallying cry. “Not ‘hold slightly fewer lease sales,’ not ‘talk about climate action’—End. Fossil. Fuels.”
Despite Biden’s campaign promises, Rees noted, the U.S. is currently “on track to expand fossil fuel production more than any other country by 2050.”
“I feel disgusted and incredibly let down by Biden’s offshore oil drilling plan. It piles more harm on already-struggling ecosystems, endangered species and the global climate,” said Brady Bradshaw, senior oceans campaigner at the Center for Biological Diversity, another member of the Protect All Our Coasts Coalition. “We need Biden to commit to a fossil fuel phaseout, but actions like this condemn us to oil spills, climate disasters, and decades of toxic harm to communities and wildlife.”
The lease sales, said Sarah Winter Whelan of the Healthy Ocean Coalition, also represent a missed opportunity by the administration to treat the world’s oceans “as a climate solution, not a source for further climate disaster.”
Under the Inflation Reduction Act, negotiated by the White House last year, the government is required to offer at least 60 million acres of offshore gas and oil drilling leases before developing new wind power projects of similar scope.
“A single new lease sale for offshore oil and gas exploration is one too many,” said Whelan. “Communities around the country are already dealing with exacerbating impacts from climate disruption caused by our reliance on fossil fuels. Any increase in our dependence on fossil fuels just bakes in greater impacts to humanity.”
Gulf communities, added Beard, “refuse to be sacrificed” for fossil fuel profits.
Editor’s Note: In 2015, a study developed nine indicators for planetary health, and corresponding nine threshold or boundaries. According to a recent study based on the same framework, six of the nine boundaries have already been crossed, while the other three are in the process of being crossed. This should come as a surprise to very few. The interesting fact about this new framework is that climate change is only one of the nine indicators in the new model, which is unlike in the mainstream environmental movement belief. This framework gives a much more holistic picture of the current ecological crisis than is common among the wider culture.
Scientists behind a new study on the crossing of the Earth’s “planetary boundaries” on Wednesday likened the planet to a sick patient, warning that six out of nine barriers that ensure the Earth is a “safe operating space for humanity” have now been breached.
Researchers at the University of Copenhagen, the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK), and other international institutions analyzed 2,000 studies to update a planetary boundary framework developed in 2009 by the Stockholm Resilience Center, completing the first “complete check-up of all nine processes and systems that determine the stability and resilience of the planet.”
The boundaries for climate change and land use have been broken for decades as extractive industries have razed forests and planet-heating fossil fuel emissions have significantly increased since preindustrial times.
The “novel entities” boundary—pertaining to the accumulation of synthetic pollution from substances such as microplastics, pesticides, and nuclear waste—was quantified for the first time in the study, which was published in Science Advances.
Freshwater change—both “green” freshwater in soil and vegetation and “blue” freshwater in bodies of water—has also been breached, along with biogeochemical flows, or the flow of nitrogen and phosphorus into the environment, which can create ocean dead zones and algal blooms.
“We don’t know how long we can keep breaching these key boundaries before combined pressures lead to irreversible change and harm.”
The study marked the first time researchers quantified a control variable for the “biosphere integrity” boundary, which they found was breached long before the framework was introduced—in the late 19th century as the Industrial Revolution and other factors accelerated the destruction of the natural world.
Co-author Wolfgang Lucht called biosphere integrity “the second pillar of stability for our planet” next to climate change, and warned the pillar is being destabilized by humans “taking out too much biomass, destroying too much habitat, deforesting too much land. Our research shows that mitigating global warming and saving a functional biosphere for the future should go hand in hand.”
“This update on planetary boundaries clearly depicts a patient that is unwell, as pressure on the planet increases and vital boundaries are being transgressed,” said Johan Rockström, director of PIK. “We don’t know how long we can keep breaching these key boundaries before combined pressures lead to irreversible change and harm.”
The boundaries for atmospheric aerosol loading, or air pollution, and ocean acidification, are both close to being crossed, while the atmospheric ozone boundary is currently well below the “zone of increasing risk,” due to global initiatives within the Montreal Protocol, adopted in 1987.
