I’ve been thinking about that sickness, that adjunctivitus, that Consumopithecus disease of more and more info-tainment and dynamo market news and upbeat stories on the next great gizmo thing spewing on the Internet, on NPR, on Jon Stewart, on NBC and every new app to make Americans the smartest consumers on the planet. It’s a disease that has infected journalism way beyond what I could have ever guessed in 1975 when I was a J-student and student reporter. We are the infected, gizmo zombies, whose minds think the revolution will be covered on Tweets, who believe the worldwide web will be salvation, who want to work from home while doing zumba and hot yoga while sipping prairie grass juice smoothies. We are the people collectively who have zero idea who Bradley Manning is or who the actors are in the war against the greens part two — The New Red Is Green.
This disproportionate, heavy-handed government crackdown on the animal rights and environmental movements, and the reckless use of the word “terrorism,” is often called the Green Scare.
Much like the Red Scare and the communist witch hunts of the 40s and 50s, the Green Scare is using one word—this time, it’s “terrorist”—to push a political agenda, instill fear, and chill dissent. And much like the Red Scare, the Green Scare is operating on three levels: legal, legislative, and what we’ll call extra-legal, or scare-mongering.
It’s great DV has Zeese and Flower’s piece, “Gang Green or Fresh Green,” up and running. This war against the greens was well documented by David Helvarg, a guest of mine both on my radio show and when I brought him to the college I was teaching at in Spokane as part of a yearlong theme on sustainability, to include Winona La Duke, Washington Physicians for Social Responsibility, Sonia Shah, James Howard Kunstler, and a woman who worked on water shortage issues with David Pimentel of Cornell, among others from the region like Save Our Wild Salmon, the Lands Council and the Selkirk Conservation Group.
A Shadowy backlash against environmentalists has begun to emerge in America, the most visible element of which calls itself the “Wise Use” movement. Among its stated goals are the unregulated use of timber, oil, gas, minerals, and range land, and the abolition of all environmental laws and agencies. In this first in depth investigation of the “Wise Use” backlash, author David Helvarg visits rallies, conferences, and confrontations that are the fronts in its war against the greens. Helvarg shows the dimensions of this struggle as it is being waged in the courts; in the media, through popular mouthpieces like Rush Limbaugh and sympathetic coverage in influential newspapers such as the New York Times; in the heretical claims of the movement’s “counterscience”; and in the growing number of physical confrontations and threats used against environmental activists. Helvarg also documents the failure of the FBI to prevent such violence.
We could look at Helvarg’s last paragraph in a Grist article as sort of folksy in today’s Brand Barrack Obama and the Neoliberalization of the Globe.
Our choice lies either in surrender to the nihilistic backlash that says, “Take what you can get while you can get it,” or in our rededication to a faith that says we can still leave our kids and future generations a good life in a good land. The outcome hangs upon the understanding, heart, and will of the American people. It’s a thin reed of hope, especially in the wake of the 2004 election. Still, it’s worked so far.
In many ways, Helvarg’s take on things has been adjusted, to be sure, since the book was written and updated. Things are not looking good for climate change, since the consensus who see things coming on badly are blocking out the real scientists who see things coming on disastrously. That so-called Wise Use Movement that has infected planning programs, REI-loving blue state democrats, the techies and the Knowledge Workers, all those si se puede folk (only if you are with the technological wizardry program!), started off crudely but has morphed into way behond green washing. Think Eco-pornography and out and out agnotology. Here’s a primer from David Helvarg:
In 1988, the Wise Use movement was founded out of fear that George Bush Sr. was going to live up to his campaign pledge to be “the environmental president.” This cabal of anti-environmental activists, organized by federally subsidized industries dependent on public lands, issued a natal document, the Wise Use Agenda. It called for, among other things: drilling the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, logging Alaska’s Tongass National Forest, opening wilderness to energy development, gutting the Endangered Species Act, and privatizing national parks. Today, the reactionary Wise Use Agenda has become the environmental policy of the administration of George Bush Jr.
