by Sarah Pike, Cross Posted from Aeon Magazine
Julia Butterfly Hill spent 738 days living in a 55m California Redwood tree in a successful attempt to prevent the clearing of surrounding forest. Photo by Eric Slomanson
One day last summer, a young woman looked down on a small crowd of vocal supporters and police officers from her hammock or ‘sky pod’, 60ft above an old logging road in Moshannon State Forest in Pennsylvania. The pod was tied to trees and anchored to a blockade across the road, so that anyone trying to move the blockade would release her in a dangerous, perhaps fatal, fall to the forest floor. Another activist on the ground had locked his neck to one of the lines anchoring her pod.
It was a familiar sight from protests against the logging of old-growth forests, but here the target was different. Workers who arrived for their shift that Sunday morning could not get past the blockades to attend to a 70ft hydraulic fracturing drill rig used to extract natural gas from the rock formations beneath the forest floor. ‘You’re adults, but you’re acting like children,’ shouted one of the officers. They had been called to the scene by EQT, the natural gas company that had leased mineral rights to the gas-rich Marcellus Shale that lies beneath a large portion of several northeastern states, including Pennsylvania, Ohio and New York. ‘We are peaceful protesters,’ responded one of the activists. Other officers stood by with assault rifles, waiting to see what would happen.
by Henia Belalia, Cross Posted from Peaceful Uprising
How do activists use social movement history? What lessons can be learned from past movements for social change in our fight to stop climate change? We often rely on lessons and tactics from the U.S. Civil Rights movement. We think this might be the best source for our lessons from the past.
How about the Abolition of the Slave Trade? As an activist, I fight for climate justice. As an historian and a scholar of law and history, I study slavery and the slave trade.
The movement for civil rights—certainly the mainstream movement—was based on the perceived need to have equal rights in an existing system. The right to vote, the right to fair housing. An end to segregation. Integration into the existing status quo at every level. And none of these things are bad things. Having equal rights is better than not having equal rights. But even the more radical wing of the civil rights movement questioned this strategy. S.N.C.C. members often asked, “Do we really want to die for the right to vote?”
The movement for climate justice is different. We are demanding “system change, not climate change.”
by Brian Owens, Cross Posted from Nature
An isolated population of Arctic foxes that dines only on marine animals seems to be slowly succumbing to mercury poisoning.
The foxes on Mednyi Island — one of Russia’s Commander Islands in the Bering Sea — are a subspecies of Arctic fox (Vulpes lagopus) that may have remained isolated for thousands of years. They were once numerous enough to support a small yet thriving group of fur hunters. After humans abandoned the settlement in the 1970s, the fox population began to crash, falling from more than 1,000 animals to fewer than 100 individuals today.
by Mike Ludwig, Cross Posted from Truthout
photo from ashbygirls.blogspot.com
The April 17 explosion at a fertilizer plant in West, Texas, that killed 15 people and injured 200 was perhaps one of the most severe chemical accidents of its kind in recent memory, but it was by no means the first.
Earlier this month, for example, Tyson Foods and its affiliates agreed to a $4 million civil settlement with the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Justice Department for violations of the Clean Air Act at 23 facilities in Iowa, Kansas, Nebraska and Missouri where the toxic chemical anhydrous ammonia was released during several occasions between 2006 and 2010, causing property damage, multiple injuries to workers and one death.
The Tyson incidents did not involve a massive explosion like the disaster in Texas, but the accidents have one potentially deadly element in common: anhydrous ammonia.
Investigators now believe that large stores of ammonium nitrate caught on fire and caused the explosion at the West plant. But the plant also held two 12,000-gallon tanks of anhydrous ammonia that could have exacerbated the disaster in Texas if they leaked or exploded, according to the Center for Effective Government (CEG).
During the past 15 years, 1,000 accidents have occurred nationwide at chemical facilities that hold large quantities of anhydrous ammonia, according to data recently compiled by CEG.
Cross Posted from Real Seeds
On Monday May 6th a draconian new law will be put before the European Commission, which creates new powers to classify and regulate all plant life anywhere in Europe.
The “Plant Reproductive Material Law” will regulate all plants. It contains immediate restrictions on reproduction of vegetables and woodland trees, while creating powers to restrict all other plants of any other species at a later date.
Under the new law, it will immediately be illegal to grow, reproduce or trade any vegetable seed or tree that has not been tested, approved and accepted by a new “EU Plant Variety Agency”. Moreover, an annual fee must also be paid to the Agency if that particular variety is to be used by anyone.
Cross Posted from Eco-Action.org
An article from Do or Die Issue 9. In the paper edition, this article appears on page(s) 160-166.
In 1999, in the aftermath of the June 18th global day of action, a pamphlet called Reflections on June 18th was produced by some people in London, as an open-access collection of “contributions on the politics behind the events that occurred in the City of London on June 18, 1999.” Contained in this collection was an article called ‘Give up Activism’ which has generated quite a lot of discussion and debate both in the UK and internationally, being translated into several languages and reproduced in several different publications. Here we republish the article together with a new postscript by the author addressing some comments and criticisms received since the original publication.
