“Too much ice is really bad for polar bears”: Give yourself a real scare with this great video of Koch-financed disinformation

Jeff Parker political cartoon.

Jeff Parker political cartoon.

Brendan DeMelle of DeSmogBlog drew my attention to this great video by Brave New Films. He wrote:

The Koch brothers have spent far more than even ExxonMobil to spread doubt and misinformation about the 97% scientific consensus on climate changein recent years—over $67 million on climate denial, in fact. Out of 13,950 peer-reviewed scientific journals, only 24 reject global warming. But the Kochs and the extensive, well-funded network of front groups and media echo chambers would prefer that we ignore our responsibility [...] so that the Koch brothers and their friends can continue to profit from pollution-based enterprises.

The video does a great job tying the seemingly crazy climate change denial given space in mainstream media with very specific organizations funded by the Koch brothers. There’s even a little Exorcist-like music for this Halloween.

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Filed under Climate Change, Media

Seneca Lake NY Natural Gas Storage Blockade Continues

10 people were arrested Wednesday at the continuing blockade at the gates of the Crestwood compressor station on the shores of Seneca Lake, New York’s largest Finger Lake.

Led by anti-fracking activist Sandra Steingraber, over 400 people have participated in the blockade since it began earlier this month after the Federal Energy Regulartory Commission (FERC) approved the former salt mine cavern located beneath the lake as a compressed natural gas storage facility.

All of the individuals arrested yesterday were released and face a court hearing on November 5.

More than two dozen people put their bodies on the line today in a last-resort protest to stop a major gas storage expansion project on the shore of Seneca Lake, the largest of New York’s Finger Lakes. Photo credit: wearesenecalake.com

More than two dozen people put their bodies on the line today in a last-resort protest to stop a major gas storage expansion project on the shore of Seneca Lake, the largest of New York’s Finger Lakes. Photo credit: wearesenecalake.com

Blockade of Seneca Lake Crestwood Gas Storage Facility Continues

Human blockade peacefully opposes recent FERC decision allowing expansion of CNG storage in geologically unstable salt caverns.

ITHACA, N.Y., Oct. 28, 2014 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ — We Are Seneca Lake, comprised of residents of the Finger Lakes, peacefully demonstrate their determined opposition by continuing to blockade the gates of the Crestwood compressor station on the shore of Seneca Lake, the largest of New York’s Finger Lakes. The methane gas storage expansion project is advancing in the face of unparalleled public opposition and unresolved questions about geological instabilities, fault lines, and possible salinization of the lake, which serves as a source of drinking water for 100,000 people. Inexplicably, a Capital New York investigation just revealed that Governor Cuomo’s DEC excised references to the risks of underground gas storage from a 2011 federal report on methane contamination of drinking water, and has allowed key data to remain hidden.

“Dangerous gas storage in the Crestwood salt caverns is incompatible with the rapid growth of our wine and tourism industries.” Lou Damiani, Damiani Vineyards

“Seneca Lake is a source of economic prosperity for the entire region, not a gas station for fracking operations. It’s a place for tourists, wineries, farms and families. Speaking with our bodies in an act of civil disobedience is a measure of last recourse to protect our home, our water, and our local economy – with our bodies and our voices, telling Texas-based Crestwood to go home!” Sandra Steingraber, PhD, Heinz Award Recipient, biologist, author.

“Crestwood’s business model for this region is flawed. A billion dollar wine and tourism industry fuels thousands of sustainable jobs here in the Finger Lakes. This dangerous operation threatens all of that and more.” Chris Tate, BME, Finger Lakes CleanWaters Initiative.

Find more information here.

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Filed under Actions / Protest, Climate Justice, Energy, Fracking, Human made disasters, Water

Dr Blessing Karumbidza, more land grabbed in Africa than rest of the world combined

Photo of Conference from its Facebook page.

Photo of First Africa Conference on Land Grabs from its Facebook page.

Dr. Blessing Karumbidza, a member of GJEP’s New Voices Speakers Bureau, presented at the First Africa Conference on Land Grabs, held this week in Johannesburg. He reported to the conference that more land has been grabbed in Africa in the 21st century than in the rest of the world combined–a startling 55 million hectares of land between 2000 and 2012.

CCTV Africa covered the story:

SAPA, the South African Press Association, also ran a story picked up widely by South African media.

More land ‘grabbed’ in Africa than rest of the world combined

Sapa, Times LIVE, 29 October 2014

Over 55 million hectares of land in Africa have been “grabbed” since 2000, according to research presented at a conference.

More land had been “grabbed” in Africa between 2000 and 2012 than in the rest of the world combined, Dr Blessing Karumbidza, senior research associate at the Durban University of Technology, told the Africa land Grab conference in Midrand.