One of Wise Use’s major contributions to politics has been its deliberate distortion of language, the adaptation of green-sounding names as industry camouflage: the Environmental Conservation Organization (wetlands developers), Concerned Alaskans for Resources and the Environment (the timber industry), and the Greening Earth Society (coal-fired utilities arguing the benefits of global warming). Today, the administration’s anti-environmental legislation goes by names like “Healthy Forests” and “Clear Skies,” while a combination of industry lobbyists and true believers argue that the same unfettered markets that gave us choking smog and burning rivers in the past have been transformed into the “new environmentalism” of the 21st century. I recently read a government energy report that talked of “the sustainable use of non-renewable resources,” and attended a Boston conference where I met consultants who help developers deal with “environmentally challenged sites.” Translation: wild places containing rare and endangered species or legally protected wetlands.
Interestingly, a friend and fellow writer at EWU, Paul Lindholdt, puts down specifically the ecopornography of the Bureau of Reclamation Art Collection — see here:
On a ten-week professional leave to study ecopornography in 2007, I found my focus returning again and again to the Bureau of Reclamation Art Collection as the best instance of ecoporn. That art collection, described and interpreted here, began in 1968 as a way to deflect public attention away from the harmful effects of western dams and canals. The Bureau commissioned 40 painters to explore the allegedly overlooked dimensions of Reclamation projects in fine-arts media. Some of the paintings remain memorable for genuine beauty and originality, while others are more blatantly promotional in thrust. The aesthetic challenge those painters were asked to address, “to depict the imaginative aspects” of Bureau of Reclamation dam sites, was badly worded or misleading. In point of fact, the artists were being asked to project their imaginations upon the dams, the dam sites, and other reclamation projects. That the resulting paintings should contain discernible subtexts of empire building, dominion, and subjugation was almost inevitable from the start. The trick the painters had to pull off was to accommodate the agency’s need at the same time they fulfilled the mandates of honest art to address some of the environmental implications of the dams.
DEFINITION — Eco-Porn: Selling clean coal technology as eco-imagination. 1) Blatant appropriation of anti-coal mine company/coal town song as musical overlay to sell clean coal.
Another problem of the techno-fix emissions reducing technology is the presumption that the solution to the energy problem is merely to clean up the burning of fuel, which effaces the reality of the ecologically destructive structure of the total cycle of energy: extraction, production (conversion from raw material to consumable energy), burning of coal, consumption of energy, waste generated throughout all these processes. To call emissions reducing technology clean coal technology prioritizes air quality over water and land quality and the ecological integrity of the landbase and the burning stage over extraction, production, consumption and waste stages. Increasing air quality at the expense of blowing up mountains does not make it green, it makes it eco-pornography.
And, of course, real activists in the environmental movement understand that we have not gained a thing, that we have helped the Wal-mart’s and Georgia Pacific’s and the Exxon’s to become more efficient, more stealth, and more of our advisaries because we have helped them frame out debate in a regulatory system that favors private land, corporations, the transnational financial system that infects even small-town USA.
“Ecopornography,” more commonly known as greenwashing, is a term that applies to any entity that disseminates disinformation in order to promote an environmentally friendly public image without actually taking significant action to protect the environment. Greenwashing is pervasive and a nearly unavoidable component of consumers’ evaluations of potential purchases. Food producers and packagers are often guilty of greenwashing their products to appeal to the environmentally conscious consumer by using such terms as “free range” or “all natural.” The United States Department of Agriculture (“USDA”) has set standards for the use of the word “organic” on food labels. These standards, while significantly more meaningful than those behind the “free range” label, are by no means the most stringent in the world. Is the USDA organic label indicative of an environmentally friendly product or is it greenwashing?
When communities try to keep corporations from engaging in activities they don’t want, they often find they don’t have the legal power to say “no.” Why? Because our current legal structure too often protects the “rights” of corporations over the rights of actual human beings.
If we are to elevate our rights and the rights of our communities above those of a corporate few, we, too, need to transform the way laws work.
