tagged w/ Pollution
The Cornwall Alliance calls environmentalism "one of the greatest threats to society."
A conservative religious organization with ties to the oil industry is lashing out at health-conscious evangelical leaders for supporting new federal rules on mercury. They assert that protection of the unborn from toxic pollution cannot be called pro-life because the term does not mean “quality of life.”
The Cornwall Alliance is a group of conservative evangelicals devoted to spreading disinformation about climate change through its mission of “free-market environmental stewardship.” In its Declaration on Global Warming, the organization says “we deny that carbon dioxide … is a pollutant” and that “we deny that alternative, renewable fuels can … replace fossil and nuclear fuels.”
Think Progress conducted a lengthy investigation of this pollution-pushing evangelical group in 2010.
Responding to a new video and radio ad campaign from the Evangelical Environment Network that encourages lawmakers to support new mercury standards in order to “protect the unborn,” the Cornwall Alliance issued a statement explaining its view that being pro-life does not denote “quality of life.”
The term pro-life originated historically in the struggle to end abortion on demand and continues to be used in public discourse overwhelmingly in that sense. To ignore that is at best sloppy communication and at worst intentional deception. The life in pro-life denotes not quality of life but life itself. The term denotes opposition to a procedure that intentionally results in dead babies. (Bold not our emphasis.)
This doesn’t mean we should ignore environmental risks. It does mean they should not be portrayed as pro-life. Genuinely pro-life people will usually desire to reduce other risks as well—guided by cost/benefit analysis. But to call those issues “pro-life” is to obscure the meaning of the term.
The Environmental Protection Agency estimates that the new mercury rules will prevent 11,000 premature deaths and 130,000 asthma attacks each year. And the impact of high levels of mercury in unborn children are well documented:
For fetuses, infants, and children, the primary health effect of methylmercury is impaired neurological development. Impacts on cognitive thinking, memory, attention, language, and fine motor and visual spatial skills have been seen in children exposed to methylmercury in the womb.
Outbreaks of methylmercury poisonings have made it clear that adults, children, and developing fetuses are at risk from ingestion exposure to methylmercury. During these poisoning outbreaks some mothers with no symptoms of nervous system damage gave birth to infants with severe disabilities, it became clear that the developing nervous system of the fetus may be more vulnerable to methylmercury than is the adult nervous system.
A growing number of religious leaders — including the U.S. Conference of Bishops — has come out in favor of reducing mercury emissions because of their impact on the health of children.
“A new national standard to reduce mercury and toxic air pollution from power plants is an important step forward to protect the health of all people, especially unborn babies and young children, from harmful exposure to dangerous air pollutants,” said the U.S. bishops’ domestic policy chairman in response to the proposed rules on mercury emissions.
In stark contrast to mainstream religious leaders, the fringe Cornwall Alliance has called the environmental movement “one of the greatest threats to society and the church today.”
Perhaps they are referring to the leader of the Catholic Church, Pope Benedict XVI? Dubbed the “Green Pope,” Pope Benedict has been a vocal supporter of strong environmental standards, renewable energy, and action on climate change in order to protect “the whole of creation.”
Watch the video ad campaign from the Evangelical Environment Network below:
The Evangelical Environmental Network continues to defend its ads from political attacks against prominent politicians, including Oklahoma Republican Senator Jim Inhofe. “We believe protecting the unborn from mercury poisoning is a consistent pro-life position. An issue that impacts the unborn – that’s where we resonate as a pro-life organization,” said Alexei Laushkin, an EEN spokesman, in an interview with The Hill Thursday.
More at the linkThe Cornwall Alliance calls environmentalism "one of the greatest threats to... more
Plaintiffs in the lawsuit against BP over damages from the Gulf of Mexico oil spill won't be allowed to bring up the oil giant's spotty past safety record, including a major accident in Texas City, Texas, nor will they be allowed to use the contents of a series of reports on the causes of the Deepwater Horizon disaster, U.S. District Judge Carl Barbier ruled Thursday.
View full sizeU.S. Chemical Safety Board A 2005 explosion at BP's Texas City refinery killed 15 people and injured 180 others.
Barbier based his rulings largely on the length of time that would be added to the trial by either assuring information on which the reports were based followed federal evidence rules, or allowing BP and other defendants to contest the materials.
The rulings, requested by BP and other defendants in the lawsuit, cover materials that members of the Plaintiff Steering Committee and the federal government wanted to be considered during the first phase of the trial, which is scheduled to begin Feb. 27. The first chapter of what's expected to be a three-part court battle, called the "incident" phase, deals with the events leading up to the explosion of the Deepwater Horizon rig.
Excluded will be the comprehensive reports on the causes of the accident written by the National Commission on the BP Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill and Offshore Drilling in January 2011, by the commission's chief counsel in February 2011, and a marine casualty investigation report released in August 2011 by the Republic of the Marshall Islands maritime administrator. The Deepwater Horizon rig operated under the Marshall Islands flag.
Also excluded will be:
•A report by the U.S. Chemical Safety and Hazard Investigation Board on a 2005 explosion at BP's Texas City refinery that killed 15 people and injured 180 others;
•A 2007 deferred prosecution agreement between BP and the Department of Justice concerning an alleged conspiracy by BP to manipulate the market to increase the price of propane gas in February 2004.
•A fact sheet produced by the federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration describing BP's alleged failure to comply with a settlement agreement after the Texas City accident, and citations involving alleged safety violations during a 2009 inspection of that plant.
More at the linkPlaintiffs in the lawsuit against BP over damages from the Gulf of Mexico oil spill... more
Drilling in the Arctic waters of the U.S. may become as contested an issue as the Keystone Pipeline XL in up-coming months. Scientists, congress members, and ordinary Americans have all come out in large numbers against the Obama Administration's leases for exploratory drilling in the Beaufort Sea and the Chuckchi Sea.
