Category Archives: Events

On World Day of Food Sovereignty, Struggling for Land in Brazil [Beverly Bell, Other Worlds]

By Beverly Bell, Other WorldsOctober 14, 2014

Families in a Landless Workers Movement squatter encampment, hoping to win legal title to the land. Photo: Andy Lin.

Families in a Landless Workers Movement squatter encampment, hoping to win legal title to the land. Photo: Andy Lin.

October 16 is World Food Day. To ensure that there is food for the world, and that it is not controlled by corporations, small farmers and allies across the globe have also named October 16 the Day of Action for Food Sovereignty and against Transnational Organizations. A posting by La Via Campesina, the coalition of more than 160 peasants and small-farmer movements across continents, says that it “organizes this day of solidarity, resistance, and mobilisation in order to make citizens aware of the current threats to peoples’ food sovereignty.” (To find out about U.S. actions for this day, click here.)

Food sovereignty is the concept that every people has the right to make decisions about, produce, and consume its own local, healthy, culturally appropriate food. Food sovereignty is based in an expansive set of ecological and agricultural practices, international trade laws, and domestic governmental policies.

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Rachel Smolker on IEN’s Indigenous Peoples’ Action Camp to Stop GE Trees

Frank Billie of the Seminole Tribe from Florida. Photo by Photolangelle.

Frank Billie of the Seminole Tribe from Florida. Photo by Photolangelle.

As we reported yesterday, the Indigenous Environmental Network and Eastern Band of Cherokee community members organized a gathering of Indigenous Peoples from across the Southeastern US last week for an historic Indigenous Peoples’ action camp against genetically engineered trees (GE trees).

Participants condemned GE trees as a form of colonization of the forest.

Rachel Smolker, co-director of Biofuelwatch, participated in the action camp as a member of the steering committee of the Campaign to STOP Genetically Engineered Trees.

In her blog for the Huffington Post, Smolker provides a compelling account of the purpose for the action camp and the ideas coming out of it.

Rachel SmolkerColumbus Day and the Colonization of Land, Trees and Genes

By Rachel Smolker, Huffington Post Tech Blog, October 13, 2014.

I spent the past several days participating in the Indigenous Environmental Network Campaign to Stop GE Trees Action Camp in the Qualla Boundary, homelands of the Eastern Band Cherokee in North Carolina. Participants included members of tribes across the Southeast, who came to learn about plans for growing genetically engineered trees on and/or adjacent to their territories.

On Columbus Day we can sadly reflect on the brutal history of colonization that American Indians faced when Europeans “discovered” and then claimed their lands. Now, centuries later, the ongoing colonization process threatens to colonize not only their lands, but even the genetics of the trees in their forests that are central to their history and livelihoods.

Read the whole essay here.

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Filed under Bioenergy / Agrofuels, Biofuelwatch, Events, Forests, GE Trees, Genetic Engineering, Indigenous Peoples

Indigenous Peoples unite to stop genetically engineered trees, calling them another form of colonization

0_w650_h230_s1Qualla Boundary, North Carolina–In the shadow of Columbus Day and the legacy of colonization in the Americas, the Indigenous Environmental Network and Eastern Band of Cherokee community members organized a gathering of Indigenous Peoples from across the Southeastern US for an historic Indigenous Peoples’ action camp against genetically engineered trees (GE trees). Participants condemned GE trees as a form of colonization of the forest.

The Indigenous Environmental Network Campaign to STOP GE Trees Action Camp focused on building an information-sharing and mobilization network of tribal representatives and community members to address the unique threats posed by GE trees to Indigenous Peoples, their culture, traditions and lifeways. Steering Committee members of the Campaign to STOP GE Trees were invited to present concerns about the social and ecological dangers of GE trees.

“All trees and the variety of life that depend on forest biodiversity have historically and will in the future continue to be a necessary part of Indigenous culture and survival, which GE trees directly threaten,” stated BJ McManama, an organizer with the Indigenous Environmental Network.

