Published: Thursday 6 December 2012
From Typhoon Bopha in the Philippines to Superstorm Sandy in the United States, the web of climate activists is not tangled, but growing stronger, leading the way.

 

The 18th U.N. climate-change summit is taking place in the small but immensely wealthy Gulf emirate of Qatar, the largest per capita emitter of greenhouse gases in the world. Delegates, press, dignitaries and the legions of low-paid, foreign guest workers here at the opulent Qatar National Convention Center all pass under an enormous spider, a 30-foot-high cast-bronze statue called “Maman,” by the French-American sculptor Louise Bourgeois. It was chosen by the emir’s wife, and snapped up for a reported $10 million. The Obama administration has been accused, rightly, of derailing the UN climate negotiations in recent years, which makes the spider an appropriate symbol, as famously described by the lines from an 1808 poem by Sir Walter Scott,

“Oh! what a tangled web we weave

When first we practice to deceive!”

Here at the summit, referred to as the COP 18 (18th Conference of Parties), I met up with climate scientist Bill Hare, one of the lead authors of a new World Bank report, “Turn Down the Heat: Why a 4 Degree C Warmer World Must Be Avoided.” With the U.S. media focused on the so-called fiscal cliff, I asked Hare how the world’s historically largest emitter of greenhouse gases, the United States, could be expected to contribute to a global fund to combat climate change:

“We have a climate cliff. ... We’re facing a carbon tsunami, ...

Published: Sunday 18 November 2012
Global warming caused by our use of fossil fuels is already driving climate change and extreme weather events.

Hanging from an oil platform in the Russian Arctic one day last August, I was hosed by a jet of water from above so icy it almost cut through the skin on my face. My hands and feet were blue from the cold. Though I was wrapped in layers of waterproof gear, freezing water trickled into the small openings around my neck. My body was under extreme stress, and I was sinking into a state of confusion. Suddenly I wasn’t so sure that joining this Greenpeace action was the best decision I could have made. Then I thought of the supporters who joined Save the Arctic to tell the oil industry, with a united voice, not to drill in this pristine environment. They kept me warm.

Global warming caused by our use of fossil fuels is already driving climate change and extreme weather events. From drought in South Africa to severe flooding in the Philippines to the devastation of Hurricane Sandy, our planet is sending us warnings that could not be clearer. And the Arctic ice is melting, reaching a record summer low this year.

Scientists see that as evidence that the climate is changing faster than anyone predicted. Big Oil sees it as an opportunity to exploit.

“Cognitive dissonance” describes the response of our political leaders. They know we must quickly curb our addiction to fossil fuels to avoid a climate change tipping point. But they open up the Arctic, or the Tar Sands in Canada, to oil companies that want to squeeze out a few more billion in profits while the going’s good. They are selling our future and letting the next generation pick up the tab.

Fortunately, many people see the absurdity of actions like exploiting melting sea ice to drill for more oil. And some are taking action. Last year a major movement organized to delay approval of the Keystone XL pipeline, which would have carried dirty tar sands oil from Canada all the way to refineries in the Gulf of Mexico. Over a ...

Published: Saturday 10 November 2012
“I want to start by talking openly about taking responsibility for our actions.”

I’ve had it. Enough with the phone calls, emails and Facebook entreaties for money to pay bail to get someone out of jail for their part in a civil resistance action. Let me explain why I think this is such a big problem.

I want to start by talking openly about taking responsibility for our actions. For the moment, let’s put aside the discussion about our (in)justice system generally — though there is plenty to say about the criminalization of dissent, the inequalities of society reflected in who makes up the prison population, the non-correctional nature of these institutions, the need to bear witness inside the criminal injustice complex and more. All that being the case, however, let’s focus on the potential risks and consequences of engaging in civil disobedience. Where does jail time fit as a legitimate and even critical piece of resistance campaign strategy?

For the first 10 years or so that I participated in nonviolent direct action — mostly against nuclear weapons — the affinity groups I was part of never even considered paying into the system with fines and bail; we recognized that the system was the problem, so we refused to pay into it. We often operated with solidarity agreements in our affinity groups that empowered those who absolutely needed to be bailed out if arrested to do so, but we encouraged all who could stay in to do just that with the hope of overcrowding the cells or wreaking havoc on business as usual until we were released for time served. It was also true that most of us had lots of time and no money, so the practice of remaining in jail suited us. It often stressed the authorities to the point where they would release us before we had expected just to get rid of us.

