The monoculture pulp and paper industry has great impact on local communities, who must often bare witness to the destruction of the ecosystem and the loss of their own lands and livelihoods so people around the world, particularly in Europe and North America, can have rubber for tires, palm oil for processed foods, and of course, pulp for toilet paper.
Women in these communities are also effected in very specific ways, as the World Rainforest Movement (WRM) and Friends of the Earth International (FoE) demonstrate in the new short film, Women raise their voices against tree plantations.
Released in honor of International Women’s Day on March 8th, Women raise their voices looks at three separate case studies in Nigeria, Brazil, and Papua New Guinea, to reveal the full negative impacts of the Industry on women in local communities.
A report was also put together which looks at each case in depth. You can download it at www.wrm.org.uy.
The case study from Nigeria is focused on the Iguóbazuwa Forest Reserve, a highly biologically diverse region in the southwest of the country, whose crops long supplied food for around 20,000 people. The area has undergone drastic changes since the arrival of the French transnational company Michelin in December 2007. All of the area’s natural wealth was destroyed to plant rubber trees.
In Brazil, the tree plantations established to produce pulp for paper-making are continuously expanding, causing severe impacts on communities and the environment. Three big corporations have moved into southern Brazil to satisfy the enormous demand for paper, mostly in Western countries: Swedish-Finnish forestry giant Stora Ensa, and Brazilian-owned Aracruz and Votorantim.
In Southern Brazil, women from the grassroots organization Via Campesina have been leading protests against the “green desert” development model since 2006, in order to protect food sovereignty and the rights of local communities.
Papua New Guinea
In Papua New Guinea, monoculture oil palm plantations are destroying the forests, biodiversity, and local communities’ livelihoods. Palm oil produced in Papua New Guinea is primarily exported, especially to the European Union where it is used to produce soap, cosmetics, processed foods and agrofuels.
In some Papua New Guinea communities, women are no longer able to grow food crops, and they are exposed to dangerous pesticides.