Category Archives: UNFCCC

Orin Langelle: Artist of the Month

Note: Orin Langelle is a co-founder of Global Justice Ecology Project and is currently GJEP’s Board Chair.  He is assembling 40 years of his photography that chronicles the movements for social and ecological justice around the world.

From Orin Langelle: I received an email on Friday, 30 August, from Melody Hay, Assistant Editor, TheArtList.com, saying, ‘I found your work to be very fascinating and inspiring.  That said, I would love to offer you the opportunity to be showcased as TheArtList.com’s September 2013 Artist of The Month.’

And on 3 September The ArtList.com Newsletter came out.  Joseph Hollinshead, Editor, TheArtList.com stated, ‘This month we are very excited to showcase Buffalo, NY artist, Orin Langelle, as the September 2013 Artist of the Month… his interview and photography are fascinating and inspiring:’

The Art List: Artist of the Month – September 2013 – Orin Langelle – Buffalo, NY

At the World Social Forum, Belem, Brazil 2009 - 11 x 14 inches matted and mounted 16 x 20

At the World Social Forum, Belem, Brazil 2009 – 11 x 14 inches matted and mounted 16 x 20

Orin Langelle is a concerned photographer, who for four decades has been documenting peoples’ resistance to war, corporate globalization, ecological destruction and human rights abuses.

Langelle’s first photographic assignment was to cover the protests against the Vietnam War at the 1972 Republican National Convention in Miami Beach.

He has worked behind rebel lines to document the struggle of the Zapatista Army of National Liberation (EZLN) in Mexico. He also co-produced the film Lacandona: The Zapatistas and Rainforest of Chiapas, Mexico to expose the links between the destruction of the resource-rich Lacandon rainforest and the conflict of the government and the Zapatistas.

Langelle has also documented Indigenous movements in Brazil, Nicaragua, Chile, Paraguay, James Bay, Quebec, Indonesia, Kenya and across the US.

United Nations climate conference protest, Durban, South Africa 2011 - 11 x 14 inches matted and mounted 16 x 20

United Nations climate conference protest, Durban, South Africa 2011 – 11 x 14 inches matted and mounted 16 x 20

He has photographed and participated in forest protection campaigns, protests, direct actions and other events at national and international forums including UN climate and other summits, World Bank meetings, the U.S. Democratic and Republican Conventions, the World Water Forum, the World Social Forum, and meetings of the G8 and G20.

Awards: In 1988 and 1989 Langelle received awards from Environmental Action Magazine for “…recognition of photographic excellence in exploring humanity’s effect on the earth and action to protect the environment.

Publications: Langelle’s photographs have appeared in numerous print and online publications from La Jornada, to USA Today, and have illustrated numerous book covers.

Nicaragua man listening in meeting, Bosawas Jungle, Nicaragua 1998 - 11 x 14 inches matted and mounted 16 x 20

Nicaragua man listening in meeting, Bosawas Jungle, Nicaragua 1998 – 11 x 14 inches matted and mounted 16 x 20

Exhibits: Langelle’s photography has been displayed in New York City, Buffalo, NY, Boston, Washington, DC, Madison (WI), San Francisco, Santa Cruz (CA), Eugene (OR), Vermont, Copenhagen, Denmark, Amador Hernandez, Chiapas, Mexico, Amsterdam, Netherlands, and Campo Loro, Gran Chaco, Paraguay.

TAL: How and when did you start creating art?
OL : I became active in the struggle to stop the Vietnam War in 1968 following the police riot against nonviolent protesters at the Democratic National Convention in Chicago. I began teaching myself photography in addition to being an anti-war organizer and journalist, and my first assignment was documenting the protests at the Republican National Convention in Miami Beach in 1972.

TAL: What media and genres do you work in?
OL : Photography, photojournalism

TAL: Who or what are your influences?
OL : Robert Capa, Henri Cartier-Brisson, W. Eugene Smith and other concerned photographers influence my art. Indigenous Peoples around the world standing up against all odds to protect their communities, lands and livelihoods inspire my passion for social and ecological justice.

