2009 ELAW Annual Meeting

   ELAW partners gather at the top of Mount Pisgah
  ELAW partners gather at the top of Mount Pisgah.
  One minute, advocates would be discussing a recent case
on the right to a healthy environment from the Philippines
and the next minute, sharing photos of their children.

Environmental and human rights advocates from around the world traveled to Eugene for the 2009 ELAW Annual Meeting in February. More than 24 countries were represented, and the collaboration and the conversations continued non-stop.  One minute, advocates would be discussing a recent case on the right to a healthy environment from the Philippines and the next minute, sharing photos of their children.

The first morning featured a group discussion on international finance institutions and the climate talks leading to Copenhagen.  Throughout the day, advocates met in smaller working groups discussing topics ranging from strategies to advance indigenous rights, to holding corporations accountable, to using access to information laws.  But alongside those intense discussions, there was plenty of time for laughter and camaraderie.

Andres Pirazzoli

Pastel de Papas y Salmon
1½ onion
3 cloves garlic
½ tsp. dried chili peppers
½ stick melted butter (divided)
2 tbls. olive oil
Salt and pepper
14 small potatoes (peeled or not, your preference)
½ cup milk
½ tbls. chopped rosemary
1 salmon fillet
1 small jar capers

Dice the onion and chop the garlic. Add the dried chili peppers. Fry in 1 tablespoon of the butter mixed with 2 tablespoons olive oil, add salt and pepper according to taste.

If you don’t want this too spicy, add less chili. Don’t burn this mixture — cook it for about 5 minutes on low.

Make mashed potatoes: Boil the potatoes until soft, drain the water and use a mixer to mash the potatoes with milk, salt to taste and rosemary.

Butter a casserole pan. Put a very thin layer of mashed potatoes on the bottom (this keeps the salmon from burning).  Add the onions in a layer.

On top of that place the sliced salmon and sprinkle with capers. Cover with the rest of the potatoes.  Brush with melted butter.

Bake at 400 degrees for 20 minutes, until the top is a little brown.

Serves 4 to 8.

Muchas Gracias to Andres Pirazzoli, ELAW partner from Chile for sharing his wonderful recipe.

 
 

One evening, we enjoyed a home-cooked meal prepared by Andres Pirazzoli (Chile) and Jeanette and Estuardo de Noack and Mara Bocaletti (Guatemala), with help from meeting participants from Peru, Ukraine, and the U.S.

We feasted on pastel de papas y salmon (see recipe), pepian chicken and vegetables, and delightful dulce de leche.  Meche Lu, ELAW scientist, served chicha morada (a Peruvian fruit drink made with purple corn) that she had prepared herself.

Another day, we left the warm, dry meeting rooms for a field trip.

Our day started with a tour of the West Eugene Wetlands with Neil Bjorklund, the city’s Parks and Open Space Planning Manager.  As if on cue, it started pouring rain when we reached the overlook.  As geese landed and birds flitted through the grasses, Neil shared the story of Eugene’s nationally recognized efforts to protect 3,000 acres of wetlands, including the restoration of hundreds of acres that had been converted into a grass seed farm.

After lunch at Fifth Street Market, we continued on to Buford Park Arboretum and Mt. Pisgah.  Led by Bruce Newhouse, a local botanist, most of the group fanned out along the trail to the top and enjoyed sweeping views over Eugene and the Cascade foothills as the clouds temporarily lifted.  Fernando Dougnac, perhaps South America’s most famous environmental attorney, was the last to reach the top. Someone teasingly shouted, “Fernando, great to see you, but it’s time to head back down!” Compared to the climb, the descent was easy.

Fernando brought up the rear with 2008 Goldman Prize winner Pablo Fajardo from Ecuador.  He learned about Pablo’s work representing indigenous communities and settlers in the Amazon who are suffering from 30 years of pollution from multinational oil operations.  Fernando has been successful challenging multinational logging operations in Chile, so they had much to share. 

The rain began to come down again as the group retreated to the White Oak Pavilion where Bruce Newhouse, botanist with Salix Associates, showed slides of Mt. Pisgah’s impressive birds, butterflies and native plants.

  Neil Bjorklund
  Neil Bjorklund, Eugene’s Parks and Open Space Planning Manager, gives visiting ELAW advocates a tour of the West Eugene Wetlands.

 

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Summary: 

Environmental and human rights advocates from around the world traveled to Eugene for the 2009 ELAW Annual Meeting in February. More than 24 countries were represented, and the collaboration and the conversations continued non-stop.