Tag Archives: activists

Earth Minute: Extreme Weather, Climate Change, and Taking Action

Global Justice Ecology Project teams up with the Sojourner Truth show every Tuesday for an Earth Minute and every Thursday for an Earth Segment interview with front line activists from around the world.

This week’s Earth minute focuses on the extreme weather that has been taking its toll on the US and asks what we can do about it.

To listen to or download the show, click on the link below:

Earth Minute, July 10, 2012

The text from this week’s Earth Minute is below:

Increasing numbers of people across the US experienced the impacts of extreme weather last week–from the immense wildfires devouring Colorado, to the heatwave that broke 4000 records across the country, to the wild and freakish derecho storms that left millions without electricity.

The National Weather Service is warning that dryness and drought will continue to increase both in extent and intensity across much of the Ohio and Tennessee Valleys, the Corn Belt region, the middle and lower Mississippi Valley, and much of the Great Plains.

These impacts were predicted by climate scientists.  That they are now real should be enough to shove our collective consciousness into high gear to find real and just solutions to the climate crisis.

That there will be a great shift in the way humans live on this planet is not in question.  The question is, will we be proactive in developing a new way to live in harmony with the earth, or will we do nothing, and hope that our children can survive on a decimated planet?

For the Earth Minute and the Sojourner Truth show, this is Anne Petermann from Global Justice Ecology Project.

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Filed under Climate Change, Climate Justice, Earth Minute, Natural Disasters, Rights, Resilience, and Restoration, Solutions

Rio+20 Alternative Peoples’ Summit opens today: People of the world vs. the “green economy” and global economic foreclosure

By Anne Petermann, Executive Director, Global Justice Ecology Project

Today is the opening day of the Cupola dos Povos–the alternative Peoples’ Summit for Environmental and Social Justice in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

It was pulled together by Brazilian groups and is being attended by social movements, Indigenous Peoples, activists and organizations from all over the world who are coming together to identify real solutions to the multiple and rising crises we face as humans on planet Earth.  The summit was organized in direct opposition to the official UN circus known as the Rio+20 Conference for Sustainable Development.  More aptly it would be called the Rio+20 Conference for the greenwashing of Business as Usual.

As I flew to Rio on 12 June, I read an article in the Financial Times titled “Showdown Looms at OPEC After Saudi Arabia Urges Higher Output.”  The article explained how Saudi Arabia is urging OPEC to increase their output of oil in order to ensure that the global price of oil does not exceed US$100/barrel in order to “mitigate the risks that high oil prices pose to the global economy.”

The insane logic of expanding oil production in the face of mounting climate chaos in order to help rescue the global economy accurately reflects the mindset behind the negotiations around the UN’s Rio+20 Earth Summit, set to start next week here in Rio.
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Filed under Actions / Protest, Bioenergy / Agrofuels, Climate Change, Corporate Globalization, Green Economy, Greenwashing, Indigenous Peoples, Land Grabs, Posts from Anne Petermann, REDD, Rights, Resilience, and Restoration, Rio+20, World Bank

Civil society groups denounce Sustainable Energy for All initiative promoted at Rio+20 Earth Summit

As the final negotiations for the UN Conference on Sustainable Development Rio+20 conference get underway in Rio de Janeiro, almost 50 civil society groups have published an open letter denouncing the UN Secretary General’s new “Sustainable Energy For All Initiative” (SEFA). The letter states: “The SEFA process and Action Agenda are deeply flawed and threaten to further entrench destructive, polluting and unjust energy policies for corporate profit under the guise of alleviating energy poverty, while undermining community rights to energy sovereignty and self determination.”

The “Sustainable Energy for All” initiative was announced in September 2011, and a “high level panel” was established by the UN secretary general, Ban Ki Moon. The panel includes major investors in the fossil fuel economy including, Statoil, Eskom, Siemens and Riverstone Holdings. The initiative’s stated goals are to 1) double the rate of improvement in energy efficiency, 2) double the share of renewables in the global energy mix by 2030, and 3) provide access to modern energy services for all of humanity. An action agenda is being put forward for endorsement at Rio+20, along with commitments for action from countries and groups.

Groups denouncing the initiative view it as an attempt to use claims of poverty alleviation to further expand corporate control over energy policies with the aim of gaining access to new markets and investment opportunities. The letter points out that the initiative’s goals are inadequate,that it promotes dangerous and unsustainable forms of energy and that there is a deplorable lack of transparency and democratic participation in the process thus far.
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Filed under Actions / Protest, Africa, Climate Change, Climate Justice, Corporate Globalization, Ending the Era of Extreme Energy, Energy, False Solutions to Climate Change, Green Economy, Greenwashing, Industrial agriculture, Land Grabs, Rio+20

April Photo of the Month: Kent State Massacre Protests in 1972

Protest against the 1970 Kent State Massacre during the 1972 Republican National Convention in Miami Beach. Photo: Langelle/GJEP

