Category Archives: Events

KPFK Sojourner Truth Earth Watch: On the ground at the World Social Forum in Tunisia with Cindy Wiesner


Cindy Wiesner, Director of Grassroots Global Justice Alliance, joins us from the World Social Forum in Tunisia, happening from March 26-30th.

Global Justice Ecology Project teams up with KPFK’s Sojourner Truth show for weekly Earth Minutes every Tuesday and Earth Watch interviews every Thursday.

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Filed under Africa, Climate Change, Climate Justice, Events, Rights, Resilience, and Restoration, Women

Global Justice Ecology Project to Receive 2013 International White Dove Award

We’re celebrating our 10th Anniversary this year!

Global Justice Ecology Project is being awarded the 2013 International White Dove Award this Friday evening from the Rochester Committee on Latin America (ROCLA) in Rochester, NY.

The White Dove Award honors GJEP’s long-time international work to protect the environment, defend the rights of Indigenous Peoples, preserve forests, and stop the release of genetically engineered trees.  For many years GJEP’s co-founders Orin Langelle and Anne Petermann have worked in solidarity with social movements, communities and organizations from around the world with a focus on Mexico, Central America and South America.

This awards dinner also marks the 40th anniversary of ROCLA–which was founded in response to the coup by brutal Chilean dictator Pinochet.  GJEP Executive Director Anne Petermann points out that some of the first work GJEP did was in solidarity with the Mapuche people of Chile who are still fighting for the return of their ancestral lands, stolen by the Pinochet regime and given to timber multinationals.

But the US has always treated Latin America as a ‘resource colony’ for cheap resources and labor.  The struggle for the land and the struggle for peoples’ self-determination are two sides of the same coin.

Over the years, GJEP Board Chair Orin Langelle has organized many delegations to Nicaragua’s Bosawas rainforest and to Chiapas, Mexico in rebel Zapatista territory.  He directs Langelle Photography and will show slides of GJEP’s work at the Award’s dinner.

“I approach my role as a concerned photographer by not merely documenting the struggle for social and ecological justice, but by being an active part of it,”

“My photography is an historical look at social movements, struggle and everyday life.  It is designed to counter the societal amnesia from which we collectively suffer-especially with regard to the history of social and ecological struggles. This is not merely a chronicling of history, but a call out to inspire new generations to participate in the making of a new history.  For there has been no time when such a call has been so badly needed.”  –Orin Langelle

The International White Dove Award will be presented at ROCLAs Annual Rice & Beans Dinner, Friday, March 1, 2013, 5:30 PM at Gates Presbyterian Church 1049 Wegman Road, Rochester, NY.

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Filed under Climate Change, Climate Justice, Events, Forests, GE Trees, Indigenous Peoples, Latin America-Caribbean

Poster: REDD + Indigenous Peoples = Genocide

Note: The photos in the upper right and lower left of this poster were taken in the indigenous village Amador Hernandez on the border of the Montes Azules Biosphere Reserve by Global Justice Ecology Project Board Chair Orin Langelle during an investigative trip to Chiapas, Mexico with GJEP’s then-Communications Director Jeff Conant.  The trip was organized in March 2011 to identify and expose the impacts on the indigenous communities in the Lacandon Jungle of Chiapas, Mexico that would be caused by the California-Chiapas-Acre (Brazil) REDD agreement, which was announced at the Cancun climate talks in December 2010.  The series of events this week in California against REDD (also see previous blog post)  feature Orin’s photography as well as GJEP’s film “A Darker Shade of Green: REDD Alert and the Future of Forests.”  For more, go to

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Filed under Actions / Protest, Climate Change, Events, False Solutions to Climate Change, Forests, Green Economy, Greenwashing, Indigenous Peoples, Land Grabs, Photo Essays by Orin Langelle, REDD

Eulogy for Barry Commoner

By Phil Bereano, Profesor Emeritus, University of Washington, October 2, 2012  

Note: The following was received by GJEP Executive Director Anne Petermann via email and will be read during the UN’s Cartagena Biosafety Protocol meeting today.

