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Aiming at Roots of Climate Chaos, ‘Flood Wall Street’ Targets Capitalism Itself

Sarah Lazare | Commondreams

(Image Courtesy of Flood Wall Street)

(Image Courtesy of Flood Wall Street)

What does climate change have to do with capitalism? According to “Flood Wall Street” organizers, who are part of a mass people’s response to the upcoming United Nations Climate Summit in New York City, the answer is simple: Everything.

To illustrate this, thousands of people on Monday, September 22 will bring the climate crisis to the doorsteps of the financial institutions underpinning the capitalist economic system by “flooding” New York’s Wall Street district with a mass sit-in of people donning blue and bearing a 300-foot banner that reads “Capitalism = Climate Chaos. Flood Wall Street.”

Organizers of the protest told Common Dreams that 400 people from across the country have already committed to risking arrest in the direct action and they expect that number to grow. Many more, they say, will attend the protest as supporters of the civil disobedience. “It’s going to be a sea of blue evocative of Hurricane Sandy that’s going to flood the financial district,” organizer Michael Premo told Common Dreams.

This action is targeting capitalism itself because “the climate crisis fundamentally is a result of an economic system that is based on endless extraction, endless growth, and ceaseless exploitation of the earth and people,” explained Premo. “A lot of the small incremental changes that have been touted over the last decade as addressing the situation are just band-aids. If there is any hope of building  a more ecologically sustainable and socially equitable economy, we have to start at the root.”

Monday’s direct action will kick off with a 9:00 am demonstration in Battery Park, which will include music from New York City radical marching band the Rude Mechanical Orchestra, to be followed by speakers including Naomi Klein, Rebecca Solnit, and leaders from the Climate Justice Alliance. Protesters will then march to the New York Stock Exchange, where the direct action will take place at noon. The organizers of the protest do not hail from a single group but constitute a network of “Occupy Wall Street veterans, student divestment activists, housing activists, artists and more,” according to a press statement.

The protest is a response to a recent call to action from Climate Justice Alliance, a global coalition of indigenous peoples, people of color, and poor and working class communities bearing the brunt of the climate crisis. “From Mesa to Mountaintop, from Hood to Holler—join us as we meet the scale and urgency of the crisis by standing in solidarity with all frontlines of resistance and resilience around the world, and taking non-violent direct action against the corporations driving the extractive economy,” reads the statement from the group.

“We are flooding Wall Street to stop its financing of planetary destruction, and make way for living economies that benefit people and planet,” said Michael Leon Guerrero of the Climate Justice Alliance. “Communities that are first and most impacted by storms, floods and droughts are also on the frontlines of fighting the dig, burn, dump economy causing climate change.”

But these communities are not invited to the UN summit of government representatives, corporations, financial institutions, and select civil society organizations that will take place at the UN headquarters in New York City on September 23rd. Last week a global coalition of social movement organizations, including La Via Campesina and Grassroots Global Justice Alliance, slammed the “corporate takeover” and “false promises” of the meeting.

Grassroots creative actions and events will take place outside UN meeting’s closed doors. Flood Wall Street will come the day after the People’s Climate March, which is expected to bring out historic numbers. A People’s Climate Justice Summit is one of many activities planned as part of a week of action in New York. While a multitude of organizations, bringing a vast array of political visions, will participate in the week of actions, Flood Wall Street organizers say groups and people among them are seeking to push the conversation towards a critique of capitalism. Meanwhile, people across the world, from Mexico to Egypt to South Africa, plan simultaneous demonstrations and actions.

“The world is at stake,” said Vida James, a social worker and one of the many organizers behind Flood Wall Street, in an interview with Common Dreams. “This action is part of a larger global community that is taking direct action against climate change. We are part of a tapestry of communities all over the world fighting for change, risking arrest and security.”

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100% Renewable Energy as Centerpiece of a Climate Action Plan

Anna Leidreiter | Commondreams

While being an inspiration, the move towards 100% Renewable Energy is still taking place in scattered communities and regions around the globe. (Photo: deENet / Caroline Enders)

While being an inspiration, the move towards 100% Renewable Energy is still taking place in scattered communities and regions around the globe. (Photo: deENet / Caroline Enders)

Climate Change is back on the political agenda. On 23rd of September, Heads of States are meeting in New York to pledge climate action. This is good news as it is about time. The rising economic, health-related, and environmental costs of burning fossil fuels, combined with the accelerating impacts of climate change repeatedly emphasize the urgency for transitioning to 100% Renewable Energy (RE). Those ready to lead the fossil fuel and nuclear phase-out and a 100 % renewable energy transition must speak up in New York and inspire the world.

From North America, to Europe, Africa, Asia and Oceania: Local, regional and national governments demonstrate that 100% RE is technically possible, economically advisable, socially imperative and environmentally inevitable. They also highlight that the decision to phase out fossil fuels is solely dependent on political will.

100% RE is already reality today…

In Germany, a network of 100% RE regions includes 74 regions and municipalities that have already reached 100% renewable energy targets. One of them is Rhein-Hunsrück District. As of early 2012, the District of Rhein-Hunsrück with about 100.000 inhabitants officially began producing more than 100% of its electricity needs, crossing an important milestone on the way to creating a truly 100% renewable energy system. In early 2014, it is estimated that Rhein-Hunsrück already produced over 230% of its total electricity needs, exporting the surplus to the regional and national grid, or re-directing it into local transportation, hydrogen or methane production. Through improvements in energy efficiency and the extension of renewable energy, the district has converted energy import costs into regional jobs and added value. Within 15 years, Rhein-Hunsrück District`s CO2 emissions were reduced by 9.500 tons, the cost savings amount to € 2 million.

Perpignan Méditerranée in France is another example. The region in the nuclear dominated country is intending to become a true role model in the energy transition, aiming to be the first urban territory in Europe to meet all its electricity needs by means of local projects. 75% of the region’s electricity needs are already met by renewable energy. The approach is to reinvigorate the local economy, agriculture and tourism in a certain inland part of the region called Catalonian Ecopark: a space where new synergies are created between the region’s economic and agricultural activities, its respect for the environment and landscape and its position as a tourist destination and quality of life.

Such case studies are not only a reality in Europe. The city of Greensburg, Kansas, USpowers all local homes and businesses with 100% renewable energy, 100% of the time. The story of Greensburg is a story that has gone from tragedy to triumph: A tornado destroyed or damaged 95% of the town’s homes and businesses on May 4, 2007. The community – with a strong leader in Mayor Bob Dixon – turned disaster into an opportunity and created a vision to rebuild Greensburg as a sustainable community. Building efficiency combined with local wind power and complemented by small solar installations and biogas, are the cornerstones of their master plan. The town has gathered a diverse group of experts to turn their vision into a reality.

However, it is not just cities and towns that have set ambitious targets: Globally, there are several countries that are moving towards or have already achieved 100% RE. Denmark, for example, is the first OECD country that has committed to achieving 100% renewable energy in electricity and heat by 2030 and to be totally fossil-free by 2050 including the transport sector. Further, Scotlandas well as island states like the Cape Verde andTuvalu are demonstrating the feasibility of a fully renewable energy supply.

…and must speed up now

While being an inspiration, the move towards 100% Renewable Energy is still taking place in scattered communities and regions around the globe. The measures that governments have taken up are nowhere near proportional to the urgency to act, taking into consideration today`s like climate change crisis the loss of biodiversity, resource scarcity and poverty.

At the Climate Summit in New York, we must ensure that ignorance and in-action are no longer an option! The task given by UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon is simple: Heads of States have to promise the timely delivery of a global action plan by 2015 – a shared and agreed strategy for rapidly growing the scope and scale of the ongoing transition, so that a safe climate with all its benefits for people and planet is possible. This must target a fully decarbonized energy sector based on 100% Renewable Energy by 2050.

Anna Leidreiter is policy officer on climate and energy for the World Future’s Council.

