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[ Source @ BBC News online: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-40584139 ]

Record number of environmental activists killed around the world

By Matt McGrath, Environment correspondent

Growing competition for land and natural resources saw a record number of environmental activists killed in 2016, says Global Witness. The green group's report details at least 200 murders across 24 countries, up significantly from 2015. Disputes over mining were the cause of the greatest number of killings, followed by logging and agribusiness. Brazil saw the most deaths overall, but there were big increases in Colombia and India.

Global Witness has been publishing annual reports on the threats to activists since 2012, although it has data going back to 2002. The organisation compiles its analysis from media sources, information from other non-governmental organisations and from the UN. It also verifies the data with monitoring groups in priority countries, such as Brazil, Colombia, Honduras and the Philippines.

Some 60% of the killings last year took place in Latin America, with a significant number of victims from indigenous communities. According to those who compiled the report, those doing the killing have become bolder in recent years.

"We've always thought of these cases taking place in remote isolated areas but we are seeing attacks becoming more brazen, and that's because so few of these cases result in successful prosecutions," said Billy Kyte from Global Witness. "Indigenous people are massively over represented in the figures and that's because many of their lands overlap with lands rich in minerals and timber and also because they have less access to justice or communications."

Disputes about mining resulted in 33 murders, while those linked to logging increased from 15 to 23 in a year. A similar number were linked to agribusiness projects.

Full text of article for archiving purposes. )
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VANDANA SHIVA: Traditional Knowledge, Biodiversity and Sustainable Living

An Interview with Dr Vandana Shiva, one of the world's foremost environmentalist, anti-GM activist and an advocate of ecological farming and sustainable agriculture as a solution to climate change, food security, hunger and peace. The interview was taken on 16th March 2011, during "Grandmonther's University" a three day course at Navdanya Biodiversity Farm at Dehradun, Uttarakhand, India which Dr. Vandana Shiva founded in 1987 to help save traditional seeds. The farm also undertakes research and training, along with the important role of distributing native seeds to farmers in the region.

Please see the full article at http://www.ecowalkthetalk.com/blog/2011/03/31/vandana-shiva-traditional-knowl...

The interview was conducted by Geraldine, Emiliano and Bhavani. Bhavani Prakash is the Founder of http://www.ecowalkthetalk.com
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FEATURES:The agony of Ogoni by Nnimmo Bassey

A recent report on the pollution of Ogoniland prepared by United Nations Environment Programme marks ‘the first official confirmation’ that there is ‘a major tragedy on our hands’, writes Nnimmo Bassey.

When the Ogoni people demanded a halt to the unwholesome acts of the Shell Production and Development Company (SPDC or Shell) and the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), the government called them names and unleashed security agents to maim, rape and murder and hound many into exile.

The report on the pollution of Ogoniland prepared by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and released on August 4, 2011, marks the first official confirmation that there is a major tragedy on our hands. UNEP's report unequivocally shows that the Movement for the Survival of the Ogoni People (MOSOP) under the prescient leadership of Ken Saro-Wiwa was not crying wolf when it maintained that grave injustice was being inflicted on Ogoniland.

UNEP officials say the report was issued to respond to innuendos. At over $9 million, this must be the most expensive innuendo-dousing report on record. Whether the "innuendo" provoked the study or the release of the study is not known. But if it was that the report was a prelude to resumption of oil exploitation in Ogoniland, it is certainly not doused.

It is shocking that in the face of the Ogoni tragic environment the UNEP report suggests a possible restarting of oil exploitation in Ogoniland. That may be likened to obtaining blood from a dying man.

The report largely says what has been known and said before. But this is official and very valuable. When Shell doled out the funds for the study, they claimed they did so on the basis of the polluter-pays principle. True. Shell polluted Ogoniland, just as they and other companies have done and continue to do all over the Niger Delta.

Claims by Shell that a majority of the oil spills in Ogoni are caused by interference by local people flies in the face of the observations in the UNEP report. The report says the bush refineries, for example, became prominent from 2007. Obviously, one of the conclusions should have been that with livelihoods utterly destroyed, some of the people had to find a means of survival and chose this unfortunate and illegal trade. With UNEP's obvious care not to antagonise Shell in the report, this path was not pursued. MORE
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Large-Scale Mining to Test Rights of Nature in Ecuador

Ecuador is the only Andean nation without any large-scale metallic mines (such as gold and copper). This unique state of affairs is about to be tested in the next few weeks when the Correa government signs exploitation agreements with Chinese and Canadian transnational miners looking to exploit the country's copper and gold reserves. More importantly, the legitimacy of the nation's Constitution, which grants nature rights, will also be tested.

There is no other economic activity in the world that would so clearly violate the rights of nature as large-scale open-pit mining. Large-scale mining, unlike petroleum, creates environmental liabilities that can endure for thousands of years. The impacts are order of magnitude worse.

Bingham Canyon, an active open pit copper mine in Utah, can be seen from outer space
. It is over a kilometer deep and four kilometers across. A similar gaping hole in Chile's Atacama desert, the Chuquicamata copper mine, has eaten a good part of the town by the same name and can, likewise, be seen from outer space. The infamous Ok Tedi copper and gold mine in Papua New Guinea, on the other hand, has devastated a whole river's ecosystem, impacted fisheries and, by the time the mine closes, it will have destroyed 3,000 square miles of tropical forests, as well as the livelihood of 30,000 local inhabitants. The still-active mine disgorges nearly 160,000 tons of spent ore and waste rock per day into nearby rivers.