Last month 573 scientists signed a letter against opening the Arctic up to drilling until more research can be done in the sensitive area. In addition, a letter signed by 60 Congress members has been sent to Interior Secretary Ken Salazar noting that the Deepwater Horizon disaster occurred only two years ago. Finally, nearly half a million Americans (400,000) signed a petition against drilling in the Arctic. Critics of the Obama Administration's leases say there is no coherent plan to clean-up a spill in the icy, remote Arctic ecosystem, which already embattled by climate change.
"The Arctic is the last wild ocean on the planet. Its waters and the abundant life they support are simply too sensitive to be drilled—especially since neither the oil industry nor scientists have identified a proven way to contain or clean up a spill in the Arctic’s extreme conditions," Chuck Clusen, Alaska Project Director with the Natural Resources Defense Council, said in a press release. "At the very least, there should be no plan to lease these areas until key scientific studies have been done and until the oil and gas industry can demonstrate its ability to contain and clean up a spill."
The letter from scientists asked the administration to "to follow through on its commitment to science" by following recommendations made by the United States Geological Survey (USGS) and refrain from drilling until more research can be done.
Still, drilling in the Arctic could begin as early as this summer by Royal Dutch Shell. The oil company argues that it has a meticulous oil-response plan even given the intense conditions of drilling in the Arctic, including response vessels standing by. Shell Alaska Vice President Pete Slaiby told the Associated Press that the company would be ready with a capping stack, similar to what was used to stop the Gulf oil spill in 2010 after the well leaked for three months.
Critics of Arctic drilling argue that given the extreme weather conditions, icy waters, and the remoteness of any oil well, it would currently be impossible to clean-up an oil spill adequately. Furthermore, clean-up efforts would almost certainly have to stop during the long Arctic winter. Currently the federal government is asking Shell to stop operations 38 days before the seasonal sea ice would arrive to make certain an oil spill doesn't occur at the end of the season. Shell is trying to overturn this ruling.
"If the Obama administration were making its decision based on science rather than politics, drilling in the Arctic would be a nonstarter," Rebecca Noblin, the Alaska Director with Center for Biological Diversity (CBD). "The Arctic Ocean is America’s last best wilderness. Launching massive industrial drilling operations risks America’s Arctic legacy for oil company profits."
Read more: http://news.mongabay.com/2012/0209-hance_arctic_drilling_us.html#ixzz1m0w4myDx
http://photos.mongabay.com/j/oil.drilling.shell.arctic.568.jpgDrilling in the Arctic waters of the U.S. may become as contested an issue as the... more
Agroecology is the science behind sustainable agriculture, from the ground up.
It combines scientific inquiry with place-based knowledge and experimentation, emphasizing technology and innovations that are knowledge-intensive, low cost, ecologically sound and practical. By listening to farmers, and using the most up-to-date science, agroecology provides a modern framework for thinking broadly about agriculture in terms of its four key systems properties: productivity, resilience, equity and sustainability.
At PAN, we document and publicize the contribution of the agroecological sciences to climate-friendly, sustainable development, profile the successes of local organic farmers and provide technical support on alternatives to our campaign partners.
Africa :: The push-pull system (PDF) of ecological pest management is transforming small farms in Africa. It illustrates agroecology's ingenuity, as well as the many economic, food security, health and environmental benefits of this approach.
Kenyan maize farmers have tripled their yields by intercropping maize with plants that repel pests, support natural pest predators and suppress weeds. One of the plants, desmodium, is a nitrogen-fixing legume that is also used as fodder for animals. The inclusion of these plants in the farming system reduces synthetic pesticide use and augments livestock feed, providing families with additional milk and meat for consumption or sale. Additional benefits include reduced run-off and soil erosion, enhanced soil fertility, improved food security and family nutrition, and increased household income. More than 12,000 farmers across eastern Africa have adopted the technology, with another 100,000 expected to do so over the next three years.
More stories at the linkAgroecology is the science behind sustainable agriculture, from the ground up.
Like many Gulf Coast residents, I was highly skeptical when both the media and the Coast Guard told us that the tar balls we were seeing wash up on our shores in the months following the Deepwater Horizon oil disaster were not from BP’s oil geyser at the bottom of the Gulf of Mexico. If they weren’t from the massive leak caused by BP, Halliburton, and TransOcean, then where were these tar balls coming from? While we might not know the clear answer to that question, we do have a new suspect.
According to a lawsuit filed this week by the Waterkeeper Alliance and their Gulf Coast affiliates, there is a smaller oil leak in the Gulf of Mexico off the Louisiana coast that has been flowing nonstop for almost seven and a half years. While nowhere near as large as the oil leak from the Deepwater Horizon disaster – the lawsuit estimates the current leak to be releasing a few hundred gallons of oil per day – the fact that it has been flowing for more than seven years allows plenty of time for hundred of thousands, if not low millions, of gallons of oil to be released into the waters of the Gulf of Mexico.
However, the energy company responsible for the leak – Taylor Energy – says that only about 14 gallons of oil are leaking per day. The Waterkeeper Alliance is basing their analysis on the size and scope of visible oil sheens, similar to how the flow rate was determined for the Deepwater Horizon disaster.
The lawsuit alleges that Taylor Energy is responsible for allowing oil to flow into the Gulf, a direct violation of the Clean Water Act. They are seeking civil penalties in the amount of $37,500 per day that the oil has been leaking, the maximum possible penalty for such violations under the Act.
So how has an oil leak managed to go undetected, or at least unreported, for the better part of a decade? That’s one of the questions the lawsuit is hoping to answer.