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Hugging Trees in the Age of Climate Disruption

Pam McAllister | Commondreams

As the legend goes, a villager named Amrita Devi noticed the men wandering onto her land, cutting down her precious khejri trees. Outraged, she wedged herself between the axmen and a tree, hugging it with all her might. She is rememered as saying, “If a tree is saved from felling at the cost of one’s head, it should be considered a good deed.” The men were not impressed; Devi was decapitated in front of her two daughters. Trees continued to fall. (Source: katesennert.com)

As the legend goes, a villager named Amrita Devi noticed the men wandering onto her land, cutting down her precious khejri trees. Outraged, she wedged herself between the axmen and a tree, hugging it with all her might. She is rememered as saying, “If a tree is saved from felling at the cost of one’s head, it should be considered a good deed.” The men were not impressed; Devi was decapitated in front of her two daughters. Trees continued to fall. (Source: katesennert.com)

On Sept. 21, 2014, the People’s Climate March will commence in New York City as world leaders gather for a United Nations emergency summit on climate change. Thousands of organizations have signed on and many demonstrations have been planned across the country on that day. Perhaps more than one million people will descend on Manhattan Sept. 21 to support environmental and human survival. Almost inevitably, someone from the media or a prior or the current administration will throw around the label “tree hugger” and no one will be shocked. In preparation for the march and in reflecting on the perceived negativity of this label, I’ve been thinking about the heroines of the Chipko (“tree-hugging”) movement in India.

In 1730, Amrita Devi watched men with axes enter her village with an order from the Maharajah — to cut down trees needed to build his new palace. The trees were the villagers’ source of life, the only green in an otherwise barren landscape. The forest shielded the people from the desert, protected their fragile water supply and provided fodder for the cows and twigs for the fire. What’s more, the trees and animals were sacred and not to be harmed, according to the rules of their Hindu sect.

Amrita Devi tried to reason with the men, but they had their orders. They entered the forest with axes raised. Amrita Devi boldly walked past the bewildered men and stretched her thin arms around a tree saying, “If a tree is saved, even at the cost of one’s head, it is worth it.”

Amrita Devi was beheaded protecting the trees. When her three daughters stepped up to take her place, they, too, were beheaded. It is said that 363 villagers were killed that day, trying to save the trees that were essential to their lives.

When the Maharajah heard about the massacre, he was appalled at the loss of life. As the story is told, he declared a permanent injunction against felling the trees or killing the wildlife in the area of the massacre and exempted the villages of that region from land taxes. Today, the Bishnoi villages of Jodhpur are a tourist attraction, green and beautiful, filled with animals and birds, in an otherwise desolate region. Amrita Devi is honored as one of the world’s first eco-warriors.

The Chipko Movement was reborn in the 1970s as developers descended on the Himalayan forests seeking short-term profit. Deforestation led to environmental disasters. In monsoon season, landslides and floods devastated the regions where tree roots once secured the land.

One day in March 1974, when the men of Reni were away, laborers with axes and guns showed up with government permits to fell the trees. A little girl saw them and raced to get Gaura Devi who quickly alerted 27 other women. Together, they marched to the forest and confronted the men.

Gaura Devi (1925-1991) was unschooled, but wise. She said, “Brothers, this forest is like our mother. You will have to shoot me before you can cut it down.” The men laughed.

Dodging obscenities and threats, the women stood between the men and the trees until the workers, frustrated and exhausted, backed down. It took months of vigilance and protest, but the people, with women in the lead, saved their trees.

The rural Chipko movement has been an inspiration to ecology activists around the globe. In 2008, twig sculptures of the tree-hugging women created by Klub Gaja, a Polish environmentalist group, greeted delegates at the entrance to the UN’s climate change conference in Poznan, Poland.

How can I, a woman living in 21st century New York City, understand this story? If I’m thirsty, I turn the tap, and clear, drinkable water comes out. If I want to cook my dinner, I turn another knob and a small, controllable ring of fire appears on my stovetop. I can’t imagine using 85 percent of my time walking to get water or firewood. Can any of us?

But then, I remember the water crisis in Detroit, droughts in California, Texas and the Great Plains regionmountaintop removals and coal mine exploitation in West Virginia,deforestation of the Southeastern U.S. for European utilities and the 2,000 square miles of Louisiana coastline that has disappeared in the past 80 years. Across the U.S., we’re all facing environmental degradation and the adverse affects of climate change – in our own backyards. If the term “tree hugger” means valuing long-term life – the lives of our family members and communities – over short-term profits, then perhaps it’s not such a bad name after all. When it comes to the security and safety of our families, we’re all a little “tree hugging” by default. In any case, we’re well past the time for “tree hugging.” It’s really all about “life saving” at this point.

Pam McAllister, syndicated by PeaceVoice, is a researcher, writer and lecturer on feminism and nonviolence and blogs at Activists With Attitude.

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The Global Warming Pause

Source:Suspicious0bservers

Global temperatures have not gone up in nearly two decades.  In fact, there has been a slight cooling trend over the last ten years.




How the Big Greens Contain and Dissolve Resistance

Kat Yang-Stevens | PopularResistance.org

Quelling Dissent: Big Greens draw attention, recognition, and visibility away from localized and community-based grassroots organizing

We are living in an age of unparalleled destruction. The prevailing colonialist capitalist order is forcing humanity to a state of near-total estrangement from the natural world. The earth can no longer sustain the parasitic extractive industry, which is fueled by the unending growth that capitalism demands. As we surpass the apex of the age of fossil fuels, the global elite is desperate to maintain power and control in the face of inevitable, rapidly-approaching economic collapse. They will continue to attempt to maintain the current conditions they have created, in which the incessant pursuit of the luxuries of modernity has reduced the earth and Indigenous peoples worldwide to being viewed as commodities that exist simply to provide “resources” for civil society. They will continue to deploy one of their biggest tools to quell dissent to these conditions: big “green” non-governmental organizations [NGOs].

Greenwashing

Within the colonial borders of the US, more and more communities are feeling the direct effects of environmentally degrading industrial facilities and extractive industries. In a blatant act of cultural genocide, the city of Flagstaff, AZ recently committed 3.6 billion gallons of treated sewage water for snowmaking at the Snowbowl ski resort that sits on a mountain sacred to over 13 indigenous nations, including the Dine’ (Navajo), Hopi, Zuni, Haulapai, Havasupai, Yavapai-Apache, Yavapai-Prescott, Tonto Apache, White Mountain Apache, San Carlos, Apache, San Juan Southern Paiute, Fort Mcdowell Mohave Apache, Acoma and Tohono o’odham. Klee Benally, a Dine’ volunteer with Protect The Peakssays the project is “incredibly offensive, unsustainable and ultimately irresponsible considering the escalating water crisis we’re facing in the Southwest.” In Chester, PA, five large waste facilities, including a Convanta incinerator – the largest in the country, processing over 3,500 tons of trash a day – have led to an asthma crisis in the majority black community. 5.6 million tons of New York City waste has already been burned in Chester, and according to the Chester Environmental Justice Facebook page, on August 13, 2014 the Chester city council approved a plan that will bring 30 years worth of trash from NYC by rail to Chester.

Frontline community organizers like Yudith Nieto with the group Texas Environmental Justice Advocacy Services (T.E.J.A.S.), based in the East End of Houston, TX, have described the conditions of their mostly Latina and Xicana communities as a “living example of environmental racism.” There are hundreds of thousands of people who are living fenceline to industry and being poisoned mercilessly with little to no intervention from the Environmental Protection Agency. People there are engaged in a battle against tar sands, as their communities sit at one of the terminus points of TransCanada’s Keystone XL Pipeline – the other terminus point is in the predominantly African-American community ofPort Arthur, TX. Just over the artificially imposed border between the US and Canada lies the Aamjiwnaang First Nation Reservation, which borders the city of Sarnia in Ontario – this area is also known as “Chemical Valley”. According to a 2011 World Health Organization study, the area is plagued with the most polluted air in settler colonial “Canada”. Communities there have been waging opposition to tar sands as the Enbridge corporation prepares to finish a project that will allow Line 9 to transport tar sands. Both communities are surrounded by smokestacks and being forced to breathe the poisonous byproducts of refineries and petrochemical plants, many of them owned by corporations heavily invested in the exploitation of tar sands and fracked gas as well as the construction of new pipelines to transport the toxic products. Both communities are engaged in grassroots community-led organizing and resistance to the presence of these industries. (For more on indigenous resistance to tar sands, see the short film “Kahsatstenhsera” produced by Amanda Lickers of Reclaim Turtle Island.)

