Tribal leaders vow to resign posts in protest against being denied access to their pastures in ‘wildlife corridor‘ on Serengeti border to make way for Dubai-based luxury safari company. The Guardian reports

Maasai tribesman
A Masai tribesman stands beside his cattle near a water point in Makindu, southwest of Nairobi. Photograph: Radu Sigheti/Reuters

A battle has erupted in Tanzania over the future of 30,000 Maasai people who claim the expansion of a big-game hunting reserve for foreigners will lead to their eviction from ancestral lands.

Tanzania‘s ministry of tourism announced this week that it will set aside 1,500 square kilometres bordering the Serengeti National Park for a “wildlife corridor”. The Masai will as a result be prevented from getting to their pasture land in the corridor, destroying their traditional nomadic cattle-herding lifestyle. Access will however be granted to a Dubai-based luxury hunting and safari company.


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Remember: Pit Bulls are still Friends


The SPCA Serving Erie  County in New York hopes to dispel common myths about pit bull terriers and  show the world what they’re really born to do with its new Bred to Love campaign.

“Pit bull terriers are a severely misunderstood breed. The SPCA Serving Erie  County’s goal is to educate and bring awareness to this issue in our community.  The Bred To Love program’s main purpose is to put an end to the myths  surrounding this amazing and loving breed. Pit bull terriers are loyal happy go  lucky dogs that just adore people and will make a wonderful addition to a family  looking for their new pal,” said Lindsay Guiher, a volunteer at the shelter.

According to Guiher, most of the dogs coming into the shelter are pit bulls  who take longer to adopt than other breeds, which they suspect has to do with  common myths surrounding the breed.

Some of these myths include the beliefs that pit bulls have locking jaws and  are more likely to bite than other breeds. To clear that first one up once and  for all, pit bulls do not have any anatomical mechanism that would cause or  allow their jaws to lock. No dog does. And while pit bulls still get a lot of  bad press, they’re no more likely to bite someone than any other breed.

The American Temperament Testing  Society (ATTS), an organization that promotes uniform temperament testing,  has found that the American Pit Bull Terrier, American Staffordshire Terrier and  Staffordshire Terrier all had a higher than average passing score, which is 83  percent, and did better than many other breeds, including Golden Retrievers,  when it comes to stability, aggression and friendliness, among other traits.

Even the AVMA has stated that despite the stigma, when it comes to pit bull  type dogs “controlled studies have not identified this breed group as  disproportionately dangerous.”

In fact, pit bulls used to be referred to as the perfect “nanny dogs” for  children because of their fantastic temperaments and were used to represent  America on WWI posters because of their loyalty, bravery and determination. Even  Helen Keller had one.

“As any responsible owner knows, it’s not these sweet and loyal animals that  are the problem, but rather a handful of self-serving and unethical breeders.  Raised in the right environment, pit bull terriers are naturally inclined to be  wonderful pets, sure to steal your heart!” according to the shelter.

Along with urging people to consider adding one to the family, the SPCA  Serving Erie County wants everyone who loves pit bulls to join the campaign by  submitting a photo showing the world what their dogs were born to do. So far,  they’ve got people showing off pit bulls who were bred to give kisses, be loved,  be best friends, protect, be loyal, brighten lives and be family, along with a  few who were born to cuddle.

If you want to join the campaign and help spread the truth about pit bulls,  visit their website, download and print a sign and fill in the blank:  Bred to _____, and take some pictures. You can then submit your images via their website, which will be shared in an album on their Facebook page.

