Note: Clayton Thomas-Muller is on the Board of Directors of Global Justice Ecology Project.
–The GJEP Team
23 May 2013 Source: Canadian Dimension
Our Last Best Hope to Save our Water, Air and Earth
By Clayton Thomas-Muller
Years ago I was working for a well-known Indigenous environmental and economic justice organization known as the Indigenous Environmental Network (IEN). During my time with this organization I had the privilege of working with hundreds of Indigenous communities across the planet who had seen a sharp increase in the targeting of Native lands for mega-extractive and other toxic industries. The largest of these conflicts, of course, was the overrepresentation by big oil who work— often in cahoots with state, provincial First Nations, Tribal and federal governments both in the USA and Canada—to gain access to the valuable resources located in our territories. IEN hired me to work in a very abstract setting, under impossible conditions, with little or no resources to support Grassroots peoples fighting oil companies, who had become, in the era of free market economics, the most powerful and well-resourced entities of our time. My mission was to fight and protect the sacredness of Mother Earth from toxic contamination and corporate exploration, to support our Peoples to build sustainable local economies rooted in the sacred fire of our traditions.
My work took me to the Great Plains reservation, Three Affiliated Tribes of Fort Berthold to support a collective of mothers and grandmothers fighting a proposed oil refinery, which if built would process crude oil shipped in from a place called the tar sands in northern Canada. I spent time in Oklahoma working with Sac and Fox Tribal EPA under the tutelage of the late environmental justice warrior Jan Stevens, to learn about the legacy of 100 years of oil and gas on America’s Indian Country—Oklahoma being one of the end up points of the shameful indian relocation era. I joined grassroots on the Bay of Fundy, in an epic battle against the state of Maine and a liquidified natural gas (LNG) producer who wanted to build a massive LNG terminal on their community’s sacred site known as Split Rock. The plant, had it been built, would have provided natural gas to the City of New York for their power plants.
Filed under Actions / Protest, Climate Change, Climate Justice, Commodification of Life, Ending the Era of Extreme Energy, False Solutions to Climate Change, Green Economy, Idle No More, Indigenous Peoples, Oil, Pollution, Tar Sands, Water
May 21, 2013. Source: Biofuelwatch
Drax coal plant. Photo: Bloomberg News
New data obtained by Biofuelwatch through a Freedom of Information request to the Department for Energy and Climate Change (DECC) has highlighted how Drax Plc are misleading MPs and the public over biomass sustainability claims.  This comes as the Energy and Climate Change Committee are due to take evidence on issues of sustainability and supply for bioenergy on Tuesday 21st May. 
The documentation received from DECC shows that Drax requires wood from whole trees  and not forestry residues or energy crops to run its power station, and that current supply of this is insufficient for the UK’s expected demand. It also shows that, following discussions between DECC and Drax, the company started fundraising for its conversion to biomass three months before new subsidy bandings crucial to Drax’s plans were agreed in parliament.
In May 2012 following biomass burning trials at Drax power station, Drax Plc reported to DECC that they require wood from slow-growing, Northern Hemisphere trees, low in bark and that residues like straw, or short-rotation coppicing such as miscanthus were unsuitable because of how different kinds of biomass affect the boilers of converted coal plants.  Due to the technology used, this will indeed be the case for all 5 power stations currently converting to burn biomass.  Continue reading
Filed under Bioenergy / Agrofuels, Climate Change, Climate Justice, Ending the Era of Extreme Energy, Energy, False Solutions to Climate Change, Forests, Forests and Climate Change, Green Economy, Pollution, The Greed Economy and the Future of Forests
17 May 2013. Source: The Guardian
US National Strategy for the Arctic Region prioritises corporate ‘economic opportunities’ at the expense of everyone else
Shell’s drilling rig Kulluk aground on the southeast shore of Sitkalidak Island about 40 miles southwest of Kodiak City, Alaska, January 4, 2013. Photograph: Zachary Painter/USCG
One week ago, the Obama administration launched its National Strategy for the Arctic Region, outlining the government’s strategic priorities over the next 10 years. The release of the strategy came about a week after the Office of Science and Technology Policy within the Executive Office of the President at the White House Complex hosteda briefing with international Arctic scientists.
Despite giving lip service to the values of environmental conservation, the new document focuses on how the US can manage the exploitation of the region’s vast untapped oil, gas and mineral resources in cooperation with other Arctic powers.
US hinges success of Arctic strategy on diminishing sea ice
At the heart of the White House’s new Arctic strategy is an elementary but devastating contradiction between what President Obama, in the document’s preamble, describes as seeking “to make the most of the emerging economic opportunities in the region” due to the rapid loss of Arctic summer sea ice, and recognising “the need to protect and conserve this unique, valuable, and changing environment.” Continue reading
By James A. Foley, May 14 2013. Source: Nature World News
In Alaska, the entire village of Newtok is being relocated because coastal erosion threatens to put the village’s highest point underwater by 2017, according to the U.S. Army Corp of Engineers, which points to climate change in Alaska as the cause of the erosion. Photo: Newtok Planning Group
In Alaska, the entire village of Newtok is being relocated because coastal erosion threatens to put the village’s highest point underwater by 2017, according to the U.S. Army Corp of Engineers, which points to climate change in Alaska as the cause of the erosion.
