Tag Archives: energy

Video: Agrofuels: Industrial Agriculture’s Latest Attack on the People and the Planet

Note: GJEP Executive Director Anne Petermann was interviewed for this film at a Rising Tide event in 2008.  The film details the devastating ecological and social impacts of agrofuels.   The trailer for the film is below.

–The GJEP Team

http://Ciclovida.org

Released in October 2011: a half-hour in depth educational supplement to the feature film:

Agrofuels: Industrial Agriculture’s Latest Attack on the People and the Planet

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Filed under Bioenergy / Agrofuels, Climate Change, Corporate Globalization, Energy, False Solutions to Climate Change, GE Trees, Genetic Engineering

This Week’s Earth Minute: Occupy Wall Street and The Links Between Politics, Economics, Ecology, Race and Class

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.

This week’s Earth Minute discusses the links between the ever-worsening ecological crisis and the financial crisis being targeted by the Occupation Wall Street protests.  To Listen to the Earth Minute, click here

Text from this week’s Earth Minute:

For more than 2 weeks, demonstrators on Wall Street have been standing up against corporate power and these protests are now spreading to other cities.  It is the unjust economic and social system that sparked these growing protests that is at the root of many of the crises we face.

It is a system driven by fossil fuels–fuels heavily subsidized by the US government, which gives away billions to oil companies while slashing benefits for the poorest among us.

Fossil fuels are driving climate chaos, causing catastrophic floods, droughts, wildfires and crop failures that further impact vulnerable populations and cause social turmoil.

The US military is deployed to ensure these crises do not impede our steady supply of oil.  This military also happens to be the largest single source of greenhouse gas emissions on the planet.

Politics, economics, ecology, race and class are intertwined.  If we are to find solutions to the many crises we face, we must understand these connections and take action–just action that respects Mother Earth.

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

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Filed under Actions / Protest, Biodiversity, Climate Change, Climate Justice, Earth Minute, Energy, Posts from Anne Petermann

USDA Grants $136 million for research into use of GE trees and other wood for bioenergy

By Anne Petermann, for the GJEP Team

GE poplars coming to a forest near you?  There is a disturbing new push to transform forests in the Pacific Northwest into GE tree plantations to feed new bioenergy refineries.

Fast-growing poplar trees grown by Portland, OR-based GreenWood Resources, which has formed a partnership with GE tree company ArborGen.

Last week US Department of Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced it was making a grant of $136 million–its largest grant ever– to several universities and private companies in the Pacific Northwest to promote development of a Northwest “biofuels” industry.

According to an article titled, “UW, WSU to get $80M to Develop Biofuels” in the Seattle Times, this grant is designed to build a new industry that “would be churning out fuel from trees” in the next five years.  They quoted Vilsack, stating, “I’d bet my life on it.”

The grant has several components, including the development of “fast growing poplars” that could mature in just a few years.  The University of Washington plans to develop 400,000 acres of these poplars across the Northwest.

Another article titled, “Pacific Northwest Forests Offer Biomass Bounty” in the Western Farm Press, states that the same grant provides over a half million dollars for Oregon State University to investigate use of genetically engineered trees for dedicated energy plantations.  Most of the research into GE trees at OSU focuses on poplars.

This suggests that the ultimate goal of the grant is the development of industrial-scale genetically engineered poplar plantations as bioenergy feedstocks.  This is highly troubling since this grant was provided by the USDA–which is the same agency that would review any applications requesting permission to grow GE trees commercially.  GE trees are not yet legal to grow on a commercial scale in the US.

Also troubling is the fact that in June, David Nothmann, the Vice President of Business and Product Development for GE tree company ArborGen, was named to serve on the Biomass Research and Development Technical Advisory Committee which is jointly administered by the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) and the USDA.  Prior to ArborGen, Nothmann spent thirteen years at Monsanto.

Because of this obvious conflict of interest of the USDA with regard to genetically engineered trees, any requests for commercial release of GE trees will likely result in years of lawsuits to stop them.

This threat of lawsuits, according to an article in Biomass Power & Thermal Magazine, is “representing a tremendous deterrent to investment in [biotechnology], especially on the biomass side, where a lot of them are start-up companies.  It’s making it very hard to get investments [when] you’re going to have to deal with [5-10 years of] litigation. It is creating a huge barrier.”

Other OSU research will study forest health and hazard reduction.  This could indicate that researchers are also looking into use of trees killed or damaged by the western pine beetle as sources of woody biomass.  This is backed up by another article published on September 29th in the Denver Post, titled “Beetle-Kill Pine, Other Wood Pushed as Power Source and way to Aid Ailing Colorado Forests,” which announced a new consortium that is looking at using beetle-killed trees as wood for fuel.

