The Buffalo staff may be a little distracted this week. A giant Lake Effect snowstorm has shut down the city. This co-managing editor is currently stuck at my home in South Buffalo under a State of Emergency, a travel ban, and the ongoing potential for a 100 inch snowfall by Friday. Already nearly 60 howling inches have fallen. The streets are impassable. The news is that FEMA will be declaring the area a disaster area soon. The National Guard has arrived in my neighborhood, but they had to helicopter in. I still have power, heat, and food, so these are First World problems–so far at least!
Category Archives: Corporate Globalization
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.
International scientists working with the Russian National Association for Genetic Safety (NAGS) have announced the launch of the world’s largest and most comprehensive long-term health study.
The study “Factor GMO” was announced in London earlier this week and will focus on USA based seed and chemical company Monsanto’s GMO maize products. The study is a 3 year $25 million project and will begin next year.
By John Vidal, The Guardian. 11 November 2014
A Russian group working with scientists is set to launch what they call the world’s largest and most comprehensive long-term health study on a GM food.
The $25m three-year experiment will involve scientists testing thousands of rats which will be fed differing diets of a Monsanto GM maize and the world’s most widely-used herbicide which it it is engineered to be grown with.
Biofuelwatch co-director and GJEP partner Rachel Smolker has posted an important article on Bioenergy and Carbon Capture and Storage (BECCS) at the Washington Geoengineering Constortium website.
Smolker’s piece continues to build on and share her extensive knowledge and critique of bionenergy strategies touted by industry as “climate solutions.” Smolker makes a clear case that these strategies are false solutions to climate change and that environmental thinkers should not naively buy into these strategies.
The Washington Geoengineering Consortium is an initiative of the Global Environmental Politics program in the School of International Service at American University in Washington, DC. They are concerned with the social, political, and legal implications of geoengineering technologies.
By Rachel Smolker, Biofuelwatch, 10 November 2014.
In 2012, Biofuelwatch published a report titled “Bioenergy with carbon capture and storage: Climate savior or dangerous hype?” We had long been working to reveal and oppose large scale industrial and commercial scale bioenergy in various forms ranging from ethanol refineries to soy and palm oil biodiesel to coal plants converting over to burn wood. We had argued that corn ethanol would drive biodiversity loss, cause food prices to rise and contribute to chronic hunger, while failing to reduce emissions, as it has in fact done. We argued that burning wood as a substitute for coal would create a new driver of deforestation, even as protecting forests and ecosystems was recognized as a “best line of defense” against climate change. We pointed out that large scale bioenergy was incompatible with the simultaneous push to quantify, commodify and protect land based carbon sinks and their “services” (often for the dubious purpose of providing offsets to polluters…). We highlighted the human rights impacts, as land grabs for bioenergy escalated in Africa and elsewhere. And we argued over and over that the carbon consequences of bioenergy were far from “climate friendly” or “carbon neutral,” a myth that has been perpetuated by industry proponents and even parroted by many naive environmentalists.
Washington Geoengineering Consortium definitions of geoengineering here.
Today is Veterans Day in the United States. Many of us have ourselves or have family members that for one reason or another have served in military capacities.
Maybe today is a good day to reflect not only on those that have fought and sacrificed but also a renewed context to think about what we have fought for and where this is to go.
Originally, the 11th day of the 11th month was known as Armistice Day. The original Congressional Resolution said “this date should be commemorated with…excercises designed to perpetuate peace…” Today, we will see images and messages commemorating flag waving patriotism and young weaponized people in full combat dress embracing engagements of violence and conflict. Today we may not be able to think much about peace.
No question, the struggle for human survival has entered an intensified stage. Today’s metastasizing wars continue to exploit economic domination strategies that engulf literally every human, every ecosystem, every space.
The horrors of war are very real. Can we find ways to stop depleting the earth? Can we stop just harvesting it to complete depletion? Can we work on in nurturing nature? Human warring against the earth or for parts of the earth is not a winning strategy. Not for humans anyway.
Today, on the 11th Day of the 11 Month we share two resources with you. They both motivate us to think of peaceful solutions.
From Common Dreams, an excerpt from Randall Amster’s excellent new book about re-imagining what is possible in this age of conflict and crisis, driven by the increasing scarcity of natural resources. Read it here: Peace Ecology: Deep Solutions in an Age of Water Scarcity and War.”
