By Mica Rosenberg, March 7, 2014. Source: Reuters
A waste pit filled with crude oil left by Texaco drilling operations years earlier lies in a jungle clearing near the Amazonian town of Sacha, Ecuador, October 21, 2003, on the day of the start of a landmark trial where Ecuadoran Indians are seeking to force ChevronTexaco to clean up the environmental contamination left behind from Texaco’s operations. Photo: REUTERS/LOU DEMATTEIS
Ecuadorean villagers who are trying to get billions of dollars from Chevron Corp for pollution in the Amazon jungle are ready to refocus their fight on pending suits in other countries after a setback in the United States.
A scathing judgment issued by a U.S. judge this week against their lawyer will cast a long shadow over cases filed in Canada, Brazil and Argentina, where the plaintiffs are seeking Chevron assets as payment because the oil giant no longer has a presence in Ecuador.
U.S. District Judge Lewis Kaplan handed down a 500-page decision that found American lawyer Stephen Donziger used “corrupt means” to help villagers from the Lago Agrio region win the historic $18 billion judgment against Chevron in Ecuador in 2011. The damage award was later revised down to $9.5 billion. While Kaplan’s decision bars Donziger and the villagers from enforcing the Ecuadorean ruling in the United States, it is not binding in pending cases elsewhere.
Of the three cases, the Canadian one seems to have progressed the farthest, with an appeals court there ruling in December that the province of Ontario was a proper jurisdiction for the plaintiffs to press the company to pay up. Chevron has asked for an appeal of that ruling to be heard by Canada’s Supreme Court. Continue reading
Source: World Rainforest Movement
Okomu Oil Palm, which operates in the palm oil as well as rubber production business, was established in 1976 as a Federal Government of Nigeria pilot project covering an area of 15,580 hectares out of which 12,500 hectares could be planted with oil palm. In 1979 the company was incorporated as a private company with limited liability and in 1990, within a Structural Adjustment Programme, it was converted to a Public Limited Company (PLC). It is a member of the Belgian Socfin, a global player group in the cultivation of oil palm as well as rubber, coffee and tropical flowers. Socfin owns 62.69% of Okomu Oil Palm’s shares.
It has since grown to become one of Nigeria’s leading oil palm companies with an oil palm area of 9.713 ha (2012) in the State of Edo, with plans to add 402 ha in 2013 and other 400 ha in 2014.
The company’s 2012 annual report announced the intention to expand its oil palm and rubber plantations and also revealed plans to build the biggest oil mill in Africa expanding its oil mill capacity from 30 tons per hour to 60 tons per hour in Sierra Leone (see article below). Continue reading
Filed under Actions / Protest, Africa, Biodiversity, Bioenergy / Agrofuels, Commodification of Life, Corporate Globalization, Ending the Era of Extreme Energy, False Solutions to Climate Change, Food Sovereignty, Forests, Green Economy, Industrial agriculture, Land Grabs, Political Repression, The Greed Economy and the Future of Forests
By José Aylwin, Nancy Yáñez, Rubén Sánchez (excerpt). Source: World Rainforest Movement
Historically, relations between Mapuche indigenous communities and the forestry industry have been marked by conflict, primarily because of the expansion of industrial tree plantations on lands that are part of the Mapuche territory and the impact of these plantations on the communities’ habitat.
There are three business groups that control most of the forestry industry in Chile: Forestal Arauco, Compañía Manufacturera de Papeles y Cartones (CMPC) and MASISA. According to figures from 2007, these three companies owned a total of 1,715,910 hectares of tree plantations in Chile, mainly in the regions of Biobío, La Araucanía, Los Ríos and Los Lagos. In these same regions, tree plantations in the traditional Mapuche territory account for an area three times greater than the indigenous lands recognised by the state.
