Category Archives: Greenwashing

Sewage treatment plants demonstrated to help create and circulate new mutant microbes

Last July David Cameron warned that the world could be soon cast back into the dark ages of medicine if we do not find a way to deal with newly evolving bacteria that is becoming resistant to antibiotics.

One has to make the connection between antibiotic resistant microbes and the increasing changes of life forms, including important ecosystem supporting microbes, to genetically engineered (Round-up ready, etc.) food crops and experimental GE Trees. These products are designed to boost the so called “green” economy and are untested rapidly expanding  dangers. These frankenplants are modifying ecosystems and the biosphere in ways that we have not even begun to understand. Ok, well maybe we have begun to understand.

Cameron has urged the world’s drug companies to “accelerate” the discovery of a new generation of antibiotics.

One can be sure that this will be done in the context of profitability.  Disaster capitalism knows no boundaries except profit, -not even when that conflicts with human health and sustainability. This is the same context that corporate influenced governments are using to rush to develop so called “green” strategies to climate change. Profit is the first principle–and unfortunately this is viewed through the smoked glasses of the near term quarterly reports. Complex science problems can be overwhelming even for the most talented and diligent scientists, engineers, and thinkers. We know that we don’t know enough. We know that we are moving along into a dark tunnel. We also know that many of us are organized to strongly advocate for common sense as opposed to simplistic economic growth without a thorough analysis of the consequences..

We urge a precautionary approach as a real first step in all science and in what we work for–stopping release of potential synthetic ecosystems, or radically out of control synthesized ecosystems,  without a whole lot more research. We believe our species has a responsibility to do adequate risk assessments for any developing product. We demand these concepts  be first. We do not endorse nor wish to endure watching humanity follow the money like a moth drawn to a candle. We hope that Cameron can help us find our way through the dire delima that is described below, but we have our doubts.  We know, as you do, that these issues are barging into where you live and have proven to treat humans unkindly. The dark ages of medicine is just one way to characterize our future. Shouldn’t we be demanding system change? should’t we at least demand a ban on all GE Trees? The answer to both is yes.

The article below is from July of 2014,  and helps to contextualize the out of control mutations issues that we face with the release of GE crops.

Discovery in the UK reveals role of sewer plants in creating mutated microbes that are resistant to antibiotics

UK discovery reveals role of sewer plants in antibiotic-resistant microbes (Keith Williams, Creative Commons via The Independent)

 

Drug-resistant bacteria: Sewage-treatment plants described as giant ‘mixing vessels’ after scientists discover mutated microbes in British river

Steve Connor  The Independent

Superbugs resistant to some of the most powerful antibiotics in the medical arsenal have been found for the first time in a British river – with scientists pinpointing a local sewage-treatment plant as the most likely source.

Scientists discovered the drug-resistant bacteria in sediment samples taken downstream of the sewerage plant on the River Sowe near Coventry. The microbes contained mutated genes that confer resistance to the latest generation of antibiotics.

The researchers believe the discovery shows how antibiotic resistance has become widespread in the environment, with sewage-treatment plants now acting as giant “mixing vessels” where antibiotic resistance can spread between different microbes.

A study found that a wide range of microbes living in the river had acquired a genetic mutation that is known to provide resistance to third-generation cephalosporins, a class of antibiotics used widely to treat meningitis, blood infections and other hospital-acquired infections.

Read the whole piece here 

 

Leave a Comment

Filed under Bioenergy / Agrofuels, Campaign to STOP GE Trees, Climate Change, Climate Justice, Commodification of Life, False Solutions to Climate Change, GE Trees, Genetic Engineering, GMOs, Greenwashing, Human made disasters, Synthetic Biology, Water

U.S. government to pay Navajo Nation $554 million

In reparation for mismanaging 14 million acres of their lands, United States government will pay the Navajo Nation more than $500 million. According to an article by Reuters reporter Steve Gorman, this record settlement is the result of the U.S. government using “land held in trust for the tribe and leased for such purposes as farming, energy development, logging and mining.”

Photo: www.salon.com

Photo: www.salon.com

Even though Navajo Nation President Ben Shelly hails the outcome victorious, I’m curious to know how much the government made by prostituting out these Navajo lands. How much does their profit compare to their payout? The article doesn’t give specifics and some late night Internet research revealed no answer, either. This record settlement is the highest paid out ever, which is an obvious achievement for native and indigenous peoples, but in return the Navajo Nation promised to “forego further litigation over previous U.S. management of Navajo funds and resources.” What’s being hidden here?