Global Justice Ecology Project’s position is that there is no sustainable way to replace fossil fuels with plants at the scale at which they are used in the US.  An article in Science MagazineImplications of Limiting CO2 Concentration for Land Use and Energy” from 2009 demonstrates this.  The article points out that the predicted rise in global demand for wood-based electricity alone would require the total conversion of native forests and grasslands to biomass plantations by 2065.

For more on the dangers of GE poplars and other trees, click here

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Filed under Biodiversity, Bioenergy / Agrofuels, Climate Change, False Solutions to Climate Change, Greenwashing, Posts from Anne Petermann

Sustainable Forestry Initiative Conference Protested in Burlington, VT (Op-Ed and Photos)

by Anne Petermann, Global Justice Ecology Project Executive Director

What follows is a series of photos along with an Op-Ed that I wrote for the Burlington Free Press–the Gannett-owned statewide newspaper of Vermont.  The Op-Ed (which has not yet been published) addresses the Sustainable Forestry Initiative (SFI) conference that came to Burlington this week, to much rancor from students at the University of Vermont.  The UVM students were mobilized to protest SFI’s bogus forest certification program by Adam Gaya, an organizer with ForestEthics.  They were joined by numerous residents of Vermont, as well as participants from Massachusetts and Maine.  All of the photos below are taken by Anne Petermann, with the exception of two photos which were taken by GJEP Co-Director/Strategist Orin Langelle.

Op-ED: Vermont is the Green Mountain State, not the Brown Mountain State–let’s keep it that way.

Regrown forest in Vermont near Camel's Hump. The SFI wants to certify as sustainable the large-scale logging of native forests to produce electricity. Photo: Petermann/GJEP

Vermont is a success story of forest regeneration.  In the mid-1800s, the state had lost about 80% of its forest.  Moose, songbirds and many other wild creatures vanished.  Today, much of that forest has regrown.  The state is now 80% forested and the moose have returned to Vermont once more.

I find it quite ironic, therefore, that the Sustainable Forestry Initiative (SFI) chose to bring its phony, timber industry-controlled forest-destroying “certification” conference to Burlington.

Why is it phony?  The SFI was founded by and is funded by the very timber industry it is supposed to watchdog.  It is the proverbial fox guarding the henhouse.  It’s purpose: make the large-scale deforestation activities of the biggest timber companies on the planet appear “green” by certifying them as “sustainable.”

Since 2004, SFI has conducted 543 audits of its “certified” companies to measure their compliance with SFI standards. Not one audit found any problems with the large-scale timber operations and clearcuts.

In one recent instance, two SFI-accredited auditors spent a mere five days assessing more than 46,875 square miles of public forest — an area larger than the entire state of Pennsylvania. Naturally, they reported no violations of SFI standards and found nothing wrong.

If you aren’t looking for problems, you won’t find them, and SFI are masters at not finding problems.  It is for this reason that the SFI certification seal cannot be trusted— whether office paper, envelopes or catalogs—their ‘green’ label is meaningless.

If we want to protect forests, and promote truly sustainable management of forests, then we must view SFI as greenwash, and a threat to forests and the people who depend on them.

SFI certifies hundreds of thousands of acres of forest across our region, and while they would like us to believe that these forests are well cared for, the fact is that they are as vulnerable as ever.  Plum Creek, one of the biggest participants in SFI’s certification scheme, owns nearly one million acres of timberland across Maine, Vermont and New Hampshire – and uses large-scale clearcutting and other destructive industrial logging practices.  Yet this rampant devastation is certified as ‘green’ by the SFI.  And guess what?  Plum Creek’s CEO sits on SFI’s board.

SFI protest in front of the Hilton where the SFI conference was occurring. Photo: Langelle/GJEP

SFI’s weak standards also allow other industrial logging practices that have resulted in landslides, widespread toxic chemical use and dangerous impacts to sensitive species.  In the future, SFI would even like to certify trees that have been genetically engineered–despite the fact that the public is overwhelming opposed to these dangerous Franken-trees.  If genetically engineered tree plantations are developed, the escape of pollen and/or seeds from them into native forests would be inevitable, irreversible and cause tremendous damage to forests.  To SFI and their corporate sponsors, however, GE trees mean enhanced profits and should therefore be certified.  Fortunately, we do not yet have GE tree plantations, so there is still time to stop this disaster.