Related Stories:

Toronto Welcomes MLB Player, but Not His Pit  Bull

Victory! Massachusetts Bans BSL, Overhauls Animal Protection  Laws

Ending Discrimination: New Partnerships to Help Pit  Bulls

Read more: http://www.care2.com/causes/heres-what-pit-bulls-are-really-bred-to-do.html#ixzz2P1HVd5MO

Gospel of a Vegan Jesus Christ This is a special gift for my blogreaders:

English: Dead Sea Scroll - part of Isaiah Scro...
English: Dead Sea Scroll – part of Isaiah Scroll (Isa 57:17 – 59:9), 1QIsa b (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Gospel of a Vegan Jesus Christ

Thoughts written by Robert Cohen:

“If a group of beings from another planet were to land on Earth – beings who considered themselves as superior to you as you feel yourself to be to other animals – would you concede them the rights over you that you assume over other animals?” – George Bernard Shaw

On Wednesday, March 27, 2013, Dr. Oz explored the diet of Jesus, concluding that Christ ate primarily a plant-based diet. See:
Tiny URL:

I’ve often wondered what it would have been like to have lived two thousand years ago and broken bread with Jesus. What a meal that would have been.

Was Jesus a meat eater, or vegetarian? Who would have butchered the chicken or calf? Not me. I cannot imagine Jesus taking the life of any living creature. Snap a chicken’s neck? Watch a fish gasp for breath and die?

I just cannot picture Christ showing that kind of lack of compassion to any living creature. Can you? Cut a lamb’s throat? Separating a calf from his mother and then taking his life by slicing through the jugular and carotid as his arterial spray stains the floor?
As there were no refrigerators, where would meat eaters of biblical times have stored the leftovers?

My vision of that meal includes a table filled with fruits, and a salad buffet containing marinated vegetables, nuts, legumes. All of the foods would have been vine ripened, fresh, colorful, fragrant. Such a meal would be the first breakfast and the last supper, and all meals in between.

The Gospel of the Nazarene, according to Matthew, extends Matthew’s familiar biblical chapter. Having read and studied numerous religious texts including the Old and New Testaments and some of the

Dead Sea Scrolls

which describe Jesus as an Essene vegan rabbi, I accept that there are various interpretations and different levels of belief and rejections of such texts, according to one’s religious philosophy.

This is not an attempt to promote debate.

It merely is a sharing of a text which reflects great compassion. This version meshes with my own personal vision of universal wisdom. _____________________________________

The following is attributed to Jesus Christ: _____________________________________
“Verily I say unto you, for this end have I come into the world: that I may put away all blood offerings and the eating of the flesh of the beasts and the birds that are slain by men.

In the beginning the Creator gave to all the fruits of the trees, and the seeds and the herbs for food; but those who loved themselves more than the Lord or their fellows, corrupted their ways and brought diseases into their bodies, and filled the earth with lust and violence. Not by the shedding of innocent blood, therefore, but by living a righteous life shall you find peace.

Blessed are they who keep this Law, for the Creator is manifest in all creatures and all creatures live in the Creator.”

The Gospel of the Nazarenes. 75:9-14; the words of Jesus
This verbatim scroll preserved by the Mt. Carmel branch of the Essenes (Carmelites) was found in Tibet in the latter part of the first century. This text pre-dates the writings of the New Testament.

Confirming texts appear in the 972 Dead Sea Scrolls which were discovered by a young Arab boy in a series of caves near the Northwest shore of the Dead Sea just 67 years ago.

The scrolls were written in many different languages, including Hebrew, Greek, and Aramaic. Many were written closer in time to the actual life and death of Jesus than those texts which comprise the New Testament. Many of the Dead Sea Scrolls have never been released to the public, and are kept safely in vaults at the Vatican.

Please enjoy your observance of this Good Friday, and have a blessed Easter Sunday.

“The biggest guru-mantra is: never share your secrets with anybody. It will destroy you.” – Chanakya

Fracking`s Latest Scandal? Earthquake Swarms

English: United States Geological Survey (USGS...
English: United States Geological Survey (USGS) Shake Map of 2009 Salta earthquake. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Fracking’s Latest Scandal? Earthquake Swarms


Turns out that when a barely regulated industry injects highly pressurized wastewater into faults, things can go terribly wrong.