U.S. To Pay Navajo Tribe $554 Million In Landmark Settlement

by Steve Gorman, Reuters/Huffington Post, September 24, 2014

The Obama administration has agreed to pay the Navajo Nation a record $554 million to settle longstanding claims by America’s largest Indian tribe that its funds and natural resources were mishandled for decades by the U.S. government.

The accord, resolving claims that date back as far as 50 years and marking the biggest U.S. legal settlement with a single tribe, will be formally signed at a ceremony on Friday in Window Rock, Arizona, the capital of the sprawling Navajo reservation.

The deal stems from litigation accusing the government of mismanaging Navajo trust accounts and resources on more than 14 million acres (5.7 million hectares) of land held in trust for the tribe and leased for such purposes as farming, energy development, logging and mining.

In return for $554 million, the Navajo agreed to dismiss its lawsuit and forego further litigation over previous U.S. management of Navajo funds and resources held in trust by the federal government.

The deal does not preclude the tribe from pursuing future trust claims, or any separate claims over water and uranium pollution on its reservation, Navajo Attorney General Harrison Tsosie said.

Read the full article here.

Leave a Comment

Filed under Greenwashing, Indigenous Peoples, Political Repression, Politics

Rev. Billy rejects corporate media, wants to connect directly with you!

If you have not experienced the wisdom and power of Rev. Billy and the Stop Shopping Gospel Choir, be prepared to be amazed. This group of radical activist performance artists are brave, intelligent, and yes “Heavenly” warriors for system change. For years, under the guidance of Rev. Billy and Savitri D., they have been a non-stop force rallying against the insidious systems that are destroying the planet. Their top priority is the consumer society, contemporary trends in greenwashing,  and a reveal of the hidden hand. They have made some loud noises. They have been hit hard. They need, want, and deserve our support.

The group has now decided to flee the Facebook, YouTube and Twitter worlds.  This flight has been incentivized by the group being censored, chased, and in some instances, banished, from those worlds. This as they take on with direct actions, Monsanto, DARPA, JP Morgan Chase, UBS, Koch, and the underlying forces of corporatized society. Now they seek new media opportunities to connect with us,  it is important to know that Rev. Billy and the Choir are the canaries in the increasingly poisoned atmosphere that characterizes modern culture. They are constantly helping to lead the way to search for solutions for us all to survive.    You should know know that this form of media blackout from which they are moving away from, is coming for us all soon.

Continue reading

Leave a Comment

Filed under Actions / Protest, Commodification of Life, Corporate Globalization, False Solutions to Climate Change, Greenwashing, Idle No More, Independent Media, Uncategorized

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.

Leave a Comment

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

Indigenous Peoples demand an end to logging in their territory in Quebec

 SOVEREIGNTY DECLARATION NEXT STEPS: THE ATIKAMEKW CHALLENGE THE FSC ACREDITATION OF FORESTRY COMPANIES

Boreal forest, Quebec.  Photolangelle.org

Boreal forest, Quebec. Photolangelle.org

Nitaskinan, Quebec – September 23, 2014 – Intended as the natural next step and logical continuation of its September 8, 2014 declaration of sovereignty, the Atikamekw (indigenous inhabitants of the upper Saint-Maurice River valley of Quebec) announced today that no future forestry operations will be permitted on its territory without the securing of its full consent.

The Atikamekw are seeking to use the auditing period currently underway for the re-registration of companies operating on Atikamekw Opitciwan territory to the Forestry Management Systems (as required by the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC),) to ensure that no company currently being audited obtain a renewal of said certification without the observance of Atikamekw rights and the adequate protection of Atikamekw ancestral territory.

“We never agreed nor gave our consent to the massive exploitation of the forest resources on our territory. Should forestry companies wish to exploit the resources that belong to us by right, they are required to contact us and secure our consent, ” said Chef Christian Awashish.

This position is not without precedent, as it corresponds directly to one of the ten Principles & Criteria set out by the FSC in Canada for the obtaining and maintenance of such accreditation.

In its third Principle, the FSC stipulates that “the legal and customary rights of indigenous peoples to own, use and manage their lands, territories and resources shall be recognized and respected,”  providing for the implementation and rigorous enforcement of the international concept of “free, prior and informed consent of indigenous peoples” to its forest management standards. Principles six and nine require that adequate protection also be assured to certified territory, older sections of forest and certain species of wild animals. The Atikamekw Opitciwan territory has for decades endured the colossal impact of the forest industry without the protection of an adequate conservation plan.