Aided by satellite imagery and research conducted by SkyTruth and aerial observation by SouthWings, the Waterkeeper Alliance and its local Waterkeeper organizations learned that the spill, located approximately 11 miles off the coast of Louisiana, started after an undersea landslide in the aftermath of Hurricane Ivan in 2004. An offshore platform and 28 wells were damaged, and since then, Taylor has yet to stop the daily flow of oil from the site. Waterkeeper estimates that hundreds of gallons of oil have leaked from the site each day for the last 7 years.
“The plaintiffs filed suit to stop the spill and lift the veil of secrecy surrounding Taylor Oil’s seven-year long response and recovery operation,” explained Marc Yaggi, executive director of Waterkeeper Alliance. “Neither the government nor Taylor will answer basic questions related to the spill response, citing privacy concerns.” The public deserves to know how this spill happened and why it continues. Coastal communities should understand the risks involved in developing off-shore oil resources and what protections are in place to prevent damage from future spills.
Justin Bloom, the eastern regional director of the Waterkeeper Alliance, points out that none of the recommended reforms from the NOAA assessment of the Deepwater Horizon oil leak have been enacted, allowing for a culture that puts the profits of the oil industry ahead of environmental and human health protections.
In addition to the newly-filed lawsuit, the Waterkeeper Alliance has also released a joint report with SkyTruth and SouthWings (under their joint organization of the Gulf Monitoring Consortium) detailing the failings of our current monitoring and reporting systems for oil disasters. From their new report:
In addition to the lack of reporting, chronic underreporting of oil spills makes it impossible for the public and decision makers to understand the true scope of pollution caused by oil and gas exploration and production. The National Reporting Center’s (NRC) reports lacking estimates of the amount of oil spilled are common. Between October 1, 2010 and September 30, 2011 a total of 2903 oil or refined petroleum (e.g. diesel fuel) spills were reported in the Gulf region. Seventy-seven percent (2221) of those reports did not include an estimate of the quantity of oil spilled. Forty-five percent (1311) identify a suspected responsible party – a strong indicator that those reports were submitted by the actual polluters – and of those, nearly half (620) do not include any spill amount.
More at the linkLike many Gulf Coast residents, I was highly skeptical when both the media and the... more
In his State of the Union speech, President Obama lauded natural gas from shale as a key part of his clean energy plan. Fracking shale for natural gas is an intensive extractive process that has polluted the water and air of communities across the country. There is nothing clean about it.
President Obama said that he "will not walk away on the promise of clean energy." Tell him that the gas industry's promises are deceptive.
Fill out the form below to send a message today!
More at the linkIn his State of the Union speech, President Obama lauded natural gas from shale as a... more
President of American Gas Association, 1981: “In fact, gas energy — currently America’s largest domestically produced fuel — could prove to be the keystone to solving the nation’s energy crisis by serving as the ‘bridge fuel’ to the next century’s renewable energy technologies.”
VP of AGA, 1988, “refers to natural gas as a bridge fuel — the least harmful alternative while the world looks for other, longer-lasting solutions to the ‘greenhouse’ effect,” the Washington Post reported.
Chair of AGA, 2008: “Natural gas will be the bridge fuel to the future…. The electric industry is expected to turn to natural gas as a bridge until clean coal and nuclear generation are available.”
It’s the longest bridge in history! Heck, the Golden Gate Bridge only took 4 years to build!
The President will be touting natural gas in his State of the Union address tonight, according to sources. Nothing wrong with touting gas — if you also tout a rising carbon price, which the president once did but no longer does.
Way back in June 2009, I pointed out the value of gas in the context of a climate bill with a rising CO2 price — see “Why unconventional natural gas makes the 2020 Waxman-Markey target so damn easy and cheap to meet.” But the key point of that post was that you could put gas in existing, underutilized plants to replace existing coal power cheaply to meet the key 2020 target Obama.
Building lots of new gas plants doesn’t make much sense since we need to sharply reduce greenhouse gas emissions in the next few decades if we’re to have any chance to avoid catastrophic global warming. We don’t want new gas plants to displace new renewables, like solar and wind, which are going to be the some of the biggest, sustainable job creating industries of the century.
Late last year, some of the leading (center-right) economists in the country — Nicholas Z. Muller, Robert Mendelsohn, and William Nordhaus — concluded in a top economic journal that the total damages from natural gas generation exceed its value-added at a low-ball carbon price of $27 per ton! At a price of $65 a ton of carbon, the total damages from natural gas are more than double its value-added!
For the record, stabilizing at 550 ppm atmospheric concentrations of CO2, which would likely still be catastrophic for humanity, would require a price of $330 a metric ton of carbon in 2030, the International Energy Agency (IEA) noted back in 2008.
The fact that natural gas is a bridge fuel to nowhere was in fact, first demonstrated by the IEA in its big June 2011 report on gas — see IEA’s “Golden Age of Gas Scenario” Leads to More Than 6°F Warming and Out-of-Control Climate Change. That study — which had both coal and oil consumption peaking in 2020 — made abundantly clear that if we want to avoid catastrophic warming, we need to start getting off of all fossil fuels.
Then came a remarkable new study by Tom Wigley of the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) that concluded:
In summary, our results show that the substitution of gas for coal as an energy source results in increased rather than decreased global warming for many decades.
More at the linkPresident of American Gas Association, 1981: “In fact, gas energy —... more
On July 4, 2010, Joost Notenboom and Michiel Roodenburg set off from Deadhorse, Alaska, on a more-than-18,000-mile journey to the southern tip of Argentina. Their chosen mode of transport: bamboo bicycles. Their mission: to raise awareness of the global water crisis that leaves more than 1 billion people without access to safe drinking water. Eighteen months, 14,000 miles, and 62 flat tires later, we caught up with them just long enough to ask a few questions about their trip so far -- and their plans for when they finish, which, if all goes as planned, will happen in just a few more months. To learn more about their trip, or to support local water projects along their route, check out their website.
