Protesters trickled in like salmon heading home—a few signs on the Canada Line at 5:30 in the morning, a big line up at the Bridgeport bus stop, a ferry full of protesters, all ages, a few costumes, lots of signs. I asked a man on the ferry if he planned on committing civil disobedience. “They’re having trouble figuring out what to do,” he said. “They’ve been given permission to protest on the lawn. Now they’re thinking about driving stakes into the lawn because that’s illegal.”
Eric Boyum, an eco-tourism operator in the Great Bear Rainforest offered a ride to several of us so we could avoid the over packed buses in Schwartz Bay. Boyum stated that tankers would destroy his business, Ocean Adventures, without an oil spill.
“The tankers would travel right through where I operate. They won’t be attractive to tourists.” Protecting his business is not his primary motivation.
“The First Nations in the area are like family to me,” he said. “They’ve subsisted there for thousands of years. Tankers are the biggest threat to their way of life that they’ve ever had.” He also feels responsible for the natural world. “Someone has to speak out for the animals,” he said. “The whales, bears and salmon don’t have a voice in this, but we can fight for them.” Continue reading
Rio+20, an environmental summit whose outcome made all unhappy
By Associated Press, June 23, 2012
RIO DE JANEIRO — It was hard to find a happy soul at the end of the Rio+20 environmental summit.
Not within the legion of bleary-eyed government negotiators from 188 nations who met in a failed attempt to find a breakthrough at the United Nations conference on sustainable development.
Not among the thousands of activists who decried the three-day summit that ended late Friday as dead on arrival. Not even in the top U.N. official who organized the international organization’s largest-ever event.
“This is an outcome that makes nobody happy. My job was to make everyone equally unhappy,” said Sha Zukang, Secretary-General of the conference, nicely summing up the mood.
In the end, this conference was a conference to decide to have more conferences.
That result was hailed as a success by the 100 heads of state who attended. Given how environmental summits have failed in recent years as global economic turmoil squashes political will to take on climate and conservation issues, the mere fact of agreeing to talk again in the future constitutes victory. Continue reading
TckTckTck partners, Greenpeace and 350.org, have staged a haunting underwater tableau to highlight the need for urgent action as the UN Cancun climate talks go into their second week. Young people dressed in everyday wear, dived amongst the statues at the underwater art installation, Silent Evolution in Cancun.
“These statues were designed and created to live beneath the sea and to form part of the ocean environment. Real people, however, cannot live underwater. Yet, without action to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, 100 million people or more could be in danger of losing their homes, their lives, or both to rising seas. Ministers need to make the right choices this week, and set us on a path that will save the climate, and ourselves,” said Brady Bradshaw, from Greenpeace US student network. .
The installation, nine metres below the sea off Isla Mujeres in Mexico, consists of 400 life-sized human statues. Activists from Mexico, China, Costa Rica, the Dominican Republic, the US, Vietnam and the Philippines were dressed in everyday wear, including suits, jeans, dresses and surf gear. The divers were showing that if urgent action is not taken, this is the future that many face.
“Art can convey the urgency of our situation in a different way than the science,” said Vanessa Dalmau of 350.org, a global campaign that organized over a dozen climate-themed public art events, each visible from space, in the lead up to the Cancun meetings. “I dived underwater to try and help stop the rising seas that threaten my home in the Dominican Republic.”
Ministers have one week to make a key set of decisions that will build momentum towards an agreement to prevent dangerous climate change. This agreement must be built on the Kyoto Protocol and will have to tackle the gap between current emission reductions and what the planet needs to survive.
Photo by Jason Taylor for Greenpeace
see BBC News footage of the underwater protest at: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-11933545
28 October, 2010, Foreign Policy in Focus
The debate over climate change generally transpires within the cloistered confines of expensive hotels, executive boardrooms, and diplomatic halls. As seen in the failure to arrive at binding agreements in Copenhagen, the talks are generally as sterile as the surroundings.
As world leaders discuss the threat to the planet in various venues around the world, it’s the poor who face the dire consequences. Marginalized and vulnerable populations–from small farmers in Africa to fisher folk on the banks of island nations–suffer most from the refusal of developed nations and corporations to cut back on emissions that are heating up the planet. But these same populations offer important and sustainable solutions to global warming.
The problem is that the world’s leaders are not listening. And that is not likely to change at the meeting on climate change in Cancun, Mexico that will start at the end of November and run through December 10.
World leaders wasted precious years overcoming the bogus arguments of spurious scientists and purchased politicians who had a vested interest in denying that the climate was even changing. When that became impossible due to overwhelming scientific evidence, leaders have turned to a set of market-based mechanisms and technological fixes that avoid real commitments and promote the same economic model responsible for the crisis.
As a result, two worlds will collide in Cancun. The first is a world in denial where profits come before people and the planet, and the most threatening environmental crisis in history is viewed as a business opportunity. This world will be heavily represented by most developed country leaders and representatives of corporations hawking green projects as they continue to trash the environment and pursue unfettered access to ever-scarcer natural resources. Continue reading
October 16, 2010
Climate activists launch blockade of the UK’s busiest oil refinery
Hundreds of Crude Awakening protestors board trains to join the blockade
12 climate activists have blocked the sole access road to Coryton oil refinery in Essex, the UK’s busiest oil depot and the largest supplier of oil to London.
The all woman group, affiliated to the Crude Awakening group, are locked to immobilized vehicles on both lanes of the road, preventing oil tankers from leaving the refinery to deliver oil to London.
Coryton refinery is 30 miles north east of London, near Stanford-le-Hope in Essex. In a coordinated move, around 500 protestors from the Crude Awakening event in London boarded trains bound for Stanford-le-Hope, a short walk away from the refinery. Previously announced plans to target central London oil businesses were revealed to be a bid to outfox the police, with Coryton having been the ultimate destination all along.
Terri Orchard, who is taking part, said: “We don’t have a hope of tackling climate change if we don’t find a way to start moving beyond oil. But Big Oil is relentless. From the Gulf of
Mexico to the Arctic to the Canadian tar sands, oil companies are devastating local environments, trampling the rights of local communities, and pushing us over the edge to catastrophic climate change. We are here at the source of the problem, at the UK’s busiest oil refinery, to stop the flow of oil to London. We’re here to put a spanner in the works of the relentless flow of oil and to say no more. This place, this whole industry, must become a thing of the past.” Continue reading
Climate change activists in Australia have attached themselves to equipment inside the world’s largest coal port, shutting down its operations, the terminal operator and protesters have said.
Rising Tide, an environmental group in Newcastle, Australia, stopped operations at all three terminals operated by Port Waratah Coal Services, which normally runs a continuous operation, a company spokesman told the Reuters news agency.
“All operations have temporarily stopped,” the spokesman said, after about 50 protesters took action at dawn on Sunday morning. Some attached themselves to loaders and machinery inside the facility, while others demonstrated with banners.
Police in New South Wales state confirmed that protesters had entered the facility and attached themselves to machinery. Negotiations between protesters and police have been happening, a police spokeswoman said.
Annika Dean, a spokesperson for Rising Tide, said: “We are staging an emergency intervention into Australia’s number one cause of global warming.”
The comments were in reference to the production and export of coal, which is widely seen as a dirty fuel. “Around the world, the early impacts of unabated global warming are beginning to emerge. 2010 has been a year of tragic weather disasters,” Dean said in a release.
‘Impacts of warming’
“Thousands of people have died this year due to flash floods in Pakistan and China, and fires in Siberia. Millions of people are facing starvation due to a devastating drought in west Africa. Continue reading