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History and Photos of the Campaign to STOP Genetically Engineered Trees

Genetically engineered trees (GE trees) are also known as genetically modified trees (GM trees) or transgenic trees.  This refers to trees which have been genetically altered through the insertion of foreign DNA to give the trees unnatural characteristics such as the ability to kill insects, resist toxic herbicides, grow faster or have modified wood composition.

This Nov. 11, 2008 photo released by ArborGen shows a field trial of genetically engineered eucalyptus trees in Sebring, Fla. South Carolina-based ArborGen received federal approval to plant 260,000 GE eucalyptus trees in locations around the South for use by International Paper, MeadWestvaco and Rubicon LTD. (AP Photo/ArborGen)

The release of GE trees into the environment is extremely dangerous and the impacts of the escape of these trees into native forest or other ecosystems is unknown, but likely to be extremely destructive.  If GE trees are released on a large scale, the escape of pollen or seeds from these trees is both inevitable and irreversible.  Contaminated trees would go on to contaminate more trees in an endless cycle.  For this reason, we began campaigning to stop GE trees as soon as we learned about them in 1999, when we were still Native Forest Network, launching the official first campaign against GE trees in June of 2000.  In April of 2003 we co-founded the STOP GE Trees Campaign.

Below is a brief history of the campaign to stop the release of genetically engineered trees.  Thanks to our generous supporters for making our work to protect forests and communities from the dangers of GE trees possible.

GE trees are still one disaster we can stop.  To join the campaign against GE trees email globalecology@gmavt.net.  To sign the petition calling for a global ban on GE trees, please click here.  To read our report on the current status of GE trees, click here.

–Anne Petermann

Coordinator, STOP GE Trees Campaign

Executive Director, Global Justice Ecology Project

History of the Campaign to STOP Genetically Engineered Trees

 June 2000: Campaign against GE trees launched at Biodevastation protest during Biotechnology Industry Organization national conference in Boston.  Washington Post runs front page article about the campaign.

May 2001: Chapter on the dangers of GE trees published by GJEP Co-Founder Orin Langelle in the book Redesigning Life.

July 2001: Native Forest Network (NFN) report released From Native Forests to Frankentrees: The Global Threat of Genetically Engineered Trees.

July 2001: NFN organizes protest at GE tree conference at Skamania Lodge in Washington state.

GE trees action at International Paper subsidiary in Sacramento, CA. Photo: Langelle

March 2003: Action for Social and Ecological Justice, Rainforest Action Network and Northwest Resistance Against Genetic Engineering organize GE tree protests at the World Trade Organization agricultural negotiations in Sacramento, CA.

December 2003: UN Climate Convention’s Ninth Conference of the Parties (COP 9) in Milan, Italy decides that GE trees can be used in carbon offset forestry plantations.

April 2004: STOP Genetically Engineered Trees Campaign founded.  Founding members include Global Justice Ecology Project, Sierra Club, Southern Forests Network, Dogwood Alliance, Forest Ethics, Forest Guild, GE Free Maine (now Food for Maine’s Future), Institute for Social Ecology, Klamath-Siskyou Wildlands Center, Northwest Resistance Against Genetic Engineering, Canadian Biotechnology Action Network (CBAN), Rainforest Action Network.

April 2004: GJEP presents dangers of GE trees to delegates at the UN Forum on Forests in Geneva, Switzerland.

Mapuche activist shows us eucalyptus seedling covered with toxic pesticides responsible for contaminating the watershed. Photo: Langelle, 2004

September 2004: GJEP launches collaborative partnership with Indigenous Mapuche group Konapewman against GE trees and plantations in Chile.

October 2004: GJEP presents social and ecological dangers of GE trees during founding meeting of the Durban Group for Climate Justice in Durban, South Africa.

December 2004: World Rainforest Movement (WRM) report released, Genetically Engineered Trees, the Ultimate Threat to Forests.

December 2004: GJEP and WRM organize side event and press conference on social and ecological dangers of GE trees at the UN Climate Convention COP 10 in Buenos Aires, Argentina. Mapuche participant presents threats to Indigenous peoples.

