Tag: ni

From Russia, With Blood: The Impact of Coal Exports to Britain

In my home country of Russia, open-cast coalmining is expanding, leading to growing environmental devastation and countless human rights abuses affecting indigenous peoples. Coal consumption within Russia is dropping, but exports have grown tremendously in recent years, with Britain the second-biggest consumer of Russian coal, after China. A new report, the Cost of Coal produced by my organization, Ecodefense, establishes a direct link between increased extraction and expanded coal exports over the past decade.

Over 60 per cent of Russian coal is extracted in the Kuzbass region of Siberia. Part of it – 15.6 per cent of total exports – is then transported almost 6,000 kilometres to be burned in British power stations. The human and environmental costs of this coal are high.

Life in an Indian Slum

In 1994, my husband Stan and I were invited to the UK by Hilary Blume, founder of the Charities Advisory Trust and Michael Norton, founder, the Directory for Social Change, to record our observations on UK poverty, as people working with the disadvantaged in India. The report was called ‘Across the Geographical Divide.’

Our first visit to Easterhouse near Glasgow, considered one of the poorest and largest ‘slums’ of Europe, was a shock. The houses we visited seemed like middleclass Indian homes with hot and cold running water. Bathrooms with bathtubs and wash basins, were found only in elite Indian homes in 94. I didn’t have hot and cold water in my bathroom at home. Hot water involved turning on an electric geyser or using an immersion heater plunged into a metal bucket at bath time. The Easterhouse people, mostly unemployed at the time we visited, had a piped gas cooker and refrigerators. In other words, the kitchens of the wealthy in India. We redefined our notions of poverty finding similarities between the poor in our adivasi villages and the poor in Easterhouse quite soon.

Ethiopia drought: on the edge of a crisis

Addis Ababa, Ethiopia (NI) – ‘Lower quality means less profit,’ Roba Adola tells me, flicking through a thin wad of well-thumbed notes and gesturing at the arid Ethiopian savannah around us. ‘Foot and mouth disease has badly affected our livestock, driving…

One woman’s victory against a mining giant in Peru

Máxima Acuña, a farmer from Peru’s northern highlands, recently won the 2016 Goldman Environmental Prize for her resistance against the mining consortium Yanacocha in Cajamarca, Peru.

At the prize acceptance ceremony in San Francisco on 18 April, in lieu of a speech Máxima sang her story: ‘Because I defend my lakes, they want to take my life.’

Yanacocha is the largest gold mine in Latin America and fourth largest in the world, operating since 1993. The mine is now owned by the US Newmont Mining Corporation, a Peruvian mining company, and the World Bank’s International Finance Corporation.