Category Archives: Events

BP will appeal $18 billion fine: That is the corporate message as people who have lost everything continue to suffer

The BP fine over the Macondo Gulf of Mexico disaster was unexpected, at least by BP.  The company had put aside $3.5 billion to pay its way out of the Clean Water Act violations and has fully intended to continue business as usual. However, Federal District Court Judge Carl Barbier in his 153 page decision ruled that BP is “grossly negligent” and engaged in decisions that were “profit” rather than “safety” driven. The finding of “gross negligence” increases the amount of the fine by up to four times. If the company had been found merely negligent, the fines could be $1,100 per barrel spilled. Gross negligence ups that to $4,300 per barrel.

BP continues to contest the amount spilled and has hired the the best science that money can buy and shady public relations advisors to convince the world that they didn’t really spill all that much oil.  Expect the appeal process to focus on that.  Meanwhile, according to the article below published by the Bellona Foundation, thousands of people affected by the disaster and the clean-up efforts are so sick that they will never work again, and never have normal lives.

 

Deepwater Horizon Drilling Rig explodes and burns, April 21, 2010 in the Gulf of Mexico-

Deepwater Horizon Drilling Rig explodes and burns, April 21, 2010 in the Gulf of Mexico-

 

BP found guilty of ‘gross negligence’ in Deepwater Horizon spill – victims far from rejoicing
By Charles Digges, Bellona Foundation. Sept. 5, 2014

NEW ORLEANS – British oil giant BP’s “gross negligence” and “profit-driven decisions” in the Gulf of Mexico was directly responsible for the worst accidental oil spill in history, Federal District Court Judge Carl Barbier ruled in New Orleans Thursday – to a tepid reception from those a possible settlement might benefit.

The Deepwater Horizon drilling rig, which BP leased and operated, exploded and sank in the Gulf of Mexico in April 2010, killing 11 men and spewing 4.9 million of barrels of oil and plodded through 87 days of hit and miss attempts to plug it until it finally manage to seal it.

Read the whole story here

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Filed under BREAKING NEWS, Climate Change, Climate Justice, Commodification of Life, Corporate Globalization, Energy, Events, False Solutions to Climate Change, Greenwashing, Independent Media, Latin America-Caribbean, Oceans, Oil, Pollution, Uncategorized

White House Council on Environmental Quality buries its head in sand on climate change ruling – DeSmog Blog

Over the past weekend Steve Horn published an important analysis of the recent federal decisions by the White House Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ) to not offer guidance to the federal agencies that it coordinates regarding energy policy and climate change. Industry pushback is given as a primary reason that the CEQ has dropped the ball.

Maybe organizers and participants at the September 17-24  Week of Action surrounding the People’s Climate March in New York can find a way to fit an objection into their busy “demands” list!

Photo from FOEI

Photo from FOEI

 Legal Case: White House Argues Against Considering Climate Change on Energy Projects
By Steve Horn, DeSmog Blog. August 31, 2014.

Just over a month before the United Nations convenes on September 23 in New York City to discuss climate change and activists gather for a week of action, the Obama White House Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ) argued it does not have to offer guidance to federal agencies it coordinates with to consider climate change impacts for energy decisions.

It came just a few weeks before a leaked draft copy of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s (IPCC) latest assessment said climate disruption could cause “severe, pervasive and irreversible impacts for people and ecosystems.”

 

Read the whole article here

Demand System Change!

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Labor Day Special: Chris Hedges calls out the Climate March

Chris Hedges posted a new piece at Truthdig yesterday, “The last Gasp of the Climate Change Liberals.” Besides getting directly to the point of the critiques associated with the September 21 Climate March, he gives a little love to Climate Connections founder and Global Justice Ecology Project’s Executive Director, Anne Petermann. This is a most important piece. Please read it.

Thanks Chris!

June 25, 2013, President Barack Obama  wipes perspiration from his face as he speaks about climate change at Georgetown University in Washington.   Courtesy truthdig-AP Photo/Charles Dharpak

June 25, 2013, President Barack Obama wipes perspiration from his face as he speaks about climate change at Georgetown University in Washington. Courtesy TruthDig-AP Photo/Charles Dharpak

 

The Last Gasp of Climate Change Liberals
By Chris Hedges, Truthdig. August 31, 2014.

The upcoming climate change march in New York is the last gasp of conventional liberalism. The time for reform and accommodation has ended. We will build a radical movement or be extinguished in a climate inferno.