Water is the resource most impacted by these mines.
Many mines around the world, including some in the US and Canada, are leaching heavy metals into rivers and the ocean today, and will continue to do so for thousands of years. Millions of gallons per day may have to be used, transported- and contaminated- as part of a normal mining operation. A good deal of that water will be mixed with toxic chemicals like cyanide, in order to extract the few grams of gold that is usually found in a typical ton of gold-bearing ore. Some of the water draining from mines is as acidic as car battery fluid, and more toxic.

In fact, according to the US Environmental Protection Agency, mining in the US accounts for over one half of all toxic releases into the environment, and produces an unimaginable 8-9 times more solid waste, per weight, than that all its municipalities put together. The costs of stabilizing and treating some of these impacts are staggering. A mining project in Montana is the single biggest Superfund site in the US, with nearly one billion dollars earmarked to try to clean up the huge toxic mess left behind after decades of mining and milling.1 You'd think so much destruction would add greatly to a country's economy. Yet, in the US, the economy of mining adds less than 1% to the nation's Gross National Product.

Thus, it is clear that there is no way that large-scale mining can avoid serious, irreversible, and long-lasting environmental impacts. MORE

And there are troubling signs aplenty: People's Court Finds Ecuador's President Guilty of Criminalizing Protest

It's been three years since Ecuador became the first country in the world to grant nature "inalienable rights" in its constitution. As the country (on behalf of 30,000 Ecuadorian plaintiffs) continues in its ongoing legal battle against Chevron (formerly Texaco) for damages associated with the company's destructive practices in the Amazon, another enforcement issue is emerging: the criminalization of protest. The situation in Ecuador will certainly serve to inform policies as other countries -- like Bolivia and Turkey -- prepare to enact their own similar environmental laws.

At the recent week-long Continental Conference in Defense of Water and Mother Earth that took place June 17-23 in Cuenca, Ecuador, a (non-binding) people's court heard hours of testimony regarding charges that the current Ecuadorean government, under the leadership of President Rafael Correa, is criminalizing "defenders of human rights and nature." The jury of this "Court of Ethics" concluded that "there is a systematic practice to discipline social protest and thus eliminate it...While justice is employed to criminalize the defenders of nature, it remains passive before human rights violations committed against them and against nature."

Correa was in power when the country's Constitution was redrafted to include the new language. Even at the time of the vote, some analysts were focused on how the changes might help Correa "gain and hold more power".

The people's court, which has no jurisdictional power, made a series of recommendations, including that the president refrain from making public statements that delegitimize and stigmatize environmental activists. According to Upside Down World, Correa made the following statement in 2007, at the beginning of his term: "Don't believe in romantic environmentalists. Anyone who is opposed to development in this country is a terrorist." He was referring to the community of Dayuma, Orellana which was protesting oil drilling in their territory. 

ETA: ECUADOR Fate of Untapped Oil Hangs in the Balance - of Trust Fund
QUITO, Jul 14, 2011 (IPS) - "Ecuador will not wait ad infinitum" for a decision by the international community, and "at the end of the year" President Rafael Correa will decide whether to extract oil that was to have been left underground at the Yasuní nature reserve, non-renewable natural resources minister Wilson Pástor has announced. The novelty in Tuesday's announcement was that Pástor detailed an oil production plan, in the event that drilling goes ahead. He said 14 wells would be drilled, with an investment of 8.6 billion dollars at the extremely attractive internal rate of return of 99 percent. The minister also gave the possible start date for production in the oilfields as the third quarter of 2012, and added that "the fields are less than 100 km away from an oil pipeline that has spare capacity." He was referring to the Heavy Crude Pipeline (OCP), built in Ecuador by private companies to transport oil from the Amazon jungle to the Pacific coast, and mainly owned by the Spanish firm Repsol. Pástor's announcement at the opening session of the First Latin American and Caribbean Seminar on Oil and Gas, organised by the Ecuador-based Latin American Energy Organisation (OLADE), was the most detailed so far from a government spokesperson about the option to exploit the crude oil.
The Under Secretariat of Hydrocarbons Policy has already been contacting potential interested parties since March, in case the drilling goes ahead. The initiative for not extracting the oil was originally proposed 20 years ago by Fundación Natura, the largest environmental organisation in Ecuador, and has since been supported by a number of environmental and indigenous groups defending the Yasuní National Park and its buffer zone, where the oilfields are located.

The Yasuní is one of the world's most highly biodiverse regions, with more plant and animal species found in one hectare than in the whole of North America, according to scientific studies.

It is also home to the Tagaeri and Taromenane indigenous groups who are living in voluntary isolation from the outside world.

The Yasuní, declared a national park in 1979 and a World Biosphere Reserve 10 years later, covers an area of 982,000 hectares of the Upper Napo river basin.

Leaving one of the country's largest oil reserves underground would reduce emissions of carbon dioxide, one of the main greenhouse gases responsible for global warming, by 407 million tonnes, environmentalists say.

