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B4. Radical Ecology

Featured Photo: For what it’s worth

Global Justice Ecology Project - Wed, 11/08/2023 - 10:45

  The following is an account from Orin Langelle who is the co-founder of GJEP, a photojournalist, and the Director of Langelle Photography.      I remember being in the streets in the anti-war march taking photographs. I think everyone in the streets was nervous. War and revenge was the feeling by most of the […]

The post Featured Photo: For what it’s worth appeared first on Global Justice Ecology Project.

Categories: B4. Radical Ecology

There is no “better” place to mine lithium

Protect Thacker Pass - Tue, 11/07/2023 - 18:39

At Protect Thacker Pass, we’ve heard from people who think that companies should mine lithium in Imperial Valley (“Lithium Valley”) at the Salton Sea because it would be “better” than mining lithium at Thacker Pass.

To be clear up front: Protect Thacker Pass opposes all lithium mining, no matter where it is happening. All lithium extraction is harmful for the environment and unsustainable in the long term (lithium is a nonrenewable material). There is no “better” place to mine lithium.

Earthworks has published a new report that shows the devastating impacts from mining lithium from brine using direct lithium extraction with geothermal power plants. As the report states, there are currently three companies developing this technology.

Their report shows that direct lithium extraction in the Imperial Valley at the Salton Sea will have devastating impacts on the environment, beyond those already created by geothermal energy extraction. These include air pollution, consuming vast quantities of freshwater, degrading the already imperiled Salton Sea ecosystem, hazardous waste, and the potential for earthquakes to cause industrial disasters in the area.

We’ve included the two pages from the summary report as images in this post. The full Earthworks Report is worth reading if you’re interested in learning more about how geothermal power plants work and how direct lithium extraction works in conjunction with geothermal. However, we disagree with some of the conclusions in their report. 

Like most large environmental groups, Earthworks believes that mining lithium is important to address the climate crisis, and their conclusions reflect this. They state that the mining should proceed as long as full, prior informed consent of regional tribes is obtained; if hazardous wastes and air pollution are dealt with properly; if companies and local communities “carefully consider” trade-offs with freshwater use; and if the mining companies design power plants with “high standards for seismic safety.” 

What they seem not to recognize is that there is no safe way to extract non-renewable materials like lithium from the environment without significant impacts to ecosystems. Ensuring that this extraction is safer doesn’t mean it’s safe. The report also ignores the many other impacts of building technologies like batteries that rely on lithium, or the harms these technologies themselves do to the environment. Lithium extraction is just the first step in a long list of harms on the way to a final product.

Again: we oppose all lithium mining, and indeed, all extraction, for luxury goods that humans can live without. Our priority is the health of the natural world, without which no human or any other living being on Earth can survive.

All images are from the Earthworks report Environmental Justice in California’s Lithium Valley. You can download the full report and summary sheet from https://earthworks.org/resources/lithium-valley/.

Categories: B4. Radical Ecology

Biofuelwatch: The Opinion piece that California media will not publish: moving beyond high carbon bioenergy

Global Justice Ecology Project - Tue, 11/07/2023 - 11:33

Note: Biofuelwatch is part of GJEP’s fiscal sponsorship program The following was posted on Biofuelwatch’s website:  The short text below was submitted as a commentary op/ed style piece to both CalMatters and the Sacramento Bee, two of the foremost media outlets covering political and environmental issues in the California state capitol, and across the state. Both platforms declined […]

The post Biofuelwatch: The Opinion piece that California media will not publish: moving beyond high carbon bioenergy appeared first on Global Justice Ecology Project.

Categories: B4. Radical Ecology

There are nonmilitary alternatives to Israel’s war in Gaza

Waging Nonviolence - Tue, 11/07/2023 - 10:27

This article There are nonmilitary alternatives to Israel’s war in Gaza was originally published by Waging Nonviolence.

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Israel and its allies have made a knee-jerk assumption that war is the only way to create safety and respond to the Oct. 7 massacre by Hamas. This assumption — which upholds violence as the only path forward — is commonly accepted by extremists on both sides of the conflict, as well as most leaders and institutions across the U.S. and Europe. What’s more: It’s completely wrong. I should know; I’ve studied and taught courses about nonviolent responses to terrorism for many years. 

What I’ve learned is that it takes a failure of foresight to believe that an unprecedented bombing and ground campaign in Gaza can create safety — and a failure of imagination to believe it’s the only possible method. Conversely, nonmilitary techniques have, in numerous historical cases, reduced the threat of terror.

Drawing from these cases, I compiled a list of such techniques, which I shared in a 2015 article for Waging Nonviolence titled “8 Ways to Defend Against Terror Nonviolently.” That article — published on the heels of a terrorist attack in France — is just as necessary today, which is why I’m republishing an edited version of it here. We all need to understand that there’s a wide range of options to generate safety beyond taking up arms.

One of my most popular courses at Swarthmore College focused on the challenge of how to defend against terrorism, nonviolently. Who knew that non-military techniques have, in actual historical cases, reduced the threat of terror?

I gathered for the students eight non-military techniques that have worked for some country or other. The eight comprised the “toolbox” that the students had to work with. We didn’t spend time criticizing military counter-terrorism because we were more interested in alternatives.

Each student chose a country somewhere in the world that is presently threatened by terrorism and, taking the role of a consultant to that country, devised from our nonviolent toolbox a strategy for defense.

Some students who assumed that military defense is crucial opened to a bigger perspective. They realized that, given the success some countries have had using just two or three of the tools, there is significant untapped potential: What if countries used all of the tools together, with the resulting synergies? For me the question arose: Why couldn’t populations rely completely on the nonviolent toolbox for their defense against terror?

Here are the eight techniques:

1. Ally-building and the infrastructure of economic development

Poverty and terrorism are indirectly linked. Economic development can reduce recruits and gain allies, especially if development is done in a democratic way. The terrorism by Northern Ireland’s Irish Republican Army, for example, was strongly reduced by grassroots, job-creating, economic development.

2. Reducing cultural marginalization

As France, Britain and other countries have learned, marginalizing a group within your population is not safe or sensible; terrorists grow under those conditions. This is also true on a global level. Much marginalizing is unintentional, but it can be reduced. “Freedom of the press,” for example, transforms into “provocation” when it further marginalizes a population that is already one-down, as are Muslims in France. When Anglophone Canada reduced its marginalization, it reduced the threat of terrorism from Quebec.

3. Nonviolent protest/campaigns among the defenders, plus unarmed civilian peacekeeping

Terrorism happens in a larger context and is therefore influenced by that context. Some terror campaigns have lapsed because they lost popular support. That’s because terror’s strategic use is often to gain attention, provoke a violent response and win more support in the broader population.

The rise and fall of support for terrorism is in turn influenced by social movements using people power, or nonviolent struggle. The U.S. civil rights movement brilliantly handled the Ku Klux Klan’s threat to activists, most dangerous when there was no effective law enforcement to help. The nonviolent tactics reduced the KKK’s appeal among white segregationists. Since the 1980s, pacifists and others have established an additional, promising tool: intentional and planned unarmed civilian peacekeeping. (Check out Peace Brigades International, for one example.)

4. Pro-conflict education and training

Ironically, terror often happens when a population tries to suppress conflicts instead of supporting their expression. A technique for reducing terror, therefore, is to spread a pro-conflict attitude and the nonviolent skills that support people waging conflict to give full voice to their grievances.

5. Post-terror recovery programs

Not all terror can be prevented, any more than all crime can be prevented. Keep in mind that terrorists often have the goal of increasing polarization. Recovery programs can help prevent that polarization, the cycle of hawks on one side “arming” the hawks on the other side. 

Recovery programs build resilience, so people don’t go rigid with fear and create self-fulfilling prophecies. The leap forward in trauma counseling is relevant for this technique along with innovative rituals such as those the Norwegians used after the 2011 terrorist massacre there.

6. Police as peace officers: the infrastructure of norms and laws

Police work can become far more effective through the reduction of the social distance between police and the neighborhoods they serve. In some countries this requires re-conceptualization of the police from defenders of the property of the dominant group to genuine peace officers; witness the unarmed Icelandic police. Countries like the United States need to join the growing global infrastructure of human rights law reflected in the Land Mines Treaty and International Criminal Court, and accept accountability for their own officials who are probable war criminals.

7. Policy changes and the concept of reckless behavior

Governments sometimes make choices that invite — almost beg for — a terrorist response. Political scientist and sometime U.S. Air Force consultant Robert A. Pape showed in 2005 that the United States has repeatedly done this, often by putting troops on someone else’s land. In his recent book “Cutting the Fuse,” he and James K. Feldman give concrete examples of governments reducing the terror threat by ending such reckless behavior. To protect themselves from terror, citizens in all countries need to gain control of their own governments and force them to behave.

8. Negotiation

Governments often say “we don’t negotiate with terrorists,” but when they say that they are often lying. Governments have often reduced or eliminated terrorism through negotiation, and negotiation skills continue to grow in sophistication.