The climate change march in New York on Sept. 21, expected to draw as many as 200,000 people, is one of the last gasps of conventional liberalism’s response to the climate crisis. It will take place two days before the actual gathering of world leaders in New York called by U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon to discuss the November 2015 U.N. Climate Conference in Paris. The marchers will dutifully follow the route laid down by the New York City police. They will leave Columbus Circle, on West 59th Street and Eighth Avenue, at 11:30 a.m. on a Sunday and conclude on 11th Avenue between West 34th and 38th streets. No one will reach the United Nations, which is located on the other side of Manhattan, on the East River beyond First Avenue—at least legally. There will be no speeches. There is no list of demands. It will be a climate-themed street fair.

Read the Full Article Here

Click here to read Anne Peterman’s August 14, 2014 Climate Connections post, “The Need for Clear Connections at the People’s Climate March.”  

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NY Times publishes data on military weapons provided for police across country

Matt Apuso of the New York Times has just published an article on THE UPSHOT detailing information that it received from the Pentagon regarding the transfer of military equipment such as machine guns, night-vision equipment, silencers, armored cars, and aircraft to local and regional police agencies. It is a compelling piece that will help you to track transfers of weapons into your communities since 2006. The original program was created by the Defense Department in the 1990s. Raw data can be found here.

Photo by Getty Images Scott Olson from Ferguson Missouri just before he was arrested by police, for taking photos of their actions.   This photo shows police forcing protestors from the business district into nearby neighborhoods on August 11, 2014 -Getty Images/Scott Olson

Photo by Getty Images Scott Olson from Ferguson Missouri just before he was arrested by police, for taking photos of their actions. This photo shows police forcing protestors from the business district into nearby neighborhoods on August 11, 2014 -Getty Images/Scott Olson

 

Data on Transfer of Military Gear to Police Departments

Matt Apuzzo New York Times THE UPSHOT

WASHINGTON — Since President Obama took office, the Pentagon has transferred to police departments tens of thousands of machine guns; nearly 200,000 ammunition magazines; thousands of pieces of camouflage and night-vision equipment; and hundreds of silencers, armored cars and aircraft.

In May, The New York Times requested and received from the Pentagon its database of transfers since 2006. The data underpinned an article in June and helped inform coverage of the police response this month in Ferguson, Mo., after an officer shot Michael Brown, an unarmed teenager.

The Times is now posting the raw data to GitHub here. With this data, which is being posted as it was received, people can see what gear is being used in their communities. The equipment is as varied as guns, computers and socks.

The Pentagon-to-police transfer program is not new. Congress created it during the drug war, as a way to increase police firepower in the fight against drug gangs. But since 9/11, as the Pentagon geared up to fight two wars, then drew down as those wars ended, the amount of available military surplus has ballooned.

Now, after a week of confrontation between protesters in Ferguson and heavily armed police, members of Congress are criticizing the trickle down of military gear.

Read the whole piece here.

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Vermont Protest, People’s Climate March and Robin Williams

Dr. Rachel Smolker, Co-director of Biofuelwatch, member of the Steering Committee of The Campaign to STOP GE Trees, and long time friend of Global Justice Ecology Project, published her newest blog at HuffingtonPost “Vermont Protest, People’s Climate March and Robin Williams”

Photo of August 11, 2014 Montpelier Vermont March, by Rachel Smolker

August 11, 2014 Montpelier, Vermont March-photo by Rachel Smolker

Excerpts:

A few days ago, I had the good fortune to be able to participate in a protest march in Vermont’s capitol city of Montpelier. The action was partly an expression of exasperation over the fact that the state is cramming a GazMetro fracked gas pipeline down our throats in spite of ongoing rigorous opposition. It was also the culmination of a weekend long northeast regional “climate convergence” convened by Rising Tide Vermont, 350 Vermont and the Vermont Workers Center. The aim was to build solidarity and facilitate some planning for the People’s Climate March, scheduled for September 21 in New York, and billed as the “biggest march for climate yet”.

I have my concerns about the march — especially because it is not clear what demands are being made other than acknowledging that we are “concerned” about the climate problem and want something done about it. Some are making an unqualified demand for “100 percent renewables” (which in my opinion is like asking for fairies to forever after clean my house and cook for me.) Yet others are asking for “green jobs” (which, in my opinion is like asking for a pair of clean underwear to put on as we march in shackled slavery towards our demise in the machinery of capitalism.

Not approaching the stage with some clear demands is dangerous because of the plethora of false solutions — things that will not help but rather make things worse – disguised as “solutions” and profitable to the corporate one percent.

