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Female Indigenous Chief Confirms That Burning The Amazon Is Akin To Genocide, She’s Learning Portuguese To Speak To Brazil’s Leaders

“Our concern is that if the forest is gone, people will also end,” Ajareaty Waiapi, also known as Nazaré, told her people back in March. Protecting the Amazon rainforest has long been a top priority for environmentalists who understand the Amazon’s ability to store carbon. Nazaré is an indigenous Waiapi chief during a crucial time period under Brazil’s President Bolsonaro, who vowed during his campaign to ensure “there will not be one centimeter more of indigenous land.” He later corrected his statement and said what he actually meant was not one more millimeter.

For the last few weeks, the Amazon rainforest, which is home to much of Brazil’s 900,000 indigenous peoples, has been on fire. 

This tribal leader is on a mission to inform the world that saving her peoples means saving the planet.

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At age 58, Nazaré decided to attend a high school geography class to better understand her peoples’ land and as it relates to the rest of the world. Waiapi elders, including Nazaré, have long predicted that these fires would come–ever since Bolsonaro launched his campaign, which included promises to declassify indigenous lands as protected and open it up to agribusiness.

Brazil has experienced twice as many fires in the last three months as it did during the same time period in 2018.

Credit: Jiachuan Wu / NBC News

Robin Chazdon, an environmental professor at the University of Connecticut, has confirmed that there’s no reason to think environmental conditions like drought has been causing the fires. Environmental groups are pointing to the most significant change in Brazil between 2018 and 2019: Jair Bolsonaro. Once he took office in January, he rolled back environmental regulations that made it easier for cattle ranchers to illegally burn down and level the Amazon for cows to graze, be slaughtered and repackaged to meet the world’s demand for meat.

Bolsonaro has long made hostile remarks about the Indigenous people, saying they “smell, are uneducated and don’t speak our language.”

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Before he was elected president, Bolsonaro had said, “It’s a shame that the Brazilian cavalry wasn’t as efficient as the Americans, who exterminated their Indians.” All throughout his campaign, experts feared for the consequent genocide of indigenous peoples if he would be elected, given his disdain for the peoples and desire for growing agribusiness. 

President Bolsonaro has long resented protected lands for indigenous peoples, once stating that “the recognition of indigenous land is an obstacle to agribusiness.”

Credit: jairmessiasbolsonaro / Instagram

During his campaign, he threatened to shut down FUNAI, Brazil’s indigenous affairs department. Instead, in June, Bolsonaro elected a federal police officer to reside as the President of FUNAI. The new president, Marcelo Xavier da Silva, once worked on an inquiry that alleged that FUNAI’s interest in protecting indigenous lands was not of the indigenous’ peoples desires, but rather a product of “external interests and ideological objectives.” According to a spokesperson for the Articulation of Indigenous Peoples of Brazil, the new president already “has a long history campaigning and working against indigenous people – he was always in favor of farmers.”

The rise of Bolsonaro has prompted Nazaré to learn Portuguese so she could “talk with the white man out in the meetings.”

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There are very few female chiefs because they are less likely to go to school and learn Portuguese. Chief’s carry the responsibility of protecting their peoples from outside dangers, the largest being the colonizers that have settled the land surrounding them. Learning Portuguese is crucial in protecting their land. Nazaré started attending school at 38 years old. One of her teachers even called her “an old parrot who does not know how to learn.” Nazaré not only learned, but became a Chief because of her determination to ignore the insults.

Today, she’s encouraging all the Waiapi women to go to school in order to protect their people.

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“She always tells me to be chief in the future,” Nazaré’s daughter, Karota Waipapi, says, “to talk to all the relatives, to talk with the young people as well, so that the young people speak what she says.” Nazaré feels an urgency to pass on traditional plant medicine now that Bolsonaro has cut the budget for health care workers in indigenous communities. Back in the 1970’s, when miners illegally deforested much of the Waiapi’s land, it took far too long for the government to respond to a measles outbreak that decimated the population. Only 150 people were left by the time the vaccines came. 

Bolsonaro has rejected $20 million in aid from G7 to fight the fires, citing their aid as “imperialist.”