—By   http://www.motherjones.com/environment/2013/03/does-fracking-cause-earthquakes-wastewater-dewatering

At exactly 10:53 p.m. on Saturday, November 5, 2011, Joe and Mary Reneau were in the bedroom of their whitewashed and brick-trimmed home, a two-story rambler Mary’s dad custom-built 43 years ago. Their property encompasses 440 acres of rolling grasslands in Prague, Oklahoma (population 2,400), located 50 miles east of Oklahoma City. When I arrive at their ranch almost a year later on a bright fall morning, Joe is wearing a short-sleeve shirt and jeans held up by navy blue suspenders, and is wedged into a metal chair on his front stoop sipping black coffee from a heavy mug. His German shepherd, Shotzie, is curled at his feet. Joe greets me with a crushing handshake—he is 200 pounds, silver-haired and 6 feet tall, with thick forearms and meaty hands—and invites me inside. He served in Vietnam, did two tours totaling nine years with the Defense Intelligence Agency, and then, in 1984, retired a lieutenant colonel from the US Army to sell real estate and raise cattle. Today, the livestock are gone and Joe calls himself “semiretired” because “we still cut hay in the summers.”

On that night in November, just as he and Mary were about to slip into bed, there was “a horrendous bang, like an airliner crashing in our backyard,” Joe recalls. Next came 60 seconds of seismic terror. “The dust was flying and we were hanging onto the bed watching the walls go back and forth.” Joe demonstrates by hunching over and gripping the mattress in their bedroom. He points to the bathroom. “The mirror in the vanity exploded as if somebody blew it out with a shotgun.” When the shaking stopped, Joe surveyed the damage. “Every corner of the house was fractured,” he says. The foundation had sunk two inches. But most frightening was what Joe discovered in the living room: “Our 28-foot-tall freestanding chimney had come through the roof.” It had showered jagged debris onto a brown leather sofa positioned in front of their flat-screen TV. Joe shows me the spot. “It’s Mary’s favorite perch. Had she been here…” He chokes up.

Joe and Mary Reneau

Joe and Mary Reneau Photograph by Ben Sklar

The earthquake registered a magnitude 5.7*—the largest ever recorded in Oklahoma—with its epicenter less than two miles from the Reneaus’ house, which took six months to rebuild. It injured two people, destroyed 14 homes, toppled headstones, closed schools, and was felt in 17 states. It was preceded by a 4.7 foreshock the morning prior and followed by a 4.7 aftershock.

The quake baffled seismologists. The only possible culprit was the Wilzetta Fault, a 320-million-year-old rift lurking between Prague and nearby Meeker. “But the Wilzetta was a dead fault that nobody ever worried about,” says Katie Keranen, an assistant professor of geophysics at the University of Oklahoma. We’re driving in her red SUV, just south of the Reneaus’ property, when she stops to point out where the quake tore open a footwide fissure across State Highway 62. The United States Geological Survey (USGS) maintains a database of seismically risky areas. Its assessment of the Wilzetta Fault, Keranen notes, was “zero probability of expected ground motion. This fault is like an extinct volcano. It should never have been active.”

When the Wilzetta mysteriously and violently awakened, Keranen wanted to know why. So she partnered with scientists from the USGS and Columbia University’s Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory. The morning after the initial foreshock, Keranen’s team scrambled to install three seismometers around Prague. They did so in time to capture the quake system in unprecedented detail. She says, “We got this beautiful image of the fault plane.” Within a week, her team and other scientists had placed a total of 25 devices around the fault zone. One is buried in the Reneaus’ backyard. Now, having completed a yearlong study (just published in the journal Geology), Keranen’s research indicates the Oklahoma earthquakes were likely attributable to underground injection of wastewater derived from “dewatering,” separating crude oil from the soupy brine reaped through a drilling technique that allows previously inaccessible oil to be pumped up. “Pretty much everybody who looks at our data accepts that these events were likely caused by injection,” Keranen concludes.

“We still feel tremors weekly,” complains Joe Reneau. “They rattle our windows.” The couple hasn’t bothered to rehang family photos in their living room. Instead, the framed snapshots are stacked in tidy piles on a coffee table.

“The Wilzetta was a dead fault that nobody ever worried about.” Then the drillers came. And so did a swarm of quakes.

