Drunken trees: Dramatic signs of climate change

By Brian Clark Howard, April 17, 2014. Source: National Geographic 

According to scientists, melting ground is to blame for tilting spruce trees. Photo: Galen Rowell, Corbis

According to scientists, melting ground is to blame for tilting spruce trees.
Photo: Galen Rowell, Corbis

Sarah James, an Alaska Native elder, says global warming is radically changing her homeland. Even the forests no longer grow straight. Melting ground has caused trees to tilt or fall.

“Because permafrost melts, it causes a lot of erosion,” says James, who lives in Arctic Village, a small Native American village in northeastern Alaska. “A lot of trees can’t stand up straight. If the erosion gets worse, everything goes with it.”

Permafrost is permanently frozen ground. But climate change has caused much of that ground to melt at an unprecedented rate. The ground buckles and sinks, causing trees to list at extreme angles.

Sometimes the trees survive the stress and continue growing, uprighting themselves to vertical. Other times they collapse or drown from rising water tables as subterranean ice melts. Because such trees seem to stagger across the landscape, people often call them “drunken trees.”

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Filed under Climate Change, Forests, Forests and Climate Change, Indigenous Peoples

Gunmen in Brazil caught on video shooting at Indigenous Guarani

By Rick Kearns, April 18, 2014. Source: Indian Country Today Media Network

Photo: Aty Guasu/Survival International

Photo: Aty Guasu/Survival International

Hired gunmen firing at Guarani in Brazil were filmed recently by the indigenous people who are continuing their struggle to regain stolen territory.

According to Survival International (SI), which posted the video on their website, gunmen have been terrorizing the Guarani of Pyelito Kue since they returned to their ancestral land last month, years after the government had officially recognized their right to move back, forcing the rancher on that land to move out.

On Monday, April 7 they filmed two armed men shooting at them “in broad daylight.”


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Filed under Indigenous Peoples, Latin America-Caribbean, Political Repression, War

Corporate sponsorship of Indigenous groups: A necessity, or selling out?

By Martha Troian, April 15, 2014. Source: VICE

A drum session at a Truth and Reconciliation Commission event in Victoria. Photo via Facebook.

A drum session at a Truth and Reconciliation Commission event in Victoria. Photo via Facebook.

As the Canadian government slashes the budgets of Indigenous organizations across the nation, many are struggling to stay afloat. Increasingly, Indigenous organizations are accepting lifelines from a controversial source—namely oil & gas or resource extraction companies—sparking a debate over whether taking the badly needed money is ‘building relationships’ or ‘selling out.’

“We’re trying to rebuild our credibility,” says Hayden King, Director of the Centre for Indigenous Governance (CIG) at Ryerson University, an organization dedicated to advancing issues of Indigenous governance. The Centre launched in 2010, with financial help from Hydro One, the Nuclear Waste Management Organization and Vale Inco, a mining company. “The Indigenous community at Ryerson didn’t know this money had been accepted to launch the Centre,” says King.

Although it was the university who accepted these funds, the Indigenous community withdrew their support, effectively shuttering the Centre for about a year in 2011. King came on board after the Centre reopened, but he’s still dealing with the backlash today.”We’re trying to atone for that but maybe there’s no atoning for it,” he says.

Another group under scrutiny is Indspire (formerly the National Aboriginal Achievement Foundation), a national charity that’s helped tens of thousands of Indigenous people attain higher education. Indspire also produces an awards show that honours the achievements of Indigenous peoples. Much of the money has come from Big Oil. Continue reading

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University sit-in targets world’s largest private coal company

April 17, 2014. Source: The Real News Network

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Filed under Actions / Protest, Climate Change, Climate Justice, Coal, Ending the Era of Extreme Energy, Youth

The first climate justice summit: A pie in the face for the global north

Note: Building off of the energy at COP6, Global Justice Ecology Project helped co-found Climate Justice Now! at COP13 in Bali with a call to take the struggle for system change to the streets — check out the founding statement here: http://www.climate-justice-now.org/category/events/bali/

-The GJEP Team

By Frederika Whitehead, April 16, 2014. Source: The Guardian

Huaorani Indian children play with scarlet macaws in Yasuni National Park, Ecuador, where oil companies want to drill. Photograph: Steve Bloom Images / Alamy

Huaorani Indian children play with scarlet macaws in Yasuni National Park, Ecuador, where oil companies want to drill. Photograph: Steve Bloom Images / Alamy

Today it is accepted, but 20-30 years ago campaigners were struggling to even get an acknowledgement that climate change was happening, let alone that it was manmade. It would have been hard to imagine that one day we might hold the developed nations responsible and start talking about redress for victims of climate change, as we did in 2000.