WHAT IS ENVIRONMENTAL RACISM?

Vital to building a more complete framework for understanding environmental racism within the context of the United States and Canada is to not simply acknowledge but to incorporate into our basic conceptions of the world that every single bit of land, of “the environment,” that the US and Canada occupy has been stolen from indigenous peoples through ongoing processes and structures of colonization. “We’ve always been here. Nobody can argue that we weren’t here first.” said Amy Juan, an activist and poet and member of the Tohono O’odham Nation in a May 2014 interview with Al Jazeera. The Tohono O’odham are one of several nations whose territories and communities have been devastated by the imposition of colonial borders and their subsequent militarization. Their territories were literally divided by an arbitrary line created through the “Gadsden Purchase” in 1854.  This forcefully annexed part of the Tohono O’odham Nation into the US side of the border in so-called Arizona, encompassing the cities of Tucson and Phoenix, and separated the other part of Tohono O’odham territories to “belong” to so-called Mexico.

So what is meant when we refer to “the environment”? The environment IS the indigenous lands we live, work, eat and play on. This is a different understanding than the mainstream environmental movement’s romanticized conception of “the environment” – which is inherently classist, elitist, and racist – that construes “the environment” as equivalent to the “nature” and “wilderness” that conservationist/preservationists are always trying to “save”. Think Sierra Club, which, incidentally, has a deep history in white nationalism.  (For more on this concept see: “Asian American Environmental Activism” by Julie Sze.)

Environmental racism encompasses public and human health concerns for indigenous communities and communities of color such as border militarization, conditions for undocumented migrant farmworkers, public housing, factory conditions and immigration reform. (See “Comprehensive Immigration Reform is Anti-Immigrant and Anti-Indigenous” by Mari Garza and Franco Habre.) Therefore, I argue that the state (and public) sanctioned shootings and murders of black people – part of the legacy of chattel slavery and ongoing genocide of black people – by police and vigilantes are also a part of environmental racism. The 2012 annual report “Operation Ghetto Storm” conducted by theMalcolm X Grassroots Movement calculated that every 28 hours in 2012 someone employed or protected by the US government killed a Black man, woman or child. This omnipresent threat to black communities – whether while shopping (like John Crawford), walking to their grandmother’s house (like Mike Brown), hanging out at the park (like Rekia Boyd), or even seeking help after a car accident (like Jonathan Ferrell or Renisha McBride), and surely we can’t forget the many black transgendered women (like Islan Nettles or Kandy Hall) who are murdered merely for existing – is environmental racism. Systemic anti-black racism and the devaluation of black life as well as the epidemic rates of indigenous women who are going missing and being murdered – part of ongoing genocide and colonization – must be considered in order to develop a holistic and realistic understanding of what constitutes “the environment”.

Environmental racism includes the intentional and systematic targeting of communities of color and indigenous communities & Nations with regard to the placing  of industry that poses environmental/health hazards and the ongoing failure to enforce environmental regulations. For businesses that threaten public and environmental health, it is easier to operate near these communities that are often low-income and disenfranchised, with less political, social, and economic power to stop these “projects”. Environmental racism is yet another expression of systemic racism and the ongoing legacies of colonialism, genocide and slavery, and though it is less spoken about (and often conveniently ignored) by mainstream environmentalists, it is not a new phenomenon or concept. According to a report, “Toxic Wastes and Race at Twenty 1987—2007”, co-authored by Dr. Robert Bullard (the so-called “father of environmental justice”), no progress was made during the 20 years the study covered. The study concluded that half of all Asians, Pacific Islanders, and Indigenous peoples and three out of every five African Americans and Latinos lived in communities with uncontrolled toxic waste sites.

We cannot build a complete analysis of environmental racism without incorporating an understanding of border imperialism. This is a concept that has been explored in detail by Harsha Walia, co-founder of the Vancouver chapter ofNo One Is Illegal, in the recently published anthology featuring voices from directly impacted communities, “Undoing Border Imperialism”. Walia asserts that capitalism and empire, coupled with the militarization of imposed borders – which are constructed by colonialist and imperialist nations and entrenched in racial and hierarchical structures – are responsible for the mass displacement of impoverished communities and the expansion of globalization. Globalization is an ambiguous term that  is usually (purposely) laden with warm connotations of unification; however, this structure allows corporations to be highly mobile and travel anywhere in the world to maximize profits through the least governmental and environmental regulations, the best tax incentives and the cheapest labor.  They can constantly target and/or undermine any existing legal protections in order to gain access to easily exploitable communities in which corporations have freedom to do as they please.  Consequently, we see continued and heightened attacks on indigenous sovereignty, cultures, livelihoods – such as the assassinations of anti-extraction activists in Central and South America or of miners in South Africa – and the fragile and unique ecosystems upon which plant, animal, and human life alike depend.

ENTER THE BIG GREEN NGO

Many people in settler colonial societies of Canada and the United States, as well as other parts of the “developed world,” who consider themselves “well-meaning,” “left-leaning,” “liberal,” “earth-friendly,” “sustainable,” “green,” etc., recognize that there is something deeply warped and malicious embedded within our societies and get sad, upset, and restless. If not sufficiently pacified, their energies could be harnessed in such a way that they would become a major threat to the status quo.

Big Green NGOs present an exciting semblance of resistance. A vapid shell that allows people who are grasping to find something to cling onto in their disillusionment about the world, to feel that they too can make a difference! All they have to do is click here, sign there, watch a flashy video about an adventurous “direct action” that cost hundreds of thousands of dollars to stage, make bi-annual trips to the White House to really give that darn president a piece of their mind! Oh, and they must not forget to pay their monthly tithes to their NGO of choice! These NGOs market themselves as catalysts of what they whimsically (and falsely) refer to as “movements.” Their every move is a careful calculation designed to placate, pacify and render ineffective their target consumers: white, college educated, liberals with a small sense of the hollowness of everyday life in capitalist America (or Canada). By proposing simple and false solutions inside a framework of what’s been cleverly branded as “Peaceful Resistance,” potential disruptors of the colonialist imperialist ablist white supremacist capitalist cis-hetero patriarchy are rendered ineffective while simultaneously believing they are engaged in meaningful resistance to “save” the planet as well as acting as great “allies” to indigenous communities and other people of color.

The most obvious indicator of this insidious function of NGOs is the fact that the mainstream environmental “movement” in the US has done almost nothing to counter the political and economic conditions that make participation in their contrived organizing spaces inaccessible to many people from the very communities bearing the brunt of degradation and state violence. At the same time, these hyper-visible Big Greens draw attention, recognition, and visibility away from localized and community-based grassroots organizing. In fact, these white-led liberal elite NGOs have time and again refused to take direction from primarily-impacted communities and have incorporated racist and colonialist elements directly into their recruitment tactics. Silencing the voices of leaders of indigenous communities and communities of color while often simultaneously using their images and appropriating bits and pieces of their cultures is a deeply entrenched mode of operation for many Big Greens. They often mash together multiple Indigenous cultures as if they were one, a method that reels in their target consumers, who often possess deeply misguided ideas of “Native Americans as the first environmentalists” and who can often be seen engaged in reformist “support work” that thinly veils their commitment to the settler colonial project. Queen Sacheen, a founder of Ancestral Pride and contributor at Last Real Indians, asserts that “there is no one size fits all way of dealing with over 1000 individual and distinct nations.” These kinds of racist and colonialist practices of cultural appropriation and tokenization play off of people’s fetishized ideals of “the other”. Ultimately, this feeds individualistic desires to place oneself at the center of everything and misdirects the energies of the mainstream public to both reinforce historical barriers and create new ones to building meaningful resistance, rather than facilitating engagement in meaningful work centering on relating environmental degradation to race and colonialism.