Realistic application of non-military defense against terror

At the request of a group of U.S. experts on counter-terrorism, I described our Swarthmore work and especially the eight techniques. The experts recognized that each of these tools have indeed been used in real-life situations in one place or another, with some degree of success. They also saw no problem, in principle, in devising a comprehensive strategy that would create synergies among the tools.

The problem they saw was persuading a government to take such a bold, innovative leap.

As an American, I can see the direct contradiction between, on the one hand, my government’s huge effort to convince taxpayers that we desperately need our swollen military and, on the other, a new policy that mobilizes a different kind of power for genuine, human security. I understand that for my country and for some others as well, a living revolution might need to come first.

What I like about having an alternative, non-military defense in our back pocket, though, is that it speaks to the real need of my fellow citizens for security in a dangerous world. Psychologist Abraham Maslow long ago pointed out the fundamental human need for security. Analyzing and criticizing militarism, however brilliantly, doesn’t actually enhance anyone’s security. Imagining an alternative, as my students did, may give people the psychological space they need to put energy into something more life-giving.

Our role at the grassroots

The good news is that a number of these eight techniques can be applied by civil society, without waiting for governmental leadership that may never come. Two are no-brainers: Spread the skills and strategy of nonviolent protest, and teach a pro-conflict attitude.

The Black Lives Matter movement found many white people joining in on Black-initiated turf — that’s a concrete example of reducing marginalization, a concept that generates dozens of creative moves by whoever happens to be mainstream (Christian, middle class, etc.). We can also initiate recovery programs after terror has erupted in our midst, as it did during the Boston Marathon.

Activists are used to launching campaigns to force the government to give up some of its reckless policies, but may forget to frame activism that way. A scared public needs to know that activists hear the fear, and are on the side of safety.

By my count, these five of the eight tools can be used by people taking bottom-up initiatives to reduce the threat of terror. They might be incorporated by those who want to bring a holistic and positive approach to the fear that otherwise depresses and paralyzes. As usual, what helps others lightens the load for each one of us who takes that step.

This article There are nonmilitary alternatives to Israel’s war in Gaza was originally published by Waging Nonviolence.

Categories: B4. Radical Ecology

Stop the hate action – Home Office, Marsham Street, London12 noon, Saturday 4 November 2023

Extinction Rebellion - Sun, 11/05/2023 - 05:52

Suella Braverman’s talk of a ‘hurricane’ of refugees coming into Britain has crossed a line. Through divisive language and actions, Braverman, the Home Secretary and Conservative MP for Fareham, has united communities to take to the streets and demand she steps down immediately #BravermanOut. 

A collective of movements and organisations is united in their demands to stop the promotion of hate on Britain’s streets and in our political offices including: the Peace and Justice Project, Drive 2 Survive, ASLEF, Care 4 Calais, Jewish Socialists’ Group, DPAC, Stand Up To Racism, Love Music Hate Racism, Homes For All UK, Queer Night Pride, Fossil Free Pride, Extinction Rebellion London, Citizenship is a Right Coalition, National Education Union, Black Lives Matter Croydon, PCS Union, GR8 Power, MENA Solidarity, and the Campaign Against Climate Change.

Social media: #refugeeswelcome

Website link: https://linktr.ee/stopbraverman 

Press and image assets: Photos here (credits: Andrea Domenicone)

dropbox.com  

STOP THE HATE ACTION – Home Office, Marsham Street, London
12 noon, Saturday 4 November 2023

Suella Braverman’s talk of a ‘hurricane’ of refugees coming into Britain has crossed a line. Through divisive language and actions, Braverman, the Home Secretary and Conservative MP for Fareham, has united communities to take to the streets and demand she steps down immediately #BravermanOut. 

A collective of movements and organisations is united in their demands to stop the promotion of hate on Britain’s streets and in our political offices including: the Peace and Justice Project, Drive 2 Survive, ASLEF, Care 4 Calais, Jewish Socialists’ Group, DPAC, Stand Up To Racism, Love Music Hate Racism, Homes For All UK, Queer Night Pride, Fossil Free Pride, Extinction Rebellion London, Citizenship is a Right Coalition, National Education Union, Black Lives Matter Croydon, PCS Union, GR8 Power, MENA Solidarity, and the Campaign Against Climate Change. 

The demands of the protest include: 

  • Braverman steps down immediately from her position as Home Secretary #BravermanOut 
  • Incoming Home Secretary challenges injustice in the immigration and asylum system #RefugeesWelcome 

The objective of the protest is to demonstrate unity and solidarity for refugees, and a collective demand to get #BravermanOut. It’s important to note individual groups will continue to have their own demands in addition to those highlighted above. 

We have the Home Secretary using the language of the far right to attack the human rights of people fleeing the horrors of war, torture and modern slavery. 

This hateful language is not based in reality. Last year, only 7% of Europe’s asylum seekers came to the UK. This idea that the UK has an asylum problem is pure fantasy. We have a proud history of offering people sanctuary, we have done so for Ukrainians so why do we have this hateful approach towards refugees from all other countries?

The Home Secretary says opponents of her policies are weaponising the label ‘racist’. Well as the saying goes – if it looks like a duck, swims like a duck, and quacks like a duck, it’s probably a duck.

— Steve Smith, CEO at Care4Calais 

The organisations, movements, charities and grassroots organisations committed to attending include: 

Peace and Justice ProjectDrive 2 SurviveASLEFCare 4 CalaisJewish Socialists’ GroupDPACStand Up To RacismLove Music Hate RacismHomes For All UKQueer Night PrideFossil Free PrideExtinction Rebellion LondonCitizenship is a Right CoalitionNational Education UnionBlack Lives Matter CroydonPCS UnionGR8 PowerMENA SolidarityCampaign Against Climate Change

Why now? The government is facing legal action over a failure to provide free legal advice and representation through Legal Aid to people seeking asylum in the UK, there’s a significant increase in the number of evictions from Home Office asylum accommodation for those with refugee status and its expected to get much worse.

The government introduction of the Police, Crime, Sentencing & Courts (“Policing”) Act (April 2022) actively aims to restrict the ability to protest and lowers the bar as to what’s classed as an offence.

Braverman’s voting record has the power to unify as she:  

  • Almost always voted for a stricter asylum system
  • Generally voted against measures to prevent climate change
  • Consistently voted for mass surveillance of people’s communications and activities
  • Generally voted for stronger enforcement of immigration rules
  • Consistently voted against laws to promote equality and human rights
  • Almost always voted against a right to remain for EU nationals already in living in the UK
  • Generally voted for a reduction in spending on welfare benefits
  • Consistently voted against equal gay rights
  • Voted against same sex marriage between two people

The protest assembled at The Home Office, Marsham Street, London, 12 noon, Saturday 4 November.

Speeches took place throughout the day. The event included live music, DJ sets, workshops and speakers. 

Mark Serwotka, general secretary at PCS union says: 

‘Suella Braverman and the Tories’ rhetoric on refugees and asylum seekers only serves to stir up hatred and division. We must unite to ensure people escaping oppression and torture in other countries are offered safe and legal access to claim asylum in the UK without resort to the dangerous Channel crossing and exploitation by people smuggling gangs.’

David Rosenberg from Jewish Socialists’ Group says:

‘As a grandchild of Jewish migrants and refugees from Eastern Europe fortunate to get into this country in the early 1900s, when Britain’s first Hostile Environment was being built, I stand in unity and total solidarity with all who face today’s even more draconian Hostile Environment towards refugees, and face the same barrage of hate from the media.

Politicians who promote these laws, and the newspaper publishers who spread hostility, have blood on their hands. No human being is illegal!

Our organisation fights for a world where everyone has the right to cross borders when they need to and when they wish to, and a world where no one feels they have to flee for their safety, freedom and human rights!

We are proud to be part of the protest actions at the Home Office on 4 November.’

Louise Regan, National Education Union Executive Member and chair of International Committee says: 

‘The NEU has a long and proud history of standing in solidarity with refugees. We are completely opposed to the government’s current rhetoric. When Suella Braverman talked about a ‘hurricane’ of refugees coming into Britain she crossed a line. 

This is the kind of language which stirs up hatred, fear and division. This language gives a green light to the racists and far right within our communities to attack those people who are entitled under international law to seek asylum in our country.

We have no trust in a government which seeks to divide us and which seeks to blame those seeking sanctuary here for the failings of this government.

The NEU urges all members to attend the protest in London and where they are not able to get to London to hold local events standing in solidarity with refugees.

The NEU is committed to supporting all those seeking sanctuary here and for the government to ensure there is safe passage for all refugees.’

Samuel Sweek from Peace & Justice Project says:

‘For over 13 years, the government has pushed through some of the most hateful, divisive and racist policies with the aim of dividing our communities and whip up fear to peddle their agenda.

But we are coming together, united against the murderous anti-refugee policies, racism, homophobia, transphobia and hate that Suella Braverman sows.

Our communities will not be divided — and we will never give up in our fight for a world of peace, social justice and sanctuary for all.’

