Archive | July, 2010

News Wrap-Up

10 Jul

Bhopalis are dissatisfied on the whole with the settlement last month, which brings about $500 to the families of affected victims—the settlement came over a decade after a Dow Chemical-owned chemical plant exploded, killing thousands immediately and leaving thousands more with long-term illness. Many of the tens of thousands of victims are unacknowledged and will receive absolutely no money whatsoever.

In the aftermath of the G20 protests, some are drawing comparisons to Chicago ’68. Before all was said and done, the entire city had become militarized as the state oppressed dissenting citizens through brutal means and violently suppressed the media. Unlike Chicago, however, the protesters are demanding significant change that outstretch the Peace Movement of the ’60s. For example, less reliance on fossil fuels, more support for sustainable community, less imperialist foreign policy and myriad forms of economic/ecological restructuring.

Speaking of Canada, the movement to stop the 2010 Olympics in Toronto has been declared a victory or a loss depending on who you talk to, but the next Winter Olympics will be held in perhaps an even more grim environmental situation: Sochi, Russia. Viktor Danilov-Danilyan, director of the Russian Academy of Sciences Institute of Water Problems, says that the environmental damage done by construction for the 2014 Olympics has been so disastrous that there is no use protesting — the irrevocable destruction has already been done. Over the last decade, the number of environmental inspectors has fallen from 5600 to 300 and illegal deforestation is all but aided by the government. Protests have sent the country into paroxysms this year, and it’s anybody’s guess as to how Sochi will affect the political landscape.

RAN Occupies EPA

9 Jul

According to the Rainforest Action Network:

“After entering the EPA building, activists sat down in the center of the lobby, locked themselves together with metal ‘lock boxes,’ and began to blast West Virginia’s adopted state song, John Denver’s ‘Take me Home, Country Roads,’ with intermittent sounds of Appalachia’s mountains being blown apart by MTR explosives spliced into the song. An additional activist has climbed to the top of the EPA front door on Constitution Ave and is standing with a banner reading: ‘Blowing up mountains for coal contaminates Appalachia’s water, Stop MTR.”

This occupation is taking place to protest the EPA’s approval of a new Mountain Top Removal mine in Pine Creek, West Virginia.

Earth First! Blocks the Blade

7 Jul

On July 5, 37 activists were arrested outside of Oak Ridge, TN, protesting nuclear weapons. Two days later, anti-war activist and environmentalist Jim Bohen, pioneer of Greenpeace, died at the age of 87. On that same day, Earth First! honored the No Compromise stance towards environmentalism by executing a beautiful action that cut to the heart of local organizing, bio-centrism and direct action in defense of the Earth. Earth First! concluded this year’s Summer Rendezvous in Maine with a dynamic and intense blockading an access road to the latest land destroying development scheme—the clearcutting of Maine’s Sisk Mountain for TransCanada’s wind turbines.

Beginning in the early morning, more than five EF!ers eluded police tails and entered Plum Creek land on Sisk Mountain, the site of TransCanada’s prospective wind farm, with the intention of blockading the access road. Although police assisting the corporations found the activists quickly, the access road was blockaded for the entire morning by a cavalcade of police and, interestingly enough, border patrol. They did our job for us, and nobody was arrested; only warnings were issued to the brave activists who sparked the blockade.

At around noon, police issued an order to disperse, and many EF!ers returned to the Rondy site pleased at the fact that, for that morning, the blades of wind turbines did not pass through the power of the people. At the access road, however, things were just getting started.

Earth First!ers remained to continue protesting, most moving to the opposite side of the highway to get support from passing automobiles. One person, Turtle, was arrested for refusing to move from the access road. Soon, a massive truck emerged from the bend, hauling behind it the blade itself, the awesome length of which resembled a small airplane. As the truck entered the access road, EF!ers made their move, rushing to stop it from entering the site. Meanwhile, Willow, locked herself to the undercarriage of the truck. The trucker hauling the blade began revving the engine, revealing the intention to drive on with an activist locked to his rig. Heroically, Anna jumped on top of the truck and thrust a sign over the windshield, obstructing the truckers’ view. Finally, the police, realizing they had been defeated for the moment, told the trucker to stop his engines.

When all was said and done, the truck had been blocked for hours and three people had been arrested. Their bail was set for $500, and they were released that night. Through the intensity of the day, the gathering stood strong, successful action in tow. Earth First! is showing that the attention to oil and offshore drilling is only the tip of the iceberg. We protested off-shore drilling in Santa Barbara in February, months before the Deep Horizon spill. We need to look forward to a future of resistance to the false solutions of wind power in wild areas, “clean coal” and biomass.

This years’ Rondy action has been called the Green Tea Party, and that might not be far off. With the irrevocable ecological damage done to this planet, a new era must come about. The most recent global protests in favor of environmentalism indicate that more and more people are taking up the slogan, “We won’t stop until they do. Earth First!”