Tag Archives: jeff conant

Should Chiapas farmers suffer for California’s carbon?

Note: Jeff Conant is the former Communications Director for Global Justice Ecology Project.  In March of 2011, he and Orin Langelle, then Co-Director of GJEP, went to Amador Hernandez in Chiapas, Mexico to investigate the threatened forced relocation of the community and its relation to REDD+ and the California-Chiapas-Acre, Brazil climate deal.

–The GJEP Team

By Jeff Conant, November 13 2012. Source: Yes! Magazine

Photo: Jeff Conant

“We are not responsible for climate change—it’s the big industries that are,” said Abelardo, a young man from the Tseltal Mayan village of Amador Hernández in the Lacandon jungle of Chiapas. “So why should we be held responsible, and even punished for it?”

Abelardo was one of dozens of villagers who had traveled to the city of San Cristóbal de las Casas to protest an international policy meeting on climate change and forest conservation. At a high-end conference center, representatives from the state of California and from states and provinces around the world were working out mechanisms intended to mitigate climate change by protecting tropical forests. The group was called the Governor’s Climate and Forests Task Force (GCF), and California’s interest was in using forest preservation in Chiapas as a carbon offset—a means for meeting climate change goals under the state’s 2006 Global Warming Solutions Act.

Such an agreement among subnational governments is unprecedented, and California officials view it as an important way for the world’s eighth largest economy to help the developing world. But judging from the reaction on the streets of San Cristóbal, Mexican peasants see it differently. The lush, mountainous state of Chiapas has a long history of human rights abuses, and the Mexican government has forcibly evicted indigenous families from their lands in the name of environmental protection. To indigenous peasants in the Lacandon jungle, the pending agreement has all the hallmarks of a land grab.

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Filed under Actions / Protest, Carbon Trading, Chiapas, Climate Change, Ending the Era of Extreme Energy, False Solutions to Climate Change, Green Economy, Indigenous Peoples, Land Grabs, Latin America-Caribbean, REDD

Corporate Clown Cast Out of Climate Circus


After a press event held by Global Justice Ecology Project (GJEP) at COP17 in Durban, South Africa today, one of the panelists, Kevin Buckland, was ejected from the Summit.

Kandi Mossett, Ricardo Navarro, and Clown. Photo: Conant/GJEP

His offence? Clowning around.

The press conference also included Desmond d’Sa of the South Durban Community Environmental Alliance, Ricardo Navarro of Friends of the Earth El Salvador, Kandi Mossett of the Indigenous Environmental Network, and Anne Petermann of Global Justice Ecology Project. The topic at hand was the failure of COP17 to meet the needs to the great majority of the world’s population, and social movements’ concerns that the looming emergence of the so-called “Green Economy” is bringing a wave of landgrabs, speculative bubbles, and the increasing commodification of all forms of life.

In a gesture intended to stimulate critical thought, to bring levity to the profoundly gloomy conclusions of the COP, and to garner media attention for the grassroots community perspectives that are summarily excluded from this high level global event, a team of clowns, with Buckland as their ringleader, were invited by GJEP to speak on the panel.

Buckland, who has been involved with Occupy COP17 as part of the youth delegation, began his statement to the media with the statement, “I have a dream. My dream is that one day corporations will be judged not for their actions, but for the amount of the earth’s surface that they control.”

Unfortunately, the United Nations failed to get the joke.

While being interviewed following the press conference, Buckland was grabbed and hauled away. His badge was taken, and he was barred from the International Conference Center.

See the interview here:

Photographer Orin Langelle, on assignment for Z Magazine (and, in full disclosure, also the co-Director of Global Justice Ecology Project), followed the clown and his UN Police escort, and received his own share of rough treatment. UN Police “shoved the camera into my face,” says Langelle. The photographer’s vocal reaction, defending his status as a journalist, drew more attention by both UN Security and delegates.

The incident serves to reveal that, in the words of Andrea Palframan, one of the filmmakers who shot the video above, “these negotiations are so corporate controlled that there really is not place for civil society here anymore.”

The backstory, with analysis:

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Filed under Actions / Protest, Climate Justice, False Solutions to Climate Change, Green Economy, Media, UNFCCC