Stories from the Grassroots: The Greengrants Blog

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    How to Challenge Large-Scale Mining in Latin America

    Apr 28, 2016 | No Comments

    Maxima Acuna

    In true David vs. Goliath style, Máxima Acuña, a 47 year-old Peruvian subsistence farmer and mother of four, stood up to Newmont Mining Corporation, owner of some of the world’s largest and most lucrative gold mines.  Máxima refused to sell the 60-acre plot of land to Newmont’s local venture Yanacocha. Despite being sued by the mining company and having her house destroyed, she effectively stalled development on the proposed Conga mine,  protecting a nearby lake, Laguna Azul, from becoming a waste storage pit, and protecting five watersheds and a high altitude biologically diverse wetland. For her actions and resilience, Máxima is one of six recipients of this year’s Goldman Environmental Prize.

    In light of this incredible show of resistance in Peru, we’d like to highlight a handful of ways Global Greengrants’ grantees are challenging the development of large-scale mining taking place throughout Latin America.

    Protecting Forests and People in Bolivia

    Bolivia is home to the highest percentage of indigenous peoples in Latin America. As the Bolivian government has increased the sponsorship of large-scale mining and other development projects, pristine forests and the livelihoods of rural indigenous communities are threatened by the construction of miles and miles of road development. In 2011 Bolivian President Evo Morales approved the construction of a 182-mile highway running through the Isiboro Secure National Park and Indigenous Territory, known as the TIPNIS. Thousands of people took to the streets and marched 375 miles from deep in the Amazon to the capital of La Paz, protesting the road, which would damage this highly biodiverse indigenous territory. The marched successfully changed public opinion about the road, and President Morales put a hold on the project. Unfortunately in June 2015, construction of the TIPNIS highways resumed. Read the full story here.


    Taking a Stand in La Puya, Guatemala

    In 2011, Nevada-based Kappes Cassiday & Associates sought a permit to build an open-pit gold mine called El Tambor near La Puya, Guatemala. Villagers opposed the mine, knowing that it would contaminate their water sources and destroy their agriculture. In 2012, local resident Estela Reyes blocked the road with her car, intending to block equipment from reaching the mine. Other members of the community joined her. Together, they maintained the blockade and halted construction on the mine until May 2014, when the National Police tear gassed the protestors and forcibly removed them from the street, allowing the mine to continue. Subsequently, the community won a court order suspending construction of the mine. The company ignored the order, and locals still maintain a symbolic presence at the blockade while they wait for the ruling to be enforced. Read more here.


    Protecting Sacred Spaces: Ecuador’s Cordillera del Condor

    In southeast Ecuador, the Shuar people, a legendary tribe of the Amazon never conquered by the Spanish, live in a place of incredible biodiversity known as the Cordillera del Condor. Their homeland, for which they depend on for subsistence farming and fishing, is being threatened by the development of large-scale gold and copper mines. One of which is the Mirador Mine, an open-pit copper mine being built by a Chinese corporation. The Shuar say that they have never been consulted or given consent for the mine projects, a violation of national and international law. Global Greengrants is working with the Shuar to combat these threats and learn more about the risks associated with mining. Read more here.

    Scenes in the Cordillera del Condor, Ecuador

    Today, large-scale mining projects continue to threaten some of the most biologically diverse environments on the planet and the indigenous communities that call those places home. Luckily, these communities are putting up a strong fight, and working together to protect extraordinary places and ways of life.

    Photos from top: Goldman Environmental Prize, Pablo Andres Rivero/ CC BY-NC-ND 2.0, Global GreengrantsBeth Wald

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      Announcing the Grassroots Climate Solutions Fund

      Apr 21, 2016 | No Comments

      Today we are delighted to announce our ground-breaking partnership with International Development Exchange (IDEX), Grassroots International, and Urgent Action Fund for Women’s Human Rights to amplify and strengthen grassroots solutions to our global climate crisis. “Together, our four organizations have… Read more

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        Celebrating the 2016 Goldman Environmental Prizewinners

        Apr 18, 2016 | No Comments

        Congratulations to the 2016 Goldman Environmental Prizewinners for their truly visionary grassroots environmental leadership! We are especially thrilled to acknowledge Edward Loure and Máxima Acuna, members of grassroots groups Global Greengrants has supported in the past. We honor them and… Read more

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          Clean Water, Thanks to Aveda

          Apr 7, 2016 | No Comments

          Did you know that 1 in 3 people around the world lack enough water to meet their daily needs? More than 800 million people rely on an unclean drinking-water source, risking disease with every sip. But grassroots groups are protecting… Read more

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            What Funders Can Do In the Wake of Berta Caceres’ Murder

            Apr 5, 2016 | No Comments

            By Eva Rehse, Director for UK/Europe, Global Greengrants Fund UK Berta Caceres was assassinated on March 3, 2016. Since then, the environmental funding community has asked, what can funders do to support environmental campaigners under threat? Across the world we… Read more

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              #WomenAndClimate Wins the 2016 Wilmer Shields Award for Excellence in Communications

              Mar 31, 2016 | No Comments

              Exciting news! Our #WomenAndClimate Communications Program has been awarded the Council on Foundations’ 2016 Wilmer Shields Rich Award for Excellence in Communications! The program crystallizes the inextricable link between women and climate change, amplifies voices of grassroots change makers, and… Read more

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                Indigenous People Even the SCORE – Baram Dam Halted

                Mar 29, 2016 | No Comments

                This week we learned a mega-dam project planned for the Baram River in Borneo has been abandoned. Through a sustained, peaceful protest of the dam, the indigenous population has protected its land from development and destruction. This stand-off began when… Read more

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                  Justice Comes Slowly for Guatemala’s Maya Achí

                  Mar 24, 2016 | One Comment

                  In 1982, over 400 Maya Achí men, women, and children were murdered for opposing a hydroelectric dam under construction on the Chixoy River. The next year, the completed Chixoy dam flooded more than 30 Maya Achí communities. Read this touching… Read more

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                    3 Water Stories From Around the World

                    Mar 22, 2016 | No Comments

                    By Carley St. Clair Water is a building block of life. With too little, we would not exist. With too much, homes and ecosystems are destroyed. World Water Day gives us a chance to reflect on protecting our most important–and… Read more

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                      Inside the Struggle for Ecuador’s Cordillera del Condor

                      Mar 10, 2016 | No Comments

                      Words and photos by Beth Wald In a little-known corner of southeast Ecuador lies a low range of cloud-cloaked mountains called the Cordillera del Condor. Steep, forested slopes and clean-running rivers support a dizzying array of bird, plant, animal, and… Read more