In consequence, Chief Christian Awashish and the Opitciwan Council are calling for the suspension of FSC certification for companies currently operating on Nitaskinan, and in particular, those belonging to the following companies:

• Resolute Forest Products (Comtois and Senneterre)

  • Kruger (Gerard Crete et fils inc., St-Roch-de-Mekinac and Industries Parent inc.)

• Tembec (Senneterre)

• Gestion forestière de St-Maurice

• Barette Chapais

• Chantier Chibougamau

The Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) is an international certification and labeling system dedicated to promoting environmentally responsible development, socially beneficial and economically prosperous of the world’s forests. The FSC sets standards for forest certification and offers a credible assurance to purchasers of wood and paper. The FSC offers the only forest certification system that requires the consent of local indigenous populations with the aim of protecting their rights on public and private land at the same time. FSC requirements for forest development include an entire section devoted to Aboriginal rights (Principle 3), and this principle is widely recognized and respected when it comes to indigenous rights.

Leave a Comment

Filed under Biodiversity, Forests, Forests and Climate Change, Greenwashing, Indigenous Peoples, Uncategorized

Climate profiteers salivate over money to be made from “going green”

How Capitalism will save the planet it is destroying.  After all, US money is green too.

There’s big bucks in going green, business leaders say

By Maria Caspani, Source: Thomson Reuters Foundation – 23 Sep 2014

In a 2009 file photo, a general view of the new PS20 solar plant at “Solucar” solar park in Sanlucar La Mayor, near Seville. REUTERS/Marcelo del Pozo

NEW YORK, Sept 22 (Thomson Reuters Foundation) – There’s money to be made by going green.

So say business leaders and politicians who pressed the economic case for urgent action to fight climate change at events across New York City ahead of the United Nations Climate Summit, which opens on Tuesday.

“Climate change is the biggest problem in this world but also one of the most exciting opportunities,” Virgin chairman Richard Branson said at the Morgan Library during a panel discussion addressing the role of business in society. “If business leaders realise how exciting it is, they’ll see there’s actually an opportunity here.”

Switching the business focus from old, dirty resources to renewable, eco-friendly solutions is a matter of profit, Unilever CEO Paul Polman said at the forum.

Ignoring the problem and doing nothing is “exceeding the cost of taking action,” Polman added, noting that inaction on climate change would wipe out profits to be made in the food sector in the next 50 years.

Pointing to the hundreds of thousands of people who marched in New York and cities around the world to demand urgent action on climate change, U.N. Special Envoy for Climate Change Mary Robinson said that the business community now has to maintain that popular momentum.

“Sustainability has to stop being viewed as a corporate responsibility issue” and become a core part of business operations, she said.

Their comments came as We Mean Business - a coalition of organisations working with thousands of businesses and investors around the world – released a report detailing the financial returns of switching to cleaner technologies.

Read the rest of the article here

Leave a Comment

Filed under Carbon Trading, Climate Change, Commodification of Life, False Solutions to Climate Change, Green Economy, Greenwashing, Uncategorized

GE Trees + Climate Change = Social and Ecological Disaster

In addition to being the day of the People’s Climate March, today is also the International Day of Action against Monoculture Tree Plantations.  The issues of industrial tree plantations, genetically engineered trees and climate change are inextricably linked in many, many ways, and the statement below, put out by our allies at World Rainforest Movement, La Via Campesina and others, explains this.

At Ban Ki-moon’s upcoming Climate Summit, the corporate-dominated UN will try to sell tree plantations (and future GE tree plantations) as “climate smart.”  This, even though studies have proven that tree plantations both store far less carbon than native forests and accelerate destruction of those forests to make room for new plantations.

Banner photo (Plantations Are Not Forests):  Petermann/GJEP-GFC

“Plantations are not forests” Protest at the World Forestry Congress, Buenos Aires, Argentina, 2009  Photo: Petermann/GJEP-GFC

21 September 201410th Anniversary of the International Day of Struggle against Monoculture Tree Plantations
Dismantle the power of transnational plantation corporations!