Over the past two decades, it has become an ever more common strategy to reduce jail time whenever possible. It has become the default expectation for activists to get bailed out. My ...

Published: Tuesday 23 October 2012
With climate change already contributing to 400,000 deaths each year and costing $1.2 trillion to economies worldwide, such dubious doubt-peddling should be considered criminal.

The octopus has a remarkable ability - it can blend seamlessly with its surroundings changing its appearance to mimic plants, rocks or even other animals.

Similarly deceptive is an upcoming junk study from a Koch-funded think tank that has taken on the format and appearance of a truly scientific report from the US Government, but is loaded with lies and misrepresentation of actual climate change science. The false report is a tentacle of the Kochtopus - with oil and industrial billionaires Charles and David Koch at the head.

The report’s disgraced author, Patrick Michaels, has made his largely undistinguished career shilling for fossil fuel interestes, including his stay at the Cato Institute, which published the counterfeit report. After 

Published: Sunday 9 September 2012
“The implications for global climate and weather, and for animals and people in the North, are enormous.”

Arctic sea ice has already melted to a record low this year, in thickness and extent. And summer’s not over yet. According to the U.S. National Snow and Ice Data Center, record melt has occurred for the past six years. Both the NSIDC and the European Space Agency say ice is thinning at a rate 50 percent faster than scientists predicted, mainly because of global warming and that summer Arctic ice could soon disappear altogether.

 

The implications for global climate and weather, and for animals and people in the North, are enormous. One would think the urgency of this development would draw a swift and collaborative response from government, industry, media and the public. Instead, news media have downplayed the issue, the only mention made of climate change at the recent Republican National Convention was to mock the science, and many government and industry leaders are rubbing their hands in glee at the thought of oil and gas extraction opportunities and shipping routes that will open up as the ice disappears.

 

We just don’t get it. As ice melts, more of the sun’s energy, which would normally be reflected back by the ice, is absorbed by the dark water, speeding up global climate change and warming the oceans. The Arctic is now heating at almost twice the rate as the rest of Earth. There’s also the danger that methane could be released as ice and permafrost melt. It’s a greenhouse gas far more potent than carbon dioxide, so this would accelerate global warming even further. ...

Published: Tuesday 4 September 2012
“Politicians, including Mitt Romney and Barack Obama, serve the demented ends of corporations that will, until the final flicker of life, attempt to profit from our death spiral.”

I retreat in the summer to the mountains and coasts of Maine and New Hampshire to sever myself from the intrusion of the industrial world. It is in the woods and along the rugged Atlantic coastline, the surf thundering into the jagged rocks, that I am reminded of our insignificance before the universe and the brevity of human life. The stars, thousands visible in the night canopy above me, mock human pretensions of grandeur. They whisper the biblical reminder that we are dust and to dust we shall return. Love now, they tell us urgently, protect what is sacred, while there is still time. But now I go there also to mourn. I mourn for our future, for the fading majesty of the natural world, for the folly of the human species. The planet is dying. And we will die with it.

The giddy, money-drenched, choreographed carnival in Tampa and the one coming up in Charlotte divert us from the real world—the one steadily collapsing around us. The glitz and propaganda, the ridiculous obsessions imparted by our electronic hallucinations, and the spectacles that pass for political participation mask the deadly ecological assault by the corporate state. The worse it gets, the more we retreat into self-delusion. We convince ourselves that global warming ...

Published: Sunday 26 August 2012
The Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) published a report Monday urging the U.S. government to oppose Shell’s drilling, citing concern, along with other green groups, about Shell’s inability to clean up and prevent oil spills.

By mid-September, the Royal Dutch Shell Oil (Shell) group hopes to begin exploratory oil drilling in the Arctic Ocean off the coast of northern Alaska, provided it can secure federal permission from the U.S. government and overcome other logistical obstacles. But a prominent environmental group warns that drilling will do “irreparable damage” to the area.

The Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) published a report Monday urging the U.S. government to oppose Shell’s drilling, citing concern, along with other green groups, about Shell’s inability to clean up and prevent oil spills.

