Category Archives: Agriculture

To have impact, the People’s Climate March needs to reach beyond activists

 

File 20170425 22270 6zzjmv

The 2014 People’s Climate March in New York City. Annette Bernhardt/flickr, CC BY-NC-SA

Jill Hopke, DePaul University

Following closely on last week’s March for Science, activists are preparing for the People’s Climate March on Saturday, April 29. This event will mark President Donald Trump’s 100th day in office, and comes as the Trump administration is debating whether the United States should continue to participate in the 2015 Paris Agreement on limiting global carbon emissions. The Conversation

Organizers have worked for over a year to build an intersectional movement that brings together diverse constituencies under the banner of climate justice. They hope to replicate the first People’s Climate March in September 2014, which was the largest climate change mobilization in history. Continue reading

Share

Groups to Probe Why Pruitt Put ”Pesticide Industry Profits Ahead of Children’s Health”

‘Americans have a right to know who influenced the EPA to suddenly reverse course’

By Andrea Germanos, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 4-12-2017

“Americans have a right to know who influenced the EPA to suddenly reverse course and put pesticide industry profits ahead of children’s health,” said Austin Evers, executive director of American Oversight. (Photo: Austin Valley/flickr/cc)

How is it that Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Scott Pruitt came to the decision to reject his own agency’s science and reject a ban the insecticide chlorpyrifos?

Watchdog group American Oversight and advocacy organization Environmental Working Group (EWG) want to know, and are ready to sue to get to the bottom of the matter.

Pruitt’s March 29 decision to deny a 10-year-old petition brought forth by Pesticide Action Network and the Natural Resources Defense Council sparked outrage from public health advocates and environmentalists who say the move—which is what the chemical’s maker, Dow, had wanted—was unacceptable in the face of studies linking the nerve agent to numerous adverse effects, from contaminating water to harming children’s brain development. Continue reading

Share

Environmental activists in Honduras refuse to submit

One year after Berta Cáceres’ murder, indigenous peoples are in revolt, fighting for their rights to exist in a system that has no part for them to play.

By Michael Phoenix. Published 3-3-2017 by ROAR Magazine

Berta Cáceres. Photo: Wikimedia Commons

Let us wake up! Let us wake up, humankind! We’re out of time. We must shake our conscience free of the rapacious capitalism, racism and patriarchy that will only assure our own self-destruction.

These are the words of Berta Cáceres, the community organizer, human rights defender, environmental activist, indigenous Lenca woman, leader and rebel who was shot dead one year ago, on March 3, 2016, by unidentified gunmen at her home in La Esperanza, the capital city of the department of Intibucá in southwestern Honduras.

Berta was a co-founder of the Consejo Cívico de Organizaciones Populares e Indígenas de Honduras (COPINH), an organization fighting neoliberalism and patriarchy in Honduras and working for respect of human rights and the rights of indigenous peoples in particular. She was a long-term opponent of internationally funded exploitative development projects in indigenous territories in Honduras, such as the Agua Zarca hydroelectric dam, set to be built on the territory of the Lenca people in the Río Blanco. Continue reading

Share

Biologists Warn Half of All Species to Face Extinction by 2100, as GOP Pushes to Destroy Protections

Days after Republican lawmakers speechified about dismantling the Endangered Species Act, biologists ring alarm bells about global mass extinction

By Nika Knight, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 2-27-2017

The endangered black-footed ferret is one of many species afforded protections under the 1973 Endangered Species Act. (Photo: J. Michael Lockhart/U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service/flickr/cc)

Today, 20 percent of all species are at risk of being wiped out, scientists at a Vatican conference on biodiversity warn, and that number may rise to nearly 50 percent by the end of the century.

“The living fabric of the world […] is slipping through our fingers without our showing much sign of caring,” warned the conference organizers.

Biologists, ecologists, and economists traveled to Rome from around the world for the workshop titled “How to Save the Natural World on Which We Depend,” which begins Monday, to strategize together on how to limit the mass extinction event caused by rampant over-development, climate change, overpopulation, and unsustainable agricultural practices. Continue reading

Share

An elusive justice—holding parent companies accountable for human rights abuse

A UK judgement on Shell’s operations in Nigeria yet again shows the need to prevent powerful multinationals hiding behind their subsidiaries to dodge accountability for human rights abuses.

