Tag Archives: durban

Radical Anthropology 2012 on Commodification of Life, Occupy and more

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Cover photo: March for climate justice in Durban, South Africa December 2011 by Anne Petermann, Global Justice Ecology Project

To download the PDF of the current edition of Radical Anthropology, click here

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Filed under Actions / Protest, Africa, Biodiversity, Corporate Globalization, False Solutions to Climate Change, Forests, Indigenous Peoples, Land Grabs, REDD, Rights, Resilience, and Restoration

Another witness of UN security violence to photographer during Durban Climate Convention

Note:  This official statement below, from Kevin Buckland, was sent to the UN today regarding Orin Langelle’s Formal Complaint Against UN Security and the response Langelle received from the UN’s John Hay, UN Media Relations Officer.  [See the response from the UN that Climate Connections posted last Friday: UN denies security used undue force when smashing camera into photographer’s face]  Langelle was on assignment for Z Magazine and he is also the board chair for Global Justice Ecology Project. We will continue to keep you posted as things develop.-The GJEP Team

To Whom it May Concern,

I am writing to submit an official statement regarding an act of violence that occurred inside the ICC on December 8th, 2011 in Durban, South Africa by a member of the UNFCCC  Security. As mentioned in the official complaint filed by Orin Langelle, I was being escorted by security after giving an interview wearing a traditional clown costume (at this moment, I will not raise question as to the legitimacy of this expulsion). Upon descending a staircase, a reporter, Orin Langelle, began to loudly question the security officer asking (I do not recall the exact wording): “Is this man being expelled from the conference? What rules have been broken? Are you arresting him?” At which point the security officer very quickly approached Mr. Langelle and grabbed the front of the lens of his camera covering it so he could not photograph. The officer did not attempt to remove the camera from Mr. Langelle, but instead decided to very aggressively physically pushed the camera into his face. Mr. Langelle was notably distraught after such an unwarranted act of violence. In the next 30 meters, from the bottom of the stairs to the security office, the same officer aggressively but nonviolently confiscated two more cameras of two other conference attendants who began to photograph the incident. The officer did give a warning to one of the photographers who was photographing immediately before taking his camera, but no warning was given to Mr. Langelle or the other photographer. The officer arrived to the security office with no less than 3 cameras he had confiscated (these were shortly returned).

As I was being informed of my expulsion from the conference. I commented to UNFCCC official Warren Waetford on the surprisingly aggressive attitude of the officer – considering there was absolutely no aggression besides his own. (I had been walking calmly behind him as I am sure he will acknowledge.) I recommended to Mr. Waetford that this unprovoked act of aggression be addressed, and would like to reiterate that recommendation now to the UNFCCC secretariat, and formally.

I also asked why any security officer had the right to confiscate cameras at will, and was informed that UNFCCC Security Officers have the right not to be photographed, but are required to ask photographers to stop photographing, and only if the photographer refused could the officer confiscate their cameras. In the case of Mr. Langelle and another unnamed photographer, no warning was given.

Finally, I would like to comment on the official response issued by the UN regarding this incident. It stated: “Our investigations indicate that it was necessary to clear a passage within the conference center that was being obstructed, in the interest of the safety of all participants and in the interest of the smooth operation of the conference.  At no time was undue force applied in the exercise.” I would like to attest, as a witness to the incident, that this official statement is not true. If this statement derives from testaments by the arresting officer, then he has then both committed an act of violence and lied. No passage was blocked. It was the Security Guard who first approached Mr. Langelle because of his loud questioning, straying from the most direct path to the security office, and without any verbal warnings violently and aggressively took his camera. Undue force was very clearly applied.

I believe this incident should call into question the UNFCCC’s prohibition on documentation of its own security forces. As this case demonstrates – a clear violation both of the policy of giving warnings before confiscation of cameras, as well as an unwarranted act of violence, occurred. If we are denied even the freedom of press to protect ourselves against violence by armed officials inside a space under the jurisdiction of the United Nations, then the UN itself is complicit in the tyranny it was founded to confront.

Sincerely,

Kevin Buckland

Barcelona, Spain

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Filed under Climate Change, Independent Media, Political Repression, UNFCCC

UN Climate Conference: The Durban Disaster

By Anne Petermann and Orin Langelle

Cross-Posted from Z Magazine, February 2012

During the march against the Conference of Polluters. Photo: Langelle/GJEP

This year’s UN Climate Conference of the Parties (COP-17) inDurban, South Africa, nicknamed “The Durban Disaster,” took the dismalt track record of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) to new lows. At one point, it appeared that the talks might actually collapse, but a small cabal of 20-30 countries held exclusive closed-door talks over the final days to create the Durban Platform, which carbon analyst Matteo Mazzoni described as “an agreement between parties to arrange another agreement.”