The action camp, which took place in the mountains of North Carolina, detailed threats of genetically engineering forms of native trees traditionally used by eastern Indigenous Peoples, specifically the American chestnut.

Cherokee participants expressed fears that American chestnuts, genetically engineered with DNA from unrelated species, would negatively impact their traditional lifeways, saying that GE trees are dead trees with no soul.

Lisa Montelongo, a Cherokee community member, mother of four and grandmother of two speaks of her concerns that Ge trees would impact future generations. Photo by Photolangelle.org.

Lisa Montelongo, a Cherokee community member, mother of four and grandmother of two speaks of her concerns that Ge trees would impact future generations. Photo by Photolangelle.org.

“I’m very concerned that GE trees would impact our future generations and their traditional uses of trees. Our basket makers, people that use wood for the natural colors of our clay work–there would be no natural life, no cycle of life in GE tree plantations,” said Lisa Montelongo of the Eastern Band of the Cherokee.

Genetically engineered eucalyptus trees also threaten Indigenous lands in the US South. GE eucalyptus plantations, proposed by GE tree company ArborGen, are planned from South Carolina to Florida to Texas. The future development of millions of acres of non-native and invasive GE eucalyptus trees would threaten Indigenous lands throughout the region with devastating impacts including depletion of water, contamination with toxic herbicides and pesticides and loss of biodiversity.

Danny Billie of the Independent Traditional Seminole Nation, based in Florida points out how real forests "mean life to The People, but Ge trees mean death." PhotoLangelle.org

Frank Billie of the Seminole Nation, based in Florida points out how real forests “mean life to The People, but Ge trees mean death.” PhotoLangelle.org.

“This needs to be stopped immediately. This is not how the forest was meant to be used.  The forest gives life to The People, but these GE trees mean death.They are not for The People, they are only to make money for a few rich people,” said Frank Billie of the Seminole Nation, based in Florida.

100% of participants at the camp oppose the release of GE trees.

More photos below:

Frank Billie of the Independent Traditional Seminole Nation from Florida. Photo by Photolangelle.

Frank Billie of the Independent Traditional Seminole Nation from Florida. Photo by Photolangelle.org.

T-shirt of the Cherokee woman responsible for feeding those in attendance at the Indigenous Environmental Network Campaign to STOP GE Trees Action Camp. Photo by Photolangelle.org

T-shirt of the Cherokee woman responsible for feeding those in attendance at the Indigenous Environmental Network Campaign to STOP GE Trees Action Camp. Photo by Photolangelle.org.

 

 

 

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Filed under Events, False Solutions to Climate Change, GE Trees, Genetic Engineering, Indigenous Peoples, The Greed Economy and the Future of Forests

Global Justice Ecology Project has grand opening in new office today!

On this first Friday of October 2014, we are pleased to be opening our new office in Buffalo, New York!  Our space includes new photo gallery ¡Buen Vivir! –exhibiting the photos of Orin Langelle.  The Gallery is having its grand opening this evening as well, part of the Buffalo and Allentown First Friday’s gallery walk!

We hope to post photos soon. Meanwhile, here is a blurry selfie in which we are pleased to congratulate ourselves on our hard fought for new space!

GJEP Buffalo Office Staff- Right to Left: Jay Burney, Sara Sullivan, Anne Petermann, Sara Palmer, and our new sign!

GJEP Buffalo Office Staff- Right to Left: Jay Burney, Sara Sullivan, Anne Petermann, Sara Palmer, and our new sign!

 

Link to the photo gallery opening here (Climate Connections 26 September 2014: Langelle Photography opens new gallery, launches updated website)

 

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“Until the Rulers Obey”: co-editors of new collection gathering together the voices of contemporary Latin American social movements at Burning Books tonight

unnamedBuffalo’s Burning Books is hosting Clifton Ross and Marcy Rein tonight, October 1st at 7 PM.  Ross and Rein will be discussing their new book, Until the Rulers Obey: Voices from Latin American Social Movements.