There is no “smart monoculture”

Ten years ago, at a meeting of 250 members of communities affected by large-scale eucalyptus plantations in Brazil, September 21st was established as the National Day against Tree Monocultures. The aim was to increase the visibility of the many peoples and communities struggling against tree monocultures, as a way of breaking the circle of silence around the numerous violations faced by the communities whose territories were surrounded by these monocultures. The day was also created in order to disseminate as widely as possible the evidence emerging from the resistance struggles about the negative social and environmental impacts of these plantations. The impacts on the lives of women in the affected communities are particularly severe. Recognizing the importance of the decision taken by the Brazilian communities, the World Rainforest Movement (WRM) decided in 2006 to make this day an International Day of Action.

This year, September 21st is also a day of mass mobilizations for Climate Justice. Thousands of people will join the People’s Climate March, while political leaders – and increasingly also corporate representatives – are meeting at the United Nations in New York City for the Climate Summit 2014, convened by UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon. This summit represents yet another step towards the corporate takeover of the UN climate negotiations, and the privatization of land, water and air resources under the guise of a global climate pact.

The UN and other international agencies will launch the “Climate Smart Agriculture” initiated at the summit. This initiative is a new smokescreen being used to greenwash the worst practices of industrial agriculture: chemical fertilizers, industrial meat production, and genetically modified crops, such as tree plantations and other monocultures, which are being disguised as ‘climate smart’. Proponents of this dangerous false solution include the World Bank; they are seeking to turn the carbon in farmers’ fields into carbon credits, which would lead to land-grabbing and undermine real climate solutions.

The expansion of large-scale tree plantations of eucalyptus, pine, acacia, rubber and oil palm species, which may be defined as ‘climate smart’ if the proposal being discussed at the New York climate summit prospers, is furthering capital accumulation by large and often transnational corporations. Some of these corporations are Stora Enso, Arauco, APP/Sinar Mas, Bridgestone/Firestone, Wilmar, Olam and Sime Darby. Production from these large-scale monoculture plantations is for industrial and export purposes, and the rate of expansion has been devastating. The area of these plantations worldwide has increased four-fold since 1980. In the global South, eucalyptus and oil palm monocultures have experienced remarkable growth. Were it not for the widespread resistance of small farmers, indigenous peoples and rural communities in many countries, this expansion would probably have been even greater.

Transnational corporations are primarily responsible for the problems caused by plantations: land-grabbing and the seizure of common ‘resources’; destruction of biodiverse areas and their associated wildlife; the drying up and pesticide pollution of rivers, streams and springs; soil exhaustion and erosion; degrading working conditions; and the increasing financialization of nature, land and production. However, these corporations not only persist in denying and systematically concealing all these processes of social and environmental injustice; they even argue they are part of the ‘solution’ to the problems. Some of the market’s false solutions, which are really solutions beneficial primarily for financial capitalism itself, increase the injustices associated with monoculture. Among these false solutions are initiatives that legitimize corporations’ operations without requiring them to be accountable for the crimes and violations they commit.

Examples of this kind of ruse are ‘green’ certificates issued by the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) and the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) the ‘forest dialogue’, initiatives where civil society and corporations forge voluntary corporate commitments, and other so-called ‘sustainable’ initiatives, like phony commitments to ‘zero deforestation’. Although such action may lead to short-term benefits for local communities in some places, they have mainly led to frustration and community division, by promising ‘compensation’ that does not fulfill people’s key demands for guaranteeing their way of life, the return and respect for their territories, and an end to the environmental injustice caused by monocultures.

These initiatives are ‘voluntary,’ that is, they are not legally binding, and therefore lack a democratic institutional framework whose main goal is to protect the rights of the people affected. In this way, these initiatives, without aiming to change the destructive logic of capital, ultimately legitimize the expansion of a production model that we call neocolonial, because it destroys ways of life, is based on environmental racism and does not question any of its fundamental premises, such as the concentration of land and production in large-scale monocultures with poisonous pesticides and degrading working conditions. Moreover, “green” and “sustainable” initiatives and commitments do not hinder big companies from further expanding their plantations and encroaching on local people’s territories.

Increasingly serious is the rise of “flex tree” monocultures, producing multiple-use trees and forest commodities that are perceived to be interchangeable (energy, wood, food, carbonsequestration, etc.). Their “flexible” nature is of major interest to financial capital, which is increasingly promoting, together with the monoculture tree plantations corporations, the speculation over the control of production and land uses. These companies continue to insist on commercial uses of transgenic trees, as well as other uses of wood for energy purposes, and on selling ‘environmental services’ such as carbon. These are all false solutions to the environmental and climate crisis confronting human societies today, and they ultimately exacerbate injustice, hunger and poverty. Monocultures and transgenic crops are not smart; they are one more tool of ‘green’ capitalism to grab peoples’ lands, undermining those who are building real solutions to the social, environmental and climate crisis.