September 2005: Award-winning GE trees documentary released: A Silent Forest: The Growing Threat, Genetically Engineered Trees, narrated by renowned geneticist Dr. David Suzuki.

MST camp in Espirito Santo, Brazil. Banner reads "eucalyptus plantations are not forests." Photo: Langelle

November 2005: Global Justice Ecology Project, World Rainforest Movement and FASE host joint international strategy meeting on GE trees in Vitoria, Brazil.  Participants attend from five continents.

March 2006: STOP GE Trees Campaign and EcoNexus campaign against GE trees at UN Biodiversity Convention COP 8 in Curitiba, Brazil.  UN decides to warn countries about GE trees, calls for application of the Precautionary Principle and launches a study into the ecological and social impacts of GE trees.

July 2006: UN Food and Agriculture Organization releases a report titled, Preliminary Review of Biotechnology in Forestry, Including Genetic Modification. In it, a survey of GE tree researchers reveals that their topmost concern about GE trees is the “unintentional contamination of non-target species.”  Their second greatest concern is public opinion of GE trees.

Boat action in Charleston harbor protests industry conference on GE trees and plantations. Photo: Petermann

October 2006: STOP GE Trees Campaign, Rising Tide and Katuah Earth First! organize protests and a boat action organized around the International Union of Forest Research Organizations “2006 Forest Plantations Meeting” in Charleston, South Carolina, US.

May 2007: STOP GE Trees Campaign launches “National Effort to Stop Genetically Engineered Eucalyptus Plantations in US Southeast.”

June 2007: STOP GE Trees Campaign issues press release asking US health and environmental agencies to investigate potential link between pathogenic fungus and genetically engineered eucalyptus trees.

November 2007: Global Justice Ecology Project and Global Forest Coalition publish the report, The True Cost of Agrofuels: Impacts on Food, Forests, People and the Climate.

February 2008: GJEP, EcoNexus, GFC and WRM organize GE trees protest inside a UN Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) meeting in Rome.

April 2008: Global Justice Ecology Project, Global Forest Coalition and the STOP GE Trees Campaign release the report, GE Trees, Cellulosic Biofuels and Destruction of Forest Biological Diversity.

 

Frankenforests threaten to take over UN Convention on Biological Diversity conference in Bonn, Germany. Photo: Langelle

May 2008: A major series of protests and side events are organized by a large international alliance of groups and Indigenous Peoples’ Organizations at the UN CBD convention in Bonn, Germany calling for a global ban on GE trees.  Unanimous support for the ban received from entire African delegation, many Latin American and Asian country delegations, and all NGOs and IPOs present.

November 2008: World Rainforest Movement releases GE Tree Research: A Country by Country Overview.

May 2009: Belgium Permanent Mission in Manhattan protested by Indigenous Peoples during the UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues due to Belgium’s development of test plots of GE poplar trees.

May-June 2009: Living On Earth, an NPR program, interviews GJEP on the impacts of GE trees.

June 2009: Tree Engineer Steve Strauss, of Oregon State University, writes article “Strangled at Birth? Forest Biotech and the Convention on Biological Diversity” in Nature Biotechnology magazine which criticizes international regulatory hurdles created by GJEP’s efforts to ban GE trees internationally.

June 2009: The STOP GE Trees Campaign and allies submit nearly 17,500 public comments to the USDA opposing the USDA’s recommendation for approval of an ArborGen proposal to plant over a quarter of a million GE eucalyptus trees in test plots across seven states.  Only 39 favorable comments were received by the USDA.

August 2009: Jim Hightower national commentary airs: “The Invasion of Genetically Engineered Eucalyptus.”

Mapuche woman protests outside of the Belgian Mission in Manhattan. Photo: Langelle

October 2009: La Via Campesina, the world’s largest peasant farmer organization, organizes protests outside of the XIII World Forestry Congress in Buenos Aires, Argentina.  GJEP speaks about GE trees.

February 2010: Groups Force USDA to re-release Draft Environmental Assessment on genetically engineered eucalyptus trees after their original EA lacked key US Forest Service hydrological studies.

