Category Archives: Climate Justice

GMO Chestnuts Draw Scrutiny this Holiday

Roasting-2


During the holidays, a time of the iconic roasting of chestnuts, scientists and activists are raising alarms about these efforts to genetically engineer and widely release GE American chestnuts into U.S. forests. Syracuse.com recently reported in “Breakthrough at SUNY-ESF” that researchers at the SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry are growing 10,000 genetically engineered (GE) American chestnut trees to be distributed widely when approved.

The GMO chestnuts produced by these trees would be a new GMO food when concerns about GMOs and labeling are mounting.

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Filed under Biiotechnology, Bioenergy / Agrofuels, Biofuelwatch, Climate Justice, False Solutions to Climate Change, Forests, GE Trees, Genetic Engineering, GMOs, Greenwashing, Uncategorized

CLIMATE CHANGE: FACES PLACES & PROTEST Exhibit

Durban Climate March, 2011.  Photolangelle.org

Durban Climate March, 2011. Photolangelle.org

Photos from the Front Lines

This exhibit went live on the Langelle Photography website on Saturday 30 November 2014, in time for the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change in Lima, Peru that opened 1 December 2014.

The photographs document impacts of and resistance to climate change and false solutions, spanning five continents over more than 25 years.

A review of the exhibit by Jack Foran from The Public began:

Photojournalist Orin Langelle’s exhibit at his new ¡Buen Vivir! gallery at 148 Elmwood in Allentown takes on two enormous issues: world climate change—along with the criminality of its associated corporate denial and delay tactics—and the official media’s so-called “objectivity.”

To view the exhibit online: http://wp.me/p592R1-YI

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Filed under Actions / Protest, Climate Change, Climate Justice, False Solutions to Climate Change, Indigenous Peoples, Photo Essays by Orin Langelle, UN, Uncategorized, UNFCCC

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, Indigenous Peoples, Pollution

¡Buen Vivir! Review of Gallery Opening by University at Buffalo Student

This fall it has been my pleasure to work with interns from the State University of New York at Buffalo  and through a local Buffalo/Western New York organization called the Western New York Environmental Alliance. I am a board member of that organization and serve as the Chair of the Habitat and Natural Resources Work Group. One of the interns that I have been working with, Amber Potter, visited the Grand Opening of the ¡Buen Vivir! Gallery opening in October. Below is her review of the opening, posted today at GROWWNY, the Western New York Environmental Alliance’s website.

Gallery-Poster-CC

¡Buen Vivir! – Climate Change: Faces, Places & Protest

by Amber Potter, GROWWNY Intern

In October, I had the opportunity to attend the grand opening of Orin Langelle’s gallery, ¡Buen Vivir!, which showcased the exhibit “Climate Change: Faces, Places & Protest – Photos from the front lines.” The gallery proved to be a very powerful, eye-opening experience about the effects that climate change has upon people all the world over.

The name of the gallery, ¡Buen Vivir!, is a concept stemming from indigenous Latin American culture. ¡Buen Vivir! means life in harmony between humans, communities, and the Earth – where work is not a job to make others wealthier, but for a livelihood that is sustaining, fulfilling and in tune with the common good.

According to Langelle, “This is a concept slowly spreading northwards and I am helping bring it to Buffalo through the images in my photography gallery.” Langelle Photography, a project sponsored by the Global Justice Ecology Project, documents the “struggle for societal transformation toward justice, equity and ecological balance.”

Read the whole review here

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Filed under Climate Change, Climate Justice, Media, Photo Essays by Orin Langelle

Langelle Photography opens new gallery, launches updated website

Concerned photography — it’s about doing more than just documenting the world; it’s about educating and changing the lives of those who live in it. Instead of just being a passive observer behind a camera, concerned photographers are active participants with a camera in hand.

That’s what international photojournalist and social and environmental activist Orin Langelle has been doing for decades. His newest exhibit, Climate Change: Faces, Places & Protest – photos from the front lines, kicks off the October 3 grand opening reception of ¡Buen Vivir!, a new climate and social justice themed art gallery in Buffalo, NY. The event is open to the public and will include wine, live music and hors d’oeuvres.

Gallery-Poster-CC

Langelle Photography, a project sponsored by the Global Justice Ecology Project, documents the “struggle for societal transformation toward justice, equity and ecological balance.” This new exhibit focused on climate change continues that piercing look into the ramifications of corporate green washing on both the land and people. Photos featured span 5 continents, and range from the aftermath of hurricanes to protests and demonstrations during UN Climate Conferences. Langelle Photography recently launched an updated website, as well as new Facebook and Twitter feeds. 

