Citizen scientists can help the environment

Dr. David Suzuki, Canadian scientist, nature conversationist and supporter of the ban against genetically engineered trees, encourages everyday citizens to volunteer and participate in the natural world. Not only can submersion in nature help relieve stress, tension and depression, it can also give average individuals a sense of responsibility for the environment, a quality desperately needed in the fight against climate change.

Photo: EcoWatch

Photo: EcoWatch

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Filed under Biodiversity, Climate Change

To stop the killings of environmental defenders, we need land reform and binding laws

Photo from Friends of the Earth.

Photo from Friends of the Earth.

Originally written 17 November 2014 and posted at the Friends of the Earth website. Small edits made to reflect the difference.

Two months ago, in early September, four Asháninka indigenous forest defenders were brutally slain in a remote region along the border of Peru and Brazil. One of the activists, Edwin Chota (pictured above) had received frequent death threats from loggers he had previously tried to expel from the lands for which his community was seeking title. As the New York Times reported, “Pervasive corruption lets the loggers operate with impunity, stripping the Amazon region’s river basins of prized hardwoods” — and leading to killings such as these.

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Filed under Illegal logging, Indigenous Peoples, South America

The Arrested Get It: KXL Not Over

Photo credit: Red Power Media/Frank Thorp

Photo credit: Red Power Media/Frank Thorp

There’s plenty of great media out about the Senate vote, but here’s an aspect of the story worth us highlighting in our modest way this morning–the real significance and rallying point of the Sioux response, even up to and after the vote by Senate. It’s really important that the protests and arrests happened despite the squeaker vote against the pipeline: The protesters made a point that the fight is not over and that the vote is not really a cause of celebration, just a step in a struggle.

An essay by Alexander Reed Ross in Counterpunch this morning further articulates this idea. He writes:

In short, the Big Fail and ensuing celebrations from the Environmental NGOs looks suspiciously like a setup. It’s definitely not time to demobilize.

[The] KXL must be met through sincere and dedicated efforts at Indigenous solidarity with the Rosebud Sioux, who have called the KXL’s passage through the House an “act of war,” and others who are resisting not only the pipeline, but the tar sands as well.

Read Ross’s whole essay here.

Native Americans Arrested Following Keystone XL Pipeline Vote

By Anastasia Pantsios, EcoWatch. 19 November 2014

Anyone following the Keystone XL pipeline vote in the Senate yesterday heard what appeared to be chanting or singing in the background when the final tally of 41-59 was announced, signaling that approval of the pipeline had failed to clear the bar of 60 votes and that congressional approval of the pipeline was delayed for the time being.

 Read Pantsios’s whole article here.

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Filed under Actions / Protest, Indigenous Peoples, Keystone XL, Pipeline, Tar Sands

United States Forest Service wants to cut the 700,000 acre Pisgah-Nantahala National Forest in North Carolina

The Southern Environmental Law Center issued a press release on 12 November revealing a new U.S. Forest Service proposal introducing industrial-scale logging in the Pisgah-Natahala National Forest in western North Carolina.  The 700,000 acres targeted is an area larger than the Great Smokey Mountains National Park.

Cat Gap Trail to John Rock, Pisgah National Forest photo internetbrothers.org

Cat Gap Trail to John Rock, Pisgah National Forest photo internetbrothers.org

Earth First Journal reports

Forest Service Proposes Massive Logging Project in North Carolina’s Pisgah-Nantahala National Forest
by Kathleen Sullivan / Southern Environmental Law Center

CHAPEL HILL, N.C.—In what conservation groups flag as a dramatic shift, the U.S. Forest Service is proposing industrial-scale logging in the vast majority of the Pisgah-Nantahala National Forest in western North Carolina – about 700,000 acres, or an area bigger than the Great Smoky Mountain National Park – instead of protecting popular backcountry recreation destinations and conserving the Blue Ridge landscapes treasured by residents and tourists from across the United States.

“Under the law and for everyone who enjoys America’s forests, the Forest Service’s first priority should be fixing the mistakes of the past – restoring the parts of the forest already damaged by prior logging,” said DJ Gerken, senior attorney with the Southern Environmental Law Center. “But the misguided logging plan proposed by the agency will repeat those old mistakes, causing more damage and putting the healthiest forests we have left on the chopping block. The people who use and love these forests won’t stand for cutting them down.”

Read the whole article here

 

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Filed under Biodiversity, Bioenergy / Agrofuels, Biofuelwatch, Forests, Forests and Climate Change, Frontline Communities, Uncategorized

Cultivating Climate Justice: Brazilian Workers Leading the Charge Toward Zero Waste

This is part 1 of a four-part article series “Cultivating Climate Justice” which tells the stories of community groups on the front lines of the pollution, waste and climate crises, working together for systems change. United across six continents, these grassroots groups are defending community rights to clean air, clean water, zero waste, environmental justice, and good jobs. They are all members of the Global Alliance for Incinerator Alternatives, a network of over 800 organizations from 90+ countries.