Tom Goldtooth, the Executive Director of the Indigenous Environmental Network, urges people to think critically and question the validity of many popular NGO’s. In a 2011 interview with Africa Report he said:

“We challenged the big organizations with environmental racism – including Greenpeace and Sierra Club, to bring our voices to the board. They resisted us.  Look at 350.org – we had to challenge them to bring us to stand with them on the pipeline issue. Bill McKibben, the ivory tower, white academic, didn’t even want to take the time to bring people of color to the organizing.”

THE NON PROFIT INDUSTRIAL COMPLEX

It’s not just an issue of “not wanting” to bring people of color to the proverbial “table.” There are tangible reasons which make it impossible for environmental justice (or any justice) for communities of color to be achieved by organizing with Big Green NGOs. For over a decade, the funding sources of non-profits have been heavily critiqued for the amount of leverage funders are able to exert over the priorities and political work of NGOs. Activist, author, and professor Dylan Rodriguez defines the non-profit industrial complex (NPIC) as “a set of symbiotic relationships that link political and financial technologies of state and owning class control with surveillance over public political ideology, including and especially emergent progressive and leftist social movements.” The NPIC is how state and corporate interests use colonial and exploitative practices (branded as social movements) to manipulate and control the ways that dissent from the public manifests and operates.

In an essay entitled “The Industry of Black Suffering: Breaking Down The Non-Profit Industrial Complex”, Adam Jackson and Dayvon Love of Leaders of A Beautiful Struggle describe how Black-led grassroots organizing in Baltimore, MD was destabilized, disempowered and co-opted. In response to how the NPIC manifested in their community, they stated: “It is essential that we be astute in our political analysis of the ways that white liberalism impairs our ability to effectively gain independence from white supremacist institutions that ultimately do not have our best interests at heart.” A common critique of the NPIC is that it exploits the suffering of already marginalized peoples while operating in ways that ensure the continued oppression of the very communities they claim to be in service to. We cannot choose to ignore the sources of these exorbitant amounts of money that makes all of this happen, nor to assume that there is no connection between those sources and the agendas being pushed through these NGOs. Big Greens are allowed to operate on the condition that their target consumers will not gain access to or develop analyses that would allow them to critically engage with the ways in which these organizations co-opt political movements in order to protect and further capitalism, white supremacy, and settler colonialism. (For more on the non-profit industrial complex see: “The Revolution Will Not Be Funded”, edited by Incite! Women of Color Against Violence.)

350.org openly admits to being heavily funded by the Rockefeller family, one of the most elite and depraved families of all time, who played an integral role in the creation of Big Oil as well as monopolizing the American Medical establishment. But 350.org is not the only Big Green guilty of partnering with Big Business. Big Greens can often be found accepting large sums of money to partner with some of the most environmentally degrading corporations in the world, producing media campaigns that market their products as “sustainable” and  “green” (see “green capitalism” and “greenwashing”). Dishonest and deceitful behaviours and actions are so normalized that no one seemed to bat an eye when the Sierra Club took over US$25 million dollars in donations from the gas industry in 2012 – most of that coming from Chesapeake Energy, one of the largest fracking companies in the world. These Big Greens often have so little integrity that they will outright solicit for donations for causes that have already been lost, such as when Greenpeace continued to posture as the only thing standing between whales and whalers, making desperate pleas for donations to “help refuel their boats”,when the Whale Sanctuary in question had already been surrendered to the whalers. Even Greenpeace’s former leadership has charged them with outright fraud. Paul Watson, an early and influential member of Greenpeace, referred to it as a “public relations strategy in a global campaign to fleece money from people of good conscience”.

In a July 2013 interview with Franklin Lopez of Submedia.tv,  Lionel Lepine of the Athabascan Chipeweyan First Nation, which is located downstream of the largest tar sands operation on the planet in Alberta, CA, had this to say (full interview can be seen here starting at about 6 minutes in; some of the text below has been altered at the request of Lionel Lepine): “At first, they came to Ft Chip promising to help us out…in the end they took all the credit. When the news comes on TV, it’s all NGOs. You see a bunch of white people…you don’t see US.”

Given the legacy of broken treaties between the Canadian and US governments and the indigenous peoples whose sacred and ancestral lands these two settler colonial nations are continuing to occupy through ongoing colonization and genocide, one can easily see these dynamics expressed through the behaviors and actions of these NGOs. Lionel continues:

“The elders in Fort Chipewyan — they don’t like Greenpeace or any of the other NGO’s campaigning around tar sands because they know damn well that these people aren’t from there, they’re not indigenous to that land, they’re white, they have no understanding of our culture — I don’t think they even want to know about our culture. All they want is their name in the paper so they can get money for their next campaign, for their next tar sands tour, for their next whatever. All they’re trying to do is gather money off of our death. They are profiting off of our deaths!

One of the most insidious tactics in the arsenal of the Big Greens are their constant calls (literally – some organizations/corporations like Avaaz.org are little more than giant listservs and phone banks) to “actions” and marches.Flashy ad campaigns and promotional events billed as meaningful resistance are an easy way to quell would-be radicals capable of making critical connections that would render such organizations targets for destruction, or at least obsolete. These corporate-backed Big Greens put a lot of funding into fooling and exploiting impressionable students and other well-meaning people to spend vast amounts of time, energy, and resources to mobilize for these ultimately counterproductive and completely contrived events.

This is where NGOs would prefer to see people put their energies instead of participating in or financially supporting the growing number of direct action campaigns and “action camps” being organized and led by members of directly impacted frontline communities and indigenous Nations across US-Canadian colonial borders. Resistance camps such as  theYuct Ne Senxiymetkwe Camp, where a sacred fire has been lit outside the Mount Polley Mine site operated by Imperial Metals in so-called British Columbia. The camp sits at the site of a tailings pond breach which released 2.5 billion gallons of contaminated water and 4.5 million cubic meters of metals-laden fine sand into drinking and fishing waters. Or theUnis’tot’en Camp on unceded (unsurrendered) sovereign Wet’suwet’en territory, also in so-called British Columbia, which is and has been blocking several pipeline projects – including ones that would facilitate tar sands and fracking – since July 2012. Dini Ze Toghestiy, Hereditary Chief of the Likhts’amisyu Clan, reminds us: “This isn’t just a fight about pipelines. This is a fight about indigenous sovereignty, our sovereignty.”

Environmental and “climate justice” cannot be separated from the expansive intersectional and anti-colonial work and imperatives that true justice demands. Big Green organizations are a part of the NPIC and replicate and perpetuate systems of domination and white supremacy.  Therefore Big Greens betray, contain, and dilute potential for the scale of collective action needed to achieve genuine environmental justice.

We must refuse to be obedient, passive, and malleable “movement builders” armed with self-righteous egos and e-mail lists, invoking elite names in the white liberal left like Bill McKibben, Michael Brune, and “up and comers” like Maura Cowley with Energy Action Coalition, marching towards the next carefully calculated, police-approved, staged “action” in pursuit of a symbolic victory. The stakes are so high with 400,000 people, mostly indigenous peoples and people of color, dying each year from climate-related disasters. An international panel on climate change recently released what is being hailed the most comprehensive study on climate change to date that warns that “severe, pervasive and irreversible impacts” are already here and will increase due to rising greenhouse gas emissions.

Time is running out for countering the damage that has been done to the global environment.