Steff from Fossil Free Pride says: 

‘The government are limiting our freedoms and purposely sowing division and hate. As queer people, we’re used to this and will stand united with migrants, Palestinians, protesters and all who face growing attacks from this government. We need a strong, dynamic movement that’s capable of fighting back and cutting through this mass conservative psychology. This means queer liberation goes hand-in-hand with the abolition of borders. Queer refugees and asylum seekers, like all refugees and asylum seekers, like all people, have a right to be here. They have a right to claim asylum. They have a right to freedom of movement.’

Alex Considine from Extinction Rebellion London says: 

‘Climate breakdown will lead to hunger, water shortages, conflict and displacement of millions. Instead of waging culture wars on refugees and closing borders, the UK should take responsibility for the damage caused by its historical and ongoing contributions to climate change. New fossil fuel projects like the Rosebank oilfield in the North Sea will have catastrophic impacts on those who have done least to cause climate change and and are least protected from its effects. We need to stop the hateful rhetoric coming from Suella Braverman and take radical action on the climate and ecological crises.’

Samira Ali from Stand Up to Racism says: 

‘As the Tories lurch ever to the right, Suella Bravermans two speeches in Washington and at Tory Party conference, have crossed a line. They saw her echoing the far right Great Replacement Theory and calling to rip up human rights conventions – rhetoric that gives confidence to the far right and fascists across Britain. It is time to unite anti-racists and all those who oppose the hateful rhetoric to say Braverman has to go. We will not sit back and watch Braverman’s speeches become the new normal. We will not give in to Tory lies, scapegoating and division. Refugees are welcome here.’

Alex Losardo from Love Music Hate Racism says: 

‘Love Music Hate Racism brings communities together through the power of music. Our message is simple, there is more that unites us than divides us; and nothing demonstrates this more than music.’

Claire James, campaigns coordinator at Campaign Against Climate Change says: 

‘Suella Braverman may consider meeting our international obligations to refugees as a ‘luxury belief’ or a sign of being ‘far too squeamish about being smeared as racist’. But this is one of the most basic requirements for a civilised country. In this age of climate breakdown, our only hope of averting catastrophe is through internationalism, compassion, and for rich nations to face up to their responsibilities, not shamefully evade them. A government that fails on every one of these is not fit for purpose.’

NOTES TO EDITORS

Social media: #refugeeswelcome

The post Stop the hate action – Home Office, Marsham Street, London12 noon, Saturday 4 November 2023 appeared first on Extinction Rebellion UK.

Categories: B4. Radical Ecology

Activists block Farnborough Airport to protest plans to double private jet flights

Extinction Rebellion - Sat, 11/04/2023 - 05:03

Climate activists and local residents joined forces to block access to Farnborough Airport this morning (4 November) to protest against the proposed expansion of the airport which will almost double the number of private jet flights to 70,000 a year, in a move which blatantly ignores the climate crisis.

Activists are blockading the main entrance to the airport with banners proclaiming “FLYING TO EXTINCTION” “PRIVATE FLIGHTS = PUBLIC DEATHS” “STOP PRIVATE FLIGHTS” “PRIVATE FLIGHTS COST THE EARTH” “QUAKERS FOR CLIMATE JUSTICE” and “CLIMATE EMERGENCY”.

Protestors are releasing smoke flares, chanting slogans and engaging with members of the public, whilst accompanied by the XR Rebel Rhythms band of drummers.

The demonstration includes campaigners from Extinction Rebellion (XR) Waverley and Borders, who have joined forces with Farnborough Noise campaign group, Blackwater Valley Friends of the Earth, Alton Climate Action Network, a representative of Surrey and Hampshire Borders Quakers and local residents, to voice their opposition to the plans.

The protest follows a consultation period on Farnborough Airport’s expansion plans which ended on 18 October and which has drawn fierce opposition from local residents and environmental campaigners.

The proposals include doubling the airport’s annual weekend flight limit from 8,900 to 18,900 flights and upping its annual flight limit by 71% from 50,000 to 70,000 flights.

The 33,120 private flights to and from Farnborough Airport last year carried an average of just 2.5 passengers per flight, with each passenger responsible for the emission of nine times as much carbon as an economy flight to the US and 20 times that to Spain. Currently 40% of flights to and from the airport are empty.

Private aviation significantly contributes to climate change due to its high carbon emissions. Flying in a private jet is the most inefficient and most carbon-intensive mode of transport.

Private jets are 10 times more carbon intensive than a normal airliner and 50 times worse than trains, with a four-hour private flight emitting as much as the average person does in a year, according to research by environmental campaign group Transport & Environment.

At a time when we must drastically reduce our carbon emissions and dependence on fossil fuels, Farnborough Airport owner Macquarie is blatantly ignoring the science and is complicit in the unfolding climate crisis.

Rieks Drijver, aged 61, Milford, Surrey says: “I am protesting at Farnborough Airport because flying in private jets is probably the most wasteful form of transport. Most people are unaware that only around 10% of the global population flies. It’s a privilege of wealthy people and yet the worst climate impacts are felt by people who never fly. Flying in private jets is worse.”

He adds: “It’s unbelievably selfish and arrogant for anyone to think that they can squander so much of our global carbon budget on flights.  At the consultations held on plans to increase the number of flights at Farnborough, it was clear that many people are angry about the use of private jets. We should all be outraged that anyone can think flying in a private jet is justifiable. Because I am outraged, I’m taking a stand with those who feel the same. I am also hopeful, precisely because so many people feel the same.”

Nancy Clarke, aged 60, a gardener from Medstead, Hampshire, says: “I’m here at Farnborough airport to protest against private jets. Shall I state the obvious? The planet cannot take any more CO2 emissions and private jets, used by the very wealthy, celebrities and royals, emit grotesque amounts of climate wrecking carbon dioxide and other pollutants. Aviation fuel is not even taxed. Many of these planes fly empty. It must stop.”

Jules Crossley, aged 58, from Aldershot, says: “The airport exclusively serves ultra-wealthy people who are private jet users; the most carbon-intensive method of travelling. There is no business justification for expanding the number of yearly flights, which will have a direct impact on local residents in terms of air and noise pollution; especially at weekends when the airport want to more than double the number of flights. We hope that local people will come and join us between 10am and 12, to show the airport operators how much opposition there is to their plans and how reckless it is when we are in the middle to a climate crisis.”

Julia Longrigg, aged 55, a Quaker from Farnborough adds: “I’m here because as a Quaker, I feel the spiritual crisis is folding into the ecological crisis and the ecological crisis is folding into the economic crisis. I believe challenging market economics (such as the Farnborough Airports proposals) with a sense of the goodness of God in creation is to join a spiritual struggle.”

Farnborough Airport is owned by Macquarie Group Limited, an Australian financial services group headquartered and listed in Australia. It is the world’s largest infrastructure asset manager – owning UK assets including Thames Water and now Southern Water.

The post Activists block Farnborough Airport to protest plans to double private jet flights appeared first on Extinction Rebellion UK.

Categories: B4. Radical Ecology

‘Only democracy can solve this problem’ — a conversation with Iranian Nobel laureate Shirin Ebadi

Waging Nonviolence - Fri, 11/03/2023 - 11:30

This article ‘Only democracy can solve this problem’ — a conversation with Iranian Nobel laureate Shirin Ebadi was originally published by Waging Nonviolence.

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Earlier this month, the 2023 Nobel Peace Prize was awarded to Narges Mohammadi, an imprisoned Iranian scientist, journalist and human rights activist, for her fight to promote human rights and freedom for all in her country. In their statement, the Nobel committee recognized the tremendous personal cost accompanying her brave struggle. Mohammadi was arrested 13 times, convicted five times, and sentenced to a total of 31 years in prison and 154 lashes.

This recognition comes a year after another wave of widespread protests engulfed the streets of Iran following the death of Mahsa Amini, a 22 year old from Iranian Kurdistan who died in police custody. This has been one of the biggest waves of protests since the Islamic Republic began over 40 years ago.

The demand for human rights and democracy in Iran has a long history. Twenty years before Mohammadi won the Nobel Peace Prize, Shirin Ebadi, an Iranian lawyer, human rights and peace advocate, teacher and writer received the Nobel Peace Prize in 2003 for her pioneering efforts to promote democracy and human rights in her country. Ebadi is the first Iranian and the first Muslim woman to receive the Nobel Prize.

Ebadi co-founded the Center for Defense of Human Rights, which was forced to close by Iranian authorities in 2008. As a lawyer, Ebadi has been known for accepting pro bono cases of dissident figures and for campaigning for strengthening the legal status of children and women. In 2002, she helped draft the text of a law against physical abuse of children, which was passed by the Iranian parliament. She also drafted a law explaining how a woman’s right to divorce her husband is in line with Sharia (Islamic law) and presented the bill before the government, but the male members would not consider it.

In the months since “Women, Life, Freedom” became the revolutionary cry of Iranians, Dr. Ebadi has been a leading voice in the diaspora in support of the protesters and the pro-democracy movement.