As we wrote in Turning Occupation into Lasting Change, mainstream progressive groups have failed by constraining their activities within legal and regulatory systems purposefully structured to subordinate communities to corporate power. Truly effective movements don’t operate that way. Abolitionists never sought to regulate the slave trade; they sought to transform the legal structure that supported it by treating slaves as property rather than people under the law. Suffragists did the same with the legal status of women.The template is based on real laws already passed from the municipal to the national level—from Pittsburgh stripping drilling corporations of Constitutional “rights” to Ecuador including legal rights for nature in its Constitution.
This style of organizing moves away from traditional activism—mired in letter writing campaigns and lowest common denominator federal and state legislation—toward a new activism in which communities claim the right to make their own decisions, directly.
So, let’s get back to another small but significant chink in the armor, a Bradley Manning on a little level — civil rights for nature, Tim DeChristopher, and what might be the entire co-opting of Tim’s actions to protest and get jailed for the BLM’s, AKA US Murder Incorporated’s, thuggery and giveaways of public goods, public monies, public land, public rights. Here, below, an interview of Tim with Terry Tempest Williams.
“I don’t think being a political prisoner is a failure of activism. It’s a step along the path of activism.” – Tim DeChristopher
TD: I studied a lot of social movements both those that use nonviolence and those that don’t and I’ve seen that usually the ones who have been most effective are those who have used nonviolence. As far as what’s most applicable to the environmental movement, the biggest example that I look at is the women’s suffrage movement. For decades it was trying to work within the system and had self demeaning arguments and were kind of begging for their rights. They did a lot of good work educating people and spreading ideas. People were becoming more open to them. But they never really made any progress for decades until Alice Paul came along and started leading them in direct actions and confrontational protests. Women marched on Washington and got arrested and beaten outside the White House. At that time it was extremely bold and extremely conformational for people to be marching on Washington, much less women marching on Washington. And with those confrontational tactics on the foundation of the education that had been there for decades they were able to make extremely rapid progress within just a few years and ended up with a constitutional amendment. I’d like to think that’s the point we’re at now with the environmental movement, where we’ve had decades of education about things and we’ve been raising awareness for so long and now is the point to really push those boundaries and make the push that we really need.
Quoting Terry Tempest Williams: “If we fail in this century, it is because we are too timid. If we lose our way in America, it is because we are too complacent.”
Tim is a friend, a good friend. We met over a cup of coffee and talked about our fathers, both of us emotional. His father has not understood his politics or his actions. Neither has mine. While in prison, DeChristopher plans on writing a book, Letters To My Father, perhaps trying to articulate on the page what he has not been able to articulate to his face, what we would all like to say to those we love who turn away. In the end, what matters most is our relationships, that those closest to us understand what truths live in our hearts.
I have saved an e-mail Tim sent me on the spring equinox this year, shortly after his conviction:
“Terry, I woke up at 4 a.m. and couldn’t get back to sleep because I realized that Judge Benson and I have never spoken. He has never asked me a question, and I have never asked him one. He has never looked me in the eye. In all the time I spent sitting across from him in the courtroom and in his chambers, he has never made eye contact. The only time I was allowed to speak was when he was sitting behind my right shoulder.
“I met with the sentencing officer at the courthouse last week. His name is Glen, and his office is actually across the street. The first thing he said when we sat down was, ‘Essentially, it’s my job to get to know you.’ The terrifying thing I realized this morning is that he is the only one who is expected to do so. He was the first person in the Department of Justice to look me in the eye or call me by my first name. After our morning together, he knows far more about me and what I’ve done than the judge or the prosecutor, but he has no authority to decide about my fate.
“This is what Americans need to know about our justice system. While decisions are made among the regalia of the courtroom, down the stairs and across the street there is a man whose job is to look me in the eye.”
Here, in Orion magazine, more of the interview:
When I asked Tim about his thoughts concerning prison, he responded, “All these people are worrying about how to keep me out of prison, but I feel like the goal should be to get other people in prison. How do we get more people to join me?”
On May 28, 2011, Tim DeChristopher and I had a three-hour conversation in Telluride, Colorado, during the Mountainfilm Festival. We talked openly and candidly with one another as friends. No one else was in the room. We are pleased to share this conversation with the Orion community.
TIM: I think the reality of the climate crisis—and all the other crises facing us as humanity today—justify the strongest possible tactics in response. Demand the strongest possible tactics. And I think that requires nonviolent resistance.