Most of the tree plantations have been established on traditional Mapuche lands. The communities affected by this industry are claiming their right to tenure over the lands occupied by the plantations, which were usurped from them both during the colonial era and following the military coup of 1973. Continue reading
Filed under Actions / Protest, Biodiversity, Corporate Globalization, Food Sovereignty, Forests, Green Economy, Indigenous Peoples, Land Grabs, Latin America-Caribbean, Political Repression, The Greed Economy and the Future of Forests
By Carlos Salvatierra. Source: World Rainforest Movement
Communities, peoples and civil society organizations have worked for years to raise the visibility of the significant benefits of the mangrove ecosystem and the importance of its existence. They have fought for the recognition of mangroves as highly productive systems that provide livelihoods and a space for the practice of the cultures and traditions of coastal peoples. “The mangrove is our natural enterprise, it is our employment, it does not ask us for our qualifications or a CV or identification. As long as we are in good health we can cast our nets and harvest our food,” declared Enrique Bonilla, president of COGMANGLAR and a fisherman from Champerico, Guatemala.
Today, the former perception of mangroves as mosquito-infested swamps has changed, but the struggle to defend them has become increasingly difficult in the face of the new and aggressive actors threatening their existence and the survival of the peoples and communities who inhabit them, from Latin America to Asia to Africa. “They are slowly exterminating us. Government policies criminalize and impoverish us. We are not poor; we have great wealth that the powerful want to appropriate, and we call that environmental racism,” said Marizhelia López of the Movement of Fishermen and Fisherwomen of Bahia, Brazil, expressing her concern over the loss of territories. Continue reading
Filed under Actions / Protest, Biodiversity, Commodification of Life, False Solutions to Climate Change, Food Sovereignty, Forests, Forests and Climate Change, Green Economy, Indigenous Peoples, Land Grabs, Latin America-Caribbean, REDD, The Greed Economy and the Future of Forests, Water
By John Deike, February 27, 2014. Source: EcoWatch
In recent years, Roundup was found to be even more toxic than it was when first approved for agricultural use, though that discovery has not led to any changes in regulation of the pesticide. Photo courtesy of Shutterstock
A new U.S. Geological Survey has concluded that pesticides can be found in, well, just about anything.
Roundup herbicide, Monsanto’s flagship weed killer, was present in 75 percent of air and rainfall test samples, according to the study, which focused on Mississippi’s highly fertile Delta agricultural region.
GreenMedInfo reports new research, soon to be published by Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry journal, discovered the traces over a 12-year span from 1995-2007.
In recent years, Roundup was found to be even more toxic than it was when first approved for agricultural use, though that discovery has not led to any changes in regulation of the pesticide. Moreover, Roundup’s overuse has enabled weeds and insects to build an immunity to its harsh toxins. Continue reading
Note: the struggle for Tasmania’s forests has been going on for decades, as noted by this photo from GJEP Board Chair and Co-Founder Orin Langelle from a protest in Tasmania in 1992. The Forestry Commission was shut down for the day:
–The GJEP Team
By Bob Brown, March 5, 2014. Source: The Guardian
Weld Valley forests, part of the Tasmanian World Heritage Area that Abbott wants rescinded. Photo: Bill Hatcher
Prime minister Abbott’s rousingly-received speech to an audience of loggers at Parliament House in Canberra on Tuesday night had a Biblical ring to it.
Abbott referred to the Greens as “the devil”, lectured that “you intelligently make the most of the good things God has given us” and laboured his key message, a steal from Genesis, that “the environment is meant for man”. His audience was the cream of the industry which has marauded the nation’s forests since industrialised logging for woodchip exports to Japanese and Chinese paper mills began in 1970. Abbott said “I don’t see people who are environmental bandits, I see people who are the ultimate conservationists … I salute you.”
So clear-fall logging and burning of the tallest flowering forests on the planet, with provision for the dynamiting of trees over 80 metres tall, is an ultimate good in Abbott’s book of ecological wisdom. Continue reading
February 28, 2014. Source: ETC Group
Brazilian civil society organizations warned yesterday that a 2007 bill to end Brazil’s ban on Terminator seeds could soon be on the move (again) in the Brazilian Congress. While two bills have been on the congressional agenda for several years, a 2007 bill (PL 268/2007, filed by Rep. Eduardo Sciarra – PSD party) began moving through the Congress last July and came to a head last October. The legalizing of Terminator in Brazil would have global implications, including as a violation of the United Nations moratorium on Terminator technologies, in place since 2000 at the Convention on Biological Diversity.
