Category Archives: Forests and Climate Change

GMO Chestnuts Draw Scrutiny this Holiday

Roasting-2


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. Syracuse.com 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.

BJ McManama is the GE trees campaigner for the Indigenous Environmental Network. She is based in the mountains of North Carolina, a central location for potential release of GE American chestnuts. In October she organized an Indigenous Peoples’ Action Camp against GE trees in Cherokee, NC.

She said, “As Indigenous Peoples we know that GE trees will threaten our cultural heritage, tradition, sovereignty and health. Even today, many of our people survive through subsistence methods — hunting, gathering, fishing and even our shelters are obtained from our forests. Trees are sacred. They are the children of our mother and our nurturer. We cannot stand idly by as the American chestnut, on which our people depend, is engineered into something that could wind up poisoning the land, air, water and the people. Forests are the source of our spiritual life and knowledge, and we wholly reject any attempts to change the sacred ancient blueprint of these trees — to destroy their spirit.”

Anne Petermann is the executive director of Buffalo, NY-based Global Justice Ecology Project and the coordinator of the International Campaign to STOP Genetically Engineered Trees, which includes organizations, scientists, Indigenous Peoples and activists from around the world and is dedicated to preventing the commercial release of all genetically engineered trees. The majority of the research into GE American chestnuts and most of the outdoor test plots are located in New York State.

Petermann said, “GE trees pose unique and potentially disastrous risks to forests due to their longevity, the vast distances over which they spread pollen and seeds and their intricate relationship with complex forest ecosystems, but these GE American chestnut trees are even more dangerous. They are also completely unnecessary. They will supposedly be resistant to the blight that wiped out American chestnut trees in the last century, but the truth is blight resistant chestnuts are being developed through non-GE traditional breeding. But if fertile GE chestnuts are released into Eastern U.S. forests, which is the plan, they will contaminate both wild chestnuts and hybrid chestnuts. The impacts are unknown, but it will certainly ruin decades of work done by American chestnut breeding programs. This GE American chestnut tree is a Pandora’s box of potential disasters best left closed.”

Smolker is an evolutionary biologist and a steering committee member of the Campaign to STOP Genetically Engineered Trees. She is based in Vermont, one of the first states to mandate the labeling of GMO food.

She said, “These GE American chestnut trees are nothing more than a Trojan horse intended to smooth the way for commercial release of a host of other dangerous engineered trees, including GE eucalyptus and GE poplars. The tree biotechnology industry­ — companies like ArborGen — are faced with severe public opposition, so now they are trying to use chestnut tree ‘restoration’ as a cover to gain broader public acceptance of GE trees. GE chestnuts and other trees are an unnecessary, undesirable, and hazardous product of the techno-obsessed mindset that assumes genetic codes are like Lego sets that can be engineered to our specifications. But nature just doesn’t work that way. The impacts of these engineered chestnuts will be completely unpredictable. I certainly do not want to be roasting GE chestnuts over an open fire this holiday season.”

 

Leave a Comment

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

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.

Continue reading

Leave a Comment

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

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!

Leave a Comment

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

The Green Economy, Forest Peoples and Territories: Rights Violations in Acre, Brazil

acre


WASHINGTON, D.C. – As officials from California EPA and members of the California Air Resources Board attend the United Nations Conference of Parties in Lima, Peru this week, they should consider the negative social and economic impacts of linking California’s carbon markets with forest protection efforts in Acre, Brazil, suggests a new report from the Brazilian Platform for Human, Economic, Social, Cultural and Environmental Rights.

Continue reading

Leave a Comment

Filed under Biodiversity, Carbon Trading, False Solutions to Climate Change, Forests, Forests and Climate Change, Green Economy, Indigenous Peoples

Truthout | Palm Oil and Extreme Violence in Honduras

A Corporation Dinant worker repairs an irrigation system for oil palms in the Bajo Aguan region of Honduras' northern coast, August 26, 2011. The violence over land titles in Bajo Aguan is the most volatile example of the social divide that burst into view a few years ago. (Photo: Edgard Garrido Carrera / The New York Times)

A Corporation Dinant worker repairs an irrigation system for oil palms in the Bajo Aguan region of Honduras’ northern coast, August 26, 2011. The violence over land titles in Bajo Aguan is the most volatile example of the social divide that burst into view a few years ago. (Photo: Edgard Garrido Carrera / The New York Times)

The Inexorable Rise and Dubious Reform of Grupo Dinant

By Jeff Conant, Truthout. 8 December 2014 [News Analysis]

As one of the fastest growing global commodities, palm oil has recently earned a reputation as a major contributor to tropical deforestation and, therefore, to climate change as well.