May 2010: USDA approves ArborGen request to plant 260,000 genetically engineered eucalyptus trees in test plots across the US South despite overwhelming public opposition.

June 2010: Global Justice Ecology Project, Global Forest Coalition and Biofuelwatch release new report, Wood-based Bioenergy: The Green Lie, at the UN climate talks in Bonn, Germany during a European tour on the issues of GE trees and wood-based bioenergy.

July 2010: Global Justice Ecology Project, Dogwood Alliance, Sierra Club, Center for Food Safety, International Center for Technology Assessment and Center for Biological Diversity file suit against the USDA over their approval of ArborGen’s large-scale test plots of GE eucalyptus trees.

August 2010: Charlotte Observer editorial, “Could eucalyptus trees be the kudzu of the 2010s?” [Note: the Charlotte Observer is the largest newspaper near ArborGen’s headquarters.]

 September 2010: Global Justice Ecology Project, Dogwood Alliance and the STOP GE Trees Campaign release a 5 minute video on the dangers of large-scale tree plantations and genetically engineered trees.

October 2010: ArborGen announces plan for Initial Public Offering (IPO) to raise funds for research.

Protest against the World Bank's Forest Carbon Partnership Facility at the UN Climate Conference in Bali, Indonesia in 2007. ArborGen is trying to get their GE trees into forest carbon offset projects. Photo: Langelle

2007-2010: GJEP organizes side events and press conferences with World Rainforest Movement, Global Forest Coalition, Climate Justice Now!, Indigenous Environmental Network and other groups at annual UN Climate Conferences linking GE trees to the REDD (Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation) scheme and denouncing the UN’s definition of forests.

January 2011: ArborGen partner Range Fuels shutters taxpayer-subsidized cellulosic ethanol plant in Georgia, due to their inability to manufacture affordable cellulosic ethanol.

January 2011: ArborGen submits request to USDA for full deregulation and commercial approval of their GE eucalyptus trees.

January 2011: Des Moines Register article, “Court challenges stall new biofuel crops.”

April 2011: Biomass Power & Thermal Magazine article, “Genetic Engineering Hang-Up: Lawsuit highlights a barrier to biotechnology advancements in the US”

 May 2011: ArborGen postpones IPO indefinitely.

 June 2011: STOP GE Trees Campaign Action Alert against ArborGen coincides with Tree Biotechnology 2011 conference in Brazil.

Protest outside of the Sustainable Forestry Initiative conference in Burlington, VT. Photo: Langelle

September 2011: Protest organized to counter the push for GE tree sustainability criteria at the 2011 conference of the Sustainable Forestry Initiative in Burlington, Vermont.

October 2011: USDA grants $136 million for research into GE trees and other wood for bioenergy.

October 2011: Judge in GE trees test plot lawsuit rules in favor of USDA.

October 2011: Commercial Appeal article, “Court loss won’t stop environmentalists’ battle against modified-eucalyptus trees” [note: the Commercial Appeal is the largest newspaper in Memphis–home to ArborGen co-owner International Paper].

November 2011: article, “GE Trees in Sweden Cause Concern.”

January 2012: New video A Darker Shade of Green Documents Critical Perspectives on REDD reveals global resistance to forest-carbon projects as well as GE trees.

February 2012: COST Alliance formed in EU to advance GE tree “sustainability criteria” by “…improving the scientific basis for safe tree development…with the intent to supply the world with fuel, fibre and energy.”

March 2012: Action Alert launched to stop the expansion of ArborGen’s GE eucalyptus test plots in the US South.

March 2012: ArborGen Board announces major changes to Senior Management.

The false solutions circus at VT Yankee Protest. Photo: Dylan Kelley

March 2012: Vermont Yankee Protest–Protesters link nuclear power and GE trees as dangerous “false solutions” to climate change.

For a complete listing of news around genetically engineered trees, go to: http://nogetrees.org

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Filed under Actions / Protest, Biodiversity, Bioenergy / Agrofuels, Climate Change, Energy, GE Trees, Genetic Engineering, Indigenous Peoples, Posts from Anne Petermann, REDD, Water

Last Week’s Earth Minute: Indigenous Blockade of the Tar Sands–in Colorado

Global Justice Ecology Project partners with Margaret Prescod’s Sojourner Truth show on KPFK–Pacifica Los Angeles radio show for a weekly Earth Minute on Tuesdays and a weekly 12 minute Environment Segment every Thursday.