Such seismic activity isn’t normal here. Between 1972 and 2008, the USGS recorded just a few earthquakes a year in Oklahoma. In 2008, there were more than a dozen; nearly 50 occurred in 2009. In 2010, the number exploded to more than 1,000. These so-called “earthquake swarms” are occurring in other places where the ground is not supposed to move. There have been abrupt upticks in both the size and frequency of quakes in Arkansas, Colorado, Ohio, and Texas. Scientists investigating these anomalies are coming to the same conclusion: The quakes are linked to injection wells. Into most of them goes wastewater from hydraulic fracking, while some, as those in Prague, are filled with leftover fluid from dewatering operations.

The impact of fossil fuels is no secret, but until now the short list of dirty energy’s villains never included water. Together, oil and gas extraction and production generate about 878 billion gallons of wastewater annually, roughly what tumbles over Niagara Falls every two weeks. More than a third is injected back into disposal wells. With natural gas production on the rise—it has jumped 26 percent since 2007, chiefly because fracking now makes it economically viable to pursue gas trapped in shale deposits—and unconventional practices such as dewatering ramping up domestic oil development, the wastewater deluge is expected to get worse. Operators are injecting more water than ever into drilling wells, while boring new wells to accommodate the overflow. Yet nobody really knows how all this water will impact faults, or just how big an earthquake it could spawn. In the West, small quakes don’t often cause much damage because of stricter seismic regulations but also because the underground formations—buckled, with younger rock—absorb all but the biggest events. Induced quakes, however, are happening primarily in flatter states, amid more rigid rock, making them more destructive—a stone makes a bigger splash when it’s hurled into a glassy pond than a river of raging whitewater.

For its part, industry is doing its best to avoid discussing the issue publicly, even as its leading professional guild, the Society of Petroleum Engineers, recognized the matter was serious enough to call its first-ever meeting devoted to “injection induced seismicity.” Held in September, the SPE’s 115-member workshop sought to “better understand and mitigate potential risks.” When I reached out to SPE coordinator Amy Chao, she told me, “I appreciate your interest but press is not allowed to attend in any fashion.” My requests to speak with geophysicists at leading oil and gas companies implicated in injection-induced earthquakes were also ignored or denied. I did manage to speak with Jean Antonides, vice president of exploration for New Dominion, which operates one of the wells near the Wilzetta Fault. He informed me that people claiming to know the true source of the Oklahoma quakes are “either lying to your face or they’re idiots.”

Nonetheless, there’s growing concern among state officials. After a spate of quakes linked to injection wells shook northern Arkansas, the state’s oil and gas commission declared a moratorium on underground wastewater disposal activities within a 1,000-square-mile area encompassing the towns of Guy and Greenbrier and required seismic-risk studies in the greater Fayetteville Shale area. Affected residents filed a class-action lawsuit against Chesapeake Energy and BHP Billiton Petroleum—the first time anyone has sued oil and gas companies for causing an earthquake. After an injection well was linked to quakes in Youngstown, Ohio, Gov. John Kasich issued an executive order requiring operators to conduct seismic studies before the state will issue well permits. So far, Ohio is alone in this regard; no other state—or the federal government—requires any type of seismic-risk assessment for all of its injection wells. And that worries scientists: “Nobody is talking to one another about this,” says William Ellsworth, a prominent USGS geophysicist who’s published more than 100 papers on earthquakes. Among other mishaps, Ellsworth worries that a well could pierce an unknown fault “five miles from a nuclear power plant.”

The EPA classifies and regulates underground injection wells—some 700,000 and counting—based on what goes into them. There are six categories. Class VI wells sequester carbon dioxide; Class V wells store nonhazardous fluids; nuclear waste is stashed in Class IV wells; Class III wells are used in mining salt, uranium, copper, and sulfur; industrial chemicals get stored in Class I wells. Wastewater from oil and gas operations is discharged—typically by injecting it under pressure—into Class II wells.

There are at least 155,000 Class II wells in the United States. Of these about 80 percent are involved in recovering hydrocarbons, predominantly through slick-water hydrofracking, a technique developed by Halliburton. Fracking fluid—water blended with lubricants, thickeners, disinfectants, and other compounds—is pumped into well bores at extremely high pressures. Eventually, the fluid reverses course and—along with millions of gallons of salt water that resides underground—ascends to the surface. The “flowback,” now laden with natural gas, is collected, the gas is extracted, and the residual fluid is pumped into disposal wells. There are roughly 40,000 of these, and they can be up to 13,000 feet deep.