 This series is produced by the Global Alliance for Incinerator Alternatives (GAIA) and Other Worlds.

Cultivating Climate Justice: Brazilian Workers Leading the Charge Toward Zero Waste                                      

The streets of Belo Horizonte were filled with singing, dancing, chanting, and marching. It was not a holiday or an election day or a soccer game. The chant was: “We don’t want incineration! Recycle! Recycle!”

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Filed under Climate Change, Climate Justice, Frontline Communities, Pollution, Solutions, Waste

DeSmogBlog on the Edelman/TransCanada PR Story

Explosion of a TransCanada natural gas pipeline in Manitoba, January 26, 2014. CREDIT: YOUTUBE/ROBERTO GOMEZ

Explosion of a TransCanada natural gas pipeline in Manitoba, January 26, 2014. CREDIT: YOUTUBE/ROBERTO GOMEZ

As usual, DeSmogBlog did a great job covering the just breaking story of Edelman’s PR plan for a desperate TransCanada to win support and stymie public opposition to its Energy East pipeline.

This story only reminds us that, however silly and weak TransCanada comes off, the threat to those fighting the pipeline is real and, as Clayton Thomas-Muller recently said in a KPFK interview, “the stakes couldn’t be higher.”

Edelman’s TransCanada Astroturf Documents Expose Oil Industry’s Broad Attack on Public Interest

By Brendan DeMelle, DeSmogBlog. 17 November 2014.

Documents obtained by Greenpeace detail a desperate astroturf PR strategy designed by Edelman for TransCanada to win public support for its Energy East tar sands export pipeline. TransCanada has failed for years to win approval of the controversial border-crossing Keystone XL pipeline, so apparently the company has decided to “win ugly or lose pretty” with an aggressive public relations attack on its opponents.

Read the whole article at DeSmogBlog.

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Filed under BREAKING NEWS, Pipeline, Public Relations, Tar Sands

Think again on renewables: Truthout article by Almuth Ernsting

Almuth Ernsting and Rachel Smolker are co-directors of Biofuelwatch, and partners  with the Global Justice Ecology Project. You will find their work frequently on Climate Connections.

(Photo: Truthout/Richard Brand / Flickr)

(Photo: Truthout/Richard Brand / Flickr)

Their considerable contributions to characterizing and defining large-scale biofuels as false solutions to climate change are very important and influential.

This work is based on both carbon footprint and deforestation issues and is leading the global fight to promote the understanding of many complex, corporatized strategies that are being employed to promote oxymoronic development schemes. These industry based schemes continue to lead to catastrophic human rights, climate, and ecological collapses. The schemes are a disaster for humanity.

This article, written by Almuth Ernsting, takes a critical look of renewable energy strategies overall and suggests we are far from solving energy problems as long as we continue to be focused on corporate energy intensive strategies rather than low-energy strategies that are more human-needs based.

Ernsting’s most recent piece, linked below, was published in Truthout this past Sunday.

Abundant Clean Renewables? Think Again!
By Almuth Ernsting, Truthout. 16 November 2014

Although “renewable” energy is growing faster than ever before, it is neither carbon neutral, “clean” nor sustainable. We need to transform into low-energy societies that meet human – not corporate – needs.

Read the whole article here.

 

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Filed under Biodiversity, Bioenergy / Agrofuels, Biofuelwatch, Climate Change

Texas official refuses to uphold fracking ban

On November 5, 2014, the Texas town of Denton made history by banning fracking in their city limits. It only took a few short hours for Big Oil to sweep in and fight the city’s decision, with the help of Texas Railroad Commission Chairwoman Christi Craddick.

Photo: Mary Crandall

Photo: Mary Crandall

Craddick claims that the 59 percent of Denton’s residents opposed to fracking in their town are simply just misinformed. Surely, her decision to keep business as usual as nothing to do with corporate agendas influencing her ethics (if you notice some sarcasm here, you would not be misinformed).

Texas official ignores voters’ ban on fracking
by Sara Bernard, Grist, 10 November 2015

As predicted, mere hours after the first-ever fracking ban passed in Texas, industry reps took to the courts. By 9:09 a.m. on Nov. 5, both the Texas Oil and Gas Association and the Texas General Land Office had filed lawsuits that aim to prevent the city of Denton from enacting its ordinance on Dec. 2 — and Texas legislators are already drawing up plans to make future fracking bans like this one illegal.

The blowback here, of course, is because Denton is sitting on top of the Barnett Shale — one of the country’s largest natural gas fields — and those who’re doing the drilling would like to continue, thank you very much. The lawsuits argue that a city can’t override the state’s authority to regulate the oil and gas industry.

Get the rest of the story at Grist.com.

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Filed under Energy, Fracking