Forest Management Practices Benefitting Industry Can Do Harm

Josh Schlosshburg, our good friend at the Energy Justice Network and a frequent contributor to Climate Connections, shared this recent article from the Oregonian. The article was reposed on the Energy Justice Network’s (EJN) website which features Josh’s Blog. The EJN website and Josh’s Blog are a tremendous source of news and information about biomass issues and feature almost daily updates on the important energy and justice issues that are at the heart of our own GJEP activism. At the EJN site you will find information and articles about  biomass incineration, biofuels, natural gas, coal, nuclear, energy and climate policy, and Zero Waste. EJN is on our daily reading list, and it could/should be on yours.

Some forest management practices such as thinning may benefit the biofuel industry, but they make fires hotter, faster growing, and more difficult to fight.

Some forest management practices such as thinning and clear cutting may benefit the timber and biofuel industry, but they make fires hotter, faster growing, and more difficult to fight.

Forest Thinning Will Increase Wildfire Risk

Charles Thomas, The Oregonian

As fires again rage across the West, senators from John McCain, R-Ariz., to Ron Wyden, D-Ore., echo the refrain “thin the forests” to prevent wildfires. Unfortunately, most of the advocated thinning will actually stoke the wildfires of the future rather than lessen their occurrence and impacts.

Thinning prescriptions proposed in Wyden’s O&C legislation, designed by eminent foresters Jerry Franklin and Norm Johnson, will stimulate hotter, faster-growing wildfires that are more hazardous to fight. These prescriptions drastically thin forest canopies through timber sales designed primarily to generate timber volume, often leaving the slash and smaller shrubs and trees for non-commercial fire hazard reduction projects that are usually underfunded, unable to match the pace of canopy thinning projects and clear-cuts across the landscape.

Thinning forest canopies opens the stands to more sunlight, which encourages growth of fine fuels, including shrubs, small trees and grasses. Penetration of sunlight and dry summer winds effectively increases the active fire season by drying this new growth and leftover logging slash much faster than in adjacent unlogged forest stands, where greater canopy closure with tall shade columns retains moisture in soils and vegetation.

Active fire season begins weeks earlier in thinned forests and lasts weeks later, drastically increasing the time span during which dry forest conditions contribute to rapid fire spread. These dry, thinned forests often burn hotter and more erratically than unthinned stands, even causing retreat of firefighters when conditions become too dangerous to maintain fire lines.

Read the complete article at Energy Justice Network 

 

 

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Earth Watch: Michele Roberts on environmental racism and fence-line communities

imgresListen to Michele Roberts, national co-coordinator for Environmental Justice and Health Alliance for Chemical Policy Reform and a co-author of the new report, Who’s in Danger: Race, Poverty and Chemical Disasters.

Earth Watch is coordinated by GJEP in partnership with KPFK. 

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Earth Minute on Russia’s Repression of Eco-Activists

Global Justice Ecology Project partners with KPFK Pacifica’s Sojourner Truth show on weekly Earth Minutes and Earth Watch interviews.  GJEP ED Anne Petermann writes and records the weekly Earth Minutes.

Transcript:

On July 21st, the Russian government accused EcoDefense, one of the oldest environmental groups in Russia, of being a “foreign agent,” effectively criminalizing their environmental and social justice work.  I have long been familiar with the important work of EcoDefense, since meeting them at a meeting they hosted in Kaliningrad in 1995.

The motivations for Russia’s repressive move is likely due to the effective campaigns of EcoDefense since even before the collapse of the Soviet Union, when EcoDefense was occupying smoke stacks to protest polluting industries.   The accusation against EcoDefense comes now likely due to their campaign against a Baltic nuclear plant under construction near Kaliningrad.

Friends of the Earth France has demanded Russia drop their persecution of EcoDefense, pointing out that protesting nuclear power is a democratic right.

They want Russia to remove Ecodefense from the “foreign agent” roster, repeal the related “foreign agent” law, and to respect the civil and democratic rights of Russian citizens advocating for social and environmental justice.

For the Earth Minute and the Sojourner Truth show, this is Anne Petermann from Global Justice Ecology Project.

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Filed under Actions / Protest, Earth Minute, Earth Radio, Nuclear power, Political Repression, Uncategorized

Mongabay reports on Mapuche battle with tree plantations in Chile, how forests defined

 

Photo: Caroline/Intercontinental Cry

Photo: Caroline/Intercontinental Cry

This great article came out earlier in the week, but got lost in the busyness. Julian Moll-Rocek here discusses the longterm fight of the Mapuche to protect their forests, going back in the contemporary period to Pinochet. 

