Category Archives: Climate Justice

SUNY Syracuse College of Environmental Science and Forestry Receives $3 Million DOE Grant to Promote Ecologically Dangerous Biofuels

Harvesting Shrub Willow- Photo SUNY ESF

Harvesting Shrub Willow. Photo SUNY ESF

In case any are wondering why a State University of New York “environmental” college would be working on a major project to develop genetically modified chestnuts to introduce a population of GE Chestnuts to native and fragile forest ecosystems, an announcement last week by the college provides a valuable clue.

The college announced on 15 December that they have received a $3 million grant to support bioenergy development.

The release by ESF states:

“The U.S. Department of Energy has awarded up to $3 million to the SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry (ESF) to develop and demonstrate ways to reduce the cost of delivering woody bioenergy feedstocks to biorefineries.

Specifically, the grant will be used to lower the delivered cost of short-rotation woody crops; rapidly, accurately, and reliably assess feedstock quality; and improve harvest and preprocessing operations to produce feedstocks that meet key biorefinery partner specifications. ESF will work with partners including Case New Holland Industrial (CNHi), GreenWood Resources, University of West Virginia, Applied Biorefinery Sciences, Idaho National Lab and others to complete the project.

Dr. Timothy Volk, a research scientist who leads the willow project for ESF, said the ultimate goal is to make renewable biomass feedstocks more affordable.”

GJEP (who runs Climate Connections) and our partners at Biofuelwatch and The Campaign to STOP GE Trees do not hesitate to make the connection between the trojan horse of GE chestnut research and funding (which includes ArborGen, Monsanto, and a variety of bioenergy related grants by New York State and federal agencies) and the development of bioenergy products which are proven as false solutions to climate change and drivers of social disparity, land grabs, and a general decline of the human capacity to survive on planet earth.

We think that you should be aware of how many state educational systems including New York’s, are driven by private profit, private investment, and an industry agenda that is clearly not as green as some would like us to believe.

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Institute’s Gas Drilling Report Leads to Claims of Bias and Concern for University’s Image

public accountability initiative (PAI)

public accountability initiative on the closing of the SUNY Buffalo Shale Institute

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Filed under Biiotechnology, Bioenergy / Agrofuels, Biofuelwatch, Campaign to STOP GE Trees, Climate Justice, Commodification of Life, Energy, False Solutions to Climate Change, Forests, GE Trees

GMO Chestnuts Draw Scrutiny this Holiday


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. 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, Campaign to STOP GE Trees, Climate Justice, Commodification of Life, False Solutions to Climate Change, Forests, Forests and Climate Change, GE Trees, Genetic Engineering, GMOs, Greenwashing, Uncategorized

Black Mesa Navajo face ‘scorched earth campaign’ spurred by coal mining interests

Black Mesa banner during impoundments,(WNV / NaBahe Kateny Keediniihii)

Black Mesa banner (WNV/NaBahe Kateny Keediniihii)

In Waging Nonviolence, Liza Minno Bloom reported on recent federal campaigns to forcibly impound sheep herded by Navajo living in the Hopi Partition Lands (HPL) of Black Mesa in NE Arizona. (Yep, impound, like a car, for us city folk.)

The government claims that the livestock were impounded because there are too many and they were overgrazing and harming the land, but the weight of history and the violence of what’s currently happening suggests a different reason.

The sheep being impounded from the communities on Black Mesa indicate the continued use of scorched earth policies by the federal government and the continued use of Black Mesa as a resource colony for ever more unsustainable Southwestern cities.

More specifically, Minno explains the history and current state of Peabody Energy on the land, going back to the 1970s when the Partition Lands were created, forcing relocation off of the HPL and ushering the way for a grab of the coal-rich land. The herders facing the pressure continue to live on these lands despite the forced relocation.

She also clarifies that Peabody Energy now wants to expand mining into the areas used by the Navajo herders that are being targeted.

The three families targeted so far need to pay about $1000-2000 to get their sheep back, but also have to sign a condition of release and sell the majority of the sheep right away.

Minno writes,

Currently, Peabody seeks to combine the Kayenta Mine [their current coal mine] and the NGS [Navajo Generating Station] leases under one renewal permit that would allow the facilities to continue operating past their 2019 deadline for expiration. Since, according to the Department of the Interior, the Kayenta Mine lease area will provide only enough coal to power NGS until 2026, part of the lease renewal includes expanding mining into the lands adjacent to the Kayenta Mine and reopening the defunct Black Mesa Mine — the equipment for which remains intact on Black Mesa. Instead of calling it a re-opening of the Black Mesa Mine, however, they are referring to the expanded permit area as the Kayenta Mine Complex. Were this approved, it would mean further incursion into the HPL, which is occupied by the Dineh relocation resisters and their sheep. This explains the impetus for the impoundments.

The history Minno gives going back to the 1974 Navajo-Hopi Settlement Act is definitely required reading, but most important is what’s going on right now and the work needed to keep the coal in the ground and the herders on the land.

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Filed under Climate Justice, Coal, Ending the Era of Extreme Energy, Indigenous Peoples, Land Grabs

Citizen Journalism – Does this mean you?

Photo by GJEP campaigner Ruddy Turnstone at Flood Wall Street, 21 September 2014 as the people wash pepper spray out of their eyes.

