Tag Archives: pollution

Earth Minute: White House Protest Against the Tar Sands: Honor Treaties–Stop the Keystone XL Pipeline

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 Indigenous Peoples’ protest against the Keystone XL tar sands pipeline project that occurred in Washington DC on Sunday, November 6th.  To listen to this week’s Earth Minute, click here.

Text from this week’s Earth Minute:

This past Sunday, thousands of people traveled to the White House to protest the massive pipeline that would carry tar sands oil from the devastated boreal forests of Alberta to the Gulf of Mexico. President Obama will decide if the pipeline project can proceed in early 2012.

While the US is obligated to honor the Treaties it made with the Lakota and other indigenous nations, there has been virtually no consultation regarding the environmental impact of this massive pipeline that would endanger their lands.

At the DC rally, Cree/Métis Tantoo Cardinal, stated, “I was raised in the Fort McMurray area, the heart of the current tar sands projects. We are all protectors of the land and water. If you were to see with your own eyes the incredible destruction of our ecosystem, you’d understand that blind greed is destroying our land, water, and way of life.”

If approved, US based Native Nations in solidarity with First Nations from Canada have sworn to stop the pipeline.

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, Earth Minute, Energy, Indigenous Peoples, Posts from Anne Petermann, Tar Sands, Water

Ten Years After: Commentary and Video–9/11, Another Perspective

By Orin Langelle

Yes, it’s ten years after 9/11.  And this video is not about the twin towers.  I’m not going into any conspiracy theories, nor am I going to wave the flag.  Something terrible happened ten years ago; that’s undeniable.  I was going to write about some of the notable changes that have occurred in those ten years, like the further loss of freedoms, growing fascism, corporations with the rights of people, a surge in racism, workers’ rights denied more and more, the continued pillaging of the Earth, the intensification of climate chaos, plus the withering of the global justice movement in the U.S.  A movement that was vibrant and offered hope to millions who wanted to live in a better world–a movement that still can resurge and is more necessary than ever.

Then I started looking at my past and the beginnings of my involvement in the movement for social change back in the late-60s, and I remembered a rock group called Ten Years After. How appropriate for this 9/11. So I thought about running a video clip from them like “I’d love to change the world.”  It has some great lyrics: “…Tax the rich, feed the poor–Till there are no rich no more…”  Then I started looking at other videos from the late 60s—early 70s and found the one below by Jefferson Airplane.  This video brought me sad memories of that war. Many dead on both sides. Scorched Earth. Agent Orange. Suicides when soldiers returned. Friends’ lives and minds ruined.  With those memories flooding back I realized it would be good to look  further into the past than just ten years and to remember things that happened during the Vietnam War to provide a broader perspective. Could the U.S. war in Indochina, other hostilities including violently backing various dubious governments, and the establishment of U.S. military bases around the globe be some of the reasons “they hate us?”   And let’s not forget that the U.S. military is the largest single emitter of greenhouse gases on the planet.  I hope this video helps jolt us into looking back into history–things that the Tea Party, Republicans, Democrats, corporations etc. want us to forget.  Let’s shake off some of the collective amnesia.

(BTW—in the video one can click the X on the box to get rid the annoying google advert.)

-Orin Langelle is the Co-Director/Strategist for Global Justice Ecology Project

Video cross-posted from utahraptor88

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Filed under Climate Change, Pollution

KPFK Interview: The Indigenous Day of Action Against the Tar Sands in DC

Clayton Thomas Muller leads a workshop on the tar sands at the US Social Forum in Detroit in June 2010. Photo: Langelle/GJEP

This week’s Earth Segment on KPFK Los Angeles features an interview with Clayton Thomas Muller, Tar Sands Campaign Organizer for the Indigenous Environmental Network and a member of Global Justice Ecology Project’s Board of Directors.

Clayton discusses the Indigenous Day of Action that took place in Washington, DC on September 2nd to stop the Tar Sands Keystone XL pipeline, as well as the impacts of the pipeline and the tar sands gigaproject on Indigenous communities.

To listen to this interview click here  and scroll to minute 6:12.

About Clayton: 

Clayton Thomas-Muller, of the Mathias Colomb Cree Nation also known as Pukatawagan in Northern Manitoba, Canada, is an activist for Indigenous rights and environmental justice.  With his roots in the inner city of Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada,Clayton began his work as a community organizer, working with Aboriginal youth.  Over the years Clayton work has taken him to five continents across our Mother Earth.

