- Mongabay’s videos from January show the effects agriculture and food farms have on local populations in Liberia, India and Chile alike. Watch also how climate change is impacting the food systems, and thus farmers and the Indigenous, in India and Brazilian Amazon.
- Mongabay spoke with the newly elected Indigenous representatives in Brazil’s Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva government about how the new developments mark a “new era” for Indigenous populations and the environment.
- Get a peek into the various segments of the environment across the globe. Add these videos to your watchlist for the month and watch them for free on YouTube.
How are industrial agriculture and farms impacting local communities in different parts of the world? Mongabay’s features writer Ashoka Mukpo interviewed community members who work in Liberia’s rubber plantations and found that the plantations and owners are polluting their water, desecrating sacred areas where they worshipped in the forest, and sexually abusing female workers. In southern Chile, the salmon industry is expanding through the fjords of the Indigenous Kawésqar National Reserve, harming the fragile ecosystem of their ancestral territory.
Climate change is another challenge that communities dependant on agriculture are facing increasingly. Unseasonal or high intensity rainfall has damaged crops across India over the past few years. A large number of landless farmers have suffered the most. For the Xingu Indigenous Territory in Brazilian Amazon, the climate crisis has left the forests drier and more flammable.
As the new government under President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva takes shape in Brazil, the newly elected Indigenous representatives, Sonia Guajajara, Joênia Wapichana and Célia Xakriabá share their hopes and plans to bring more social and environmental justice across the country.
Mongabay’s YouTube series Mongabay Explains chose to explore the different fishing methods. Watch the new episode to learn how industrial fishing is different from artisanal fishing.
Add these videos to your watchlist for the month and watch them for free on Mongabay’s YouTube channel.
Exclusive: Women allege sexual exploitation on a Liberian rubber plantation
In 2019, 22 communities in a remote part of Liberia filed a complaint against the Salala Rubber Corporation, a subsidiary of the French-Belgian agribusiness giant Socfin, with the International Finance Corporation. In the complaint, they said that Salala had used a $10 million dollar loan from the IFC to take their traditional land and turn it into a rubber plantation, in the process polluting their water, desecrating sacred areas where they worshipped in the forest, and sexually abusing female workers. In May 2022, Mongabay features writer Ashoka Mukpo visited Liberia to talk to people living in those communities about their complaint, and what they said was a long, arduous wait for justice.
Read more: At a rubber plantation in Liberia, history repeats in a fight over land
A group’s effort to bring equitable water for farmers in Maharashtra, India
Atpadi, a drought-prone village in Maharashtra, is on journey toward water sufficiency. The availability of water has allowed farmers to grow non-seasonal crops in the region. Farmers are able to plant orchards of pomegranates, bananas and grapes. The success was achieved by a group of farmers, scientist and activist through constant protest to implement the model of equitable water distribution. Once a drought prone region today it boasts of being the first village to have complete piped water supply for all its residents.
Read more: How an equitable model of irrigation is changing this drought-prone Maharashtra region
Karewas: Fertile, ancient soils of Kashmir crumble under infrastructure
Kashmir was home to a huge freshwater lake in the past. But the ancient lake receded and gave way to another relic that hides in plain sight today. Karewas emerged 4 million years ago when Kashmir’s large lake transformed into Kashmir valley. The soft soils of karewas are key to the region’s agricultural prowess in saffron and almonds. Rich in fossils, karewas also hold clues to studying past environments.
Read more: Nourishing soils of Kashmir’s karewas crumble under infrastructure
‘We lost the biggest ally’: Nelly Marubo on her friend Bruno Pereira’s legacy
Mongabay interviewed Nelly Marubo, friend and colleague of Pereira, giving us a sense of who Pereira was from an Indigenous point of view and how he was perceived by the Indigenous people in the area where he was killed. Nelly says Pereira first learned from the Marubo and other Indigenous groups how they were patrolling their Indigenous territories; then he introduced modern technologies to help them in their work.