We must dismantle all NGOs operating within frameworks that do not, and by nature cannot, foreground a value of supporting self determination by oppressed Indigenous, Black and other migrant/diasporic/settler communities of color.

kat yang-stevens is a cisgender queer woman and first generation Asian American of Chinese ancestry. kat grew up on and currently lives on occupied territories belonging to the Onondaga & Cayuga Nations of the Haudenosaunee Confederacy in so-called New York. Narrowly avoiding the school-to-prison pipeline & having no formal education or degrees, they understand the need to create spaces for education outside state and private structures and are instead linked into larger projects committed to community well being and liberation. A main focus of their work includes addressing intra-movement racism and the barriers that it presents to creating meaningful multiracial alliances. They are currently being politically targeted. Their work includes critques of the non-profit industrial complex and work to subvert the placating and incapacitating effects that Big Greens have over struggles against extractive industries.
kat yang-stevens // @greencircleas // groundworkforpraxis@gmail.com




‘Worse Than Anything Seen in 2,000 Years’ as Megadrought Threatens Western States

Jon Queally | Commondreams

California drought cracks in the dry bed of the Stevens Creek Reservoir in Cupertino, Calif., on March 13, 2014. (Photo: Marcio Jose Sanchez/AP)

California drought cracks in the dry bed of the Stevens Creek Reservoir in Cupertino, Calif., on March 13, 2014. (Photo: Marcio Jose Sanchez/AP)

A new study warns that the chances of western states in the U.S. experiencing a multi-decade ‘megadrought’—not seen in historical climate records in over 2,000 years—has a much higher chance of occurring in the decades ahead than previously realized. In fact, scientists are warning, the drought now being experienced in California and elsewhere could be just the beginning of an unprecedented water crisis across the west and southwest regions of the country.

“As we add greenhouse gases into the atmosphere – and we haven’t put the brakes on stopping this – we are weighting the dice for megadrought… This will be worse than anything seen during the last 2,000 years.” —Toby Ault, Cornell University

The research—a project between scientists at Cornell University, the University of Arizona, and the U.S. Geological Survey—shows that chances for a decade-long drought this century is now at fifty-fifty, and that a drought lasting as long as 35 years—defined as a “megadrought”—has a twenty- to fifty-percent chance of occurring.

“For the southwestern U.S., I’m not optimistic about avoiding real megadroughts,” Toby Ault, Cornell assistant professor of earth and atmospheric sciences and lead author of the paper, told the Cornell Chronicle. “As we add greenhouse gases into the atmosphere – and we haven’t put the brakes on stopping this – we are weighting the dice for megadrought.”

And if such a megadrought does occur, warned Ault, “This will be worse than anything seen during the last 2,000 years.”

And as USA Today notes, “The difference now, of course, is the Western USA is home to more than 70 million people who weren’t here for previous megadroughts. The implications are far more daunting.”

The study—entitled Assessing the Risk of Persistent Drought Using Climate Model Simulations and Paleoclimate Data—used both “climate model projections as well as observational (paleoclimate) information” as it looked back over the historic records of drought in the region while also looking forward by using advanced predictive techniques used to measure the possible impacts of current and future global warming.

According to the study’s abstract, its findings “are important to consider as adaptation and mitigation strategies are developed to cope with regional impacts of climate change, where population growth is high and multidecadal megadrought—worse than anything seen during the last 2000 years—would pose unprecedented challenges to water resources in the region.”

“The picture is not pretty,” said Julia Cole, a professor of geosciences and atmospheric sciences at the University of Arizona and co-author of the study. “We hope this opens up new discussions about how to best use and conserve the precious water that we have.”

Changing the way western states manage their water resources and policies that respond aggressively to the issue of climate change, Cole indicated, could mitigate the worst impacts.

“I think we’d really have to change the way we think about water and the way that we use water because right now we’re on a path that would be unsustainable if we had a drought of 35 years,” Cole said.

The Modern Farmer spoke to Richard Seager, a climate scientist at Columbia University and other author of many studies of historic droughts, about the report and were told the prospect of a looming megadrought is “not so crazy.”

“By some measures the west has been in drought since 1998 so we might be approaching a megadrought classification.” Seager said.

“We know that megadroughts — droughts as severe as the ones in past century, but lasting much longer, up to a few decades – occurred over the past millennium in the southwest and the Great Plains,” he continued Seager, who also noted that megadroughts are more notably for their duration than their severity. Seager also told the The Modern Farmer that the U.S. hasn’t had a megadrought in several centuries and that even the great Dust Bowl drought of the 1930s—famously depicted in the The Grapes of Wrath—”though incredibly severe, was not long enough to qualify.”

According to the Cornell Chronicle:

As of Aug. 12, most of California sits in a D4 “exceptional drought,” which is in the most severe category. Oregon, Arizona, New Mexico, Oklahoma and Texas loiter in a substantially less severe D1 moderate drought. Ault says climatologists don’t know whether the severe western and southwestern drought will continue, but “with ongoing climate change, this is a glimpse of things to come. It’s a preview of our future,” he said.

While the 1930s Dust Bowl in the Midwest lasted four to eight years, depending upon location, a megadrought can last more than three decades, which could lead to mass population migration on a scale never before seen in this country.

More from Commondreams




Cheeky Marmot Photobombs, Ruins Greenpeace Timelapse Video

Kylie McLaughlin | Sydney Morning Herald

The accidental star of a Greenpeace campaign has become an internet sensation, receiving more than 1.5 million hits on YouTube over the past week.

The environmentalists had set up a camera to record a message for a recent campaign, but captured something entirely different after a curious marmot interrupted proceedings.

Though we didn’t capture the timelapse video of Glacier National Park that we intended to, we captured something much cooler… Marmot Love. 

Greenpeace had set up a GoPro camera in Montana’s spectacular Glacier National Park, USA, to shoot a timelapse of its incredible landscape in order to raise awareness on the effect of global warming on glaciers.

Things were all going to plan until this inquisitive bundle of fur decided the camera was much more interesting than the gorgeous backdrop being filmed, and bounded uphill to check it out. After giving the GoPro a good clean with its wet tongue, the marmot bowled the camera over, thus ending Greenpeace’s grand plans of an environmental message.

On the bright side, Greenpeace said the marmot had given “the best photobomb in Greenpeace history” and decided to use the message to promote a different campaign altogether.

An online campaigner for Greenpeace, Dawn Bickett, said: “Though we didn’t capture the timelapse video of Glacier National Park that we intended to, we captured something much cooler… Marmot Love.

“This marmot took a minute out of its busy day to show us some love. It’s time for us to do the same. Global warming is shrinking marmot habitat — alpine tundra. Help protect his home from climate change.”

Read the full post here.




Could Grazing Livestock Save the World?

L Hunter Lovins | The Guardian | Aug 19 2014

George Monbiot’s recent criticism of Allan Savory’s theory that grazing livestock can reverse climate change ignores evidence that it’s already experiencing success

In his recent interview with Allan Savory, the high profile biologist and farmer who argues that properly managing grazing animals can counter climate chaos, George Monbiot reasonably asks for proof. Where I believe he strays into the unreasonable, is in asserting that there is none.

Savory’s argument, which counters popular conceptions, is that more livestock rather than fewer can help save the planet through a concept he calls “holistic management.” In brief, he contends that grazing livestock can reverse desertification and restore carbon to the soil, enhancing its biodiversity and countering climate change. Monbiot claims that this approach doesn’t work and in fact does more harm than good. But his assertions skip over the science and on the ground evidence that say otherwise.

Richard Teague, a range scientist from Texas A&M University, presented in favour of Savory’s theory at the recent Putting Grasslands to Work conference in London. Teague’s research is finding significant soil carbon sequestration from holistic range management practices.

Soil scientist, Dr Elaine Ingham, a microbiologist and until recently chief scientist at Rodale Institute, described how healthy soil, the underpinning of civilization throughout history, is created in interaction between grazing animals and soil microbiologyPeer-reviewed research from Rodale has shown how regenerative agriculture can sequester more carbon than humans are now emitting. Scientists, as well as dozens of farmers, ranchers and pastoralists from around the world, describe how they are increasing the health of their land, the carrying capacity of it, its biodiversity, and its profitability, all while preserving their culture and traditions.

How much carbon can be sequestered in properly managed grasslands and how fast? We don’t know, but we do know that massive carbon reserves were present in the ten-foot thick black soil of the historic grasslands of the Great Plains of the US. We know that the globe’s grasslands are the second largest store of naturally sequestered carbon after the oceans. They got that way by co-evolving with pre-industrial grazing practices: sufficient herds of native graziers, dense packed by healthy populations of predators.

It’s reasonable to call for more research on whether properly managed grazing offers people a way to take carbon from the air and return it to the soil where nature intended it to be. What is not reasonable, is attacking without at least also citing the peer-reviewed science that backs up Savory’s assertions.