For these and many other reasons, twenty environmental groups recently sent a letter to SFI demanding that the organization stop certifying destruction of forests as “sustainable.”  There are also several major U.S. companies – including Sprint, Allstate and Office Depot – that are disassociating themselves from the SFI.

Protester agrees to be "greenwashed" at the SFI protest. Photo: Petermann/GJEP

Meanwhile, the SFI continues to greenwash the products of forest destruction in order to intentionally confuse people who are truly concerned about the environment and want to make the right choices.

We Vermonters love our Green Mountains and want them to stay green–not blotched with clearcuts certified by SFI–which also is important as forests play a key role in stabilizing the climate.  And as we have seen with so much severe weather in Vermont this year, stabilizing the climate is more important than ever.

So, say no to SFI-certified greenwash products.  Say yes to truly sustainable, local, small-scale forestry.  Our forests are a treasure.

Let’s keep them that way.

Following are some additional photos from the protest:

Adam Gaya of ForestEthics speaks in front of the Hilton. Photo: Petermann/GJEP

Kate Kroll of the University of Vermont recites the crimes of the SFI. Photo: Petermann/GJEP

Brian Tokar, who teaches at the University of Vermont,riles up the crowd. Photo: Petermann/GJEP

Anne Petermann of Global Justice Ecology Project denounces the forest criminals meeting in the Hilton. Photo: Langelle/GJEP

SFI conference participant heckles the protest but is drowned out by loud chants. Photo: Petermann/GJEP

Protesters raise the volume. Photo: Petermann/GJEP

The SFI is seeking ways to make genetically engineered trees certifiable as "sustainable." Photo: Petermann/GJEP

Another victim of "greenwashing." Photo: Petermann/GJEP

As delegates begin to emerge from the conference, protesters get rowdy. Photo: Petermann/GJEP

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Filed under Actions / Protest, Climate Change, Energy, False Solutions to Climate Change, GE Trees, Posts from Anne Petermann

Elle-Maija Tailfeathers, Blood Nation: Statement on arrest at fracturing blockade