In September, she gave an exclusive interview with Waging Nonviolence about the ongoing pro-democracy movement in her home country, the role played by the U.S. and the west in this conflict, and the way forward for Iranian activists on the ground.

The West in general and the United States in particular have been watching what is happening in Iran. And the media has been generally supportive. Is this helping the women’s movement inside Iran, or is it creating more pressure on the activists on the ground, especially considering the rocky relationship between the U.S. and Iran?

It always helps the people of Iran when we talk about the bad human rights situation in Iran. For years the people of Iran have been struggling for democracy. Many have been killed or arrested, and Iranians live a very difficult life. Bringing democracy to Iran is the duty of the people of Iran, and they are fighting for it and trying. What we are asking for from governments in the West — and especially the U.S. government — is not to help the government become more powerful.

How so?

The government of Iran takes hostages either from dual nationality holders or from foreign people, and this is all for political purposes. They keep these hostages for a long period of time so that they can get all kinds of compromises from other countries in order to release them. For example, there are hostages in Iranian prisons who are either American or Iranian Americans. Biden has to do whatever he can do to bring them back because they are innocent. We understand that, but this shouldn’t result in a contract that empowers the government of Iran more. For example, in order to release the five prisoners who were taken hostage in Iran they want to release approximately $6 billion of Iranian money.

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Also, there are still sanctions against Iran. Biden hasn’t removed them. At the time when the sanctions were enforced on Iran, it was able to sell up to 300,000 barrels of oil per day. Last month, statistics showed that Iran is selling 2.5 million barrels of oil, even though the sanctions are still in effect. What does that mean? This means that the U.S. closed its eyes and Iran is selling behind their back. So, if the government of Iran has more money, are they going to spend it on the people? Are people’s lives going to get better? No.

When Obama signed the JCPOA for three years there were no sanctions on Iran, nothing happened in people’s lives. Because the money that is given to the hands of Iran either goes to the pockets of corrupt people, or they buy arms and kill the people of Iran or other people in the region. They support the Houthis in Yemen, Hezbollah in Lebanon, Al Assad’s regime in Syria, Hashd al-Shaabi in Iraq. So, when I say “don’t help the dictators become more powerful,” that’s what I mean. Don’t do any of these actions.

Sanctions are a heavily debated topic. Many Iranians say they punish the Iranian people, not the government. What are your views on this? Are economic sanctions an effective strategy? And what strategy should the West adopt if the sanctions are not working?

People who are close to the Iranian government have earned a lot of money due to the sanctions. And regular people have become poor. But even when the sanctions were not enforced, the economic situation in Iran was bad. There are three elements that explain the poor economic situation in Iran: the first is the corrupted government, the second is the increased spending on military — and Iran’s involvement in regional conflicts, and even in the conflict in Ukraine helping the Russians — and the third is the sanctions. So, we have to look at the situation collectively considering all these elements. It’s only democracy that can solve this problem.

The recent movement is being framed as a feminist movement. How did that framing affect the pro-democracy movement, and how did it change the mobilization of people on the ground?

Even though women are in the front, men are supporting the movement too. You need to know that if we have a free election today, I guarantee that 90 percent of the people in Iran will not vote for an Islamic republic. We even saw high schoolers joining the recent demonstrations against the government in Iran. This is not a surprise. So far 80 Iranians under the age of 18 have been killed during this movement, and more than 300 Iranians in that age group were imprisoned.

I don’t call what is happening in Iran demonstrations, it is a revolution. It’s like a trip on a train. It has already started, but the train is moving slowly. It stops sometimes, but it eventually moves again and gets to the last station.

In the first four months of the movement, you could hear all the voices, and there were many of them. But the government’s oppression was very bad. Seven young Iranians were executed for taking part in the demonstrations, the court ruled to execute 100 others, 20,000 Iranians have been imprisoned, and at least 600 Iranians have been killed. This degree of brutality lowered some voices, but it hasn’t silenced them. People are preparing themselves. And the sad thing is that while this is happening, America is helping the government of Iran.

Moving forward, how do you see the situation unfolding in Iran? Where is this current movement going? How can activists inside Iran survive or achieve some of their goals?

They have to continue. Whenever I talk to young people I tell them: imagine you are in a boat, and the sea gets rough, and the boat turns over. What are you going to do? You have to swim. If you think that you are too tired to swim, you are going to drown and die. You just need to keep swimming until you reach the land; there is no other way around it. In our country there is a religious dictatorship that interferes in all of the affairs of people’s lives. We can’t choose what to wear, we don’t have rights, and with all the wealth that exists in the country, one third of the population live under the poverty line.

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Over the past 40 years, the people of Iran have been trying to resist using different tactics and strategies. We were not looking for another revolution, but it seems like the only option we have. There is no other solution. We are exactly like that person who is drowning while their boat sank. We just have to keep swimming, there is no other way.

When was the last time you visited Iran?

June 2009.

Do you miss Iran?

Of course. While I was outside [of the country] the government went after my husband and my sister and put them in prison, even though they had nothing to do with my work. All of the attorneys who worked with me or in my NGO were arrested. All of my property was confiscated.

They sent me a message and said if you agree to become silent, we will give you all your money back and you can come back to Iran. And I said no, I don’t need that property. I have a tongue in my mouth, and I will not keep quiet until the day I die.

How do you feel when you see the demonstrations and the places you miss? Do you want to be with the demonstrators?

This is my desire. A 15-year-old girl goes outside to demonstrate and is not afraid. I am really proud of the young people in my country. They are so courageous.

This article ‘Only democracy can solve this problem’ — a conversation with Iranian Nobel laureate Shirin Ebadi was originally published by Waging Nonviolence.

Categories: B4. Radical Ecology

Extinction Rebellion UK Statement on Palestine

Extinction Rebellion - Fri, 11/03/2023 - 08:39

In Extinction Rebellion we believe in nonviolence: standing against violence in the name of justice. We are horrified by the atrocities committed on October 7th, and the rapidly escalating violence and humanitarian crisis inflicted on the people of Gaza. We are not willing to remain silent in the face of the total failure of the UK political establishment to show humanity in the face of unimaginable destruction and killing. 

The future we are fighting for is one free from violent systems of oppression that deem certain lives as expendable or less worthy of protection.

If we believe in climate and ecological justice, we must seek justice in all forms. The climate and ecological emergency has roots in centuries of colonial violence, exploitation and oppression – for which the UK bears a disproportionate share of responsibility. Britain has historically been instrumental in the ruthless suppression of Palestinian human rights and continues to offer unwavering support for the military onslaught we’re seeing now.

The collective punishment being imposed on innocent civilians in Gaza is a war crime that the UK Government and official opposition continue to enable in their refusal to call for a ceasefire — the only pathway to safety and peace for both Palestinians and Israelis. 

Our political leaders continue to show a total disregard for the preservation of human life, and are all too ready to accept enormous destruction and loss as an inevitable side-effect of the policies they endorse in the name of power and profit. 

We stand in rebellion against the UK government for their failure to protect life. 

We join the urgent calls on the UK government and opposition leaders to demand an immediate ceasefire and to facilitate a peaceful resolution that preserves civilian life and ensures the safe return of hostages.

Polling shows that 76% of Britons say there should be an immediate ceasefire in the Holy Land. Our government continues to ignore the will of the overwhelming majority of the public. In light of this, continued mass mobilisation is our only recourse. 

As we resist, we call for nonviolence and unity in our communities, and support for our Jewish and Muslim brothers, sisters, and siblings in the UK who face the increasing threat of anti-Semitic and Islamophobic attacks.   

We condemn the continued crackdown on peaceful protest and the dangerous smearing of people mobilising to demand peace. The dangerous rhetoric driven by those exploiting the crisis to further extremist ideologies – including our political leaders – serves to stoke more division and persecution in our communities.

We cannot begin to secure a just future without an end to systems of violence and oppression all around the world, and the liberation of all indigenous people. We must extend our compassion and humanity to all life suffering under conditions of war, occupation or forced displacement: in Sudan, DR Congo, Yemen, Myanmar, Ukraine, Palestine and many more places across the world. 

Only a just peace can secure a liveable future. 

CEASE FIRE NOW

The post Extinction Rebellion UK Statement on Palestine appeared first on Extinction Rebellion UK.

Categories: B4. Radical Ecology

How the far right is trying to manipulate the crisis in Gaza

Waging Nonviolence - Wed, 11/01/2023 - 11:18

This article How the far right is trying to manipulate the crisis in Gaza was originally published by Waging Nonviolence.

At a rally near the White House, 40 white nationalist National Justice Party, or NJP, members demanded a ceasefire in Gaza on Oct. 28. “[In] a country as broke as ours … why the hell are they dragging us into another Zionist war?” yelled one member of the group, standing next to alt-right podcaster Mike “Enoch” Peinovich. After the speaker made an antisemitic reference to the U.S. as “Zionist occupied territory,” one of the attendees demanded “no more Jewish wars” to a passing cameraman.

Despite these claims of solidarity with Palestine, the white nationalist intervention on this issue comes not from their concern for Palestinian lives, but out of a desire to manipulate the conflict to serve their own racial narratives. 