-The GJEP Team

Photo: Los Angeles Times

On behalf of the green NGOs participating in the 6th Meeting of the Parties to the UN’s Cartagena Biosafety Protocol, in Hyderabad, India (regulatng the cross-bundary movement of GMOs), I am introducing the following statement at the Wednesday morning plenary:

We have learned yesterday of the death of Barry Commoner–a great American scientist and, as the New York Times called him, the “lifeguard” of Planet Earth–this past Sunday, in New York City.

One of the first individuals to push for a greater involvement of scientists and other technical workers with society’s problems, he co-founded the Scientists Institute for Public Information in 1963 to provide relevant information to journalists and citizen activists. This effort to help empower citizens increased the quality and authenticity of public decision-making. Citizens were thus emboldened to become watchdogs, monitoring governmental and corporate activities and joining collectively to correct them; he insisted that civic society had the right to demand accountability. Commoner’s critique of capitalism’s heedless pursuits of profits regardless of external cost had a profoundly moral basis. He saw social justice concerns linking environmentalism, gender equality, issues of racial harmony, controlling militarism.

In our own field of biosafety, Commoner was, in the words of the Times, “a founder of modern ecology and one of its most provocative thinkers and mobilizers in making environmentalism a people’s political cause”. He was associated with the Council for Responsible Genetics, the world’s first NGO to take up the issues of genetic engineering (in the 1980s). In February of 2002, he authored one of the most profoundly important articles for laypeople on the subject of genetic engineering, “Unraveling the DNA myth: The spurious foundation of genetic engineering” (Harper’s Magazine)which exposed “the Central Dogma” that somehow DNA was solely determinative of an organisms life.

In 1970 at the time of the first Earth Day, Time magazine featured him on its cover as the “Paul Revere of Ecology,” referring to the American Revolutionary who warned citizens of danger from approaching British troops. Yes, Commoner sounded some of the first alarms over biosafety; we in the NGO community remember him with pride as we continue to respond to threats to the Earth’s well-being.

Phil Bereano
Prof Emeritus
Uiversity of Washington
& Washington Biotechnology Action Council

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Filed under Events, Genetic Engineering, Green Economy, Media

Photo Essay: Occupy Monsanto Actions in St. Louis

Activists from Millions Against Monsanto and the Gateway Green Alliance hang a banner across the street from an industry conference on “biosafety of GMOs.” Photo: Petermann/GJEP

Note: Global Justice Ecology Project Executive Director Anne Petermann and Board Chair Orin Langelle were in St. Louis over September 16 and 17 for the GMO-Free Midwest Conference and the Occupy Monsanto day of action.   The events were organized by the Organic Consumers Association and the Gateway Greens Alliance.

Petermann spoke on the first day of the GMO Free Midwest conference on the dangers of genetically engineered trees at C.A.M.P. (Community Arts and Movement Project) near downtown St. Louis.  Langelle spoke against the Green Economy during day two of the GMO Free Midwest conference.  Day two of the conference was held simultaneous to the “12th International Symposium of Biosafety of Genetically Modified Organisms” at the Millennium Hotel, adjacent to the St. Louis arch.

The second day of the conference and the Occupy Monsanto actions which followed were held in celebration of the one-year Anniversary of Occupy Wall Street.

The photo essay below is from the day of activities against Monsanto, both the conference at the Millennium hotel and the three actions that followed.  The actions included a rally outside of the Millennium Hotel, an action at Whole Foods directed at their policy of allowing GMO foods to be sold in their stores, and an protest outside the world headquarters of Monsanto in Creve Coeur, Missouri.