Orin Langelle is co-founder of Global Justice Ecology Project and Board Chair.  He has been shooting photos of the movement for social change for forty years.  Langelle’s first professional photo assignment (St. Louis Outlaw) was covering the 1972 Republican National Convention in Miami Beach, FL.  It nominated the incumbents Richard M. Nixon for President and Spiro T. Agnew for Vice President.
This photo is from one of the many protests against the Vietnam war during the Convention.  It concerns the tragedy at Kent State University when on May 4, 1970 members of the Ohio National Guard fired into a crowd of Kent State University demonstrators, killing four and wounding nine. The impact of the shootings was dramatic. The event triggered a nationwide student strike that forced hundreds of colleges and universities to close.
This Friday, May 4, is the forty-second year since the murders at Kent State.
The Republicans will meet again in Florida this year for their Convention, forty years later after the major protests in Miami Beach.


Also check out the GJEP Photo Gallery, past Photos of the Month posted on GJEP’s website, or Langelle’s photo essays posted on GJEP’s Climate Connections blog.

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Filed under Actions / Protest, Climate Change, Photo Essays by Orin Langelle, Political Repression

Corporate takeover of UN Climate Conference

Note: The following cross-post is from the March 2012 newsletter, published in London, England  from our friends at the Environmental Network for Central America (ENCA).  I have known ENCA contacts and activists Nick Rau and Sheila Amoo-gottried for over a decade now and they have graciously put me up in their homes a few times in London.  Martin Mowforth, from the School of Geography, Earth & Environmental Sciences at Plymouth University has been sending me the ENCA newsletter for more years than I can remember.  I always am grateful to see it arrive.

I received this edition last evening, opened it immediately and was quite surprised to see the following piece written by ENCA’s Barney Thompson.  I smiled when I read the paragraph that begins, “With a similar outlook to ENCA, GJEP highlights the intertwined root causes of social injustice, ecological destruction and economic domination…”  We’re very honored to be considered in the same vein as ENCA, and appreciate the coverage we receive in the following post.

Thanks to ENCA for all of their amazing work in Central America and the service they provide by supporting the people who live in that region and for getting the word out to the rest of the world.

¡La lucha sigue!

-Orin Langelle for the GJEP Team

This short article is a summary of the Global Justice Ecology Project Press Release (13 December 2011) ‘GJEP Direct Action and Climate Justice at the UN Climate Talks’, GJEP, Hinesburg, USA.

Summary by ENCA member Barney Thompson

Frustrated by the lack of any significant progress at the recent UN Climate Conference in South Africa, the US based NGO Global Justice Ecology Project (GJEP) took direct action alongside hundreds of African youth activists and civil society representatives. On the final day of the conference they staged a sit-in in the convention centre halls which resulted in arrest, ‘debadging’ and ejection from the event. They were one of the very few organisations there to take any such direct action in protest at the corporate takeover and the dominance of empty rhetoric over binding action that has now become the norm at the UN climate talks.

GJEP is removed by UN security during sit-in occupation Photo: Ben Powless

With a similar outlook to ENCA, GJEP highlights the intertwined root causes of social injustice, ecological destruction and economic domination. They work to build bridges between social and environmental justice groups (including those in Central America) to strengthen their collective efforts. In Durban, GJEP raised awareness of the messages of such climate justice experts and front line community representatives by connecting them with major international media outlets for interviews as well as delivering press releases and conferences. Included in the speakers was Friends of the Earth El Salvador’s Ricardo Navarro, also a friend of ENCA. They also participated in a march for climate justice attended by tens of thousands of people before then deciding in frustration to take more direct action.

GJEP’s Executive Director Anne Petermann was one of those arrested and she released the following statement:

“I took this action today because I believe this process is corrupt, this process is bankrupt, and this process is controlled by the One percent. If meaningful action on climate change is to happen, it will need to happen from the bottom up. The action I took today was to remind us all of the power of taking action into our own hands. With the failure of states to provide human leadership, and the corporate capture of the United Nations process, direct action by the ninety-nine percent is the only avenue we have left.”

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Filed under Actions / Protest, Carbon Trading, Climate Change, UNFCCC

Breaking News: GMO Tree Field Trial Destroyed in New Zealand

Note:  This breaking news from Aotearoa (New Zealand) was received by GJEP from sources around the world.  A colleague from Aotearoa writes, “…a bulletin on a break-in at the Scion site where people cut through the outer perimeter fence and dug under the inner security barrier to destroy the young [GM pine] saplings…GE Free NZ stopped short of condemning the action… I expect that the next few weeks will see raids on the homes and offices of known political activists over the Scion action. It will be sold to the public as an attempt to stop political insurrection. Wish us all luck. ”

Anne Petermann, GJEP’s Executive Director and Coordinator of the STOP GE Trees Campaign  stated this morning, “With the extreme security measures taken at the site, it is clear that Scion is aware of the powerful public opposition to genetically engineered trees.  People understand the inherent ecological, social and health risks associated with genetically engineered trees, and if the government won’t stop them, this action shows that people are prepared take matters into their own hands.”

