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Space for Movement? Reflections from Bolivia on climate justice, social movements and the state.

Space for Movement?

Space for Movement?

Reflections from Bolivia on climate justice, social movements and the state

In the wake of the failed COP-15 in Copenhagen last December, Bolivia’s first indigenous president called for a World People’s Conference on Climate Change and the Rights of Mother Earth (CMPCC). Was this the necessary space for social movements to respond where governments and the UN have failed? Was it an attempt to co-opt radical demands? Following the CMPCC in Cochabamba, April 2010, this booklet reflects on the lessons from Bolivia and the role of movements in the fight for climate justice.

Download a copy of the book here!

To get a hard copy of the book, for a suggested donation of £2.50 (€3) email us at buildingclimatejustice (at)


Edited by the Building Bridges Collective- an ad-hoc group made up of 8 people that came together through our shared interest in the CMPCC, put in touch with each other through friends and contacts.

As individuals we are involved with various autonomous political groups and networks including Rising Tide, No Borders, Climate Justice Action, Camp for Climate Action, Carbon Trade Watch, Somos Sur, Trapese Popular Education Collective, and EYFA.

However, the thoughts, analyses and perspectives in this booklet are ours and do
not, of course, represent the views of these groups or networks.

This booklet would not have been possible without the generous and thoughtful contributions of all the people we talked to and interviewed whilst in Bolivia.

We wrote, distributed an open letter to the participants of the conference and have used this as a basis of the interviews and the sections in this booklet, read it here.

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Filed under Cancun/ COP-16, Climate Change, Climate Justice, Cochabamba, Copenhagen/COP-15, Independent Media, Indigenous Peoples, New Voices in the News

2nd Mexican statement towards Cancún

2nd Mexican statement towards Cancún
(Diálogo Cambio Climático – Espacio Mexicano frente a la Crisis Climática)

August, 2010

The  Espacio Mexicano frente a la Crisis Climática[1] (ES-MEX) and the Diálogo Climático, Encuentro de las voces de los pueblos y los movimientos frente a la crisis climática[2], join together civil society and social movement actors interested in exchanging information, discussing the main topics of the climate crisis, promoting political mobilization and bringing together educational actions and others in order to spread information in face of the next (16th) Conference of the Parties of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP 16), which will take place between 29th November -  10th December 2010 in Cancún, Mexico.

It is a pluralistic and open space, in which different opinions, strategies and political cultures are expressed, and at the same time it is organized based on a clear political stance for common action.

The Diálogo Climático and ES-MEX consider the creation of consensus as an open and honest process of dialogue and discussion, recognizing that there exist different initiatives and groups acting in the COP 16 process and afterwards both at a national and at an international level. The Diálogo Climático and ES-MEX are considered to be part of the Mexican social movement and therefore we invite other national and international initiatives to an open dialogue in order to establish the agreements needed to unify the national and international civil society actions. Thus we have called for the Diálogo Climático, Encuentro de las voces de los pueblos y los movimientos frente a la crisis climática, with the aim to create a platform of both the national and international civil society actors towards the COP 16, as well as of the actions organized both in Cancún and in other parts of the country and the world.

The opportunity of common actions and strategies is based on a shared political position towards the main topics and actors within the global climate crisis and as well as on the will of giving a voice to the civil society, thus putting consensus in the center. Simultaneously, a debate about topics and strategies, on which different ideas and positions exist, is favored, with the aim of deepening the analysis and the exchange of ideas and information.


The Diálogo Climático and ES-MEX consider climate change not only an environmental problem, but  the reflection of a global crisis with multiple dimensions: economic, social, cultural and political. The main problem is an unjust and unsustainable model of production and consumption, which has caused climate change, social inequalities, poverty, exclusion, gender inequity and environmental exploitation.

As citizens, we recognize that we are responsible for the environmental deterioration and the damage of the earth, and we assume that it is necessary to act as a consequence exerting our citizen rights. Nevertheless we put emphasis on the necessity to face the structural causes of the climate crisis which are to be found, as mentioned above, in the unsustainable model of production and consumption being the most responsible the highly industrialized economies , as it is already recognized in the  United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change.

The disastrous failure of COP 15 and the Copenhagen “agreement” show that the governments are far from making real commitments when it comes to the reduction of emissions and to the changes needed to get to the root of the problem. Therefore it is urgent and necessary to increase the power of the people and the organized civil society in order to favour a real solution to the climate crisis.

The proposal we impel is not circumscribed to actions within the ongoing international meetings, in this case COP 16, but to the creation of  local and national agendas to unite the global movement for climate justice. This implies multiple and decentralized processes which include the commitment of many organizations and movements of every state and region in Mexico and from all over the world.