The fact that the boundary for ozone depletion was once “headed for increasing regional transgressions” and slowly recovered, said co-author Katherine Richardson of the University of Copenhagen, shows that it is possible to bring the planet back from the boundaries that it’s close to crossing or that have been breached to a lesser degree, such as freshwater change.
“We can think of Earth as a human body, and the planetary boundaries as blood pressure,” said Richardson. “Over 120/80 does not indicate a certain heart attack but it does raise the risk and, therefore, we work to reduce blood pressure.”
The boundaries that have reached the highest risk level are biosphere integrity, climate change, novel entities, and biogeochemical flows.
The update to the framework “may serve as a renewed wake-up call to humankind that Earth is in danger of leaving its Holocene-like state,” reads the study, referring to relatively stable state the planet was in between the end of the last ice age—10,000 years ago—until the start of the Industrial Revolution.
The study, said global grassroots climate action campaign Extinction Rebellion, offered the latest evidence that policymakers must do everything in their power to “just stop oil”—ending approval for fossil fuel projects, subsidies for oil and gas companies, and policies that slow down a transition to renewable energy.
“We are not separate from the Earth,” said the group. “We ignore these warnings at our peril.”
Event alert: Planet Local Summit
Local futures is organizing its biggest and boldest event ever – the Planet Local Summit – which is set to begin this Friday! We are excited and honoured to welcome participants from 50 countries (and counting) to our livestream, along with our in-person audience in Bristol, UK.
If you haven’t already registered, there’s still time to book your attendance online and join like-minded localization community representatives from every corner of the earth.
In Bristol, the excitement is building, with a huge mural celebrating the Planet Local Summit unveiled in the city last week. Created by iconic local artists Silent Hobo and Inkie, the colorful 600 ft mural (pictured above) has been unveiled at the Tobacco Factory – Bristol’s biggest and most famous street art wall.
Local groups have also organized 10 pre-summit events to highlight the best of Bristol, including farm open days, community dialogues, and food tours.
Editor’s Note; It is important to understand the difference between a reform and a revolution in any political movement. A reform aims to tweak some aspects of the system to make it more equitable, fair and just. A revolution, on the other hand, changes the overall structure of the system. DGR, as a radical environmental and a radical feminist organization, believes that reforms are not enough in a system that is inherently rooted in oppression and injustice. We believe that a revolution is necessary to remove that deep rooted structural violence. However, we also understand that a revolution requires political organizing at a much larger scale. While we are working on building that political movement, the natural world is being destroyed. Till then, something needs to be done to protect the pieces of natural world that we have left, no matter how small. That is where reforms contribute. We understand the perseverance and diligence it takes to bring about any reform and appreciate those who are working on it. Below is the story of such a movement. Though originally designed to be much more protective of nature and indigenous people, the mining laws in Mexico were modified to be much less than that by the time they were passed. The US is still ruled by the Mining Law of 1872.
Reforms to Mexico’s mining law limit harmful practices by extractive industries and improve protections for the environment and Indigenous peoples. But they’re also a far cry from the change activists had been hoping for.
Under the new reform, Indigenous communities will receive 5% of a mining operation’s profits. The maximum lifespan of mining concessions is also reduced from 100 years to 80.
Concessions will no longer be granted in areas with water shortages or in protected areas. Currently, there are 1,671 mining concessions in 70 protected areas in Mexico, spreading across 1.5 million hectares (3.7 million acres) of preserved land.
MEXICO CITY — A major reform approved by congress last week is supposed to limit harmful practices by the mining industry and improve protections for the environment and Indigenous peoples. But some parts of the reform faced strong resistance from pro-business interests, resulting in a watered-down version that some environmentalists said doesn’t go far enough.
The reform, originally introduced by President Andrés Manuel López Obrador at the end of March, was designed to make it harder for private companies to obtain mining concessions without accounting for impacts on surrounding ecosystems and local communities.
It establishes free and prior consent as a requirement for mining concessions, meaning that companies must meet with residents to discuss the impacts of their projects before receiving permits. It also requires companies to restore the land once a mine closes.
But some of the most impactful components of the proposal were negotiated down. Payment to Indigenous communities living near mining operations was originally supposed to be 10% of mining profits but lawmakers reduced it to 5%.
