On 21 November 2013 various non-governmental organizations walked out of the Warsaw climate talks. I am glad I have not attended for the last two years as I feel corporate interests have taken over the UN Climate Conference.
At this point I have no idea after the walk out if my photo exhibit was seized by UN security. I hope the photo exhibit was up long enough for the the High Level Ministers to view and see the reality of neoliberalism and climate chaos. They may have glanced, but unfortunately those with power did not really see or care. – Orin Langelle
The photos in the exhibit were on display at the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change in Warsaw, Poland at the IBON International booth. The name of the exhibit was titled Neoiberal Globalization and Climate Chaos. This exhibit took place during the High Level Sessions of the UNFCCC meetings 18 – 23 November 2013. The conference was held at the National Stadium in Warsaw, Poland.(This photo was scheduled for the exhibit, but because of increased UN pressure on criticism of the UNFCCC, the photo was not shown.)
The exhibit included thirty photographs documenting Indigenous Peoples, organizations and social movements working for climate justice. The photographs were taken at events on six continents–from Bali, Indonesia to Espirito Santo, Brazil – Durban, South Africa and Chiapas, Mexico, to name a few.
All photographs by Orin Langelle. Courtesy Global Justice Ecology Project, Global Forest Coalition, and Langelle Photography.
Above: An Indigenous man with his mouth covered by a UNFCCC (United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change) gag during a protest at the UN climate talks in Bali, Indonesia. The gag symbolized their systematic and forceful exclusion from a UN meeting with the UNFCCC Executive Secretary they were invited to the day before. It also symbolized and their exclusion from the official negotiations even though it is their lands that were being targeted for climate mitigation schemes.
You can view the entire photo exhibit here
Makeshift bomb explodes on Aboriginal blockade, Hereditary Likhts’amisyu chief Toghestiy says
By Krystle Alarcon, Oct 30th, 2013. Source: Vancouver Observer
Trail of the accelerator that was set off last night that burnt the sign set up by the Unist’ot’en Camp. Photo from Unist’ot’en Facebook page.
A warning sign set up by Unist’ot’en leaders on their land, near Houston, a forestry and mining town in the northern interior of B.C., has apparently been torched by a makeshift bomb. The sign, which reads ”Stop: No access without consent,” lit up around 10:20 p.m. last night.
Hereditary Likhts’amisyu chief Toghestiy, together with his wife, Freda Huson, the spokesperson for the Unist’ot’en Clan, set up a roadblock against the proposed Northern Gateway’s Pacific Trail Pipeline.
Their clans, together with the Git’dum’den, are three out of five Wet’suwet’en First Nation clans that built cabins last year as a permanent defense camp against the pipeline and mining projects. The $1-billion pipeline project would deliver natural gas from northern B.C. and Alberta to Kitimat for shipment overseas. The pipeline is slated to pass through Wet’suwet’en land. Continue reading
By Terri Hansen, Oct 29, 2013. Source: Intercontinental Cry Magazine
Much has been made of the need to develop climate-change-adaptation plans, especially in light of increasingly alarming findings about how swiftly the environment that sustains life as we know it is deteriorating, and how the changes compound one another to quicken the pace overall. Studies, and numerous climate models, and the re-analysis of said studies and climate models, all point to humankind as the main driver of these changes. In all these dire pronouncements and warnings there is one bright spot: It may not be too late to turn the tide and pull Mother Earth back from the brink.
None of this is new to the Indigenous Peoples of Turtle Island. Besides already understanding much about environmental issues via millennia of historical perspective, Natives are at the forefront of these changes and have been forced to adapt. Combining their preexisting knowledge with their still-keen ability to read environmental signs, these tribes are way ahead of the curve, with climate-change plans either in the making or already in effect.
Swinomish Tribe: From Proclamation to Action
On the southeastern peninsula of Fidalgo Island in Washington State, the Swinomish were the first tribal nation to pass aClimate Change proclamation, which they did in 2007. Since then they have implemented a concrete action plan.
By Arij Riahi, 20 October 2013. Source: The Dominion
Montreal - For the first time, a Canadian mining company will appear in a Canadian court for actions committed overseas. Hudbay Minerals, Inc, will be standing trial for murder, rapes and attacks committed against Indigenous Guatemalans by security personnel working for Hudbay’s subsidiary, Compañía Guatemalteca de Níquel (CGN). The court case is proceeding thanks to a precedent-setting decision from the Ontario Superior Court of Justice, which ruled this past July in favour of the Mayan Q’eqchi’ people of Lote Ocho, near El Estor, Guatemala.