TERRY: Is violence ever justified?
TIM: Well, it’s justified. But that doesn’t mean it makes sense. I mean, if you’re talking moral justification, yeah—to prevent the collapse of our civilization, and the deaths and suffering of billions of people, it’s morally justified. But violence is the game that the United States government is the best in the world at. That’s their territory.
I also want to highlight another Wise Use turncoat, the mean-ass Rocky Anderson (remember him in the 2012 presidential election, with the New Mexico libertarian running too as a third party thing?). Too bad we did not get Jill Stein instead of Brand Drone Obama. This is the problem with today’s narrative set forth by career politicians.
“If the general public sees climate-protection advocates as young, impetuous people who engage in fraud without really knowing what they’re doing, then claiming that they shouldn’t be held accountable under the law, I fear he’s set us back,” says Rocky Anderson, a former Democratic mayor of Salt Lake City who runs the nonprofit High Road for Human Rights. “Tim’s actions were dishonest and incoherent.”
Again, big mouth, big presidential war chest, big dealings with Mitt Romney in Salt Lake City. Turncoats. Here’s a real ballsy person — Jill Stein:
Citing media reports about the connection between climate change and Hurricane Sandy, Green Party presidential candidate Jill Stein was arrested on Wednesday while attempting to deliver supplies to activists in Texas who’re camping in trees to block construction of the Keystone XL pipeline.
“Everyone needs to step up resistance to climate-killing emissions,” Stein said in a prepared statement published shortly after her arrest. “Romney and Obama are only talking about the symptoms of climate change in terms of destruction caused by Hurricane Sandy; the blockaders are addressing the cause.”
So, this all begs the question about who are the greenies, who are the ones really who have to come to the front and into the shadows like Anonymous and Earth Liberation Front, to push the corporate killers into their cells?
The Big Business of Chinese slave wage, sweat-shop, sludge and air pollution generating stuffed tigers, wolves and pandas Environmental Groups?
I have spent the past few years reporting on how global warming is remaking the map of the world. I have stood in half-dead villages on the coast of Bangladesh while families point to the rising ocean and say, “Do you see that chimney sticking up? That’s where my house was.” I have stood on the edges of the Arctic and watched glaciers that have existed for millennia crash into the sea. I have stood on the borders of dried-out Darfur and heard refugees explain, “The water dried up, and so we started to kill each other for what was left.”
While I witnessed these early stages of ecocide, I imagined that American green groups were on these people’s side in the corridors of Capitol Hill, trying to stop the Weather of Mass Destruction. But it is now clear that many were on a different path—one that began in the 1980s, when environmental groups like the National Wildlife Federation and the Nature Conservancy began accepting donations from the big polluters they’d previously fought.
Companies like Shell and British Petroleum were delighted. They saw it as valuable “reputation insurance”: Every time they were criticized for their massive emissions of warming gases, or an oil spill that had caused irreparable damage, they wheeled out their shiny green awards, purchased with “charitable” donations, to ward off the prospect of government regulation. At first, this behavior scandalized the environmental community. But slowly, other groups saw themselves shrink while the corporate-fattened groups swelled—so they, too, started to take the checks.
— Johann Hari, from The Nation July-August 2010
This is the time to break away from back patting, from pomp and circumstance, from decorum, from the mainstream media muddle, from what might be tough conversations with neighbor, husband, ma and pop and school board and city council member and the rank and file unionists, and those big and tiny companies.
Is Bidder 70 going to have real people, real radicals, real activists, and real dialogue? Will the tough conversations happen at its screenings? Only in SF or Portlandia?
In celebration of Earth Day, environmental documentary Bidder 70 will be shown in theaters across the country on April 22. Documenting activist Tim DeChristopher‘s trial and conviction for disrupting a federal oil and gas lease auction in Utah, the film will screen one day after his release from federal prison.
As previously reported, the 31-year-old received a two-year prison sentence in 2011 for bidding on, and winning, millions of dollars worth of land parcels under false pretenses at a Bureau of Land Management auction in 2008.