The environmentalists' proposal was adopted by Correa when he took office in 2007, and he made it official Jun. 5, 2007 at the United Nations as a multifaceted project, combining protection of the environment and of indigenous communities with promotion of renewable energies, to which the funds would primarily be devoted. MORE
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Biopiracy: Let's BAG It!

Working with nature, farmers in the South Asian countries of Pakistan, India and Nepal have cultivated basmati rice for countless centuries. Rice is an integral part of many of the region's diverse cultures. In some of the ancient texts, rice has been associated with prana, or breath. Basmati literally means "fragrant earth" and is considered one of the most aromatic and flavorful rice varieties in the subcontinent. It is also one of the more lucrative export rice crops from South Asia. The Basmati rice exports of Indian farmers alone are worth over $270 million (US). Quite a sizeable amount for any transnational corporation to get their hands on.

In 1997, the powerful United States Patent Office gave Rice Tec, Inc., the patent on Basmati rice. Rice Tec, Inc. is an US-based corporation in Alvin, Texas and a subsidiary of the larger Rice Tec Group whose CEO is Hans-Adam 11, the prince of Leichtenstein. By cross-breeding two Basmati rice varieties the owners of Rice Tec insist that they have invented a "novel" variety of this age-old rice from South Asia. Their patent covers any Basmati variety crowd with a semidwarf strain grown anywhere in the Western Hemisphere. More ominously, the patent also covers any basmati rice that resembles the original plants they used in their cross-breeding methods. This could potentially extend their patent to South Asia.

What the Rice Tec patent covers are the breeding methods as well as the germplasm of the basmati rice variety Rice Tec claims to have "invented." Now, while the patenting of the breeding method is itself a theft of farmers' knowledge and a privatization of the common, age old practice of cross-breeding, the patenting of germplasms of plants amounts to nothing less than the colonization of life.MORE

TED Case Studies: BASMATI

Read more... )

India-U.S. Fight on Basmati Rice Is Mostly Settled

Read more... )

On my booklist: Biopiracy: The Plunder of Nature and Knowledge by Vandana Shiva I'd prefer to buy it from South End Press but thier website is not working right now? At least , my computer doesn't want to access it. Got the south end press link!
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as [personal profile] spiralsheep informed us a few days ago. This is his reasoning for his actions:

OP-ED:Drilling Deep Mistakes in the Arctic
By Kumi Naidoo*

THE INSTITUTION PRISON, NUUK, Greenland, Jun 20, 2011 (IPS) - Nuuk is a long way from my hometown of Durban, and the Arctic is a long way for an African to come to campaign about climate change. Yet, here I sit, in a jail cell, with my colleague Ulvar Arnkvaern, in the ‘Institution’, a prison in Greenland’s capital. I sit here for breaching an exclusion zone and climbing aboard a dangerous deep water drilling rig some 120 km off Greenland’s coast.

With me I carried the signatures of some 50,000 people who are demanding that the oil rigs operators Cairn Energy publish its ‘oil spill response plan’. I also wanted to personally call for drilling to stop immediately. Since my arrest I am told over 20,000 more people have gone to the Greenpeace web site -www.greenpeace.org - and added their names to the growing petition.

I came in defence of the fragile Arctic environment. I became the 22nd Greenpeace activist who in the last few weeks has volunteered to climb the rig in the middle of the Arctic. I came to add my body to the protest and my voice to the call for sanity and an end to dangerous deep water oil drilling in the Arctic. I became the 22nd activist to be arrested and held in a Greenlandic cell.

How can it be that in the wake of the 2010 Deep Water Horizon oil spill disaster an oil company can be allowed to drill at a similar depth in the Arctic, where any clean up operation would be all but impossible. Given the events of the Gulf of Mexico blow-out it would be logical that greater transparency and public scrutiny would be needed, not less or none.
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So I was clearing out my journal and came upon this old post. Let me know if any of the links are bad.

Toxic inaction:Why poisonous, unregulated chemicals end up in our blood

Toxic dumps in Africa

Dumped in Africa: Britians toxic Waste

Industrial Waste

Somalia & the Mafia, the nuclear waste dump zone

Ship breaking in India

Ghana : A dumping ground for e-waste

Americas e-waste adds to global dump

japan twisting arms of Asian neighbours to take toxic waste

Welcome top the world of hazardopus waste inventories

Japan dumping toxic waste in Thailand as part of freetrade agreement

One more failed US enviro policy

ENVIRONMENT-FRANCE: Dismantling End-of-Life Ships Requires Global Answers<./A>

pushing dirty energy on developing nations

Japan may dump toxic waste in India

Taiwan exporting toxic waste to cambodia

Japan toxic waste, the Philippines Two

Basel action network takes on japan

Japan, South Korea dumping in China

India Lindane tixic dumping pdf

Thai activists scream at Japan deal

Toxic Terror book

Japan Phillipine I give you healthcare workers, you take my toxics

Japan trade frays tempers:Surayud urged to take long, cool look at consequences of toxic-waste dumping and intellectual-property theft

2000 article japan dumps in the pihillipines

US dump waste in Tamil Nadu's Tuticorin Port in India

Hazardous waste management in india

UNCTAD promotes toxic waste dumping in Asia

US pushing India to legalize more toxic dumping, at the same time illegally dumping it anyway

US dumping toxic navy ships on the third world

Solar panel manufacturers from US dumping in China

US dumping in Haiti

The toxic waste watchdog organization Basel Action Network (BAN) today slammed the government’s plans to scuttle the former aircraft carrier FORRESTAL[1] in deep water as an “artificial reef” instead of having the ship safely recycled at one of the half-dozen active ship dismantling yards in the U.S.