As coverage of the Gazan war streamed across white nationalist websites and social media accounts, a confusing range of opinions conflicted with each other, with some supporting Israel because they think it could lead to a further attack on Islamic countries, while others staunchly pointed the finger at Israel.

“Israel is a grotesque country. Not only do we not receive anything in compensation for our support, but American interests are also damaged as a result of our support for Israel,” writes Bernard M. Smith for the Occidental Observer, a publication that few know about but has had an influential role in developing American white nationalism. The publication pushes racial pseudoscience, bogus race and crime statistics, arguments for white ethnic superiority, and scapegoating immigrants, queer people and women. But as the Israeli bombing of Gaza began after the Oct. 7 attack by Hamas, coverage shifted immediately to focus on Israel. 

In another article, posted on Oct. 18, the Observer denounced the doxxing of students at Harvard (and a truck driving around campus bearing their likeness), who were harassed by pro-Israel organizations after they signed a letter opposing Israel’s violence against innocent civilians. The article was penned by Kevin MacDonald, an essential figure in the birthing of the alt-right, who contends that eugenics and social manipulation are used by Jews to increase their own power and control over gentile society. The Jewish conspiracy is baked into MacDonald’s worldview, and he believes Jews have now gained power across all dominant institutions by shifting the values in the worlds of academics, anthropology, philosophy, the media, banking and politics. 

Counter-jihad

“There’s no such thing as Palestine. It’s always been a figment of the imagination of Islamic terrorists and Jew haters,” said far-right activist and former Florida Congressional candidate Laura Loomer on Twitter shortly after the Hamas attack. She was joined by a chorus on the far right, primarily among those who still have some connection to the GOP. “Make no mistake, this is Islam’s ‘holy war’ and their ultimate goal is to wipe out all of Israel,” said Congresswoman Marjorie Taylor Green on Oct. 7 from her official Telegram channel. 

Green has been mired in controversy since she took office, particularly when her social media feed was found to be filled with antisemitic conspiracy theories, including the theory that Rothschild-funded space lasers were responsible for California wildfires, and after she spoke at a conference hosted by white nationalist Nick Fuentes. 

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Much of this area of the far right seems to be hoping that this conflict can reinvigorate what is known as the “counter-jihad” movement, a far-right collection of groups and individuals who believe Islam is a threat to the West and see Muslims as their primary civilizational enemy. “The Iranian-backed Hamas terrorists are not ‘militants,’” wrote David Horowitz, a far-right Jewish activist most credited with launching the counter-jihad movement. “They are Nazis and their mission is to finish the job that Hitler started.” 

This is the same sentiment that was then echoed by former senior Trump advisor Stephen Miller, the architect of the child separation policy and “Muslim ban,” who is a former protege of Horowitz. “Israel is fighting a jihadist death squad,” Miller said on Twitter on Oct. 19. “A genocidal terrorist camp operating on its border. Israel’s straightforward military mission is to eliminate the death squad, a necessary action to ensure the survival of the sole Jewish state.” 

Far-right media provocateur Andy Ngo completely devoted his social media presence and articles at The Post Millennial to talking about the alleged antisemitism of the left. He points out when pro-Palestine protesters are Black or Muslim and then frames them as radical extremists (suggesting that, somehow, Jewish philanthropist George Soros is responsible for them).

Many of the leading far-right parliamentary groups among the European national populist bloc also publicly showed support for Israel in the conflict. This could have been anticipated, since Israel’s ruling Likud party and its leader Benjamin Netanyahu have worked to develop alliances with the global right despite its rampant antisemitism. 

Previous Coverage
  • German anti-racists get creative with ‘Rave Against the Right’
  • Germany’s Alternative fur Deutschland party, or AfD, pledged its support for Israel, even though it has a long history of antisemitic statements and a deep connection to Germany’s neo-Nazi movement. In recent years, the party has attempted to court right-wing Jews by using their support for Israel as a way of drawing them into the fight against what the AfD thinks is the bigger threat: Islam. 

    The same logic motivates the far-right Britain First movement, which said in a statement that the “government of Israel is run by patriotic leaders who have zero tolerance for migrant misbehavior.” Britain First’s primary mission is to demonize immigrants and it looks towards Israel’s migrant policy, which is incredibly restrictive, as inspiration. It also seems to venerate Israel’s treatment of Muslim Palestinians and Arabs, which Amnesty International refers to as “apartheid,” as a model for Britain to follow.

    The so-called Jewish cabal

    Inside the world of formal white nationalism, the mood was much different. “[For] White nationalists, the central conspiracy theory animating their movement is that there is a Jewish cabal animating politics, the media, the economy and progressive movements, and they see this Jewish cabal as the main enemy,” said Ben Lorber, a research analyst at Political Research Associates who tracks the far right. Lorber points out that they extend this conspiracy to their views about Israel and they consider the U.S. a “Zionist Occupied Government.”  

    “[They] may not agree with Palestine solidarity protesters on anything related to racism, and they don’t generally care about Palestinians, but they think it’s important to oppose Israel because they see Israel as a Jewish conspiracy,” Lorber said.

    White nationalist Richard Spencer was notable for professing his support of the Zionist project and arguing that Jews and Israelis should support the alt-right because they “want the same things,” which in his formulation is authoritarian ethnic nationalism. Yet his commitment to Israel was opportunistic and has been a frequent topic of discussion on his various livestreams and private Zoom calls for Substack subscribers. 

    For white nationalists, the show of support for Palestinians is entirely a disingenuous attempt to hijack the conflict to add political weight to their antisemitism. “[For] neo-Nazis and many other white nationalists, anti-Zionism is based on hatred of Jews, not solidarity with Palestinians,” writes researcher of the far right, Matthew N. Lyons, in his 2018 book “Insurgent Supremacists.” 

    This appropriation of Palestinian struggles has been a long-term strategy in some sectors of the far right, which points to Israeli settler colonialism as an extension of the supposedly malevolent Jewish mind. “They have been doing this for years,” says antifascist researcher Daryle Lamont Jenkins. “It has been ‘an enemy of my enemy is my friend’ kind of thing. But in this case it is hollow, because the enemy of your enemy is also your enemy, but one you are trying to exploit.”

    Jenkins says that this strategy was heavily employed by white nationalist pioneers like David Duke. He created an organization around the time of Operation Desert Storm called “No War For Israel” in an effort to lodge the idea that these Middle Eastern wars are the result of a global Jewish plot. His obsessive antisemitism pushed him to try and put Jews, and eventually Israel, at the center of every global political development and, reflexively, use Israel’s crimes as evidence of Jewish perfidy. He is credited with founding the antisemitic slur “Zio,” and his website is primarily built around reporting on various global events he believes is under their control, particularly regarding their dispossession of Palestinians.

    Nick Fuentes is using the escalating war on Gaza to further push his isolationist proposal for American foreign policy, covering the mistreatment that anti-Zionist activists have experienced since speaking out about Israel’s oppression of the Palestinians. Fuentes alleged during his Oct. 18 livestream that the recent doxxing of Harvard student activists was funded by a “Wall Street Jew” and that he has experienced the same silencing after he “decided to speak out against Israel.” 

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    “These people are a fifth column in this country, and I’m talking about Jews,” Fuentes said in that same livestream. The U.S. could not come out against Israel, he added, because the Jews have so “deeply penetrated the American elite” and undermined American sovereignty. Fuentes has had a series of controversies for making antisemitic statements, from quietly dipping into Holocaust denial to suggesting that “Talmudic Jews” are a threat who needed to be converted

    The National Justice Party, an outgrowth of the Right Stuff podcast network and their flagship show, “The Daily Shoah,” has made documenting the war in Gaza a primary focus of their website, The Justice Report. Eric Striker, a contributor to several of the network’s podcasts, is known for having a particularly syncretic form of neo-Nazism. He often tries to draw in issues from the left, including criticisms of finance capital, and then bring them under the banner of a vicious nationalism. “There is no such thing as left or right. Antifa, the ‘Christian’ right, the Democrats and Republicans, ‘populists’ and establishment, 100 percent of them are geopolitical and social chess pieces deployed by world Jewry to manage and manipulate unassuming and low agency gentiles,” Striker wrote on Telegram on Oct. 14, now sporting a Palestinian flag in his name.

    Disingenuous “solidarity”

    In reality, the white nationalist movement has nothing to offer the fight for Palestinian liberation. It is simply trying to inject antisemitism into the discourse, and many have been perfectly open about that. As Mark Gullet wrote on Oct. 18, for the white nationalist Counter-Currents website, “I have no ‘side’ in the Gaza conflict. It’s not a sporting fixture. I don’t have any money on it. Dead babies here, white phosphorus there. Whatever. “[The] only relevant question is: What is in this conflict that will benefit whites or otherwise and, if otherwise, what do we do about it?” 