We state that it is necessary to analyze, to understand, and to revive those civil society documents and declarations which came up in international events, in particular the agreement drawn up at Rio ’92 “For fair, democratic and sustainable cities, villages and settlements” and the Peoples’ Declaration about Climate Change, emanated from the Cochabamba Peoples Summit last April.

We promote the analysis of the different governmental positions and of other actors intervening in the international negotiations and debates, but we hold the view that the articulation of Mexican movements can only come from local organizations and not from international nominations. As a civil society platform we are autonomous form the government and political parties.

The organizations which promote this initiative provide their links to international organizations in order to strengthen a common platform on which Mexican organizations host a space for the global movement within the preparation process towards Cancún.


We declare that we promote at least five types of strategies which will make the proposals and claims of the people and the organized civil society in the COP 16 process visible.

1.      Analysis and discussion in order to reach consent on positions and proposals towards the climate crisis by means of organizing seminars, round-table conferences, workshops etc. jointly between national and international organizations or through the initiatives of multiple actors, previously and during the COP 16.

2.      Realization of a new session of the International Climate Justice Tribunal as an international initiative which we join and consider a privileged space for Mexican and international movements to denounce their cases.

3.      Social mobilization that expresses the voice of the peoples and social movements in the streets by means of organizing protest marches, meetings, sit-ins and cultural and educational events.  The organization of an unitary march in Cancún and concerted actions at other places throughout the country and the whole world at the same time, are desirable.

4.      Joining together local, national and international organizations in order to generate a geographic space and an activity calendar spread unitarily which facilitates the diversity of proposals, opinions, strategies and actions. This implies a register of participants and self-organized events, in order to look for coverage of the basic logistic requests of the different national and international action initiatives.

5.      Information and public spreading in the media of proposals and actions that give visibility to civil society, strengthen the educational work and the local, national and international struggles by means of writing declarations, documents, press releases, communiqués etc.

We respect organizations which decide to combine advocacy and mobilization strategies (the “inside and outside” strategy) at the COP 16, but we do not accept any initiatives that declare themselves as being the sole representative of civil society.

We call for persons, organizations, networks and movements to join the creation of a strong and unitary forum towards the climate crisis by means of:

1.      Signing on to the announcement of  “Diálogo Climático, Encuentro de las voces de los pueblos y los movimientos frente a la crisis climática” and the registration of participation in Cancún, which can be found at:

2.      Registering activities to be made in Cancún, which we suggest to be concentrated between December 6th and 10th.

3.      Organization of seminars, round-table conferences, workshops and meetings in order to discuss the climate crisis and participate in the construction of a local, national and international agenda about the climate crisis, which gives way to a discussion agenda and the positioning of the Mexican and the international movement in Cancún.

4.      Contribute to the construction of a concerted action platform of civil society previously to and during Cancún.

Mexican organizations:

Peasant Organizations:
Consejo Nacional de Organizaciones Campesinas (CONOC)
Coordinadora Nacional Plan de Ayala (CNPA)
Asociación Mexicana de Uniones de Crédito del Sector Social (AMUCSS)
Asociación Nacional de Empresas Comercializadoras de Productores del Campo (ANEC)
Alianza Nacional de Agropecuaria y Pesquera, El Barzón
Movimiento Agrario Indígena Zapatista (MAIZ)
Frente Democrática Campesino de Chihuahua (FDC)
Red Mexicana de Organizaciones Campesinas Forestales (RED MOCAF)
Unión de Pueblos de Morelos (UPM)

Environmental Organizations:
Asociación Interamericana de Defensa del Medio Ambiente (AIDA)
Bio TU
Bios-Iguana, A.C.
Centro Mexicano de Derecho Ambiental (CEMDA)
Grupo de Estudios Ambientales (GEA)
Coalición de Organizaciones Mexicanas por el Derecho al Agua (COMDA)
Presencia Ciudadana Mexicana AC
Otros Mundos Chiapas- Amigos de la Tierra México
350 Org
Guardianes de los Volcanes
Marea Creciente México
Sakbe Comunicación Ambiental
Fondo para la Comunicación y la Educación Ambiental, A.C.
Red Manglar México
Caza Imagen
Red de Organizaciones Ambientalistas de Zihuatanejo (ROGAZ)
Centro de Capacitacion Investigación y Desarrollo Tecnológico en Energía y Sustentabilidad, A.C.  (CCIDTE)
Colectivo Ecologista de Jalisco.
Movimientos ecologistas de tabasco METAB. A.C