The Comandante in La Realidad... - 11 x 14 inches matted and mounted 16 x 20

Comandante in La Realidad… – 11 x 14 inches matted and mounted 16 x 20

TAL: What was your inspiration for : “Comandante in La Realidad, Chiapas, Mexico—headquarters for the Clandestine Revolutionary Indigenous Committee, General Command of the EZLN (Zapatista Army of National Liberation)”?
OL : On January 1st, 1994, the Zapatistas, a small group of Indigenous Peoples In Chiapas, Mexico, rose up against the government of Mexico in protest of the North American Free Trade Agreement, which they called “a death sentence for the Indigenous Peoples of Mexico.” The defiance of the Zapatista struggle to defend their land and livelihoods in the face of extreme repression and military might was my inspiration for this photo.

G8 protest, Rostock, Germany 2007 - 11 x 14 inches matted and mounted 16 x 20

G8 protest, Rostock, Germany 2007 – 11 x 14 inches matted and mounted 16 x 20

TAL: Describe your creative process.
OL : I attempt to capture, what noted photographer Henri Cartier-Bresson describes as ‘the decisive moment.’ To me this decisive moment is the instant a visual image is recorded—when light, composition and the subject unite. As a concerned photographer, my goal is not just to document and expose the harsh reality of injustice—much of which is linked with the struggle for the land—but to inspire viewers to participate in changing the world, while helping empower those striving for justice because they know that photographs of their struggle are revealed to a larger audience.

Free Trade Area of the Americas (FTAA) protest, Miami, FL 2003 - 11 x 14 inches matted and mounted 16 x 20

Free Trade Area of the Americas (FTAA) protest, Miami, FL 2003 – 11 x 14 inches matted and mounted 16 x 20

TAL: What are you working on currently?
OL :  I am currently reviewing and four decades of my work. I am also collaborating with the Clean Air Coalition of Western New York to document the effects of the Peace Bridge that spans the Niagara River and connects the Canada to the U.S. Ever since the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) went into effect in 1994, commercial traffic has increased with trucks idling on the bridge and in customs for hours on the NY side. These toxic diesel fumes are having major impacts on the health of the people in Buffalo, NY. The Latino community, which is closest to the Peace Bridge, is the first and worst impacted. I will document this community and tell the stories of the residents and their suffering due to this unjust situation, with the aim to raise awareness of the problem and help change it.

TAL: What are your near/long term goals as an artist?
OL : My near term goal is collaboration with the Clean Air Coalition of Western NY (described above). My long term goal is to putting my photographs—which document decades of the global struggle for soclal and ecological justice–in order so it can be used to counter the societal amnesia from which we collectively suffer. 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.

TAL: Where can people view/purchase your work?
OL : PhotoLangelle.org

All Images © Orin Langelle
All Rights Reserved

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Filed under Actions / Protest, Africa, Climate Change, Climate Justice, Corporate Globalization, Indigenous Peoples, Latin America-Caribbean, Photo Essays by Orin Langelle, Rights, Resilience, and Restoration, UNFCCC

Movement history: COP 6 climate justice mobilisation & the birth of Rising Tide.

Note: We recently received the following article from GJEP long-time friend and comrade Kev Smith.  We’ve worked with Kevin on various occasions, most notably with Climate Justice Action and the mobilization for the Copenhagen UN climate talks in 2009.

One of the aims in the Copenhagen mobilization was to expose the illegitimate dealings of the UN with corporations while working with the grassroots, social movements, Indigenous Peoples Organizations and progressive NGOs in an attempt to show the world that people were radically struggling to prevent false solutions and climate catastrophe while  fighting for climate justice over the same old corporate globalization.  At one point during the climate talks, Indigenous Peoples led a march out of the official UN conference center with progressive NGOs and planned to meet up with people not allowed on the inside of the negotiations.  The meeting would be a Peoples’ Assembly — a non-hierarchical peoples’ platform that would stand out as a model in opposition to the top down corporate UN model.