Austrailia dumping mining debris in Papua New Guinea river water

Australia dumping in Phillipines and India

US targets Australia from nuclear dumping ground

Australia gots one waste management facility

16 November 2002 – Australian company Rio Tinto's gold mining operation in Lihir, Papua New Guinea has been under scrutiny by the Secretariat of the London Convention for dumping toxic waste at sea.

Australia dumps toxic waste in Hong Kong

Australia duumps in China

Australia mining waste dumped into locals water

West dumps more toxic waste on poor countries

Britain dumping in India

Britain dumps in Africa

Britain dumps in Brazil

The root of this obscene trade lies in the fact that it costs only $2.50 a tonne to dump toxic waste in Africa compared to $250 a tonne to dump waste in Europe. As a result, less than half of the electrical items thrown away last year were disposed of in accordance with EU rules. Britain

Italian mobsters dumping toxic trash all over the world

Italy dumping in Somalia

Pirates of Somalia: Curse of the Mafia Nuclear Waste Dumps and Thanks for All the Fish

A Toxic International Partnership (PDF)

What happened on the Ivory Coast?

Taiwan Used Bribes, Corruption to Dump Mercury Waste in Cambodia

California says hell no to toxics first dumped in Cambodia

POC community

Dumping of toxic waste a human rights issue

From the Cambodian pov

South Korea dumped waste in Japanese waters for 15 years

Toxic Korean garbage littering japan's beaches

Northern Dumping in the South USA (google books)

Global Outbreak of Toxic Waste Dumping
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countries really really badly, so we need to be aware of how the bastards do it:

'Merchants of Doubt': How a Handful of Scientists Obscured the Truth on Issues From Tobacco Smoke to Global Warming

Ben Santer is the kind of guy you could never imagine anyone attacking. He’s thoroughly moderate—of moderate height and build, of moderate temperament, of moderate political persuasions. He is also very modest—soft-spoken, almost self-effacing—and from the small size and non-existent décor of his office at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, you might think he was an accountant. If you met him in a room with a lot of other people, you might not even notice him.

But Santer is no accountant, and the world has noticed him.

Read more... )

If you contribute $25 to Truthout you can get the book itself, btw, cause this an excerpt thereform...

Climate Change: African Agriculture and Food Supply at Risk

BONN, Jun 18, 2011 (IPS) - Climate change and global warming are likely to have dramatically negative effects on African agriculture and food supply by reducing river runoffs and water recharge, especially in semi-arid zones such as Southern Africa, two new reports say.

Both studies were released while thousands of delegates from around the world gathered during Jun. 6- 17 in the German city of Bonn to take part in the new United Nations (UN) Climate Change conference. New research supports the need for a revamped international regime of reduction of greenhouse gases emissions, the main cause of global warming. MORE

Developing Countries Pledging More Emissions Cuts Than Industrial North

BONN, Jun 17, 2011 (IPS) - Negotiations over a new international climate agreement are on the brink as new analyses show that carbon emission reduction promises by industrialised nations are actually lower than those made by China, India, Brazil and other developing nations. Even with all the promises or pledges added together they are still far short of cuts needed to prevent global temperatures from rising two degrees Celsius, experts reported here.

"It’s a very sad picture we see here," said Marion Vieweg of Climate Analytics, a German NGO that analyses climate science and policy.

"The rich nations are doing nothing to improve their emissions pledges," Vieweg told reporters during the final hours of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) negotiating session here in Bonn. These meetings are intended to work out the details for a new international agreement for government ministers to consider at the 17th Conference of the Parties under the UNFCCC in Durban, South Africa in late November. MORE
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The Chilling Beauty of Brazil's Green Desert

When travelling through the Minas Gerais state last April, the blogger known as the Viajante Sustentável (The Sustainable Traveller) spoke to inhabitants of the Jequitinhonha valley [en], and discovered how the region's visual and social landscape has changed over the last twenty years:

A catastrófica monocultura de eucalipto pelas empresas privadas nas cabeceiras dos rios e riachos, além de envenenar o solo, expulsou a fauna e flora do local, secou as nascentes e o lençol freático. O deserto verde do eucalipto tornou-se uma calamidade socioambiental. A região já foi auto-suficiente em alimentos essenciais, cultivados pela agricultura familiar, integrados com a natureza. A situação mudou radicalmente, exibindo riachos completamente secos, sem olhos d’água, rios cada vez mais baixos e assoreados, praticamente toda a alimentação proveniente de distribuidores em Belo Horizonte, pastos abandonados. Enquanto isso, as transnacionais de eucalipto e celulose engordavam os lucros.

The disastrous concept behind growing company-owned eucalyptus monocultures in river and stream sources not only poisoned the soil, but also destroyed local flora and fauna and dried up streams and the water table. Consequently, the eucalyptus green desert became a social and environmental calamity. The region already produced essential foods in a sustainable manner, as food was grown using integrated farming, but the situation changed radically. The streams completely dried up, there were no freshwater springs, water levels gradually decreased, silt levels increased, farms were abandoned and practically all food came from distributors in Belo Horizante. Meanwhile, the eucalyptus and cellulose transnational corporations were making huge profits.