See the whole story here.

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Filed under Africa, Land Grabs, New Voices Speakers Bureau

Ebola and Palm Oil

An enormous oil palm plantation cut from the Liberian rainforest. Photo: Chulius Caesar via Flickr.

An enormous oil palm plantation cut from the Liberian rainforest. Photo: Chulius Caesar via Flickr.

The real drivers of Ebola in West Africa–poverty and oil palm

A new article in the Ecologist links the underlying causes of the Ebola outbreak in West Africa to the “explosive spread of industrial oil palm, which disrupts the ecology of forests and farms.”

Oil Palm Explosion driving West Africa’s Eboloa outbreak

By Richard Kock. Ecologist. 29 October 2014

The medical response to the Ebola outbreak in West Africa has been monstrously inadequate, writes Richard Kock. But so has been recognition of the underlying causes – in particular the explosive spread of industrial oil palm, which disrupts the ecology of forests and farms, and undermines local economy and traditional governance, leading to a ‘perfect storm’ of disease.

The growing Ebola virus outbreak not only highlights the tragedy enveloping the areas most affected but also offers a commentary on they way in which the political ecology in West Africa has allowed this disease to become established.

Read the whole article here.

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Filed under Africa, Biofuelwatch, Forests, Palm Oil

12 Flood Wall Street protestors use “necessity defense” plea

Twelve of the more than 100 protestors arrested during the Sept. 22 “Flood Wall Street” demonstration have pled “not guilty” citing “necessity defense.” In a post on Earth First Journal, the protestors might find success using the plea because, their lawyer argues, that the climate crisis is such a serious issue that the defendants’ “action was a necessity for them to sit down to bring attention to the problem.”

Photo: Earth First Journal

Photo: Earth First Journal

Flood Wall Street Protesters Plead Not Guilty, Assert “Necessity Defense”

by James Woods, DC Media Group, 29 october 2014

Last month, more than 400,000 people took to the streets of New York City to protest against the global systems which continue to contribute to accelerated climate change in the mad dash to increase profits. Billed as the largest climate rally in the history of the world, the “People’s Climate March” was largely ignored by the mainstream media after filling Manhattan with activists and celebrities trying to garner attention to their cause.

The following Monday, a much smaller group numbering in the thousands stormed through the Financial District en route to Wall Street and staged a “sit-in” large enough to wreak havoc on traffic and commerce in the area for the entire day. As a result, the “Flood Wall Street” action received more press coverage than the previous day and more than 100 protesters (including a large polar bear) were arrested for failing to disperse after being confronted by the NYPD.

Read the full article here.

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Filed under Actions / Protest, False Solutions to Climate Change, Law

Update: 64 Arrested at VT Governor’s Office, Demanding End to Pipeline

Image on Aljazeera story, taken from 350 Vermont Twitter feed.

Image on Aljazeera story, taken from 350 Vermont Twitter feed.

Montpelier, Vt. – Sixty-four people were arrested last night, after occupying Vermont Governor Peter Shumlin’s office for over six hours, demanding a ban on new fossil fuel infrastructure and that the governor stop supporting a fracked gas pipeline in the western part of the state.

Half the group occupied the governor’s office, while the other half stayed in the main lobby of the building.  500 people attended a rally outside of the building, supporting the sit-in.

“We are fed up with a broken, unaccountable, and biased process that is ignoring the clear and present danger of expanding fossil fuel infrastructure so that Gaz Metro and International Paper can increase their profit margins,” said Jane Palmer, a landowner in Monkton along the Phase 1 pipeline route. “The Shumlin administration is ignoring the thousands of Vermonters, including impacted landowners and over 500 ratepayers, who know we can’t afford this project.”

Demonstrators from across the state are concerned that the Shumlin administration, including the Public Service Department, are promoting dirty fracked gas as a climate solution, despite the well known climate impacts of extracting and burning fracked gas.

Dr. Maeve McBride, coordinator of 350 Vermont, said, “Today, hundreds of grassroots Vermonters are sitting in to call for a ban on new fossil fuel infrastructure, including Vermont Gas/Gaz-Metro’s proposed fracked gas pipeline, and to demand energy and climate solutions that are transparent, accountable to our communities and put people and the planet first.  As the Governor said himself, these solutions need to come from the grassroots, not from the top down.”  McBride was among those arrested.

Supporting arguments made before the Public Service Board over the past two years, the demonstration focused on how, despite industry rhetoric, fracked gas may actually be worse for the climate than other fossil fuels.