Go to the link below and scroll to minute 30:04 to listen to this week’s Earth Minute:

KPFK Earth Minute Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Text from this week’s Earth Minute:

On March 10th, Members of the Stop Suncor and Tar Sands Coalition, including the American Indian Movement and other groups, occupied the site of a Suncor Energy oil spill on the shore of Colorado’s Sand Creek.

Suncor Energy boasts of being the first corporation to begin extracting the tar sands in Athabasca, leading to the deforestation of thousands of square miles of Boreal forest and the destruction of First Nations cultures. Suncor produces more than 90,000 barrels of oil per day at its refinery in Commerce City, Colorado.

Tessa McLean of the American Indian Movement said, “the oil that’s being spilled here came from Athabasca, a First Nations community. My people up are suffering there because of the oil we’re refining here.”

Deanna Meyer of Deep Green Resistance Colorado added, “Suncor has so poisoned this land that oil is bubbling up through numerous burst sub-surface pipelines.  Benzene levels in this water—that fish, ducks, geese, beavers and other beings depend on—are 100 times the safety limit.”

While the spill was first reported last November 27th, it is believed to have begun in February 2011.

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Filed under Actions / Protest, Climate Change, Earth Minute, Energy, Indigenous Peoples, Pollution, Tar Sands

Grassroots Report Back from the Durban Disaster: “2011 UN Climate Change Negotiations”

Note: Global Justice Ecology Project and GEAR (Global Economic Accountability Research) did a report back from the UN Climate Conference in Durban, South Africa last month.  The reportback was held on January 11th and filmed by Burlington, Vermont’s CCTV network.  The report back was organized by the Environmental Working Group of Occupy Burlington and Burlington Action Against Nukes.  Special thanks to Sophie and Peggy for organizing this.
From Center for Media and Democracy–CCTV:
Grassroots Report Back from the Durban Disaster: “2011 UN Climate Change Negotiations”
Global Justice Ecology Project’s Anne Petermann and Orin Langelle, along with Keith Brunner and Lindsey Gillies (all from VT); including special live-stream report from Jeff Conant in Oakland.  All five speakers were present at the UN Climate Conference in Durban, South Africa last month.
(to watch the report back, click on the link below)

http://www.cctv.org/watch-tv/programs/grassroots-report-back-durban-disaster-2011-un-climate-change-negotiations

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Filed under Climate Change, Climate Justice, Corporate Globalization, Green Economy, World Bank

A Tribute to “The Red Mayor of Santa Cruz”

¡Bert Muhly Presente!

by Orin Langelle, Co-director/Strategist for Global Justice Ecology Project

From left to right: Anne Petrmann, Bert Muhly, Lois Muhly and Orin Langelle. GJEP file photo Santa Cruz, CA 2008

Note: Bert Muhly passed from this Earth on December 16, 2011.  He was 88 years old. Bert was a friend, colleague and comrade to Global Justice Ecology Project since its inception and prior when both Anne Petermann and Orin Langelle worked with different organizations.  And the same can be said of his surviving wife, Lois.  Bert and Lois were married 65 years and lived in Santa Cruz, CA for the past 50.  The staff and board of GJEP send their sincere condolences to the Muhly family.-The GJEP Team

On July 19, 1979 I was in the Florida Keys when I heard the news that the Sandinista National Liberation Front (Frente Sandinista de Liberación Nacional, FSLN) overthrew the US backed Anastasio Somoza regime in Nicaragua.  ¡Viva Nicaragua Libre!  I didn’t know it at the time, but that day and revolution led me to the Nicaragua Network and subsequently to Nicaragua many times in the 1990s thru the early 2000s (even though the Sandinistas lost governance of Nicaragua by then through a counter-revolutionary “Contra” war sponsored by the US).   I doubt if I would have ever met Bert Muhly if it wasn’t for the Sandinistas.