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Or maybe its this: "Exploitation by Any Other Name (Might be Monsanto)"

Whoever titled the sections had a definite sense of humor...

GMOS and Peru: The Debate Continues

In Peru, the debate over the introduction of GMOs into the country has been very public, involving a plethora of participants such as scientists, chefs, farmers, restaurant owners, politicians, and far-ranging members of civil society. Several Peruvian regions, including Cusco, Lambayeque, Huánuco, Ayacucho, and San Martín, were the first to declare themselves “GMO-free zones.”[i] Lima soon joined as the newest GMO-free zone in late April.[ii] This move came just days after President Alan García and former Peruvian Minister of Agriculture Rafael Quevedo had signed Supreme Decree 003-2011-AG on April 15.[iii]

The decree, which was actually drawn up two years ago, set up an agency to regulate the research, production, and trade of GMOs.[iv] Rafael Quevedo, who has since resigned from office due to intense criticism surrounding his stance on GMOs, claimed that the order was merely “a regulation which tries to eliminate errors, control the use of genetically modified organisms, and make sure they don’t come into the country if they are found to be a risk.”[v] However, many citizens felt that the decree paved the way for a flood of transgenic products into the country, which could hurt its rich biodiversity and its growing market for high quality organic products. The immediate backlash against the signing of the decree indicated that there, indeed, existed widespread support for a GMO-free Peru. Such indications were soon confirmed, as Peru’s Congress recently repealed the decree on June 8 by a 56 to 0 vote, with two abstentions.[vi] The bill has placed a “10-year moratorium on the entrance of genetically modified organisms (GMOs) for cultivation and breeding or any other type of transgenic products.”[vii] However, the transgenic battle in Peru is far from decidedly won, as the moratorium simply puts the heated spar on a temporary hold.

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[personal profile] spiralsheep
Source: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-scotland-13814009

Greenpeace head Naidoo held in Cairn oil rig protest

The global head of Greenpeace has been arrested after scaling an Arctic rig operated by oil firm Cairn Energy.

International executive director Kumi Naidoo was arrested along with another campaigner after boarding the Leiv Eiriksson rig off Greenland. The arrests followed an injunction issued last week by a Dutch court, barring Greenpeace activists from approaching the drilling vessel. Cairn Energy won the injunction after several similar occupations. Under the terms of the court order, Greenpeace faces a penalty of 50,000 euros (£44,370) a day, up to a maximum of 1m euros, for failing to comply.

Edinburgh-based Cairn confirmed members of the environmental group had boarded the Leiv Eiriksson but had been removed by the Greenland authorities without interrupting the operation of the platform. In a statement, the company said: "Wherever it is active, Cairn seeks to operate in a safe and prudent manner." "The Greenland Bureau of Minerals and Petroleum has established some of the most stringent operating regulations anywhere globally, which mirror those applied in the Norwegian North Sea."

Greenpeace said Mr Naidoo travelled to the Leiv Eiriksson vessel on an inflatable speedboat launched from the group's ship Esperanza, evading a Danish navy warship. He then climbed a 30m (98.4ft) ladder up the outside of one of the platform's legs. Mr Naidoo carried the signatures of 50,000 supporters who have called for Cairn to explain how it would deal with a deep water drilling disaster similar to that which hit BP's Deepwater Horizon rig in the Gulf of Mexico a year ago. Greenpeace claims Cairn Energy have refused repeated requests to publish its oil spill plan.

Speaking before he set out to scale the platform, Mr Naidoo, said: "The Arctic oil rush is such a serious threat to the climate and to this beautiful fragile environment that I felt Greenpeace had no choice to return, so I volunteered to do it myself."

full text of article for archiving purposes. )

Cairn, through its subsidiary Capricorn, operates 11 blocks off Greenland and plans to drill up to four wells off Greenland in summer 2011.
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sounds like a plan:

LOCKED DOWN: Native Americans arrested defending sacred San Francisco Peaks

FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. – Six people were arrested, including four Native Americans, after they locked themselves to heavy equipment this morning, protesting the destruction of sacred San Francisco Peaks near Flagstaff. They are being taken to Coconino County jail.
Native Americans are protesting pipeline construction to the Snowbowl ski resort, which would carry sewage water for snowmaking.
Native American medicine men gather herbs for healing on the mountain. Since time immemorial, the mountain has been sacred to 13 area American Indian Nations.

Here's their statement, released as they locked themselves to heavy equipment on Thursday, June 16:

“Today we take direct action to stop further desecration and destruction of the Holy San Francisco Peaks. We stand with our ancestors, with allies and with those who also choose to embrace diverse tactics to safeguard Indigenous People’s cultural survival, our community’s health, and this sensitive mountain ecosystem.

"On May 25th 2011, sanctioned by the US Forest Service, owners of Arizona Snowbowl began further destruction and desecration of the Holy San Francisco Peaks. Snowbowl’s hired work crews have laid over a mile and a half of the planned 14.8 mile wastewater pipeline. They have cut a six foot wide and six foot deep gash into the Holy Mountain.
"Although a current legal battle is under appeal, Snowbowl owners have chosen to undermine judicial process by rushing to construct the pipeline. Not only do they disregard culture, environment, and our children’s health, they have proven that they are criminals beyond reproach.