    The same point was made by the alt-right associated YouTuber RamZPaul, who has spoken at white nationalist conferences like American Renaissance and the National Policy Institute. On Oct. 18 he posted on Twitter, “Why must Americans be forced to choose between two warring tribes? Why must we send billions to support some tribe’s ethno state?” This is essentially a position similar to that taken by far-right conspiracy theorist Alex Jones, whose InfoWars has alternated between suggesting Israel was responsible for the attack, to saying the West is covering up for Hamas.

    Previous Coverage
  • 5 ways to push antisemites out of the Palestinian solidarity movement
  • The reality is that despite attempts to co-opt the Palestinian solidarity movement for their own goals, white nationalists have been largely unsuccessful. They will continue to fail as long as Palestinian solidarity activists are aware of how the far right tries to hijack important issues and reframe them through a racialist lens. 

    Lorber notes that the advantage Palestine solidarity activists have is that they are often closely aligned with larger antiracist coalitions that can give them intel on disingenuous far-right figures attempting to participate. “Many of the people at these Palestine solidarity rallies are antifascists, and they know who their local fascists are and are determined for them not to have a space at their rally.” This is also happening at a time when Palestinian solidarity organizers are routinely labeled as antisemitic by groups like the Anti-Defamation League, which confuses the issue and makes it more difficult to address real antisemitism when it surfaces.

    “[Work] closely with local antifascists who know those particular neo-Nazis and fascists intimately enough to alert people when they try to ingratiate themselves with organizers and participants,” Jenkins recommended. He also noted that in every community there are antifascists who typically research the local far-right and who will know who is there to opportunistically shift the rhetoric towards antisemitic conspiracies. They can provide support and guidance to organizers who want to remove fascist agitators. 

    Recently the Jewish antifascist organization Outlive Them outed a Christian nationalist activist who had been trying to join Palestinian solidarity demonstrations, using messages like “Jewish supremacy is the real white supremacy.”

    Since the Palestinian solidarity movement is a centerpiece of the broad American leftist coalition, antifascist consciousness has often guided decisions about who to allow to join the fight against Israeli apartheid. When antisemitism has emerged in the Palestinian solidarity movement it has often been pushed out, such as with the cases of Gilad Atzmon (a collaborator with Greg Johnson at Counter-Currents), Israel Shamir or Alison Weir. Ken O’Keefe, a conspiracy theorist who spent time in the Palestine solidarity movement, was summarily removed from good standing when he developed a public friendship with David Duke. 

    As the movement against Israel’s genocide in Gaza builds up steam we can expect to see the far right disingenuously attempt to bring in recruits who are also outraged by Israel’s violence. By focusing on the demands for democracy and equality in Palestine, organizers can drill to the heart of what the movement is about and oust those who do not share those underlying principles.

    This article How the far right is trying to manipulate the crisis in Gaza was originally published by Waging Nonviolence.

    Categories: B4. Radical Ecology

    Health professionals occupy road with ‘die-in’ and issue demands to Oil & Money summit delegates

    Extinction Rebellion - Thu, 10/19/2023 - 01:19

    Over 60 health professionals joined hundreds of protesters this morning outside the Energy Intelligence forum – the recently rebranded ‘Oil and Money’ conference – which is the largest annual gathering of oil companies and their backers.

    Health for Extinction Rebellion members risked arrest by holding a ‘die-in’ and ‘climate inquest’ in the middle of the road outside the conference centre. They also delivered an open letter to the conference organisers and delegates, calling them out for their central role in the climate crisis, and demanding immediate mitigating actions. “We wish to make it clear that we understand and condemn the continuing deliberate complicity of the energy sector in this humanitarian disaster,” they wrote.

    The physicians, surgeons, GPs, nurses, physiotherapists and psychologists traveled from across the UK for today’s action. 14 of them lay themselves, shrouded, in military hospital style. Other health professionals circled amongst them, tending their ‘fallen’ colleagues, and laying headstones indicating the climate health impact each represented. A mock inquest was then held, in which health-workers gave testimony on the deaths already caused by the planetary emergency. These included among others, the 6 million deaths every year resulting from air pollution (Fuller, 2020), the 5 million deaths globally each year from extreme temperatures (Zhoa. 2021),  and the 43,000 who died from the climate-change associated drought and famine in Somalia last year (WHO/Unicef, 2021).

    At the conference, leaders from companies such as Equinor (the company responsible for developing the proposed UK Rosebank oil-field), Shell and Total will be schmoozing together and planning yet more fossil fuel extraction, while telling the world they are committed to a green energy transition.  

    New extraction goes against the explicit warning of the International Energy Agency (IEA, 2021) and the United Nations (UN news, 2022), yet politicians, lawyers and financiers continue to support a fossil fuel industry that has known for decades that fossil fuels cause deadly global warming (Scientific American, 2015). To emphasize this complicity, health workers today also held ‘Cigarette-style’ Health warnings, and a Banner reading ‘Fossil Fuels Kill’. The action sought to draw a direct parallel with the Tobacco industry which was complicit in 100,000’s if not millions of deaths, by knowingly misleading the public around the health impacts of smoking. 

    Despite the bleak reality of the climate crisis, the action also emphasized the numerous potential benefits for human health of climate action (The Health Foundation, 2023), and the need to galvanize mass support for the appropriate action needed to safeguard a healthy future.

    This is the latest in a series of actions by Health for Extinction Rebellion highlighting the health impacts of the financial and political decisions that are driving the climate and ecological emergency.

    Quotes from participating Health workers:

    “During the August heatwave of 2022 my father suffered a heart attack and died the following week. He had chronic physical health problems and like many of the most vulnerable in our society could not manage the extreme heat that climate change is bringing to us. This is not a problem of the future. It is a health catastrophe that we are living through right now”. Dr Jethro Purkis Specialty Doctor Bristol 

    “Governments and companies that continue to finance and license new coal, oil and gas are doing so at the expense of their citizens. Fossil fuels are the drivers of deadly climate change and air pollution in our communities. This is an industry that has delayed and denied climate change for decades in the name of greed, putting profit above all else, and from a health and a moral perspective it’s beyond time to shut it down” Dr Juliette Brown, Consultant Psychiatrist

    “I am here demonstrating for my pregnant patients, for the new mums and for their babies that I see on a daily basis, I am also here for my own children to say that the fossil fuel companies are destroying any chance of our children being able to live any sort of “normal” future.  That the burning of fossil fuels have caused irreversible damage to our planet and that we need companies to stop all new fossil fuel exploration and to start being world leaders in green energy.  It is possible, we just need them to start putting the planet and people before profit”. Charlotte Francis. Perinatal Pelvic Health Specialist Physiotherapist

    “I am a retired GP and  to my last breath I will endeavour to spread the scientific truths which the powers-that-be try so desperately to conceal from the public. I will always denounce the greed and self-interest borne of their grotesque worship of money which has clearly eaten away at their consciences, even their very humanity, to the extent that they are apparently unable to relate to the  enormous suffering already in the southern hemisphere, let alone envisage the horrors ahead if they continue their love-affair with Fossil Fuels”. Dr Valerie Davies,  Retired General Practitioner

    Spokesperson Contacts:

    Ali Rowe – 07901 916489

    Dr Hilary Neve – 07970 558096

    Dr Juliette Brown – 07535 530546

    Links to action media:

    https://show.pics.io/xr-global-media-breaking-news/search?collectionIds=652bbfb43b1984640d6c23de

    https://drive.google.com/drive/folders/1ADhYYcvdchZtS096GbLX7KPNDPcMRWHV?usp=sharing 

    Previous protests by HXR: https://healthforxr.com/news/ 

    References:

    Fuller R, Landrigan J et al, 2022. Pollution and health: A progress update. In: The Lancet 6/6, pp 535-547. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1016/S2542-5196(22)00090-0 

    Hall, S, 2015. Exxon Knew about Climate Change almost 40 years ago. In: Scientific American 26(10)

    IEA, 2021. Net zero by 2050: A  roadmap for the international energy sector. Paris https://www.iea.org/reports/net-zero-by-2050, License: CC BY 4.0

    The Health Foundation, 2023. Health and climate change: complex problems with co-benefits.Published online 10 (01). Available at: https://www.health.org.uk/publications/long-reads/health-and-climate-change-complex-problems-with-co-benefits [Accessed 11-10-2023]

    UN News, 2022. Climate change: More fossil fuel investment, just ‘delusional’, warns Guterres. Published June, 2022. Available online: https://news.un.org/en/story/2022/06/1120372, [Accessed 11-10-2023]

    WHO/UNICEF, 2022. From insight to action: examining mortality in Somalia. Joint report published 2022 by WHO and Unicef. Available Online: https://reliefweb.int/report/somalia/insight-action-examining-mortality-somalia [Accessed 11-10-23]

    Zhao Q, Guo Y et al, 2021. Global, regional, and national burden of mortality associated with non-optimal ambient temperatures from 2000 to 2019: a three-stage modelling study. In: The Lancet Planetary Health 5/7 pp 415-425. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1016/S2542-5196(21)00081-4 

    The post Health professionals occupy road with ‘die-in’ and issue demands to Oil & Money summit delegates appeared first on Extinction Rebellion UK.