Q. What are a couple of Dutchmen doing shouting about water scarcity? Last I checked, there was no dearth of the wet stuff around your corner of the globe.
A. True, true. We actually started getting really interested in water once we finished our university exchange program in Israel a few years ago. (That's also where we met.) Joost was writing his thesis on the issue of water in the Israeli/Palestinian conflict, and that was where we both saw that water is something that people will fight about.
It's also not only a question of scarcity. It's about energy, about food, about climate change, about ecosystems. Water is the basic building block of life. So it's true that back home, we don't have many issues with access to clean water -- everyone has a tap with water coming out -- but we do feel the effects of climate change when the sea levels will start to rise; we do pollute our rivers through industry; and through international trade we increase our virtual water footprint.
What we wanted to do with this trip is learn as much as possible about some of these different issues surrounding water.
Q. Tell the truth, is this not just an excuse to have an epic cycling adventure?
A. Also very true. We cannot say that this is something that we hate doing. It's a lot of fun, and every day is another adventure, literally. But who says you can't do both? Trying to do some good doesn't have to be sacrificial or tiresome; you can have fun while doing it, right?
Visiting these water projects, trying to learn something, doing presentations to share our experiences -- that keeps it very interesting for us. We also get to visit places where tourists normally don't come. This is because we're cycling through some of the tiniest little towns, and on some of the shittiest and most deserted back roads. But it is also because we get asked to come check out remote projects, or talk at universities. This way we get to know so much more about a place and its people than doing a standard Lonely Planet-guided backpack trip.
Q. Have you ever attempted to ghost ride your bikes into a ditch and book a flight home?
A. We've seen a lot of beauty, and we've lived together every day for the past 18 months. We've shared all the ups and the downs, and we both think this is a big reason why we haven't been tempted to book a flight back yet. There's always someone to cheer you up or push you along; doing this kind of thing alone would be something very, very different.
But the most inspiring thing so far has to be the kindness of the people we meet along the way. It's sort of unusual to see two guys on bamboo bikes hauling trailers full of gear. We guess it's instantly clear we're going a long way and people respond to that by offering us a place to stay, advice on travel conditions, a kind word, food, or just a wave from their car as they pass us by. We've had so many encounters with wonderful people that it has completely reinforced our faith in humanity.
Q. What does the water crisis look like? What are some of the images that will stick in your minds?
A. It really is water crises (plural). It has so many faces. It might be a global issue, but every country or region has its own specific consequences and realities.
It's for instance the three little girls pulling a rope together to haul one bucket of water from a well in the tiny little mountain community of Xepatan, in Guatemala. It's hard work, and because these girls have to help their mom doing these chores, this means they cannot go to school. Access to a clean water supply, more than anything else, gives you time. Not having to walk hours a day simply fetching and carrying water means that kids (because it's mostly them that do this) can just be kids, and play and go to school.
It's also the image of not seeing the pink river dolphin in the Amazon Basin. We were invited to go to the Amazon and learn more about this, the largest reservoir of freshwater on our planet, draining more than one-fifth of the world's total river flow. River dolphins are a bellwether species in this aquatic environment, and their health is directly correlated to the health of the forest. Not seeing them means that their environment is most likely in trouble, and we learned that this is mainly due to big hydroelectric projects, pollution [from] gold mining, and deforestation.
Q. Tell us about some of the water projects you've seen or been involved in.
A. There are so many examples of successful projects that made a difference in the lives of those they were intended for. There are solutions for the billion people who don't have access to clean water today; there are solutions for the 2.5 billion who don't have access to basic sanitation. It's a matter of reaching those people and giving them that one little push so they can help themselves. Because -- and we've seen this time and time again -- it's always the local people themselves who want to change their own situation. They get fed up with their kids getting sick, or their crops failing, or their animals dying, and they are clever and proud and entrepreneurial enough to seek out solutions.
We remember going to a fancy university in Costa Rica, and the people there showed us a biodigester they had made which collected all the waste from the student dorms and turned it into energy and clean water. This was their prototype and they were very proud of it. A few months later, in Colombia, we saw the same thing at someone's farm. He had built his own biodigester a few years back because he couldn't afford his electricity bill anymore. He'd just thought of it and it seemed to him like a good idea. Now he collects the sewage from his own house and from his pigs and converts that into power and water. The waste is then used as fertilizer. Sustainable development in action!
Q. What good are you? What have you done to help solve the problem?
A. We can't solve the problem, so we're probably not very good. We're not the fastest cyclists either, nor the strongest; and we're not even the first. We haven't raised the most money, or brought our own water footprint down to zero ... Riding a bicycle from the Arctic to the Antarctic ... is actually sort of easy. But effecting real change is difficult and slow ...
We are raising donations for small, local water projects, and we've deliberately not chosen to raise funds for one big, international NGO. We like those small projects that previously didn't have a chance of reaching out to international private donors, and had to depend solely on public money. So we've supported one pump-building project in Guatemala so far; getting that $20,000 budget financed took a long time. And now we're trying to do the same for another water filtration project in Colombia for which $10,000 has already been raised, and that still needs $4,000.
More at the linkOn July 4, 2010, Joost Notenboom and Michiel Roodenburg set off from Deadhorse,... more
WILL LORD COE, AND MAYOR BORIS JOHNSON,
TAKE THE BHOPAL WATER TASTE CHALLENGE?
