Cambridge, MA—At 1PM tomorrow, December 10, a group of students from the Responsible Investment at Harvard Coalition will rally in front of Massachusetts Hall in Harvard Yard in support of Argentine farmers.
They plan to deliver a letter from those farmers to Harvard University President Drew Faust. Harvard owns two industrial timber plantations in the Corrientes province of Argentina that have degraded the Iberá Wetlands ecosystem and endangered thousands of small-hold farmers in the region.
Last Thursday, community organizers rallied in the provincial capital of Corrientes against the expansion of Harvard’s timber plantations. Holding signs that said “STOP HARVARD,” they marched to the offices of Harvard’s two timber companies in Corrientes, EVASA and Las Misiones.
RI at Harvard and the Oakland Institute released a report revealing that industrial timber plantations owned by Harvard University the productivity of surrounding farms, create public health problems, and cause damage to public roads. Since it purchased EVASA and Las Misiones in 2007, Harvard has rapidly expanded the plantations into protected wetland and surrounding communities. The two companies are worth $55.2 million and own 217,166 acres of land.
Harvard has not yet responded to the allegations in the report or to demands by students and farmers to halt expansion of plantations, remove trees within 2000 meters of homes, and improve labor conditions.