The extraction process itself doesn’t generally produce earthquakes. This is because of something known as pore pressure, a measurement of how much stress a fluid exerts into the “pores” of surrounding rock. The whole aim of fracking is to rapidly increase pore pressure just long enough to cleave fissures into sediment and free trapped gas, after which time pore pressure equalizes, easing the subterranean stress. Only rarely is pore pressure high enough in a fracking well to cause an earthquake that can be felt at the surface.

But while fracking wells are intended to withstand high pore pressure, wastewater disposal wells are not. When pore pressure spikes in disposal wells, it can move rock. Disposal wells are drilled into vast, permeable formations—think giant sponges—where there’s plenty of space for water to spread out. But because water is heavy, the more of it that is sluiced into a well, the more it weighs on the rock below. And as Scott Ausbrooks, a geologist with the Arkansas Geological Survey, points out, “Water does not like to be squeezed.” Eventually it finds an escape route, “just like a room of people. The more you put in, the more crowded it gets, and at some point, people are going to start being pushed out the doors.”

Animated GIF: fracked Up?

Drillers inject high-pressure fluids into a hydraulic fracturing well, making slight fissures in the shale that release natural gas. The wastewater that flows back up with the gas is then transported to disposal wells, where it is injected deep into porous rock. Scientists now believe that the pressure and lubrication of that wastewater can cause faults to slip and unleash an earthquake.

how fracking causes earthquakes

Illustration: Leanne Kroll. Animation: Brett Brownell

With the oil and gas boom generating record amounts of wastewater, these rooms are getting increasingly jam-packed. Exactly how much? The EPA tracks volumes but wouldn’t provide them; agency officials declined numerous requests for interviews. Companies are also pumping into denser rock, or into deeper formations that are inherently unstable. “There’s much more injection going on today where there wasn’t injection before,” says Cliff Frohlich, associate director of the Institute for Geophysics at the University of Texas-Austin, who recently identified a cluster of wells at the Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport as the likely culprit for nearby earthquakes.

Too much wastewater in a disposal well forces liquid downward and outward, he adds. It can meander for months, creeping into unknown faults and prying the rock apart just enough to release pent-up energy. Frohlich describes this as the “air hockey” effect. A puck on an air hockey table won’t move even if the table is tilted upward a few degrees. “It would just sit there,” he says. “But when you turn on the air, it reduces the friction and the puck will slide. There are faults most everywhere. Most of them are stuck, because rock on rock is pretty sticky. But if you pump a fluid in there to reduce the friction, they can slip.”

*It should be noted that the United States Geological Survey used two different techniques to estimate the earthquake magnitude at 5.6. The Global Centroid-Moment-Tensor Project at Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory of Columbia University used different methods to measure it at 5.7. As Justin Rubinstein of the USGS told us, this type of variance is not unusual, and the measurements are considered consistent.

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Maasai Land in Loliondo in Danger!


The Tanzanian Government Insists on Grabbing Maasai Land in Loliondo

By • Mar 26, 2013  http://intercontinentalcry.org/the-tanzanian-government-insists-on-grabbing-maasai-land-in-loliondo/

The Tanzanian government, through the Minister for Natural Resources and Tourism, Khamis Kagasheki, is moving forward with a plan of taking 1,500 square kilometres which are essential dry season grazing land for the Maasai of Loliondo in Ngorongoro District.

The main economic activity and source of livelihood of the people of Loliondo is pastoralism – moving livestock between seasonal grazing areas – that compared to other land uses is relatively compatible with wildlife – and this is a major reason that their land is so sought after by the tourism industry and the Government.

In 1959 all people were evicted from the vast Serengeti by the British Government for the purpose of establishing the National Park. Among them the Maasai that were moved to Ngorongoro Conservation Area and also to Loliondo. Contrary to promises the Tanzanian government has continued with a greedy eye on lands that it wants for the exclusive use of hunting and photographic tourism. Currently this greed is focused on a corridor of land in Loliondo Division of Ngorongoro District.