Claims that Savory’s approach has been discredited in the academic literature are based solely on two papers, one of which Monbiot cites. Both have been countered in academic and professional literature by papers which find that Savory’s method meets the claimed ecological, economic, and quality of life enhancing goals. It improves grass density, soil moisture, soil bulk density, standing crop biomass, and soil organic matter, an indicator of increases in soil carbon.

Monbiot’s claims that Savory’s approach does not work will come as a surprise to the best-known practitioner of the approach, Joel Salatin of Polyface Farms. Salatin was made famous in UC Berkeley journalism professor Michael Pollan’s book Omnivore’s Dilemma, which explores his success using Savory’s approach. Salatin explains how Savory’s approach enabled him to turn an uneconomic farm into an operation that now supports 35 prosperous agricultural ventures. From selling grass-fed beef and pasture-raised eggs to health-conscious connoisseurs and teaching interns how to replicate its successes, Polyface Farms is leading an agricultural revival.

I can attest from personal experience that Savory’s approach works. I used holistic management several decades ago on a thousand acres of ground taken out of cattle production for 20 years and let to degrade, erode and be overrun by noxious weeds. Its owners believed that resting land would increase its health. This may be true of intact wilderness. But it is demonstrably not true of most of the planet’s agricultural lands, now rapidly releasing stored carbon, nitrogen and other gasses, worsening global warming. Conventional agricultural practices strip the soil of nutrients and life, leading farmers to use expensive, chemical intensive substitutes, which in turn worsen the global warming. In our case, we restored cattle to the ground, managed as Savory advised, and within two years watched the water table rise, wetland plants returned and the economic value of the property increase.

In Australia, for profit company Sustainable Land Management says it has more than doubled stocking rates of cattle over historic rates on seriously desertified Australian range, achieved superior weight gain, doubled plant diversity, restored the grasslands, while buying no feed, even despite severely deficient rain. The land management company is attracting foreign investment to a region of Australia hungry for economic development.

In the American heartland, Grasslands LLC is practicing the same land stewardship, healing grazing land and rural communities.

Continue reading




Sun’s Activity Influences Natural Climate Change, Ice Age Study Shows

Lund University | Sciencedaily

SunA new study from Lund University in Sweden has, for the first time, reconstructed solar activity during the last ice age. The study shows that the regional climate is influenced by the sun and offers opportunities to better predict future climate conditions in certain regions.

For the first time, a research team has been able to reconstruct the solar activity at the end of the last ice age, around 20,000-10,000 years ago, by analysing trace elements in ice cores in Greenland and cave formations from China. During the last glacial maximum, Sweden was covered in a thick ice sheet that stretched all the way down to northern Germany and sea levels were more than 100 metres lower than they are today, because the water was frozen in the extensive ice caps. The new study shows that the sun’s variation influences the climate in a similar way regardless of whether the climate is extreme, as during the Ice Age, or as it is today.

“The study shows an unexpected link between solar activity and climate change. It shows both that changes in solar activity are nothing new and that solar activity influences the climate, especially on a regional level. Understanding these processes helps us to better forecast the climate in certain regions,” said Raimund Muscheler, Lecturer in Quaternary Geology at Lund University and co-author of the study.

The sun’s impact on the climate is a matter of current debate, especially as regards the less-than-expected global warming of the past 15 years.

[read full post here]




Ancient Civilizations Battled Climate Change Long Before Cars, Factories, New Study Shows

Andrew Fazekas | Yahoo

dry feild climate changeIn what is now the Middle East, some of the most ancient, productive farming societies going back as far as 12,000 years ago had to deal with the powerful effects of climate change – similar to what modern society fear today, according a new study.

A team of German researchers working out of Tübingen University collected and examined over 1000 ancient grains of barley from 33 locations across the ancient breadbasket region of which once was the Ancient Near East. Samples ranged in age from 2,500 years to well over 12,000 years old. By measuring the relative ratios of carbon isotopes within the ancient plant cells, they were able to determine if the plants had enough water while growing and ripening.

The lab results clearly showed a correlation between periods of extreme drought and the growth of barley. Not surprisingly, the new research shows that the natural water supply available for agriculture at the time noticeably impacted the chemical makeup of the plant cells.

These droughts, which the researchers believe were linked to major climate fluctuations occurring at various times and locations in the ancient world, significantly affected settlements.

As expected, the new finding showed that harvests along coastal regions were able to weather drought conditions, however for the first time we can see strong evidence that agricultural regions more inland were hit hard as the rains dried up.

“Geographic factors and technologies introduced by humans played a big role and influenced societies’ options for development as well as their particular ways of dealing with drought,” said lead author Simone Riehl, an archeologist with Tübingen University in a press statement.

[read full post here]




Yes, We Can Achieve Regenerative Agriculture

Sarah Streat & Katherine Paul |
 OrganicConsumersAssociation | Aug 6 2014

     “A nation that destroys its soil destroys itself.” – Franklin D. Roosevelt

In his opening address to the Savory Institute global conference in London on August 1, Alan Savory said that while agriculture is the foundation of civilization and of any stable economy, it is also, when poorly practiced, the most destructive industry—even more so than coal mining.

The World Wildlife Fund estimates that since 1960, a third of the world’s arable land has been lost through erosion and other degradation. Much of the destruction is caused by increased demand for GMO corn, soy, cotton, canola, sugar beet and alfalfa crops, used to feed factory farm animals, to produce highly-subsidized yet inefficient biofuels and to make processed foods.

The perpetual cycle of planting mono-crops, saturating the crops and fields with toxic chemicals, tilling them under and replanting them destroys the soil and degrades the land by depleting soil nutrients and causing erosion. Overgrazing pastures instead of managing livestock herds holistically, using a system of planned rotational grazing, is equally destructive.

Destruction of land and soil by poor farming isn’t inevitable, said John Liu, who also spoke at the Savory conference. Liu told the audience we have to connect economic growth to ecological restoration—and “restoring ecological function is the only way we will survive.”

How do we do it? In large part through “regenerative agriculture,” in combination with reducing fossil fuel emissions and reversing global deforestation.

Can we do it? By all accounts, yes. But as Savory cautioned, regenerative agriculture represents a small minority, probably 3 – 5 percent, of today’s global agriculture. Sadly, 90 percent of farmers, policy-makers and the public still believe in an agricultural model based on chemistry, technology and faulty policy. “We’re not even at the table,” Savory said.

But we could be. One of the key ways to do that, Savory said, is to convince consumers, who far outnumber producers, that agriculture has to change. Organic Consumers Association recommends consumers do that by boycotting GMOs and factory-farmed foods, in keeping with the advice on our popular bumper sticker: “Cook Organic not the Planet.”

Our failure to do so will not only lead to hunger and poverty, but it will represent a huge missed opportunity to reverse global warming.

Beyond ‘sustainable’

Let’s face it. “Sustainable” is not a sexy word. It suggests a relationship that is merely maintained—plodding along on an existing plane.

It’s time to move beyond the notion of “sustainable” agriculture to a model of agriculture that restores and rejuvenates soils, farms, economies and communities.

So what is “Regenerative agriculture”? Dr. Christine Jones, who founded Amazing Carbon, describes regenerative agriculture as a diverse set of farming practices that replenish and reactivate the soil. “When agriculture is regenerative, soils, water, vegetation and productivity continually improve rather than staying the same or slowly getting worse.”

The key to regenerative agriculture is that it not only “does no harm” to the land but actually improves it, using technologies that regenerate and revitalize the soil and the environment. Regenerative agriculture is dynamic and holistic, incorporating permaculture and organic farming practices, including conservation tillagecover crops, crop rotation, composting, mobile animal shelters and pasture cropping, to increase food production, farmers’ income and especially, topsoil.

Regenerative agriculture leads to healthy soil, capable of producing high quality, nutrient dense food while simultaneously improving, rather than degrading land, and ultimately leading to productive farms and healthy communities and economies.