"Four weeks of desecration has already occurred. Too much has already been taken. Today, tomorrow and for a healthy future, we say “enough!

"As we take action, we look to the East and see Bear Butte facing desecration, Mt. Taylor facing further uranium mining; to the South, Mt. Graham desecrated, South Mountain threatened, the US/Mexico border severing Indigenous communities from sacred places; to the West, inspiring resistance at Sogorea Te, Moana Keya facing desecration; to the North, Mt. Tenabo, Grand Canyon, Black Mesa, and so many more, our homelands and our culture under assault.

"We thought that the USDA, heads of the Forest Service, had meant it when they initiated nationwide listening sessions to protect sacred places. It fhe process was meaningful, we would not have to take action today
Media Watch: Arizona Snowbowl and Racism in the Media
Although the protesters statement was available on the Internet all day at Google News, the media chose to criminalize the protesters without explaining the sacred nature of the mountain for Native Americans. The majority of the media in Arizona and nationwide simply posted AP's article, without questioning it, researching the facts or Today in the media, the majority of reporters failed to even mention the most basic reason for the protest.

It is here on San Francisco Peaks that Native Americans offer ceremonies for healing and for protection. Native American medicine men use the plants on the mountain for healing herbs, the same plants that would be doused with sewage water for snowmaking if the Snowbowl continues with its plan to use recycled wastewater for snowmaking. The mountain is sacred to 13 American Indian Nations. AP's article simply criminalizes the young people and fails to point out that these young people made the decision to be arrested in order to bring attention to the desecration of sacred San Francisco Peaks. AP failed to even provide one quote from the protesters lengthy statement. The statement was available, and easy to find, all day. It was posted Thursday morning in the Narcosphere, which appears on Google News, and was posted at Censored News all day.MORE
I am fairly sure that this fuckery is breaking UN laws on the Rights of Indigenous people too. NOT that the US gives a fuck. 
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Business Lobby Resists Ban on ‘Perverse’ Emissions - Part 1

BRUSSELS, Jun 2, 2011 (IPS) - For years, European governments and corporations have made use of a loophole in the Kyoto protocol on climate change to make exorbitant profits. According to some sources, this lucrative scheme has caused more pollution than ever before.

The Kyoto protocol allows European companies to ‘offset’ their excess emissions of greenhouse gases by buying emissions reductions in developing nations. This provision is called the Clean Development Mechanism (CDM). The eligibility of the overseas projects and the issuance of emission credits - which in this case are called Certified Emission Reductions (CERs) - are controlled by a council at the U.N., the CDM Executive Board.

In June 2010, two environmental NGOs - CDM Watch, based in Bonn, and Environmental Investigation Agency (EIA), with offices in Washington, DC and London - discovered that European governments and corporations were grossly misusing the CDM. Fifty-nine percent of all CERs originated from the same 19 projects, though a total of 2,800 projects were registered. These 19 projects all produced HCFC-22, a refrigerant gas that is banned in the U.S. and Europe under the Montreal Protocol on Substances That Deplete the Ozone Layer because of its ozone-depleting properties. In developing countries the gas must be phased out by 2030.

HCFC-22 is also a ‘super green house gas’ that is 1,810 times more potent than carbon dioxide. Furthermore, HFC-23, the unwanted by-product of the manufacture of HCFC-22, is 11,700 times more harmful than carbon dioxide.

When the producers of the refrigerant choose to burn the by-product HFC-23 instead of venting it into the air, they are eligible for heaps of credits under the CDM. Burning one tonne of HFC-23 would bring in 11,700 CERs or emission credits for the plant burning the gas.

It turned out this was a very lucrative business. Burning the equivalent of one tonne of carbon dioxide only cost 25 U.S. cents while the credits could be sold on the European market for not less than 19 dollars.

These projects soon attracted Western investment banks that wanted to share in the profits: JP Morgan Chase, Citigroup, Goldman Sachs, Rabobank and Fortis. Next to these banks, the Italian, Dutch and British governments appear several times on the list of investors. Large energy companies including E.ON (Germany), Nuon (Netherlands), RWE (Germany), Enel (Italy) and Electrabel (Belgium) are also involved as project participants. MORE

Business Lobby Resists Ban on ‘Perverse' Emissions - Part 2

Just weeks before the 2010 U.N. COP16 climate talks in Cancún, Europe’s climate Commissioner Connie Hedegaard proposed a ban on all HFC-credits in the European system of emissions trading (ETS) to take effect Jan. 1, 2013. On that date, the second phase of the ETS is due to end, after which new rules could apply.

Industry lobby groups and business organisations resisted the ban. Brussels-based NGOCorporate Europe Observatory made use of Freedom of Information Regulations here to obtain documents and reconstructed the full story.

BusinessEurope is the most influential lobby group in Brussels, representing 40 industrial and employers’ federations from 34 European countries. In October 2010, BusinessEurope’s Director- General Philippe de Buck sent a letter to Hedegaard and Commissioner of Industry and Entrepreneurship Antonio Tajani in which he spells out his opposition to limiting the use of credits from the CDM.