And, a video message created over a decade ago by some people that are no longer with us. The message, which is thousands of years old, will resonate for as long as there are people to listen to it.
Created by Anders Fredblad in 2008 and includes narration by Red Crow Westerman and Oren Lyons.
Keeping with the financing schemes of the oligarchy which we have posted about this week (here) and (here), another excellent DeSmog Blog post by our friend Steve Horn reveals who is pulling more of the strings.
It seems that the recent overwhelming electoral decision by residents of Denton, Texas to ban fracking in that community is not sitting well with the .01%.
Steve Horn, DeSmog Blog. 6 November 2014
On November 4, Denton, Texas, became the first city in the state to ban the process of hydraulic fracturing (“fracking”) when 59 percent of voters cast ballots in favor of the initiative. It did so in the heart of the Barnett Shale basin, where George Mitchell — the “father of fracking” — drilled the first sample wells for his company Mitchell Energy.
As promised by the oil and gas industry and by Texas Railroad Commission commissioner David Porter, the vote was met with immediate legal backlash. Both the Texas General Land Office and the Texas Oil and Gas Association (TXOGA) filed lawsuits in Texas courts within roughly 12 hours of the vote taking place, the latest actions in the aggressive months-long campaign by the industry and the Texas state government to fend off the ban.
In a related matter posted by our friend David Kowalski at Re-Energize Buffalo:
The Independent Oil & Gas Association of NY (IOGA-NY) is the chief oil and gas lobbying organization in New York, spending millions backing fracking and natural gas development in the state and opposing environmental safeguards.
IOGA-NY will hold their 2014 Annual Meeting in Buffalo on November 11th and 12th. This year the keynote speaker is Jack Hubbard who will present a talk titled “Big Green Radicals: Winning Public Opinion, Undermining the Activist’s Credibility and Changing the Debate.”
Hubbard works for a Washington D.C.-based consulting firm, Berman & Co., which specializes in undermining the work of environmentalists on behalf of the natural gas industry.
The New York Times published a secretly recorded a speech given by Hubbard’s colleague, Richard Berman, in which he solicited up to $3 million from oil and gas industry executives to finance the “Big Green Radicals” PR campaign.
Berman said in his speech, that industry executives must be willing to exploit emotions like fear, greed and anger and turn them against the environmental groups. “You can either win ugly or lose pretty,” he said.
Last January OXFAM International issued a report, “Working for the Few, Political Capture and Economic Inequality“. The report details how just 85 individuals own half of the world’s wealth. Yesterday, Alternet published a piece describing how 47 wealthy Americans own more than half of the wealth in the United States. We think that this is a good reminder for today. This is one day after a major American election that transferred the balance of power in the United States Congress to the Republican Party.
We remind ourselves of the politics and economics that are driving America and the American political process.
By Paul Buchheit, Alternet. 4 November 2014
A recent posting detailed how upper middle class Americans are rapidly losing ground to the one-percenters who averaged $5 million in wealth gains over just three years. It also noted that the global 1% has increased their wealth from $100 trillion to $127 trillion in just three years.
The information came from the Credit Suisse 2014 Global Wealth Databook (GWD), which goes on to reveal much more about the disappearing middle class.
As part of our continuing coverage of the Seneca Lake protests and arrests, Climate Connections is giving a little well deserved love to Stefanie Spear and EcoWatch. Spear, founder and CEO of Ecowatch, provides excellent coverage of environment, energy, and anti-fracking news.
The hard news today is that our friends at Seneca Lake continue to face arrest and prosecution for blockading the gates to the Crestwood Midstream gas storage facility, which was recently authorized to store natural gas under Seneca Lake by the FERC. Protests and arrests are also occurring at the DC headquarters of FERC. Yesterday, 15 protesters were arrested at the Seneca Lake Blockade.
Stefanie Spear. EcoWatch. 3 November 2014
Fifteen people were arrested this morning blockading the gates of Texas-based Crestwood Midstream’s gas storage facility on the shore of New York’s Seneca Lake. This action marks the beginning of the third week of protests trying to stop major new construction on the gas storage facility authorized by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC).
“We’re standing on what used to be a part of my legislative district in Schuyler County. I am embarrassed and saddened to see what is going on here, I’m sad to see that some of the people in this district are actually supporting this endeavor to store gas in a very unstable salt formation,” said Ruth Young of Horseheads, a former member of the Schuyler County legislature and among those arrested today.
More information at We Are Seneca Lake.
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