¡Buen Vivir! Gallery Opens in Buffalo, NY, on 3 October
by Langelle Photography, 1 September 2014

A new gallery in the historic Allentown district in Buffalo, NY, ¡Buen Vivir¡, opens its doors Friday 3 October 2014 with an exhibit “Climate Change: FACES PLACES & PROTEST – photos from the front lines,” that showcases more than two decades of work by photojournalist and gallery curator Orin Langelle.

The opening reception is on Friday, 3 October, from 6 to 9 p.m., and the exhibit closes on 19 December. The gallery is located at 148 Elmwood Avenue.

The climate crisis was chosen as the theme for the gallery opening due the impacts it has on communities, ecosystems and human rights struggles. The theme is also timely. The exhibit begins shortly after the 21 September climate march and the 23 September UN Climate Summit hosted by UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon in New York City, and ends just after the UN Climate Conference and Peoples’ Climate Summit, in Lima, Peru in December.

Read the full article here.

 

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Filed under Climate Justice, Photo Essays by Orin Langelle

Climate: UN “Worse Than Useless” — Activists Take to Wall Street

MSNBC reports: “After historic climate march, supporters flood to Wall Street.” There is reportedly a massive police presence in downtown Manhattan, including Battery Park, where activists are now gathering. Zuccotti Park, where Occupy Wall Street protests began, has been sealed off.


 

MICHAEL PREMO, [email protected]
An organizer with #FloodWallStreet, Premo is quoted by MSNBC: “Runaway climate change and extreme weather events, such as the extreme flooding that we saw here in New York City with Hurricane Sandy, are fueled by the fossil fuel industry. We are flooding Wall Street because we know that there’s no greater cause of runaway climate change than an economic system that puts profit before people – and before the planet.”


ANNE PETERMANN, globalecology@gmavt.net
Executive director of the Global Justice Ecology Project, which just released the report “Green Shock Doctrine” and runs the climate-connections.org blog, Peterman said today: “Yesterday’s march brought together a diverse mix of constituencies from anti-capitalists to Indigenous Peoples to representatives from communities impacted by climate change both in the U.S. and around the world. Each had their own set of demands, but the overarching theme was the need to build power from the grassroots and stop relying on governments and the UN to do this for us. Today hundreds to possibly a few thousand of these folks will be taking part in the Flood Wall Street direct action to bring attention to the real culprits of climate change, and to expose the corporate capture of the UN.”Peterman recently wrote the piece: “Confronting Climate Catastrophe: Direct Action is the Antidote for Despair: Or, Why the UN is Worse than Useless and we need to Flood Wall Street!

PAUL QUINTOS, pquintos@iboninternational.org
Currently in New York City, Lauron and Quintos are with the Peoples’ Movement on Climate Change. See their most recent statement: “400,000-strong People’s Climate March on eve of summit.”Quintos notes that the Philippines is one of the most vulnerable countries to climate change. He also states that it’s one of the most dangerous places for human rights defenders. He notes that the U.S. military tried to use typhoon Haiyan to re-establish U.S. military bases in the Philippines.

 

For more information, contact at the Institute for Public Accuracy:Sam Husseini, (202) 347-0020; or David Zupan, (541) 484-9167

And here’s video:

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Filed under Actions / Protest, Climate Justice

GE Trees + Climate Change = Social and Ecological Disaster

In addition to being the day of the People’s Climate March, today is also the International Day of Action against Monoculture Tree Plantations.  The issues of industrial tree plantations, genetically engineered trees and climate change are inextricably linked in many, many ways, and the statement below, put out by our allies at World Rainforest Movement, La Via Campesina and others, explains this.

At Ban Ki-moon’s upcoming Climate Summit, the corporate-dominated UN will try to sell tree plantations (and future GE tree plantations) as “climate smart.”  This, even though studies have proven that tree plantations both store far less carbon than native forests and accelerate destruction of those forests to make room for new plantations.

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

“Plantations are not forests” Protest at the World Forestry Congress, Buenos Aires, Argentina, 2009  Photo: Petermann/GJEP-GFC

21 September 201410th Anniversary of the International Day of Struggle against Monoculture Tree Plantations
Dismantle the power of transnational plantation corporations!

