April 17, 2014. Source: The Real News Network
Category Archives: Youth
By Talia Buford, March 2, 2014. Source: Politico
More than 300 anti-Keystone XL protesters were arrested Sunday afternoon outside the White House in the latest push by environmentalists to convince the Obama administration to reject the Canadian oil pipeline.
The student-led protest, organized by XL Dissent, started with a rally at Georgetown University. The students marched from there to the White House — with a stop at Secretary of State John Kerry’s house along the way.
Students from 80 colleges participated in Sunday’s event, and another protest will be held on Monday in San Francisco, said Aly Johnson-Kurts, a freshman at Smith College and one of the organizers of the event.
“The youth really understand the traditional methods of creating change are not sufficient … so we needed to escalate,” said Johnson, shortly before she was arrested at the White House. Continue reading
February 3, 2014. Source: Intercontinental Cry
Orleans, CA – Local youth are making plans to travel to Brazil to lend a hand in the fight against the world’s most destructive dam proposal, Belo Monte. The Belo Monte Dam Resistance Delegation includes indigenous tribes and river activists from Northern California who will travel to Brazil to work with indigenous people in the Xingu basin, the heart of the Amazon, making a strong bond through mutual efforts to preserve and protect inherited cultures and natural resources from short sighted projects like the Belo Monte Dam.
The Belo Monte project, would be the third largest hydroelectric dam ever built. This project would affect 40,000 people and inundate 640 square kilometers of rainforest. Belo Monte Dam is the first step in a larger plan to extract the Amazon’s vast resources through additional dam building.
Belo Monte is one of many dams proposed for the Amazon that would affect hundreds of thousands of indigenous people, including some of the world’s last un-contacted tribes, allowing further destructive mining and deforestation practices. The Amazon Basin, about the size of the continental U.S., is home to 60 percent of the world’s remaining rainforest, and holds one-fifth of the world’s fresh water. Continue reading
Note: Although the article below is quit dated, Global Justice Ecology Project feels the story and perspective offered are crucial to building a stronger movement for climate justice. Top-down, oppressive, patriarchal and racist models of organizing reward white privilege and continue to exclude and disenfranchise people of color, Indigenous People, transgender and queer folk. Essentially, this model of organizing refuses to include those with the most experience battle the systems of oppression that must be dismantled to stop the devouring of the planet. Further, it encourages a professional, career-focused model of organizing, which does precisely nothing to challenge state and corporate power. In fact, it often strengthens it.
Here’s to a new year (if you choose to recognize the colonialist-imposed Roman calendar) and a renewed focus on confronting all forms of oppression, in ourselves, in our movements and in society-at-large.
-The GJEP Team
By Chloe Gleichman, October 25, 2013. Source: Pshiftopenletters
“What are the implications for a social justice movement in which power and resources are being transferred based on one’s ability to develop a relationship with the right white people?”
-Tiffany Lethabo King & Eware Osayande
I write this letter out of compassion and frustration. This feedback is not directed at you as individuals, but rather the organizational culture that I experienced this summer at EAC, culminating this past weekend at Power Shift, where I resigned from EAC staff on Sunday.
First and foremost, I want to make clear that I am not trying to work toward resolution, nor do I feel it is my responsibility to offer tangible solutions and answers for the issues present within EAC’s culture. I have no investment in improving an organization I feel will ultimately be ineffective if it continues to operate in the way I experienced and observed. Instead, I will simply offer my experience publicly, as I believe there is much to be gained from having this dialogue out in the open where accountability cannot be lost, blame cannot be displaced, and those who have been systematically left out of conversations can have a seat at the table.
In my first few weeks at EAC, there were some isolated instances that left me feeling unsettled and uncomfortable, but that was what they were to me then: isolated instances. But over time as these instances became patterns, I realized that they were intentionally being framed as isolated instances rather than what they really were: systemic problems.
Inherent in the very structure of non-profit organizations “working toward social justice” like the EAC is a paradigm that renders work ineffective. The non-profit structure organizes mass dissent that could actually spur real revolution into a career-based organizing model, one in which dominating hierarchy is created and oppressive power-dynamics are replicated. Those with a relative amount of privilege rise to the top of that hierarchy, funding their organization through contributions from wealthy funders and donors (successful capitalists) who are then able to pride themselves on their philanthropy.
Non-profits do not threaten the suicidal status quo or disrupt and disturb the colonial-industrial-capitalist paradigm. If they did, you can bet the state would have already done away with them.