In 1992 Otterlo Business Corporation Ltd – that’s not a “corporation” but an organisation managing hunting trips for royalty from the United Arab Emirates – was given the Loliondo Game Controlled Area – the whole of Loliondo Division – as a hunting block and since then their lease keeps being renewed by the Government – not the Maasai landowners. The core hunting area of OBC is the corridor of land bordering the National Park, but in theory they could hunt rats around the District Commissioners office. OBC do not have any land, but only what’s basically a hunting license. Nevertheless, OBC seem to think that they operate in some half protected area where they control the land while having to put up with customary landowners that they shower in charitable projects. When conflict flare up they get the support of the government. For the 2009 hunting season OBC together with Tanzanian authorities evicted people from the corridor that’s almost half the size of the Emirate of Dubai. In this operation at least 150 bomas were burnt to the ground, including grain stores and even some young livestock that were burnt to death. Some 60,000 heads of cattle were pushed into an extreme drought area and calves were left behind in the stampede. This significantly worsened the alarming rates of cattle deaths of the severe drought at the time. Many cases of beatings, humiliations and sexual assault have been reported. Several children were lost in the chaos and terror and one of them – 7-year-old Nashipai Gume from Arash – has not been found. The evicted people eventually moved back and many leaders “reconciled” with OBC.

In early 2011 the government again made a move to grab this corridor of land presenting a frightening land use plan that would turn the corridor into a “Game Controlled Area” as per the Wildlife Conservation Act No 5 of 2009. A Game Controlled Area was in colonial times an area where hunting, as opposed to an “Open Area”, was not permitted. Though gradually hunting blocks were established in Game Controlled Areas and since other land uses like pastoralism and agriculture were not restricted, and all Game Controlled Areas fell on village land, the name stayed on without any real meaning. Using this same name for a new area that’s not allowed to overlap with village land and where pastoralism and agriculture would not be allowed (hunting would of course be permitted) was almost certainly done with the intention of creating confusion and the Government is having some success with this. The land use plan was strongly rejected by local leaders because of its non-participatory nature and thinly disguised land grabbing purpose. Another attempt by the Government was when the village of Ololosokwan received a letter requesting the handing in of its land certificate, but then for a while the threat seemed to die down.

In November 2012 a crisis broke out when people in Ololosokwan found that Tanzania National Parks were planning to erect Serengeti NP border beacons on the land of the village. There were major demonstrations and the beacons were dropped back inside the National Park.

On 27th January 2013 the Minister for Natural Resources and Tourism held “stakeholders’” meetings in Loliondo. He did not seem to grasp the issues and his only concrete idea was for “investors” to work together forming an association.

Currently there are many players in the tourism industry in Loliondo and none of them can be trusted, though occasionally some of them play by the rules entering proper contracts with the villages. The most destructive force among them is the Boston-based Thomson Safaris claiming 12,617 acres of grazing land as their own “Enashiva Nature Refuge” and harassing the pastoralists as “trespassers” while involved in an aggressive propaganda campaign for their “community-based project”.

The last weekend of February the Minister returned to Loliondo with the message that the Game Controlled Area as per Wildlife Conservation Act of 2009 was the best “solution” for Loliondo.

To media the Minister was saying that the Maasai are “landless” and being “given” the land that they already have – except the corridor – under the condition that they form a Wildlife Management Area that’s presented as a way for communities to “benefit from wildlife” while in reality it’s a recipe to increase central government control. The move was described as “addressing historical injustices”. A historical injustice is actually what the Government seems determined to commit.

Then on 21st March after a brief meeting in Arusha with top district leaders the Minister for Natural Resources and Tourism showed up again in Loliondo. Local leaders had got information that the minister was sent by the President to announce that the 1,500 square kilometre corridor would be taken by the Government as a Game Controlled Area to protect wildlife and water catchments. The local leaders refused to enter the District Council conference hall together with the Minister and demanded that the Minister should answer questions from people outside instead. This made the Minister leave in a fury.

