Impressions from Paraguay: Day one in the tropics

By Anne Petermann, Executive Director, Global Justice Ecology Project

Ayoreo family in the Gran Chaco in Paraguay.  This family and their community were forcibly relocated from their homeland by groups who want to exploit the Chaco.  Photolangelle.org

Ayoreo family in the Gran Chaco in Paraguay. This family and their community were relocated from their homeland by groups who want to exploit the Chaco. Photolangelle.org

Global Justice Ecology Project just arrived in Paraguay for two weeks of meetings on the themes of wood-based bioenergy, genetically engineered trees, the impacts of livestock and GMO soy production on global deforestation levels, and the solutions to climate change and deforestation provided by local communities maintaining and caring for their traditional lands.

Looking out of the Asunción hotel room at the wide majestic Paraguay river, and the expanse of forest on the other side, feeling the tropical humidity and listening to the rumble of distant thunder, it is hard to imagine that yesterday my GJEP colleague and I woke up in the midst of a major snowstorm in Buffalo, NY.

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Filed under Biodiversity, Bioenergy / Agrofuels, Corporate Globalization, Ending the Era of Extreme Energy, Forests, GE Trees, Indigenous Peoples, Tree Plantations, Uncategorized

DeSmogBlog on the Edelman/TransCanada PR Story

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 Pipeline, Tar Sands

GE American chestnuts: Conservation or Trojan Horse?

This week’s Earth Minute delves into the concerns with genetically engineered American chestnut trees.

GJEP partners with the Sojourner Truth show on KPFK Los Angeles for weekly Earth Minutes on Tuesday and Earth Watch interviews on Thursday.

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Filed under Biodiversity, Earth Minute, Earth Radio, Forests, GE Trees, Genetic Engineering, Greenwashing

Earth Watch: Clayton Thomas-Muller (with added video from his Bioneers talk)

Clayton Thomas-Muller talked with Margaret Prescod for KPFK’s Sojourner Truth show. Their focus was on the recent discoveries of RCMP surveillance of Thomas-Muller, who said that this surveillance and the criminalization of Indigenous dissent shows how high the stakes are right now in the fight between extractive industries and the Indigenous rights movement. Prescod rightly noted the link to COINTELPRO’s targeting of social movements in the US, in particular, activists of color.

Earth Watch is coordinated by GJEP in partnership with KPFK’s Sojourner Truth show with Margaret Prescod.

As an added treat, here’s Clayton at the most recent Bioneers Conference talking about the broad based movement with Indigenous rights at the forefront that he’s helping build to challenge extractive industries and what he calls the Canadian petro-state government.

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Filed under Earth Radio, Earth Watch, Independent Media, Indigenous Peoples

Sign the petition to prevent GE trees from contaminating forests

With the Right to Know labeling movement in full swing, GMOs are making headlines in every major website and newspaper in the U.S. However, genetically engineering food isn’t the only way that industry is trying to sneak their modified plants into our lives.

Enter genetically engineered trees.

Companies like ArborGen, jointly owned by International Paper and MeadWestvaco among others, are pressuring congress and the USDA to give them permission to release billions of GE eucalyptus seedlings in vast plantations across the U.S. Teamed up with another false solution to climate change, bioenergy, these GE trees, also called GM trees or GMO trees, could invade our natural forests, altering them forever. Not to mention drying up ground water and causing massive firestorms.  It is time to say no to corporate greenwashing  and no to genetically engineered trees.

GE ecualyptus farms are a growing threat to biodiversity. This is a eucalyptus greenhouse in Brazil.  Photo: Anne Petermann/GJEP

To prevent GE trees from contaminating natural forests, the Campaign to STOP GE Trees is circulating a petition demanding the USDA ban ArborGen and other entities from selling/distributing GE trees and creating “frankentree” planations across the U.S. The USDA is set to make a draft decision any day now. The more signatures the Campaign gets, the greater the chance we have to stop GE trees.

Sign the Petition to Ban Genetically Engineered Trees

To Whom It May Concern, I demand that all petitions by GE tree company ArborGen to plant or sell their genetically engineered eucalyptus trees be rejected. In addition, I demand that all petitions to release dangerous GE trees into the environment be rejected as they are inherently destructive and the full extent of their social and ecological risks has not been assessed. Further, I demand the USDA ban planting GE trees and all such plantings of GE trees be banned outright.

Sign the petition!

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Filed under Biofuelwatch, GE Trees, Genetic Engineering, Synthetic Biology

Earth Watch: Maeve McBride on the VT sit-in to oppose the fracked gas pipeline project

On October 30th, Maeve McBride from 350 Vermont was interviewed by Margaret Prescod.

McBride was one of the organizers and media spokespeople for the Oct 27th occupation and sit-in of Vermont Governor Shumlin’s Office, opposing the fracked gas pipeline project and the build out of new fossil fuel infrastructure.