The details of the platform will not be completed until 2015 and will not be implemented until 2020, leading many to charge that the 2010s will be the lost decade in the fight to stop climate catastrophe. Pablo Solón, the former Ambassador to the UN for the Plurinational state of Bolivia, summed up the negotiations this way: “The Climate Change Conference ended two days later than expected, adopting a set of decisions that were known only a few hours before their adoption. Some decisions were not even complete at the moment of their consideration. Paragraphs were missing and some delegations didn’t even have copies of these drafts. The package of decisions was released by the South African presidency with the ultimatum, ‘Take it or leave it’.”

Nnimmo Bassey, chair of Friends of the Earth International, similarly condemned the outcomes: “An increase in global temperatures of four degrees Celsius permitted under this plan is a death sentence forAfrica, small island states, and the poor and vulnerable worldwide. This summit has amplified climate apartheid whereby the richest 1 percent of the world have decided that it is acceptable to sacrifice the 99%percent.”

Tom Goldtooth, executive director of the North America-based Indigenous Environmental Network, went even further, calling the outcome, “climate racism, ecocide, and genocide of an unprecedented scale.”

The UN, on the other hand, trumpeted the success of the conference at “saving tomorrow, today.” One of the great achievements touted by Christiana Figueres, executive secretary of the UNFCCC, was the renewed commitment to the Kyoto Protocol (KP):  “…countries, citizens, and businesses who have been behind the rising global wave of climate action can now push ahead confidently, knowing that Durban has lit up a broader highway to a low-emission, climate resilient future.”

To read the entire article, please visit the Z Magazine website

To view Orin Langelle’s Photo essays from Durban, go to:

Photo Essay: Global Day of Action Against UN Conference of Polluters (COP) in Durban

Photo Essay: UN Climate COP: Corporate Exhibitionism (parting shots)

To read the associated blog post by Anne Petermann, go to:  Showdown at the Durban Disaster, Challenging the Big Green Patriarchy

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Filed under Climate Change, Climate Justice, False Solutions to Climate Change, Photo Essays by Orin Langelle, Posts from Anne Petermann, REDD, UNFCCC

Radio Hour: Keystone XL Pipeline Decision, Analysis of the Durban Disaster, Preparing for Rio+20

The KPFK’s Sojourner Truth show on January 19th hosted a special hour-long Earth Segment devoted to discussing the announcement of the Obama Administration that it was rejecting the Keystone XL tarsands pipeline, as well as analyzing the outcomes of last month’s UN Climate Conference in Durban, South Africa, and what comes next for the climate change movement with the Rio+20 Earth Summit to be held in Rio de Janiero in June.

Speakers on the show included Tom Goldtooth, Executive Director of Indigenous Environmental Network, Teresa Almaguer, Youth Program Director at PODER!, a member of the Grassroots Global Justice Alliance, and Anne Petermann, Executive Director of Global Justice Ecology Project.

To listen to the hour-long show, go to: Sojourner Truth show Jan 19, 2012

Global Justice Ecology Project and the Sojourner Truth show partner each week for an Earth Minute every Tuesday and an Environmental Segment every Thursday.

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Filed under Carbon Trading, Climate Change, Climate Justice, False Solutions to Climate Change, Green Economy, Indigenous Peoples, Rio+20, Tar Sands, UNFCCC

KPFK Sojourner Truth Show Special One Hour Reportback from Durban Climate Talks Thursday (19 Jan.)

Tune in to KPFK Los Angeles’ Sojourner Truth show Thursday morning (19 January) at 7am Pacific US, 10am Eastern US and GMT-8 to listen to a special hour-long reportback from the UN Climate Conference in Durban, South Africa plus the latest on the Keystone XL Pipeline.

Also, what is the state of the environmental movement and what is the way forward. 

Guests on the show will include:

• Pablo Solón, former Ambassador to the UN for the Plurinational State of Bolivia

• Tom Goldtooth, Executive Director, Indigenous Environmental Network

• Teresa Almaguer, Youth Program Director, PODER!, a member of the Grassroots Global Justice Alliance

• Anne Petermann, Executive Director, Global Justice Ecology Project

The host of the Sojourner Truth show is Margaret Prescod.

To listen to the show live, go to: http://www.kpfk.org/listen-live.html

To listen to the archived show after the broadcast is over, go to: http://archive.kpfk.org/ and click on the “Sojourner Truth show” from Thursday, 19 January.

Global Justice Ecology Project and the Sojourner Truth show partner each week for an Earth Minute every Tuesday and an Environmental Segment every Thursday.

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Filed under Carbon Trading, Climate Change, False Solutions to Climate Change, Indigenous Peoples, Tar Sands, UNFCCC

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

• Corporations control UN conference as Big NGOs attempt to stifle grassroots’ dissent 
 
• The Durban disaster marks the lost decade in the fight against climate change

Durban Day of Action in the streets. Photo: Langelle/GJEP

WHO: 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.