DeChristopher’s case also drew attention from environmentalists, including many who saw him as acting in the name of conservation and climate action. He was “acting on behalf of every landscape left on the planet,” argued authorBill McKibben.
The film, which is being distributed by Gathr Films, will be released in a crowd-funded “theatrical-on-demand” format. Individuals must order a ticket in advance, but they will only be charged if the demand warrants a screening in their location.
Following the Earth Day screening, filmgoers will be able to watch a live-streamed question and answer session with DeChristopher and filmmakers Beth and George Gage, according to Gathr.
Gathr founder and CEO Scott Glosserman said in a press release, “Having Tim at the Salt Lake screening to talk about his experience, the day after his release from the federal prison system, is amazing, and being able to stream that discussion to audiences all over the country is truly special.”
I’ve co-coordinated Earth Day celebrations and ran into the greenie weenies who think Walmart money and PepsiCo signs are all A-okay for a green event. Homilies and broken thinking and zero concern for the First Nations and Tribal Way, and zero thinking about how the poor and soon-to-be-poor will survive in a world of energy hell, rising oceans, hotter summers, more expensive everything, and no health care, no mass transit, no nothing.
Sorry, Tim DeChristopher, your name will be bastardized, chopped, cured and pureed for the Greenie Weenie revolution of pro-Obama Acolytes. All about media spin.
The mass media are, in classical Marxist terms, a ‘means of production’ which in capitalist society are in the ownership of the ruling class. According to the classical Marxist position, the mass media simply disseminate the ideas and world views of the ruling class, and deny or defuse alternative ideas. This is very much in accord with Marx’s argument that:
The class which has the means of material production at its disposal has control at the same time over the means of mental
production, so that thereby, generally speaking, the ideas of those who lack the means of mental production are subject to it. (Marx & Engels: The German Ideology, cited in Curran et al. 1982: 22).
According to this stance, the mass media functioned to produce ‘false consciousness’ in the working-classes. This leads to an extreme stance whereby media products are seen as monolithic expressions of ruling class values, which ignores any diversity of values within the ruling class and within the media, and the possibility of oppositional readings by media audiences.
In “The Social Production of News,” Stuart Hall also examines the ideological role of the news media. As with Golding and Elliott, Hall and his team highlight the agenda-setting function of the news, defining it as “the end-product of a complex process which begins with a systematic sorting and selecting of events and topics according to a socially constructed set of categories.”
“The process of signification… both assumes and helps to construct society as a ‘consensus’. We exist as members of one society because—it is assumed—we share a common stock of cultural knowledge with our fellow men.”
Tim DeChristopher, otherwise known as “Bidder 70” and any number of other marketable terms, was recently sentenced to two years in prison and required to pay a large sum in fines as retribution for his actions at an auction for 130,000 or so acres of land in Utah slated as near give-aways to oil and gas conglomerates.
Tim DeChristopher, in his own words, acknowledges quite specifically the reasons for his actions, and what he would like climate activists to do to support him and his effort that day in the auction house. It is essentially a two-word suggestion: join him.
Tim stood up that day to disrupt the system. Not to rant at it. Not to wave signs at it. Not to sing songs in front of a static building waiting for the police to politely escort him away.
Tim stood up that day to disrupt the system.
And prior to, during, and after the sentencing of Tim DeChristopher, what pitifully stands for a climate movement today did one thing in response. It commodified Tim DeChristopher, morphing him into nothing more than a cheerleader for various parades in front of the White House in DC; a fundraising campaign for those that seek to exploit the passion of those that care about the state of the world; a symbol for the cautious and weak approach to civil disobedience that always allows for a pat on the back, but never makes a dent in the system.
This is not new.
The commodification of real and actual heroes occurs on a regular basis in the environmental and civil justice movements. One can look to The Nature Conservancy, Alaska Wilderness League, Trout Unlimited, and The Wilderness Society and watch as they sketch plans to exploit Native Alaska communities (heroes) in order to produce nominal results in DC, all the while raking in hundreds of thousands of dollars from corporate foundations and unknowing supporters and members.
