By Anne Petermann, Executive Director of Global Justice Ecology Project, from the Venezuela Social Pre-COP
Today’s blog post is not addressing directly what is happening here in Venezuela at the SocialPreCOP, but something on the minds of many people here–the next step in the series of climate meetings/actions this year. That is the upcoming climate march planned for New York City on September 21st, two days before UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon’s UN Climate Summit–a closed door session where the world’s “leaders” will discuss “ambitions” for the upcoming climate conference (COP20) in Lima, Peru. Part of the objective of the Venezuelan government at this SocialPreCOP meeting is to come away with a set of demands from people gathered here that they can take to this exclusive summit.
The September climate march was called for by Big Green NGOs 350.org and Avaaz, who have thrown copious quantities of cash at it. But many environmental and climate justice organizations and alliances based in the New York/New Jersey region and across the US have demanded a seat at the organizing table to ensure that the voices of front line and impacted communities are heard, despite their small budgets.
The demands of the march: there will be none. That’s right. The march will simply bring together an estimated 200,000 people to march through the streets of New York and then… There will be no rally, no speakers, no strong political demands. Just people showing up with the overarching message that the world’s leaders should take action on climate change.
What kind of climate action should be taken is a question that has long been debated by climate justice activists, organizations, social movements and Indigenous Peoples all over the world for decades. “Climate action” can include things like geoengineering schemes–manmade manipulations of nature on such a massive scale that the impacts can’t possibly be known, but could definitely be catastrophic. They can also include actions already taking place, such as the building of vast hydroelectric dams that flood vast expanses of land and displace thousands of Indigenous Peoples or land-based communities. Climate action can also include ongoing grabbing of land for the development of vast plantations of oil palm, GMO soy or non-native trees for so-called bioenergy.
So no, not all “climate action” is created equal. A lack of clear justice-based and ecologically sound demands in this “historic” march will leave a vacuum. And no vacuum remains empty for long. It’s simple physics. The media will not cover a march with no demands. They will find a message. And likely, as so often happens, those with the connections and the money will win the messaging game.
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By Damian Carrington, July 4, 2014. Source: The Guardian
Photograph by Matt Cardy/Getty Images
Pesticide maker Syngenta has withdrawn an “emergency” application to use a banned insecticide on up to a third of all oilseed rape in the UK. The U-turn follows a major outcry from green campaigners but the company blamed the government for failing to make a decision in time for crop sowing.
Syngenta’s neonicotinoid pesticide was given a two-year ban by the European Union in 2013 due to research linking it to serious harm in bees. Neonicotinoids are the world’s most widely used insecticide and in June an international scientific review concluded that contamination was so pervasive it threatened global food production.
Read more of Damian Carrington’s article here.
Photo from Reuters by David Gray
This has to be the weirdest business deal of the week: The Church of England just sold a chunk of forest-covered land on the Fijian island Vanau Levu for $8.8 million to the government of the Pacific island nation of Kiribati. For the moment, Kiribati plans to use its 20-square-kilometer (7.7-square-mile) plot for agriculture and fish farming. But the investment is really a fallback for its 103,000 residents—a place to live if they must leave their home island.
“We would hope not to put everyone on [this] one piece of land, but if it became absolutely necessary, yes, we could do it,” president Anote Tong told the Associated Press, via the Guardian
. Tong is awaiting parliamentary approval
of the land purchase before clearing that possibility formally with Fiji’s officials.
Why is Tong preparing for a mass defection to an island 2,000 kilometers away?
By Amanda Stephenson, July 3, 2014. Source: Counterpunch
Sarawak, Malaysia, is located on the island of Borneo, the third largest island in the world. Sarawak is home to thousands of endemic species, forty indigenous groups, and one of the largest transboundary rainforests remaining in the world.
The state is also suffering from one of the world’s highest rates of deforestation; only 5% of its primary forests remain. Now, Sarawak’s forests and their inhabitants face another threat: the damming of its rivers for hydroelectric power.
The Malaysian government and its state-owned energy utility Sarawak Energy Berhad (SEB) plan to build 12 large dams, due to produce 7,000 MW (megawatts) of electricity. Six of them are scheduled for completion by 2020. Continue reading
Our weekly “Earth Watch” our guest is Irene Majorie with Portland Rising Tide. Why did she lock herself to metal and a 55-gallon barrel filled with concrete? What are the dangers of transporting oil by rail?
Global Justice Ecology Project teams up with the Sojourner Truth show on KPFK Pacifica Los Angeles for a weekly Earth Minute each Tuesday and Earth Watch interview each Thursday.