The leaders and the citizen who were around waiting for the Minister talked to the media to express their views on the matter. Ololosokwan ward councillor Yannick Ndoinyo told media, “We are not ready to surrender even one meter of our land to investors for whatever reason” and several other leaders had the same message.

The following day all affected villages held meetings and a big meeting to discuss the way forward is planned for 25th March.

The people of Loliondo need help, as well as moral and material support, from anyone around the world with an idea about how to fight back or with a platform to speak from, and most needed of all is the support of those that have the fate of the landgrabbing government in their hand – the people of Tanzania.

Anyway, the Maasai of 2013 are NOT the Maasai of 1959!

Susanna Nordlund sannasus@hotmail.com

Update 26 March:

From the meeting on 25th March:

“Resolutions of the meeting. 1. Unity if Maa community 2. The issue of land grabbed by the government without the consent of the people. 3. If the government make the announcement people will seek a court injunction to stop it. 4. Contributions for this intervention. 5. Political leaders will resign from their positions if the government cut off their area. 6. All attendants should write their name and where they come from. 7. Relationships. (from today all contracts with OBC are being ended).” (My translation)

Update 26th March (II)

The Minister for Natural Resources and Tourism has now announced the land grab presenting it in the usual misleading way as “reducing the Game Controlled Area”.

Who are the Maasai?
Maasai Warriors DancingThe Maasai (also Masai) are a semi-nomadic people  located in Kenya and northern Tanzania. They are among the most well known Indigenous People in all…
Learn more about the and other Indigenous Peoples around the world
“In a media landscape made up of lies, flash, giant blind spots and corporatized sites of distraction, Intercontinental Cry is a trustworthy pathway to the truth where people who are committed to understanding Indigenous realities can gain insight and information to illuminate and activate their struggles.”

Taiaiake Alfred

Professor of Indigenous Governance at UVIC and author of Wasáse


Also See

Press release from Onesmo Olengurumwa of JUWASAWINGO http://www.freemedia.co.tz/daima/habari.php?id=47051http://www.freemedia.co.tz/daima/habari.php?id=47051

From 2011, blog post with the history of the corridor and OBC. http://www.termitemoundview.blogspot.se/2011/07/corridor.html

From 2011, Voices from Loliondo about the Land Use Plan http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7knZOEVxO0k

News piece on ITV television about the protest against the beacons of TANAPA https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a66HfC1qeBE

Blog post about the beacons at Klein’s Gate http://www.termitemoundview.blogspot.se/2012/12/the-beacons-from-hell.html

A call for help on the official blog of Ololosokwan http://ololosokwan.wordpress.com/2013/03/16/streets-of-ololosokwan-are-burning/

This article was originally posted at Susanna Nordlund’s blog, View from the Termite Moundhttp://intercontinentalcry.org/the-tanzanian-government-insists-on-grabbing-maasai-land-in-loliondo/

Not Just The Bees: Bayer`s Pesticide May Harm Birds, Too!

Clothianidin (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Mother Jones

Not Just the Bees: Bayer’s Pesticide May Harm Birds, Too

Springtime is associated with the birds and the bees. It’s also when farmers treat 140 million acres in a pesticide that might be taking them out.

By | Wed Mar. 27, 2013 3:00 AM PDT Source URL: http://www.motherjones.com/tom-philpott/2013/03/not-just-bees-bayers-pesticide-may-harm-birds-too

Once again this spring, farmers will begin planting at least 140 million acres [1]—a land mass roughly equal to the combined footprints of California and Washington state—with seeds (mainly corn and soy) treated with a class of pesticides called neonicotinoids. Commercial landscapers and home gardeners will get into the act, too—neonics are common in lawn and garden products [2]. If you’re a regular reader of my blog, you know all of that is probably bad news for honeybees and other pollinators, as a growing body of research shows—including three studies released just ahead of last year’s planting season. [3]

But bees aren’t the only iconic springtime creature threatened by the ubiquitous pesticide, whose biggest makers are the European giants Dow and Syngenta [4]. It turns out that birds are too, according to an alarming analysis [5] co-authored by Pierre Mineau, a retired senior research scientist at Environment Canada (Canada’s EPA), published by the American Bird Conservancy. And not just birds themselves, but also the water-borne insect species that serve as a major food source for birds, fish, and amphibians.

