“Failure to Yield,” a study produced by the U.S. Union of Concerned Scientists, shows that the bio-fortification of bananas in Uganda and genetic engineering of bovines in the “1000 bull genome project” does not actually combat hunger, malnutrition or result in higher yields. A recent article in the Inter Press Services by Julio Godoy explains how these two projects fall short when compared to traditional, organic methods.
Yesterday, about 80 activists formed a blockade to halt construction of a tar sands strip mine in the Book Cliffs of eastern Utah. The mine is being built by US Oil Sands, a Canadian company, and would be the first in the US. The action was led by the Climate Justice Summer Camp, which was holding a two-week direct action camp nearby.
The mine is located on traditional Ute hunting lands and in the Colorado River Basin, which provides drinking water to 40 million people. As Peaceful Uprising argues,
Tar sands and oil shale mining and refining, if allowed to begin in the U.S., would rob us of our water rights. The Colorado’s flow is diminishing, not increasing, and these mining and refining processes require massive amounts of water. This inescapable reality would cause widespread conflicts over water, as water rights were seized from farmers and communities. We will not allow tar sands and oil shale profiteers to seize the water that rightfully belongs to everyone.
During the protest, those locked to equipment were arrested along with other supporters, leading to 21 arrests total, and protesters were faced with police brutality. To follow the events of the blockade and give support, go to the twitter feed for Utah Tar Sands Resistance and donate on their website: http://www.tarsandsresist.org/ or here.
With representatives from more than 10 countries, The International Network of Mountain Indigenous Peoples formed in May as a coalition to lobby against climate change by advocating for traditional farming strategies. The group called on governments to “support climate change adaptation measures based on traditional knowledge; promote indigenous languages; and bridge local knowledge and science to create effective solutions for conservation, food security and climate adaptation.” While collaboration and shared knowledge are vital, we at GJEP are curious about the organizations behind the movement and hope that there are no hidden motives lurking beneath the curtain.
A number of news sources reported this weekend on the White House approving the use of underwater sonic blasts to pinpoint oil and gas deposits in the Atlantic Ocean. This is a step in the process to large-scale offshore oil drilling in federal waters.
The Bureau of Ocean Energy Management acknowledged that thousands of sea creatures will be harmed but ultimately decided to approve this exploration in the outer continental shelf from Delaware to Florida.
The sonic blasts are, of course, just the very start.
Energy companies need the data as they prepare to apply for drilling leases in 2018, when current congressional limits expire.
Oil companies, with the government’s blessing, plan to drill offshore all along the East coast, with only the North East off limits.
A quote by an engineer for American Petroleum is particularly ominous:
“One thing we find is, the more you get out and drill and explore to confirm what you see in the seismic, you end up finding more oil and gas than what you think is out there when you started,” Radford said.
Florida communities have pushed back, in particular:
Florida has already felt the devastating effects of an uncontrolled oil release with the Deepwater Horizon event, of which cleanup efforts are still ongoing,” said John Morris, a county commissioner whose constituency includes the beach town.
However, the drilling would happen on federal waters, outside of reach from any local ban. While the article emphasizes the devastating effects of sonic booms on marine life and possible pollution from drilling, the dangers of such deepwater drilling extend even further. The thoughtlessness is mind-boggling, unless the whole thing is seen as desperate attempts in the era of extreme energy.
The AP recently reported that timber ‘harvest’ last year was at its highest since 2006; 4 Billion board feet. This marks a steady increase over the past 4 years. The state Department of Forestry identifies two causes for the increase: increased house construction and “the export market.”
“This [the spike] is most likely due to small forestland owners taking advantage of higher prices as a result of a still strong export market in 2013,” Kaetzel [economist in the Department] said in a statement.
The AP does not discuss biomass, which is most certainly another driver of the increased felling.
Photo Credit: Marcus Kaufmann, via Northwest Public Radio
For U.S. politicians, taking a solid stance on climate change is like the kiss of death. They avoid it like bad breath. However, a new study shows that more than half of the voters surveyed want to see their governmental representatives taking “unilateral action” to fight against climate change. A “unilateral” stance would be rather interesting for the U.S. government, seeing as how it consistently refuses to cooperate on this issue with the rest of the world. Unfortunately, we cannot trust the US government to decide what kind of climate action to take, as President Obama has been quite clear that he considers fracked gas and nukes part of the climate solution. The U.S. public needs to understand which methods really constitute as clean, sustainable energy and which ones are just politically safe shams, before they can demand real, just and ecologically appropriate action. No fossil fuels, no false solutions, just digging in to do the real work.
–The GJEP Team
IPS reports on US efforts to push tar sands oil into the EU despite resistance in Europe.
Newly publicized internal documents suggest that U.S. negotiators are working to permanently block a landmark regulatory proposal in the European Union aimed at addressing climate change, and instead to force European countries to import particularly dirty forms of oil.
Current negotiating texts for the TTIP talks are unavailable. But critics say the negotiations are forcing open the massive E.U. market for a particularly heavy form of petroleum known as tar sands oil, significant deposits of which are in the Canadian province of Alberta.
The oil industry has repeatedly expressed concern over the European Union’s potential tightening of regulations around transport fuel emissions, first proposed in 2009 for what’s known as the Fuel Quality Directive (FQD). Yet according to a report released Thursday by Friends of the Earth Europe, the sector now appears to have convinced the U.S. government to work to permanently block the implementation of this standard.