Pro-Shell groups and the Republican party criticize these organizations, however. They argue that oil found in the Arctic Ocean will lead to cheaper energy resources for more than a decade for the United States.

Shell has admitted that it cannot effectively clean up oil spills, and that its response barge, Arctic Challenger, may not be able to endure an Arctic storm.

Greenpeace Lead Arctic Campaigner Jackie Dragon was harsh in her criticism of Shell’s proposed venture.

“Shell can’t keep its drill rig under control in a protected harbor, so what will happen when it faces 20-foot swells and sea ice while drilling in the Arctic?” asked Dragon. “The company has admitted its drill rig can’t meet the standards required to avoid polluting Arctic air” and has “broken promises about its oil spill response plan and Arctic storm preparedness”.

“Shell cannot be trusted, and President Obama should not let its Arctic drilling program move forward,” said Dragon.

Shell, on the other hand, is hoping to make the most of a fast-shrinking summer drilling timeline. If the company begins ...

Published: Wednesday 1 August 2012
“The Shell project in the Arctic, originally slated to start this month, has faced numerous setbacks in its operations.”

Many environmental groups are concerned over a possible extension of drilling expeditions in the Arctic, as oil companies, including Royal Dutch Shell, are set to begin drilling in the region as early as this week.

Shell is planning to open three exploratory wells in Alaska: One in the Chukchi Sea off the state’s northwestern coast, and two in the Beaufort Sea off the northern coast, after delays in production caused by a myriad of factors, including warm weather and production lapses.

An extension of a drilling window would allow the company to drill in the Arctic past the previously agreed-upon deadline of Sep. 24 in the Chukchi Sea, and the end of October in the Beaufort Sea.

Some environmental activists, however, say that the extension of the drilling window is no more than an attempt to make up for lost time.

“It would be really disturbing attempt to move the goal posts,” Travis Nichols, a media officer at Greenpeace, said to IPS. “They haven’t been able to get their fleet in order. They want to change the rules to get the administration to cater to their needs.”

The Shell project in the Arctic, originally slated to start this month, has faced numerous setbacks in its operations.

In June, a Shell drilling-rig, named the Noble Discoverer, did not meet Environmental Protection Agency emission standards, because its generator engines contained higher-than-allowed amounts of nitrous oxide and ammonia.

Earlier this month, the ship, anchored in Alaska’s Dutch Harbor, drifted off its moorings and came within 100 feet of reaching the shore.

“They clearly cannot ensure safety in the Arctic,” Dan Howells, deputy campaigns director at Greenpeace, said in a statement. According to Howells, by extending the drilling window, it “is inviting major catastrophe in one of the ...

Published: Sunday 22 July 2012
The Obama administration has set a deadline for next month to decide on whether to grant the final drilling permits.

As the oil giant Shell prepares to begin exploratory drilling in the Arctic, activists across the world have begun holding protests. The Obama administration has set a deadline for next month to decide on whether to grant the final drilling permits. Over the last decade, Arctic Alaska has become the most contested land in recent U.S. history. But in addition to oil, natural gas and coal, the arctic is rich in biodiversity, and has been home to generations of indigenous people for thousands of years. We're joined by Subhankar Banerjee, a renowned photographer, writer and activist who has spent the past decade working to conserve the Arctic and raise awareness about human rights and climate change. Banerjee is editor of the newly published book, "Arctic Voices: Resistance at the Tipping Point," and has just won the "2012 Lannan Foundation Cultural Freedom Award."

 

Transcript

JUAN GONZÁLEZ: Oil giant Royal Dutch Shell’s plans to drill in the Alaskan Arctic drew more protests this week when one of its ships almost ran aground there Saturday. The Noble Discoverer is one of two vessels that will drill exploratory oil wells in the Chukchi and Beaufort Seas this summer. Activists with Greenpeace forced dozens of Shell sites to temporarily shut down this week as part of a ...

Published: Friday 6 July 2012
“Fulfillment of the U.N. resolution to end deep sea bottom fishing; an end to overfishing, including the suspension of fishing in some cases until stocks have recovered; requirement that regional fisheries management bodies be accountable to the United Nations.”

