So far, this year has been quite an unprecedented year on so many fronts, but this month we join the folks at SOIL who have been particularly saddened by the deepening climate crisis that is evident in the historic wildfires burning in the western US, one of the most active hurricane seasons on record for the Caribbean, record breaking temperatures across the northern hemisphere and the crumbling of Greenland’s largest ice sheet.
Our friends at SOIL understand the fragile balance between vulnerable ecosystems and human activity. They have made significant progress in quantifying the environmental impact of their technology to ensure that they are responsibly and sustainably promoting a sanitation model that mitigates harmful greenhouse gases and encourages the inclusion of vulnerable populations in the climate conversation.
Their ecological sanitation solution re-captures nutrients from waste and safely recycles them to be used once again to enrich degraded soils and nurture community food production. SOIL’s EkoLakay service and Konpos Lakay product work efficiently to reduce the carbon footprint in Haiti’s sanitation sector while providing an essential service to communities throughout the country.
As we look to the rest of the year and beyond, and the unknown environmental challenges that might be ahead – we remain incredibly encouraged by the work of the core team at SOIL and the dedicated partners around the world that are working not only improve human and environmental health in the short term, but also to build the resilience needed to buffer against the challenges we have yet to face.
Read more about SOIL and their incredible work HERE.
Today, the Vermont House of Representatives passed S. 234, a bill that would require the automatic expungement of all criminal records for past low level cannabis offenses. The bill would also decriminalize possession of cannabis in amounts that are up to twice the legal limit for adults and reduce some cannabis penalties. S. 234 will now return to the Senate for concurrence before it heads to the governor’s desk. We have been working with our partners for years to expand post conviction relief in Vermont and we celebrate this important reform.
David Gadsden, Esri’s Director of Conservation Solutions, is an applied geographer with more than two decades of experience applying geospatial technology to address complex humanitarian and conservation challenges. Click HERE to read his blog post about our work and how it helps the Kuikuro safeguard themselves from COVID-19 and other threats to their survival.
ALTO XINGU, Brazil – This year, we won’t celebrate Kuarup, the most important traditional ritual in Upper Xingu, the first indigenous territory demarcated in Brazil in 1961. Through Kuarup we celebrate our dead with dances, fights and painted bodies, and invite guests from the territory and beyond to participate. Eight ethnic groups get together to say goodbye to the departed. But for the first time in history, we will stay in mourning until our ritual can be performed again in the next dry season, in August 2021. Until then we will cry for the many more who will succumb to this new threat.
Well before the coronavirus reached our territories and caused its first death — a 45-day-old baby — the indigenous peoples of Brazil were facing another dangerous threat: President Jair Bolsonaro. He has made clear with his rhetoric that he is against indigenous causes and the environment, and we fear that the president will use this health crisis to let the virus spread and kill many native Brazilians, as happened with the measles outbreak in 1954, still very much alive in our memory.
"I just want to thank you for you support. That's all I wanted to say. " -Cheif Afukaka Kuikuro
"The entire Kukuro village thanks you for your support" -Yanama Kuikuro, President AIKAX.
The time to act is now.
The Champlain Housing Trust (CHT) has gone out on a limb to help lead Vermont’s responses to vulnerable populations during the coronavirus crisis.
Among other actions, the CHT successfully:
Pennywise is proud to support CHT’s immediate and effective response through our Urgent Response Fund. Our thanks to CHT and all of Vermont’s essential service providers.
Even before the Covid-19 crisis the indigenous people of the southern Amazon were facing unprecedented threats. Widespread deforestation, fires and a hostile government are decimating their tropical forest homes and have left them fighting for their very survival. Now they also face the coronavirus and the reality that a single infection, if spread, could destroy entire villages.
The Kuikuro indigenous community of the Upper Xingu region is responding. As part of a multicultural collaboration, the Amazon Hope Collective, the Kuikuro have banded together with other indigenous communities, scientists, public health experts and other key stakeholders to implement an immediate crisis response that will also lead to long term solutions.
Since early March the Kuikuro have been using modern geospatial tools (available in their village because of other recent efforts of the Collective) to create precise information on health conditions as well as movement and transportation of goods in the area. This has allowed them to coordinate reparations and response planning with the Brazilian health system to help them cope with the health emergency.
This model has been enormously successful in identifying what will be needed to protect the people of the Xingu. But now we need your help meeting those needs. The Amazon Hope Collective aims to raise $20,000 in 20 days to bring lifesaving medical supplies and protective gear to the Xingu before it is too late.
“Stay Home Stay Safe” orders create a dangerous contradiction for far too many whose homes are anything. The economic impact of this global crisis is also leading to terrible choices for survivors who may have to remain in or return to an abusive relationship due to the financial strains they are facing.
That’s why the Pennywise Urgent Response Fund is supporting the economic justice programming at Steps to End Domestic Violence.
Join us by giving now so that more people can, truly, be safe in their homes.