Worldlog Week 20 – 2010

21 Μαΐου 2010

A Dutch passport has again been successfully arranged for the world-famous primatologist Marc van Roosmalen. This is a huge relief for a special researcher who is doing so much to identify and preserve the biodiversity in the Amazon! We repeatedly asked questions in parliament about the issue and in late 2009 the regional departments of the Party for the Animals started lobbying and began a petition to pressure the government to return the biologist's Dutch passport to him. Van Roosmalen landed in trouble after he was arrested and imprisoned in Brazil in 2007 on accusations of 'bio piracy' and keeping orphan monkeys without a licence.

Marc van Roosmalen and Marianne Thieme during the premiere of Sea the Truth

According to the environmental activist, the government, pressured by project developers and the logging industry, wants to be ‘rid of him’. He feared for his life. In 2008, Brazil’s supreme court partially acquitted him and in 2009 he fled to the Netherlands. Since Brazil had stripped him of his Brazilian passport in 2007, he had become ‘stateless’. Van Roosmalen had become a naturalized Brazilian citizen ten years earlier. Van Roosmalen wants to return to Brazil with his new passport to make a documentary about the genocide of the Indians in the Amazon region. This undertaking is seen as at least as dangerous as agitating against logging in the Amazon and the corruption of the local authorities. With his Dutch passport, Van Roosmalen can fortunately count on better protection.

Last week’s world premiere of Sea the Truth, the new film from the scientific bureau of the Party for the Animals, the Nicolaas G. Pierson Foundation (NGPF), was a great success. What an impressive film! More than 700 people saw the sharp contrast between the beauty of life under water and the destruction human activity is wreaking upon it. In a century, fish stocks have disappeared or all but disappeared. And yet each year we continue to harvest a hundred million tonnes of fish from our seas and oceans.

Marianne Thieme and Karin Soeters (NGPF director) both cut the Sea the Truth cake

Prominent scientists such as Prof. Daniel Pauly warn that if we continue to catch and eat fish at the current rate, the seas and oceans will be empty within 40 years' time. Governments are searching for the solution in sustainable fishery projects. But ever more scientists are saying that every fish taken from the ocean is one too many. This documentary shows us that currently there is no such thing as 'responsible' fishing. While the fishing industry and some Dutch researchers have responded in scoffing tones, this is what the United Nations announced this week.

As with the film Meat the Truth, we are way ahead of the curve. However, six parliamentary parties have since called for an end to intensive cattle raising and Groenlinks, Christenunie, PvdA and D66 have included reduced meat consumption in their plans. We expect this new film, which will be released all over the world from tomorrow, to have a similar effect. The first request for the film has come from Brazil and other countries will follow quickly!

Another success story: the Netherlands has decided to withdraw from the Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) project. There is a small parliamentary majority – thanks in part to the Party for the Animals – in favour of withdrawal! The Party for the Animals is against the purchase of the JSF jet fighters and in favour of continuing with slimmed down and modernized fleet of F16 jet fighters.

Until next week!