Last week’s Earth Minute discussed COP-19, the UN Climate Talks in Warsaw Poland. Simone Lovera, Executive Director of Global Forest Coalition described the situation on the ground.
Category Archives: False Solutions to Climate Change
Note: Anne Petermann, Executive Director of Global Justice Ecology Project, was featured in a press release by the Institute for Public Accuracy on the link between Typhoon Haiyan, climate change, climate justice and the upcoming UN climate conference in Poland. The link below is to one of the interviews she gave.
–the GJEP Team
The typhoon that laid waste to parts of the Philippines last week struck just before the 19th Conference of Parties of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change got underway in Warsaw, Poland on Monday. But while there is general agreement that global climate change is a major factor in the increasing number and intensity of storms worldwide, there continues to be little progress toward limiting the emission of greenhouse gasses. We speak with Anne Peterman, executive director of the Global Justice Ecology Project.
To listen to the show, go to Left Voices
Note: Members of Global Justice Ecology Project and the Campaign to STOP GE Trees are touring the southeastern US to raise awareness about the risks of genetically engineered trees. See when they are coming to your town here: http://bit.ly/getrees-roadshow
-The GJEP Team
October 28, 2013
Gainesville, FL–The University of Florida, a leading institution researching genetically engineered (GE) trees, threatened to arrest activists from the Campaign to STOP GE Trees when they arrived on campus Saturday to prepare for a presentation to highlight critical perspectives on tree biotechnology that was scheduled for tonight. The police informed the group that their presentation had been cancelled, and warned them that they were banned from University of Florida (UF) property for three years.
“Evicting us from campus was a blatant act of censorship by the University of Florida, likely linked to the millions they are receiving for GE trees research,” said Keith Brunner, from the international Campaign to STOP Genetically Engineered Trees.
In 2011, the University of Florida School of Forest Resources and Conservation along with GE tree company ArborGen won a three-year, $6.3 million grant from the US Department of Energy to develop GE loblolly pines for liquid biofuel production. There is rising opposition to GE trees due to concerns over genetic contamination, increased flammability, deforestation and other ecological impacts of industrial tree plantations.
The UF presentation was part of a multi-week speaking tour titled “The Growing Threat: Genetically Engineered Trees and the Future of Forests.” The tour will travel through several southern states (NC, GA, FL, SC) to educate the public about the social and environmental threats posed by the proposed commercial release of billions of genetically engineered freeze tolerant eucalyptus trees in seven southern states from South Carolina to Florida to Texas.
Note: Today’s essay and yesterday’s were penned this past week by 14 year-old Lena Heinrich, daughter of Rachel Smolker, co-Director of BiofuelWatch and Berndt Heinrich, noted naturalist. They are both insightful and inspiring. We hope you enjoy them.
–The GJEP Team
By Lena Heinrich
The first thing my dad said when I was born was that I looked like a raven, due to my black hair (he was studying them at the time); he seemed to get his kicks from placing my brother and I in baskets, then letting the ravens he was observing in our aviary dote over us.
My Dad is a simple, serious and focused man, who some might say isn’t quite caught up with society, still carrying a number of the values passed down to him through his parents and his experiences in life. Some of my fondest memories with my father are of catching insects to prepare for his collections, and watching him sit hunched over his boxes, carefully splaying the bugs wings and legs just so, pinning here and there, until they were perfectly displayed, like they might fly off the pin board any second. It was an art, and for a child, it was simply mesmerizing to be able to examine the different bugs up close, with their brittle limbs, fur and sometimes bright colors. He would point out which wing patterns were used for camouflage and the purpose for each of the insects unique anatomical features with glassy, immersed eyes and an unsaid sense of pride as I prodded him with questions about luna moths and larvae.
His study room was a dusty, forbidden, musk smelling wonderland of old books and boxes and boxes of insects, from every country imaginable- rare stag beetles and cicadas that only come out one night every 60 years to common bees, all displayed with the same undying care and precision. With careful hands, he would hold beetles up to the sunlight for me, so as to show me how the light changed the drab black insect into a flashing array of colors. His work is solitary and, to me, trying, but he goes about it with child-like intrigue every day, always searching for an explanation and a better understanding of the natural world, which is one of the reasons as to why he now resides in the forest in a cabin in Maine, to live simply.
Although I don’t share the same need for an explanation for the ways in which nature works, being the child of an environmentalist and a biologist, I’ve been raised and instilled with a deep appreciation, respect and understanding of nature and peoples place in it that goes back for generations of explorers and scientists on both my mother and father’s side.
Note: This remarkable essay and tomorrow’s were penned this past week by 14 year-old Lena Heinrich, daughter of Rachel Smolker, co-Director of BiofuelWatch and Berndt Heinrich, noted naturalist. They are both insightful and inspiring. We hope you enjoy them.
–The GJEP Team
By Lena Heinrich
One thing I’ve always known about myself and my sense of place is that I’m not so much tied to a specific and defined area, but more through an appreciation and respect of the natural world, which I channel through my feelings of needing to protect it, so for this project I put together a small article in hopes that I could educate some people and possibly spark someone else’s interest, which I’m going to read aloud now.
What people may be expecting from a speech about environmentalism is a convincing and sweet paragraph about why you should recycle, drive a prius, change your lightbulbs, and go vegan- what I’m going to give you today is not that. As sweet and symbolic as the notion of being able to make “big change through small actions” is, it is also extremely disempowering, and, contrary to popular belief, has little to no correlation to the dire environmental crisis’ at hand, even if the entire world was to do all those things religiously- this belief of change is less about making actual change, and more of a “selfish obsession with personal morality”.