FOR IMMEDIATE USE
- Monday the 9th January, Trafalgar Square, 2.15pm
Despite the continuing furore concerning Dow Chemical’s sponsorship of the London Olympics, LOCOG’s position is that they remain satisfied with Dow Chemical’s ethical performance and sustainability.
The people of Bhopal beg to differ and, on Monday the 9th January, just 200 days before the London Olympics begin, a survivor of the Bhopal Disaster will be challenging both Lord Coe, and Mayor Boris Johnson, to taste some Bhopal drinking water. This water is contaminated with highly toxic chemicals that Dow’s subsidiary, Union Carbide, recklessly dumped while their Bhopal factory was in production.
Thousands of people in Bhopal have no other source of drinking water than this highly contaminated source. But, the Dow Chemical Company not only chooses not to accept responsibility for Union Carbide’s mess it even refuses, despite a huge body of scientific evidence, to accept that the groundwater is even contaminated!
Farah Williams, a survivor of the Bhopal Disaster, will be inviting Lord Coe and Mayor Johnson to taste some of Dow’s finest produce. She will have a specially designed bottle of B’eauPal drinking water (a spoof mineral water product) and can be filmed or photographed in front of the Olympic Countdown clock. The clock will be adorned with a specially designed banner explaining that there are only ’200 Days Left to Dump Dow’!
Barry Gardiner MP, ’Friends Of India’ will be on hand for interviews, along with Lorraine Close the host of a change.org petition demanding Dow be dropped from the Olympics which has already attracted nearly 17,000 signatures.
More at the linkWILL LORD COE, AND MAYOR BORIS JOHNSON,
TAKE THE BHOPAL WATER TASTE CHALLENGE?
Yesterday late morning, dozens of people on t invaded the premises of the Monsanto Monbéqui to voice their revendications. / Photo DDM, Chantal Longo.
This is an order of the Court of Justice of the European Union (ECJ) that September 5, 2011 set fire to the powder. A beekeeper German who found the presence of pollen from GM maize Mon 810 sued and the court found her honey unmarketable. In fact the coexistence of GM crops in open fields and beekeeping is incompatible. A few days later the same court overturned the safeguard clause for the corn taken by France in 2008. Which sows confusion among beekeepers that the number of hives and bees decreases dramatically after the problems of the Regent, the Gaucho and across the great southern Asian hornet. Starting from a standing meeting Léojac they signed yesterday a coup by penetrating so cunning in the administrative buildings of the Monsanto-Monbéqui installed near the Garonne. An advance guard of about twenty of them acted as the Trojan horse posing as deliverymen and then opening the gates to the main body. The surprise was total. When the police arrived the occupants were on the premises with hives, smoker and realize what a picnic invigorating.
See you Friday 13 in Paris at the Department of Ecology
Negotiations were begun shortly before one o'clock. And the Prefect of Tarn-et-Garonne Fabien Sudry received 30 to 14 hours a delegation. The interview lasted 90 minutes with calls to the Ministries of Nathalie Kosciusko-Morizet and Bruno Le Maire to find both a rendezvous in Paris on Friday from 13 to 16 hours, but mostly to see if n ' is not possible to re-route the order Barnier, 2007 prohibiting transportation and sale of seed. This progress in the dialogue was explained to 17 hours to hundreds of people still present on the premises of Monsanto. The final slogan is as follows: "We did not win, but we must remain mobilized and see what to do after January 13th." And just as quietly emptied the premises under the eye of some twenty policemen visible on the site and did not have to intervene.
Léojac meeting or diversion?
By yesterday morning the peasant confederation organized in the hall of Léojac an interregional meeting on "GMOs and coexistence bee impossible." Over two hundred people filled the room mid-morning to hear presentations from the highest quality. Then around 11 o'clock half the hall was deserted by beekeepers from all over the Deep South who was heading the site of Monsanto Monbéqui about thirty miles away. The morning ended for the public by remaining an invitation to join the militants or to be in front of the prefecture.
The developer of the witnesses
Jean Sabench> Saint-Pons-de-Tomières. "We managed to create an event that is national in scope because there are people from all over France, as well as the Ardèche Britain or the Puy de Dome again. It comes to Monbéqui to tell him to stop Monsanto's crap. With everything they traffic, we can no longer sell our products. They are asked to respect the law but also to comply with our products. We do not want them to crush everything in their path. The MON 810 will put us on the straw. We must stop this! "
Josie Riffaud> Gironde. "We're not there to burn everything. Rather, we are in the symbol. Beekeepers are increasingly worried about their future. At the rate things are going in a few years there will not be any bees on the planet. With the decision of the Court of Justice of the European Union which has invalidated the safeguard clause Monsanto 810 maize made by France in 2008 we opened a Pandora's box. We must quickly close it before it's too late. "
Alain Bernard> Tarn. "For many products that French beekeepers do not become unsaleable at once we strongly urge the competent authorities to set up a second moratorium before the start of planting GM because of the risks facing our bees with GM crops . We can not accept losing everything without a fight. Today, we play our survival. We are totally against the wall. "
(Related by J.-Ph.L.)
This is a translationYesterday late morning, dozens of people on t invaded the premises of the Monsanto... more
Hans Herren, Ph.D. is an internationally recognized scientist specializing in sustainable agriculture. He is president of the Millennium Institute, a non-profit development research and service organization dedicated to sustainable development. Dr. Herren co-chaired the International Assessment of Agricultural Knowledge, Science & Technology (IAASTD), an initiative sponsored by the World Bank and United Nations in partnership with the World Health Organization that assessed global agriculture and recommended agroecological solutions to world hunger.
Dr. Herren has earned numerous awards that recognize his research achievements. These include the 2002 Brandenberger Preis for improving the living standards of Africa's rural population, the 2003 Tyler Prize for Environmental Achievement, and the 1995 World Food Prize for his work developing a successful biological control program that saved the African cassava crop, and averted Africa’s worst-ever food crisis.