There is no “smart monoculture”

Ten years ago, at a meeting of 250 members of communities affected by large-scale eucalyptus plantations in Brazil, September 21st was established as the National Day against Tree Monocultures. The aim was to increase the visibility of the many peoples and communities struggling against tree monocultures, as a way of breaking the circle of silence around the numerous violations faced by the communities whose territories were surrounded by these monocultures. The day was also created in order to disseminate as widely as possible the evidence emerging from the resistance struggles about the negative social and environmental impacts of these plantations. The impacts on the lives of women in the affected communities are particularly severe. Recognizing the importance of the decision taken by the Brazilian communities, the World Rainforest Movement (WRM) decided in 2006 to make this day an International Day of Action.

This year, September 21st is also a day of mass mobilizations for Climate Justice. Thousands of people will join the People’s Climate March, while political leaders – and increasingly also corporate representatives – are meeting at the United Nations in New York City for the Climate Summit 2014, convened by UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon. This summit represents yet another step towards the corporate takeover of the UN climate negotiations, and the privatization of land, water and air resources under the guise of a global climate pact.

The UN and other international agencies will launch the “Climate Smart Agriculture” initiated at the summit. This initiative is a new smokescreen being used to greenwash the worst practices of industrial agriculture: chemical fertilizers, industrial meat production, and genetically modified crops, such as tree plantations and other monocultures, which are being disguised as ‘climate smart’. Proponents of this dangerous false solution include the World Bank; they are seeking to turn the carbon in farmers’ fields into carbon credits, which would lead to land-grabbing and undermine real climate solutions.

The expansion of large-scale tree plantations of eucalyptus, pine, acacia, rubber and oil palm species, which may be defined as ‘climate smart’ if the proposal being discussed at the New York climate summit prospers, is furthering capital accumulation by large and often transnational corporations. Some of these corporations are Stora Enso, Arauco, APP/Sinar Mas, Bridgestone/Firestone, Wilmar, Olam and Sime Darby. Production from these large-scale monoculture plantations is for industrial and export purposes, and the rate of expansion has been devastating. The area of these plantations worldwide has increased four-fold since 1980. In the global South, eucalyptus and oil palm monocultures have experienced remarkable growth. Were it not for the widespread resistance of small farmers, indigenous peoples and rural communities in many countries, this expansion would probably have been even greater.

Transnational corporations are primarily responsible for the problems caused by plantations: land-grabbing and the seizure of common ‘resources'; destruction of biodiverse areas and their associated wildlife; the drying up and pesticide pollution of rivers, streams and springs; soil exhaustion and erosion; degrading working conditions; and the increasing financialization of nature, land and production. However, these corporations not only persist in denying and systematically concealing all these processes of social and environmental injustice; they even argue they are part of the ‘solution’ to the problems. Some of the market’s false solutions, which are really solutions beneficial primarily for financial capitalism itself, increase the injustices associated with monoculture. Among these false solutions are initiatives that legitimize corporations’ operations without requiring them to be accountable for the crimes and violations they commit.

Examples of this kind of ruse are ‘green’ certificates issued by the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) and the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) the ‘forest dialogue’, initiatives where civil society and corporations forge voluntary corporate commitments, and other so-called ‘sustainable’ initiatives, like phony commitments to ‘zero deforestation’. Although such action may lead to short-term benefits for local communities in some places, they have mainly led to frustration and community division, by promising ‘compensation’ that does not fulfill people’s key demands for guaranteeing their way of life, the return and respect for their territories, and an end to the environmental injustice caused by monocultures.

These initiatives are ‘voluntary,’ that is, they are not legally binding, and therefore lack a democratic institutional framework whose main goal is to protect the rights of the people affected. In this way, these initiatives, without aiming to change the destructive logic of capital, ultimately legitimize the expansion of a production model that we call neocolonial, because it destroys ways of life, is based on environmental racism and does not question any of its fundamental premises, such as the concentration of land and production in large-scale monocultures with poisonous pesticides and degrading working conditions. Moreover, “green” and “sustainable” initiatives and commitments do not hinder big companies from further expanding their plantations and encroaching on local people’s territories.

Increasingly serious is the rise of “flex tree” monocultures, producing multiple-use trees and forest commodities that are perceived to be interchangeable (energy, wood, food, carbonsequestration, etc.). Their “flexible” nature is of major interest to financial capital, which is increasingly promoting, together with the monoculture tree plantations corporations, the speculation over the control of production and land uses. These companies continue to insist on commercial uses of transgenic trees, as well as other uses of wood for energy purposes, and on selling ‘environmental services’ such as carbon. These are all false solutions to the environmental and climate crisis confronting human societies today, and they ultimately exacerbate injustice, hunger and poverty. Monocultures and transgenic crops are not smart; they are one more tool of ‘green’ capitalism to grab peoples’ lands, undermining those who are building real solutions to the social, environmental and climate crisis.

