Category Archives: What I’m Reading

Carbon stored in Collective Lands

  1. Indigenous Peoples and local communities manage at least 17 percent (293,061 Mt) of the total carbon stored in the forestlands of assessed countries—a global estimate that is 5 times greater than shown in a previous analysis of aboveground tropical forest carbon, equivalent to 33 times the global energy emissions of 2017.
  2. Twenty two percent (217,991 MtC) of the forest carbon found in the 52 tropical and subtropical countries in this analysis is stewarded by communities, and one-third of this (72,079 MtC) is located in areas where Indigenous Peoples and local communities lack formal recognition of their tenure rights—putting them, their lands, and the carbon stored therein at risk.
  3. Soil organic carbon accounts for almost 65 percent (113,218 Mt) and nearly 90 percent (105,606 Mt) of the total forest carbon managed by communities in tropical and non-tropical forest countries, respectively. By protecting their forests and lands, communities are not only maintaining the carbon stored in the trees (above and below ground), but are also in effect protecting vast reservoirs of carbon that would otherwise be released to the atmosphere if the overlying forests were destroyed.
  4. Carbon storage in collective lands is far greater and more extensive than what can be assessed through available data. This assessment remains an underestimate of carbon stored in collective forestlands worldwide. The full extent of forests and other lands held by indigenous and local communities—and particularly those where communities have yet to achieve legal recognition of their rights—is unknown and spatially explicit data concerning these areas remains lacking. Thus, vast stores of carbon within collective lands in carbon-rich countries such as Indonesia and the Democratic Republic of the Congo remain undocumented.

Feeding the world: the Ultimate First-World Conceit


here is an excerpt from a  great blog by Timothy Wise:
Triple Crisis Blog
October 7, 2014

Since the food price spikes of 2007-8, global hands have been wringing over the question, how will we feed the world? Population keeps growing, food-producing resources like land and water become more scarce, climate change introduces a dramatic uncertainty.

The images are downright Malthusian. The urgent recommendation is to produce more food, quickly. It is the theme of this year’s World Food Prize.

The question is fundamentally flawed, as is the Malthusian panic. There is no “we” who feed the world. There are, mostly, hundreds of millions of small-scale farmers. And there is no abstract “world” out there needing to be fed. There are about one billion hungry people, nearly all in developing countries. The majority are some of those same small-scale farmers. The rest are poor because they are unemployed or underemployed.

Increasing the industrial production of agricultural commodities does almost nothing for these people. Oddly enough, it can even make them hungrier.

Who feeds whom?

In practice, “we” all know whom “we” mean when we ask how “we” will feed the world. We mean industrialized societies, with their high-yield industrialized agriculture. But industrialized farms produce only 30% of the food consumed in the world today. Seventy percent is produced by small-scale farmers. And it’s mostly not traded across borders; only 15% of food is traded internationally. Eighty-five percent is consumed by the farming household, traded locally, or sold in domestic markets.

– See more at:

End Immigration Detention

Isn’t it about time that this system of detention was stopped. It is inhuman and violates human rights — if you would like to know more about why it is inhuman, please read the issues briefing listed below this article by Christine Ho.

End Immigration Detention

SfAA Briefing 4 – final
U.S. Immigration Detention: An Inhumane System Violating Human Rights Society for Applied Anthropology –


December 27, 2012


The U.S. immigrant detention system consists of approximately 250 centers, a massive gulag of pri- vately-run prisons sprawled across the United States in remote locations, designed to warehouse unauthorized immigrants between arrest and de- portation. Immigrant detention has tripled over the past decade due to increased use of detention as a method of immigration enforcement (Amnes- ty International 2009). In 2001, approximately 95,000 individuals were detained, compared with 380,000 in 2009 (Kunichoff 2010).

The chief beneficiary of this spectacular growth is the privatized U.S. Prison Industry. In 2011, private prison companies housed nearly half of all immi- gration detainees. Corrections Corporation of America (CCA) is the largest Immigration and Cus- toms Enforcement (ICE) contractor, operating a total of fourteen ICE-contracted facilities with a total of 14,556 beds. The second largest ICE con- tractor GEO Group, Inc. (GEO) operates seven facil- ities with a total of 7,183 beds. In 2011, CCA re- ported annual revenues of $1.73 billion and GEO $1.6 billion (National Immigration Forum 2012).

Although ICE claims that only immigrants with criminal histories have been deported, 58% of immigrants in detention in 2009 had no criminal con- victions (Bacon Immigration Law 2011). During President Obama’s first term, 1.4 million immi- grants have been deported (Preston 2012), more than under eight years of President George W. Bush (Kunichoff 2010). Interior policing and depor- tation of unauthorized immigrants by the federal government has almost quadrupled in the past 5 years (Heyman 2010).