When South Korea, one of Asia’s rising economic powerhouses, decided to host the international exhibition Expo 2012 in the coastal town of Yeosu, it picked a theme high on the agenda of the just-concluded Rio+20 summit on sustainable development: the living ocean.

The entire focus of Expo 2012, which completes its three month run Aug. 21, is on the protection of the world’s maritime resources, including overfishing, chemical pollution and warming oceans.

And by accident or by design, the protection of the world’s oceans was one of the few key success stories to come out of the Rio+20 summit in its final plan of action titled “The Future We Want” adopted by world leaders last month.

Nathalie Rey, political advisor on oceans at Greenpeace International, told IPS one of the few concrete things on the table at Rio that went beyond business-as-usual was an ...

Published: Sunday 1 July 2012
Shell has faced more legal prosecutions for safety and environmental transgressions than any other major oil company drilling offshore in the North Sea.

With virtually no infrastructure available to clean up an oil spill in the sensitive Arctic, the Obama Administration is still pushing to get offshore drilling projects developed in the region.

What’s the messaging strategy from the Administration? Trust Shell.

Talking to reporters about exploration permits for Arctic waters yesterday, Interior Secretary Ken Salazar summed up the Administration’s approach: “I believe there’s not going to be an oil spill.”

Really?

Shell has faced more legal prosecutions for safety and environmental transgressions than any other major oil company drilling offshore in the North Sea.

And let’s remember, the Arctic is a place where the Coast Guard has warned “if [a spill] were to happen … we’d have nothing. We’re starting from ground zero today.”

Heck, even one of the world’s largest insurance pools refuses to back offshore drilling operations in the Arctic, saying the environment is “highly sensitive to damage” and that the risk is “hard to manage.”

Discussing the technique of foreshadowing, Russian playwright ...

Published: Monday 25 June 2012
“The Nature of Things,” seen in more than 40 countries, Suzuki has helped educate millions about the rich biodiversity of the planet and the threats it faces from human-driven global warming.

As the Rio+20 Earth Summit -- the largest U.N. conference ever -- ends in disappointment, we're joined by the leading Canadian scientist, environmentalist and broadcaster David Suzuki. As host of the long-running CBC program, "The Nature of Things," seen in more than 40 countries, Suzuki has helped educate millions about the rich biodiversity of the planet and the threats it faces from human-driven global warming. In 1990 he co-founded the David Suzuki Foundation which focuses on sustainable ecology and in 2009, he was awarded the Right Livelihood Award. Suzuki joins from the summit in Rio de Janeiro to talk about the climate crisis, the student protests in Quebec, his childhood growing up in an internment camp, and his daughter Severn's historic speech at the Rio Earth Summit in 1992 when she was 12 years-old. "If we don't see that we are utterly embedded in the natural world and dependent on Mother Nature for our very well-being and survival ... then our priorities will continue to be driven by man-made constructs like national borders, economies, corporations, markets. Those are all human created things. They shouldn't dominate the way we live -- it should be the biosphere. And the leaders in that should be indigenous people who still have that sense that the earth is truly our mother, that it gives birth to us. You don't treat your mother the way we treat the planet or the biosphere today."

Transcript

Published: Thursday 21 June 2012
“17-year-old environmental activist Brittany Trilford addressed more than a hundred heads of state at the opening plenary of the Rio+20 U.N. Earth Summit.”

On Wednesday, 17-year-old environmental activist Brittany Trilford of Wellington, New Zealand, addressed more than a hundred heads of state at the opening plenary of the Rio+20 U.N. Earth Summit, the largest United Nations gathering ever. "We are all aware that time is ticking, and we are quickly running out," Trilford said. "You have 72 hours to decide the fate of your children, my children, my children’s children. And I start the clock now."

Transcript:

JUAN GONZÁLEZ: Leaders from more than a hundred countries are gathered in Brazil for the Rio+20 Earth Summit, the largest United Nations conference ever. The gathering comes 20 years after the 1992 U.N. Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro, when leaders pledged to protect the planet by endorsing treaties on biodiversity and climate change. Since then, few of the development goals have been reached in areas like food security, water, global warming and energy. On Wednesday, Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff welcomed world leaders under a cloud of criticism that this new summit will fall far short of its promise to establish new goals.