WHERE: Fletcher Free Library, 235 College Street, Burlington, VT from 6:30 to 8:30 pm.  Free and open to the public.

WHEN: Wednesday, January 11th from 6:30 to 8:30 pm

The UN Climate Conference in Durban took place from November 28th to December 10th  2011

Sponsored by: Burlington Action Against Nukes and the Environmental Action Group of Occupy Burlington

Notes: 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. Gillies was also ejected. See  http://wp.me/pDT6U-3hX

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.”  See http://wp.me/pDT6U-3iE

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Filed under Actions / Protest, Carbon Trading, Climate Change, Climate Justice, Corporate Globalization

Photo Essay: UN Climate COP: Corporate Exhibitionism (parting shots)

Note:  Anne Petermann and I went to our first UNFCCC COP (Conference of the Polluters) in 2004 in Buenos Aires, Argentina.  One  of my first observations was that this was a bizarre trade show–from ‘clean coal’ to ‘clean nuclear’ to a clean way to get fucked.  Smile.  I was not impressed.  Well,  going into the exhibition center was more exciting than the plenaries packed with, for the most part,  suited charlatans. Fast forward to Montreal, Nairobi, Bali, Poznan, Copenhagen, Cancún and now all the way  to Durban, South Africa; and guess what?–the 1% have been and still are in control (for now). But one of the good things that has happened over these years is that the resistance has risen from a couple of handfuls of us to thousands.  It is evident to GJEP that the COP process is nothing more than the rich figuring out how to make more money off Mother Earth and her inhabitants under the guise of addressing climate change.  So this photo essay, with text by Anne Petermann, is my parting shot to this entire unjust, racist, classist, land-grabbing COP crap.  No to the next meeting in Dubai and yes to mobilization for the Peoples Summit during Rio +20.  GJEP will continue to support the social movements, Indigenous Peoples and those who struggle for justice. Please enjoy the trade show photos and note that the last two photos in this series show the discrepancy between the 1% and the 99%.  Orin Langelle for the GJEP Team.

All photos:  Langelle/GJEP       Captions:  Anne Petermann

The Road to Rio.  “Wait, I think we spelled that wrong–isn’t it supposed to be “Greed Economy”?

“Ohm…no Fukushimi…Ohm…no Fukushima…”

” Look into the blank screen… You are feeling sleepy…Join us…join us…join us…repeat after me…I believe in the green economy…Robert Zoellick is a nice guy…REDD will save the forests…The World Bank’s mission is poverty alleviation…”

What the World Bank said…

“Carbon bubble, what carbon bubble?  A ton of carbon is supposed to be cheaper than a pizza.  Isn’t a pizza made of carbon?  It all makes sense to me!”
“With the Green Economy we can even make fabrics out of tree pulp!  Fabulous Fashions From Foliage!  Yummy Eucalyptus unitards! Perky Plantation Pant Suits!  Thank God for the Green Economy!”
“We help cool down climate change by logging tropical forests…What, you gotta problem with that?”

“We magically transform ancient tropical forests into biodiesel plantations!.  Birds love ‘em!  (F*#k the orangutans).”

” Oooo…that panda makes me so hot…”

People need nature to thrive–which is why we have to protect nature from them!

“These charts clearly show that it’s the NGOs that are responsible for carbon emissions.  That’s why we have to ban NGOs from the climate talks; if there were no NGOs there would be no climate change.  Listen to me.  I’m a white guy and I know.”

“Screw you anti-capitalist NGO bastards. Market-based schemes like the CDM are the best solution to climate change!  So what if they don’t reduce carbon emissions.  Piss off.”

How the 1% live.  The pretentious Southern Sun Elangeni Hotel in Durban was host to the World Climate Summit, 3-4 December, which was a high-level and high-security event where business, finance and government leaders met to celebrate the glory of their green-ness with events like “The Gigatonne Award” for whatever company’s PR campaign was the biggest pile of “green” manure.

 The following week the corporate conference sponsors offered side events for UN government delegates on the theme of “Advancing Public-Private Partnerships for REDD+ and Green Growth” i.e. how to ensure profit-making as usual in the face of ecological collapse and rising public outrage.

How the 99% live.  This tent was where the delegation met that came to Durban with La Via Campesina, the world’s largest peasant organization.  Their slogan, Small Farmers Cool the Planet, confronts the myth that governments and the UN will take care of climate change for us and promotes the idea that bottom up, small scale, community-controlled and bioregionally appropriate solutions are what is needed. The building behind the tent was where La Via slept and ate meals–not as pretentious as the Southern Sun Elangeni Hotel, but the people were real.

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Filed under Bioenergy / Agrofuels, Carbon Trading, Climate Change, Climate Justice, Corporate Globalization, Energy, False Solutions to Climate Change, Geoengineering, Land Grabs, Nuclear power, Photo Essays by Orin Langelle, REDD, 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/

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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