One problem apparent in the June 18th day of action was the adoption of an activist mentality. This problem became particularly obvious with June 18th precisely because the people involved in organising it and the people involved on the day tried to push beyond these limitations. This piece is no criticism of anyone involved – rather an attempt to inspire some thought on the challenges that confront us if we are really serious in our intention of doing away with the capitalist mode of production.
by Stephen Leahy, Cross posted from The Guardian
Monitoring of environmental activists in Canada by the country’s police and security agencies has become the “new normal”, according to a researcher who has analysed security documents released under freedom of information laws.
Security and police agencies have been increasingly conflating terrorism and extremism with peaceful citizens exercising their democratic rights to organise petitions, protest and question government policies, said Jeffrey Monaghan of the Surveillance Studies Centre at Queen’s University in Kingston, Ontario.
The RCMP, Canada’s national police force, and the Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIS) view activist activities such as blocking access to roads or buildings as “forms of attack” and depict those involved as national security threats, according to the documents.
Protests and opposition to Canada’s resource-based economy, especially oil and gas production, are now viewed as threats to national security, Monaghan said. In 2011 a Montreal, Quebec man who wrote letters opposing shale gas fracking was charged under Canada’s Anti-Terrorism Act. Documents released in January show the RCMP has been monitoring Quebec residents who oppose fracking.
by Yuxing Zheng, cross posted from The Orgonian
SALEM — With talk about “environmental terrorism,” the Oregon House approved two bills Monday that target tree sitters and other environmental activists who interfere with logging in state forests.
House Bill 2595, which passed 43-12, would create the crime of interference with state forestland management. House Bill 2596, which passed 51-4, would allow private contractors with the Oregon Department of Forestry to sue environmental protestors for the cost of damaged equipment, employee wages, attorney fees and similar costs. Both bills head to the Senate.
The legislation comes amid divisive efforts to increase logging in Elliott State Forest near Reedsport and proposals to increase logging in federal forest lands. Environmental activists affiliated with Cascadia Forest Defenders and Cascadia Earth First! staged protests at Elliott State Forest in recent years and at the Oregon State Capitol in May and June 2012, which led to arrests.
“They are known to overturn their vehicles on roads, chain themselves to trees, chain themselves to equipment, damage equipment, dig ditches in the roads, drive spikes in trees to cause injuries to workers, among other dangerous acts,” said Rep. Wayne Krieger, R-Gold Beach, who carried both bills. “This type of conduct cannot and should not be tolerated.”
House Bill 2595 would allow district attorneys “to charge these terrorists with a crime and make them accountable,” he said.
How should the animal rights and environmental movement use undercover footage of illegal practices? This article argues that the current trend of using footage to prosecute individual workers may be taking blame and attention away from industries of abuse.
Cross posted from The Vegan Police:
image from opednews.com
I’ve followed the introduction of Ag Gag Bills – bills designed to criminalize undercover video of animal use industry – since they were in the dream phase in the wake of the Conklin Dairy Farm undercover video in 2010. That particular undercover investigation, I feel, is one of the most important undercover video investigations in the history of the “animal rights” movement and set the stage for the current battles around Ag Gag bills as well as our movements response.
The footage captured in that investigation was horrific and one particular character seemed to take pleasure in extreme violence against animals on the farm – Billy Joe Gregg Jr. It was nearly impossible to watch that footage and not dream of justice – whether you were a regular member of the public or a hardened animal liberationist. Animal agriculture – across the country – went into overdrive to recognize this particular weakness and exploited it. Billy Joe Gregg Jr. was the “bad apple,” the fall guy. The movement as a whole was so wrapped up in this character, in this horrific footage, that very few people questioned the structure of industrialized animal use or the precedent being set – the singling out and criminalization of individual workers as a movement strategy and measure of “success.”
by Rabb!t / Earth First! Newswire
National delisting of endangered species is on the rise, and flowing up the food chain. As was reported yesterday, the Fish & Wildlife Service has proposed lifting all Endangered Species Act protections from the critically endangered gray wolf. When state protections were lifted from this same species in Montana, Idaho and Wyoming, populations diminished rapidly as hunters flocked to the area to take the lives of these majestic beasts.
Now, yet another predator has been taken off the endangered species list. Recent studies have shown that United States Fish & Wildlife Service populations have reached hazardous levels, causing irreversible damage to their natural biosphere and destroying plant and animal populations at an unsustainable rate. Experts say that the organization’s levels of predation—which were tenuous to begin with—have escalated to such an extent that any protections bestowed upon them would be a danger to the North American continent and the human species as a whole. But it does not stop there. Evidence suggests that the Fish & Wildlife Service is only one small arm of a larger federal system, and that protection of any aspect of this system would be irresponsible and must be removed immediately.
Upon hearing the news, gray wolf populations released a communique declaring open season on all federal agencies.