This week, the Guardian is running an in-depth series on Newtok, calling the villagers “America’s Climate Refugees.”
Newtok is a riverside village of about 350 indigenous people on the west coast of Alaska, about 400 miles south of the Bering Strait that separates the state from Russia. The Ninglick River snakes around Newtok before emptying into the Bearing Sea. As it flows, the river erodes the land, some years carrying away more than 100 feet of earth, the Guardian reports. The community experienced major floods in September 2005 and February 2006, and talk of having to relocate the village has been happening since as early as 1994.
The erosion rates in Newtok have been exacerbated by thawing permafrost, declining sea ice protection, increased storm surge exposure, and warming temperatures, according to the Newtok Planning Group. Continue reading
By Emilio Godoy, May 13 2013. Source: Inter Press Service
Sea turtles are among the larger animal species whose reproduction was hurt by the 2010 Gulf of Mexico oil spill. Credit: Mauricio Ramos/IPS
MEXICO CITY – A group of Mexican citizens are preparing the first civil lawsuit in the Mexican courts against British oil company BP for the 2010 Gulf of Mexico oil spill.
The plaintiffs are bringing the class action lawsuit under a 2011 reform of the Mexican constitution that allows a large number of people with a common interest in a matter to sue as a group.
The civil lawsuit encompasses “damages to people living in the area or who own residential and commercial property along the coast, and people indirectly affected” by the spill, lawyer Óscar Preciado, with the law firm Rincón Mayorga Román Illanes Soto y Compañía, told IPS.
“Without a doubt, this will set an important precedent. Class action lawsuits have been brought, but in questions relating to consumer, rather than environmental, rights,” said the lawyer, whose firm is representing the plaintiffs. Continue reading
Note: Bt, or Bacillus thuringiensis is also being engineered into some trees (especially pines) to make them insect resistant. This means the Bt toxin–which has been found to be toxic not only to insects, but also to everything from soil microorganisms to mammals–is expressed in every cell of the tree. The pollen from these trees will also contain the toxin. What will be the impact of inhaling this toxic pollen, especially for people who are already pollen allergic? Yet another reason why genetically engineered trees must be banned.
-The GJEP Team
By Henry, May 2, 2013. Source: Sustainable Pulse
The last year has seen a number of new scientific studies showing the dangers to animals and the environment of GM Crops, in this latest stunning study from Brazil, Bt toxins are shown to be toxic to the blood of mice.
The study (abstract below) explores the toxicity of Bt proteins in mammals. It shows that the Bt toxins Cry1Aa, Cry1Ab, Cry1Ac or Cry2A have toxic effects in the blood of mice. The methodology is not clearly described but what is clear is that the presumed nontoxicity of Bt toxin to mammals, on which all regulatory approvals of Bt crops are based, is false.
Source: GM Watch
In insects, Bt toxins exercise their toxic effects by breaking holes in the gut and rupturing the cells. In the mice in this experiment, Bt toxins caused red blood cells to rupture.
Read The Full Study Here
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.
Note: Jeff Conant is a good friend and former Communications Director for Global Justice Ecology Project.
-The GJEP Team
Jeff Conant, International Forests Campaigner for Friends of the Earth, discusses the dangers of including REDD forest offsets in California’s Global Warming Solutions Act. 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 Indigenous Peoples, Climate Change, Climate Justice, Forests and Climate Change, Pollution, Latin America-Caribbean, REDD, Energy, Carbon Trading, False Solutions to Climate Change, Corporate Globalization, Chiapas, Land Grabs, Green Economy, Commodification of Life, The Greed Economy and the Future of Forests, Ending the Era of Extreme Energy, Forests
May 1 2013. Source: Associated Press
Photo: AP Photo
ALBANY, N.Y. — Months ago, the Cuomo administration promised a decision within weeks on whether to allow hydraulic fracturing for natural gas.
Now, one of the key officials says there’s “no timetable” for a decision.
“It’s kind of like shooting at a moving target,” said Dr. Nirav Shah, the state health commissioner.
He said he had recently met with officials from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the Marcellus Institute, which is based in Pennsylvania where hydrofracking is well underway. The institute aggregates mainstream and trade news and “is committed to providing unfiltered information and analysis organized for business examination and decision support,” according to its website. Continue reading
By Marcela Valente, April 30 2013. Source: Inter Press Service
Satellite image of San Jorge Gulf, in the Patagonia region of Argentina, where there are huge reserves of shale gas. Photo: IPS/Photostock
BUENOS AIRES – The enthusiasm of the government and oil and gas companies over Argentina’s unconventional fuel potential has come up against fierce opposition from communities living near the country’s shale gas reserves and environmental organisations.
Indigenous communities, other nearby residents, academics and environmentalists are deeply concerned about the risks of disastrous environmental damage entailed by the hydraulic fracturing or “fracking” required to extract the country’s significant reserves of shale gas.
Unlike the gas and oil that can be obtained by merely extracting them from deposits where they are found in a more or less pure state, the gas and oil trapped in shale, slate and tar sands, among other formations, require more costly and contaminating techniques.
To extract the gas, the shale rock is fractured by injecting huge amounts of water and chemicals at extremely high pressure through horizontal perforations up to several kilometres in length. Continue reading