A campaign mounted by Brazilian social movements stirred a global protest – including a petition signed by over 19,000 people – and temporarily derailed the Bill’s passage in October 2013.[i] In response, Décio Lima (PT party), then-President of the Congress’s all-important Judiciary Commission (the gatekeeper body that allows bills to proceed to a full congressional vote), vowed not to allow the Bill’s passage while he chaired the Commission.
But, just before Christmas, the Bill began to move again at the request of more than 30 deputies. A massive write-in campaign, on behalf of concerned organizations, set up by Action Aid (an international advocacy organization with roots in Brazil) again thwarted the move. More than 30,000 people and organizations around the world signed a protest letter calling on the Brazilian government to uphold the UN moratorium on the commercialization of Terminator.[ii] (“Terminator” refers to genetically engineered seed that dies at harvest, obliging farmers to purchase new seed every growing season.) Continue reading
February 27, 2014. Source: RT
A farmer tills a rice paddy field on the outskirts of Colombo, Sri Lanka (Reuters / Andrew Caballero-Reynolds)
A heretofore inexplicable fatal, chronic kidney disease that has affected poor farming regions around the globe may be linked to the use of biochemical giant Monsanto’s Roundup herbicide in areas with hard water, a new study has found.
The new study was published in the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health.
Researchers suggest that Roundup, or glyphosate, becomes highly toxic to the kidney once mixed with“hard” water or metals like arsenic and cadmium that often exist naturally in the soil or are added via fertilizer. Hard water contains metals like calcium, magnesium, strontium, and iron, among others. On its own, glyphosate is toxic, but not detrimental enough to eradicate kidney tissue.
The glyphosate molecule was patented as a herbicide by Monsanto in the early 1970s. The company soon brought glyphosate to market under the name “Roundup,” which is now the most commonly used herbicide in the world. Continue reading
By Eileen Soler, February 25, 2014. Source: The Seminole Tribune
The West County Energy Center hard fought by Everglades Earth First! from 2006-2008. It is said that the proposed Hendry County Energy center is to be a carbon copy of this plant. Photo: Earth First! Newswire
BIG CYPRESS — Plans are in the works for Tribal members, environmental activists and all friends of nature to let their feet do the talking against a massive Florida Power & Light (FPL) plant that could be built on property a stone’s throw from the Big Cypress Reservation.
Carrying banners, more than 200 who oppose the plant will begin walking April 17 from Big Cypress Reservation to the seat of Hendry County government, the LaBelle Courthouse Complex at 25 E. Hickpoochee Ave.
Demonstrators hope to bring widespread attention and support for the Seminole Tribe v. Hendry County case set to be heard at the courthouse April 21. The case concerns land zoning changes to the FPL property that could clear a path for construction of one of the largest gas powered plants in the country.
Activists, elders, traditionals and Tribal department heads gathered Feb. 7 at the Frank Billie Office on Big Cypress to strategize for the roughly 70-mile walk. They are driven by science-based predictions that the plant will bring disastrous consequences to the environmentally sensitive land and end the delicate balance of nature, history and culture for the Seminoles. Continue reading
By Michael Wines, February 27, 2014. Source: The New York Times
A blue whale near rigs off Southern California. Experts disagree on the effects of seismic surveys on sea mammals. Photo: David McNew/Getty Images
The Interior Department opened the door on Thursday to the first searches in decades for oiland gas off the Atlantic coast, recommending that undersea seismic surveys proceed, though with a host of safeguards to shield marine life from much of their impact.
The recommendation is likely to be adopted after a period of public comment and over objections by environmental activists who say it will be ruinous for the climate and sea life alike.
The American Petroleum Institute called the recommendation a critical step toward bolstering the nation’s energy security, predicting that oil and gas production in the region could create 280,000 new jobs and generate $195 billion in private investment.
Activists were livid. Allowing exploration “could be a death sentence for many marine mammals, and is needlessly turning the Atlantic Ocean into a blast zone,” Jacqueline Savitz, a vice president at the conservation group Oceana, said in a statement on Thursday. Continue reading