Nepal Earthquake News: Wrong Conversation

Earthquake in Nepal: 5.5 magnitude quake forces residents to rush out of homes; over 15 people injured



From the Republica– courtesy of Andy Manzardo news cull
10 Jul 2015 | 19:25pm
Kristen Zipperer

Wrong conversation
In the weeks that followed the April 25 earthquake, dozens of articles made light of the fact that natural disasters, including earthquakes, are usually worse for women. While generally true, this conversation does not go far enough and must be better nuanced: Different women experience disaster differently according to a variety of factors, including geography, age, class, caste, ethnicity, marital status, and position within the household and community.

In framing this disaster rhetoric primarily as “something that happens to women”, it not only boxes women in as categorical victims and robs them of their ability to make purposeful decisions, it also overlooks the vital role that they can play in disaster response and development.
I visited the villages of Tinpiple and Dapcha in Kavre recently to try to understand how local women themselves view the disaster and its aftermath. In many ways, they agreed with what has been circulating in the media—their experience and needs after the earthquake were different than those of men. While men became anxious about how they would continue to earn a livelihood, enough to support their family and to rebuild their houses, women’s anxieties focused more on the immediate short term: how they would keep their children safe, prepare the next meal, care for the sick, and clean what needed to be cleaned.

The women, many of whom were still sleeping with their families in tents, also worried about how safe it was for them to go to the bathroom at night. Stories had been circulating around the water tap that there had been an increase of young, unmarried women going to the hospital saying that they were pregnant, presumably because they had been raped. Another woman has a husband working in Malaysia. He told her that he has other debts to pay off, and that she would have to figure out how to rebuild their damaged house on her own.

While these are all experiences of women, they are not the experiences of all women, and it is important to recognize this distinction. One reason why women were believed to be more impacted in the earthquake was that it was thought they were more likely to be at home doing housework at the time, rather than working out in a field.

However, in one group of women I spoke with, only one of the five women had actually been at home when things began to shake. The other women, many of whom are active members of different community organizations, were busy running errands in nearby towns. This suggests that where women were when the earthquake struck cannot always be pinned to broad, gendered categories, but instead depends on a combination of factors such as class and mobility, which can be vastly different among women even within the same community.

The fact that different women experience disaster differently is true for the post-disaster and recovery process as well. Around both Tinpiple and Dapcha, the shifting ground caused some springs being used for water collection to dry up, while others became more plentiful. As a result, some girls and women now have to walk farther to other springs and spend more time collecting water, while for others, collection is easier.

Wards, as administrative units, can also inadvertently serve to differentiate women and their families: In hilly regions, wards are often delineated up hillsides. If relief is destined for a specific ward, those women and families who live closest to the road have the potential to receive more support than those who are not. In Tinpiple, the women said that widowed or divorced women are experiencing some of the biggest difficulties.

One disabled, widowed woman has two ropanis of land, but because of the earthquake, the people who farm the land are unable to pay her. After the earthquake, she moved into a tent with another family, but soon, the tent was taken away. She currently has no home, no means of income, and no one to take care of her.

In effect, then, to merely say that women are affected more in disasters come across as insufficient when one starts to take into account the heterogeneity that exists within the category of women. Worse, it leaves the potential for relief efforts to focus on women generally, with the result that the women who need it most may not receive the proper attention. As the country’s reconstruction process moves forward, it will be necessary to translate this more complicated understanding of women’s circumstances into practice.

Lastly, the disaster rhetoric that emphasizes women’s suffering tends to take away focus from the dynamic role that women have the potential to play in rebuilding their communities. This is in part because women bring a gender-specific perspective to discussions, and also often have social networks that differ from men’s, which frequently reach some of the most vulnerable members of the community.

Significantly, the women in Kavre did not see themselves as victims, but as individuals who must figure out how to effectively move forward without waiting for the help of outsiders. One woman started laughing as she told the story of how she had wanted to be part of the relief effort, so against the wishes of men nearby, she tied a shawl around her face and went to the roof of a house and helped demolish it. Relief efforts will come and go, but it is locals like these women who ultimately have the task of rebuilding their communities in the years to come.

This article was completed with the assistance of ICIMOD.
The author is working as a Consultant at ICIMOD


As of 26th June, 2015, over 8,800 deaths have been confirmed (NEOC/MoHA). Around 594,000 (48%) houses had fully damaged and about 280,000 (23%) houses had been partially damaged (Nepal Earthquake: Weekly Situation Update, 26 June 2015, OCHA). The table below shows the 15 most affected districts death toll and casualties.

source: Headlines Himalaya, a weekly e‐News of Environmental Graduates of Himalaya

 Please see this new Mountain Institute webpage and other news:

Earthquake pushed 1 million Nepalis below poverty line: Report