Credit: @ajplus / Twitter

The Waiapi people have long been in danger from the mere contact with other Brazilians. Today, Brazil’s careless policies that value agribusiness over people may be the end of the Waiapi unless the public steps up to fight Bolsonaro’s policies.

READ: Leonardo DiCaprio Is Helping To Lead The Fight Against The Amazon Forest Fires

Diego, The 100-Year-Old Giant Tortoise Who Fathered Nearly 1,000 Offspring Is Going Into Retirement

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Diego, The 100-Year-Old Giant Tortoise Who Fathered Nearly 1,000 Offspring Is Going Into Retirement

Rodrigo Buendía / Getty

After 40 years of giving his all for a good cause, Diego the tortoise is getting to do what so many of us dream of – he’s heading into retirement. Diego, noted for his next level sex drive, is credited with fathering enough baby tortoises to bring his species back from the brink of extinction. 

Diego, who is more than 100 years old, boosted his species’ population from just 15 to well over 2,000 on the island of Española, a part of the world-famous Galápagos Islands. He had been shipped over from the San Diego Zoo as part of a breeding program, and was one of 15 tortoises to take part in the program at the Fausto Llerena Tortoise Center on the island of Santa Cruz. Now he’ll finally be returning to his island of origin. Mission accomplished.

The Galápagos National Park has announced it is ending a captive breeding program for giant Española tortoises, after one tortoise produced more than 800 offspring, helping save the species.

Credit: Rodrigo Buendía / Getty

A giant tortoise whose rampant sex life may have single-handedly saved his entire species from extinction has retired from his playboy lifestyle, returning to the wild with his mission accomplished.

Diego’s unmatched libido was credited as a major reason for the survival of his fellow giant tortoises on Española Island, part of the Galapagos Islands, after being shipped over from the San Diego Zoo as part of a breeding program.

It’s been nearly eight decades since Diego was extracted from his natural habitat. With his mission accomplished, he will now be released into the wilderness on the island where he was born.

When he started his campaign of promiscuity, there were just two males and 12 females of his species alive on the island.

Credit: Rodrigo Buendía / Getty

But the desirable shell-dweller had so much sex he helped boost the population to over 2,000. The Galapagos National Parks service believe the 100-year-old tortoise is the patriarch of around 40% of that population

The program started with only two male tortoises until a third, named Diego, was found in the San Diego Zoo. He had lived in the zoo for about 30 years before joining the breeding program on the Galápagos’ Santa Cruz island. Diego, now over 100 years old, had a big impact on the program; he has a strong personality and isn’t shy about sex, which earned him a reputation online. Now, he and the 14 other tortoises in the breeding program are preparing to return home.

“He’s contributed a large percentage to the lineage that we are returning to Espanola,” Jorge Carrion, the park’s director, told AFP. “There’s a feeling of happiness to have the possibility of returning that tortoise to his natural state.”

The recovery of the Española tortoises has been a decades-long battle.

Credit: Galapagos National Park

The giant tortoises were depleted from the island, hunted by sailors, whalers, and pirates for food, and goats were introduced. So before young tortoises could be restored on the island, conservationists had to contend with goats between the 1970’s and 1990’s. But cohorts of young turtles were released once or twice each year, with a survival rate of over 50 percent. By 2010, tortoises were once again a common sight on the island, Rory Carroll reported at the time for the Guardian

“During the expedition we found nests, recently hatched tortoises, and adults born on Española, which indicates that the tortoise population is doing well,” Washington Tapia, director of the Galápagos Tortoise Restoration Initiative, told Carroll in 2010.

The decision to end the breeding program comes after the 2019 census of Española island. The census and models of the next 100 years of tortoise population on the island found that “the island has sufficient conditions to maintain the tortoise population, which will continue to grow normally — even without any new repatriation of juveniles,” Tapia, said per a translation of the original statement.

The Pilots Who Bombarded School Children With Jet Fuel Are Now Under Investigation For The Incident

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The Pilots Who Bombarded School Children With Jet Fuel Are Now Under Investigation For The Incident

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Believe it or not, it’s quite common for airplanes to dump jet fuel when they’re facing an emergency landing. They do this so that if anything happens during landing – like a blown out tire – the likelihood of an explosion or major fire is much less.