Based out of Ottawa, Ontario, Canada, Clayton is involved in many initiatives to support the building of an inclusive movement for Energy and Climate Justice. He serves on the board of the Global Justice Ecology Project and Canadian based Raven Trust.

Recognized by Utne Magazine as one of the top 30 under 30 activists in the United States and as a Climate Hero 2009 by Yes Magazine, Clayton is the tar sands campaign organizer for the Indigenous Environmental Network. He works across Canada, Alaska and the lower 48 states with grassroots indigenous communities to defend against the sprawling infrastructure that includes pipelines, refineries and extraction associated with the tar sands, the largest and most destructive industrial development in the history of mankind.

The Earth Segment is a collaborative effort between Global Justice Ecology Project and KPFK’s Sojourner Truth show with Margaret Prescod.

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Filed under Actions / Protest, Biodiversity, Climate Change, Climate Justice, Energy, Indigenous Peoples, Tar Sands

KPFK Earth Segment: The Tar Sands Indigenous Day of Action with Chief Erasmus

Global Justice Ecology Project teams up with Margaret Prescod’s Sojourner Truth show on KPFK Los Angeles for a weekly segment on an environmental topic.

This week’s show features an interview with Chief Bill Erasmus, the Regional Chief of the Northwest Territories. He is from the Dene Nation. Regional Chief Erasmus has been elected as a member of the AFN Executive Committee since 1987.  Chief Erasmus was instrumental in working with the National Congress of American Indians as the NWT Vice Chief of the Assembly of First Nations in their passage of the resolution opposing the Keystone XL Tar Sands Pipeline.  He will be taking part in the DC Indigenous day of action on Sept 2, 2011

To listen to the 12 minute interview, click here and scroll to minute 21:40.

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Filed under Actions / Protest, Biodiversity, Climate Change, Climate Justice, Energy, Indigenous Peoples, Pollution, Tar Sands, Water

Earth Minute 8/30/11: Climate Change, the Tar Sands and Hurricane Irene

Global Justice Ecology Project teams up with the Sojourner Truth show on KPFK Los Angeles every Tuesday for an Earth Minute written and recorded by GJEP Executive Director Anne Petermann.

To listen to this week’s Earth Minute, click here and scroll to minute 38:41

Earth Minute 8/30/11

As I sat home yesterday listening to the remnants of Hurricane Irene whipping the trees outside, I thought about the intensifying effect the warming globe is having on the world’s weather; and about the corporations that ignore or deny it, continuing business as usual to the detriment of us all.

The tar sands gigaproject in Northern Alberta is one glaring example. The Indigenous Environmental Network has campaigned to stop the tar sands project for years.  Tar sands oil production poisons Indigenous communities, levels boreal forests, and releases three times the greenhouse gases of conventional oil. But rather than banning this devastating project, a new pipeline is planned, to carry this toxic oil through the US to the Gulf of Mexico.

Hurricane Irene caused billions in damages. Burning tar sands oil will further worsen climate change, causing more extreme weather in the future.

The Indigenous Environmental Network will be holding an Indigenous Day of Action against the tar sands this Friday at the gates of the White House.  To learn more, go to: www.ienearth.org/

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, Climate Change, Climate Justice, Earth Minute, Energy, Posts from Anne Petermann

Environmental, Indigenous Peoples and Human Rights Groups Reject International Offsets in California’s Global Warming Solutions Act

Oakland, CA – The California Air Resources Board meets tomorrow in Sacramento, CA to announce the findings of its evaluation of alternatives to Cap and Trade in AB32, the state’s Global Warming Solutions Act.  Environmental, indigenous peoples’ and human rights groups warn that outsourcing the state’s emissions reductions through carbon offsets will shift the responsibility for the climate crisis from industry to under-resourced communities, both in California and abroad.

“Any Cap and Trade Provision in AB32 will not only leave California communities continuing to bear the brunt of industrial pollution, they are no solution to climate change,” said Jeff Conant from the Oakland, CA office of Global Justice Ecology Project. “If the offsets are enacted in-state it will undermine forest conservation in California.  If California’s offsets are enacted at the international level, they will exacerbate land and resource conflicts in places like Chiapas, Mexico and Acre, Brazil – especially because these offsets are based on the controversial policy of Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Degradation (REDD).”