I’m not sure when I first met Bert and Lois.  It could have been in Vermont one year when the Nicaragua Network had a National Leadership meeting on a cold and rainy weekend at Wheelock Farm.  It could have been in Washington, DC where Nicaragua Network has its national office or it could have been in Santa Cruz at another Nicaragua Network event.  Sometimes it’s easier for me to remember the circumstances instead of the exact place where an event happened.

Wherever it was, meeting Bert was an event.  Bert seemed larger than life in many ways.  And Bert liked to talk a lot.  I remember Lois nudging him several times at meetings, giving him a ‘please shut up Bert’ look.  When I started to know Bert, it was evident that he was fired with compassion and revolutionary love.

Santa Cruz Sentinel:  Muhly traveled more than two dozen times to Nicaragua, including once to deliver a donated ambulance to Santa Cruz’s sister city of Jinotepe. He was strongly opposed to the Contra movement of the 1980s, which was backed by President Ronald Reagan’s administration to battle the Sandanistas after an overthrow of the country’s dictator.

Our friendship grew over the years and both Anne Petrmann and I had the pleasure of staying at Bert and Lois’ house several times.  It was a political house.  There was no way it could not have been.  Bert had been active in local politics since he and Lois moved to Santa Cruz and for years served on it’s City Council before he became vice mayor and then mayor.  To many people in California, Bert was known as “The Red Mayor of Santa Cruz.”  Bert was proud to be known for that he once told me.  He was also proud when he showed me a photograph of him shaking hands with an elderly gentleman.  He asked me if I knew who the man was or where the photo was taken.  I didn’t.  Bert said, “The photo was taken in Cuba and the man was Che Guevara’s father.”

Many Sandinistas and supporters passed through the Muhly home over the years.  Bert and Lois organized numerous Nicaragua Network national meetings in Santa Cruz.  I never heard anyone complain when it was decided the meetings would be in Santa Cruz.  Yes, there was the business of the network to discuss, but Bert, Lois and their friends knew how to throw a fiesta during the evenings.

I even had a photo show at the Muhly’s during one of the Nica Net meetings.  The front part of the house had my traveling Corporate Globalization vs Global Justice Guerrilla Photo Exhibit [archived web page] one evening in the latter part of 2004.  On another evening during the meetings, we showed a ten-minute promo video of A Silent Forest: The Growing Threat, Genetically Engineered Trees.  That promo, narrated by Dr. David Suzuki, was shown weeks later in Buenos Aires, Argentina at the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change.

Bert and Lois along with Three Americas (more later), Steve Leinau from Earth Links and Raindancer Media‘s Ed Schehl produced the award winning A Silent Forest video that is still being shown today.  Global Justice Ecology Project was the expert consultant for the video.

Genetically engineered trees and crops were some of the latest egregious schemes that Bert wanted to stop. Bert was always concerned about the Earth we live on and what ‘development’ means.

Santa Cruz Sentinel: The former UC Santa Cruz and San Jose State University professor was remembered…as a passionate and diligent activist who, as part of the vanguard of California environmentalists in the 1960s, contributed to legislation that created the powerful Coastal Commission that now governs development along 1,100 miles of the state’s shoreline.

Muhly was an instructor in the environmental studies program at UC Santa Cruz and later the graduate planning program at San Jose State University, for a total of 19 years. He retired from San Jose State as professor emeritus in 1989 but maintained an active voice in local land use issues.

Bert was the co-founder of Three Americas which had its roots in the Santa Cruz Coalition for Nicaragua.  Bert told me that he and others, while Nicaragua and its peoples would always be in their hearts, felt that it was time to look at all of the Americas, as the problems of globalization, militarism, Indigenous Peoples’ struggles and all of the ills of Capitalism continue to worsen and impact peoples and the environment throughout the Hemisphere.

The accomplishments of Three Americas are too numerous to go into detail, but they include work with coffee cooperatives in Guatemala, land rights issues with the Rama Indigenous Peoples in Nicaragua, and many more projects.