Al Gore did it and continues to do it through the various incarnations of Re-Power America (has or had at least three other names, to date) by lifting up the home-grown hero who managed to put up a windmill in one rural backyard or another – all the while ignoring just how dirty his hands are from the sweatshops throughout Southeast Asia that have an Apple stamped on their product.
One can also look at all the fundraising and email pleas and letter writing campaigns for Bradley Manning, and how much traction those efforts have maintained. They raised money, sure. They generated letters, yes. And then what?
They moved on.
To the next protest.
The next big thing.
The coolest fad in print.
The next commodifiable hero.
Tim DeChristopher has not moved. He is still in jail.
Native Alaskans have not moved. Their way of life is still being raped and pillaged.
Bradley Manning has not moved. He is still in solitary.
Martin. Malcolm. Che.
One can not really call him DeChristopher anymore. He is McChristopher ™ – commodified for the whorish efforts – fundraising and otherwise — of the greenwashing cabal, led by 350.org, Greenpeace, Global Exchange, Progressive Democrats of America, Rainforest Action Network (RAN)…
Did they avail him a contract before placing the Ronald suit on him?
Organizations, environmental or otherwise, should have focused on the action of disruption Tim employed, and called upon their minions to repeat it in substance and form. For example, activist Keith Farnish raised this with 350.org, suggesting they simply utilize their massive resources to post and share information on upcoming lease and land auctions, encouraging their thousands of supporters to jump in. Creativity, of course, can take the activists elsewhere, and into other disruptive realms. But this simple mechanism employs what Tim bravely did, en masse.
Of course, 350.org ignores this sort of potential. As does RAN. As does Greenpeace. As does any organization mentioned above (implicitly or explicitly), and then some. They prefer sanitized ‘action’ and fundraising campaigns – emotional appeals and sign-holding over disruption of the actual system. As they operate colloquially within the system, and directly benefit from it with foundational riches galore, one should not really expect them to powerfully respond to Tim’s call.
It is simply a matter of perpetuating the self for these entities.
September and October of 2011 include plans to prop up various heroes through the mechanism of commodification for several causes, marches, protests, and vigils. Old tactics to raise money and attention will be employed on the backs of these individual acts of strength with only the occasional symbolic gesture to disrupt the system in coordinated fashion. An insignificant number of arrests will be arranged. “Success” will be re-defined and diluted again, and again, and again.
And no one will have the guts to stand up and say, “Sorry, Tim. We are too afraid, too comfortable, and too embedded to join you.”
Gregory Vickrey is a consultant in the nonprofit and political arenas and may be reached at moc.yerkcivyrogergnull@yrogerg.
Thanks, Gregory for allowing DV to re-run this piece.
No, a new film, and what is it all about, Alphie?
Act 1 focuses on the conservation movement of the ‘60s, the Sierra Club, David Brower and the battle to halt dams in the Grand Canyon. It grows out of three earlier battles to halt dams: Hetch Hetchy, which was lost; Dinosaur Monument, which was won; and Glen Canyon, which was sacrificed. Saving the Grand Canyon looks like a lost cause until David Brower places ads denouncing the dams. The IRS retaliates and the uproar becomes front-page news. Opposition grows until Congress bows to pressure – canceling and finally prohibiting dams. It is the biggest victory yet, a pivotal battle that brings the flowering of conservation. However, Brower is soon forced out of the Sierra Club. He is coming to a larger vision, just as Earth Day heralds a new environmental consciousness.
Act 2 looks at ‘70s environmentalism around pollution, focusing on the battle led by Lois Gibbs over Love Canal. We connect Rachel Carson and Silent Spring to the golden era of legislation and groups like NRDC that arose to enforce regulations. But it takes Love Canal to put toxic waste on the map. Lois Gibbs leads angry housewives in a two-year battle to save their children from 20,000 tons of toxic chemicals. They are relentless, protesting and conducting health studies and demanding relocation, even taking EPA officials hostage until President Carter agrees to buy them out. However it’s just the beginning. President Reagan counterattacks. Grassroots activists fighting toxics in their own backyard arise all over the country; and environmental racism gives birth to an environmental justice movement.