“It is a massive victory for our clients and for human rights,” Cory Wanless, an attorney with the Toronto-based Klippensteins law firm, told The Dominion. “Before this decision, no claim brought by individuals that had been harmed by Canadian mining abroad had ever gotten into Canadian courts at all. They didn’t even have the ability to forward their claims.”
Wanless represents the Q’eqchi’ plaintiffs in a lawsuit accusing the company of negligence in its ground management of the Fenix open-pit nickel mine project. They allege that security personnel—under the control of Hudbay—gang-raped 11 women, shot dead an Indigenous leader and outspoken critic of mining practices and left another man paralyzed from the chest down after sustaining a gunshot wound.
By Hannibal Rhoades, Sep 13, 2013. Source: Intercontinental Cry
Some 288 kilometres South of the Arctic Circle an area known as Gahcho Kue–‘Place of the Big Rabbit’ in the Dene Suline language–sits in the barren grounds tundra surrounding Lake Kennady. This stark and beautiful landscape of shallow lakes and rolling ridges in Canada’s North West Territories has been significant to Indigenous Peoples for centuries. However, since 1995–when geological surveys were first conducted around the lake–uncertainty has been mounting over the area’s future.
The discovery of kimberlite deposits or ‘pipes’ (a rock well known for containing diamonds) beneath the earth attracted mining giant De Beers and Mountain Province Diamonds Inc. to launch a bid to mine at Gahcho Kue.
Despite numerous delays–and over a decade of complications–the fears of local Indigenous Peoples’ were realized after the Canadian Government and Aboriginal Review Board gave the go ahead for extraction at the diamond mine.
This decision came after the government authorities considered a new Environmental Impact Review (EIR) submitted by De Beers and Mountain Province via the Mackenzie Valley Environmental Review Board (MVEIRB). Although the project was found “Likely to cause significant adverse environmental impacts” it was decided that the economic gains would outweigh any losses. Continue reading
22 November, 2012. From Cultural Survival
November is National Native American Heritage Month. November 23 is Native American Heritage Day.
“As the first people to live on the land we all cherish, American Indians and Alaska Natives have profoundly shaped our country’s character and our cultural heritage. Today, Native Americans are leaders in every aspect of our society — from the classroom, to the boardroom, to the battlefield. This month, we celebrate and honor the many ways American Indians and Alaska Natives have enriched our Nation, and we renew our commitment to respecting each tribe’s identity while ensuring equal opportunity to pursue the American dream.” — Presidential Proclamation
Note: Large-scale hydro power is not renewable energy. Flooding pristine lands and displacing the indigenous inhabitants is not sustainable. The vast amounts of methane released by the flooded and rotting vegetation are not climate-friendly.
Hundreds of new dams are being planned for wild lands around the world from the rainforests of Indonesia and Malaysia to the Amazon jungle to northern Quebec. They are NOT about sustainable energy, they are about business-as-usual at any cost. Please sign the petition below and spread the word about the hydropower lie.
–The GJEP team
BY KIRK HERBERTSON, OCT 29, 2012. Source: Intercontinental Cry
Sarawak, Malaysia – The Murum Dam was not supposed to attract media attention until May of next year. Located in a remote rain forest on the island of Borneo, the project is hours away from the nearest logging town. Construction on the dam began in 2008 and is now only months from completion. With the help of Australian company Hydro Tasmania, the Sarawak state government advertised the Murum Dam as a model of “best practice” for what a socially responsible dam should look like. Chinese investors signed up to help build the dam and then 11 more in Sarawak. The Murum Dam was selected to become a success story in May 2013 when it is showcased at the hydropower industry’s next global conference.
And then the Murum Dam’s reputation collapsed on September 26th, when 200 villagers blockaded the access roads leading to the dam site. The villagers represented 1,500 indigenous people from the Penan and Kenyah communities who will lose their homes when the dam’s reservoir is flooded. The villagers knew they would soon be resettled, but did not know the details until the government’s plan was leaked to them in September. Many were angered to learn that poverty awaits them at their new homes. Over the past three weeks, the blockade has prevented vehicles from entering the site. Construction has come to a halt.
