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EF! Banner Hang in honor of Judi Bari Day

judi bari day banner

Palm Beach Gardens, FL-Early this morning Everglades Earth First!  activists hung a banner over I-95 reading “Save Briger Forest Now!” to  demand that the Briger forest be saved in honor of Judi Bari Day.

“For it is the working people who have their hands on the machinery.  And only by stopping the machinery of destruction can we ever hope to stop this madness.” Judi Bari

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Filed under Actions / Protest, Biodiversity, Climate Change, Forests, Genetic Engineering

BREAKING: Protesters disrupt genetically engineered trees corporate event

May 14, 2014. Source: Global Justice Ecology Project

Industry Warned: “Plant genetically engineered trees and expect resistance”

Tallahassee, FL (US) - Demonstrators today interrupted an event hosted by genetically engineered (GE) tree company ArborGen, warning participants to expect growing protests should they plant GE trees. The event brought together landowners and foresters from the industrial tree plantation industry and featured top ArborGen scientists working on GE trees.

“We sent a clear message to participants — plant genetically engineered trees and expect resistance,” said Keith Brunner, an organizer with Global Justice Ecology Project. “Invasive GE eucalyptus, planned for deployment across the US South, would irrevocably devastate native ecosystems, exacerbate droughts and lead to catastrophic firestorms. This must be stopped before it is too late.”

The US Department of Agriculture (USDA) is expected soon to accept public comments following the release of its draft Environmental Impact Statement on ArborGen’s request to commercially sell millions of potentially flammable and invasive genetically engineered eucalyptus trees, for planting across the US South from South Carolina to Texas. The USDA will ultimately issue a final decision approving or denying ArborGen’s request.

GJEP member Keith Brunner and Stephanie Hall, Toad Clan, Seminolee Miccosukee, interrupt an ArborGen event. Photo: Will Bennington/GJEP

Stephanie Hall, a member of the Toad clan of the Seminolee Miccosukee People, interrupts the ArborGen event. Photo: Will Bennington/GJEP

If approved, ArborGen’s freeze-tolerant GE eucalyptus, designed to be planted in industrial tree plantations for bioenergy and pulp production, would be the first commercially approved GE forest tree in the US. Approval of GE eucalyptus could open the door to approval for other GE species like GE pine and poplar, which pose additional risks due to the likelihood of contamination of wild relatives in native forests.

Stephanie Hall, a member of the Toad Clan of the Seminolee Miccosukee People, also pointed out the link between ArborGen’s plans and the history of genocide against Indigenous Peoples in the region: “ArborGen could not be planning for the development of vast industrial plantations of genetically engineered eucalyptus trees on land in Florida without the previous history of genocide and forced removal of Indigenous men, women, children, plants and animals from the region. People should not be complicit in this — we must ban genetically engineered trees.”

“Early last year, the USDA received nearly 40,000 comments opposing ArborGen’s GE eucalyptus, with only a handful received in favor,” stated Anne Petermann,Executive Director of Global Justice Ecology Project.  “Then in May of 2013, the international Tree Biotechnology conference in Asheville, NC was protested and disrupted for almost a week by hundreds of protesters. These protests and today’s disruption are only the beginning. As the USDA considers ArborGen’s request to legalize GE trees, opposition to these trees and the threats they pose to communities and native forests continues to grow.”

 

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Filed under Actions / Protest, Biodiversity, Bioenergy / Agrofuels, Climate Change, Commodification of Life, Corporate Globalization, False Solutions to Climate Change, Forests, GE Trees, Genetic Engineering, Green Economy, Indigenous Peoples

KPFK Earth Watch: Florida Power and Light threatens Seminole nation, panther habitat with plans for Florida’s 2nd biggest power plant

March 13, 2014.

kpfk_logoDanny Billie, of the Independent Traditional Seminole nation, discusses Florida Power and Light’s plan to build one of the nation’s largest fossil fuel power plants adjacent to the Big Cypress Seminole reservation and right in the middle of critical panther habitat.

Global Justice Ecology Project teams up with the Sojourner Truth show on KPFK Pacifica Los Angeles for a weekly Earth Minute each Tuesday and a weekly Earth Watch interview each Thursday.