Organizations for Gender Justice:
Red Nacional Género y Economía
Red de Género y Medio Ambiente.
Equidad de Género: Ciudadanía, Trabajo y Familia, A.C.
Asociación Mexicana de Mujeres Líderes Microempresarias
Frente Cívico Netzahualcoyotl, A.C
Servicios Integrales para Mujeres Emprendedoras A.C. (SIEMBRA)
Red de Investigadoras por la Vida y la Libertad de las Mujeres
Centro de Apoyo Solidario, Documentación y Estudio A.C.
Colectivo Feminista Binacional-Baja California
Mujeres Organizadas en Pie de Lucha A.C.
Unión Campesina Democrática-Tlaxcala
Mujeres por México en Chihuahua. A.C.
Mujeres para el Dialogo  (MpD)
Red de Investigadoras por la Vida y la Libertad de las Mujeres A.C
Centro Laboral México, IAP
Colectivo de Mujeres de Sonora
Mujeres Trabajadoras Unidas, A.C.
Red de Mujeres Radialistas
Red de Mujeres Lideres por la Equidad y una Vida Libre de Violencia, A.C.
Centro de Apoyo para el Movimiento Popular de Occidente A.C.
Alianza Feminista de Nuevo León
Mujer y Medio Ambiente
Masculinidad y Políticas, A.C.

Organizations of the Urban Popular Movement, Unions and Workers Organizations:
Unión Popular Revolucionaria Emiliano Zapata (UPREZ)
Unión Popular Valle Gómez
Movimiento Urbano Popular-CND / RMALC
Patria Nueva
Comité de Lucha Popular
Barzón de la Ciudad de México.
Unión Popular Benita Galeana.
Coordinadora de Organizaciones Sociales Unión de Colonias Populares
Asamblea de Barrios Santa Maria la Ribera
Central Unitaria de Trabajadores
Asamblea de Barrios Ciudad de México
Federación de Organizaciones del Autotransporte de Turismo Similares y Conexos de la República Mexicana
Sociedad Organizada en Lucha
Proyectos Populares.
Frente Auténtico del Trabajo
Unión Popular Democrática. Cancún
Cooperativa de Vivienda Digna
Fundación Valle Verde
Asociación para la Vivienda y el Bienestar Social
Taller de Comunicación Popular – UPD, Quintana Roo
Unión de Colonos Inquilinos y Solicitantes de Vivienda de Veracruz (UCISVER)
Alianza Internacional de Habitantes (AIH – México)
Asamblea de Barrios Vanguardia Ciudadana
Coordinadora Metropolitana de Movimientos Sociales
Frente Nacional del Movimiento Urbano Popular
Fuerza Ciudadana
Superbarrio Gómez
UPREZ – Benito Juárez
UPREZ – Centro
Movimiento Popular Francisco Villa
Central Unitaria de Trabajadores
Siervos de la Nación
Unión de Colonias Populares
Consejo de Defensa de la Vivienda
Consejo Campesino Urbano Popular Obrero
Unión de Asociaciones Civiles de Cuajimalpa
Sindicato de Trabajadores Administrativos de la Universidad Juárez Autónoma de Tabasco (STAIUJAT).

Sindicato Nacional de Trabajadores del Seguro Social (SNTSS) sección XXVI
Sindicato de Telefonistas de la República Mexicana (STRM) sección 80.
Sindicato Independiente Nacional de Trabajadores de la Salud (SINTS) sección Tabasco.
Comité Nacional de Estudios de la Energía (CNEE) Tabasco.

Organizations and movements against megaprojects, dams and free trade:
Consejo de Ejidos y Comunidades Opositores a la Presa la Parota (CECOP)
Alianza Mexicana por la Autodeterminación de los Pueblos (AMAP)
Red Mexicana de Acción Frente al Libre Comercio (RMALC)
Red Mexicana de Afectados por la Minería (REMA)
Movimiento Mexicano de Afectados por las Presas y en Defensa de los Ríos (MAPDER)

Organizations from civil society and the academic field:
Centro Operacional de Vivienda y Poblamiento (COPEVI)
Colectivo ADA
Colectivo Luna Sexta
El Poder del Consumidor
Instituto Maya
Instituto Mexicano de Educación para el Consumo, A. C
Abogados Democráticos de Quintana Roo
Fundar Centro de Análisis

Fundación Heinrich Böll Stiftung. Oficina Regional para México, Centroamérica y El Caribe

This is still opened for signatures

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Filed under Actions / Protest, Cancun/ COP-16, Climate Change, Climate Justice, Independent Media, Indigenous Peoples, Media, New Voices in the News