About 50 million metric tons of palm oil is produced per year – more than double the amount produced a decade ago – and this growth appears likely to continue for the foreseeable future. Because oil palm trees, native to West Africa, require the same conditions as tropical rainforests, nearly every drop of palm oil that hits the global market comes at the expense of natural forests that have been, or will be, burned, bulldozed and replaced with plantations.

Continue reading

Leave a Comment

Filed under Forests and Climate Change, Industrial agriculture, Land Grabs, Palm Oil, Rights, Resilience, and Restoration, World Bank

BREAKING – Murdered before Lima climate protest: Ecuadoran indigenous anti-mining activist José Isidro Tendetza Antún

Photograph: Pete Oxford/Corbis via The Guardian

Photograph: Pete Oxford/Corbis via The Guardian

The killing of José Isidro Tendetza Antún highlights the risks facing environmental activists in Ecuador. Earlier this week, a group of campaigners travelling in a “climate caravan” were stopped six times by police on their way to Lima and eventually had their bus confiscated. The activists said they were held back because president Correa wants to avoid potentially embarrassing protests at the climate conference over his plan to drill for oil in Yasuni, an Amazon reserve and one of the most biodiverse places on earth.

Once lauded for being the first nation to draw up a “green constitution,” enshrining the rights of nature, Ecuador’s environmental reputation has nosedived in recent years as Correa has put more emphasis on exploitation of oil, gas and minerals, partly to pay off debts owed to China.

– Patrick Bond in Durban, South Africa

Ecuador indigenous leader found dead days before planned Lima protest
By  and , The Guardian. 6 December 2014

The body of an indigenous leader who was opposed to a major mining project in Ecuador has been found bound and buried, days before he planned to take his campaign to climate talks in Lima.

The killing highlights the violence and harassment facing environmental activists in Ecuador, following the confiscation earlier this week of a bus carrying climate campaigners who planned to denounce president Rafael Correa at the United Nations conference.

Leave a Comment

Filed under Actions / Protest, Biodiversity, Climate Change, Climate Justice, Forests and Climate Change, Indigenous Peoples, Political Repression, UNFCCC

Selling off forests is a business for the Peruvian government

cropped-cropped-image1


New report finds that Peruvian government is failing to address the real causes of deforestation in the Peruvian Amazon while undermining Indigenous peoples’ efforts to protect their forests.

LIMA, PERU (4th December 2014) – On the eve of the arrival of negotiators at a crucial UN conference on climate change, a new report shows that, despite public commitments to protect Peru’s forests, the first Amazonian host of the UN COP is ignoring the real drivers of deforestation and failing to safeguard the rights of indigenous peoples. This, despite the fact that these peoples occupy approximately one third of the Peruvian Amazon and offer the best chance of defending the country’s precious forests.

Continue reading

Leave a Comment

Filed under Biodiversity, Climate Justice, Commodification of Life, False Solutions to Climate Change, Forests and Climate Change, Frontline Communities, Indigenous Peoples, South America

Another industry scam, this time Alberta tar sands investors left high and dry!

As the Saudi’s continue to flood the market with cheap oil in an attempt to break the economic back of Russia, investors in the Canadian tar sands (Hello Koch Brothers?) are in a bit of a first world pinch. This excellent expose published in The Ecologist shows how fossil fuel companies ware misleading investors and potential investors by greatly understating the risks of lower oil prices, higher costs for environmental damages, and new green house gas regulations. Something has to give, right?

The Syncrude Aurora Oil Sands Mine, north of Fort McMurray, Canada. Photo: Elias Schewel via Flickr.

The Syncrude Aurora Oil Sands Mine, north of Fort McMurray, Canada. Photo: Elias Schewel via Flickr.

 

Tar sands industry faces ‘existential’ $246 billion loss
By Gregory McGann, The Ecologist. 27th November 2014

The exploitation of Canada’s tar sands is more than just an environmental catastrophe, writes Gregory McGann. It’s also an turning into an economic disaster, with massive investments at risk as falling oil prices leave the tar sands stranded.

Continue reading

1 Comment

Filed under Climate Change, Energy, Forests, Forests and Climate Change, Frontline Communities, Keystone XL, Oil, Tar Sands