By Emilio Godoy, June 18, 2013. Source: Inter Press Service
Zapotec indigenous people from Unión Hidalgo protesting in Mexico City against a wind farm project in their town. Photo: Emilio Godoy/IPS
MEXICO CITY- “We can’t sow our fields, which they have rented for next to nothing. What good do we get out of it?” Guadalupe Ramírez complained about wind farms operating in the southern Mexican state of Oaxaca.
Ramírez said, “the governments play favourites with big business; our land produces more than what the companies are offering … They said they would come to help us, but that’s a lie,” this 62-year-old Zapotec Indian told IPS when she and other campesinos came to Mexico City from the municipality of Unión Hidalgo, 560 kilometres to the south, to protest the situation.
The Piedra Larga I wind farm, which has been operating in the town since October 2012, comprises 145 wind turbines producing 90 MW of power. It is the property of Desarrollos Eólicos Mexicanos (DEMEX), a subsidiary of the Spanish company Renovalia Energy and the private U.S. investment firm First Reserve.
In 2007 DEMEX approached local people and began to sign rental contracts with members of the “ejido” or communal land, treating them as if they were independent smallholders and not communal rights holders, and setting an average monthly rental of 20 dollars a hectare. The campesinos of Unión Hidalgo farm between three and four hectares each. Continue reading
Filed under Actions / Protest, Commons, Corporate Globalization, Ending the Era of Extreme Energy, Energy, False Solutions to Climate Change, Food Sovereignty, Green Economy, Indigenous Peoples, Land Grabs, Latin America-Caribbean, The Greed Economy and the Future of Forests
Note: Jeff Conant is a good friend and former Communications Director for Global Justice Ecology Project.
-The GJEP Team
By Jeff Conant, June 17, 2013. Source: Friends of the Earth
In Sofala province, Mozambique, a group of initiatives collectively known as the N’hambita Pilot Project have been promoted as a flagship program for the protection of forests and the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions. The United Nations cites it as a model example; well-known retailers in Europe have purchased credits that claim to offset their carbon footprint through the scheme; the Climate, Community and Biodiversity Alliance (CCBA) — the group that certifies many Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Degradation (REDD) projects — says it meets their Gold Level standard for project design. The European commission has funded it to the tune of 1.5 million euros. But does the N’hambita project live up to its reputation?
Today a group of NGOs in Europe, including Friends of the Earth France and FERN in the UK, have issued a report called “Carbon Discredited: The offset project that couldn’t count its own trees,” that charges that the N’hambita Forest Carbon Offset Pilot Project, run by the company Envirotrade, and initially funded by European Commission (EC), has failed to deliver most of its climate change, development, and financial objectives.
The findings are particularly relevant to concerns about climate policy as viewed from the US, as the N’hambita project is the flagship example of a case where developing countries — in this case, the EU — seek to offset their industrial emissions by purchasing carbon credits from a tropical forest protection scheme. California is seeking to do much the same through its pending REDD+ offsets agreements with Chiapas, Mexico and Acre, Brazil. Whether the N’hambita project is deemed to be a success or failure is important not merely because of the public money the European Commission poured into the project, or because of the immediate impact on the people and forests of Sofala province, but because it will have a long-lasting influence on developed countries’ approaches to carbon offsetting and international support for forest protection.
By Mitra Taj, June 17, 2013. Source: Reuters
Andean people march during a protest against Newmont’s proposed $4.8 billion Conga gold mine, near the Cortada lagoon, in the Andean region of Cajamarca November 24, 2011. Photo: REUTERS/Enrique Castro-Mendivil
Thousands of opponents of a $5 billion gold project of Newmont Mining circled a lake high in the Andes on Monday, vowing to stop the company from eventually draining it to make way for Peru’s most expensive mine.
Lake Perol is one of several lakes that would eventually be displaced to mine ore from the Conga project. Water from the lakes would be transferred to four reservoirs that the U.S. company and its Peruvian partner, Buenaventura, are building or planning to build.
The companies say the reservoirs would end seasonal shortages and guarantee year-round water supplies to towns and farmers in the area, but many residents fear they would lose control of the water or that the mine would cause pollution.