    Categories: B4. Radical Ecology

    Extinction Rebellion spoofs greenwashing PR Week Awards ceremony

    Extinction Rebellion - Thu, 10/19/2023 - 01:00

    Hypocritical public relations firms, nominated for awards at PR Week ceremony, exposed for their work with the fossil fuel industry

    Extinction Rebellion disrupted the prestigious 2023 PR Week Awards, last night (18 October), holding its colourful, alternative ‘Charred Earth’ awards, to shine a light on the hypocrisy and ghastly greenwashing activities of the public relations companies that hide their work with some of the world’s worst polluters and their funders.

    As those attending the PR Week Awards ceremony arrived, the activists, many in black tie, hosted a competing Charred Earth Communication Awards outside the entrance to the prestigious Park Lane’s Marriot Grosvenor House hotel, complete with their own trophies and bottles of crude oil ‘champagne’. 

    They handed awards to the worst offending agencies and holding companies and distributed hundreds of copies of Clean Creative’s devastating F-List 2023 report – which lists the agencies involved.

    They also appealed to those attending to ‘work their conscience’, either by whistleblowing through XR’s TruthTeller.Life site, only working for agencies that have signed Clean Creatives’ Pledge, or by working to improve their agency internally.

    The protest highlighted how global communicators such as Havas, Edelmann, IPG and WPP are doing vast quantities of work defending the reputations of the most dangerous companies in the world, including Shell and Saudi Aramco, and are hugely complicit in enabling climate breakdown. None of thislucrative work for fossil fuel companies, which garners them millions of pounds in fees, has been submitted for prizes at the PR Week Awards.

    The campaigners also highlighted the ridiculous, disingenuous claims of PR giants to be aiming for carbon neutrality in their own offices, while ignoring the enormous emissions of their clients, whose catastrophic products they are trying to push.

    The high-profile PR Week Awards highlighted the best work of the industry, but made no mention of massive contracts with oil majors, refiners and their trade associations. 

    After previous criticism, agencies now try to hide this work, deleting fossil fuel clients from their websites and even keeping details from many of their own staff.  This is after an Edelmann PR report found that up to 60% of staff would leave an ‘unethical’ firm. 

    According to Ian McDermott, a former PR and now science teacher, who attended the protest: “On the one hand agencies celebrate how they’ve changed public opinion at the PR Week Awards, while simultaneously claiming that the greenwashing they do for fossil fuel companies doesn’t really make any difference, even though fossil fuel companies pay a fortune for the service.

    “It’s this cognitive dissonance that is killing us.  PR contracts with fossil fuel companies and climate-destroying banks are morally indefensible and utterly destructive, and until holding companies openly refuse this work, putting their creative genius to work on the right side of history, rapid change will be delayed and the goal of preserving a habitable climate will stay out of reach.”

    Antonio Guterres, Secretary-General of the UN, said: “The massive public relations machine [is] raking in billions to shield the fossil fuel industry from scrutiny. Just as they did for the tobacco industry decades before, lobbyists and spin doctors have spewed harmful misinformation.  Fossil fuel interests need to spend less time averting a PR disaster – and more time averting a planetary one.”

    Last year, more than 450 climate scientists wrote an open letter to Edelman and fellow advertising companies WPP and IPG, urging them to cut off their work with fossil fuel clients. They wrote that these image-burnishing campaigns “represent one of the biggest barriers to the government action science shows is necessary to mitigate the ongoing climate emergency”.

    The winners of this year’s Charred Earth Communication Awards are:

    Maximum Filth Holding Company of the Year: WPP, for work with just about every mass-polluter on the planet, including: Saudi Aramco, Shell, ExxonMobil, BP, Chevron, Oil and Gas Climate Initiative, Equinor, Peabody Energy, Total, British Gas, Petrobras, PetroChina, Indian Oil.

    Climate Gigolo Agency of the Year: Hill and Knowlton, for managing to find time to work with Saudi Aramco, Shell, ExxonMobil, Imperial Oil, Chevron and the Oil and Gas Climate Initiative, all within a single agency

    Don’t Look Here Award: Havas, for nominating parts of their business for B-Corp status and an award for their work with autism, while conveniently neglecting to mention their vast new global marketing contract with Shell

    Let’s Double Down on Disaster Award: IPG, for making so much money greenwashing Saudi Aramco through at least five existing agencies that they needed to start another ‘secret’ agency – Well7 – to handle all the work

    Lifetime Achievement Gaslighting Award: Ogilvy, for their Personal Carbon Footprint calculator, deflecting blame for the climate crisis from their client BP

    Lifetime Achievement in Shortening Lifetimes: Edelman, for decades of work for Shell, Exxon, Chevron, American Fuel & Petrochemicals Manufacturers, National Mining Association, TransCanada and Task Force on Shale Gas amongst others.

    For further information contact: press@extinctionrebellion.uk

    The post Extinction Rebellion spoofs greenwashing PR Week Awards ceremony appeared first on Extinction Rebellion UK.

    Categories: B4. Radical Ecology

    OCCUPIED! Protesters occupy City Of London insurers’ offices demanding they reject climate-wrecking projects in UK and Africa

    Extinction Rebellion - Wed, 10/18/2023 - 05:18

    Email: press@extinctionrebellion.uk   

    Phone: +44(0)7756 136396

    Early photo and video drop: 

    https://tinyurl.com/44w54d5j

    High Resolution Press Assets:

    https://tinyurl.com/ymtf5fxp

    Livestream available and available afterwards
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z1ExhXVlz-o

    Ten City of London insurance companies are targeted by activists calling on them to stop insuring West Cumbia coalmine and East Africa Crude Oil Pipeline NOW!

    Hundreds of protesters are today (18th October) occupying the plush City of London offices of ten Lloyd’s of London insurers demanding they rule out insuring the proposed West Cumbria coal mine and the East Africa Crude Oil Pipeline (EACOP).

    The occupations started as a huge crowd gathered outside Standard Bank. The protests are in collaboration with Fossil Free London’s “Oily Money Out” mass action – at which Greta Thunberg was arrested yesterday – and in solidarity with Extinction Rebellion Gauteng in South Africa.  In Johannesburg activists were recently met with brutality by security personnel hired by Standard Bank as they peacefully called for dialogue to end the financing of new coal projects [1].

    The protesters marched waving banners saying “Don’t Insure EACOP” and “Don’t Insure West Cumbria Mine” to three high profile buildings including the “Walkie Talkie”(pictured) where in a coordinated swoop, activists are causing disruption in the office foyers of Ascot, Talbot, Chaucer, Markel, Allied World, CNA Hardy, Tokio Marine Kiln, Sirius International and Lancashire Syndicates. The activists are staging a sit-in and refusing to leave.

    Insurers from Lloyd’s of London have come under increasing pressure to rule out offering insurance to both the West Cumbria coal mine and EACOP [2], including protests at offices across the UK with hundreds of students entering the job market refusing to work for them.

    Claude Fourcroy, a spokesperson for Money Rebellion said: “We are calling on all the banks and insurers behind the West Cumbria mine and East Africa Crude Oil Pipelines to cut their ties now. Both of these projects will fuel climate breakdown. Lloyd’s of London and the insurers in its market sit at the centre of a web of climate wreckers in the City of London, alongside Barclays and HSBC.”

    Joining the protests are community members from Cumbria and Uganda, sharing the united call to insurers and banks to stop underwriting deadly fossil fuel projects.  The UK Climate Change Committee warned that the West Cumbria Mine would increase UK’s domestic emissions and make the government’s legally-binding domestic emissions budgets difficult to meet. [3]

    The massive 1443 km East Africa Crude Oil Pipeline will wreak havoc on communities, jeopardise ecosystems and water supplies. and eliminate the possibility of Earth remaining habitable. There can be no new fossil fuels anywhere if global heating is to remain under 1.5C. [4]

    Scientists say we are dangerously close to crossing the globally agreed threshold of 1.5C this year. [5] Neither project will be able to go ahead without financial and insurance backing.

    Andrew Taylor, Coal Action Network commented: “West Cumbria Mining Ltd wants to dig coal here right up until 2049 – when we’re supposed to have reached net zero by 2050! They’re not looking at the impact of how burning it would damage the climate and nature.  The UK government talks about us having energy security but the truth is, if the mine goes ahead, 85% of the coal would be exported.” [3]

    Patience, a youth activist from Fridays for Future Uganda said: “We have gathered here today to demand that insurers cut ties with EACOP. By supporting this deadly fossil fuel project they undermine any climate commitments they have made. People in Uganda are facing human rights violations in the name of this project. This has to end.” [6]

    In a further surprise move, Fossil Free London is simultaneously disrupting the Canary Wharf offices of Total Energies, a majority shareholder in EACOP.

    The protests come on the second day of the Fossil Free London “Oily Money Out” protests targeting the Energy Intelligence Forum at the InterContinental Park Lane Hotel in London, where fossil fuel corporations, including Shell, Total and Equinor, are talking to government ministers. The Forum is taking place in the run up to the COP28 Climate Conference, which has already been captured by the fossil fuel industry, with the appointment of Al Jaber, chief executive of the Abu Dhabi National Oil Company (ADNOC) as the COP28 President.


