Sandra Steingraber is a New York State anti-natural gas activist extraordinaire, teacher, eco-biologist, author, and parent. She is also a cancer survivor–a cancer linked to drinking water contamination. She has written several books including Living Downstream: an Ecologists Personal Investigation of Cancer and the Environment, and Raising Elijah: Protecting Children in an Age of Environmental Crisis. The book is named after her son and is about all of our children, ourselves, and our friends and families that are being raised and living on the contemporary earth. In it she reminds us that there are thousands of human made toxic chemicals, including at least 200 known brain poisons that flow freely.
Today Steingraber is in jail, again, standing up for all of us. She is defending us against a corporate economic culture that cares about profit and expansion and not much else. A few years back, when she was in the Chemung County Jail, that time over an “Earth Day” remembrance, she said about her choice to go to jail: “A heroic narrative is a substantial one. Against all odds, it is possible that standing up can make a difference. Every person has the opportunity to have a heroic narrative in their lives, and so when our children ask- Are we going to die, it is the beginning of a heroic narrative to say, No–I am on the job, I will help make a difference.”
Sandra Steingraber wrote this letter for EcoWatch from the Chemung County Jail this morning to share with our readers and beyond.
Steingraber published a new letter from the Chemung County Jail in EcoWatch on 21 November 2014. An excerpt from “Why I am in Jail” is below.
Back in September, world leaders and major corporations joined the New York Declaration on Forests at the UN Climate Summit. From Germany to the U.S., Nestle to Kellogg’s, the signatures on this no-deforestation policy, according to an article on Earth Island Journal, definitely raise a few eyebrows.
But are they really doing anything to stop razing the land?
An estimated 80 percent of forest destruction in Indonesia between 2000 and 2012 was illegal. Palm plantations were responsible for three-quarters of this illegal deforestation. Photo: Rainforest Action Network
Seneca Lake is one of New York State’s Finger Lakes. The ecology of the area makes this a distinct bio-region. This is a popular tourist area, an important agricultural area (wine and grapes), and an area of both subtle and dramatic beauty. These lakes in west central New York were the heart of the Haudenosaunee homeland. It was defended from European colonization until the 18th century when the 1779 Sullivan Expedition slashed, burned and murdered its way through the territory and effectively ended the reign of the people.
Later, the region became home to various civil rights activists including Harriet Tubman, Elizabeth Cady Stanton, and Susan B. Anthony. Seneca Falls, located between Seneca and Cayuga lakes, is birthplace of the women’s suffrage movement and has always been a place of activism. It was also the model for Bedford Falls, portrayed in Frank Capra’s iconic movie “It’s a Wonderful Life.” Ithaca, New York, home to Cornell University and Ithaca College, is nearby.
The Earth First! Newswire is doing an excellent job reporting on the Burnaby Mountain land defenders. Read here for their account and follow the Burnaby Mountain Updates on Facebook, which also includes ways to support the land defenders.
Burnaby: New Lockdown after Tree-sitter Shot with “Less Than Lethal” Round
from Earth First! News, 20 November 2014, in the afternoon.
Local activist and video journalist Devin Gillan has reported that RCMP officers admit shooting the tree-sitter with a “less-than-lethal” shotgun round. (The same thing occurred when police extracted protestors from the Willits tree-sit in California.)
By Anne Petermann, Executive Director, Global Justice Ecology Project, 20 November 2014
Global Justice Ecology Project is in Paraguay for two weeks of meetings to strategize means to address the impacts of wood-based bioenergy, genetically engineered trees and livestock on deforestation levels, and the solutions to the climate change and deforestation crisis provided by local communities maintaining and caring for their traditional lands.
Aydah from the Solomon Islands speaks at the meeting. If biomass energy is not stopped, her islands will continue to drown. Photo credit: GJEP-GFC
Today’s meetings included the participation of activists from throughout Africa, Asia, the South Pacific, North and South America and Eastern and Western Europe. The topic at hand was the problem of wood-based bioenergy–specifically electricity derived from cutting down forests, destroying biodiversity, polluting the atmosphere and displacing forest-based Indigenous and local communities.
Biomass also comes with an enormous cost in waste. In the Drax UK biomass plant, Biofuelwatch has calculated that of every three trees burned, two are wasted as heat. Half of one UK power station takes more wood than the entire UK produces every year and supplies only 4.6% of the country’s electricity demand. These power stations require co-generation with coal, so increased use of biomass = increased use of coal. Without the biomass conversion, this Drax plant would have had to close by 2016. The conversion to co-generation with biomass is allowing it to stay open, enabling continued and increased use of coal.
Filed under Biodiversity, Bioenergy / Agrofuels, Biofuelwatch, Climate Change, Climate Justice, False Solutions to Climate Change, Forests, Forests and Climate Change, Indigenous Peoples, Pollution, The Greed Economy and the Future of Forests
The trial of Henry Harris, charged with trespassing at Vermont Gas Systems’ (VGS) headquarters in South Burlington on May 27th, ended today with a not guilty verdict. Harris and other members of Rising Tide Vermont blockaded the main entrance of VGS and dropped a massive banner from the roof, demanding the company immediately cancel its plans to build the fracked gas pipeline.
While we continue to be beleaguered in Buffalo by this historic storm, we remain cheerful and optimistic that spring will be here again, eventually. Really, we do believe this. Meanwhile, here is our photo for today–still a State of Emergency, still a widening travel ban, and still being pummeled by raging snows. We have hit 6 feet of snow and are counting at my home. 2 more feet possible by tomorrow. Power remains on. National Guard is getting stuck!
Buffalo photo of the day, November 20, 2014
This past Monday, the New York Times published the following somewhat hopeful piece about the Monarch Butterflies current conditions. The piece reveals that some well-intentioned conservation strategies have unintended consequences and that not all Milkweeds are created equal. An important read for all of us.
Monarchs at Parque Nacional El Cimatario, Mexico, November 2010- Photo by Jajean Rose Burney
The below press release and letter was originally posted 12 November 2014 by awasMIFEE!, a group of independent activists in the UK in solidarity with the people of the Merauke and elsewhere in West Papua threatened by the Merauke Integrated Food and Energy Estate (MIFEE) mega-project for the pulp and oil palm industries.