Tag Archives: Water

Latin America shows why ecocide must be an international crime

Every state has an interest in prosecuting those who destroy our planet – we must ensure there are no ‘safe havens’

By Rodrigo Lledó. Published 5-21-2024 by openDemocracy

A lithium mine in Chile Photo: Reinhard Jahn/CC

Before leaving power in 1990, Chilean general and dictator Augusto Pinochet created a legal framework that guaranteed him absolute impunity. It didn’t work. He was arrested on charges of genocide and terrorism in London in 1998 by order of the Spanish justice system and, upon his return to Chile, finally had to face justice.

Years later, I had the opportunity to lead a team of public lawyers trying nearly 900 cases of crimes against humanity during the Chilean dictatorship. Though Pinochet was already dead, his accomplices had to be duly judged. But decades after his rule, human rights continue to be routinely violated in Latin America, often for defending the environment.

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Global Tribunal Issues ‘Historic’ Ruling for Oceans and Small Island Nations

“Protecting the global commons of the oceans and atmosphere is a matter of life and death,” said one expert who praised the decision.

By Jessica Corbett. Published 5-21-2024 by Common Dreams

Fighting against climate change in Tuvalu: reclaimed land, Photo: UNDP Climate/flickr/CC

An international tribunal on Tuesday delivered a decision that green groups and leaders of small island nations celebrated as a “groundbreaking victory for ocean and climate protection.”

The International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea (ITLOS) announced in an advisory opinion that greenhouse gas emissions are marine pollution under the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea and parties to the treaty “have the specific obligation to adopt laws and regulations to prevent, reduce, and control” them.

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Record 76 Million Internally Displaced in 2023, Largely Due to Violence

“We have never, ever recorded so many people forced away from their homes and communities,” one expert said. “It is a damning verdict on the failures of conflict prevention and peacemaking.”

By Olivia Rosane. Published 5-14-2024 by Common Dreams

A group of women and children are temporarily sheltered in a school in Al Salam camp for Internally Displaced Persons, South Darfur. Photo: UNAMID/flickr/CC

War, conflict, and environmental disasters displaced a record 75.9 million people from their homes at the end of 2023, the Internal Displacement Monitoring Center reported Tuesday.

The vast majority of the displaced—68.3 million—were forced from their homes due to conflicts, the highest number since data became available 15 years ago.

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‘Important Step’: EPA Finalizes Rule to Clean Up Forever Chemical Contamination

While praising the move, campaigners also said that the agency “must require polluters to pay to clean up the entire class of thousands of toxic PFAS chemicals, and it must ban nonessential uses.”

By Jessica Corbett. Published 4-19-2024 by Common Dreams

Used at military bases ad civilian airports, PFAS in firefighting foam has contaminate drinking water across the country. Photo: Department of Defense/Public domain

Environmental and public health advocates on Friday welcomed the Biden administration’s latest step to tackle “forever chemicals,” a new Superfund rule that “will help ensure that polluters pay to clean up their contamination” across the country.

“It is time for polluters to pay to clean up the toxic soup they’ve dumped into the environment,” declared Erik D. Olson, senior strategic director for health at the Natural Resources Defense Council. “We all learned in kindergarten that if we make a mess, we should clean it up. The Biden administration’s Superfund rule is a big step in the right direction for holding polluters accountable for cleaning up decades of contamination.”

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US Court Orders Transfer of Migrant Children From ‘Profoundly Inhumane’ Open-Air Sites

“But it remains a tragedy that a court had to direct the government to do what basic human decency and the law clearly require,” said one advocate.

By Brett Wilkins. Published 4-5-2024 by Common Dreams

An open-air detention site in California. Photo: Al Otro Lado/X

Migrant rights defenders on Thursday cheered a federal court ruling ordering U.S. Customs and Border Protection to stop holding undocumented minors in squalid open-air detention sites in Southern California and to transfer all children held in such locations to “safe and sanitary” spaces.

Customs and Border Protection (CBP) contended that people held in the open-air detention sites (OADS) are not yet in U.S. custody. However, Judge Dolly Gee of the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California in Los Angeles issued a 12-page ruling that found migrant children are entitled to protection under the Flores Settlement Agreement, which established national minimum standards for the treatment of detained minors.

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Federal Court Rules Major Wyoming Oil and Gas Lease Sale Illegal for Ignoring Climate Impacts

“This is a huge victory for the protection of our public lands,” said Friends of the Earth.