Dr. Herren’s work in agroecology in Africa has been credited with saving millions of lives by enabling African people to produce the food they need. He developed the “push-pull” system that uses simple but powerful bio-control strategies to effectively manage corn pests, resulting in large increases in yields.
There is much discussion today about the need to “feed the world” because of the growing global population. What do you think needs to be done in order to ensure there is adequate food for everyone in the world?
HH: The issue is less on how to feed the world than how to nourish the poor and hungry. Today we produce 4600 calories per person per day, so there is enough food to feed twice the present population. The problem is that we produce mostly cheap commodities rather than quality food. These cheap products, in addition to being of low nutritional value, are based on a few crops that carry a large ecological, social, and economic footprint. What is needed is to support farmers in developing countries to grow their own healthy food by providing information, know-how, financial support for inputs, and support for them to access markets, among others.
Food security is achieved when availability, access, stability, and utilization are assured equally for all. There is also a need for new and participatory research into sustainable agricultural practices, based on the principles of agroecology and organic farming, which would free farmers from dependence on external inputs such as chemical pesticides and fertilizers.
Some agricultural “experts” are calling for another Green Revolution. What are your thoughts on this?
HH: What we need least is another Green Revolution. What is needed now is to move forward with the lessons learned from the Green Revolution, taking forward what has worked and leave behind most of it, since the Green Revolution has left agriculture dependent on external inputs that are non-sustainable and becoming more and more expensive since they are based on oil, a finite resource, and also synthetic fertilizers, also based on finite natural resources.
The way forward is to understand and work with the system in a holistic and integrated manner. Silver bullets, reductionism as often promoted by the agri-chemical industry are not solutions.
More at the linkHans Herren, Ph.D. is an internationally recognized scientist specializing in... more
An unusually dry winter has spelled trouble for parts of California.
Air quality in the Bay Area and Central Valley is the poorest it's been in years. State fire officials have warned of an increased fire danger in Northern California, and ski resorts in the Sierras have been forced to turn to artificial snow.
December was among the driest on record in Northern California. The state Department of Water Resources reported the snowpack water content throughout the Sierra at 19 percent of the average for early January.
And rain is not in the forecast for at least the next week, according to the National Weather Service.
The lack of rainfall and wind has kept car exhaust and smoke from factories and chimneys in place, leading to repeated violations of federal health standards for fine particle pollution in the San Francisco Bay area and Central Valley.
The Bay Area Air Quality Management District has banned wood burning 12 times since Nov. 1 because of air quality concerns.
District spokeswoman Lisa Fasano said the air on Christmas Day -- one of the days wood burning was banned -- rivaled the summer of 2008, when wildfires across California filled the sky with smoke.
"It's fine for the people who have an OK respiratory system, but for children, the elderly and people who have respiratory problems it is potentially dangerous," Fasano told the San Francisco Chronicle.
The agency said it responded to more wildfires in December than usual. It has increased staffing, canceled burn days and even banned debris burning.
The dry weather follows abundant precipitation last year, when Sierra ski resorts enjoyed one of the snowiest winters in decades.
Tahoe City, located on Lake Tahoe's northwest shore, had 11.4 inches of precipitation in December last year. It only received a trace of that this December.
More at the linkAn unusually dry winter has spelled trouble for parts of California.
Air quality in... more
Charity Water has been doing wonderful things to bring potable water to those who need it most. Over four thousand projects this year alone. In the coming years with climate change and pollution having a greater effect in a world with a growing population, potable water and sanitation will be even more essential to life.
There is no better gift to give than water. To see the smile on the face of a child as they put clean water from a tap to their lips for the first time to drink is unlike any other.
2011 was a year in which we saw more water sources compromised by scarcity, pollution and the effects of climate change (such as drought, evaporation, floods.) This coming year will be no less of a challenge. However, when we work together for a common cause we can do wonders.
Let us make 2012 the year we begin to heal this planet and bring this living liquid to all in our world who need it.
Water Is Life.
As 2012 starts I will be featuring other water organizations also working to provide potable water to those who need it most.Charity Water has been doing wonderful things to bring potable water to those who need... more
Republicans launched an unprecedented frontal assault against environmental protections and regulations this year, prompting Rep. Henry Waxman (D-Calif.) to call his chamber “the most anti-environment House in history.” Here are the 10 most powerful and outspoken opponents of clean air, clean water, conservation and climate action.
That’s the Los Angeles Times editorial board opening its “Year in Review: Congress’ 10 biggest enemies of the Earth,” what they call “Observations and provocations from The Times’ Opinion staff.”
Here are the opponents 10 to 8:
10. Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas. Thought to be the biggest lifetime recipient of oil-industry contributions in the Senate, Cornyn has rewarded Exxon-Mobil’s largesse by supporting the industry’s position on pretty much every energy or environmental issue that has ever appeared before him. That’s why he, like everyone on this list, has a “0″ on the League of Conservation Voters’ scorecard for pro-environment votes.
9. Rep. Don Young, R-Alaska. A tireless advocate for opening Alaska’s pristine Arctic National Wildlife Refuge to oil drilling, Young was involved in one of the more entertaining name-calling spats in Congress this year when he got into a tiff over the refuge with author and professor Doug Brinkley. You can be the judge of who won by watching the video replay.
8. Rep. Darrell Issa, R-Vista [CA]. There may have been a time when the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee lived up to its name, investigating and bringing to light incidents of government waste, fraud and abuse. But I can’t remember back that far. In recent decades it has served as a tool for the majority party in the House to bash and embarrass the presidential administration, at least during times such as now when the House isn’t controlled by the president’s party. Issa, the committee’s current chairman, has turned such political gamesmanship into an art form, and has been particularly keen to attack environmental regulators and policymakers. In so doing he has turned up precious little waste or fraud, but provided plenty of political theater for those who want to dismantle the Environmental Protection Agency or end subsidies for clean energy.