I know those who met and worked with Bert are honored to have been in his presence.  I know I am.  The last time I saw Bert was in February of last year.  Anne Petermann and I had lunch with Bert and Lois at their home.  Bert was as committed and determined as ever to the struggle.  He bombarded us with a long list of projects that needed to be done and ideas to fulfill to make the world a better place for all–now it’s up to us to carry on.

Earth Links:  Bert Muhly’s Legacy

As an original member of the Santa Cruz Coalition for Nicaragua, and then founding board member of Three Americas, Inc., Bert Muhly personified the spirit of people-to-people exchanges, which reach across great distances to bind together those who would protect our environment and our most vulnerable citizens. This work is a wonderful example of what a few committed individuals can accomplish, even against long odds, when they work together.

¡Bert Muhly Presente!

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Filed under Corporate Globalization, GE Trees, Genetic Engineering, Latin America-Caribbean

KPFK Pacifica Los Angeles Interview with GJEP Executive Director Anne Petermann on the Durban Disaster

Global Justice Ecology Project Executive Director Anne Petermann was interviewed on the Sojourner Truth show with Margaret Prescod on KPFK on Thursday, January 5 about the outcomes from the UN Climate Conference in Durban, South Africa and the civil society protests there.

To listen, click on the link below and scroll to minute 37:56:

http://archive.kpfk.org/mp3/kpfk_120105_070010sojourner.MP3

Global Justice Ecology Project partners with the Sojourner Truth show on KPFK Los Angeles for a weekly Earth Minute every Tuesday and weekly interviews with activists on key environmental and ecological justice issues every Thursday.  In addition, during major events such as the UN Climate Conference in Durban, South Africa, we organize daily interviews Tuesday through Friday.

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Filed under Actions / Protest, Carbon Trading, Climate Change, Corporate Globalization, Energy, False Solutions to Climate Change, Green Economy, Greenwashing, Indigenous Peoples, Posts from Anne Petermann, REDD, UNFCCC

Report Back from Durban, South Africa: Grassroots vs. the 1% at the UN Climate Negotiations

The March outside of the Conference of Polluters in Durban. Photo: Petermann/GJEP-GFC

Burlington, VT–Global Justice Ecology Project’s Anne Petermann,  Orin Langelle and Jeff Conant along with Keith Brunner and Lindsey Gillies will give a report back from last month’s controversial UN climate talks in Durban, South Africa on Wednesday, January 11, at the Fletcher Free Library Community Room in Burlington, Vermont from 6:30 to 8:30 pm.  All five presenters were in Durban for the climate negotiations.

Fletcher Free Library is located at 235 College Street in Burlington, VT.  Burlington Action Against Nukes and the Environmental Action Group of Occupy Burlington are sponsoring the event, which is free and open to the public.

“The Durban disaster marks the lost decade in the fight against climate change,” said Anne Petermann, Executive Director of GJEP, whose international office is in Hinesburg, VT. “These talks accomplished nothing except to delay any implementation of a UN plan to stop climate change until 2020,” she stated.

Both Petermann and Brunner were carried out of the talks by UN security, ejected from the UN grounds and turned over to the South African police for staging an unpermitted sit-in protest of the corporate take-over of the negotiations. [1] Gillies was also ejected.

Earlier that week, photojournalist Orin Langelle, on assignment for Z Magazine, had his camera shoved into his face by a UN security officer because Langelle was taking a photograph of the officer ejecting a person who was giving an interview to the media following a UN-approved Global Justice Ecology Project press conference. This incident led Langelle to file a formal complaint against UN security. [2] Langelle will show his documentary photographs of the “Durban Disaster” at the upcoming event.

Jeff Conant, Global Justice Ecology Project’s Communications Director who was also present in Durban, will take part via live-stream from the GJEP Oakland, CA office to discuss the perspectives of other climate justice groups on the Durban negotiations.