Dispatch 1: Rumbo a Cochabamba

Cross posted from Movement Generation’s Justice and Ecology Project:

Dispatch 1: Rumbo a Cochabamba
April 19, 2010, en route to Cochabamba

By Jason Negrón-Gonzales

Movement Generation Justice & Ecology Project

I’m writing from the plane in route to Cochabamba for the People’s World Conference on Climate Change and Rights of the Mother Earth.  For those who aren’t familiar with the conference, it was proposed by Bolivian president Evo Morales in the aftermath of the COP15 conference in Copenhagen last December.  While that conference was billed early as “Hopenhagen”, this week’s meetings in Cochabamba, Bolivia hold the real seeds of hope for a global response to climate chaos that is rooted in justice, equity, and historical accountability, and led by global social movements of workers, farmers, and the poor.

What’s at stake?

While the world needed and hoped for a responsible and sufficient (if not radical) response to climate change, or at least a solid step in that direction, instead what we got in Copenhagen was more of the same: corporations and developed countries trying to extend their advantage and wealth.  The class character of the debate was striking.  One the one hand, delegates from Global South and Indigenous communities who are least to blame for emissions and are facing the loss of the livelihoods and homelands were demanding strong action now.  On the other, economic powerhouses like the US, which consumes about a quarter of the global energy supply, refused to be accountable for the environmental impacts of their economies and way of life.

Turning to the US situation for a second, as we’ve seen with healthcare, the Democratic Party has been extremely ineffective in capitalizing on their majority to push strong progressive legislation through Congress.  Why?  Because as a party they aren’t progressive, and they are just as beholden to corporate interests as the Republicans.  The US attempt to pass domestic climate legislation, called ACES, started too weak and quickly became weaker under the attacks of Republicans (and Democrats) in Congress from big agriculture, coal and oil industry states.

So, given this difficult situation at home, the US delegation decided not to lead but also not to get out of the way.  President Obama couldn’t (or wouldn’t attempt to) pass the strong climate legislation needed at home.  He might then have said, “You know guys, I can’t make it happen at home.  I’m doing the best I can, but in the mean time we want to support the strongest international plan that we can.”

But he didn’t do that.  Instead the US tried to turn back the clock, scrapping the progress made with the Kyoto Protocol and fighting for a new accord, the Copenhagen Accord, that it pulled together in a back room deal.  (Even with it’s flaws, the Kyoto Protocol contained some language and mechanisms that Global South nations wanted to move forward on rather than starting from scratch.)  The Copenhagen Accord offers no shared targets for emissions reductions but rather takes whatever each country wants to offer up and aggregates these commitments as a plan. Then, if the bad back-room plan wasn’t enough, the US showed up waving money to buy delegates just like congress people get bought and sold at home.  In response to this crass display, a delegate from Africa replied that the money offered wouldn’t be enough to pay for their coffins.

The Road to Cancun

Today negotiations continue but the US has taken the hard-line strategy of pushing its back room Copenhagen Accord like it’s the new basis of negotiations.  In the last week: 1. The US announced that it won’t provide climate aid to any country that doesn’t support the Copenhagen Accord, 2. The game plan from the Obama administration was leaked, revealing a plan to ram the accords through in their entirety and to do small “intimate” meetings with Big Green NGO’s to get them on board, and 3. At a follow up meeting to Copenhagen in Bonn, the Mexican delegation which will host the next COP announced that they there was no plan to continue the main tracks of negotiation in Mexico, another nod towards the US attempt to suspend open debate by all nations and ram the Copenhagen Accord through.  Scandalous!

All of which brings us to Cochabamba.  The Obama administration stated explicitly that they would give no money to Bolivia based on their opposition to the Copenhagen Accord.  Now Bolivia is hosting governments, NGO’s, and social movements from all over the world to build something better.  A head to head battle is shaping up – democracy vs. the back room, accountability vs. impunity, an uncompromising assertion of the dignity and value of all life vs. crass attempts to buy countries’ support.  I know what team I want to be on.

For those of us in the US who care about these issues, president Obama’s behavior is a bitter disappointment. The transition we have to make is a transition we want– not one that is forced on us by history.  We want a transition from a fossil-fueled economy.  We want sustainable communities built on principles of justice, equity, and democracy.  We want a world of good work, and good housing, where families, children, and communities count.  We want to meet our global obligations and to ensure that our sisters and brothers everywhere have what they need too.  That’s where I want my children to live.  And it’s why I’m in Bolivia with the Grassroots Global Justice Alliance, the Indigenous Environmental Network and other forces from across the globe who are working to build social movements with a strategy to win that world.