Here are the worst 7:
7. Rep. Bob Latta, R-Ohio. Latta has the distinction of sponsoring the most far-reaching and destructive amendment to the most egregious anti-environment bill passed by the House this year. The TRAIN Act, approved by the House in September but not expected to get through the Senate, is a breathtaking (literally) gift to polluters that creates a committee to study the costs but ignore the benefits of environmental regulation, while also blocking EPA efforts to crack down on deadly emissions from power plants. Latta’s contribution is an amendment that undermines a cornerstone of the Clean Air Act, requiring the EPA to take industry costs into account when setting health-based standards. This would allow corporate polluters to overrule scientists and strikes at the heart of the polluter-pays principle that has guided environmental policy for 40 years.
6. Rep. Edward Whitfield, R-Ky. Another architect of the TRAIN wreck, Whitfield offered an amendment that would block the EPA from regulating mercury and other toxics from power plants, and from coming up with a rule on smog and soot that crosses state lines. Together, these two regulations would save an estimated 51,000 lives per year. But what are a few thousand lives when utility profits are at stake?
5. Sen. James M. Inhofe, R-Okla. One of the most outspoken climate-change deniers in the Senate (he’s renowned for calling global warming “the greatest hoax ever perpetrated on the American people”), Inhofe is also one of the most influential Republicans in the country when it comes to environmental policy. As ranking member of the Committee on Environment and Public Works, he uses his position to push for expanded oil drilling and reduce environmental regulation. Inhofe sometimes even finds himself to the right of the polluter-packed U.S. Chamber of Commerce; this summer he placed a hold on President Obama’s nominee John Bryson as Commerce secretary, even though Bryson had the blessing of the Chamber, because Inhofe felt Bryson was too pro-environment.
4. Rep. Michael Simpson, R-Idaho. Simpson has stepped to the front lines of his party’s war on Mother Nature by adding dozens of anti-environment riders to must-pass budget legislation. Among other things, Simpson aims to let mountaintop coal-mining operations continue to pollute streams, prevent the EPA from regulating coal-ash disposal, and exempt pesticide sprayers from complying with the Clean Water Act.
3. Sen. Mitch McConnell, R-Ky. The enforcer of Republican Party discipline, Senate Minority Leader McConnell is among the key architects of his party’s stance on environmental issues. In 2009, when Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina was among the few Republicans willing to discuss a bipartisan climate bill with Democrats, it was McConnell who reportedly convinced him to back away. This spring he led a failed effort to block the EPA’s authority to regulate greenhouse-gas emissions and overrule its finding that climate change threatens public health — tantamount to a statement that politicians know more about the dangers of climate change than scientists.
2. Rep. Eric Cantor, R-Va. The House Majority Leader released a memo in late August listing the top 10 “job-destroying regulations” his party would battle in the remainder of the congressional session. Seven were environmental rules opposed by the fossil fuel industry, including restrictions on emissions from industrial boilers and cement plants, and proposed rulemaking on smog, farm soot and greenhouse gases. None of these rules really threaten jobs, but failing to approve them would certainly threaten lives.
1. Rep. Fred Upton, R-Mich. As chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, Upton is the gatekeeper for many of the disastrous anti-environment bills that have been approved or proposed in the House this year. Ironically, he was once known among his state’s conservatives as “Red Fred” because of a somewhat pro-environment voting record, but a recent electoral challenge from his right changed all that. Because of his powerful position and newfound disdain for green regulation, he represents one of the biggest threats to planet Earth on planet Earth.
More at the linkRepublicans launched an unprecedented frontal assault against environmental... more
There will definitely not be any Dow Chemical branding on the [stadium] wrap before, during or after the Olympic Games," announced a spokeswomen for the London 2012 organizing committee.
The October 18 development marks progress in a global campaign to shame Dow into admitting accountability to victims of the Union Carbide pesticide plant explosion in Bhopal in 1984. Dow merged with UC in 1999, yet has denied liability for the ongoing suffering of tens of thousands.
In 2010, Dow signed a 10-year deal with the International Olympic Committee (IOC) as "Worldwide Olympic Partner." IOC rules forbid advertising on game venues, but Dow is paying for the $11 million fabric wrap encircling the stadium, and had planned to emblazon its logo on five "test panels" in preparation for the games.
As GroundTruth reported in October, victims of the Bhopal disaster, including the International Campaign for Justice in Bhopal, have been working with Members of Parliament in Britain to remove Dow as sponsor of games. Pulling the logo signals that public outrage and political pressure is having an impact.
Some in India's government, the Sports Ministry, and the Indian Olympics Association (IOA) have joined in the campaign. IOA acting president VK Malhotra told The Times of India that removal of Dow's logo is not enough: "Our demand is that Dow should be removed as a sponsor and we have expressed strong reservation with the Olympics. We are sending our communication to Dow as well as IOC on this regard."
More at the linkThere will definitely not be any Dow Chemical branding on the [stadium] wrap before,... more
The oil company says up to 40,000 barrels of crude oil was spilled 75 miles off the coast of Nigerian coastal and fishing communities were on Thursday put on alert after Shell admitted to an oil spill that is likely to be the worst in the area for a decade, according to government officials..
An oil spill on the shores of the Niger Delta swamps. Shell has said the recent oil spill is likely to be worst in a decade. Photograph: Pius Utomi Ekpei/AFP/Getty Images The company said up to 40,000 barrels of crude oil was spilled on Wednesday while it was transferred from a floating oil platform to a tanker 75 miles off the coast of the Niger delta.