BusinessEurope also made use of a new employee, who had just finished three years of work at the European Commission of Enterprise and Industry. In an email to his former colleagues at the Commission, this employee refers to a recent goodbye drink and expresses his wish to keep on working together in his new lobbying function. In an attachment, he forwarded the position paper of BusinessEurope - which opposes the ban.
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The Economic Benefits of a Green Chemical Industry
in the United States Renewing Manufacturing Jobs While Protecting Health and the Environment
PDF Report.

Study on Benefits of a Green Chemical Industry

James Heintz: People think the EPA can regulate dangerous chemicals, but current legislation is not effective


PAUL JAY, SENIOR EDITOR, TRNN: Welcome to The Real News Network. I'm Paul Jay in Washington. In 1976, an act was passed called the Toxic Substance Control Act. It grandfathered about 62,000 chemicals and, according to most critics, was rather weak in enforcing chemical companies to really disclose to the EPA what their chemicals were made of. It put the burden of proof onto the EPA to prove that these substances would not cause harm, where the chemical companies did not have any burden, really, of proof on them. And as a result, there was a new act that's been proposed. It's called the Safe Chemicals Act of 2011. It was introduced by Senator Lautenberg from New Jersey, and he produced a little video on YouTube to introduce his act. And here's a little clip from it. MORE

Study: Regulating Dangerous Chemicals Does Not Cost Jobs


PAUL JAY, SENIOR EDITOR, TRNN: Welcome to The Real News Network. I'm Paul Jay in Washington. According to a new report, even low-end estimates of health costs of exposure to hazardous industrial chemicals amount to thousands of deaths and billions of dollars. In terms of children's health outcomes, 100 percent of cases of lead poisoning are a result of chemical exposure, 10 to 35 percent of asthma cases, 2 to 10 percent of certain cancers, and 5 to 20 percent of neurological problems. In California, in regard to deaths specifically linked to occupational health and safety factors, 80 to 90 percent of cancer deaths, 100 percent of occupational lung disease deaths, 40 to 50 percent of deaths associated with neurological disorders, and 40 to 50 percent of deaths associated with renal disorders [are] attributable to industrial chemical exposures. As a result of these kinds of statistics, many people are calling for a reform of the Toxic Substance Control Act of 1976. But chemical industry associations and defenders say any reform, any more regulation, will lead to less jobs, more outsourcing of production. Well, a new study by James Heinz and Robert Pollin of the PERI institute, sponsored by the Blue Green Alliance, has actually come to the conclusion that more regulation would lead to more jobs, not less. Now joining us from Amherst, Massachusetts, is one of the authors of that study, James Heinz. Thanks for joining us, James.MORE
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El Salvadoran Government & Social Movements Say No to Monsanto

On the morning of Friday, May 6th President Mauricio Funes of El Salvador’s left-wing FMLN party, arrived at the La Maroma agricultural cooperative in the department of Usulután for a potentially historic meeting with hundreds of small family farmers. Usulután has often been referred to as the country’s bread basket for its fertile soil and capacity for agricultural production, making it one of the most strategic and violent battleground zones during El Salvador’s twelve year civil war between the US-supported government and the FMLN guerrilla movement.

Once again, Usulután has entered the spotlight for its agricultural reputation. The FMLN, which initially formed around an ideology of national liberation from US hegemony, has now adopted the goal of “food sovereignty,” the idea that countries hold the right to define their own agricultural policies, rather than being subject to the whims of international market forces. On Friday, officials representing the Ministry of Agriculture and the local governorship accompanied President Funes in inaugurating a new plan aimed at reactivating the country’s historically ignored rural economy and reversing El Salvador’s growing dependence on imported grains.

The opening ceremony for the new plan was hosted by the Mangrove Association, a non-governmental organization established by members of a grassroots social movement called La Coordinadora del Bajo Lempa y Bahia de Jiquilisco (known locally as La Coordinadora), which has been supporting initiatives for food security and environmental sustainability in Usulután for over 15 years. MORE
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2011 Goldman Prize for South & Central America: Francisco Pineda, El Salvador

Living under the constant threat of assassination, Francisco Pineda courageously led a citizens' movement that stopped a gold mine from destroying El Salvador's dwindling water resources and the livelihoods of rural communities throughout the country. Learn more at http://www.goldmanprize.org/2011/southcentralamerica.

This video is narrated by actor and environmentalist Robert Redford.

The Goldman Environmental Prize is the world's largest award for grassroots environmentalists.

Learn more at http://www.goldmanprize.org

Francisco Pineda
El Salvador Oil & Mining

Living under the constant threat of assassination, Francisco Pineda courageously led a citizens’ movement that stopped a gold mine from destroying El Salvador’s dwindling water resources and the livelihoods of rural communities throughout the country.

Mining and Water

For small farmers and communities in rural El Salvador, water is more valuable than gold. Without country-wide water delivery infrastructure, people in these areas must rely on the bodies of water nearby to feed their crops and sustain their personal needs. However, it is estimated that 90 percent of the country’s surface water bodies are contaminated. Nearly all municipal and industrial wastewater is discharged into rivers and creeks without treatment, reducing clean water availability for rural populations. Only three percent of the country’s natural flowing rivers remain pristine. The clean water that still flows in the Rio Lempa, El Salvador’s longest river with a watershed extending to nearly half of the country, is absolutely essential to the lives and livelihoods of the region’s rural people. A total of four million people rely on this water source.