–The GJEP Team

Rich Martin, a Director at the Millennium hotel, in full freak-out mode, threatens to throw out organizers and journalists from the GMO Free Midwest conference for asking questions and attempting to take photos. Photo: Petermann/ GJEP

Irina Ermakova, a leading scientist at the Russian Academy of Scientists presented on the health impacts of GMOs at the 12th International Symposium of Biosafety of Genetically Modified Organisms.  She then left that event to join the activists at the GMO Free Midwest conference at the Millennium Hotel. Later she took part in the demonstration outside of the hotel in protest of the GMO industry conference.  Photo: Petermann/GJEP

Protesters rally across the street from the Millennium Hotel. Photo: Langelle/GJEP

A mother and her two children protest Monsanto and GMOs outside of the Millennium Hotel. Photo: Langelle/GJEP

Mutant corn is turned away from participating in the “12th International Symposium of Biosafety of Genetically Modified Organisms.” Photo: Langelle/GJEP

Activist from Occupy Monsanto expresses their feelings about Monsanto. Photo: Langelle/GJEP

Activist in Guy Fawks mask protests Monsanto during Occupy Monsanto day of action.  Photo: Langelle/GJEP

Activist in Guy Fawks mask protests Monsanto during Occupy Monsanto day of action. Photo: Langelle/GJEP

Protest across the street from the GMO industry conference at the Millennium Hotel in St. Louis, MO. Photo: Langelle/GJEP

After leaving the industry conference, activists went to Whole Foods for an action protesting the fact that Whole Foods carries unlabeled GMO foods. Photo: Petermann/GJEP

Eric, an anti-GMO cotton farmer from Texas, protests outside of Whole Foods. Photo: Petermann/GJEP

An activist ties up the line at Whole Foods by asking the clerk whether each of the items in her cart contain GMOs. Photo: Langelle/GJEP

A “superbug” caused by consumption of GMO crops argues with a police officer outside of Whole Foods. Photo: Langelle/GJEP

GMO farmer dressed for duty outside of Whole Foods. Photo: Langelle/GJEP

From Whole Foods, the Occupy Monsanto protest went straight to the source–the heavily guarded headquarters of Monsanto. Photo: Langelle/GJEP

Millions Against Monsanto banner at the Monsanto headquarters. Photo: Langelle/GJEP

Occupy Monsanto sign. Photo: Langelle/GJEP

Protesters line the highway outside of Monsanto’s headquarters. Photo: Langelle/GJEP

Anti-Monsanto protester is interviewed by the local media. Photo: Langelle/GJEP.

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Filed under Actions / Protest, Biodiversity, Climate Change, Corporate Globalization, Events, False Solutions to Climate Change, Food Sovereignty, Genetic Engineering, Industrial agriculture, Pollution

Rio Earth Summit: tragedy, farce, and distraction

By Anne Petermann, September 2012.  Source: Z Magazine

As I flew to Rio de Janeiro, Brazil on June 12 for the UN Conference on Sustainable Development (Rio+20)—the 20-year anniversary of the historic “Rio Earth Summit”—I read an article in the Financial Times titled “Showdown Looms at OPEC After Saudi Arabia Urges Higher Output.” The article explained that Saudi Arabia was urging OPEC (Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries) to increase their output of oil in order to ensure that the global price of oil would not exceed $100 per barrel in order to “mitigate the risks that high oil prices pose to the global economy.”

The article pointed out that ensuring the health of the global economy requires expanding oil production. This, as we know, will worsen the climate crisis. The takeaway message of the article, therefore, is that the global economy will only thrive by destroying the life support systems of the planet.

At the Rio Earth Summit, this was also the underlying logic of the so-called “green economy” proposals that have polarized and paralyzed the talks since the first preparatory meeting for Rio+20 in May 2010.

According to Jim Thomas of the ETC Group, who wrote about the Rio+20 summit’s preparatory meetings for the Guardian back in March 2011, “Far from cooking up a plan to save the Earth, what may come out of the summit could instead be a deal to surrender the living world to a small cabal of bankers and engineers. Tensions are already rising between northern countries and southern countries…and suspicions are running high that the…‘green economy’ is more likely to deliver a greenwash economy or the same old, same old ‘greed’ economy.”