By Fern Shen, December 19, 2013. Source: Baltimore Brew
Students rallying against a trash incinerator planned in their South Baltimore neighborhood said researching and organizing was important. But talking to fellow residents made it plain to them how sick their neighborhood really was from pollution-linked disease.
“One person said a neighbor three doors down had just died of asthma,” said Charles Graham, a senior at Benjamin Franklin High School who canvassed the streets of Curtis Bay and Brooklyn on weekends.
“We asked the students in one class how many had asthma and everyone’s hand went up!” said Destiny Watford, 18, a Towson University student who lives in the community, where rowhouses are just blocks away from heavy industry.
The USDA is accepting public comments on the application for deregulation of an apple tree genetically engineered to prevent the flesh of the apple from turning brown. As usual, assessments of the risks to human health, especially children’s health, are utterly lacking and little is known about how the GE apple will interact with the environment.
This is the first GE fruit tree that is to be widely grown and eaten. There are concerns about the silencing of a whole gene family with unknown functions (suspected to be involved in defense against pests and pathogens), inadequate testing of susceptibility to pests and pathogens in the tree and the fruit, and other issues. There is no attempt to prevent gene flow–this apple will pollinate freely.
Please submit comments to the USDA regarding your thoughts on their approval of this GE apple.
The Petition for Non-regulated Status, Draft Environmental Assessment, Draft Plant Pest Risk Assessment and Notice are all here:
Submit pdfs of comments to:
14 November 2013. Source: The Real News
Christopher Hedges, on the sentencing of Jeremy Hammond, says there will be no free press without figures like Hammond and Manning:
Note: Today’s essay and yesterday’s were penned this past week by 14 year-old Lena Heinrich, daughter of Rachel Smolker, co-Director of BiofuelWatch and Berndt Heinrich, noted naturalist. They are both insightful and inspiring. We hope you enjoy them.
–The GJEP Team
By Lena Heinrich
The first thing my dad said when I was born was that I looked like a raven, due to my black hair (he was studying them at the time); he seemed to get his kicks from placing my brother and I in baskets, then letting the ravens he was observing in our aviary dote over us.
My Dad is a simple, serious and focused man, who some might say isn’t quite caught up with society, still carrying a number of the values passed down to him through his parents and his experiences in life. Some of my fondest memories with my father are of catching insects to prepare for his collections, and watching him sit hunched over his boxes, carefully splaying the bugs wings and legs just so, pinning here and there, until they were perfectly displayed, like they might fly off the pin board any second. It was an art, and for a child, it was simply mesmerizing to be able to examine the different bugs up close, with their brittle limbs, fur and sometimes bright colors. He would point out which wing patterns were used for camouflage and the purpose for each of the insects unique anatomical features with glassy, immersed eyes and an unsaid sense of pride as I prodded him with questions about luna moths and larvae.
His study room was a dusty, forbidden, musk smelling wonderland of old books and boxes and boxes of insects, from every country imaginable- rare stag beetles and cicadas that only come out one night every 60 years to common bees, all displayed with the same undying care and precision. With careful hands, he would hold beetles up to the sunlight for me, so as to show me how the light changed the drab black insect into a flashing array of colors. His work is solitary and, to me, trying, but he goes about it with child-like intrigue every day, always searching for an explanation and a better understanding of the natural world, which is one of the reasons as to why he now resides in the forest in a cabin in Maine, to live simply.
Although I don’t share the same need for an explanation for the ways in which nature works, being the child of an environmentalist and a biologist, I’ve been raised and instilled with a deep appreciation, respect and understanding of nature and peoples place in it that goes back for generations of explorers and scientists on both my mother and father’s side.
Note: This remarkable essay and tomorrow’s were penned this past week by 14 year-old Lena Heinrich, daughter of Rachel Smolker, co-Director of BiofuelWatch and Berndt Heinrich, noted naturalist. They are both insightful and inspiring. We hope you enjoy them.
–The GJEP Team
By Lena Heinrich
One thing I’ve always known about myself and my sense of place is that I’m not so much tied to a specific and defined area, but more through an appreciation and respect of the natural world, which I channel through my feelings of needing to protect it, so for this project I put together a small article in hopes that I could educate some people and possibly spark someone else’s interest, which I’m going to read aloud now.
What people may be expecting from a speech about environmentalism is a convincing and sweet paragraph about why you should recycle, drive a prius, change your lightbulbs, and go vegan- what I’m going to give you today is not that. As sweet and symbolic as the notion of being able to make “big change through small actions” is, it is also extremely disempowering, and, contrary to popular belief, has little to no correlation to the dire environmental crisis’ at hand, even if the entire world was to do all those things religiously- this belief of change is less about making actual change, and more of a “selfish obsession with personal morality”.