Though using reusable grocery bags and biking to school rather than driving are all good things to do and these small actions within our individual lives may make us feel good about ourselves, they ultimately have little to no effect on our carbon footprint, and if any are replaced by more detrimental habits. An example of this is the person who gives up meat, only to start eating higher amounts of imported nuts that naturally have a higher carbon footprint than locally purchased meat.
Where did this idea of individual responsibility for the environment come from? Corporations looking to undermine green movements for the purpose of growth and profit. What corporations have made people believe to be change is no match whatsoever for the odds we’re up against if people are to continue living on our tiny and delicately balanced planet. Coke doesn’t want you to stop buying it’s products, so they have spread the mindset that as long as you’re recycling the plastic bottle, you’re safe. The car industry doesn’t want people to stop buying cars, so they spread the mindset that as long as you drive a car with better mileage, you’re making all the change you should be expected to make.
The idea that simple things like picking up litter can have any kind of effect on the state of our environment was produced and funded by corporations through commercials and companies, and made to diverge the attention away from the destructive ways of those very corporations and move the spotlight onto the idea of individual peoples’ roles in ruining the environment and their personal role and responsibility in fixing it. This idea has been supported and it’s traction has only increased from businesses and even well-meaning individuals and their movements within their own towns, schools, communities, and states.
Webpages like “10 simple and easy ways to save the environment” and blogs about simple lifestyle changes made while shopping for groceries or doing house chores have sprouted out of nowhere, all implying that we really can save the earth without even breaking a sweat. That is the type of environmentalism that corporations fund, because it still supports America’s unhealthy death-wish mega-consumer lifestyle. The truth is, though, that there is no way to shop our ways out of the crisis.
The kind of change needed is that of a much larger scale- what our world needs to save itself is not more recycling bins, but a complete social and political turnaround within our people, culture, government, policies and corporations; that includes a healthy environment, gay and lesbian rights, accessible health care for all, and a more democratic process, but there is no way we are going to achieve those ideals without banishing the notions and stereotypes surrounding activism and getting the youth population and general populations aware, educated and empowered about the state of the environment.
No single person can make change whilst staying in their own personal life or community- what is needed is a stand-up, and a fight back, and an iron fist from the inhabitants of the earth we are currently on the path of destroying completely. The materialistic and ignorant consumer lifestyle people in the United States lead, though comfortable, is inefficient and is leading humans down a rosy path of extinction in the next 60 years. On the course we are taking, our generation could be the first to die not of old age, but mass extinction.
To save our planet, we have to make fast and powerful changes throughout the world, but especially in the United States- and though the idea is nice, we can’t get distracted by the “feel good” tactics of change we’ve been brainwashed to believe is the be-all-end-all of what we can do to preserve ourselves as a species. Doing what is necessary to save Earth will not be comfortable and it will not be as simple as dropping your soda bottle in the right bin or switching a light bulb or two. It will require real power and a real revolution among our people. New laws and policies regarding the environment will need to be implemented along with a complete change in cultural norms and the ways in which we are using technology.
KPFK Earth Watch: Geo-engineering pushed as “Plan B” for climate crisis, included in int’l climate science assessment
ETC Group’s Jim Thomas discusses the risks of “planet hacking,” or geoengineering, and its inclusion in the latest international climate science assessment after heavy pressure by resource-rich countries like Russia.
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.
By Tory Field and Beverly Bell. September 25, 2013. Source: Sustainablog
Part 29 of the Harvesting Justice series.
Inatoy Sidsagi and his cousin Esteban Herrera, from the indigenous Kuna Yala (also known as Guna Yala) nation in Panama, make up the indigenous rap group Kunarevolution. They rap about Mother Earth and the Kuna’s inalienable right to protect her lands and waters.
The Kuna Yala people recently prevailed over a threat to their lands, in the form of carbon trading. REDD (Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation) is a global program promoted by the U.N., industrialized nations, and international financial institutions like the World Bank. REDD allows countries and corporations to buy “clean-air” credits from countries with undeveloped forests. In exchange, governments, indigenous nations, and other groups agree to preserve areas of their forests, with the rationale that the trees’ absorption of carbon, the element that causes global warming, will counteract damage done by industrial polluters. (Editor’s note: we published a post promoting REDD projects last year)
In October 2011, the US-based Wildlife Works Carbon presented a REDD proposal to the Kuna Yala. The fifty-one communities spent a year and a half in consultation. In June 2013, the Kuna Yala general congress voted to reject the corporate proposal. They declared, further, their complete withdrawal “from all discussions at the national and international level on the REDD issue” and a prohibition on “organizing events, conferences, workshops and other activities on the issue.”
We interviewed the hip-hop artist Inatoy Sidsagi from a liberated territory of the Lenca indigenous people of Honduras, in a building plastered with stickers reading, “REDD: No capitalism in our forests.” Inatoy told us, “The rejection of REDD is for the patrimony. Having accepted it would have complicated life for future generations. Why? Because the land is ours. We are bound and obliged to leave it for perpetual use. REDD would have been a betrayal for the long-term, with many consequences – cultural ones, but even more, our possibility to be a people, to be a nation. It would have been the end of us as a people.”