PRESIDENT DILMA 

Published: Wednesday 13 June 2012
Congress had moved quickly to pass bills on water safety and bioterrorism, and the EPA thought it was “on the right track” to pass a bill on chemical security as well.

Christine Todd Whitman, Environmental Protection Agency chief under George W. Bush, urged the EPA Tuesday to use its authority under the Clean Air Act to impose stricter safety standards on American chemical facilities vulnerable to accidents or terrorist attacks.

“I cannot understand why we have not seen some action when the consequences of something happening are so potentially devastating,” Whitman said in a teleconference that included representatives of labor and environmental groups.  

As Bush’s EPA administrator, Whitman was prepared to unveil a proposal requiring chemical plants to use safer processes in the months after 9/11. Under the Clean Air Act’s general duty clause, Whitman said, the EPA had the authority to require hazard reduction at facilities at risk of catastrophic chemical releases.

But the plan was scuttled by the White House, which maintained that chemical hazards could be better addressed by legislation, Whitman said. Congress had moved quickly to pass bills on water safety and bioterrorism, and the EPA thought it was “on the right track” to pass a bill on chemical security as well.

Bob Bostock, Whitman’s homeland security adviser at the time, said EPA officials expected litigation from the chemical industry if it used the general duty clause. “It wasn’t so much that we were afraid we’d lose the litigation,” Bostock said. “We didn’t want to be tied up in litigation for years and years, leaving this unaddressed.”

Legislation never came. Now, Whitman and others are pressing the EPA to act on its own. In March, the National Environmental Justice Advisory Council wrote a 

Published: Friday 8 June 2012
Back in 2010 marine geochemist Chris Reddy and environmental engineer Richard Camilli pinged the plume of spilt oil in Gulf Coast waters with sonar.

 

An op-ed written by two Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute, or WHOI, scientists in The Boston Globe this week is heating up a debate about how chilly legal scrutiny can be when it comes to ocean science.

Back in 2010 marine geochemist Chris Reddy and environmental engineer Richard Camilli pinged the plume of spilt oil in Gulf Coast waters with sonar. Remote-operated vehicles thousands of feet below the ocean’s surface helped tell them where the oil was. They analyzed the makeup of that subsurface plume to figure out what kind of light, aromatic hydrocarbons were in it. They calculated an average flow rate of 57,000 barrels of oil a day, for a total release of 4.9 million barrels of oil.

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Published: Wednesday 30 May 2012
Although the report does warn that the future of “unconventional” forms of natural gas would be significantly hindered if environmental concerns are not directly addressed, advocacy groups are warning that the IEA should not be focusing attention on increased fossil fuel consumption at this time.

The report, released on Tuesday, came under sharp criticism from environmental groups for charting a route to a "golden age" in the extraction and use of natural gas. 

 

As governments around the world are barraged with new applications for exploiting gas deposits, the full implementation of these recommendations could indeed lead to far greater oversight and lessened environmental impact. 

 

However, only very late in the report does the IEA, a Paris-based intergovernmental organization, note that such use could lead to a rise in world temperatures "of more than 3.5 degrees Celsius … well above the widely accepted 2 (degree Celsius) target" set by the United Nations. 

 

Although the report does warn that the future of "unconventional" forms of natural gas would be significantly hindered if environmental concerns are not directly addressed, advocacy groups are warning that the IEA should not be focusing attention on increased fossil fuel consumption at this time. 

 

"Drilling for shale and other unconventional gas would put the world on course for catastrophic climate change – incomprehensible when we have clean energy solutions at our fingertips like wind and solar power," said Tony Bosworth, with Friends of the Earth. 

 

"Our changing climate is already leaving millions hungry, destroying wildlife and costing our own economy billions – more fossil fuels will just make that worse." 

 

Much has been made of the unexpected boom in natural gas production in recent years, brought about by new technologies able to ...

Published: Wednesday 30 May 2012
“LKQ has never engaged with The Heartland Institute on any issues related to climate change.”

LKQ, an auto-parts company that had been a major contributor to the Heartland Institute, has decided to end their association with climate denial. According to calculations by Forecast the Facts, their decision means that the Heartland Institute has now lost over $1 million in expected corporate support for 2012 from 19 different corporations. According to leaked documents, Heartland expected LKQ to contribute $150,000 in 2012.