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From New Voices Speaker Ben Powless: The road from Copenhagen to Cochabamba passes through the Amazon – Part I

Published on (

The road from Copenhagen to Cochabamba passes through the Amazon – Part I
By Ben Powless Created Apr 14 2010 – 1:21pm

Soon thousands will meet in Cochabamba to talk climate justice. It is the voices of the Amazon we should listen to. A report from the Amazon.

The Amazon, it is often said, functions like the lungs of Mother Earth. The dense forest and undergrowth absorb much of the carbon dioxide that we manage to pump into the skies –- an ever more important and taxing effort in light of the threats to our climate.

Rio Wawas, Amazonas, Peru

In December, countries around the world gathered in Copenhagen to reach an agreement to protect the climate, even if purely face-saving, and failed. With that sour taste gone, Bolivia has invited governments, social movements, Indigenous Peoples, politicians, really anyone who cares, to attend the so-called World Peoples’ Conference on Climate Change and the Rights of Mother Earth [3]. The conference will be held the 19th-22nd in Cochabamba.

Ahead of that trip, I’ve flown into Lima, Peru to head back into the Amazon. It has been almost a year since the tragic day of June 5th, 2009 left over 30 people dead in the worst violence Peru has seen in modern history. The dispute was over a series of laws the government wanted to push through to open the Amazon to foreign companies, an effort linked to the Free Trade Agreement Peru’s President Alan Garcia signed with Canada and the United States. Amazon Indigenous Peoples resisted the laws with a blockade outside the town of Bagua, on the outskirts of the Amazon, and the government’s decision to send in armed forces still reverberates here. You can see my coverage from Peru last year here [4].

Bagua at Night

Indigenous groups here and elsewhere have maintained that their role in protecting their lands, their resources, their ecologies is paramount, and also serves the rest of humanity. In this case, the Awajun and Wampis peoples were concerned about the entry of oil companies into their lands, ultimately polluting the waters, the flora, the fauna, everything, as has been the case so many times in other parts of the Amazon.

A walk through the jungle outside Wawas, Amazonas, Peru

Bagua today is a much different place than in those tense days after June 5th, when military patrols roamed the streets, and a curfew kept people in hiding. Now, the only sense of tension was between teenage boys and girls in the plaza, whistling and blasting around on motorbikes. As they say, calm waters run deep, and the Amazon has a long memory.

I managed to catch up with Salomon Awananch, who since I ran into him last year, had been elevated to the position of Amazon Leader from his position leading the protests. He understood the protests had forced the government for the first time to seriously consider Indigenous cosmovisions. In order to further make the point, Amazon leaders had recently gathered to pass a resolution rejecting all transnational corporations from their lands, which has yet to be released. They are also heavily investing in an education plan which aims to keep Indigenous knowledge like traditional medicinal plant in use.

Salomon Awananch

At one point, I asked him about the film Avatar. He laughed a bit, admitting he really enjoyed the film, despite having lived a similar experience in the “Baguatar” episode last year. His demeanour hardened. “But if that happened again, it would be a complete war, the end of all dialogue. We have been open to dialogue this whole time, but the government hasn’t had the will (voluntad) to talk. Next time we won’t be protesting on the roads, we would be in the forests and mountains, where we couldn’t be defeated.”

The main threat now? It’s a Canadian mining company, Dorato Resources [5]. Dorato is looking for gold, one of the world’s oldest plunder-able resources, and Peru has much to offer as the 8h largest producer in the world. This mine would be unique, however, situated at the headwaters of the Cenepa River, in the Condor Mountain Range, a very sacred area to the Awajun and Wampis peoples who live downstream. For them, “you can’t touch this hill, you can’t interfere with it,” according to Edwin Montenegro, Secretary of the organization representing Indigenous Peoples of the north Amazon, ORPIAN.

Edwin Montenegro, explaining the Amazon river systems

“This mountain is very important to us. If it is destroyed, if the water is polluted, it is the end of all the Indigenous Peoples along the Cenepa,” continues Montenegro, from his office in Bagua. They also point out that this river flows into the Mariñon River, which flows into the Amazon – and any contaminants, such as mercury, would end up poisoning the Indigenous Peoples of all five water basins that make up the area. They even have a website [6], with a well-produced video overview, all in English.