At the Rio+20 summit, industrialized countries and multinational corporations, accompanied by institutions like the IMF and World Bank, led the push for development of the green economy—that is, to use the very ecological devastation caused by global capitalism to create markets in so-called “environmental services” by turning them into tradable commodities. These new markets would help prop up the global economy in a greenwashed version of business as usual.

“Environmental services,” provided by intact natural ecosystems—which include such things as the storage of carbon, the purification of air and water, and the maintenance of biodiversity—would be given a monetary value in the market, enabling them to be purchased and supposedly protected. In reality, however, it would allow companies to destroy a biodiverse ecosystem in one area, by purchasing the protection of an equivalent ecosystem.

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Filed under Climate Change, Corporate Globalization, Ending the Era of Extreme Energy, Events, False Solutions to Climate Change, Green Economy, Greenwashing, Land Grabs, Posts from Anne Petermann, REDD, Rights, Resilience, and Restoration, Rio+20

Direct Action for Climate Justice: Confronting False Solutions to Climate Change

by Anne Petermann,  Executive Director, Global Justice Ecology Project

23 August, 2012, Source: Daily Kos

Over August 9-12, fifty participants and trainers gathered in Vermont’s Northeast Kingdom for a Climate Justice Direct Action Training Camp.  The camp, organized by Red Clover Climate Justice and co-sponsored by Global Justice Ecology Project provided essential direct action skills including formation of affinity groups, blockading tactics, legal rights as a protester, a history of non-violent civil disobedience, strategic planning for direct action, and the nuts and bolts of media work to ensure actions and their messages are seen as widely as possible.

Climate justice involves taking real and just action to address the root causes of the climate crisis, and transforming the system that is driving it. Direct action has a rich history of achieving the unthinkable, of changing “the impossible.” It is defined as action to directly shut down the point of production.  In the case of climate change, it would be action to shut down the point of destruction.  With the climate crisis worsening exponentially with every passing day, shutting down the point of destruction is critical.

It was with this in mind that the direct action training camp was organized.  Coincidentally, it came just two weeks after the 36th Conference of New England Governors and Eastern Canadian Premiers in Burlington, Vermont.  A major focus of that conference was energy.  Vermont, which has an image of pristine greenness, relies on dangerous and dirty energy sources.  This includes its aging Vermont Yankee nuclear power plant; hydroelectricity from massive dams on Indigenous Peoples’ lands in northern Quebec; and large-scale biomass electricity, which dumps more pollution into the air than coal.

Although these various mega-projects do not rely on fossil fuels as the main source of their energy, they are still “false solutions.”  They cause vast ecological and social destruction and can worsen the climate crisis.  Their primary function, in fact, has nothing to do with the climate.  It is to maintain business as usual.  While the climate crisis demands a radical re-think of how we live on and with the Earth, a fundamental changing of the system, “false solutions” are specifically designed to prevent real change.  They enable the Global Elite–“the 1%” –to maintain their power and profits in the face of mounting social and ecological crises.

Activists disrupt the Northeast Governors’ Conference cruise in protest of Hydro-Quebec.  Photo: Will Bennington

Hydro-Quebec plans to build a series of new mega-dams on First Nations land in northern Quebec. They will drown forests, pollute fresh water, and displace villages and release huge amounts of methane–a greenhouse gas 35 times more potent than CO2.
In response, a delegation of Innu people came to the Governors’ Conference to raise awareness about and protest these new mega-dams. When the Innu delegation tried to enter the Governors’ Conference to speak with the decision-makers, however, they were refused entry.

The Governors’ Conference was emblematic of the unjust system that must be changed if we are to successfully address the climate crisis.  A group of privileged white males sat down to make decisions that would irrevocably impact the lives of First Nations peoples in Canada, as well as rural communities throughout the region.
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Filed under Actions / Protest, Climate Change, Climate Justice, Ending the Era of Extreme Energy, Energy, Events, False Solutions to Climate Change, Indigenous Peoples, Land Grabs, Political Repression, Pollution, Rights, Resilience, and Restoration, Solutions, UNFCCC