Though using reusable grocery bags and biking to school rather than driving are all good things to do and these small actions within our individual lives may make us feel good about ourselves, they ultimately have little to no effect on our carbon footprint, and if any are replaced by more detrimental habits. An example of this is the person who gives up meat, only to start eating higher amounts of imported nuts that naturally have a higher carbon footprint than locally purchased meat.
Where did this idea of individual responsibility for the environment come from? Corporations looking to undermine green movements for the purpose of growth and profit. What corporations have made people believe to be change is no match whatsoever for the odds we’re up against if people are to continue living on our tiny and delicately balanced planet. Coke doesn’t want you to stop buying it’s products, so they have spread the mindset that as long as you’re recycling the plastic bottle, you’re safe. The car industry doesn’t want people to stop buying cars, so they spread the mindset that as long as you drive a car with better mileage, you’re making all the change you should be expected to make.
The idea that simple things like picking up litter can have any kind of effect on the state of our environment was produced and funded by corporations through commercials and companies, and made to diverge the attention away from the destructive ways of those very corporations and move the spotlight onto the idea of individual peoples’ roles in ruining the environment and their personal role and responsibility in fixing it. This idea has been supported and it’s traction has only increased from businesses and even well-meaning individuals and their movements within their own towns, schools, communities, and states.
Webpages like “10 simple and easy ways to save the environment” and blogs about simple lifestyle changes made while shopping for groceries or doing house chores have sprouted out of nowhere, all implying that we really can save the earth without even breaking a sweat. That is the type of environmentalism that corporations fund, because it still supports America’s unhealthy death-wish mega-consumer lifestyle. The truth is, though, that there is no way to shop our ways out of the crisis.
The kind of change needed is that of a much larger scale- what our world needs to save itself is not more recycling bins, but a complete social and political turnaround within our people, culture, government, policies and corporations; that includes a healthy environment, gay and lesbian rights, accessible health care for all, and a more democratic process, but there is no way we are going to achieve those ideals without banishing the notions and stereotypes surrounding activism and getting the youth population and general populations aware, educated and empowered about the state of the environment.
No single person can make change whilst staying in their own personal life or community- what is needed is a stand-up, and a fight back, and an iron fist from the inhabitants of the earth we are currently on the path of destroying completely. The materialistic and ignorant consumer lifestyle people in the United States lead, though comfortable, is inefficient and is leading humans down a rosy path of extinction in the next 60 years. On the course we are taking, our generation could be the first to die not of old age, but mass extinction.
To save our planet, we have to make fast and powerful changes throughout the world, but especially in the United States- and though the idea is nice, we can’t get distracted by the “feel good” tactics of change we’ve been brainwashed to believe is the be-all-end-all of what we can do to preserve ourselves as a species. Doing what is necessary to save Earth will not be comfortable and it will not be as simple as dropping your soda bottle in the right bin or switching a light bulb or two. It will require real power and a real revolution among our people. New laws and policies regarding the environment will need to be implemented along with a complete change in cultural norms and the ways in which we are using technology.
BREAKING: Over a thousand Rising Tiders, Powershifters, and supporters leave permitted march route to support direct action in Pittsburgh
21 October, 2013. Source: Shadbush Environmental Justice Collective
At around 12:30pm, 10 protesters began a sit-in at the Allegheny County Courthouse, blocking the main hallway in County Executive Rich Fitzgerald’s office suite. The protesters called on Fitzgerald to drop plans to open up Allegheny County Parks for fracking. The County Executive’s office is currently reviewing proposals from natural gas drilling companies to lease the oil and gas rights under Deer Lakes Park for fracking.
The sit-in is part of a day of action against dirty energy to culminate the Power Shift conference. Over a thousand supporters from Power Shift participated in an un-permitted march to the County Courthouse to support the sit-in, following a rally on the North Shore’s Allegheny Landing earlier this morning. The marchers arrived shortly after the sit-in began and filled the courthouse courtyard, with dozens joining the occupation of the County Executive’s office. No one was arrested.
“Fitzgerald is trying to cut a deal with the natural gas industry without seeking formal input from the residents of Allegheny County on this issue. There is no public participation process, so we have to create it and that’s what we’re doing today with this sit-in. We are bringing our message straight to Fitzgerald that the residents of Allegheny County do not want fracking in our parks.” said Ben Fiorillo of O’hara Township. Continue reading