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Filed under Climate Change, Ending the Era of Extreme Energy, Energy, False Solutions to Climate Change, Hydrofracking, Indigenous Peoples

Seminole Tribe leads protest walk against gas-fired power plant

By Eileen Soler, February 25, 2014. Source: The Seminole Tribune

The West County Energy Center hard fought by Everglades Earth First! from 2006-2008. It is said that the proposed Hendry County Energy center is to be a carbon copy of this plant.  Photo: Earth First! Newswire

The West County Energy Center hard fought by Everglades Earth First! from 2006-2008. It is said that the proposed Hendry County Energy center is to be a carbon copy of this plant. Photo: Earth First! Newswire

BIG CYPRESS — Plans are in the works for Tribal members, environmental activists and all friends of nature to let their feet do the talking against a massive Florida Power & Light (FPL) plant that could be built on property a stone’s throw from the Big Cypress Reservation.

Carrying banners, more than 200 who oppose the plant will begin walking April 17 from Big Cypress Reservation to the seat of Hendry County government, the LaBelle Courthouse Complex at 25 E. Hickpoochee Ave.

Demonstrators hope to bring widespread attention and support for the Seminole Tribe v. Hendry County case set to be heard at the courthouse April 21. The case concerns land zoning changes to the FPL property that could clear a path for construction of one of the largest gas powered plants in the country.

Activists, elders, traditionals and Tribal department heads gathered Feb. 7 at the Frank Billie Office on Big Cypress to strategize for the roughly 70-mile walk. They are driven by science-based predictions that the plant will bring disastrous consequences to the environmentally sensitive land and end the delicate balance of nature, history and culture for the Seminoles. Continue reading

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Filed under Actions / Protest, Biodiversity, Climate Change, Climate Justice, Ending the Era of Extreme Energy, Energy, Fracking, Indigenous Peoples

Genetically modified mosquitoes set off uproar in Florida Keys

By Patricia Sagastume, November 9, 2013  Source: Al Jazeera America

KEY WEST, Fla. ­ In late October, the U.S. Navy and U.S. Department of Agriculture tested insecticidal aerial spraying techniques over a warfare range in Jacksonville, Fla. The purpose: to evaluate how to lower populations of the blood-feeding Aedes aegypti mosquito, which transmits dengue fever.

Farther south, on the Treasure Coast, Florida health officials had a busy summer trying to control the most recent dengue fever outbreak. Some 22 people contracted the disease, known as break-bone fever for its debilitating joint pain and severe flu-like symptoms.

“It’s very difficult to spray everywhere where this mosquito hides and breeds,” said Gene Lemire, director of Martin County Mosquito Control. “It’s very sneaky.”

Officials admit they are having mixed results with conventional methods, such as fumigations and aerial spraying. The mosquito is tough to hunt down. It thrives in tropical metropolitan areas, moves indoors and can hide in closets, even in folds of laundry.

It’s something most people agree is a problem. But a different and controversial potential solution is splitting communities in the Sunshine State.

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Filed under Biodiversity, Climate Change, Climate Justice, False Solutions to Climate Change, Genetic Engineering, Greenwashing, Water

Can GMOs save the orange?

Note: The emerging controversy over genetically engineered orange trees adds to the already bitter fight for a total ban on all genetically engineered trees.  South Carolina-based ArborGen is moving forward with plans to commercially sell genetically engineered eucalyptus trees in the southern US — a move which would have devastating impacts on native forests and rural communities.

Global Justice Ecology Project and the Campaign to STOP Genetically Engineered trees are taking action to stop this disaster before it starts.  Sign the petition calling for a ban on genetically engineered trees here: http://globaljusticeecology.org/petition.php

-The GJEP Team

By Annalisa Palmer, 19 August, 2013. Source: One Green Planet

GMO-orangeWhat does a jumping plant louse have to do with GMO oranges? The Asian citrus psyllid is said louse, and it has led the president of Southern Gardens Citrus, and supervisor of half a million trees, Ricke Kress, to allow for Florida oranges to be genetically modified. Amidst the Washington 522 GMO labeling campaign, covert Trans-Pacific Partnership, and increased public awareness of GMOs, this recent decision has been met with a black and white schism: consumers vehemently against a GMO version of the beloved citrus, and those for it. This pesky psyllid, however, is directly linked to Kress’s decision to allow for the genetic modification of the crop since it has caused citrus greeningpreventing ripening, leaving sad, sour, green oranges behind.