Scion has been working in partnership with GE tree company ArborGen since 2006.  The GE eucalyptus trees being field tested by ArborGen in the US were genetically engineered in New Zealand.

For more on the dangers of genetically engineered trees and to read our new report on GE trees, go to: Analysis of the State of GE Trees and Advanced Bioenergy

–The GJEP Team

Cross-posted NZ Newswire unless noted.  More reports, video and sources at end of article.

For video on the incident, please click here (go to upper left side under headline)

375 genetically modified radiata pine trees at a research site have been destroyed by vandals. Photo / APNZ

A research trial of genetically modified trees destroyed by vandals in Rotorua could have informed the public debate on GM technologies, the Royal society of New Zealand says.

Police are investigating the attack over Easter weekend when 375 radiata pines at Scion’s forestry research institute were either cut or pulled out.

The vandals cut through fencing and tunnelled under another to reach the plants, causing about $400,000 of damage.

Royal Society of New Zealand, which promotes science, president Dr Garth Carnaby says the destruction means evidence that would have informed the public debate about GM technologies has been lost.

“Such vandalism is an expensive squandering of New Zealand’s limited research funding.”

Scion chief executive Dr Warren Parker estimated the vandals had caused about $400,000 of damage and put back research by a year.

“The field trial was approved under one of the strictest regulatory regimes in the world, and our team has fully complied with the containment controls. Despite this, our research opponents were determined to stop us and used criminal means to do so.”

The trials were looking at resistance to herbicides and reproductive development.

Massey University Molecular Genetics Professor Barry Scott said vandalism of this kind was “senseless” and destroyed years of work done by researchers.

“What is particularly abhorrent about this act is the thinking by those involved that their rights and actions should take precedent over the rights of other individuals.”

An anti-GE group is denying involvement in the destruction of genetically engineered pine trees at a research site in Rotorua. (msn nz)

GE-Free New Zealand president Claire Bleakley says she doesn’t know who was behind the attack and doubts it was anyone linked to her organisation.

Police believe the trees were destroyed sometime between Monday and Tuesday morning and want to hear from anyone with information.


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Filed under Actions / Protest, Biodiversity, Climate Change, False Solutions to Climate Change, GE Trees, Genetic Engineering

March Photo of the Month: GMO Protest, Sacramento, CA 2003

Protest in Sacramento, California during a meeting of the WTO’s Agricultural Ministers, hosted by the USDA in June 2003 in preparation for the WTO summit in Cancun that fall.  Global Justice Ecology Project co-founder Orin Langelle joined allies at this WTO miniterial to organize protests against the development of dangerous and uncontrollable genetically engineered trees.  Photo: Langelle/GJEP 
Global Justice Ecology Project coordinates the international STOP GE Trees Campaign.  We recently produced a briefing paper on the current status of genetically engineered trees, as well as a history of the campaign to stop GE trees, which we have led since 1999.On March 29th, Global Justice Ecology Project co-organized aconference on Synthetic Biology in Berkeley.
Industry plans to combine the use of GE trees and the use of manufactured and totally synthetic lifeforms to create so-called “advanced cellulosic biofuels.”  These synthetic organisms have never existed before and there is no way to know what would happen if they “escaped” into the environment.  This is a reckless technology that must be ended.Genetically engineered trees live for decades, can spread their pollen and seeds for up to hundreds of miles, making them much more dangerous than agricultural crops.  GE versions of native trees like poplar and pine will inevitably and irreversible contaminate native forests with their pollen and seeds, leading to total disruption of the forest ecosystem.  GE eucalyptus trees are non-native, invasive, highly flammable and deplete ground water.
Today the issue of GE trees is more urgent than ever with industry proposals to commercially release millions of GE eucalytpus trees in huge plantations pending with the USDA.  If approved, these plantations will exacerbate droughts and cause massive firestorms.  They must be banned.


Also check out the GJEP Photo Gallery, past Photos of the Month posted on GJEP’s website, or Langelle’s photo essaysposted on GJEP’s Climate Connections blog.

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Filed under Actions / Protest, Biodiversity, Corporate Globalization, Food Sovereignty, GE Trees, Genetic Engineering, Photo Essays by Orin Langelle

KPFK Weekly Earth Segment Featuring Nnimmo Bassey, Nigerian Environmental Activist

Global Justice Ecology Project partners with Margaret Prescod and the Sojourner Truth show at KPFK Pacifica in Los Angeles for weekly Earth Segments and weekly Earth Minutes.

This week’s Earth Segment features Nnimmo Bassey, Executive Director of Environmental Rights Action in Nigeria, West Africa, on the Niger Delta oil disaster and on the move to replace fossil fuels with biofuels.

To listen to the Earth Segment, go to the following link and click on minute 15:35.

March 29, 2012 Earth Segment on KPFK

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Filed under Biodiversity, Bioenergy / Agrofuels, Climate Change, Pollution, Water