Moll-Rocek also addresses the continuing debate over what qualifies as a forest, tied to the expansion of tree plantations. 

Global Justice Ecology Project has worked in partnership with the Mapuche group Konapewman in the Lumaco District of Chile, and has been following the unceasing industrial assault on Mapuche territories for several years.

When forests aren’t really forests: the high cost of Chile’s tree plantations
Julian Moll-Rocek, Mongabay.com correspondent. August 18, 2014

At first glance, the statistics tell a hopeful story: Chile’s forests are expanding. According to Global Forest Watch, overall forest cover changes show approximately 300,000 hectares were gained between 2000 and 2013 in Chile’s central and southern regions. Specifically, 1.4 million hectares of forest cover were gained, while about 1.1 million hectares were lost.

On the ground, however, a different scene plays out: monocultures have replaced diverse natural forests while Mapuche native protesters burn pine plantations, blockade roads and destroy logging equipment. At the crux of these two starkly contrasting narratives is the definition of a single word: “forest.”

The Mapuche people have been fighting for their ancestral land rights since the arrival of the Spanish conquistadors in Chile in the 1540s. In 1970 it seemed they had finally found a benefactor in socialist president Salvador Allende, who promised major land redistribution. Their hopes were cut short when, at the height of the Cold War, General Augusto Pinochet came to power in 1973 with the help of the C.I.A. Pinochet’s wave of neoliberal reforms included Forest Ordinance 701, passed in 1974, which subsidized the expansion of tree plantations under the pretext of reducing erosion and gave the National Forestry Corporation control of Mapuche lands.

Read more at Mongabay.com.

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Human rights and environmental concerns intersect with the murders of Honduran children deported from the US

All across the globe people are displaced because of violence.

These displacements are stimulated by land grabs, often incentivized by economic policies and politics that turn traditional lands into plantations for so-called green energy strategies.

If you are a regular reader of Climate Connections you know that these include giant wind farms, genetically engineered tree plantations, biomass farms, or other exploitive economic schemes that loot the land and kill the people.

All across the globe there are real faces and real people that suffer the tremendous consequences of the kind of exploitation. It is rooted in the rise of the dominant culture that promotes profit for the few and an apocalypse for the many.

Global Justice Ecology Project focuses on these intersections and we have written about this frequently. Our publication Green Shock Doctrine is an important piece that promotes a fundamental need for systematic change as a strategy for transforming the planet to a truly livable and sustainable place for all of us.

Those that defend deportation of political, economic, and environmental refugees, those that stand next to busses of frightened and detained children along our borders, those that literally rock the busses and threaten to set fire to them, are either ignorant of the US role in the economic exploitation of these cultures and the resulting impact on climate change, or are deliberately set upon the poor people of the earth in a genocidal campaign to eliminate humanity from this earth.  Look into the lives of these children and their families and understand what we have done.

Five Children Murdered After They Were Deported Back to Honduras
By Esther Yu-Hsi Lee. ThinkProgress. August 19, 2014.

A volunteer brings water, food, and diapers to Central-American women and children dropped off at the Greyhound bus station in Phoenix, Arizona. CREDIT: VALERIA FERNÁNDEZ/ AP

A volunteer brings water, food, and diapers to Central-American women and children dropped off at the Greyhound bus station in Phoenix, Arizona.
CREDIT: VALERIA FERNÁNDEZ/ AP

Between five and ten migrant children have been killed since February after the United States deported them back to Honduras, a morgue director told the Los Angeles Times. Lawmakers have yet to come up with best practices to deal with the waves of unaccompanied children apprehended by Border Patrol agents, but some politicians refute claims that children are fleeing violence and are opting instead to fund legislation that would fast-track their deportations.

San Pedro Sula morgue director Hector Hernandez told the Los Angeles Times that his morgue has taken in 42 dead children since February. According to an interview with relatives by the LA Times, one teenager was shot dead hours after getting deported. Last year, San Pedro Sula saw 187 killings for every 100,000 residents, a statistic that has given the city the gruesome distinction as the murder capital of the world. That distinction has also been backed up by an U.S. Customs and Border Protection agency infographic, which found that many Honduran children are on the run from extremely violent regions “where they probably perceive the risk of traveling alone to the U.S. preferable to remaining at home.” Hugo Ramon Maldonado of the Committee for the Protection of Human Rights in Honduras believes that about 80 percent of Hondurans making the exodus are fleeing crime or violence.