To confront the impact of the big corporations and the expansion of plantations, we must continue to push for the transformation of this model of production and to fight the neoliberal policies that favour big capital. An important step is for us to join forces in the framework of the “Campaign to Dismantle Corporate Power”, in order to build and strengthen instruments to put a stop to the architecture of impunity and legitimation that corporations enjoy today.

The starting point of the Campaign is the struggle of communities resisting the invasion of their territories by transnational corporations, or their fight to expel transnational corporations from their territories. It affirms the right of peoples to freely determine their own way of life. Agrarian reform and the demarcation of indigenous peoples’ territories and those of other traditional and small farmer populations all over the world are urgently needed actions to make headway in the struggle for food sovereignty, social and environmental justice, and people’s power.

We cannot end this declaration without paying tribute to the women and men all over the world who carry out a daily struggle, in different ways, against monoculture tree plantations. They have already achieved important victories in the defense and recovery of their territories and the biodiversity they need for their physical and cultural survival. These women and men, in their arduous and long-suffering struggles for the cause of life and the future, stand in sharp contrast to the greed of the big corporations and investors that seek to appropriate ever more same lands to generate profits for their shareholders.

“Plantations are not forests!”

There are no smart monocultures!”

September 21st, 2014

Campaign to Dismantle Corporate Power and Stop Impunity
La Via Campesina
World March of Women
Friends of the Earth International
World Rainforest Movement (WRM)

 

Leave a Comment

Filed under Actions / Protest, Biodiversity, Biofuelwatch, Campaign to STOP GE Trees, Climate Change, Climate Justice, False Solutions to Climate Change, Forests, Forests and Climate Change, GE Trees, Greenwashing, Land Grabs, The Greed Economy and the Future of Forests, Tree Plantations, Uncategorized, UNFCCC

Confronting Climate Catastrophe: Direct Action is the Antidote for Despair

Or, Why the UN is Worse than Useless and we need to Flood Wall Street!

Climate Convergence Plenary Address, Friday, 19 September 2014

Anne Petermann, Global Justice Ecology Project, Campaign to STOP Genetically Engineered Trees

UN Security arrests clown at Durban Climate COP shortly before assaulting the photographer.  Photo: Photolangelle.org

UN Security arrests clown at Durban Climate COP shortly before assaulting the photographer. Photo: Photolangelle.org

Good evening everyone and thank you to Jill, Margaret and the other convergence organizers for the opportunity to speak to you tonight.

In four days time, UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon will hold a UN Climate Summit–a closed door session where the world’s “leaders” will discuss “ambitions” for the upcoming climate conferences (or COPs as they are called) in Lima, Peru and Paris, France.

I was asked to put into context the reason for the march and actions this weekend–especially the problem of the corporate capture of the United Nations Climate Convention, which I have attended and organized around since 2004, when I attended my first UN Climate COP, in Buenos Aires, until 2011 when I was permanently banned from the UN Climate Conferences following a direct action occupation at the Climate COP in Durban, South Africa.

But I actually got involved with the UN Climate Conferences through the work I have dedicated myself to, which is stopping the dangerous genetic engineering of trees.

What happened was in 2003, the UN Climate Conference decided that GE trees could be used in carbon offset forestry plantations. Understanding that this was a potential social and ecological disaster, and being completely naïve about the UN process, we decided to go to the UN and explain to them why this was wrong, and to get them to reverse this bad decision.

But what we found out was that GE trees had been permitted in carbon offset forestry plantations because Norway had tried to get them banned. But Brazil and China were either already growing GE trees or planning to, so they blocked Norway’s proposal. As a result, GE trees were allowed simply because they could not be banned. The UN, we learned, does not reverse decisions, regardless of how ill-informed and destructive they are.

This is the dysfunction of the UN Climate Convention.

But let’s go back a minute to see how we got where we are now.

Continue reading

Leave a Comment

Filed under Actions / Protest, Africa, Carbon Trading, Climate Change, Climate Justice, COP21 Paris 2015, Corporate Globalization, False Solutions to Climate Change, Forests, Forests and Climate Change, GE Trees, Green Economy, Greenwashing, Indigenous Peoples, Land Grabs, Latin America-Caribbean, Politics, Posts from Anne Petermann, REDD, UNFCCC, World Bank, WTO