What makes up healthy soil? According to Jones, healthy topsoil is composed of weathered rock minerals, air, water and living things such as plant roots, microorganisms, insects and worms and the organic materials they produce. 

There are six essential ingredients for soil formation, Jones says
1.    Minerals 
2.    Air 
3.    Water
4.    Living things in the soil (plants and animals) and their by-products
5.    Living things on the soil (plants and animals) and their by-products
6.    Intermittent and patchy disturbance regimes (such as planned grazing or slashing) 

Unlike mono-crop agriculture which relies heavily on chemical fertilizers, pesticides and herbicides, erodes the soil through excessive tilling, and doesn’t protect the with cover crops, regenerative agriculture produces healthy soil, while at the same time producing food (both plant and animal-based). Because regenerative agriculture doesn’t strip the soil of nutrients and leave it depleted, food grown in that soil tastes better, and has a higher nutrient content.

Can regenerative agriculture save the climate?

Healthy soils not only produce healthy food, healthy economies and healthy communities, but as it turns out, healthy soil just may be the best tool we have to reverse global warming.

According to a recent study by the Rodale Institute, if regenerative agriculture were practiced globally, 100 percent of current, annual carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions would be sequestered. 

The Rodale Institute has been conducting its Farming Systems Trial (FST) since1981. It’s the longest-running test comparing organic and conventional cropping systems. Data from the test shows that organic, regenerative agriculture reduces CO2 by taking advantage of natural ecological systems to extract carbon from the atmosphere and sink it into the soil. According to the data, soil managed organically can accumulate about 1,000 pounds of carbon-per-acre foot of soil each year—equal to about 3,500 pounds of carbon dioxide-per-acre taken from the air and sequestered into soil organic matter.  

While commercial agricultural practices are some of the largest contributors to global warming, regenerative agriculture practices are carbon neutral and actually reverse climate change. Carbon-rich soil doesn’t need synthetic fertilizers. This leads to further reduction of greenhouse gas emissions, as both the production and use of fertilizers generate CO2.

Transitioning on a global scale

Regenerative agriculture practices rely on knowledge and care, rather than expensive farming equipment, seeds, fertilizers and pesticides. While in the short term, they may produce slightly lower yields than conventional, chemical-intensive crops, over time they produce higher yields which lead to greater financial security for farmers, especially in communities that are economically dependent on agriculture. 

More and more small-scale farmers are using regenerative practices to cultivate land and grow food. The movement has a strong collaborative voice in places like Australia and the UK, where innovative farmers are sharing their knowledge both informally, and in structured courses and workshops.

Regenerative farming is also practiced widely across the U.S. by many local, small-scale farms, though they may not be using the term “regenerative agriculture.” Farms like Polyface Farms in Virginia, Jubilee Farm in Washington State, and the Marin Carbon Project in California provide good models for how organic, regenerative farming can lead to prosperous and healthy communities.

But if we’re going to restore the world’s vast tracts of degraded lands, and avert a climate disaster, we’re going to need to transition on a global scale from today’s dominant chemical-intensive, mono-crop system to a regenerative model of agriculture. And that will require the support of political systems that currently favor and promote the destructive models of farming over the regenerative model.

Consumers can, and must, play a role in pushing governments to make this transition. We have the power to reverse the trend toward chemically grown, biotech crops by creating demand for healthy foods produced using regenerative practices. We do that by choosing locally, organically grown foods until the market for highly processed packaged foods, and foods that are produced on factory farms—foods that support unhealthy farming practices—shrinks and farms practicing regenerative agriculture fill the void.

Sources:
Rodale Institute
https://newfarm.rodaleinstitute.org/features/0802/regenera…
Regenerative Agriculture United Kingdom https://www.regenerativeagriculture.co.uk/
Department of Land & Water Conservation, New South Wales Government https://www.amazingcarbon.com/PDF/JONES-RecogniseRelateInn…
Soils for Life
https://www.soilsforlife.org.au/
Polyface Farms
https://www.polyfacefarms.com/

Sarah Streat is a contributing freelance writer and researcher for the Organic Consumers Association.  Katherine Paul is associate director of the Organic Consumers Association.




The Myth Of the 97% Climate Change Consensus

Wattsupwiththat | May 30th 2014

climate change lawry kerryWhat is the origin of the false belief – constantly repeated by President Obama, the media and others – that almost all scientists agree about global warming?

Claims continue to be made that “97% of scientists agree that climate change is real, man-made and dangerous.” That’s what Secretary of State John Kerry told graduating Boston College students. It’s what President Obama said in his State of the Union address and a recent tweet.

There’s just one problem – aside from the fact that this assertion is being used to help justify policies and regulations that are closing down fossil fuel power plants and crippling our economy, the claim is completely bogus. As Heartland Institute president Joe Bast and climate scientist Roy Spencer make clear in this article, the papers used to create and perpetuate the 97% claim are seriously and fundamentally flawed. The alleged consensus simply does not exist; much less does it represent anything remotely approaching 97%.

Read the rest of the article…




NOAA: Temperature Data Shows U.S. in Decade-Long Cooling Trend

By James Taylor | Forbes.com

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s most accurate, up-to-date temperature data confirm the United States has been cooling for at least the past decade. The NOAA temperature data are driving a stake through the heart of alarmists claiming accelerating global warming.

Responding to widespread criticism that its temperature station readings were corrupted by poor citing issues and suspect adjustments, NOAA established a network of 114 pristinely cited temperature stations spread out fairly uniformly throughout the United States. Because the network, known as the U.S. Climate Reference Network (USCRN), is so uniformly and pristinely situated, the temperature data require no adjustments to provide an accurate nationwide temperature record. USCRN began compiling temperature data in January 2005. Now, nearly a decade later, NOAA has finally made the USCRN temperature readings available.

According to the USCRN temperature readings, U.S. temperatures are not rising at all – at least not since the network became operational 10 years ago. Instead, the United States has cooled by approximately 0.4 degrees Celsius, which is more than half of the claimed global warming of the twentieth century.

According to the USCRN temperature readings, the U.S. has cooled by approximately 0.4 degrees Celsius over the past 10 years

According to the USCRN temperature readings, the U.S. has cooled by approximately 0.4 degrees Celsius over the past 10 years

Of course, 10 years is hardly enough to establish a long-term trend. Nevertheless, the 10-year cooling period does present some interesting facts.

Read the rest of the article at Forbes.com

CLN Editor Note: Now that we have looked at the short-term trend, have a look at this video with climatologist Cliff Harris in which he discusses a 4500 year temperature graph that shows the cycles of hot and cold:




Global Warming Data FAKED By Government To Fit Climate Change Fictions

Mike Adams| Naturalnews | 24th June 2014

global warmingWhen drug companies are caught faking clinical trial data, no one is surprised anymore. When vaccine manufacturers spike their human trial samples with animal antibodies to make sure their vaccines appear to work, we all just figure that’s how they do business: lying, cheating, deceiving and violating the law.

Now, in what might be the largest scientific fraud ever uncovered, NASA and the NOAA have been caught red-handed altering historical temperature data to produce a “climate change narrative” that defies reality. This finding, originally documented on the Real Science website, is detailed here.

We now know that historical temperature data for the continental United States were deliberately altered by NASA and NOAA scientists in a politically-motivated attempt to rewrite history and claim global warming is causing U.S. temperatures to trend upward. The data actually show that we are in a cooling trend, not a warming trend (see charts below).

This story is starting to break worldwide right now across the media, with The Telegraph now reporting (1), “NOAA’s US Historical Climatology Network (USHCN) has been ‘adjusting’ its record by replacing real temperatures with data ‘fabricated’ by computer models.”

Because the actual historical temperature record doesn’t fit the frenzied, doomsday narrative of global warming being fronted today on the political stage, the data were simply altered using “computer models” and then published as fact.

Here’s the proof of the climate change fraud

Here’s the chart of U.S. temperatures published by NASA in 1999. It shows the highest temperatures actually occurred in the 1930’s, followed by a cooling trend ramping downward to the year 2000:


The authenticity of this chart is not in question. It is published by James Hansen on NASA’s website. (2) On that page, Hansen even wrote, “Empirical evidence does not lend much support to the notion that climate is headed precipitately toward more extreme heat and drought.”