The Cap and Trade provision in AB32 has clear links to REDD-type forest carbon offsets, as demonstrated by the Memoranda of Understanding signed by former Governor Schwarzenegger last year with the state governments of Chiapas and Acre.  While the mechanism for such an offsets program is not expected to be enacted until 2015, the effects of the policy are already showing impacts in these states. Commentators see this MoU as the world’s most advanced sub-national carbon offsets agreement, which could serve as a model for similar agreements worldwide.

Traditional healers prepare medicines in Amador Hernandez after the Mexican government cut off all medical services. The local residents believe this was done in an attempt to force them out of the Lacandon Jungle. Photo: Langelle/GJEP-GFC

In comments submitted to the California Air Resources Board, Francisco Hernández Maldonado, an indigenous Tzeltal from the village of Amador Hernández in the Lacandon Jungle of Chiapas, Mexico wrote: “The promotion of REDD+ in Chiapas, which the government is doing without consulting us, is causing conflict between our peoples, because it benefits some and tries to criminalize those who truly dedicate ourselves to coexist with the earth and are not in favor of REDD + as a solution to climate change. By failing to consult us, our human rights are violated as well as international agreements such as the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.”

The Air Resources Board says that REDD as part of a Cap and Trade program will be developed under a separate process with public participation and environmental review. But critics of REDD recognize that the mere suggestion that California will engage in international offsets sends “price signals” to developing world governments – signals that have already led to forced evictions in the name of forest protection.

“These REDD forest offset initiatives in Mexico and the global South have no guarantees for safeguarding against land grabs and violating the rights of indigenous communities,” said Tom Goldtooth, Director of the Indigenous Environmental Network.  “Putting trust in carbon market regimes based upon the privatization and commodification of air, trees and biodiversity could be devastating to indigenous peoples and their cultures. Not only abroad, but right here at home. Many of the dirtiest industries in the U.S. and Canada are located on Indigenous and First Nations lands that would benefit from domestic and international offsets, buying carbon credits to greenwash the pollution and toxic hotspots they create in local communities. Our people lose out on all sides of the border. There is no justice in carbon offsets – only more suffering.”

A coalition of California environmental justice groups is expected to turn out in Sacramento to demand that the Air Resources Board give real attention to concerns of ongoing pollution in the state’s heavily impacted industrial zones.

“Cap and Trade is no solution to climate change,” said Nile Malloy of Communities for a Better Environment in Oakland, CA. “It allows industry to continue polluting our communities, while the emissions continue to worsen climate change. It is a lose-lose scenario, benefiting only corporations like Chevron.”

For more information, contact:

Jeff Conant, Global Justice Ecology Project, Oakland, CA, +1.575.770.2829

Orin Langelle, Global Justice Ecology Project, Hinesburg, VT, +1.802.578.6980

Diana Pei Wu, Professor, Antioch University, Los Angeles, CA, +1.323.448.0566

Tom Goldtooth, Indigenous Environmental Network Bemidji, MN, +1.218.760.0442

 Low resolution photographs from the Chiapas jungle: http://www.flickr.com/photos/langelle/sets/72157627501175098/

Higher resolutions of those photographs from the Chiapas jungle are available to media by contacting Orin Langelle +1.802.578.6980 mobile or by email <orinl@globaljusticeecology.org>.

###

Background Information:

Key Arguments Against REDD fact sheet

 Why REDD is Wrong

 Turning the Lacandon Jungle Over to the Carbon Market

 Interview with Santiago Martinez of Amador Hernandez, Chiapas

Photo Essay from Amador Hernandez, Chiapas, Mexico: Chiapas, Mexico: From Living in the jungle to ‘existing’ in “little houses made of ticky-tacky…”

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Filed under Carbon Trading, Chiapas, Climate Change, Corporate Globalization, Energy, False Solutions to Climate Change, Greenwashing, Indigenous Peoples, Land Grabs, Latin America-Caribbean, Pollution, REDD

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

Photo Essay from the Tree Biotechnology 2011 Conference Field Trip Hosted by Veracel

On Wednesday, July 29th, around 200 participants divided into 4 groups toured various facilities owned by pulp company Veracel.  This photo essay explains what we learned on the field trip.

Photos and commentary by Anne Petermann, Executive Director, Global Justice Ecology Project (Exception: the last two photos are by GJEP Co-Director/Strategist Orin Langelle)

First Stop: Veracel Forest Preserve where children and visitors are “educated” about the importance of eucalyptus pulp and the “greenness” of Veracel.  Note that the human figure in the poster is exhibiting total dominance over the trees.