The article isn’t peer-reviewed, but Mineau is a formidable scientist. In February, he published a peer-reviewed paper [6] in PLoS One concluding that pesticides, and not habitat loss, have likely been driving bird-population declines in the United States.

That paper didn’t delve into specific pesticides. For his American Bird Conservancy paper, Mineau and his co-author, Cynthia Palmer, looked at a range of research on the effects of neonics on birds and water-borne insects, from papers by independent researchers to industry-funded studies used in the EPA’s deregulation process and obtained under the Freedom of Information Act.

For the most vulnerable bird species, they found, consuming even two corn seeds coated with Bayer’s blockbuster neonic clothianidin can have lethal effects.

Their conclusion: Neonics are highly mobile and persistent once they’re unleashed into ecosystems, and they pose a serious threat to birds and the insects they feed on. The EPA, they continue, has in some cases severely underestimated the danger and in other cases simply ignored it. The underestimation, they argue, mainly stems from the widespread use of two bird species to judge toxicity, mallards and bobwhites. But many other bird species are more vulnerable to neonics than those two, and Mineau’s paper concludes the EPA, in its risk assessment used to register a raft of neonic products over the past two decades, “underestimates toxicity by 1.5 to 10 fold if the intent of the exercise is to protect most species, not merely mallards and bobwhites.” For the most vulnerable bird species, they found, consuming even two corn seeds coated with Bayer’s blockbuster neonic clothianidin can have lethal effects.

The authors point to several instances of EPA scientists raising serious concerns about the ecological impacts of these pesticides, only to see them registered anyway. Back in 2003, when the EPA was first considering registering Bayer’s clothianidin, an agency risk assessment concluded that “exposure to treated seed through ingestion might result in chronic risk to birds and mammals, especially mammals where consumption of 1-2 seeds only could push them to an exposure level at which reproductive effects are expected,” the authors report. The assessment also described the chemical as persistent and mobile, with “potential  to leach to groundwater as well as runoff to surface waters.” So what happened to clothianidin? A “plethora of registered uses for clothianidin followed in quick succession,” they report.  The pesticide is now used on corn, soybeans, cotton, pears, potatoes, tree nuts, mustard greens, and more.

Mineau’s paper notes in passing that the EPA also identified potential threats from clothianidin to bees as early as 2003, adding, however, that the pollinator issue is “outside the scope of the current review.” I told the sordid tale of clothianidin’s march through EPA registration despite its own scientists’ bee concerns in this 2010 post [7].

But the most pernicious effect of neonics on birds may be indirect: By leaching into water and accumulating in streams and ponds, neonics also attack a major component of birds’ food supply: insects that hang out in water, what Mineau calls the “bottom of the aquatic food chain.” The EPA has severely underestimated the risk to such insects, they charge. For the neonic imidacloprid, they argue, a “scientifically defensible reference level” to gauge when the pesticide causes harm to insects is 0.2 ug/l. “European regulators acknowledge that acute effects are likely at levels exceeding 0.5 ug/l,” they write. “In contrast, the EPA’s regulatory and non-regulatory reference levels are set at 35 ug/l.”

Based on Mineau’s analysis, the American Bird Conservancy is calling for a ban on the practice of using neonics to treat seed, joining a similar plea from the Xerces Society for Invertebrate Conservation. [8] Meanwhile the EPA has been conducting a “comprehensive re-evaluation of these pesticides, [9]” but has taken no action to stop their use, and isn’t expected to complete its review until 2018 at the earliest. Mineau told me that he presented his case on neonics and birds to the EPA last week, urging them to “speed things up a bit” on the review. I asked him how his message went over. “I didn’t get the answer, that, sure, we’ll have it done next year,” he said. Instead, he added, the agency stressed it would stick to its current process. And that means heavy neonic exposure for the birds and the bees for at least another half-decade.