Cross-posted from CENSORED NEWS-Brenda Norrell

By Elle-Máijá Tailfeathers

September 11, 2011
“To members of the Blood Tribe, the Blood Tribe Chief and Council, all levels of government, the media, and the greater public;
My name is Elle-Máijá Apiniskim Tailfeathers and I am Blackfoot from Kainai or the Blood Reserve
as well as Sámi from northern Norway. I am 26 years old and a recent University graduate.  I am writing this statement with the intention to explain what led us to our actions on September 9, 2011.
On September 9, 2011, we gathered peacefully on the road leading to a newly built Murphy Oil well on the Blood Reserve.  After nearly a year of doing everything in our power to stop hydraulic fracturing from occurring on our land, we felt that time was no longer on our side.  With the imminent threat of hydraulic fracturing about to begin on Blood Tribe land, we decided that we had to act immediately.
Over the last year, we have written letters and created petitions, we have tried to raise awareness both within our community and beyond including founding Kainai Earth Watch and the Protect Blood Land website, we have repeatedly contacted the Blood Tribe Chief and Council, Kainai Resources Incorporated, the gas and oil companies, the media, the Energy Resources Conservation Board, and various levels of government including Indian and Northern Affairs Canada but still our rights were violated. Countless times, we were told that this was a matter between members of the Blood Tribe and the Blood Tribe Chief and Council. But as members of the Blood Tribe, we were never asked whether or not we wanted these wells built in the first place.  There was no referendum, no vote, and no transparent consultation process.  If any objective body were to look at the facts, they would see that the actual people who live on this land were both ignored and lied to.  The fact is that we are a marginalized population that has, once again, been exploited by those in power.  We have been cast into a legal no man’s land and were left with few other recourses at that particular moment but to exercise our right as members of the Blood Tribe to peacefully gather on our land and demand justice.  We were an unarmed group of people who numbered less than twelve at any given time.  We remained on Blood Tribe land and did not step foot on the well site.  We treated those working on the well along with the security personnel with respect.  After being told by the law enforcement officers present that the Blood Tribe Chief and Council refused to meet with us, we were given no other option but to stand our ground and refuse that any of the Murphy Oil vehicles carrying these harmful chemicals be allowed to leave the well site and enter tribal land.  At this point, Lois Frank, Jill Crop Eared Wolf, and myself were all arrested and handcuffed by the Blood Tribe Police while R.C.M.P. officers stood by.  Just after 9 PM, we were all placed in a Blood Tribe holding cell and held without charge for approximately four hours.  After we were charged with violating Section 423 (1)(G) of the criminal code for “intimidation”, we were not released until 7 AM the next morning.  One of the conditions of our release is that we do not attend any gas or oil site on the Blood Reserve.
Recently, Canada endorsed the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.  We understand that this declaration is not legally binding, however if Canada wishes to recognize the rights set forth in the charter then it is clear that our rights as Indigenous peoples have been blatantly violated.  In particular, Article 29 of the Declaration states that “(1) Indigenous peoples have the right to the conservation and protection of the environment and the productive capacity of their lands or territories and resources. States shall establish and implement assistance programmes for indigenous peoples for such conservation and protection, without discrimination. ?(2) States shall take effective measures to ensure that no storage or disposal of hazardous materials shall take place in the lands or territories of indigenous peoples without their free, prior and informed consent. ?(3) States shall also take effective measures to ensure, as needed, that programmes for monitoring, maintaining and restoring the health of indigenous peoples, as developed and implemented by the peoples affected by such materials, are duly implemented.”
I do not feel as though what we did was heroic.  We were a handful of people, including a couple of children, who gathered for a common purpose; to prevent any further desecration of the land.  For us, this place is more than just land; it is the place that has given life to our people since time immemorial. Our culture, our language, our identity comes from the land and it is to the land that we owe our very existence.  This knowledge is something that our ancestors have passed on from the beginning; this land is our mother and we must always respect that. So when I say that I do not feel that what we did was heroic, I mean that we were just doing the right thing.   It is important to understand our actions were not rooted in politics because this issue is more than just politics; it is about doing the right thing.  I don’t think in any of our hearts, and I mean the collective “we”, that there is any denying what the right thing to do is. This earth is all we have. It is just that simple.  Without it, there is no “us” and there is no “we”.
We, on the Blood Reserve, have reached a point where we need to set aside politics and family ties and look at the very real issue at hand.  We are about to kill the one thing that has given us life since the very beginning.  How can we look our children and grandchildren in the eye and say that we have let such a thing happen? We are nothing without this place.  There is no simple solution to the greater social issues that come as a result of colonization. However, there is a simple solution to this one problem and that is just to do the right thing.  Set aside your fears and protect what we have, the land, our mother.
I want to believe, more than anything, that those behind our arrest knew in their hearts that treating the earth this way is wrong.  And I want to believe, more than anything, that their actions were motivated by fear; which may explain our criminal charges of “intimidation”.  I look back on the last year and am still in disbelief that it came to this point.  From the actual signing of the gas and oil agreement on the Blood Reserve to the arrest and imprisonment of three unarmed Blood Tribe women.  It feels much like a bad dream but somehow this is our current reality.
I feel that there is no reason for us to have to explain ourselves and our actions but the current state of affairs forces us to do so.  Lois Frank, Jill Crop Eared Wolf and myself are all members of the Blood Tribe. Each of us has a post-secondary education as well as an education in the ways of our people.  We each have a deep love for our homeland and wish for our children and grandchildren to be able to love the land in the same way that our people have since the beginning.
Our court date has been set for September 19, 2011 at 10 am at the Provincial Court Building in Cardston, Alberta.  We have legal council but are asking that anyone that is in the position to help, assist us with the funds needed for the necessary legal fees.
We would also like to gratefully acknowledge the overwhelming support that we have received worldwide throughout this whole ordeal.
For donations, please contact:
Ingrid Hess, Barrister
ingrid.hess@shaw.ca
Sincerely,
Elle-Máijá Apiniskim Tailfeathers”

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Filed under Actions / Protest, Climate Change, Energy, Hydrofracking, Indigenous Peoples

All Strong-Hearted People Invited To Come and Stand With US! DEFEND Mother Earth!

Source: Indigenous Environmental Network

UPDATE: Sept. 10, 2011 – Blood Tribe Women Arrested!

Blood Reserve, First Nations’ Women Arrested, Charged with Trespass on their own Land, Jailed Over Night, Released With Threats of MORE FINES and Charges

Two videos at the end of this posting

WOMEN members of the Blood Tribe; Elle-Máijá Tailfeathers, Lois Frank, and Jill Crop Earred Wolf were arrested September 9, 2011 and charged with trespass in their own community on Blood Tribe land by tribal law enforcement and RCMP. Although they could have been booked and released from the tribal jail Friday evening, the chief, instead, held them all night and released them the morning of September 10, 2011 with the threat, that if they continued their blockade and protest each person would be arrested, charged and fined $1,500!

NOTE: In late 2010, Kainaiwa Resources Inc. (KRI) quietly signed off on a deal with the Calgary-based junior mining company Bowood Energy and the U.S. company Murphy Oil. In exchange for the $50 Million, Bowood Energy and Murphy Oil gained a five-year lease to roughly 129, 280 acres, almost half of the Blood’s reserve, for oil and gas exploration.