The blockade has prompted a closer look at the Murum Dam. Rather than being a “best practice,” it turns out that the project has been poorly managed for years. But in many ways, the Murum Dam experience presents an important opportunity for the Sarawak government. The blockade has highlighted a number of concerns that require urgent reforms in Sarawak. If addressed now, the Sarawak government might be able to prevent a much larger conflict from emerging.
by Bill Weinberg, Oct 7, 2012. Source: WW4 Report
The Newmont Mining Corporation, based in Colorado, has embroiled itself in a controversial project in northern Peru that locals say threatens their water and their future. Peasants and workers in the region have engaged in mass demonstrations and general strikes, and the president of Peru has responded by declaring a state of emergency. At stake is the economic model of aggressive resource extraction lubricated by the new free trade agreement with Washington.
Newmont wants to proceed with its $4.8 billion Conga gold mine in the Cajamarca region despite the unrest. The project, as originally conceived, called for the destruction of four alpine lakes. And local residents fear several others in the area would be degraded. The company proposed to replace the four with artificial reservoirs. But the campesinos (peasants) pledged they would not let their lagunas be destroyed—and the left-wing regional government backed them up, butting heads with the country’s president.
On March 13, I accompanied a delegation of the Cajamarca Defense Front to a meeting in a village called El Alumbre. Before the meeting, village leaders guided our car over unimproved roads to view the lagunas they fear will be degraded. We briefly entered the Conga concession area—and our two vehicles were quickly followed by a pickup truck full of national police, wearing camouflage and black ski masks.
Note: It only takes six minutes to demonstrate the insanity of drilling in Arctic waters…
By Kiley Kroh and Michael Conathan, August 20, 2012. Source: Center for American Progress
As the decision looms whether to allow Shell Oil to begin exploratory drilling in the Arctic Ocean this summer, the Center for American Progress released a new video today examining our lack of preparedness to respond to an oil spill in the remote and untested region. Whether the Department of the Interior approves offshore drilling activity in the Arctic Ocean this year or next, the Arctic is still dangerously deficient in infrastructure and scientific knowledge. In “Oil and Ice: The Risks of Drilling in Alaska’s Arctic Ocean,” U.S. Coast Guard Captain Gregory Saniel, Chief of Response says the thought of mustering a response to a major incident like an oil spill “keeps me up at night.”
As Shell waits for heavy sea ice to clear and the Coast Guard to certify its containment barge, the fact remains that this region has far fewer resources to contain an oil spill than did the Gulf of Mexico. Even with the Gulf’s warm water and weather, large population centers, and decades of research and drilling experience, oil flowed unabated for three months in 2010, wreaking economic havoc and devastating the environment. If drilling in the Arctic starts next year, these fundamental infrastructure challenges still must be addressed. This video highlights the perspectives of those who depend on the Arctic Ocean for their livelihood, the concerns and challenges facing the Coast Guard charged with its protection, and the grave doubts of the scientific community about the lack of knowledge in this area.
Kiley Kroh is the Associate Director for Ocean Communications and Michael Conathan is the Director of Ocean Policy at the Center for American Progress.
August 17, 2012. Source: WW4 Report
The Inter-American Court of Human Rights (IACHR) ruling in Sarayaku v. Ecuador on July 25, found in favor of a Kichwa community’s right to consultation prior to industrial projects on their land—a decision that could have implications for many indigenous peoples across the Americas. The court found that the government of Ecuador violated the indigenous community’s rights by allowing an Argentine oil company, Compania General de Combustibles (CGC), on their land without proper consultation. The community of Sarayaku filed the suit in 2006, after CGC, partnering with ConocoPhillips, felled forests, destroyed a cultural site, and drilled hundreds of boreholes for seismic surveying on tribal lands despite never gaining permission to do so from the community. As tensions rose, the Ecuadorian government set up military camps on indigenous land.
The IACHR found that the Ecuadorian state violated the community’s right to be consulted, as well as their community property rights and their cultural identity. The court ordered Ecuador’s government to pay the community $1.34 million in damages and $58,000 to reimburse it and its lawyers for legal fees. Kichwa leader José Gualinga said, “The Sarayaku are extremely satisfied with this victory, reached thanks to the efforts of our people and the help and solidarity of organizations devoted to the rights of indigenous peoples.”