Well, we didn’t get a chance to meet as police violently stopped both marches.  That’s some of climate justice history, as was the statement that came from Climate Justice Now! afterwards (and also the year before in Poznan, Poland).  Some may wish to erase that grassroots activist history in favor of lobbying to stop the climate catastrophe.  But we must remember our history.   Kevin’s piece, “Dissenting voices cop 6 climate talks 2000”, helps keep our history alive and that history needs to be remembered, lest we constantly try and reinvent the wheel.

– Orin Langelle for the GJEP Team

By Kevin Smith, July 18, 2013. Source: Platform London

372x517xScan-28-620x862.jpg.pagespeed.ic.rRDkXf2XzZIt’s been a season of archiving action at Platform! We’re been sweatily rummaging about our storage unit, ferreting through 30 years-worth of materials as the lovely people from theBishopsgate Institute library are going to be sifting through it all and making it more accessible as part of their collections on London history, labour and socialist history, free thought and humanism, co-operation, and protest and campaigning.

One historical nugget that I recently unearthed was ‘dissenting voices,’ a publication that documented the mobilizations that took place outside the COP 6 Climate Talks in Den Haag in 2000. As far as I know, this has never been digitalized, and it seemed like a quite important document of a somewhat overlooked event that not only had a big influence on what we know of as the climate justice movement today, it was also how the Rising Tide climate direct action network originated.

Rising Tide first developed as a coalition and a network of groups who came together at the COP 6 climate talks to take an oppositional stance to the way the talks were developing, highlighting the extent of influence of corporate lobbyists, the marginalization of Southern countries in the process and the increasing dominance of carbon markets as a false solution to the climate crisis. It’s amazing that all of these issues that were some of the rallying points of the Climate Justice Action network in the Copenhagen talks in 2009 were already being articulated in an almost identical manner almost ten years previously. A group in the UK started using Rising Tide itself as an organisational identity, and while the network didn’t continue to function in subsequent COPs, groups in other countries like North America and Australia (both of which are still active to date) also adopted the name and the political principles.
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Filed under Actions / Protest, Carbon Trading, Climate Change, Climate Justice, Corporate Globalization, False Solutions to Climate Change, Independent Media, UNFCCC

Obama’s plan for the climate: Greenwash our way into oblivion

By Anne Petermann, Executive Director, Global Justice Ecology Project

_Obama_DSC_0005

Image captured from The Weather Channel

At 1:45 today, President Obama announced his new Climate Action Plan in a nationally televised speech.

He described the emerging climate crisis and its impacts–both past, present and future, while be suffered the heat of an abnormally warm June day in Washington, DC. His arguments for climate action were compelling and hard to argue with.  Unfortunately his actions do not match his words.

Unlike Bill McKibben, I do not believe that “the solutions agenda [Obama has] begun to advance moves the country in a sane direction.” (Did you read the actual Climate Action Plan, Bill?!?)  No, what I read in Obama’s Action Plan was a rehashing of the same old dangerous false solutions that many of us have been fighting for years and years.  But what’s really criminal is that even though Obama clearly understands both the science and implications of climate change, he still pushes an agenda that will drive us all over the climate cliff.

First the plan’s “Case for Action” reiterates Obama’s pledge to decrease carbon emissions by a paltry 17% below 2005 levels by 2020–but only if all other major economies agree to do so as well. Climate scientists are not calling for 17% reductions by 2020. In fact, countries like the US need to reduce our emissions by 80-90%.  And not in seven years, but immediately.  Last year preferably.

The main takeaway from Obama’s greenwashed nonsense? We can continue our unsustainable way of life indefinitely with just a few key tweaks.