Photo by GJEP campaigner Ruddy Turnstone at Flood Wall Street, 21 September 2014 as the people wash pepper spray out of their eyes.

Citizen journalism is making a big difference in this age of the internet. Individuals can and have documented and circulated events including police murders, demonstrations, military actions, and beautiful things.

Cuteness aside, citizen journalists are a great threat to corporate media in that often, citizens can act independently of cultivated sources that are the corporate or mainstream media reporters, editors, and producers. Make no mistake, sometimes those cultivated sources are very productive. But we would not have the kind of documentation of things like the police murder of Eric Garner in New York City if it wasn’t for a citizen with the cell phone camera, recording it on video and sending it out for the world to see.

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by | December 17, 2014 · 4:00 PM

Trees won’t be our carbon sink saviors after all (good for them!)

shutterstock via grist article linked below

Shutterstock via Grist article linked below

So, shockingly, nature again won’t do what we want.

A new study challenges hopes that tropical rainforest trees will grow faster with rising CO2 and mitigate climate change.

The study concludes that the “widespread assumption of a Co2-induced stimulation of tropical tree growth may not be valid.” The authors focused on tree rings, and it’s possible that added growth might be in new trees or in other parts besides the trunk, making for increased density, but it still puts the brakes on one line of wishful thinking.

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Filed under Climate Justice, Ending the Era of Extreme Energy, Forests, Forests and Climate Change

Lima Climate COP Fails (of course)

The biggest shame about the latest round of UN talks about addressing climate change that just ended in Lima, Peru was not that it failed, but some people actually thought something useful would come of it.

Global Justice Ecology Project only attended the UN Climate COPs from 2004-2011, when we quit them for good, as it was painfully clear from the onset that these were corporate-dominated trade shows designed to promote profit-making false solutions.

Fortunately, more and more people (except for the big green NGOs) recognize that these climate COPs will never get it done and are organizing peoples’ summits where grassroots climate activists, Indigenous Peoples and impacted community members can gather to discuss what to do about climate change from the bottom up, as with the Lima People’s Climate Summit last week.  The outcomes from this event are not yet available, but we will post them when they are.

Burning the Planet, One Climate COP at a time

Mary Lou Malig, Peoples’ Forest Rights, December 13, 2014

For the third year in a row, a typhoon wreaked havoc on the Philippines during a Conference of Parties (COP) of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). In 2012, during the UNFCCC COP 18 in Doha, Qatar, Typhoon Bopha, the strongest ever to hit Mindanao, the southern area of the Philippines, left more than a thousand dead and thousands more homeless. In 2013, during the COP 19 in Warsaw, Poland, Typhoon Haiyan, a super typhoon of levels never seen before in the Philippines, made landfall and devastated millions of families, displaced an estimated 4 million people, and, left in its wake at least 6,100 dead, making it the deadliest typhoon to ever hit the country. Storm surges brought by the super typhoon violently washed away entire communities. This year, 2014, during the COP 20 in Lima, yet again another super typhoon made its way to the Philippines. Initially a category 5 super typhoon, Typhoon Ruby, weakened to a category 3 once it made landfall. Its path however included the communities still reeling from devastation of Typhoon Haiyan the year before.

Although the Philippines is no stranger to typhoons, seeing 15-20 typhoons a year, the scale of these recent super typhoons hitting the country has inflicted damage never before seen. Scientists have been making these warnings for several years now, warmer waters and warmer air temperatures are combining to produce more volatile and extreme weather including super typhoons of record-breaking magnitudes. One would think that with the vivid and horrific reality of massive loss and damage in countries like the Philippines, happening exactly at the same time as representatives of 192 governments come together to discuss actions needed to address the crisis of climate change, that these decision-makers would at least be compelled to take genuine action. Instead, it has been the complete opposite.

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Filed under Climate Change, Climate Justice, COP21 Paris 2015, False Solutions to Climate Change, UN, UNFCCC

Indigenous Amazon Leader Denounces REDD on Democracy Now!

Another blow to REDD: a false solution to climate change that is giving big polluters license to continue polluting, as well as displacing Indigenous Peoples around the world from their lands. For more on the dangers and impacts of REDD on Indigenous Peoples, watch this important interview on Democracy Now!

Brazilian Indigenous Leader: Carbon Trading Scheme “REDD” a False Solution to Climate Change

Democracy Now!, 11 December 2014

The controversial carbon trading scheme known as REDD, or Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation, has set off protests not only in Africa, but also in South America, especially in the Amazon region. We speak to Chief Ninawa Huni Kui, president of the Federation of the Huni Kui, an indigenous group in Brazil. He has traveled to the U.N. climate summit in Lima to voice his opposition to REDD.

Click here to view the interview on Democracy Now!

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Filed under Biodiversity, Carbon Trading, Climate Change, Climate Justice, False Solutions to Climate Change, Forests, Forests and Climate Change, Indigenous Peoples, Latin America-Caribbean, REDD

Cultivating Climate Justice through Compost: the Story of Hernani, Spain


Organic garden using Hernani’s compost. Photo by María Cortes.

When the people of Hernani, Spain, began a residential compost system, they weren’t looking to become heroes of the movement for climate justice. Like thousands of other towns around the world, they were simply looking for an alternative to incineration and the pollution it brings.

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Filed under Climate Justice, Food Sovereignty, Solutions, Waste