“Hopefully, the company and the government will see the crowd here today and stop the project,” said Cesar Correa, 28, of the town of Huangashanga in the northern region of Cajamarca. Continue reading
By Jay Taber, June 14, 2013. Source: Intercontinental Cry
Photo: Roy.luck on Flickr
As expansion of oil pipelines is reined in, oil trains are rolling out. Since last fall, the volume of oil shipped by rail from the Alberta Tar Sands and the Bakken Fields of North Dakota has increased dramatically. As Cory Morningstar reported in the April 12 edition of Counterpunch, this strategic shift in the delivery system from pipelines to trains heading for fossil fuel refining and export facilities has already made an end run around campaigns to stop new pipelines. The question now is whether British Columbia, Oregon and Washington State — the refining and export terminals destination for many of these oil trains — are capable of dealing with the consequences of suddenly becoming “crude zones”. All the evidence so far suggests they are woefully unprepared.
In the May 15 edition of Bakken Oil News, it was reported that the Bakken Fields alone could bring upwards of 200 million barrels of crude oil by train to Northwest ports and refineries each year. While the first Bakken oil train arrived last September, all five Washington refineries handle or plan to handle oil trains. Five new terminals are proposed for Washington ports.
In 2008, railroads in the US carried 9,500 carloads of crude; in 2012, that number grew to 200,000. Due to the boom in fracking oil from shale, US oil production is projected by 2020 to exceed that of Saudi Arabia. As reported yesterday at Business Week, several big pipeline projects will be finished in the next couple of years, including the southern leg of Keystone XL. In the meantime, oil trains are on a roll. Continue reading
By Carlos Zorrilla, June 13, 2013. Source: Upside Down World
The last time Ecuador “reformed” its mining legislation was in 2000. Back then, the World Bank was going around the world merrily “modernizing” everyone’s mining legislation (in more than 100 countries), to make the world safer and easier for transnational mining corporations to pillage the world’s resources and ship them North. The reforms were put in place and, decades later, many countries are still suffering from the massive natural resource curse that the laws inspired and made happen. The impacts were so negative that many are currently trying to undo some of the changes. But not Ecuador.
In the case of this Andean country, in the 1990s the World Bank lent it $14 million dollars to help it carry out the changes, plus prospect for minerals in all of Western Ecuador, including inside seven protected areas. The upshot was that the changes to the law removed all kinds of “obstacles” that mining companies always complain about, including reducing or doing away with most taxes and eliminating royalties, in addition to abolishing all environmental regulations. The incentives, together with the creation of mineralization maps showing areas of interest, were meant to attract all kinds of mining companies and open the country to mining. And that it did. All of a sudden, the country, which had only small-scale mining experience, was flooded by small and large companies led by no lack of sleazy individuals trying to make a fast buck with their fly-by-night mining companies.
The consequences of the World Bank’s neoliberal policies here and elsewhere, were not surprising: large-scale social conflicts, violence, social unrest. Luckily, in Ecuador communities were able to stop large-scale mines from opening, otherwise the country would also be burdened by enduring environmental problems. As it stands right now, Ecuador is the only Andean Nation without any large-scale metal mines (such as copper and gold). But that is about to change with the reforms to the mining legislation being debated in the National Assembly as I write this.
June 14, 2013. Source: APTN News
Twelve people were arrested Friday morning by the RCMP at the site of a sacred fire as part of an on-going protest in New Brunswick over seismic testing in the area.
RCMP spokeswoman Cpl. Chantal Farrah said the arrests were made because people were attempting to block trucks and workers.
Farrah said seven men and five women were taken into custody on Route 126 outside Moncton near Elisipogtog First Nation.
The sacred fire was lit by members of Elsipogtog on June 11 beside a highway where seismic testing vehicles are searching for shale gas deposits.
Opponents of the exploration fear that once the company, SWN Resources Canada, finds shale gas, it won’t be long before it employs a controversial drilling technique called hydraulic fracturing, better known as fracking, to get at it.
Photos on social media show some of the arrests, including one that appears to be a man holding a sacred pipe, with his hands in plastic cuffs.
Wahleah Johns, Solar Project Manager of Black Mesa Water Coalition talks about the fight to stop Peabody Coal’s mining and water use on Black Mesa, and for a just transition to community-led solutions to the climate crisis. Global Justice Ecology Project teams up with the Sojourner Truth show on KPFK Pacifica Los Angeles for a weekly Earth Minute each Tuesday and a weekly Earth Watch interview each Thursday.