LKQ announced last week on its Facebook page that it decided to “immediately sever all ties to the group”:

LKQ has never engaged with The Heartland Institute on any issues related to climate change. In fact, LKQ Corporation is an inherently green company whose widespread, large-scale recycling efforts conserve energy and preserve valuable natural resources.

LKQ informed The Heartland Institute on May 8 of its decision to immediately sever all ties to the group. We believe that this is an appropriate step that serves our company and its shareholders.

LKQ’s Facebook announcement was overshadowed by the Heartland Institute’s climate-denial conference in Chicago, which garnered the public support of the Illinois Coal Association. As Climate Progress reported, the conference featured birther jokes and conspiracy theories, but not a single climate scientist.

Published: Monday 7 May 2012
Published: Thursday 22 March 2012
“Clearing the forests also causes major harm to the local and global environments by eroding the soil, causing flooding, reducing biodiversity, and releasing climate-warming carbon stored by forests into the atmosphere.”

Criminal justice personnel should deploy the same tools they use to fight drug trafficking and money laundering to investigate, prosecute and punish the kingpins behind large-scale illegal logging, according to the 56-page report.

Such efforts should complement preventive measures, including educating consumers about the problem, promoting legal reforms governing forest tenure and timber rights, and using certification and related methods to make it easier to differentiate between legal and illegally logged timber.

While preventive efforts have enjoyed a sharp increase in international and public attention and support in recent years, they have until now had relatively "little impact" in curbing the problem, according to the report, "Justice for Forests: Improving Criminal Justice Efforts to Combat Illegal Logging".

While "preventive actions against illegal logging are critical," said Magda Lovei, the Bank's sector manager, "we also know that they are insufficient."

"The overall message of this paper is that law enforcement (investigation, prosecution, imprisonment, and the confiscation of illegal proceeds) can no longer be shunted into a corner," according to the report. "Rather, it needs to form part of an integrated and sustainable solution to the problem of illegal logging," it said.

Some environmental groups active in exposing illegal logging said the report should prompt the Bank take a closer look at how its own operations may be contributing to the problem.

"While it is a step in the right direction for the World Bank to look at what actions are needed to curb illegal logging, what is really needed is for the Bank to look at its own role in financing industrial-scale operations that benefit from legal and illegal clearance of rainforests," Lindsey Allen, forests programme director at Rainforest Action Network, told IPS.

"When we ...

Published: Saturday 10 December 2011
A large crowd of activists took over the COP17 international climate negotiations taking place in Durban, South Africa.

With the cry “mic check!” a large crowd of activists took over the COP17 international climate negotiations taking place in Durban, South Africa. “Listen to the people, not the polluters,” they cried, before repeating a plea from the delegation of the small island nation of the Maldives: “Please save us.” The occupiers were also addressed by Greenpeace International president Kumi Naidoo. After sitting down and refusing to move, the occupiers were escorted out by security. 

Published: Wednesday 7 December 2011
A Greenpeace Report details how these corporations not only derail national legislation on climate change across the globe, but are also gaining privileged access to the global negotiations like these crucial United Nations talks in Durban.

High above the pavement, overlooking Durban’s famous South Beach and the pounding surf of the Indian Ocean, and just blocks from the United Nations Climate Change Conference, where up to 20,000 people gathered, seven activists fought against the wind to unfurl a banner that read “Listen to the People, Not the Polluters.” It was no simple task. Despite the morning sun and blue sky, the wind was ferocious, and the group hanging the banner wasn’t exactly welcome. They were with Greenpeace, hanging off the roof of the Protea Hotel Edward.

Inside, executives gathered at the World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD), an organization that touts itself as “a CEO-led organization of forward-thinking companies that galvanizes the global business community to create a sustainable future for business, society and the environment.” Down at street level, as the police gathered and scores held signs and banners and sang in solidarity with the climbers, Kumi Naidoo lambasted the WBCSD, labeling it one of Greenpeace’s “Dirty Dozen.”

Naidoo is no stranger to action on the streets of Durban. While he is now the executive director of Greenpeace International, one of the largest and most visible global environmental organizations, in 1980, at the age of 15, he was one of millions of South Africans fighting against the racist apartheid regime. He was thrown out of high school and eventually had to go underground. He emerged in England, living in exile, and went on to become a Rhodes scholar. Naidoo has long struggled for human rights, against poverty and for action to combat climate change.