Act 3 is about alternative ecology strands, with the main story being Greenpeace’s campaign to save the whales. We begin with going back to the land, building ecological alternatives and exploring renewable energy. Greenpeace starts by protesting nuclear bombs. But it is putting themselves in front of harpoons to stop whaling that launches Greenpeace on the wildest ride of any environmental group. Soon they are fighting on every front all over the world. Paul Watson, thrown out of Greenpeace for tossing a sealer’s club in the water, is reborn as Sea Shepherd and takes on whalers. Radicals and mainstream come together for a moratorium on whaling, one of environmentalism’s greatest victories, yet a battle that must be fought again and again.
Act 4 tells of the rise of global issues in the ‘80s. It focuses on the struggle to save the Amazon, led by Chico Mendes and the rubbertappers. They campaign for extractive reserves. The pivotal battle comes in 1988 over a plantation called Cachoeira. Chico wins – but is assassinated. His death proves to be the turning point, to an era of reserves that now total a third of the Amazon. Yet deforestation still threatens to turn the Amazon into a semi-desert. We expand to look at movements of the global south like Chipko in India and Wangari Maathai’s Greenbelt Movement in Kenya — then close with questions of equity and sustainability.
Act 5 concerns climate change. First we look at its scientific origins. Then comes more than 20 years of frustration from Rio to Kyoto to Copenhagen. We explore opposition; how the movement failed to deal with the issue; and the role of disasters like Hurricane Katrina in bringing it back. COP15 ends in breakdown and our focus shifts from top-down politics to bottom-up movements. Paul Hawken relates his Blessed Unrest revelation: two million groups working on environmental and social justice issues. We explore environmentalism as civilizational transformation, then close with movements all over the world up to the present.
Okay, Okay — A little bit more on Bill McKibben, Obama Support Par Excellence —
The New York myopia and narcissism of the sham Climate warrior Bill McKibben was also stunningly revealed.
First McKibben tweeted this drivel on Oct. 29th: “Obviously no place deserves this kind of storm — but NYC, America’s greenest city, in some ways deserves it least of all.”
Yep, “greenest” if you ignore the millions of serfs (both carbon-based and carbon-powered) providing the food, other necessities and consumer junk trucked in by fossil fuel on a 24/7/365 basis; if you ignore the massive coal-generated kilowattage; the trash dumping in the ocean; a once-great ecosystem with dozens of creeks, swamps and diverse forest now reduced to an ecosystem dominated by three species: humans, rats and roaches – with bedbugs making a run as the new scourge as feverishly reported recently in the New York-centric media; if you don’t notice the concrete, glass, steel and invasive species replacing the natural habitat, etc.
New York City has a huge carbon footprint despite population concentration, which indeed, also compacts pollution. But, even by the most liberal measuring of per capita carbon use, NY places Fourth among the top 100 US metros. On that score along NY is not the “greenest,” even in the US.
In his 2008 book Deep Economy, Bill McKibben concludes that economic growth is the source of the ecological crises we face today. He explains that when the economy grows larger than necessary to meet our basic needs – when it grows for the sake of growth, automatically striving for “more” – its social and environmental costs greatly outweigh any benefits it may provide.
Unfortunately, McKibben seems to have forgotten what he so passionately argued just five years ago. Today he is an advocate of industrial wind turbines on our ridgelines: he wants to industrialize our last wild spaces to feed the very economy he fingered as the source of our environmental problems.
In another ridiculous moment of political trickery, Obama managed to dupe a major chunk of the American environmental movement yesterday by refusing to authorize the construction of the Keystone Pipeline now. The keyword in that sentence which seems like it is being largely ignored by the enviros is now, because what Obama did do is leave open the possibility of authorizing the construction of a pipeline any time in the future, say just after the election? And not that it matters much, as pipeline or not Tar Sands are already being refined all across the United States in increasing amounts. This great victory being celebrated by 350.org, Bill Mckibben and the no carbon crusaders out there is a complete farce to manipulate voters as we head into the latest corporate sponsored election.
Obama is now billed as a hero by the likes of Bill [McKibben,] who tweeted yesterday that: ‘the president acted decisively and bravely – and he listened to people, not money. a good day.’