“We need to do our own Environmental Impact Assessment to study the impacts. There are many understandings of man, territory and the forests. There exist great trees that have energy in them, and that force, that unity is lost when they are cut,” recounted Awananch. Even the mayor of Bagua has taken a stand against the mine. For the Awajun and Wampis, though, the stakes are much higher. “We’re ready to defend the land until the last consequences, and we have an agreement across the five basins of the Amazon to support our demands.”

Violeta, Widow of last year’s violence

I took a side trip to visit the Awajun communities of Wawas and La Curva, hours down the road from Bagua, where the families of victims of the 2009 violence lived. I had gone to drop off some photos to family members and other people in the community, but wasn’t expecting the results. Passing from community to community, by boat and jungle trail, we learned the loss of a community member had divided the community and many families, which was seen as the government’s fault, if not intention. After some unexpected conflict resolution, I was able to share the photos, which brought up many heartbreaking emotions from loved ones, and will hopefully help the children to remember. I also received testimony from Roman Jintach Chu, 45, who was also shot in the violence. In the end, Jintach’s family decided to honour me by naming a newborn baby after one of my family members.

Roman Jintach Chu

As I arrived in Lima on Monday, April 5th, a mining related protest [7] left six civilians dead and dozens wounded. Peru under Alan Garcia in particular has shown itself to be allergic to dialogue, and more than comfortable resolving disputes with a gun. This government is not alone in using force, when needed, to force compliance with corporate and governmental interests.

But it is the community members of places like Wawas and La Curva that must live with the consequences in the long term, and they are on the frontlines of protecting their rights, their environment, and in the end, all of us from the very activities that lead to climate calamities – loss of rainforest, oil refining, water poisoning. It is these very communities whose voices should be elevated and respected when pretending to be able to deal with a problem such as climate change while ignoring its predatory causes.

Community of Jaez

I left Bagua en route to Lamas, San Martin province, where Amazonian Kichwa communities were toiling to be recognized by the government and stop a biofuel company from taking their land. To be continued…

More photos will appear on Flickr [2].

Source URL (retrieved on Apr 16 2010 – 2:59pm):


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Filed under Climate Change, Climate Justice, Cochabamba, Copenhagen/COP-15, Forests and Climate Change, Indigenous Peoples, New Voices in the News

Earthquake in Chile – Locations and centers for help and support

Mother Nature has announced herself with much force in this part of the planet.  What a pity for the victims, for all the suffering that falls mainly on many working people, for the difficulties that the villages and communities in Chile will have, but there is still a great deal of life and opportunities for which we are grateful.

NASA says that the earthquake has turned the axis of the Earth and daylight has been reduced.  Mother Earth is irrational, isn’t she?  She’s bad, right…The telluric movement is also self-defense in the midst of the exploitation and abuse that is being meted out to her.  One might expect that the unscrupulous, the real pillagers, those who have plundered the very heart of the Earth are now rethinking.  Will they continue insisting on more hydroelectric dams in earthquake-prone areas?  Will they want to continue to implant ducts of cellulose and put at risk not only the sea but everything?  Will the same mine and forest exploitation continue contaminating, drying up the water, committing ecocide?  And we “the common and regular” people, the receivers, will we continue giving priority to social contamination through consumption, materialism, individualism and anxiety for power?

Following are details about places of interest, centers for help and information which will be available in a timely fashion on the web site of Mapuexpress.  There is still no support facility for Cobquecura, where 95% of the buildings fell and the families are in the hills.  As of today, the people there urgently need tents, milk and flour.

Cordial greetings,
Alfredo Seguel

Information About Help and Solidarity

Chile Ayuda
Buscador de Personas
Apoyo de Valdivia a Zona Lafkenche de Tirua
Centro de ayuda a Padre las Casas (al lado de Temuco)
Centros de apoyo en Temuco
Radio Bio Bio y servicios


La Madre Naturaleza se ha pronunciado y con mucha fuerza en esta parte del Planeta… Que pena por las víctimas, por todo el sufrimiento que recae principalmente en muchísima gente de esfuerzo y trabajo, por las dificultades que tendrán los pueblos y comunidades que coexisten en este País llamado Chile, pero todavía hay muchísima vida y oportunidades de las que tenemos que estar agradecidos.

La Nasa dice que  el terremoto ha girado el eje de la Tierra y se ha reducido la luz del día. ¿Qué irracional es la madre Tierra No? ¿Qué mala es cierto?… Su movimiento telúrico también es autodefensa en medio de toda la explotación y abuso que se está haciendo de ella. Es de esperar que los inescrupulosos, los del Pillaje verdadero, los que han saqueado hasta el corazón de la Tierra, ahora, se replanteen… ¿Seguirán insistiendo con más represas hidroeléctricas en zonas telúricas? ¿Querrán  seguir imponiendo ductos de  celulosas y poner en riesgo no solo el mar sino todo? ¿Seguirá la misma explotación minera y forestal a modo de ejemplo, contaminando, secando las aguas, cometiendo ecocidio? Y nosotr@s, los “comunes y corrientes”, los “receptores” seguiremos dando prioridad a la contaminación social por el consumo, el materialismo, los individualismos y ansiedad de poder?