Read the whole post here

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Filed under Actions / Protest, Biodiversity, Bioenergy / Agrofuels, Carbon Trading, Climate Justice, Energy, Events, False Solutions to Climate Change, Uncategorized

Clayton Thomas-Muller on his hopes for The Peoples’ Social Forum

The Peoples’ Social Forum will be held in Ottawa, Ontario from August 21st through the 24th. According to its website:

The Peoples’ Social Forum (PSF) is a critical public space aimed at fostering activist involvement of individuals and civil society organizations that want to transform Canada as it exists today. It is a space for social movements to meet and converge, for the free expression of alternative ideas and grassroots exchanges. It seeks to inspire practical involvement in social movements and develop networked action strategies aimed at fostering the convergence of struggles, toward building a broad strategic alliance against neo-liberal and neo-conservative policies in Canada. Social justice, Original Peoples rights, sustainable development, international solidarity and participatory democracy at the centre of its concerns.

[...]

The PSF is part of the global movement of social forums that have emerged at different levels since the first World Social Forum (WSF) was held in Porto Alegre (Brazil) in January 2001.  The last World Social Forum was held in Tunis in March 2013and the 2015 one will also be organized in the same city.

Clayton Thomas-Muller leads the march out at the Copenhagen climate conference.  Photo: Langelle/GJEP-GFC

Clayton Thomas-Muller leads the march out at the Copenhagen climate conference. Photo: Langelle/GJEP-GFC

Clayton Thomas-Muller, a member of our board of directors and a speaker in our New Voices Speakers Bureau, wrote an excellent essay for rabble.ca on his hopes for the Peoples’ Social Forum. Clayton is a facilitator, public speaker and writer on environmental justice and Indigenous rights. He is the co-director of the Indigenous Tar Sands Campaign of the Polaris Institute and is an organizer with Defenders of the Land and Idle No More.

As social movements, we have a shared intention to walk away from the Peoples’ Social Forum with serious commitments in terms of resources from unions, who have always been a great partner to the First Nations. Harper has been a revolutionary who has moved aggressively to implement his destructive neoliberal vision on many fronts. First Nations have been one of the key targets of this government, as it cannot abide the idea of collective rights that impede the power of governments, corporations, and private wealth alike. Whether it is in education, land rights or self-determination, Harper’s government is desperate to fast track its assimilation agenda.

We all know what kind of movement it will take to confront this vision — a movement that is like Idle No More was when it first started, but deeper, sustained, more focused and more strategic. We know from wide-ranging consultations with the member communities of Idle No More that they are ready to fight, as long as it is strategic, intelligent and effective. We have an incredible legacy of collaboration to build upon. We need to shift the narrative. We need to lay out a clear and strategic movement that can tactically build a strong base. At this year’s social forum, Idle No More, the Quebecois Student Strikers and Canada’s labour movement can do just that.

Read the whole essay at rabble.ca

 

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Filed under Actions / Protest, Ending the Era of Extreme Energy, Events, Idle No More, Indigenous Peoples

Memorial Photo Tribute for Pete Seeger’s 95th Birthday, May 3rd

by Orin Langelle, Langelle Photography

For Pete  

Born: 3 May 1919, New York City, NY 
Died: 27 January 2014, New York City, NY

pete seeger

 

Please have a look at these photos I took of Pete Seegerhttp://wp.me/p2Mr2B-TX last year during this performance in Buffalo, NY.  I believe this was the second to the last performance by Pete Seeger.

I thought it would be appropriate to release them in remembrance of what would have been his 95th birthday, this Saturday, 3 May 2014.

¡Pete Seeger Presente!

 

 

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Filed under Actions / Protest, Climate Change, Events, Photo Essays by Orin Langelle, Vietnam War

California drought gives boost to anti-fracking movement

By Haya El Nasser, April 11, 2014. Source: Al Jazeera America

California is known for the twin threat of natural disasters from drought and earthquakes, with both phenomena certain to give many residents serious concern.

But there is one group that is starting to reap serendipitous marketing ammunition from the state’s current historic drought and the ever-present worry of ground-shaking tremors: the anti-fracking movement.

“California faces two interlinked crises, a water crisis and a climate crisis, and fracking makes both of these problems worse,” said Kassie Siegel, senior counsel for the Center for Biological Diversity, a nonprofit conservation group.

Fracking, or hydraulic fracturing — a method of high-pressure injection of substances to extract oil from rock formations — has become a hugely controversial subject across the United States. Defenders of the process, especially the oil and gas industry, hail it as a solution to America’s energy woes. Critics say it is highly pollutive and contributes to climate change at a time when the country should be moving away from fossil fuels.
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Filed under Climate Change, Ending the Era of Extreme Energy, Events, False Solutions to Climate Change, Fracking, Hydrofracking, Water