All production from the Bonga field, which produces around 200,000 barrels a day, was last night suspended. "Early indications show that less than 40,000 barrels of oil have leaked in total. Spill response procedures have been initiated and emergency control and spill risk procedures are up and running," said Tony Okonedo, a Shell Nigeria spokesman.
Satellite pictures obtained by independent monitors Skytruth suggested that the spill was 70km-long and was spread over 923 square kilometers (356 sq miles).
But a leading Nigerian human rights group said Shell's figures about the quantity of oil spilled or the clean-up could not be relied on. "Shell says 40,000 barrels were spilled and production was shut but we do not trust them because past incidents show that the company consistently under-reports the amounts and impacts of its carelessness," said Nnimmo Bassey, head of Environmental Rights Action, based in Lagos.
"We are alerting fisher folks and coastal communities to be on the look out. It just adds to the list of Shell's environmental atrocities in the Niger delta."
The spill, one of the worst off the coast of Nigeria in 10 years, is particularly embarrassing for Shell, coming only four months after a major UN study said it could take Shell and other oil companies 30 years and $1bn to clean spills in Ogoniland, one small part of the oil-rich delta. The company also admitted responsibility in August for two major spills in the Bodo region of the delta that took place in 2008, but has yet to pay compensation.
Shell, which works in partnership with the Nigerian government in the delta, claims that 98% of all its oil spills are caused by vandalism, theft or sabotage by militants and only a minimal amount by deteriorating infrastructure. But this is disputed by communities.
Yesterday Shell said it had also closed a Gulf of Mexico deep drilling operation after spilling 319 barrels of contaminated fluids.The oil company says up to 40,000 barrels of crude oil was spilled 75 miles off the... more
Tens of thousands of residents in China’s southern Guandong Province gathered in the streets yesterday, occupying a highway to demonstrate against the development of a new coal plant near Shantou city. The residents say existing coal plants in the area are fouling local air and water, and are making people sick.
Each year, protests spring up to counter the construction of dirty coal plants. But this appears to be the biggest yet. Officials now say they will abandon plans to build a new coal plant in the area. Two people were reportedly killed in clashes with police, but the government is denying those reports.
China’s coal use has exploded over the last few decades. Since 1980, coal consumption in China has grown 500%, and now represents three quarters of consumption in Asia. That has coincided with a five-fold increase of lung cancer since 1970, now the leading cause of death in China. (Of course, an increase in smoking is also a huge contributor.)
Watch the protesters gather in the streets throughout Guandong Province protesting coal plants and local land rights:
More at the linkTens of thousands of residents in China’s southern Guandong Province gathered in... more
Imagine this. Many of those names who still deny the human contribution to climate change and say there is nothing we should do about it because all is rosy even in the face of all we can see happening, also think smoking is good for you and asbestos is healthy just like nuclear waste. These people have worked in and represented industries that push the corporate mantra of profit before all else especially the truth and push their own warped ideologies which actually have me questioning their mental states. And it is about time to relegate them to the dustbin where they belong. Getting tied up in their diversionary rhetoric is killing people. Just like cigarettes do. Just like asbestos does. Just like nuclear exposure does. Enough is enough.Imagine this. Many of those names who still deny the human contribution to climate... more
Thousands of people besieged a government office in a southern Chinese town Tuesday and blocked a highway to demand a halt to a planned coal-fired power plant because of concerns about pollution, protesters said.
Riot police used tear gas in an attempt to disperse the protesters at the highway in the town of Haimen in Guangdong province, and the demonstrators hurled rocks, water bottles and bricks in return, said one of the protesters, a 27-year-old man surnamed Chen.
It is the second major protest in two weeks in a corner of coastal southern China that has been seeing periodic unrest over the last few years, primarily over land disputes. In much of Guangdong province, conflicts have been intense because the area is among China’s most economically developed, pushing up land prices.
In Wukan, a village to the southwest of Haimen, protesters drove local authorities from the area nearly two weeks ago over a land dispute. Wukan protesters reached by phone Tuesday said plans for a large march on a nearby government office on Wednesday would go ahead.
In Haimen, some protesters clashed with police, leaving dozens hurt including women and police. Some in the crowd speculated that one man who was lying on the ground bleeding from his head had died, but that could not be confirmed, Chen said.
“We don’t have any weapons, only mineral water bottles and we threw them at the police but the police were using batons to beat people up,” Chen said in a phone interview. He estimated that around 20,000 people participated in the demonstration.
The protesters had first gathered in the morning at the office of the Haimen government and demanded a meeting with the township party secretary, Chen said.
A woman who answered the phone at the Haimen government office said the protesters had left and then hung up.
The protesters think that an existing coal-fired power plant has contributed to what they say is a spike in cancer cases and heavy pollution in the seas, a serious problem for a town where fishing is a source of livelihood.
“People are worried about the pollution that will be released by the (new) power plant,” said Wang Xiebo, a fisherman reached by phone.
Another protester, a man surnamed Yang, provided a similar account of the protest and subsequent clash.
“Two or three of us fainted on the ground when they fired tear gas at us,” Yang said. “The government offended us again and again by trying to build a power plant. This is going to affect our future generations. They still need to live,” Yang said.
Photos circulating on China’s popular Twitter-like microblog Weibo showed a crowd of protesters amassed at a large government building and then at a highway, as well as riot police with plastic shields and helmets lined up in tight rows. Some photos showed protesters and police injured and bleeding.
After three decades of laxly regulated industrialization, China is seeing a surge in protests over such environmental worries.
More at the linkThousands of people besieged a government office in a southern Chinese town Tuesday... more