By Joe Westby. Published 2-14-2017 by openDemocracy

Local residents survey the aftermath of an oil spill in the Niger River Delta. Photo: Sosialistisk Ungdom/Flickr

Recently, the UK High Court threw out a case brought against oil giant Shell by two impoverished communities in the Niger Delta. It is a blow to the communities in their struggle for justice after suffering years of devastating oil spills.

But the judgement also has wider implications for corporate accountability, making it more difficult to bring future legal cases against UK companies that abuse human rights abroad. As such, the ruling goes to the heart of a situation in which multinational corporations enjoy an impunity that is sharply at odds with their enormous profits and power. It further demonstrates the need for legal reforms that actually improve access of victims of corporate abuse to courts in jurisdictions where large corporations are based (the ‘home’ state). Continue reading

Share

Buoyed by DAPL Fight, Canadian Chiefs Launch Legal Battle Against Enbridge Pipeline

Oil pipeline will face fierce opposition in Canada as well as in the United States, where the permitting process is currently underway

By Lauren McCauley, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 12-30-2016

“Just as Indigenous Peoples are showing unwavering strength down at Standing Rock, our peoples are not afraid and are ready to do what needs to be done to stop the pipelines and protect our water and our next generations,” Grand Chief Derek Nepinak, pictured here, said after the Enbridge Line 3 expansion was announced.(Photo: Derek Nepinak/Facebook)

Buoyed by the success of Indigenous resistance to the Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL), a coalition of Canadian First Nation chiefs have launched legal action against the Trudeau government for its recent approval of the Enbridge Line 3 expansion.

Derek Nepinak, grand chief of the Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs, wrote on Facebook Wednesday that the group’s legal team filed an appeal in federal court challenging the approval, which Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced late last month in tandem with the expansion of Kinder Morgan Trans Mountain pipeline. Continue reading

Share

North Dakota’s Public Bank Was Built for the People—Now It’s Financing Police at Standing Rock

The nation’s only state bank was created to empower small farmers and local economies, but now it’s being used to silence indigenous people with militarized force. How did this happen?

By . Published 12-14-2016 by YES! Magazine

Photo by Adam Johansson

In 1918 in Bismarck, North Dakota, populist socialism won big: The Nonpartisan League, a political party founded by poor farmers and former labor organizers, captured both houses of the North Dakota Legislature. Farmers had been badly hurt by big banks charging double-digit interest rates and by grain companies that operated every elevator along the railroad route, underpaying and cheating the farmers. In response, the new government created the publicly owned Bank of North Dakota (BND) and the North Dakota Mill and Elevator. Both institutions epitomize American public cooperativism, creating democratic checks on private interests’ ability to manipulate financial and agricultural markets. The Bank of North Dakota, in particular, created a firewall against the destructive practices of Wall Street banks, a firewall that went on to protect the state from the worst effects of the financial downturns of the next hundred years. Continue reading

Share

Trump’s Advisers Want to Privatize Native Lands for Big Energy: Reuters

Co-chairs of Native American Affairs Coalition say they want to ‘take tribal land away from public treatment’

By Nadia Prupis, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 12-5-2016

Coming just as Native American water protectors cautiously celebrate a hard-fought victory against the Dakota Access Pipeline, the proposal is another example of Trump's incendiary and divisive policies. (Photo: Revolution Messaging/flickr/cc)

Coming just as Native American water protectors cautiously celebrate a hard-fought victory against the Dakota Access Pipeline, the proposal is another example of Trump’s incendiary and divisive policies. (Photo: Revolution Messaging/flickr/cc)

President-elect Donald Trump’s advisers are aiming to privatize Native American reservations that contain about a fifth of the nation’s oil and gas, Reuters reports.

