Category Archives: Biodiversity

Population increase spikes land grabs from Wall Street and China

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.

Infographic: www.farmlandgrab.org

Infographic: www.farmlandgrab.org

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Filed under Biodiversity, Climate Change, Land Grabs

The Perils of Wood-Based Bioenergy: Paraguay Blog Post #2

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.

Ada from the Solomon Islands.  If biomass energy is not stopped, her islands will continue to drown.  Photo credit: GJEP-GFC

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.

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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

NY Times chronicles Monarch Buttterfly struggle

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

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

Monarchs at Parque Nacional El Cimatario, Mexico, November 2010- Photo by Jajean Rose Burney

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Filed under Biodiversity, Forests, Great Lakes, Industrial agriculture, Pesticides

Impressions from Paraguay: Day one in the tropics

By Anne Petermann, Executive Director, Global Justice Ecology Project

Ayoreo family in the Gran Chaco in Paraguay.  This family and their community were forcibly relocated from their homeland by groups who want to exploit the Chaco.  Photolangelle.org

Ayoreo family in the Gran Chaco in Paraguay. This family and their community were relocated from their homeland by groups who want to exploit the Chaco. Photolangelle.org

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.

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Filed under Biodiversity, Bioenergy / Agrofuels, Corporate Globalization, Ending the Era of Extreme Energy, Forests, Forests and Climate Change, GE Trees, Indigenous Peoples, The Greed Economy and the Future of Forests, Tree Plantations, Uncategorized

Citizen scientists can help the environment

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.

Photo: EcoWatch

Photo: EcoWatch

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Filed under Biodiversity, 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.

Cat Gap Trail to John Rock, Pisgah National Forest photo internetbrothers.org

Cat Gap Trail to John Rock, Pisgah National Forest photo internetbrothers.org

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.”

Read the whole article here

 

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Filed under Biodiversity, Bioenergy / Agrofuels, Biofuelwatch, Forests, Forests and Climate Change, Frontline Communities, Uncategorized

Think again on renewables: Truthout article by Almuth Ernsting

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.

(Photo: Truthout/Richard Brand / Flickr)

(Photo: Truthout/Richard Brand / Flickr)

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.

Read the whole article here.

 

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Filed under Biodiversity, Bioenergy / Agrofuels, Biofuelwatch, Climate Change

Report: Great Lakes Bees Continue Decline

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.

Bumblebee species, photo by Jay Burney

Bumblebee species, photo by Jay Burney

Canadian, U.S. researchers tackle Great Lakes bee decline

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.

Read the whole article here.

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Filed under Biodiversity, Climate Change, Commodification of Life, GMOs, Great Lakes