The entire two weeks in Durban were marred with controversy, which included the corporate takeover of the UN climate talks, heavy handed security measures to prevent civil society participation in the talks, and the attempt by “Big Green” Non Governmental Organizations (i.e. Greenpeace and 350.org) to control a major “Occupy” protest there.  This attempted control of dissent prompted Petermann to write a controversial critique of the big NGOs, titled “Showdown at the Durban Disaster: Challenging the Big Green Patriarchy.” [3]

Notes:

[1] Global Justice Ecology Project Director Anne Petermann Ejected from COP17   http://wp.me/pDT6U-3hX

[2] Formal Complaint Filed Against UN Security Actions in Durban  http://wp.me/pDT6U-3jy

[3] Showdown at the Durban Disaster: Challenging the ‘Big Green’ Patriarchy   http://wp.me/pDT6U-3iE

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Filed under Actions / Protest, Carbon Trading, Climate Change, Climate Justice, Green Economy, Greenwashing, Indigenous Peoples, Land Grabs, UNFCCC

Photo of the month: Waste pickers’ protest in Durban, South Africa

Photo: Langelle/GJEP

One of the millions of people who globally make a living from waste picking during a demonstration in Durban, South Africa

On 5 December 2011, during the UN climate conference in Durban South Africa, the Global Alliance of Waste Pickers held a “permitted” protest inside the UN compound.  The protest was almost stopped by UN security, who told organizers they needed to have their signs and banners approved by the UN before they could be displayed.  The waste pickers held their protest anyway, which included emptying trash from the UN conference center on the ground then demonstrating how they sort and recycle it.

Millions of people worldwide make a living from waste picking. They collect, sort and process recyclables, reducing the amount of waste that is sent to landfills and saving valuable natural resources. Today, an increasing number of waste pickers are processing organic waste, diverting it from landfills and reducing methane gas pollution. Waste pickers could further reduce greenhouse gas emissions given proper support.

About the Global Alliance of Waste Pickers:

The Global Alliance of Waste Pickers brings together waste picker organizations from Africa, Asia and Latin America. To learn more about waste pickers’ experiences and to support fair and just solutions to climate change, visit their blog http://www.globalrec.org/

Also please visit GAIA (Global Alliance for Incinerator Alternatives) http://www.no-burn.org/

********** 

Orin Langelle is currently working on a book of four decades of his concerned photography.  From mid-June to mid-July Langelle worked on the book as an artist in residence at the Blue Mountain Center in New York’s Adirondack Mountains.

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.

Global Justice Ecology Project explores and exposes the intertwined root causes of social injustice, ecological destruction and economic domination with the aim of building bridges between social justice, environmental justice and ecological justice groups to strengthen their collective efforts.  Within this framework, our programs focus on Indigenous Peoples’ rights, protection of native forests and climate justice.  We use the issue of climate change to demonstrate these interconnections. Global Justice Ecology Project is the North American Focal Point of the Global Forest Coalition.

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Filed under Actions / Protest, Climate Change, Climate Justice, Corporate Globalization, Energy

Video: Climate Justice Outcry! Dudes co-opt COP 17 final march

Note:  Nope, that headline is not from GJEP.  In fact it’s the title of one of the videos shot by the Media Co-op in Montreal during the Durban meetings of the UN climate negotiations.  Their Canadian network spans: The Dominion • Halifax • Vancouver • Montreal • Toronto.  There is a lot of controversy surrounding the action this video documents, including GJEP’s Anne Petermann’s scathing post on Friday “Showdown at the Durban Disaster: Challenging the ‘Big Green’ Patriarchy.”  GJEP and Anne are receiving many comments and emails, both pro and con on Anne’s article.  To those who disagree with Anne’s analysis:  please watch this.  To everyone else, let’s have a laugh, albeit a sad one, and resolve to up the ante for the people and the planet with concrete, meaningful action and analysis, and make Climate Justice! more than just two words to chant.  After Copenhagen COP 15, many of us lost a long time friend and comrade, Dennis Brutus: poet, scholar and  anti-apartheid activist.  If Dennis was still physically present, I believe he would have linked arms with Anne and Keith; Dennis knew what struggle meant. For more Media Co-op coverage of Durban, please go to http://mediacoop.ca/durban.  -Orin Langelle for the GJEP Team

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Filed under Actions / Protest, Carbon Trading, Climate Change, Climate Justice, False Solutions to Climate Change, Independent Media, Media