Two chairmen of Trump’s Native American Affairs Coalition told the outlet that they want to put those lands into private ownership, a proposal that would upend historic policies put into place to preserve Indigenous sovereignty. The plan would deregulate drilling, which the coalition says would benefit the tribes who currently have the rights to use the land, but do not own it. In addition to holding about 20 percent of the nation’s oil and gas, the lands also include vast coal reserves—all worth an estimated $1.5 trillion. Continue reading

Share

Dakota Access Pipeline Permit Denied

‘For the first time in Native American history, they heard our voices.’

By Nika Knight, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 12-4-2016

The water protectors have been battling the pipeline construction for months. (Photo: Joe Brusky/Overpass Light Brigade/flickr/cc)

The water protectors have been battling the pipeline construction for months. (Photo: Joe Brusky/Overpass Light Brigade/flickr/cc)

In a long-awaited victory for the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has denied a permit for the Dakota Access Pipeline, tribal leadership announced late Sunday.

The agency will not allow the pipeline to be built under Lake Oahe, a reservoir near the tribal reservation, without a full environmental impact assessment that examines alternative routes for the pipeline. Continue reading

Share

Police Blast #NoDAPL Activists With Water Cannons in Sub-Freezing Temps

“Water cannons. Rubber bullets. Mace. Flash grenades. It’s an army vs. unarmed people who only want to protect their water and graves”

By Nika Knight, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 11-21-2016

Water protectors stand tall and remain peaceful while law enforcement soaks them with water cannons in below-freezing temperatures. (Photo: Tara Houska/Twitter)

Water protectors stand tall and remain peaceful while law enforcement soaks them with water cannons in below-freezing temperatures. (Photo: Tara Houska/Twitter)

Law enforcement unleashed percussion grenades, rubber bullets, tear gas, and water cannons in sub-freezing temperatures on peaceful water protectors battling the controversial Dakota Access Pipeline in North Dakota late Sunday.

An activist’s drone captured the onslaught:

bamksytwt

And Native American news outlet lastrealindians.com showed the scene from the ground, with water protectors peacefully standing and chanting “water is life” as they were soaked by a water cannon:

lritwt

The Morton County Sheriff’s Department’s assault came in response to Indigenous activists’ attempts to clear away the husks of two burned-out cars on Highway 1806, which leads to the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe’s main protest camp, said the Indigenous Environmental Network’s Dallas Goldtooth:

Independent outlet Unicorn Riot, which had reporters on the ground throughout the six-hour standoff, said that over 160 people were injured. Those injured included a 13-year-old-girl who was shot in the face by rubber bullets, two people who suffered cardiac arrest, and multiple cases of hypothermia as a result of the water cannons, the outlet reported.

“Water cannons. Rubber bullets. Mace. Flash grenades. It’s an army vs. unarmed people who only want to protect their water and graves,” commented Indian Country Today writer Ruth Hopkins.

Water protectors and supporters posted photos and updates from the scene on Twitter throughout the night:

thouskatwt

uriottwt

jfoxtwt

The astonishing show of force was only the latest in a series of violent assaults from law enforcement targeting the peaceful Indigenous activists taking a stand to protect their drinking water and sacred sites.

And this latest attack “comes at a difficult time for Indigenous activists at the camps,” as the Guardian writes.

“We have a very harsh day coming up now,” Standing Rock Sioux Tribe chairman Dave Archambault II told the newspaper. “In my family we never celebrated Thanksgiving. It was always a day of mourning for the day that genocide began on this continent. This all just goes to prove what we’re talking about.”

Despite the sustained protest and violence from law enforcement, the pipeline construction company is still refusing to consider rerouting the Dakota Access Pipeline. “There’s not another way. We’re building at that location,” Energy Transfer Partners CEO Kelcy Warren told CBS News.

Activists and environmental groups are calling on President Barack Obama to step in and take action—before President-elect Donald Trump takes office.

Greenpeace spokesperson Mary Sweeters said Tuesday: “Law enforcement put people’s lives in danger last night as water protectors attempted to clear a path for emergency services to reach the camp. President Obama must step in to stop the pipeline and end the violence immediately. This is about standing up for Indigenous people’s rights and sovereignty. This is about ensuring Standing Rock’s survival by protecting its water supply and land. It is time to do the right thing before more damage is done.”

Share