A colleague and I scrambled up to the roof to film as the seven banner-hanging activists were arrested. South African climber Michael Baillie, one of them, told me: “Our goal here today was to highlight how governments are ...

Published: Monday 5 December 2011
Democracy Now! got an inside look at one action staged by Greenpeace to hang a banner off of a Durban hotel where a meeting of the World Business Council for Sustainable Development was taking place.

Environmental groups in Durban have staged a series of actions in recent days calling on world leaders to agree to a just climate change deal. Democracy Now! got an inside look at one action staged by Greenpeace to hang a banner off of a Durban hotel where a meeting of the World Business Council for Sustainable Development was taking place, bringing together representatives from a number of large corporations and delegates to the U.N. Climate Change Conference. The banner read: "Listen to the people, not the polluters." "Our goal today was to highlight how governments are being unduly influenced by a handful of evil corporations who returned to adversely influence the climate negotiations happening here in Durban," says Michael Baillie with Greenpeace Africa. "They're holding climate hostage."

Published: Tuesday 16 August 2011
“Oil pipelines and tankers will give people jobs, but if there is an oil spill like the [BP spill] in the Gulf of Mexico, that will take other people’s jobs and the wildlife will die”

Ten-year-old Ta’Kaiya Blaney stood outside Enbridge Northern Gateway’s office on July 6, waiting for officials to grant her access to the building. She thought she could hand deliver an envelope containing an important message about the company’s pipeline construction. But the doors remained locked.

“I don’t know what they find so scary about me,” she said, as she was ushered off the property by security guards. “I just want them to hear what I have to say.”

The Sliammon First Nation youth put in a great effort learning about environmental issues and the pipeline in particular, and hoped to share her knowledge and carefully crafted words. Enbridge officials said they were unable to provide Ta’Kaiya space or time and failed to comment because the Vancouver office is staffed by a limited number of technical personnel. Their headquarters are located in Calgary.

So Ta’Kaiya stood outside, accompanied by three members of Greenpeace, her mother, and a number of reporters and sang her song “Shallow Waters.” The song’s video has hit YouTube and been viewed more than 53,000 times.


“Oil pipelines and tankers will give people jobs, but if there is an oil spill like the [BP spill] in the Gulf of Mexico, that will take other people’s jobs and the wildlife will die,” said Ta’Kaiya.She co-wrote her song after learning of Enbridge’s bid to build twin 1,170 km pipelines to transport oil from the Alberta tar sands to British Columbia’s north coast. Like the proposed 

Published: Monday 1 August 2011
"The plant, which was completed but never fuelled, is considered the Philippines’s biggest white elephant."

Environmental groups hope that a mothballed nuclear power plant on Bataan peninsula will become a major tourist attraction and earn green dollars for the country.

An exploratory eco-tour for journalists, nature lovers and adventure sports enthusiasts has already been launched to the Bataan Nuclear Power Plant (BNPP), 100 km west of the national capital, with support from Greenpeace and local non-government organisations (NGOs).

The plant, which was completed but never fuelled, is considered the Philippines’s biggest white elephant.

"Greenpeace supports the decision to finally turn the BNPP into something more practical: a monument to remind people of the inherent dangers of nuclear power," said Francis de la Cruz, campaigner for Greenpeace in Southeast Asia.

"There really is no point in trying to revive it as a power plant, which will only cost the Filipino people more – not just in terms of rehabilitation and operation, but also in terms of health, environment impacts, disaster preparedness, and sustainable development," de la Cruz said.

Greenpeace initiated the tour after the Department of Tourism (DOT) announced intention to transform the plant into a tourist attraction.

DOT director Ronald Tiotuico announced that the plant would be included in a tour package as a "reminder of how nuclear energy throughout the world menacingly threatens the quality of life of the people if handled incorrectly."

The tour package will also include historical sites and beach resorts in the Bataan area.

Part of the tour took visitors close to a massive reactor where uranium was supposed to be installed.

Ding Fuellos, a social development management practitioner who joined the tour, said everyone was excited to enter the facility since it was normally off-limits to visitors.

"It was the first time I saw a uranium capsule and a nuclear reactor. Now that is something that I ...

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