A continuación, detalles de lugares de interés, centros de ayuda e información Prioritaria que se irá actualizando en la web de Mapuexpress. Aún no se tiene lugar de apoyo para Cobquecura, donde se cayeron el 95 % de las construcciones y las familias siguen en los cerros. Hoy los habitantes ahí necesitan carpas, leche y harina con suma urgencia.

Saludos cordiales,

Alfredo Seguel

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Filed under Actions / Protest, Climate Change, Climate Justice, Forests and Climate Change, Indigenous Peoples, New Voices in the News

Why a Price on Carbon will not STOP deforestation

From REDD Monitor

Why a price on carbon will not stop deforestation

By Chris Lang, 17th February 2010

Indonesia forest destruction palm oil, PHOTO: Greenpeace

Three straws in the wind: Two pieces of policy news and a new piece of research. Two weeks ago, a leaked document from the EU revealed that the European Commission and some member states hope to include oil palm plantations in the definition of forests. Yesterday, the Jakarta Post reported that Indonesia’s Forestry Ministry is drafting a decree to reclassify oil palm plantations as “forests”.

Last week, the European Commission’s Science for Environment Policy put out a News Alert with the headline “Pricing carbon insufficient to save tropical forests from deforestation”.

There are two related issues here. The first is the definition of “forest”. Currently, the UN defines a forest as any area larger than 500 square metres with crown cover of 10 per cent and trees capable of growing two metres high. Clearly, this definition fails to address the conversion of native forests to monoculture industrial tree plantations. (Incidentally, the UN has not yet attempted to agree a definition of forest degradation. The latest document from the Ad-hoc Working Group on the Kyoto Protocol, includes two alternative lists of definitions. But the word “degradation” is not included in either list, not even in square brackets.)

The second issue is whether deforestation (including conversion of forests to monocultures) can be prevented by putting a price on carbon. Recent research, published in Environmental Science and Technology found that putting a price on carbon is unlikely to prevent forests being cleared for oil palm plantations. Part of the problem is that a higher carbon price drives up demand for biofuels (as an alternative to expensive fossil fuels). This in turn increases both the price of biofuels and the likelihood that forests are converted to oil palm plantations.

Under the EU’s Renewable Energy Directive, 10 per cent of all road transport fuel will have to be “renewable” by 2020. This directive has helped drive a massive expansion in the area of oil palm plantations for biofuel, which has resulted in the destruction of vast areas of forest (and therefore increased greenhouse gas emissions). Instead of addressing this problem, the EU seems determined to make matters worse. A draft communication (available here – pdf file 98 KB) from the European Commission was recently leaked. It is supposed to provide guidance to EU member states on the use of biofuels, but it includes the following extraordinary statement:

“Continuously forested areas are defined as areas where trees have reached, or can reach, at least heights of five metres, making up a crown cover of more than 30 percent. They would normally include natural forest, forest plantations and other tree plantations such as palm oil. . . . This means, for example, that a change from forest to oil palm plantation would not per se constitute a breach of the criteria.”

Rainforest Rescue and Friends of the Earth Europe are campaigning against this attempt to reclassify oil palm plantations as forests.

Indonesia is the world’s biggest producer of palm oil, with oil palm plantations covering an area of 7 million hectares. Currently these plantations are classified as an agricultural crop. But earlier this week, the head of research and development at the Forestry Ministry, Tachrir Fathoni, explained to the Jakarta Post that Indonesia wants to re-classify this area of monoculture as forest. “It is to anticipate the implementation of the REDD scheme,” he said.

Fathoni argued that Malaysia already includes oil palm plantations in its forest sector. “By doing so,” he said, “Malaysia can reap financial incentives from the UNFCCC [from] carbon trade.” Financial incentives, that is, to clear forests and replace them with oil palm monocultures. Obviously, providing carbon credits for oil palm plantations is not quite what most people have in mind when they think about REDD. Equally obviously, the UN needs to sort out its definition of forests in order to exclude industrial tree plantations.

A common “solution” put forward to prevent the conversion of forests to plantations is to make the forest worth more standing because of the carbon stored in it than the palm oil would be worth from the plantation that replaced the forest.