The nub of “climate justice” is the idea that the developed world made the mess and therefore the developed world should pay the price for fixing the problem.

The first climate justice summit was organised to coincide with Cop 6 – the sixth session of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) conference at the Hague in 2000. It was put together by the Rising Tide network as a radical alternative to the official talks.

Roger Geffen was at the summit as a civil society activist. He says: “the message we wanted put out was that what’s going on at [Cop6] was the wrong ideas being discussed by the wrong people.

“There were all these people in the developing world who were the real victims of climate change who had not got a voice in the process.” Continue reading

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Filed under Actions / Protest, Climate Change, Climate Justice, Corporate Globalization, Ending the Era of Extreme Energy, False Solutions to Climate Change, Green Economy

Resistance grows in defense of peasant seeds

April 16, 2014. Source: La Via Campesina

Image: La Via Campesina

Image: La Via Campesina

This year millions of men and women farmers of the international peasant movement, La Vía Campesina, mobilize worldwide in favor of pasant seeds. Since April 17, 1996 (1) la Vía Campesina designated this day as a global day of action with allies and firends.

With more than 100 actions at a local and global level (see map) in all continents, la Via Campesina reasserts the importance of local struggles and at the same time underlines the need of a global resistance and organization between the cities and the rural areas. Actions such as land occupations, agroecological festivities, debates and seed exchanges will be carried out until the end of the month as part of these global days of action.

La Vía Campesina denounces laws and interests that seek to prohibit the use, exchange and access to peasant seeds that we consider a heritage of the people at the service of humanity, as well as food sovereignty as part of a commitment to end hunger in the world.

Historically, men and women farmers, and indigenous peoples have conserved and cared for seeds. La Vía Campesina says NO to all attempts to criminalize and make illegal our practices for caring for, producing and sharing seeds. Continue reading

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Filed under Actions / Protest, Africa, Biodiversity, Food Sovereignty, Industrial agriculture, Rights, Resilience, and Restoration

Canadian corporation plans tar sands strip mining in Trinidad and Tobago

By Macdonald Stainsby, April 11, 2014. Source: Upside Down World

Photo: Upside Down World

Photo: Upside Down World

‘Mining tar sand will destroy Govt’ read the headline in April of 2012. The statement was made to Trinidad and Tobago’s Express newspaper by well-known environmental campaigner Dr. Wayne Kublalsingh to the news that Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar had made statements about working with Canada’s Harper Government to start development of tar sands for oil in Trinidad’s southwest peninsula. If anyone could make such a bold statement stick in Trinidad and Tobago, it would be Kublalsingh, a veteran of multiple struggles against what he and community members believe to be ill-advised industrial projects.

Oil is hardly new to the twin island nation. Trinidad was among the very first oil producing countries in history. Industrial developments have been the driving force of Trinidad and Tobago being the richest country (per capita) in the Caribbean. However, concerns over environmental and social impacts have led mobilizations that involved Kublalsingh to ultimately prevent the construction of two aluminum smelters, a steel mill, and proposed industrial ports. Over the last couple of years, perhaps the greatest test for the current coalition government has been the Highway Re-route Movement (HRM). HRM is a group made almost entirely of families fighting eviction, as well as wetland disruption, for a segment of an industrial highway into the oil-rich region. Continue reading

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Filed under Climate Change, Corporate Globalization, Ending the Era of Extreme Energy, Latin America-Caribbean, Tar Sands

Why the bloodiest labor battle in US history matters today

Note: Understanding Ludlow and other militant labor struggles is also crucial for ecological justice movements, as capitalism exploits both workers’ labor and the land which sustains us.