Filed under Climate Change, Climate Justice, Coal, Ending the Era of Extreme Energy, Indigenous Peoples, Mining, Pollution, Rights, Resilience, and Restoration, Water
June 13, 2013. Source: La Via Campesina
La Via Campesina, the global movement of mass based peasant organizations, will soon come to the end of its 6th global conference that is being held from the 9-13 June at the Padepokan Pencak Silat Indonesia, Taman Mini in Jakarta, Indonesia. The movement has made crucial decisions regarding it future strategies, new members, new coordinators and other important internal issues.
LVC leaders revealed that the international operative secretariat that has stayed in Asia for the past 8 years, will now move to Zimbabwe in Africa. “We will pass on the torch to Africa this year. Africa is a very important continent because the transnationals have their eyes on it. They are grabbing land there and want to impose the green revolution model with GMOs. We in Asia already know that the green revolution has failed here. We extend solidarity and unite with the African peasant movements to stop this recolonization and choose a development path that will actually benefit the African people and peasants,” said Henry Saragih, global coordinator of LVC and head of the SPI.
33 new member organizations were ratified at the conference bringing the count to 183 along with new countries like Palestine and Taiwan. These members are not just farmers organizations, but also indigenous peoples movements, women’s movement, urban movements, landless peoples movements and many others.
By Nathan Vanderklippe, June 12, 2013. Source: The Globe and Mail
An Apache Canada drilling rig in the Ladyfern region of B.C. Photo: Apache Canada
The substance is the inky black colour of oil, and the treetops are brown. Across a broad expanse of northern Alberta muskeg, the landscape is dead. It has been poisoned by a huge spill of 9.5 million litres of toxic waste from an oil and gas operation in northern Alberta, the third major leak in a region whose residents are now questioning whether enough is being done to maintain aging energy infrastructure.
The spill was first spotted on June 1. But not until Wednesday did Houston-based Apache Corp. release estimates of its size, which exceeds all of the major recent spills in North America. It comes amid heightened sensitivity about pipeline safety, as the industry faces broad public opposition to plans for a series of major new oil export pipelines to the U.S., British Columbia and eastern Canada.
In northern Alberta, not far from the town of Zama City, the leak of so-called “produced water” has affected some 42 hectares, the size of 52 CFL fields, in an area less than 100 kilometres south of the Northwest Territories border.
“Every plant and tree died” in the area touched by the spill, said James Ahnassay, chief of the Dene Tha First Nation, whose members run traplines in an area that has seen oil and gas development since the 1950s. Continue reading
Filed under Ending the Era of Extreme Energy, Energy, Forests, Hydrofracking, Indigenous Peoples, Mining, Oil, Pollution, Tar Sands, Waste, Water
June 11, 2013. Source: WW4 Report
Members of 27 campesino communities in the San Francisco district of Panama’s western Veraguas province held a protest on June 7 to demand the cancellation of permits given for the construction of the Lalin 1, Lalin 2 and Lalin 3 hydroelectric projects on the Gatú river. The protesters charged that there were irregularities in the environmental impact studies for the dams. They also said that they hadn’t been consulted on the projects and that the companies involved were ignoring an order from San Francisco’s mayor to suspend construction. The communities proposed the promotion of cooperatives, ecological tourism and farming based on ecological principles as alternatives to what they consider the government’s bad development policies. The demonstration ended without incident, although the protesters complained about the presence of investigative and anti-riot police. Veraguas’ governor agreed to start negotiations with the campesinos. (Radio Temblor, Panama, June 7)
Meanwhile, the indigenous Ngöbe Buglé are continuing to protest the Barro Blanco hydroelectric project in their territory in the western province of Chiriquí. According to Ricardo Miranda, a spokesperson for the April 10 Movement, various communities in the area carried out actions on May 24 to demand the project’s cancellation. Miranda called on traditional Ngöbe-Buglé leader (cacica) Silvia Carrera to give up on the negotiations being held with the government at the United Nations (UN) office in Panama City. Even though an independent study mandated by a UN report last year still hasn’t been completed, Generadora del Istmo, S.A. (GENISA), the Honduran-owned company building the dam, says the project is now 40% complete. The company indicated that it was reforesting the area around the dam to compensate for clearing done in the construction. (Radio Nacional de Venezuela, May 27, some from Prensa Latina)
Filed under Actions / Protest, Corporate Globalization, Ending the Era of Extreme Energy, Energy, False Solutions to Climate Change, Forests, Green Economy, Hydroelectric dams, Indigenous Peoples, Land Grabs, Latin America-Caribbean, Rights, Resilience, and Restoration, The Greed Economy and the Future of Forests, Water