This volume features sixty-seven interviews with leaders and grassroots activists from fifteen countries presenting their work and debating pressing questions of power, organizational forms, and relations with the state. These interviewees have mobilized on a wide range of issues: fighting against mines and agribusiness and for living space, rural and urban; for social space won through recognition of language, culture, and equal participation; for community and environmental survival. The book is organized in chapters by country, each introduced by a solidarity activist, writer or academic with deep knowledge of the place.

Upside Down World recently ran a fascinating excerpt from their introduction.

Until the Rulers Obey: Learning from Latin America’s Social Movements
By Clifton Ross and Marcy Rein. Upside Down World. September 24, 2014.

A wave of change rolled through Latin America at the turn of the twenty-first century, sweeping away neoliberal two-party governments, bringing calls to re-found the states based on broad participation and democratically drafted constitutions. The power and motion of this wave, often referred to as the “Pink Tide,” came from the social movements that had been gathering force for over a decade—rebuilding in spaces opened by the fall of US-backed military dictatorships, rethinking in the spaces opened by the crumbling of the Soviet socialist models.

These movements galvanized long-silent—or silenced—sectors of society: indigenous people, campesinos, students, the LGBT community, the unemployed and all those left out of the promised utopia of a globalized economy.  They have deployed a wide array of strategies and actions to some common ends. They march against mines and agribusiness; they occupy physical spaces, rural and urban, and social space won through recognition of language, culture, and equal participation; they mobilize villages, towns, cities and even nations for community and environmental survival.  They are sloughing off the skin of the twentieth-century bipolar world, synthesizing old ways of working and finding new paths into an uncertain future.

Read the whole excerpt here!

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Continued arrests in Ferguson, MO, call for a weekend of protests

Just outside of St. Louis, the town of Ferguson, MO, lit up after the chilling shooting of an unarmed African American teenager named Mike Brown on August 9, 2014. The incident solidified a truth many minority Americans have known for decades — that racial tension and police brutality are still very much alive and present in the United States.

Police action morphs Ferguson, MO, from a city in a democracy to a hostage in a military state. Photo: Scott Olson/Getty Images

Police action morphs Ferguson, MO, from a city in a democracy to a hostage in a military state. Photo: Scott Olson/Getty Images

Protests erupted after Brown’s murder, and continue to this day. Police in military-grade riot gear plowed through unarmed and emotional protestors. Though the media attention has since dulled, the severity of the situation is still an active reality. Viewers can keep up with the protests, police reaction and other events in real time via livestreaming and live feeds. In an afford to raise awareness about the seemingly limitless power of police, as well as unite citizens in solidarity for Ferguson, a Weekend of Resistance is planned for Oct. 10-13, 2014.

From the Weekend of Resistance website:

We are in a movement moment.

Droves of people, many of them young and black, took to the streets of Ferguson to demand justice for Mike Brown. Millions stood in solidarity as protestors were met by a brutal and militarized response by local police departments.

Our country can no longer deny the epidemic of police violence facing Black and Brown communities. Mike Brown is now part of a long list of people like John Crawford, Ezell Ford, Eric Garner, Oscar Grant and countless others who have been unjustly killed by police. Their lives mattered.

Join Hands Up United, Organization for Black Struggle, Missourians Organizing for Reform and Empowerment and our partners in Ferguson from October 10-13th for a weekend of resistance. We’re hosting a series of public events—marches, convenings and panels— to build momentum for a nationwide movement against police violence.

We will gather in Ferguson, but the world will hear our call for change.

Visit the website to learn more about the events occurring Oct. 10-13, 2014, in Ferguson, MO.

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Chris Hedges on the coming climate revolt

Chris Hedges has a weekly column at Truthdig.  Last Monday after participating in a variety of events and talks during the activist weekend in NYC including participation in a panel discussion titled “The Climate Crisis: Which Way Out?” with Bernie Sanders, Bill McKibben,  Naomi Klein and Ksama Stewart.  The Real News Network and Producer Jaisal Noor posted a piece about it HERE. Hedges made the remarks partially posted below at that panel discussion.  The full Truthdig piece “The Coming Climate Revolt”  can be found here.