By Julia Conley Published 3-25-2024 by Common Dreams

Aerial view showing typical drilling activity in the Pinedale Anticline natural gas field of Wyoming. Photo: SkyTruth/flickr/CC

The U.S. Bureau of Land Management will have to reevaluate the wildlife and public health impacts of a major 2022 oil and gas lease sale in Wyoming after a federal judge ruled Friday that the agency had overlooked “what is widely regarded as the most pressing environmental threat facing the world today” when it moved forward with leasing 120,000 of federal land.

U.S. District Judge Christopher Cooper ruled in Washington, D.C. that the BLM did not halt the lease sale even after it acknowledged that oil and gas drilling on the federal lands could result in the same negative environmental and social impacts as the addition of hundreds of thousands of cars to U.S. roads each year.

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Greenpeace Says Ban Deep-Sea Mining, Not Our Right to Protest Against It

“How can Greenpeace’s activists paddling on kayaks be a threat to the environment, but the plundering of the oceans be a solution to the climate catastrophe?”

By Brett Wilkins. Published 3-18-2024 by Common Dreams

Greenpeace kayaktivists hold up a sign reading “stop deep-sea mining” during a November 2023 protest near a Nauru Ocean Resources Inc. exploration ship in the Pacific Ocean. (Photo: Martin Katz/Greenpeace/X)

As the International Seabed Authority kicked off its annual summit in Jamaica on Monday to discuss rules for extracting minerals from the ocean floor, Greenpeace—which could be expelled from the United Nations body over a demonstration targeting a mining company—is urging the ISA to “stop deep-sea mining, not protests.”

Representatives of 167 nations are gathering in Kingston to draft the regulatory framework for deep-sea mining, which ISA member states agreed to work out by July 2025. Although there are no current commercial deep seabed mining operations, the ISA has issued exploration licenses to state-owned companies and agencies in China, France, Germany, India, Japan, Russia, and South Korea, and to private corporations including U.K. Seabed Resources, a subsidiary of U.S. military-industrial complex giant Lockheed Martin.

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‘North Sea Fossil Free’: Activists in 6 Countries Protest ‘Unhinged’ Oil and Gas Development

“Going full steam ahead with new North Sea oil and gas is a sure fire route to the worst climate scenarios,” one campaigner said.

By Olivia Rosane. Published 3-16-2024 by Common Dreams

The “oil slicks” performance artist group demonstrates the impacts of a potential oil spill on Scotland’s Moray Firth as part of a North Sea-wide day of action on March 16, 2024. Photo: Extinction Rebellion Scotland/X

Climate activists in six North Sea countries came together on Saturday to carry out acts of civil disobedience in protest of their governments’ continued fossil fuel development.

Demonstrators in the United KingdomNorway, Sweden, Denmark, Germany, and the Netherlands blockaded roads, ports, and refineries; dropped banners; and held solidarity concerts as part of the North Sea Fossil Free campaign to demand that their governments align their plans for the shared body of water with the Paris agreement goal of limiting global heating to 1.5°C above preindustrial levels.

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Florida GOP Passes ‘Vicious’ Bill Banning Mandatory Water Breaks for Workers

“We will see fatalities, because of what Florida Republicans chose to do this week,” said one workers’ rights advocate.

By Julia Conley. Published 3-8-2024 by Common Dreams

Screenshot: VideoHive

Displaying “punitive cruelty” toward Florida residents who work outdoors, the Republican-controlled state House on Friday approved a bill that would ban local governments from requiring that workplaces provide water breaks and other cooling measures.

The state Senate passed the measure on Thursday, with Republicans pushing the bill through as Miami-Dade County was scheduled to vote on local water break protections. If signed into law by the Republican governor, the proposal will preempt the county’s vote.

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Civil War Risks Triggering ‘Epic, Biblical-Style Famine’ in Sudan

“Millions of lives and the peace and stability of an entire region are at stake,” warned the head of the World Food Program.

By Brett Wilkins. Published 3-6-2024 by Common Dreams

South Sudanese children at the Imvepi Refugee camp in Northern Uganda. Photo: UNMISS/flickr/CC

International humanitarian organizations warned Wednesday that Sudan’s civil war risks triggering severe famine unless the fighting stops.

Fighting between rival factions of Sudan’s military government broke out nearly 11 months ago and spread rapidly throughout the northeastern African nation of 46 million people. Around 15,000 people have been killed and nearly 6 million others displaced during the war, while an estimated 1.5 million Sudanese have fled the country as refugees.

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