After the Obama administration took office, however, and started pushing the global warming narrative for political purposes, NASA was directed to alter its historical data in order to reverse the cooling trend and show a warming trend instead. This was accomplished using climate-modeling computers that simply fabricated the data the researchers wished to see instead of what was actually happening in the real world.

Using the exact same data found in the chart shown above (with a few years of additional data after 2000), NASA managed to misleadingly distort the chart to depict the appearance of global warming:

The authenticity of this chart is also not in question. It can be found right now on NASA’s servers. (4)

This new, altered chart shows that historical data — especially the severe heat and droughts experienced in the 1930’s — are now systematically suppressed to make them appear cooler than they really were. At the same time, temperature data from the 1970’s to 2010 are strongly exaggerated to make them appear warmer than they really were.

This is a clear case of scientific fraud being carried out on a grand scale in order to deceive the entire world about global warming.

EPA data also confirm the global warming hoax

What’s even more interesting is that even the EPA’s “Heat Wave Index” data further support the notion that the U.S. was far hotter in the 1930’s than it is today.

The following chart, published on the EPA.gov website (4), clearly shows modern-day heat waves are far smaller and less severe than those of the 1930’s. In fact, the seemingly “extreme” heat waves of the last few years were no worse than those of the early 1900’s or 1950’s.

Short-sighted agricultural practices cause more global warming than CO2

Seeing these charts, you might wonder how the extremely high temperatures of the 1930’s came about. Were we releasing too much CO2 by burning fossil fuels?

Nope. That entire episode of massive warming and drought was caused by conventional agricultural practices that clear-cut forests, poisoned the soils with chemicals and plowed the top soil away. Lacking trees to retain moisture, areas that were once thriving plains, grasslands and forests turned to desert. Suddenly, the cooling effects of moisture transpiration from healthy plant ecosystems was lost, causing extreme temperatures and deadly drought.

Shortsighted agricultural practices, in other words, really did cause “warming,” while a restoration of a more natural ecosystem reversed the trend and cooled the region.

Reforestation is the answer

This brings us to the simple, obvious solution to all this. If you want to cool the planet, focus on reforestation efforts. If you want to retain moisture and keep your soils alive, you need diverse plant-based ecosystems, not clear-cut fields running monoculture operations.

Forests act like sponges that soak up rainwater, and then they turn around and slowly release that water back into the air, “moisturizing” the atmosphere and keeping humidity levels high enough to support other nearby grasses, shrubs and plants. When you clear-cut forests — as has been done all across the world to make room for mechanized agriculture — you effectively raise temperatures by eliminating nature’s plant-based water retention and cooling systems.

Industrialized farming, in other words, has already been historically shown to radically increase continental temperatures and “warm” the region. So why isn’t the White House warning the world about the dangers of industrialized agriculture?

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A Life of Activism Gives You Hope, Energy and Direction

Maude Barlow | Commondreams | June 22nd 2014

Climate activists at a rally in Copenhagen. (Photo: AinhoaGoma/Oxfam International)

Climate activists at a rally in Copenhagen. (Photo: AinhoaGoma/Oxfam International)

Maude Barlow received an Honorary Doctor of Laws from York University in Toronto yesterday morning. Here are her speaking notes for the Convocation ceremony.

Chancellor Gregory Sorbara, President Mamdouh Shoukri, the Senate of York University, and all the graduation students,

It is a great honour to share this convocation with you today. I am moved by your grace, energy and hope on this lovely June day.

In the few minutes I have to share with you I would like to urge you all, no matter what your education specialty, what vocation you choose, or where you live, to give some of your precious life energy to the great environmental challenges that face us today.

Every generation faces a unique political reality and set of concerns it needs to tackle together and yours is the multiple threats to the earth itself from over-exploitation, pollution and the growth imperative.

From the diminishing life in the oceans, and the destruction of old growth forests, to the clear limits of a fossil fuel economy, our Mother Earth is suffering, as are countless millions around the world.

Water is the issue I know best. Fresh water supplies are rapidly being destroyed due to a “perfect storm” of pollution, climate change, over-mining of groundwater, and watershed destruction where humans move massive amounts of water from lakes, rivers and aquifers to quench the thirst of cities, industry and mega farms.

When we are done with it, we dump that water (usually untreated) into the oceans as waste, leaving landscapes parched behind us. As a result, many parts of the world are literally running out of available fresh water — something we were taught as children could never happen — and almost three billion people do not have access to clean water within a kilometre of their homes.

Every three seconds a child of the Global South dies of dirty water. The lack of access to water kills more children worldwide than all forms of violence together, including war.

Even here in Canada, we have taken our water for granted and are among the worst water wasters in the world. We don’t protect or properly map our groundwater. Our Great Lakes are in crisis, with one study warning they could be “bone dry”in 80 years. Our national water act is forty five years old and in desperate need of updating.

Canadians consume about 3 billion plastic bottles of commercial water every year. Since we only recycle about 35 per cent of these bottles, we discard mountains of plastic garbage in our lakes, rivers, forests and landfills where they will take at least 500 years to break down.

Mining and heavy oil extractions are destroying many freshwater lakes and rivers in Canada, allowing giant dams of poisoned water to contaminate groundwater sources. Yet recent changes to freshwater regulations mean that 99 per cent of all our lakes and rivers are entirely unprotected by federal law.

Sadly there is still a water and santitation crisis on many First Nations communities, where residents are 90 per cent more likely to be without running water than other Canadians. Yet Canada was the last country in the world to ratify the UN General Assembly resolution recognizing the human right to water, an enormously important step for the global community to take.

We who are blessed to live in a water wealthy country have a special responsibility to find solutions to this global crisis and as well, to be good stewards of our own precious water resources by protecting our watersheds, wetlands and aquifers and ensuring safe, clean drinking water as a public trust and a human right. There is much work to do.

Do not listen to those who say there is nothing you can do to the very large and very real social and environmental problems that beset our world. I am not now talking about a false sense of optimism based on ignoring the several very real crises we face.

But there is so much room for hope and such a need to bring joy and excitement to our commitment to a different future. I swear to you that it is true — the life of an activist is a good life, because you get up in the morning caring about more than just yourself or how to make more money. A life of activism gives hope (a moral imperative in this work), energy and direction. You meet the best people. You help transform systems and ideas and you commit to leaving the earth in at least as whole a state as you inherited it because every generation has the right to breathe clean air and drink sweet clean water.

And you may very well find yourself inside an important fight for all humanity. Recently, I was part of a delegation to the United Nations, where we presented a new idea to the Secretary General, Ban Ki Moon, and the General Assembly.

Because our civil society movements believe that there are no human rights if there are no protections for the earth, air, water, forests, wetlands and other species, we presented the Universal Declaration of the Rights of Mother Earth which we hope will become, with time, the companion to the 1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

This concept was met with great enthusiasm from the Secretary General and many country delegates and I believe with my heart that it is only a matter of time before it becomes a cornerstone of public policy both at the United Nations and in every country and community in the world.

As Cormac Cullinan, a leading advocate for the rights of nature, explains: The day will come when the failure of our laws to recognize the right of a river to flow, to prohibit acts that destabilize the Earth’s climate, or to impose a duty to respect the intrinsic value and right to exist of all life will be as reprehensible as allowing people to be bought and sold. We will only flourish by changing these systems and claiming our identify, as well as assuming our responsibilities, as members of the Earth community.

I want to close with the words of the late, great American scientist and environmentalist, Carl Sagan, who said: Anything else you are interested in is not going to happen if you cannot breathe the air and drink the water. Don’t sit this one out! Do something! You are by accident of fate alive at an absolutely critical moment in the history of our planet.

Thank you York University, for this great honour.

© 2014 Maude Barlow

Maude Barlow is the national chairperson of the Council of Canadians, chairperson of Food and Water Watch in the U.S., and co-founder of theBlue Planet Project, which is instrumental in the international community in working for the right to water for all people.

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