It sounds simple, but recent research by Martin Persson and Christian Azar at the Chalmers University of Technology in Göteborg, Sweden indicates that a price on carbon may not be enough:

“We estimate that deforesting for palm oil bioenergy production is likely to remain highly profitable, even in the fact of a price on the carbon emissions from forest clearing.” [*]

An important part of their findings is that increasing the price of carbon will not solve the problem. The European Commission’s Science for Environmental Policy summarises their argument as follows:

“Landowners anticipate gains in the future because they expect carbon prices to rise over time. This means that landowners can pay a relatively low price for carbon emissions from deforestation now and profit from a greater willingness to pay for bioenergy in the future as climate policy is strengthened and carbon and energy prices rise. As a consequence, the value of land will also rise. A higher carbon price will not only increase the cost of forest clearing but also the revenues from doing so.”

Persson and Azar are not arguing that tropical deforestation should be kept out of future international climate regimes. “That would only make matters worse,” they write. But their research has major implications for REDD, particular given the direction that REDD is currently heading – trading the carbon stored in forests and hoping that the magic of the markets will keep the profits from carbon trading higher than the profits from palm oil trading.

[*] ^ Martin Persson and Christian Azar (2010) “Preserving the World’s Tropical Forests—A Price on Carbon May Not Do“, Environmental Science and Technology, 2010, 44 (1), pp 210–215, DOI: 10.1021/es902629x.

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All Out February 13th! Call out for solidarity actions across Canada against Olympic and Tar Sands green washing!

We all know the Olympics are about more than fun and games but we need your action to help get the facts heard! The Olympics industry tries to promote that the 2010 Winter Games a re making a positive contribution for our ‘social, economic, and environmental benefit’, but in reality the Olympic Industry causes large-scale environmental destruction and negative social impacts – as do many of its corporate sponsors. Right here in our backyard, we have the largest industrial project on the planet, the Tar Sands, and two of the top Tar Sands investors are lead sponsors with the Olympics – Royal Bank and Petro Canada/Suncor. The Royal Bank of Canada is the largest financier of Tar Sands expansions and Petro Canada/Suncor directly operates six Tar Sands projects, is a major supporter of the Mackenzie Valley Pipeline – a project set to devastate communities and land throughout Alberta, BC and the Northwest Territories – and is the main energy supplier to the Olympics. This means the Olympics are being powered up by Tar Sands crude!

On Saturday February 13th, 2010 we are calling on all anti-capitalist, Indigenous, housing rights, labour, migrant justice, environmental, anti-war, community-loving, anti-poverty, civil libertarian, and anti colonial activists – who are not able to make it to the No 2010 convergence in Vancouver – to hold solidarity actions in their communities against Olympics and Tar Sands projects like the Royal Bank and Petro Canada/Suncor.

Please send in photos and updates about your actions to Want some action ideas? Target a Royal Bank or Petro Canada/Suncor in your community and: * Hold a die-in to represent the lives lost and threaten from both Olympics and Tar Sands operations. * Wrap ‘climate criminal’ tape or ‘caution’ tape around a Royal Bank or Petro Canada. * Print off the stencils attached to this e-mail and put them around a Royal Bank or Petro Canada to signify the oily footprints of the corporation with the slogan ‘’ – Click here to download your very own Oily Tar Sands Footprint stencils. * Paint a large banner and signs with slogans of concern around the tar sands and the Olympics and stage a rally outside a Royal Bank or Petro Canada In the United States or Europe? No problem!

There are SO many banks and oil companies conspiring to commit the world’s greatest climate crime, here is a quick list of the dirtiest: * USA Banks: Bank of America, Citibank * European Banks: HSBC, Royal Bank of Scotland, Barclays * Oil Companies: Shell, Exxon, BP, Total, Chevron, Esso, Conoco, Enbridge, Syncrude, Suncor, TCPL (Trans-Canada Pipeline) So pick your favorite bad guy and take action on February 13, 2010!

Check out these links for useful background info and handouts. * 2010 Corporate Campaign Materials * Olympics Resistance Network Factsheets and Flyers * RBC Tar Sands 2010 leaflet * The Lie of the Green Olympics * Canadian Indigenous Tar Sands Campaign

For action resources, including easy to use handouts and ‘climate criminal’ tape please contact: Eriel Deranger at This action supported by: Indigenous Environmental Network, Rainforest Action Network, Oilsandstruth, UK Tar Sands Network and many more…

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Filed under Actions / Protest, Climate Change, Climate Justice, Forests and Climate Change, Indigenous Peoples, New Voices in the News