“The science is clear – whether the goal is avoiding CO2 emissions or sparking a transition to an emissions-free energy system, the fracked gas boom and this pipeline are no substitute for ambitious energy and climate policies, weatherization, efficiency and decreased consumption,” said Dr. Rachel Smolker, a Hinesburg resident. “Once the gas bubble pops, ratepayers are going to be stuck with higher bills, paying the cost of this pipeline for years to come and still struggling to heat their homes.”

After police issued a final dispersal order, sixty-four people stayed in the building. All were removed from the building by Vermont State Police, and cited with criminal trespassing.

The coalition planning the event is also calling for a blockade at the Vermont Gas Pipeyard in Williston, Vt., this coming Saturday at 9 am.

Other Media

Aljazeera covered the event, including great photos reposted from Twitter.

Margaret Prescod will interview Dr. Maeve McBride on tomorrow’s Earth Watch Segment, which is coordinated by GJEP in partnership with KPFK’s Sojourner Truth show with Margaret Prescod.

Maeve was one of the organizers and media spokespeople for Oct 27th occupation and sit-in of Vermont Governor Shumlin’s Office. Maeve was one of the 64 protesters arrested yesterday at the governor’s office opposing the fracked gas pipeline project and the build out of new fossil fuel infrastructure.


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Filed under Actions / Protest, KPFK, Media, Pipeline

French anti-dam protester killed by police grenade

Another example of the misnomer of “less-than-lethal” weapons like concussion grenades. They may be less lethal, but still can be quite deadly, as this case in France shows.

TNT traces in slain France activist case

Press TV, 28 Oct  2014.

An investigation into the cause of the death of a French activist killed in clashes with the police has yielded traces of TNT used in police grenades.

Sending shockwaves throughout the country, the 21-year-old victim, Remi Fraisse, was killed on Sunday as security forces clashed with people protesting against a controversial dam project in the southwestern Tarn region.

To read the whole story and watch the Press TV story about this, click here.

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Filed under Actions / Protest, Hydroelectric dams, Political Repression

South Dakotans fight TransCanada on their own turf

Photo of crowd yesterday at hearing, posted on DRA's Twitter feed

Photo of crowd yesterday at hearing, posted on DRA’s Twitter feed

Pierre, SD – The fight to stop TransCanada’s Keystone XL Pipeline can add one more state to its battleground: South Dakota. A powerful coalition of local allies intervened in the certification of the pipeline permit at the South Dakota Public Utilities Commission, and the battle for the open US Senate seat in South Dakota could be decided by voters strongly opposed to Keystone XL.

Four tribal nations and a number of grassroots Native groups, each belonging to the Oceti Sakowin, have petitioned to intervene. Those tribes are the Cheyenne River, Rosebud, Standing Rock, and Yankton Sioux Tribes. Dakota Rural Action, the Indigenous Environmental Network, and several South Dakota landowners have also petitioned to intervene. This coalition, called No KXL Dakota, is comprised of tribal nations, non-profit organizations, individual tribal citizens and non-tribal landowners, each dedicated to the protection of Mother Earth and the natural resources of South Dakota.

TransCanada opposed the intervention of several applicants to party status, including the Intertribal Council on Utility Policy and the Rosebud Sioux Tribe Utility Commission Office, both Native entities dealing with energy issues in South Dakota.

This high-profile pipeline battle has intensified with the South Dakota congressional race. Republican candidate Mike Rounds is the only candidate fully endorsing the pipeline, while Democratic opponent Rick Weiland has gained local support because of his opposition to Keystone XL and Independent Larry Pressler has also courted the Native vote.

Lewis Grassrope of Wiconi Un Tipi: “We are here to ensure that this committee [the PUC] hears our voice on this opposition to the pipeline or any pipeline through these lands.”

Joye Braun of Pte Ospaye Spirit Camp: “Pte Ospaye Spiritual Camp mission is stand in opposition to the Keystone XL Pipeline and the social evils that come with Big Oil, to educate the people about the KXL Pipeline, fracking, and the pollution that occurs with oil production. Pte Ospaye Spiritual Camp is located just outside of the Bridger Community on the Cheyenne River Sioux Reservation and 2.2 miles from where the proposed Keystone XL Pipeline proposes to go through. It is a hugely historic area known for centuries as a crossroads for Natives Peoples to travel through on their way to the Black Hills. It is ground zero for the Lakota people fighting this pipeline as it would have to pass through this area first to try and get to the other camps and Nebraska.”

No KXL Dakota allies have pledged to stand their ground and not back down in the now local battle over property, land, water, human trafficking, and treaty rights.

Press conference: Capitol Building sidewalk, 15 minutes after PUC hearing ends

Dakota Rural Action will be live-tweeting the PUC hearing; follow @DakotaRural

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Filed under Actions / Protest, Indigenous Peoples, Keystone XL