June 24, 2009

Indians fight for Earth's future

Johann Hari:  A fight for the Amazon that should inspire the world

The uprising In the Amazon is more urgent than Iran's--it will determine the future of the planet[T]he indigenous peoples acted in their own self-defence, and ours. Using their own bodies and weapons made from wood, they blockaded the rivers and roads to stop the oil companies getting anything in or out. They captured two valves of Peru's sole pipeline between the country's gas field and the coast, which could have led to fuel-rationing. Their leaders issued a statement explaining: "We will fight together with our parents and children to take care of the forest, to save the life of the equator and the entire world."

Human beings need to make far more decisions like this: to leave fossil fuels in the ground, and to leave rainforests standing. In microcosm, this rumble in the jungle is the fight we all face now. Will we allow a small number of rich people to make a short-term profit from seizing and burning resources, at the expense of our collective ability to survive?

There is something thrilling about the fight in the Amazon, yet also something shaming. These people had nothing, but they stood up to the oil companies. We have everything, yet too many of us sit limp and passive, filling up our tanks with stolen oil without a thought for tomorrow. The people of the Amazon have shown they are up for the fight to save our ecosystem. Are we?
Comment:  For more on Peru, see Peru Conflict = Colonization, The Amazon Tiananmen, and "Sedition" and "Savages" in Peru. For more on climate change, see Indians Know Climate Change, Alaskan Natives Urge Action, and Global Warming vs. Indigenous Rights.

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