But a recent incident in the skies over Los Angeles highlight the dangers of the practice – particularly when done over populated communities.

A Delta Airlines aircraft headed to Shanghai faced an emergency landing and dumped a huge amount of fuel over LA-area communities.

Delta Air Lines said the fuel came from Flight 89, which had just taken off from LAX bound for Shanghai, China, when it “experienced an engine issue requiring the aircraft to return quickly to LAX.””The aircraft landed safely after a release of fuel, which was required as part of normal procedure to reach a safe landing weight,” the airline said.

The fuel was dropped in populated communities – including an area containing six different schools.

Credit: AP / USA Today

Sixty people were treated after a plane dumped jet fuel while returning to the Los Angeles International Airport on Tuesday, hitting five elementary schools and one high school.

The incident happened just after noon Tuesday, inspector Sean Ferguson of the Los Angeles County Fire Department told CNN. The most heavily affected school was Park Avenue Elementary in Cudahy, where 20 children and 11 adults reported minor injuries. The school is about 19 miles east of the airport.

After checking all of the affected schools later Tuesday, hazardous materials experts said there was no more danger, fire department officials said. All schools will be open and operating on their normal schedules Wednesday.

“With the monitoring devices that we have, there are no explosive limits that are being detected at all, as well as solid or liquid products remaining,” Battalion Chief Jason Robertson said in a news conference, adding that the fire department believes all of the jet fuel has evaporated.

More than 60 people were treated on the scene and dozens more needed to be decontaminated.

Firefighters allow parents into the school where 26 people, 17 children and 9 adults, were treated for jet fuel exposure at Park Avenue Elementary School in Cudahy on Tuesday, Jan. 14, 2020. A jet returning to LAX dumped its fuel over the neighborhood and the school. Affected people at the school were treated for skin and eye irritation. No patients were transported to hospitals. (Photo by Scott Varley, Daily Breeze/SCNG)

Some people who were hit by the jet fuel Tuesday were decontaminated with soap and water, but no one at any site needed to be taken to the hospital, Sgt. Rudy Perez with the Los Angeles School Police Department said. The schools briefly went through shelter-in-place procedures, but there were no evacuations.

The children were given gowns so they could change out of their clothes, fire department inspector Sky Cornell said, adding there were no reports of injuries from other people in the area.

Miguel Cervantes, a sixth grader, was hit. He said his skin was itchy afterward.”I thought it was smoke,” he said. “But when it went down, I felt it and it smelled like gas.”

According to the FAA, the pilots failed to notify them of the fuel drop.

“A review of yesterday’s air traffic control communications shows the Delta Flight 89 crew did not tell air traffic control that they needed to dump fuel,” said the U.S. regulator. “In this emergency situation, the fuel-dumping procedure did not occur at an optimal altitude that would have allowed the fuel to atomize properly.”

Fuel jettisoned higher than 5,000 to 6,000 feet will vaporize before hitting the ground, according to Boeing Co.The altitude of the Delta plane when it dropped the fuel hasn’t been disclosed.

While there is no regulation requiring such notice, it’s common practice so that flight controllers can direct the plane to an appropriate area to drop the fuel, the FAA said in an email Wednesday.

Now authorities are investigating why the pilots decided to drop fuel so urgently if they weren’t faced with a serious crisis.

The Boeing 777-200 suffered an engine compressor stall after leaving Los Angeles International for Shanghai, and the pilots notified air traffic control that the aircraft would need to return to the airport. The FAA continues to investigate the incident. Delta said it helped clean up the fuel at the schools, but declined to comment on the FAA statement or any aspect of the probe.

While it’s unclear how serious the emergency on the Delta flight was, pilots have discretion to ignore some FAA rules while faced with a dangerous situation. The crew members told controllers their situation was “not critical,” according to a recording posted by LiveATC.net.

Jetliners dump fuel in an emergency to lower their weight for landing. While the plane was capable of taking off, its weight with a full fuel load would have made it heavier than optimal for landing. Landing at higher weights causes stress on brakes and tires that can trigger fires or other issues.