Read more: ‘We lost the biggest ally’: Nelly Marubo on her friend Bruno Pereira’s legacy
No compensation for landless farmers losing crops in India
Changing climatic conditions causes unseasonal or high intensity rainfall which is damaging crops across India over the past few years. Farmers are entitled to get some compensation for the crop lost to climatic conditions. However landless farmers and tenant farmers working on leased land do not qualify for compensation from the government as only those who own the land get compensated for crop loss. This throws into jeopardy a large number of landless farmers who play a significant role in agriculture and food security within the country.
Read more: Landless, tenant farmers miss out on compensation for crop loss by weather events
CONSERVATION AND THE INDIGENOUS
Indigenous Kawésqar take on salmon farms in Chile’s southernmost fjords
The town of Puerto Natales, in the Magallanes and Antártica Chilena region of southern Chile, has become the operational base for the salmon industry expanding through the fjords of Kawésqar National Reserve. The Kawésqar are the last descendants of a population of nomadic hunter-gatherers and fishermen who have inhabited this territory for around 6,000 years. In recent years, Kawésqar communities have learned new forms of resistance to counter the proliferation of the salmon industry, which is harming the fragile ecosystem of their ancestral territory.
Read more: Indigenous Kawésqar take on salmon farms in Chile’s southernmost fjords
Climate crisis puts Indigenous Amazonians’ Quarup funeral ritual at risk
The inhabitants of the Xingu Indigenous Territory have had to adapt their Quarup funeral ceremony to avoid fires and guarantee enough food for all visitors. The climate crisis has left the forests drier and more flammable: over the past 20 years, 1,890 square kilometers (730 square miles) of protected forest in the Xingu have been lost to fires. Deforestation because of soy and corn monocultures in neighboring regions has muddied rivers and caused wild pigs to invade traditional vegetable gardens.
Read more: Climate crisis puts Indigenous Amazonians’ Quarup funeral ritual at risk
What is the difference between industrial and artisanal fishing?
This new episode of “Mongabay Explains” looks industrial and artisanal fishing. Commercial fishing comes in many shapes and sizes but can be broadly categorized as industrial or artisanal. Mongabay looks at the difference between the two and their impacts on the environment.
INDIGENOUS LEADERS AND POLITICS
Sonia Guajajara: From jail threats to the Ministry of Indigenous Peoples
In this video interview a week before her official inauguration, Sonia Guajajara tells Mongabay what the four years of former President Jair Bolsonaro’s government meant for Native peoples, and she describes the turnaround preceding the creation of a Ministry of Indigenous Peoples — an unprecedented act in Brazil’s history — with a behind-the-scenes account of her appointment.
Read more: Sonia Guajajara: Turnaround from jail threats to Minister of Indigenous Peoples
‘Funai is ours’: Brazil’s Indigenous affairs agency is reclaimed under Lula
Joênia Wapichana, who as the first Indigenous woman ever elected to Brazil’s Congress played a central role in thwarting Bolsonaro’s bid to undermine Funai, has been appointed the president of the institution. Some 300 people reunited at the headquarters of Brazil’s Indigenous affairs agency, Funai, in Brasília to mark a “new era” for the institution and its “reopening” under the government of President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva.
Read more: ‘Funai is ours’: Brazil’s Indigenous affairs agency is reclaimed under Lula
For Indigenous Brazilians, capital attack was ‘scenario of war’ akin to deforestation
The morning after protesters attacked government buildings in Brazil’s capital, Mongabay spoke with Indigenous Congresswoman Célia Xakriabá, who compared the act of vandalism to forest destruction: “This is this scenario of war when you deforest.” Célia Xakriabá had just returned from seeing the damage to the National Congress building: “When they [the rioters] were there also in the Green Room, it made me remember that it is this scenario of war when the repossession takes place in the [Indigenous] territory.”
Banner image: Sheep grazing in Kashmir’s karewas. Photo by Shaz Syed for Mongabay.