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sacred Forest near edge of Delhi’s high rises protected by local people

Gurugramwale: Discover tranquility amid the bustle in Mangar Bani

A rocky past of the region before urbanisation, the Mangar Bani is considered a sacred grove of the city.


Threatened always by development but protected as a green lung and sacred site —


Failing the Parks in Panama– Just Conservation post excerpt

Atop the mountain, a modest log ranger station is manned by one of 175 park rangers in Panama “trained at handling conflicts with intruders to the park,” according to the World Bank’s 2005 implementation report (No: 34757). This loan is one of several to consolidate Panama’s protected areas as connecting nodes in the Mesoamerican Biological Corridor, an unbroken string of protected areas from Mexico to Colombia. This project is funded and implemented by the World Bank’s Global Environmental Facility, along with its partners in conservation.Amidst beetles preserved in glass jars and protected area maps on the walls, visitors at the ranger station are first required to sign their names into a log before being led along a hike into the reserve’s only accessible area—a 700-meter hiking trail that circles back to the lodge. Around the perimeters of the reserve, some World Bank-funded “alternative livelihood” microprojects can be found scattered about—honeybee farms without honeybees, ecotourism initiatives without any tourists, eco or otherwise, or any place for them to stay or eat, for that matter. The park ranger explains that this location on the mountain once served as a stronghold of General Noriega’s army, but now is devoid of human occupation, through conservation policy; though he later admits, when pressed, “there is much drilling in the park—oil, gas coal.” He adds, “anyone caught living in the park is visited by armed guards with machine guns and asked to leave. There is no hunting, fishing or slash and burn agriculture [crop rotation farming] allowed.” The ranger reports anyone attempting to sneak back into the park for fuel wood or meat to Panama’s de facto military, The National Police—units funded and armed by US taxpayers to carry out displacement.

‘We are still here’: The fight to be recognized as Indigenous in Uruguay

When Felipe Lobato was growing up, people sometimes called him negrito (darky)and asked him if he was Peruvian, or some other kind of exotic foreigner. He was in his teens when he began to learn the history of Indigenous people who lived, not just in the Andes or other far-off corners of South America, but in Uruguay. Four years ago, as he was trying to put words on his own identity, Mr. Lobato stumbled across Facebook photos posted by people who looked like him and who said they were Charrua – members of Uruguay’s First Nation.

The hitch, for Mr. Lobato, was that the Charrua are extinct. So say the history books, the government, anthropologists and indeed Uruguay’s whole national creation story.

One Year Later: Nepal Earthquake News

Rasuwa suspension

Our hearts are with Nepal’s mountain people today. As a tribute, here’s a link to our photo blog, “One Year After the Nepal Quakes: Resilience and Uncertainty as Remote Mountain Villages Rebuild”. Drs. Jeremy Spoon and Meeta Pradhan highlight the resilience, uncertainty and slow recovery in the Himalayan mountain communities where TMI has worked for decades.

Villagers haul rocks harvested from landslides to rebuild their homes in Gorkha District, Nepal.

Reflections on this past year from
TMI’s Himalayan Program Director, Dr. Meeta S. Pradhan:

Every time I read about (or feel) another aftershock here in Kathmandu, my heart goes out to the mountain communities, which have been hit so hard. One year after the devastating earthquakes, picking up pieces of their shattered lives continues to be punctuated with fear, uncertainty and untold hardships. Yet they are moving on with an incredible strength of character and perseverance. And they continue to open up their hearts and share their temporary shelters with us every time when we visit their villages.

I feel a deep sense of pain and frustration with the pace at which the recovery and rebuilding is moving.  One year after the devastation, lives and livelihoods are still disrupted for most of the people in the remote mountain communities. “Building back better” has never seemed such a far-fetched dream as it is right now. Yet it is amazing to see the communities relying on their traditions of self-help and labour exchange to clear the rubble and rebuild homes, even as they wonder if they will ever see the government grant for rebuilding their homes. Mountain people are facing yet another monsoon season spent under risky, rickety, temporary shelters. The continuing fear of further tremors and potential damages by the upcoming monsoon rains is very real and palpable – they are worried about how lives, livestock, agricultural land, schools, health clinics, roads and water sources will survive another onslaught.

I am at a loss for words to describe the tenacity of many of the women I have met in different villages after the earthquake. The physical hardship of their lives has increased many fold; protecting their families is top priority; they are worried and exhausted but they need to carry on. The power of these women everywhere as they continue to pull their families together is incredible–and inspiring.

One year after the natural disaster that hit Nepal, it is clear that the “man-made disaster”– inefficiency, apathy, lack of political will and additional hardships due to political conflict–has made a bad situation even worse. But the resilience, hard work and strength of the survivors should be supported by a growing sense of urgency, responsibility and accountability by all who are involved.”

For more info about TMI’s work in hard-hit mountain areas of Nepal during this past year, check out the following photo blogs:

Field Trip to Dhading, Nepal
The People of Haku
Nepal: Relief and Rebuild


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