On the way into the forest preserve, children and visitors are presented with a native forest monster and representations of some of the scary wildlife that live in forests.

Veracel forest monster

Scary forest raptor

On the way through the 6,000 hectare forest preserve (80% of which is forested), a mixture of formerly logged lands and primary forest, participants were treated to a canopy rope bridge and photo shoots with 4 large trees we encountered on the path.  Most of the forest contained very young trees.

canopy rope bridge

one of the four big trees

The primary Mata Atlantica forest once stretched over much of the eastern edge of Brazil.  Large swaths of it have been eliminated and replaced with eucalyptus plantations.  Veracel took us next to the tree nursery where they propogate the 17 million eucalyptus clones they produce annually.  Henry Ford would have been proud.  The nursery was a very efficient assembly line operation.

Taking Cuttings to propagate new clones

"Clonal Garden"

Assembly line for clones 1

Assembly line for clones 2

Assembly line for clones 3

All the happy clones together

The next step for these clones, of course, is to be transformed into large-scale monoculture eucalyptus plantations.  Veracel harvests 11,000 of these 7 year old eucalyptus trees every day for their pulp mill.  Virtually the entire timbering operation is heavily mechanized to employ the fewest people possible, and uses an assortment of chemicals, from a petroleum-based hydrophilic polymer that is planted with the seedlings, to glyphosate-based herbicides that are applied to keep out competition plants, to the insecticides used to control “pests.”  In this way, Veracel can maximize its potential for profits.

The eucalyptus plantation

The mechanical harvester rapidly gobbles up the trees

The jaws of the harvester up close and personal

This employee, clearly bored, awaits his cue to show the visitors how the mechanized planter works

After a couple of tries, they were finally successful in showing how the mechanized planter works

The result. Note the petroleum-based polymer gel at the base of the seedling

Despite several quotes from Rachel Carson, John Muir, Emerson and other naturalists posted at the nature preserve, the plantations rely heavily on chemical applications.  The guide informed me that the trees get three applications of toxic herbicide over their 7 year life span.  As a result, the plantations of non-native trees are devoid of understory plants or biodiversity.  Social movements in Brazil call them “green deserts” for this reason.

the ground beneath the plantation is barren of other life forms

Rachel Carson quote in the Veracel forest preserve. Too bad they don't listen to her.

The ultimate purpose for the clones:

massive pile of eucalyptus chips at the Veracel pulp mill

From standing trees to boiled, bleached pulp in one day

The reason Veracel needs to greenwash their image: their giant stinking, polluting pulp mill

The stench of the pulp mill. "It smells like money".

Veracel's vision for the future: Make more money!

One of the obstacles, according to Veracel, of their achieving maximum productivity, is people breaking into their plantations.  On the way to the plantation, we passed what appeared to be an MST (Landless Workers’ Movement) encampment–black plastic shelters with a red MST flag flying high over them.  Indeed, elsewhere in Brazil, the MST as well as indigenous Tupinikim and Guarani populations, have taken over eucalyptus plantations and found better uses for the land.  In the case of the MST, as encampments for landless peasants.  In the case of the Indigenous Peoples, as a retaking of their ancestral lands from which they were forcibly removed when the timber company was given the land for plantations.  The cases we had previously documented were on Aracruz Cellulose land in Espirito Santo, but it seems to be occuring here in Bahia as well.  Below are photos from the encampments in Esprito Santo:

MST encampment in former eucalyptus plantation. The sign says "Eucalyptus plantations are not forests". Photo: Langelle/GJEP-GFC

Indigenous community re-takes traditional lands, removes eucalyptus plantation. Photo: Langelle/GJEP-GFC

Eucalyptus plantations have been such a smashing success in other parts of the world, that now GE tree company ArborGen is trying to engineer them to be cold-tolerant so that the joy of eucalyptus plantations can be spread to new and untrammeled lands.  In the United States they hope to sell half a billion GE cold tolerant eucalyptus trees annually for plantations from Texas to Florida.  They’re invasive? Flammable?  Dry up ground water and worsen droughts?  So?  What’s your point.  They will make a lot of money for a few powerful people.

To learn more or to sign our petition to the US Department of Agriculture opposing GE eucalyptus in the US, click here

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Filed under Biodiversity, Climate Change, GE Trees, Genetic Engineering, Greenwashing, Latin America-Caribbean, Pollution, Posts from Anne Petermann