So writes Michael Leonardi in a piece published in CounterPunch on January 19 in response to the “news” that Obama had temporarily halted the construction approval for the Canadian company TransCanada’s Keystone XL Pipeline. Keystone XL is planned to send tar sands oil from northeastern Alberta, Canada, through seven U.S. states to refineries along the Gulf of Mexico coast (and thence abroad). The pipeline is an abomination.
I have to agree with Leonardi on this, Bill McKibben: That tweet from you made me gag. What can you be thinking?
***** Thanks Counterpunch writers!!!!!!!!!
And, really, this is the default for any environmental movement — Survival for Tribal Peoples. Anyone ask a tribe what they think about solar, wind, REDD?
The movement for tribal peoples. Survival is the only organization working for tribal peoples’ rights worldwide.
We work with hundreds of tribal communities and organizations. We are funded almost entirely by concerned members of the public and some foundations. We will not take national government money, because governments are the main violators of tribal peoples’ rights, nor will we take money from companies which might be abusing tribal peoples.
About 250,000 supporters from nearly 100 countries have helped us financially; millions now routinely seek our information, published in seven languages. We never restrict our information or materials only to those who can pay. We want everyone to know about tribal peoples.
We were founded in 1969 by individuals appalled by the genocide of Amazon Indians. This followed a newspaper article by Norman Lewis in the Sunday Times magazine.
We employ about 50 staff, interns, and volunteers in our offices in Amsterdam, Berlin, London, Madrid, Milan, Paris and San Francisco. We have not-for-profit/charitable or its equivalent status in relevant countries.
Survival works as a united organization, speaking with one voice. Many offices are governed by their own boards.
Survival ‘ambassadors’ are Gillian Anderson, Sir Quentin Blake, Julie Christie, Kurt Jackson, Mark Rylance and Pippa Small.
Anyone hear about the UN-REDD+?
You’ve got to wonder what Peru has done to deserve this latest invasion. Five hundred years ago it was the Spanish conquistadors who came here in search of gold and silver. Later came the rubber barrons and then the loggers. But there’s a new breed of treasure hunter. They’re called carbon cowboys. And what they’re after is down there in the vast rainforests of the Amazon.
These immense jungles store a large part of the earth’s carbon dioxide and in the new world of carbon trading, whoever gets the rights to this captured carbon could make himself a very rich man indeed.
David Nilsson is out hunting. Roaming the Amazon in search of native tribes willing to sign over the rights to the carbon in their rainforest.
Ahh, eco-indigenous pornography equals cultural genocide!
I have worked for vastly different organizations throughout my career. The bottom line is it’s all about advocacy, that’s what I’m passionate about. Mobilizing and organizing people to influence the public process and public policy is what I truly love to do. At the end of the day, I don’t necessarily believe that the views of [the Nature Conservancy] and API [American Petroleum Institute] are incompatible. — Deryck Spooner, on his move from TNC to API, February 2010
Future School Yard Fights?
REDD-Monitor aims to facilitate discussion about the concept of reducing deforestation and forest degradation as a way of addressing climate change. REDD-Monitor is run by Chris Lang (contact me here: moc.liamgnull@rotinomdder). The views expressed on REDD-Monitor do not necessarily reflect the formal positions of any organisations or individuals, except when this is clearly stated.
Every Monday, “REDD in the News” provides a round-up of the week’s news on REDD, keeping you up-to-date on the latest developments. During the week, REDD-Monitor provides opinions and analysis of the latest developments in the world of REDD. Occasionally REDD-Monitor posts longer interviews with REDD actors.
The website was set up as a response to discussions between various environmental and social organisations and movements in the North and South. The target audience is anyone involved in REDD discussions – while it is unlikely that you’ll agree with everything written here, REDD-Monitor looks forward to your contributions to the discussions.
The climate is changing as a result of greenhouse gases emissions – largely caused by burning fossil fuels. If we are to stand a chance of preventing runaway climate change we need to stop burning fossil fuels. We also need to protect forests, but trading REDD carbon credits would allow continued burning of fossil fuels, thus locking in polluting technology and postponing meaningful action. The danger of the forests going up in smoke with a rapidly changing climate are real.