There was also debate about the length of mining concessions, which the previous version of the law set at up to 100 years. Although the original reform proposal wanted to limit it to just 30 years, effectively preventing the companies from shaping entire regions for the long term, lawmakers ultimately settled on 80 years.
“These topics were suppressed or modified without justification and under pressure from the business interests that are responsible for social and environmental devastation,” Colectiva Cambiémosla Ya and Alliance for Free Determination and Autonomy, two mining activist groups, said in a statement ahead of the senate vote.
Deputy Ignacio Mier Velazco, from the state of Puebla — who explained that the reforms were changed to avoid risking investment and economic development — said he was confident the version that was passed would still improve oversight of the industry. Many activists in the region agreed, telling Mongabay the reforms were a victory that allowed for some positive change and a way forward for the continued fight against mining.
Mexico’s mining industry has experienced rapid growth since 1992, when the original mining law was passed. The country has become a top exporter of silver, zinc and other important minerals. In the 1980s, less than 1% of Mexican territory was under a mining concession. Now, it’s a little more than 8%, according to the president’s reform proposal.
On the Philippines, two young women – Jonila Castro (21) and Jhed Tamano (22) – were abducted on Saturday night (September 2). Both are organizing against the Manila Bay Reclamation Project. Jonila Castro is a dedicated volunteer with AKAP Ka Manila Bay, Jhed Tamano is a committed program coordinator for the Community and Church Program for Manila Bay under the Ecumenical Bishops Forum. They were on their way to conduct important consultations with coastal communities when they were snatched by armed individuals in Barangay Lati, Orion, Bataan.
When an action successfully challenges the status quo, those in power will do anything to stop them. Abducting and torturing activists not only affects them, but also scares others who want to voice their opinions against the destruction and oppression. Philippines has been one of the most dangerous countries in the world for environmental defenders. The last president, Rodrigo Duterte, was a vocal and staunch believer in stopping anyone who would challenge his actions. He was succeeded by Bongbong Marcos since 2022. However, the situation for environmental defenders have not yet improved. It has been over six days since the abduction and no news have yet surfaced about the situation of the two women. The failure of the law enforcement agencies to protect and rescue them breeds impunity among the perpetrators, which increases the likelihood of such events to take place in the future.
DGR Asia Pacific has been actively involved in the anti-reclamation actions. The following are some updates on the actions taken.
Consultation & Info-sharing at Las Pinas
August 26, 2023
This consultation and information sharing session was arranged and organised by Kamusta Ka, a senior citizen collective of Mutual Aiders in coordination with the Fisherfolk organizations called Tulungan ng Mangingisda ng Bernabe and Parish Church of Bernabe with the help coming from Local Autonomous and Mutual Aid Network (LAMAN) and Alyansa Tigil Mina.
Our partner community invited some resource speakers who can share information that tackles these issues of concern related to fisheries, rights & policy, Reclamation Project and Seabed Quarry. More than 80 people participated and have engaged with the discussion concerning their situation about the encroaching Reclamation Project in their coastal communities of Las Pinas.
From the people’s direct participation, they have come up with the following demand and suggestions:
Document all of the destructive incidents on their livelihoods made by the Reclamation Project in Manila Bay
Make a study about the negative impact of the Reclamation Project in Manila Bay
Compensate those already affected by the Reclamation Project in Manila Bay
Create a resolution made by the Fisherfolk organizations demanding to Stop Reclamation Project in Manila Bay
Arrange a dialogue with the City Agriculture Office/ Municipal Council/ Local Government Unit/ Committee on Environment
Focus Group Discussion
September 5, 2023
A focus group discussion and consultation with Fisherfolks Organization of Cavite City was organized. These fisherfolks are the people who have directly been affected by Seabed Quarrying and Reclamation Projects. According to them, the number of catch began to decrease immediately after the destructive activities started on their municipal water. The seabed quarrying has destroyed the reefs. Their fishing equipment, like the fishing nets have also been ruined by the boats operating on their fishing ground.
Despite the announcement by the Philippine President that all reclamation projects were suspended, the fisherfolks can see that the operation in their area is still ongoing. They want to fully stop this destructive activity that directly devastates the environment, the marine ecosystem of Manila Bay, and their livelihood.
This activity was organized by KALASAG, a local alliance in the province of Cavite where DGR Asia Pacific was only part of it.