“Deploy Clean Energy.” Ain’t nothin’ clean about this.  Obama’s “clean energy” plan includes more fracking, more oil, more nukes, more biofuels and “clean coal.”  Yes, Obama wants to stop climate change by screwing over rural communities through promotion of more hydrofracking and increased natural gas exports; expanding domestic oil production–including the hellish Bakken shale oil fields (but don’t worry, it will be clean Bakken oil­–no really, that’s in there); devoting more land to growing feedstocks for plant-based liquid fuels (i.e. less land for biodiversity, growing food or for peasant communities to survive on); protecting forests that store carbon while cutting down trees to burn for electricity production; building more nuclear power plants (apparently never heard of Three Mile Island, Chernobyl or Fukushima); and maintaining the fantasy of that wonderful oxymoron “clean coal.” Sane direction?

Spur Investment in Advanced Fossil Energy Projects. Like “clean” coal, we can burn our fossil fuels and stop climate change too!

Maintain Agricultural Sustainability. For this one, Obama wants us to trust the vehemently pro-GMO US Department of Agriculture to “deliver tailored, science-based knowledge to farmers, ranchers and forest landowners.”  ‘Climate ready’ GMO crops anyone?

Negotiate Global Free Trade in Environmental Goods and Services. Right, cuz global free trade has served biodiversity, ecosystems and the 99% so well!

But the most ludicrous item is the last on the menu: “Leading efforts to address climate change through international negotiations.”  (I know, I know, stop laughing)

This section excels in Orwellian newspeak. It highlights the disastrous 2009 UN Copenhagen Climate Conference as “historic progress,” and insists that the secretly negotiated Copenhagen Accord (that was booed even by reporters when Obama announced it late in the negotiations) was a breakthrough in developing “a new regime of international transparency.” Omitted is the fact that this Accord was never actually consensed upon, but merely “noted” by the official body.  Well history is “his story” after all…

The section goes on to trumpet the accomplishments of the equally disastrous UN Climate Conference in Durban in 2011–about which Nature Magazine wrote “It is clear that the science of climate change and the politics of climate change, now inhabit parallel worlds.”

Nnimmo Bassey, Chair of Friends of the Earth International similarly condemned Durban’s outcomes, “developed countries, led by the US, accelerated the demolition of the world’s international framework for fair and urgent climate action. And developing countries have been bullied and forced into accepting an agreement that could be a suicide pill for the world. An increase in global temperatures of four degrees Celsius, permitted under this plan, is a death sentence for Africa, small island states, and the poor and vulnerable worldwide. This summit has amplified climate apartheid whereby the richest 1% of the world have decided that it is acceptable to sacrifice the 99%.”

But Obama’s Climate Action Plan insists Durban was “a breakthrough”–because countries agreed to come up with some kind of new climate agreement that would not go into force until 2020.

Gee, guess who won’t be in office anymore in 2020…

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Filed under Climate Change, Climate Justice, Copenhagen/COP-15, Corporate Globalization, False Solutions to Climate Change, Greenwashing, Oil, Pollution, Posts from Anne Petermann, UNFCCC

Audio: Climate change resistance with Anne Petermann of Global Justice Ecology Project

Note: Anne Petermann is the Executive Director of Global Justice Ecology Project, and directs the international STOP Genetically Engineered Trees Campaign

-The GJEP Team

December 17, 2012.  Source: Clearing the Fog Radio

Listen to the audio here.

Anne Petermann of the Global Justice Ecology Project discusses the recent climate conference in Doha, Qatar which is characterized more as a trade show for corporations looking to profit from climate change than a conference about solutions, and the increasing exclusion of non-corporate voices. She says solutions to the climate crisis are coming from the bottom up.

Ramsey Sprague of the Tar Sands Blockade (http://tarsandsblockade.org/) describes the growing resistance to the Keystone XL Pipeline and the upcoming direct action training camp and action Jan. 3 to 8. Co-hosts Margaret and Kevin will participate in that action and urge you to support it or participate as well. And ecology activist Diane Wilson who is on her 19th day of a hunger strike describes why she is risking her life to hold Valero Oil accountable to her community.

