There are more than 7 billion people on this planet, and our population is growing faster than most projections predicted. According to an article on Farm Land Grab, this means that land and water are becoming more valuable commodities, carrying a future price tag that governments and global businesses are trying to get in on as early as possible. Reporter Brad Plumer explains why population growth has inspired corporations to jump on international land grabs that destroy ecosystems, devastate indigenous people and further accelerate the destruction of climate change.
Category Archives: Biodiversity
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.
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.
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!
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.
By Anne Petermann, Executive Director, Global Justice Ecology Project
Global Justice Ecology Project just arrived in Paraguay for two weeks of meetings on the themes of wood-based bioenergy, genetically engineered trees, the impacts of livestock and GMO soy production on global deforestation levels, and the solutions to climate change and deforestation provided by local communities maintaining and caring for their traditional lands.
Looking out of the Asunción hotel room at the wide majestic Paraguay river, and the expanse of forest on the other side, feeling the tropical humidity and listening to the rumble of distant thunder, it is hard to imagine that yesterday my GJEP colleague and I woke up in the midst of a major snowstorm in Buffalo, NY.
Dr. David Suzuki, Canadian scientist, nature conversationist and supporter of the ban against genetically engineered trees, encourages everyday citizens to volunteer and participate in the natural world. Not only can submersion in nature help relieve stress, tension and depression, it can also give average individuals a sense of responsibility for the environment, a quality desperately needed in the fight against climate change.
United States Forest Service wants to cut the 700,000 acre Pisgah-Nantahala National Forest in North Carolina
The Southern Environmental Law Center issued a press release on 12 November revealing a new U.S. Forest Service proposal introducing industrial-scale logging in the Pisgah-Natahala National Forest in western North Carolina. The 700,000 acres targeted is an area larger than the Great Smokey Mountains National Park.
Earth First Journal reports
Forest Service Proposes Massive Logging Project in North Carolina’s Pisgah-Nantahala National Forest
by Kathleen Sullivan / Southern Environmental Law Center
CHAPEL HILL, N.C.—In what conservation groups flag as a dramatic shift, the U.S. Forest Service is proposing industrial-scale logging in the vast majority of the Pisgah-Nantahala National Forest in western North Carolina – about 700,000 acres, or an area bigger than the Great Smoky Mountain National Park – instead of protecting popular backcountry recreation destinations and conserving the Blue Ridge landscapes treasured by residents and tourists from across the United States.
“Under the law and for everyone who enjoys America’s forests, the Forest Service’s first priority should be fixing the mistakes of the past – restoring the parts of the forest already damaged by prior logging,” said DJ Gerken, senior attorney with the Southern Environmental Law Center. “But the misguided logging plan proposed by the agency will repeat those old mistakes, causing more damage and putting the healthiest forests we have left on the chopping block. The people who use and love these forests won’t stand for cutting them down.”
Almuth Ernsting and Rachel Smolker are co-directors of Biofuelwatch, and partners with the Global Justice Ecology Project. You will find their work frequently on Climate Connections.
Their considerable contributions to characterizing and defining large-scale biofuels as false solutions to climate change are very important and influential.
This work is based on both carbon footprint and deforestation issues and is leading the global fight to promote the understanding of many complex, corporatized strategies that are being employed to promote oxymoronic development schemes. These industry based schemes continue to lead to catastrophic human rights, climate, and ecological collapses. The schemes are a disaster for humanity.
This article, written by Almuth Ernsting, takes a critical look of renewable energy strategies overall and suggests we are far from solving energy problems as long as we continue to be focused on corporate energy intensive strategies rather than low-energy strategies that are more human-needs based.
Ernsting’s most recent piece, linked below, was published in Truthout this past Sunday.
Abundant Clean Renewables? Think Again!
By Almuth Ernsting, Truthout. 16 November 2014
Although “renewable” energy is growing faster than ever before, it is neither carbon neutral, “clean” nor sustainable. We need to transform into low-energy societies that meet human – not corporate – needs.
Great Lakes Echo published a piece this week outlining declining honey and wild bee populations in the Great Lakes. Bee populations continue to decline across the world and are linked to agricultural practices and affiliated disease.
By Ruth Krug, Great Lakes Echo. 10 November 2014
Recently the Ontario environmental commissioner, Gord Miller, said that bee-killing pesticides are a bigger threat to crops than the now-banned insecticide DDT.
Beekeeper Devin Joseph Wash of Trenton, Ontario, said the province recently issued permits to allow the use of pesticide-treated seeds near honey bee farms and conservation areas.