Elisha Thompson from the group DONET, in Dodoma, received training and equipment in early 2009. He went on to investigate street children and their fight for survival at the bottom of the social chain amid drug and sexual abuse.. The result was a moving film called ‘Dream’. EIA connected Elisha Thompson with Haki Elimu and he was subsequently funded by the organisation to produce two TV spots urging the Government to inject TZS 60 billion into improving education and build 22,000 new homes for teachers. These were shown on TV daily, helping to build public support.Elisha received funds from EIA to document forest destruction by charcoal manufacturers, and has produced several TV spots campaigning on maternal health.Several of his films screened at the Uninhibited Muse Festival in the USA, and he is now mentoring new project participants in field investigations.
PINGOS Forum, in Arusha, received training and equipment from EIA in early 2009 and went on to produce a film highlighteing the government eviction of Maasai tribesmen to protect the operations of an influential Emirati hunting company, the OBC. The film features testimony of the associated brutalities and the burning of homes, revealing how the government is failing its people in favour of lucrative deals.A screeing at the Swedish Embassy prompted the Ambassador to launch a fact-finding mission into the evictions. The film was also shared among delegates at the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights, in Gambia, garnering international support. Maasai communities have in turn been empowered to demonstrate and give testimony in court.In addition, PINGOS received a small grant from EIA to investigate and document the impacts of raw effluence from an oil distillery on local communities. Following a media campaign, the company was pressured to construct a treatment plant. PINGOs is now helping to open a legal case against the distillery.
Maajabu conducted a field investigation in an area in Loliondo, which the central government wanted to gazette as a National Forest Reserve. The government planned to expel Maasai communities in the area, accusing them of illegally logging and destroying the forest. Maajabu’s investigation showed outsiders were responsible for the destruction.In April 2010, Maajabu showed their film ‘Our Beloved Forests’ to the Tanzanian Director of Forests,. He agreed to accompany Maajabu to Loliondo and subsequently declared the area a ‘Village Forest Reserve’ to be managed by the Maasai communities.
TGNP, a gender-based organisation, used visuals and the media to lobby for a female Speaker in Parliament. In 2011, for the first time ever, the ruling party nominated a woman as Parliamentary Speaker.
The project has also led to the creation of a strong national network. Individuals trained by EIA have begun working cooperatively; for example, in response to the proposed construction of the Serengeti Highway, NGOs have come together to produce a campaign film calling for an alternative route less disruptive to wildlife migration. The government recently announced it would support this option instead of the original route.
Must-read op-ed from Graham Readfearn in The Guardian ...
'Doubt over climate science is a product with an industry behind it'
It’s a product that you can find in newspaper columns and TV talk shows and in conversations over drinks, at barbecues, in taxi rides and in political speeches.
You can find this product in bookstores, on sponsored speaking tours, in the letters pages of local newspapers and even at United Nations climate change talks.
This product is doubt - doubt about the causes and impacts of climate change, the impartiality of climate scientists, the world’s temperature records, the height of the oceans and basic atmospheric physics.
There’s doubt too about the “agenda” of policy makers and government environment agencies and a continued attempt to politicise climate science as “leftist”.
There’s also doubt over the role renewable energy might play now and in the future.
Yet where it matters most, in the leading scientific journals in the world, any doubt that burning fossil fuels is causing the planet to heat up is almost nowhere to be seen ...
As I wrote for The Guardian last week, in 1998 a leaked American Petroleum Institute memo detailed how a dozen fossil fuel lobbyists, think tank associates and PR professionals had come together for a mass scale misinformation project on climate science.
The memo claimed that “victory” would be achieved when “uncertainties” (read: doubt) became part of the conventional wisdom among the public.
As detailed in my piece, many of the same individuals continue to work in the climate science doubt production industry while defending fossil fuels.
Image: Pumpjacks at Lost Hills Oil Field, California, by Arne Hückelheim ... See MoreSee Less
17 hours ago ·
Palm Oil Production Fueling South-East Asia’s Haze Events
WASHINGTON (March 4, 2015) – A report from the Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS) links unsustainable palm oil production practices with significant air pollution in Southeast Asia in the form of debilitating haze. The report, “Clearing the Air: Palm Oil, Peat Destruction, and Air Pollution,” outlines how palm oil production practices, including deforestation, landscape fires and draining peatlands, contribute to toxic air pollution and haze, which in turn cause severe health and economic ramifications.
“Now that palm oil is a common ingredient in everything from muffins to moisturizers, the demand for palm oil is increasing. In the scramble to meet demand, some oil palm plantations are using practices that contribute to climate change, endanger human health and weaken the economy,” said Lael Goodman, analyst for the Tropical Forest and Climate Initiative and author of the report. “Ultimately, these unsustainable practices are making a lot of people sick.”
According to the report, fires are often intentionally set to clear vegetation and debris from agricultural fields and peatlands, areas of carbon-rich, decayed vegetation. While cost-effective fires are 30 to 98 percent cheaper than mechanical techniques, even small fires can easily burn out of control and become large-scale landscape fires.
With land at a premium, growers are increasingly cultivating oil palm on peatlands. These swampy soils have high water tables and store significant amounts of carbon. To develop peatlands, the land must be drained, releasing the carbon and contributing the climate change. The dried peat then becomes highly flammable. Fires set on peatland can burn on the surface and underground. Once a sub-surface fire is ignited, the fire can burn horizontally – at times without burning the surface. Due to its flammable nature, peat fires can burn for weeks, months or even years.
Image: Land clearance by fire in East Kalimantan, Indonesia (c) EIA ... See MoreSee Less
21 hours ago ·
Cooperation vital to combating wildlife crime, says UN Assembly President
The President of the United Nations General Assembly called today [March 4] for a coordinated international response to the trafficking of wildlife that took aim at the both the supply and demand side of poaching and the illegal trade in animals.
“We need to strengthen our commitment and enhance cooperation among Member States, the United Nations system, NGOs and civil society to curb wildlife crime,” said Sam Kutesa (Uganda) as the Assembly commemorated World Wildlife Day. “We should do more to promote adequate national legislation, improve intelligence sharing and border controls, strengthen global, regional and national enforcement, improve capabilities to combat poaching and illegal trafficking, among other initiatives.”
Mr. Kutesa underlined the impact that illegal trafficking, pointing to its effects on the resource base of local communities and entire nations, undermining human welfare, legitimate business and government institutions.
“It also compromises efforts towards sustainable development and poverty eradication,” he said ...
Those comments were echoed by Jan Eliasson, the UN Deputy Secretary-General, who also made remarks at the event to commemorate the Day.
“There is growing evidence of the increased involvement in this illicit and insidious trade by organized crime networks and non-State armed groups,” he said. “Illegal wildlife trade has become a mushrooming transnational form of crime, following in the footsteps of other pernicious examples, such as trafficking in human beings, in drugs and in counterfeit items.”
Mr. Eliasson said the issue was a grave economic, social and security challenge and concern, and pointed to the threat it posed to all three pillars of the UN – peace and security, sustainable development and human rights.