As Kress is also head of a factory that produces orange juice for the Tropicana and Florida’s Natural brands, GMO oranges seemed to be the right direction to go in. Now, he worries that the “natural” label on the Florida’s Natural juice will have to be removed. Pepsi’s Naked juice brand was obliged to remove their label because of GMO ingredients, so Tropicana and Florida will probably have to do the same once the GMO juice hits shelves. Continue reading

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Filed under GE Trees, Genetic Engineering, Industrial agriculture

Florida Keys prepare for sea level rise

By Jennifer Kay, Associated Press, July 2, 2013. Source: ABC News

Photo: Rob O'Neal/AP

Photo: Rob O’Neal/AP

Hurricane storm surge can inundate the narrow, low-lying Florida Keys, but that is far from the only water worry for officials.

A tidal gauge operating since before the Civil War has documented a sea level rise of 9 inches in the last century, and officials expect that to double over the next 50 years. So when building a new Stock Island fire station, county authorities went ahead added a foot and a half over federal flood planning directives that the ground floor be built up 9 feet.

Seasonal tidal flooding that was once a rare inconvenience is now so predictable that some businesses at the end of Key West’s famed Duval Street stock sandbags just inside their front doors, ready anytime.
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Filed under Climate Change, Natural Disasters, Oceans

Florida scientists prepare to release hundreds of thousands of genetically modified mosquitoes

Note: Gee, nothing could EVER go wrong this this plan…

–The GJEP Team

07 December, 2012.  Source: RT.com

Aedes aegypti mosquitos, which can spread the dengue fever.(Reuters / Stringer)
Aedes aegypti mosquitos, which can spread the dengue fever.(Reuters / Stringer)
Hundreds of thousands of mutated mosquitoes could soon be unleashed in Florida, but don’t worry: scientists say they have a plan.

It might sound like something out of a low-budget horror film, but the US Food and Drug Administration really is considering whether or not they should allow scientists to send thousands upon thousands of genetically altered insects into the wild.

If all goes as planned, mosquitos modified by some serious Frankenstein treatment will be introduced into the Florida Keys and ideally mate with skeeters that carry the deadly dengue fever, passing along in the process a fatal birth defect that will hopefully eradicate the offspring before birth. From there, scientists say they expect the population of Aedes aegypti mosquitoes infected with the dangerous disease will be decimated in only a few generations without causing any major implications for the native ecosystem.

“The science of it, I think, looks fine. It’s straight from setting up experiments and collecting data,” Michael Doyle of the Florida Keys Mosquito Control District tells the Associated Press.

No vaccination against dengue fever is currently available in any part of the world, and although the mortality rate associated with it is low, it’s still a serious concern. In the Florida Keys where the economy relies on tourism, an epidemic of any sort could be catastrophic. Some fear that sending mutated mosquitos into the environment could have grave implications as well, though, and are asking for more thorough testing before the FDA makes a decision. Of course, it doesn’t help the scientists’ case that it will take several rounds of releasing genetically modified mosquitos in order for their plan to work.

“The public resistance and the need to reach some agreement between mosquito control and the public, I see that as a very significant issue, outside of the (operating) costs, since this is not just a one-time thing,” Phil Lounibos of the Florida Medical Entomology Laboratory tells the AP.

The plan to put lab-altered insects into the ecosystem is expected to not harm any humans since the female mosquitos that bite won’t become infected. Real estate agent Mila de Mier tells the AP that she’s still concerned, though, and clearly isn’t the only one: her petition on Change.org, “Say No to Genetically Modified Mosquitoes Release in the Florida Keys,” has garnered over 117,000 signatures.

“Even though the local community in the Florida Keys has spoken – we even passed an ordinance demanding more testing – Oxitec is trying to use a loophole by applying to the FDA for an ‘animal bug’ patent,” reads the petition. “This could mean these mutant mosquitoes could be released at any point against the wishes of locals and the scientific community. We need to make sure the FDA does not approve Oxitec’s patent.”

“Nearly all experiments with genetically-modified crops have eventually resulted in unintended consequences: superweeds more resistant to herbicides, mutated and resistant insects also collateral damage to ecosystems. A recent news story reported that the monarch butterfly population is down by half in areas where Roundup Ready GM crops are doused with ultra-high levels of herbicides that wipe out the monarch’s favorite milkweed plant.”

“There are more questions than answers and we need more testing to be done,” it continues.

Health officials believed that dengue fever was eradicated entirely years ago, but a handful of cases have been discovered in the Florida Keys in 2009 and 2010. If humans are infected, they can experience extremely high body temperatures, swollen nodes, full-on rashes, vomiting and, in some cases, death.

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Filed under Commodification of Life, Genetic Engineering