First Nations lead the way in Victoria protest against pipelines and oil sands

October 23rd, 2012
First Nations are leading the way in British Columbia’s opposition to pipelines, tankers and exploitation of the climate damaging oil sands

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

The UN, int’l agencies, and the ‘has-been’ world capitalist system admit political/economic bankruptcy at Rio+20

Some came with high hopes, others were not so sure. But all left empty handed.

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

Cancun: underwater protest at climate change talks

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