To confront the impact of the big corporations and the expansion of plantations, we must continue to push for the transformation of this model of production and to fight the neoliberal policies that favour big capital. An important step is for us to join forces in the framework of the “Campaign to Dismantle Corporate Power”, in order to build and strengthen instruments to put a stop to the architecture of impunity and legitimation that corporations enjoy today.

The starting point of the Campaign is the struggle of communities resisting the invasion of their territories by transnational corporations, or their fight to expel transnational corporations from their territories. It affirms the right of peoples to freely determine their own way of life. Agrarian reform and the demarcation of indigenous peoples’ territories and those of other traditional and small farmer populations all over the world are urgently needed actions to make headway in the struggle for food sovereignty, social and environmental justice, and people’s power.

We cannot end this declaration without paying tribute to the women and men all over the world who carry out a daily struggle, in different ways, against monoculture tree plantations. They have already achieved important victories in the defense and recovery of their territories and the biodiversity they need for their physical and cultural survival. These women and men, in their arduous and long-suffering struggles for the cause of life and the future, stand in sharp contrast to the greed of the big corporations and investors that seek to appropriate ever more same lands to generate profits for their shareholders.

“Plantations are not forests!”

There are no smart monocultures!”

September 21st, 2014

Campaign to Dismantle Corporate Power and Stop Impunity
La Via Campesina
World March of Women
Friends of the Earth International
World Rainforest Movement (WRM)

 

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Filed under Actions / Protest, Biodiversity, Biofuelwatch, Climate Change, Climate Justice, False Solutions to Climate Change, Forests, GE Trees, Greenwashing, Land Grabs, Tree Plantations, Uncategorized, UNFCCC

Confronting Climate Catastrophe: Direct Action is the Antidote for Despair

Or, Why the UN is Worse than Useless and we need to Flood Wall Street!

Climate Convergence Plenary Address, Friday, 19 September 2014

Anne Petermann, Global Justice Ecology Project, Campaign to STOP Genetically Engineered Trees

UN Security arrests clown at Durban Climate COP shortly before assaulting the photographer.  Photo: Photolangelle.org

UN Security arrests clown at Durban Climate COP shortly before assaulting the photographer. Photo: Photolangelle.org

Good evening everyone and thank you to Jill, Margaret and the other convergence organizers for the opportunity to speak to you tonight.

In four days time, UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon will hold a UN Climate Summit–a closed door session where the world’s “leaders” will discuss “ambitions” for the upcoming climate conferences (or COPs as they are called) in Lima, Peru and Paris, France.

I was asked to put into context the reason for the march and actions this weekend–especially the problem of the corporate capture of the United Nations Climate Convention, which I have attended and organized around since 2004, when I attended my first UN Climate COP, in Buenos Aires, until 2011 when I was permanently banned from the UN Climate Conferences following a direct action occupation at the Climate COP in Durban, South Africa.

But I actually got involved with the UN Climate Conferences through the work I have dedicated myself to, which is stopping the dangerous genetic engineering of trees.

What happened was in 2003, the UN Climate Conference decided that GE trees could be used in carbon offset forestry plantations. Understanding that this was a potential social and ecological disaster, and being completely naïve about the UN process, we decided to go to the UN and explain to them why this was wrong, and to get them to reverse this bad decision.

But what we found out was that GE trees had been permitted in carbon offset forestry plantations because Norway had tried to get them banned. But Brazil and China were either already growing GE trees or planning to, so they blocked Norway’s proposal. As a result, GE trees were allowed simply because they could not be banned. The UN, we learned, does not reverse decisions, regardless of how ill-informed and destructive they are.

This is the dysfunction of the UN Climate Convention.

But let’s go back a minute to see how we got where we are now.

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Filed under Actions / Protest, Africa, Carbon Trading, Climate Change, Climate Justice, Corporate Globalization, False Solutions to Climate Change, Forests, GE Trees, Green Economy, Greenwashing, Indigenous Peoples, Land Grabs, Latin America-Caribbean, Posts from Anne Petermann, REDD, UNFCCC, World Bank, WTO