-The GJEP Team

By Thai Jones, April 2, 2014. Source: The Nation

The striking miners and their families, 1914. Photo: The Nation

The striking miners and their families, 1914. Photo: The Nation

The tents huddled together on the high prairie. For seven months, they had borne deluge, frost and blizzard. In that time, the occupants—more than 1,000 striking coal miners and their families—had also endured the fear and fact of violence. On April 20, 1914, the sun rose at 5:20 am. It was the 209th daybreak over the tent colony at Ludlow, Colorado. And it was also the last.

The next twenty-four hours, in which roughly a score of people were killed, would be the bloodiest in the entire sanguinary history of the American labor movement. Immortalized as the Ludlow Massacre, its causes and ramifications have been discussed, disputed and decried for a century. As with the Triangle Shirtwaist Fire of 1911 or the Haymarket Riot of 1886, it generated martyrs, villains, monuments, social legislation and mass movements.

For years, the Ludlow Massacre was a touchstone of our radical tradition. Its legacy was fashioned and sustained by some of the brightest publicists of the left, including John Reed, “Mother” Bloor, Upton Sinclair, Woody Guthrie, George McGovern and Howard Zinn. “It was a watershed event,” wrote novelist and historian Wallace Stegner. Ludlow, he thought, had touched “the conscience of the nation, and if it did not make raw corporate gun-law impossible, it gave it a bad name. At the very least, it made corporations more careful.” Continue reading

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SWN returning to New Brunswick as Mi’kmaq plan renewed resistance

By Jorge Barrera, April 15, 2014. Source: APTN News

People round dance around burning tires on the highway during demonstration last fall against SWN Resources Canada’s shale gas exploration work.  Photo: APTN/File

People round dance around burning tires on the highway during demonstration last fall against SWN Resources Canada’s shale gas exploration work. Photo: APTN/File

Another round of battles loom between the Mi’kmaq in New Brunswick and a Houston-headquartered energy firm exploring for shale gas deposits in the province.

SWN Resources Canada has submitted two proposals under the province’s environmental impact assessment process to drill exploratory wells in separate parts of New Brunswick. The projects were registered with the provincial environment department on Monday, according to an official.

The company plans to drill one well in Chipman, which is in central New Brunswick, and a second well near Richibucto, which is in an area that saw intense demonstrations against shale gas exploration last autumn.

The Mi’kmaq community of Elsipogtog is only about 17 kilometres west of Richibucto and its War Chief John Levi said SWN should again expect resistance.

“We are just getting ready to go back out there and stop them. It’s going to be rough,” said Levi. “It ain’t no game. This is our livelihood that is at stake. We are not going to allow it. It’s like they are trying to kill us slowly.” Continue reading

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Filed under Actions / Protest, Climate Justice, Corporate Globalization, Ending the Era of Extreme Energy, Fracking, Indigenous Peoples, Water

Take action to stop the Energy East pipeline!

April 15, 2014. Source: Idle No More

TransCanada President and CEO Russ Girling (2nd L) announces the new Energy East Pipeline during a news conference in Calgary, Alberta, August 1, 2013. (TODD KOROL/REUTERS)

TransCanada President and CEO Russ Girling (2nd L) announces the new Energy East Pipeline during a news conference in Calgary, Alberta, August 1, 2013.
(TODD KOROL/REUTERS)

Last year, TransCanada announced their intention to build a 4,500 km pipeline from the tar sands in Alberta, already devastating many Indigenous communities, to New Brunswick, where communities like Elsipogtog had to fight to stop dangerous fracking last year.

A group of concerned Indigenous activists recently met in Winnipeg to discuss how Indigenous Peoples across Canada could work together to stop this pipeline (watch them on APTN here).

This pipeline passes through major cities including Winnipeg, Ottawa, and Montreal, but also through the territory of over 150 Indigenous communities.Mi’qmaq women took action against the #EnergyEast pipeline proposal and shut down the Maritime Energy Association meeting in Halifax, Nova Scotia on March 31, with the support of hundreds of young peoples who were converging for the  PowerShift Atlantic conference. Check out the photos here and read their press release here. Continue reading

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Filed under Actions / Protest, Climate Change, Climate Justice, Ending the Era of Extreme Energy, Idle No More, Indigenous Peoples, Tar Sands