She was also one of the 64 protesters arrested that night at the governor’s office.

Earth Watch is coordinated by GJEP in partnership with KPFK’s Sojourner Truth show with Margaret Prescod.

 

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Filed under Earth Radio, Earth Watch, Pipeline

¡Buen Vivir! Review of Gallery Opening by University at Buffalo Student

This fall it has been my pleasure to work with interns from the State University of New York at Buffalo  and through a local Buffalo/Western New York organization called the Western New York Environmental Alliance. I am a board member of that organization and serve as the Chair of the Habitat and Natural Resources Work Group. One of the interns that I have been working with, Amber Potter, visited the Grand Opening of the ¡Buen Vivir! Gallery opening in October. Below is her review of the opening, posted today at GROWWNY, the Western New York Environmental Alliance’s website.

Gallery-Poster-CC

¡Buen Vivir! – Climate Change: Faces, Places & Protest

by Amber Potter, GROWWNY Intern

In October, I had the opportunity to attend the grand opening of Orin Langelle’s gallery, ¡Buen Vivir!, which showcased the exhibit “Climate Change: Faces, Places & Protest – Photos from the front lines.” The gallery proved to be a very powerful, eye-opening experience about the effects that climate change has upon people all the world over.

The name of the gallery, ¡Buen Vivir!, is a concept stemming from indigenous Latin American culture. ¡Buen Vivir! means life in harmony between humans, communities, and the Earth – where work is not a job to make others wealthier, but for a livelihood that is sustaining, fulfilling and in tune with the common good.

According to Langelle, “This is a concept slowly spreading northwards and I am helping bring it to Buffalo through the images in my photography gallery.” Langelle Photography, a project sponsored by the Global Justice Ecology Project, documents the “struggle for societal transformation toward justice, equity and ecological balance.”

Read the whole review here

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Filed under Climate Change, Climate Justice, Media, Photo Essays by Orin Langelle

Update: 64 Arrested at VT Governor’s Office, Demanding End to Pipeline

Montpelier, Vt. – Sixty-four people were arrested last night, after occupying Vermont Governor Peter Shumlin’s office for over six hours, demanding a ban on new fossil fuel infrastructure and that the governor stop supporting a fracked gas pipeline in the western part of the state.

Half the group occupied the governor’s office, while the other half stayed in the main lobby of the building.  500 people attended a rally outside of the building, supporting the sit-in.

“We are fed up with a broken, unaccountable, and biased process that is ignoring the clear and present danger of expanding fossil fuel infrastructure so that Gaz Metro and International Paper can increase their profit margins,” said Jane Palmer, a landowner in Monkton along the Phase 1 pipeline route. “The Shumlin administration is ignoring the thousands of Vermonters, including impacted landowners and over 500 ratepayers, who know we can’t afford this project.”

Demonstrators from across the state are concerned that the Shumlin administration, including the Public Service Department, are promoting dirty fracked gas as a climate solution, despite the well known climate impacts of extracting and burning fracked gas.

Dr. Maeve McBride, coordinator of 350 Vermont, said, “Today, hundreds of grassroots Vermonters are sitting in to call for a ban on new fossil fuel infrastructure, including Vermont Gas/Gaz-Metro’s proposed fracked gas pipeline, and to demand energy and climate solutions that are transparent, accountable to our communities and put people and the planet first.  As the Governor said himself, these solutions need to come from the grassroots, not from the top down.”  McBride was among those arrested.

Supporting arguments made before the Public Service Board over the past two years, the demonstration focused on how, despite industry rhetoric, fracked gas may actually be worse for the climate than other fossil fuels.

“The science is clear – whether the goal is avoiding CO2 emissions or sparking a transition to an emissions-free energy system, the fracked gas boom and this pipeline are no substitute for ambitious energy and climate policies, weatherization, efficiency and decreased consumption,” said Dr. Rachel Smolker, a Hinesburg resident. “Once the gas bubble pops, ratepayers are going to be stuck with higher bills, paying the cost of this pipeline for years to come and still struggling to heat their homes.”

After police issued a final dispersal order, sixty-four people stayed in the building. All were removed from the building by Vermont State Police, and cited with criminal trespassing.

The coalition planning the event is also calling for a blockade at the Vermont Gas Pipeyard in Williston, Vt., this coming Saturday at 9 am.

Other Media

Aljazeera covered the event, including great photos reposted from Twitter.

Margaret Prescod will interview Dr. Maeve McBride on tomorrow’s Earth Watch Segment, which is coordinated by GJEP in partnership with KPFK’s Sojourner Truth show with Margaret Prescod.

Maeve was one of the organizers and media spokespeople for Oct 27th occupation and sit-in of Vermont Governor Shumlin’s Office. Maeve was one of the 64 protesters arrested yesterday at the governor’s office opposing the fracked gas pipeline project and the build out of new fossil fuel infrastructure.

 

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Filed under Actions / Protest, Media, Pipeline