More actions are planned – and calling on more people to join them!

**If you are interested in helping to support this action**

Please Contact For More Information:

Lois Frank 403-795-7945

Mike Bruisedhead 403-737-2194

UPDATE: September 9, 2011

Sept. 9, 2011: From Maiji Tailfeathers: “Just got arrested. In the back of the cop car with Lois Frank. Texting with handcuffs. 3 Blood Tribe women.”  Photos by Arnell Tailfeathers

Early [September 9, 2011] numerous women from the Blood Nation have courageously parked in front of Murphy Oil’s fracking development site vowing not to move until plans of fracking for oil and gas are stopped. The women are part of the Kainai Earth Watch and have been active advocates to stop the fracking due to the major threat to human health, wildlife and livestock and the irreversible damage to the land and water on the Blood Reserve and surrounding areas. They feel this is the only choice left to them to stop the operations as plans for construction begin tomorrow [September 10, 2011].

In late 2010, Kainaiwa Resources Inc. (KRI) quietly signed off on a deal with the Calgary-based junior mining company Bowood Energy and the U.S. company Murphy Oil. In exchange for the $50 Million, Bowood Energy and Murphy Oil gained a five-year lease to roughly 129, 280 acres, almost half of the Blood’s reserve, for oil and gas exploration.

Since that time local residents of the Blood Nation and surrounding communities have come together to oppose the projects. Members of the KaiNai Earth Watch have partnered with numerous community groups, including the Lethbridge Council of Canadians, to host numerous educational workshops, organize petitions, and meet with government officials. Despite their efforts, nothing has been effective in actually preventing the fracking from going ahead.

Plans of construction on four new fracking sites begin tomorrow. The women have vowed not to leave until they are confident the fracking won’t go ahead.


Protect Blood Land Canada

The first issue is the toxic nature of the drilling and its capacity to do irreversible damage to the land and water on the Blood Reserve and surrounding areas. Furthermore, fracking poses a major threat to human health, wildlife and livestock.

The second issue at hand is the nature of the deal between KRI, Murphy Oil, and Bowood Energy. We believe this to be highly problematic for a number of reasons:

  • Blood Tribe members were NOT consulted during the negotiations of this deal even though the drilling will occur on Blood Tribe land.
  • KRI and the Blood Tribe Chief and Council neglected to maintain any degree of transparency during and after the negotiations. Ultimately, leaving a large population of tribe members completely unaware of the situation until after the deal was made.
  • Above all else, the health and well-being of Blood Tribe members and all future generations will be compromised due to the rash and reckless decision by KRI and Blood Tribe Chief and Council to sign this deal with Murphy Oil and Bowood Energy

For more information on hydraulic fracturing here:

READ: Murphy Oil’s environmental history spotty

READ: Huffington Post – Fracking News, Videos, Information

WATCH: Is Your Water at Risk from Fracking?

READ: Hydraulic Fracturing 101

READ: Why should fracking be banned?

An Arrest:


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Filed under Actions / Protest, Climate Change, Energy, Hydrofracking, Indigenous Peoples

KPFK Radio Earth Segment This Week on the EPA’s Ruling on Biomass Burning

Global Justice Ecology Project partners with the Sojourner Truth show on KPFK Pacifica Los Angeles each week for an Earth Segment on Thursdays.  This week, Sojourner Truth host Margaret Prescod interviews Dogwood Alliance’s Scot Quaranda about the recent decision of the EPA not to regulate emissions from the burning of wood to make electricity.

Listen to the segment by clicking here and going to minute 21:10.

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Filed under Bioenergy / Agrofuels, Climate Change, Energy, False Solutions to Climate Change, Greenwashing

Radio Interview: The Myth of the Industrial Forest

Listen to Daphne Wysham’s Interview with Global Justice Ecology Project Executive Director Anne Petermann on the threat of genetically engineered eucalyptus trees, for the EarthBeat Radio Segment, The Myth of the Industrial Forest which played on EcoShock Radio.

Go to: http://209.217.209.33/~esnet/downloads/ES_110713_Show_LoFi.mp3

and forward to minute 26:45.

Also on that episode is an interview with Dr. Rachel Smolker of Biofuelwatch on the myth of biochar; and an interview with Dr. Helen Caldicott about the nuclear power threat.

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Filed under Bioenergy / Agrofuels, False Solutions to Climate Change, GE Trees, Genetic Engineering, Posts from Anne Petermann, REDD, UNFCCC