More events to raise funds for the Wampis and Awahun indigenous peoples of the Amazon rainforest in Peru are brewing. Last week, we raised over £400 when about 80 people came on a dark cold night to listen to the geologist Dr Paul Olver deliver fascinating revelations about the landscape of our county. The listeners will surely never forget that there are lumps of rock in Herefordshire that were once in the south Atlantic. that the first Ice Age ended on the line on the M4 and the second Ice Age on the line of the A49 and that 19th century landowners spent vast sums sinking shafts through the Herefordshire's red sandstone in the search of coal. They found schist, which could spelled another way,
This coming weekend, the Hay Winter Festival features two walks, organised by the excellent Woodland Trust. Tickets for both are already sold out which may be good news for the Size of Herefordshire, since the Trust has kindly agreed to hand out some of our flyers and leave a bucket around for donations.
We are also planning to hold a fund-raising showing of Al Gore's An Inconvenient Sequel, the successor film to his revelatory An Inconvenient Truth on climate change. Our hope is to show this in Hereford. Watch this space.
Asking people, not least good people, for support is never easy. One estimable person said to us recently "Oh God, do we have to worry about climate change?" I am sure the Almighty muttered "you do, my dear, you do." Another at the same event doubted whether the approach of the Forest Peoples Programme in giving land rights to the indigenous people of the forests was the right one. Indeed, he said it wasn't.
Well, it's good to report of a study by researchers of the Peruvian Amazon . They analyzed campaigns to give land rights where more that 1,200 indigenous communities over 11 million hectares have received title to their land since the mid-1970s. They used data from high-resolution satellite images to estimate the effects of titling between 2002 and 2005 on forest clearing and disturbance. The results indicates that titling reduces forest clearance by more than three quarters and forest disturbance by roughly two thirds in a two year period after the indigenous peoples got the rights to their land. The research was carried out by Allen Blackman, Leonardo Corral, Eirivelthon Santos Lima, and Gregory P. Asner and can be seen on www,pnas.org/cgi/doi/10.1037/pnas.1603290114.
Given that destruction of the rainforest is causing more co2 emissions than all forms of transport in a year, appreciating the value of giving the forest people the rights to their land is a key insight. The Size of Herefordshire is on the right track.
So are the Wampis and Awajun. They are success stories . They are holding on to their land and repelling invaders. The Peru High Court judgement in March 2017 which found that petroleum companies had illegally invaded their land was a historic victory.