 

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Filed under Carbon Trading, Climate Change, Climate Justice, Coal, Corporate Globalization, Ending the Era of Extreme Energy, False Solutions to Climate Change, GE Trees, Green Economy, Independent Media, UNFCCC

On Not Attending the UN Climate Conference in Doha

By Anne Petermann, Executive Director, Global Justice Ecology Project

Christina Figueres, Executive Director of the UNFCCC

Christina Figueres, Executive Director of the UNFCCC at the Durban Climate COP in 2011.  Photo: Langelle/GJEP

For the first time since 2004, Global Justice Ecology Project did not sent any representatives to the annual UN Climate Conference (COP).  There were numerous reasons for this decision, one of which was a letter sent to us by Ms. Christina Figueres, Executive Secretary of the UNFCCC (UN Framework Convention on Climate Change) “suspending” three Global Justice Ecology Project activists from participating in Doha.  The list includes Lindsey Gillies, Keith Brunner and me–Global Justice Ecology Project’s “Head of Delegation.” We were officially banned from participating in any of the UNFCCC negotiating sessions in 2012 as well as any future sessions unless we sign a document agreeing to their terms to abide by their special “code of conduct” for observers.  Right.

Figueres page 1

Figueres page 2

Our crime?  Direct action.   Unpermitted, disobedient direct action in both Cancun and Durban designed to highlight the mounting repression against non-corporate observers.  (We also worked for over a year to help organize the amazing Reclaim Power action and Peoples’ Assembly at COP 15 in Copenhagen, which exposed the ineffectiveness of the UNFCCC and called for people to take their power back–though the letter did not mention that).

Over the years we have watched the UNFCCC become more and more like the World Trade Organization that we and many anti-corporate globalization organizations rose up against in the latter 1990s and early 2000s.

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Filed under Actions / Protest, Carbon Trading, Climate Change, Climate Justice, Copenhagen/COP-15, Corporate Globalization, False Solutions to Climate Change, Forests, GE Trees, Indigenous Peoples, Land Grabs, Political Repression, Posts from Anne Petermann, REDD, UNFCCC

Doha: Forest groups denounce false solutions to forest loss at UN climate summit

From Global Forest Coalition, Biofuelwatch and Global Justice Ecology Project

For immediate release – 6 December 2012

UK alleges it will address drivers of climate change – but aims to subsidise a massive expansion of wood-based biomass industry

Doha, Qatar – As negotiations failed to finalise an agreement on a controversial forest policy called REDD+ [1] during the ongoing UN Framework Convention on Climate Change talks in Doha, Qatar [2], forest groups published a letter challenging claims that the drivers of forest change are being addressed by countries within the REDD+ negotiations.

Negotiations on REDD+ turned sour in Doha as developing countries realised they can expect very little funding for this highly controversial forest scheme over the coming years. “The REDD honeymoon is obviously over” states Simone Lovera, executive director of the Global Forest Coalition, who followed the talks.

Furthermore, at the same time that REDD+ is being promoted within the UNFCCC to supposedly protect forest carbon, there is a massive expansion of the biomass industry underway, which will generate increased international trade in wood. This is being actively supported by governments such as that of the UK, and will dwarf any attempts made to protect forests within the UNFCCC.

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Filed under Biodiversity, Bioenergy / Agrofuels, Carbon Trading, Climate Change, Climate Justice, False Solutions to Climate Change, Forests, GE Trees, Green Economy, Greenwashing, Illegal logging, Indigenous Peoples, Industrial agriculture, Land Grabs, REDD, UNFCCC

Earth Minute: Why Doha is not where climate justice will happen

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.

This week’s Earth Minute addresses the UN climate talks in Doha, Qatar, and why many climate justice organizations have decided not to attend this year’s climate conference, and are organizing with social movements and communities instead.

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Filed under Carbon Trading, Climate Change, Climate Justice, Corporate Globalization, Earth Minute, Earth Radio, Ending the Era of Extreme Energy, Energy, False Solutions to Climate Change, GE Trees, Genetic Engineering, Geoengineering, Green Economy, Greenwashing, Oil, REDD, Rights, Resilience, and Restoration, Synthetic Biology, UNFCCC

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