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

Street medics wash pepper spray out of the eyes of protesters during the Flood Wall Street actions on Monday, 22 September.  Photo by Ruddy Turnstone

 The Coming Climate Revolt

by Chris Hedges   Truthdig    21 September 2014

We have undergone a transformation during the last few decades—what John Ralston Saul calls a corporate coup d’état in slow motion. We are no longer a capitalist democracy endowed with a functioning liberal class that once made piecemeal and incremental reform possible. Liberals in the old Democratic Party such as the senators Gaylord Nelson, Birch Bayh and George McGovern—who worked with Ralph Nader to make the Clean Air Act, the Clean Water Act, the Mine Safety and Health Act, the Freedom of Information Act and the OSHA law, who made common cause with labor unions to protect workers, who stood up to the arms industry and a bloated military—no longer exist within the Democratic Party, as Nader has been lamenting for several years. They were pushed out as corporate donors began to transform the political landscape with the election of Ronald Reagan. And this is why the Democrats have not, as Bill Curry points out, enacted any major social or economic reforms since the historic environmental laws of the early ’70s.

We are governed, rather, by a species of corporate totalitarianism, or what the political philosopher Sheldon Wolin describes as “inverted totalitarianism.” By this Wolin means a system where corporate power, while it purports to pay fealty to electoral politics, the Constitution, the three branches of government and a free press, along with the iconography and language of American patriotism, has in fact seized all the important levers of power to render the citizen impotent.

The full Truthdig piece “The Coming Climate Revolt”  can be found here.

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Filed under Actions / Protest, Biodiversity, Bioenergy / Agrofuels, Campaign to STOP GE Trees, Carbon Trading, Climate Justice, Commodification of Life, COP21 Paris 2015, Corporate Globalization, Events, False Solutions to Climate Change, Greenwashing, Human made disasters, Idle No More, Occupy Wall Street, Uncategorized

NYC Climate Convergence adds context, depth, and significance to the Peoples Climate March

Whether or not you are in New York City this weekend for all of the climate change activities, it is important to take note of the Climate Convergence Conference that will take place starting Friday 19 September, and running through the weekend.

The stated purpose of the Climate Convergence Conference is to “explore the root causes behind our climate crisis and to strengthen movements for a world where people, peace, and planet come first”.  

People attending this event include Naomi Klein,  Jill Stein, Oscar Olivera, Chris Williams, and our own Global Justice Ecology Project’s executive director and the Campaign to STOP GE TREES  Coordinator, Anne Petermann. Petermann will speak at the at the Friday Opening Plenary at St. Peters Church, 619 Lexington Ave, Manhattan, which gets underway at 7pm.

 

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On Saturday, at St. John’s University 51 Astor Place, Room 110 in Manhattan, our GJEP and The Campaign to STOP GE Trees partner and collaborator and Biofuelwatch co-director, Dr. Rachel Smolker,  Petermann, and Jeff Conant, will conduct a Land, Energy and the Green Economy Workshop, 2:15-3:45pm.

 

More about Anne Petermann:

The Need for Clear Demands at the People’s Climate March by Anne Peterman, Daily Kos August 13, 2014

Anne Peterman on Democracy Now with Amy Goodman: Is REDD the New Green? Indigenous Groups Resist Carbon Market-Based Forestry Scheme to Offset Emissions

The Green Shock Doctrine published by the Global Justice Ecology Project,

 

 More about Dr.Rachel Smolker:

Is Toxic Algae Good for You?  HuffPost Green 18 August 2014

Cellulosic Ethanol: Firsts, Failures, Myths and Risks  HuffPost Green 11 September 2014

 

 

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Filed under Actions / Protest, Biodiversity, Bioenergy / Agrofuels, Campaign to STOP GE Trees, Climate Change, Climate Justice, Commodification of Life, COP21 Paris 2015, Copenhagen/COP-15, Corporate Globalization, Energy, Events, False Solutions to Climate Change, GE Trees, Green Economy, Greenwashing, Human made disasters, Independent Media