Mining represents the greatest threat to El Salvador’s water supply. The US-Dominican Republic-Central American Free Trade Agreement (CAFTA) has made doing business in El Salvador easier for foreign companies, and thus exploration permits have been issued for a variety of development projects, including gold and silver mines. Gold mining is notoriously damaging to the environment. Mine operators often employ a process known as cyanide leeching, whereby cyanide, a highly toxic chemical, is mixed with water pulled from local supplies and applied to rock deposits to extract the gold within them. The toxic runoff then spreads to surrounding land and often ends up contaminating rivers, creeks and groundwater. MORE

Goldman Prize Winner Francisco Pineda Risks His Life to Battle Gold Mining Operation

Read more... )


Jan 2011 El Salvador: Fallen Anti-Mining Activists Honored with Vigil

Read more... )

2009 Headlines:

The Story of MARCELO RIVERIA Pacific Rim Silent in Wake of Violence Against Anti-mining Protesters in Cabañas, El Salvador

Read more... )

The Mysterious Death of Marcelo Riveria

Read more... )

El Salvador: Ramiro Rivera Shot to Death in Cabañas

Read more... )

They pay the price for our luxuries.
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Preserving the Future: Indigenous Women in the U.S. and Canada are Taking on Big Oil — and Winning

As executive director of Resisting Environmental Destruction On Indigenous Lands (REDOIL), [Faith] Gemmill is part of a growing network of indigenous women organizing against oil extraction on their lands, both in the U.S. and Canada. In recent years she has focused on halting Shell Oil’s plans to develop offshore drilling in the Chukchi Sea, which borders Alaska’s northwestern coast. Shell leased the area from the U.S. government in 2008 for $2.7 billion, but Gemmill has repeatedly frustrated their attempts to begin exploration. Last year, REDOIL won a lawsuit against Shell, effectively halting production until more studies are completed on the potential environmental impacts of offshore drilling.

The oil industry wields incredible power in communities where exploration is taking place, often dividing residents by offering them economic opportunities—thus complicating activism against the destructive side of the industry’s activities.

“The industry comes into these communities when people are in high school and starts paying men huge amounts of money just to go to trainings—to get them hooked,” says Kandi Mossett, an organizer with the Indigenous Environmental Network. “It causes tension in the community, because while they’re destroying our water supply, they’re also providing jobs.”

While men have jobs in the industry, women have taken on the task of leading the activist fight. “My guess is that 98 percent of the leadership in the activist communities we work with are women,” Mossett says. “It’s not to say that men aren’t worried, but typically they will be the ones working in the industry, on the oil rigs. …I think women recognize that there is an inherent need to do something, because our children are sick and our future is in trouble.”

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The law of Mother Earth: Behind Bolivia's Historic Bill

Indigenous and campesino (small-scale farmer) movements in the Andean nation of Bolivia are on the verge of pushing through one of the most radical environmental bills in global history. The "Mother Earth" law under debate in Bolivia's legislature will almost certainly be approved, as it has already been agreed to by the majority governing party, Movimiento Al Socialismo (MAS).

The law draws deeply on indigenous concepts that view nature as a sacred home, the Pachamama (Mother Earth) on which we intimately depend. As the law states, “Mother Earth is a living dynamic system made up of the undivided community of all living beings, who are all interconnected, interdependent and complementary, sharing a common destiny.”

The law would give nature legal rights, specifically the rights to life, regeneration, biodiversity, water, clean air, balance, and restoration.

The law would give nature legal rights, specifically the rights to life and regeneration, biodiversity, water, clean air, balance, and restoration. Bolivia's law mandates a fundamental ecological reorientation of Bolivia's economy and society, requiring all existing and future laws to adapt to the Mother Earth law and accept the ecological limits set by nature. It calls for public policy to be guided by Sumaj Kawsay (an indigenous concept meaning “living well,” or living in harmony with nature and people), rather than the current focus on producing more goods and stimulating consumption.

In practical terms, the law requires the government to transition from non-renewable to renewable energy; to develop new economic indicators that will assess the ecological impact of all economic activity; to carry out ecological audits of all private and state companies; to regulate and reduce greenhouse gas emissions; to develop policies of food and renewable energy sovereignty; to research and invest resources in energy efficiency, ecological practices, and organic agriculture; and to require all companies and individuals to be accountable for environmental contamination with a duty to restore damaged environments.


Corporate Control? Not in These Communities

Read more... )

What’s So Special About Humans?

Read more... )
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Source: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-africa-13161097

South Africa halts Shell's Karoo gas plans

South Africa's government has halted plans by the oil firm Shell to extract natural gas from the Karoo desert by using a method known as "fracking". The process involves pumping pressurised water, sand and chemicals into the ground to extract the gas.

The cabinet decided to stop the development until the ecological consequences have been studied.

Experts have also warned it [i.e. the fracking] could put an end to South Africa's bid to host the world's biggest radio telescope. The Square Kilometre Array telescope, a multi-million dollar project which could begin construction in 2016, requires an absence of radio interference, which the fracking may cause.

Several government departments will lead the research into whether the semi-arid Karoo region could be damaged by fracking.

"Cabinet has made it very clear that clean environment together with all the ecological aspects will not be compromised," said government spokesperson Jimmy Manyi in a statement.

Shell told the BBC it was going to ask the government to clarify its statement.

August 2017

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