Read the whole article here.

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Filed under Actions / Protest, Biodiversity, Bioenergy / Agrofuels, Campaign to STOP GE Trees, Chiapas, Climate Change, Climate Justice, Commodification of Life, Corporate Globalization, False Solutions to Climate Change, Green Economy, Illegal logging, Indigenous Peoples, Latin America-Caribbean, Migration/Migrant Justice, Political Repression, Politics, Racism, Rights, Resilience, and Restoration, Uncategorized

IPS reports on GE Trees in Brazil and the US

Banner photo (Plantations Are Not Forests):  Petermann/GJEP-GFC

Banner photo (Plantations Are Not Forests): Petermann/GJEP-GFC

Yesterday, the Campaign to STOP GE Trees put out a press release announcing itself as a global initiative of groups mobilized to stop commercial release of genetically engineered eucalyptus trees in Brazil and the US.

Carey Biron of the Inter Press Service picked up the story, providing a great account of the GE trees and especially how their connections to the already devastating social and ecological impacts of industrial tree plantations.

Global Justice Ecology Project coordinates the Campaign to STOP GE Trees.

U.S., Brazil Nearing Approval of Genetically Engineered Trees

By Carey L. Biron. IPS News Agency. August 20, 2014.

WASHINGTON, Aug 20 2014 (IPS) - The U.S. and Brazilian governments are moving into the final stages of weighing approval for the commercialisation of genetically engineered eucalyptus trees, moves that would mark the first such permits anywhere in the world.

The Brazilian government is slated to start taking public comments on such a proposal during the first week of September. Similarly, U.S. regulators have been working on an environmental impact assessment since early last year, a highly anticipated draft of which is expected to be released any day.

Read more of Biron’s article at the IPS website.

 

 

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Filed under Bioenergy / Agrofuels, GE Trees, South America, Tree Plantations

An Activist and Photojournalist’s Thoughts on Ferguson, MO

Orin Langelle, director of Langelle Photography, a project of the Global Justice Ecology Project, has been shooting images from the front lines of international social and climate justice events and protests for decades. As a concerned photographer and Missouri native, he is especially moved by the riots, protests and police brutality erupting in Ferguson, MO. The situation reminds him of a demonstration at the National Governors’ Association Conference in Burlington, VT, in 1995.

Two protesters are arrested attempting to blockade President Bill Clinton’s motorcade during the National Governors’ Association Conference in Burlington, VT in 1995.  They were protesting to draw attention to the impending execution of political prisoner Mumia Abu-Jamal.

Two protesters are arrested attempting to blockade President Bill Clinton’s motorcade during the National Governors’ Association Conference in Burlington, VT in 1995. They were protesting to draw attention to the impending execution of political prisoner Mumia Abu-Jamal.

Langelle will soon open a new gallery, ¡Buen Vivir! in Buffalo, NY, featuring images he has taken from the front lines of the fight against social and environmental injustice. Read his original post here.

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Filed under Actions / Protest, Media, Photo Essays by Orin Langelle

From Ferguson to Africa: The Tentacles of Institutional Racism

It is not only in Ferguson, MO where state-sanctioned and institutional racism is being exposed.  This new report demonstrates how the majority white UK is trying to convince Africans to grow and eat dangerous genetically engineered crops that have been rejected in Britain and the European Union.

British think tank tells Africans to grow and eat GMOs

by Claire Robinson,

Chatham House, GM and Africa

Chatham House report misleads about GMO risks and promises, writes Claire Robinson

report from the British foreign policy think tank Chatham House on agricultural biotechnology in Africa claims that GM “offers advantages over conventional plant-breeding approaches”.

The report notes, “Accordingly there are a various projects under way to develop new GM varieties for African farmers, ranging from drought-resistant maize to varieties of cassava, banana, sorghum, cowpea and sweet potato with resistance to pests and disease.”

Mercifully the report’s release has been low-key in the UK, where the long-suffering public must be tired of hearing rich white Brits telling Africans that they should grow and eat experimental GM crops on the basis of no evidence that they will be beneficial.

It is, however, being publicised in Africa.

For the entire article, click here

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Filed under Actions / Protest, Africa, Biodiversity, Commodification of Life, Genetic Engineering, Industrial agriculture, Racism