    Joanna Warrington, campaigner with Fossil Free London said: “We can’t allow London to welcome the climate-wrecking elite when droughts, floods, and wildfires rage across the world. London’s banks and finance sector have been ignoring all the warning signs while pouring billions into fossil fuel expansion. Their profit is our loss. Financing new fossil fuel developments is incompatible with a safe future.”

    Notes to Editors

    [1] Standard Bank brutalises climate activists: a call to boycott Standard Bank for the sake of our planet https://extinctionrebellion.org.za/25060/standard-bank-brutalises-climate-activists-a-call-to-boycott-standard-bank-for-the-sake-of-our-planet/

    [2] Insure our future, Not the EACOP: Who’s backing the pipeline and who’s ruled it out? https://www.stopeacop.net/insurers-checklist

    [3] Climate Change Committee letter: Deep Coal Mining in the UK https://www.theccc.org.uk/publication/letter-deep-coal-mining-in-the-uk/

    [4] New fossil fuels ‘incompatible’ with 1.5C goal, comprehensive analysis finds https://www.carbonbrief.org/new-fossil-fuels-incompatible-with-1-5c-goal-comprehensive-analysis-finds

    [5] Berkeley Earth: September 2023 Temperature Update

    https://berkeleyearth.org/september-2023-temperature-update/

    [6] Human rights violations from EACOP https://www.stopeacop.net/for-people

    Oily Money Out
    Fossil Free London supported by Extinction Rebellion and Greenpeace have mobilised hundreds of activists to shut down this year’s Oil & Money conference. Greta Thunberg was amongst the activists arrested yesterday. Taking place at London’s InterContinental Hotel, the Oil & Money summit brings together the CEOs of the world’s largest fossil fuel companies with politicians such as UK Minister for Energy Security and & Net Zero, Graham Stuart. Nicknamed ‘The Oscars of Oil, the summit rebranded itself last year, in a purely cosmetic move, as the ‘Energy Intelligence Forum’.  

    Oil companies are pushing us to societal collapse. They have corrupted our politics to protect themselves and their profits. We need them and their oily money out. Out of our politics. Out of COP28. Out of power. Oily Money Out


    East Africa Crude Oil Pipeline (EACOP)
    EACOP would carry 216,000 barrels of crude oil per day, or 10.9 million metric tons per year, at ‘plateau production’. The European Parliament has adopted a groundbreaking resolution that officially recognises the disastrous consequences for both human rights and the climate due to the construction of the EACOP.

    #StopEACOP is a global alliance campaigning for an end to the proposed pipeline and associated oil fields at Tilenga and Kingfisher. The project would transport oil along a 1,443-kilometre heated pipeline from Hoima, Uganda, to the port of Tanga in Tanzania. The campaign is gathering momentum, building pressure on the remaining supporters and financiers of the project. AEGIS London, Arch Capital Group Ltd and Britam Holdings recently announced they would not offer the project insurance coverage.
    European Parliament passes emergency resolution against human rights violations & environmental threats linked to EACOP 

    HOME — #StopEACOP

    EACOP Project  


    West Cumbria Coal Mine

    West Cumbria Mining Ltd wants to extract 2.78 million tonnes of coking coal annually until 2049, in what would be the UK’s first new underground coal mine in 30 years. The coal mine faces two legal challenges, as well as fierce public opposition with 115,000 people joining the campaign. 

    Key facts: Whitehaven coal mine 

    Stop the Cumbria Coal Mine! | 38 Degrees 

    Hearing delayed – challenges against Whitehaven coal mine approval 

    Standard Bank
    Today’s protest started at the South African owned Standard Bank, who have come under pressure to rule out investment in the East Africa Crude Oil Pipeline. They are the last remaining bank of the five largest banks in Africa to rule out insuring the project

    Standard Bank isolated as other South African banks steer clear of Total’s EACOP oil pipeline — #StopEACOP

    Climate activists, journalist forcibly ejected from Standard Bank HQ anti-fossil fuel protest 


    Pressure mounts on insurers

    Insurers from Lloyd’s of London have come under increasing pressure to rule out insuring both the West Cumbria coal mine and EACOP, facing protests at offices across the UK, creative protest and hundreds of students refusing to work for insurers who continue to insure fossil fuels. 6 insurers have so far ruled out underwriting the West Cumbria mine (AEGIS Managing Agency, Argenta Syndicate Management, Hannover Re,Talanx and Atrium Underwriters Ltd) While 23 insurers and 27 banks have ruled out involvement with the East Africa Crude Oil Pipeline.

    Money Rebellion
    Money Rebellion is a sister organisation of Extinction Rebellion comprised of activists, economists, bankers and others, who, through direct action, campaigning, and sharing expertise, seek to expose the root causes of our climate emergency: the financial systems dependent on endless growth, and the greedy and powerful who continue to profit from the status quo.


    Coal Action Network
    Coal Action Network works for an end to coal use in power generation and steel production; coal extraction and coal imports in the UK; and for justice for communities affected by the UK’s current and historical involvement with coal. They do so by working in solidarity with communities on the frontlines of coal extraction in the UK and in countries where coal is mined for consumption here, or where it is supported by the UK’s financial institutions. 

    The post OCCUPIED! Protesters occupy City Of London insurers’ offices demanding they reject climate-wrecking projects in UK and Africa appeared first on Extinction Rebellion UK.

    Categories: B4. Radical Ecology

    Oily Money OUT! Greta Thunberg joins climate protestors in oil summit blockade

    Extinction Rebellion - Tue, 10/17/2023 - 03:00

    Thunberg: “We have no choice but to disrupt. This is only the beginning of the fight.”

    Climate activist Greta Thunberg has joined protestors gathered in their hundreds this morning (17 October) to blockade the Energy Intelligence Forum, a three day gathering of the world’s major fossil fuel companies, bankers and politicians.

    Speaking to the crowds gathered outside the Intercontinental Hotel, where the Forum is being held, Thunberg said: “Our world is being washed away by greenwashing and lies. The fossil fuel industry has actively distracted and delayed. They have created loopholes to allow their business to go on at the expense of the planet. We are choking from their fumes. The people in power are knowingly leading us to the edge of the precipice. We cannot let this continue.

    “The elite of the oil and money conference have no intention of transition. Their plan is to continue this destructive surge of profits. That is why we have to take direct action. We have no choice but to disrupt. This is only the beginning of the fight.”

    The protest, led by Fossil Free London and involving a host of campaign groups, including Extinction Rebellion and Money Rebellion, was also joined by environmental activist and TV presenter Chris Packham.

    The action is part of a series of disruptions from the 17th-20th October aimed at the Energy Intelligence Forum to protest the climate records and political influence of the fossil fuel companies and banks attending, including Shell, Total, BP, Exxon, JP Morgan and The Bank of America.

    Activists from the UK, France, Ireland, the Netherlands, Belgium, Germany, Poland, and Norway have travelled to take part in the protest.

    Marijn van de Geer, XRUK media coordinator, said: “It’s brilliant to see Greta joining the action outside the Energy Intelligence Forum today. She’s done so much to raise awareness of the climate and ecological crisis, of the lies and corruption that go on behind closed doors, and has expressed so clearly the anger so many of us feel at the insanity of conferences like these where they are literally making decisions on how many more people are going to die due to continued use of fossil fuels.

    “It’s extra special for us in XR UK, because it is nearly five years ago when Greta joined us for our Declaration of Rebellion outside the Houses of Parliament. I remember she was so soft spoken that we had to repeat her sentences to make sure people in the back could hear her. It was an incredibly powerful moment, this young fiery girl saying it exactly how it is. We are all thrilled she’s back in London and standing with us all once more. Go Greta!!!!”

    Nuri Syed Corser, an organiser with Fossil Free London, said: “We’ve all seen the floods and wildfires. We all know the climate crisis is a threat to our safety and our future. We know we must stop burning oil and gas. But the super-rich oil bosses in this hotel are hijacking our politics to keep us hooked on their dirty fuel.

    “They are spending millions lobbying our politicians to water down climate policies. They have even installed an oil baron as president of the COP28 global climate talks. That’s why so many people are here: to call out this corruption and get oily money out of our politics.”

    The world’s major fossil fuel companies have been registering record-breaking profits as the energy and cost of living crisis gripped countries across the globe. In the UK, households have struggled with dramatic rises in food and energy costs, leaving around one in five people in the UK living in poverty.

    In 2022, the Conservative party received £3.5m from individuals and entities linked to climate denial, fossil fuels and high-pollution industries, while Shell and BP both signed major deals with Infosys, an IT firm founded by Sunak’s father in law.

    The Government and the North Sea Transition Authority are in the process of giving out more than 100 production licences for new oil and gas in the North Sea. Rosebank, the UK’s biggest undeveloped oil and gas field, was given the green light by the UK government last month.

    The Government has stated it does not expect greater UK production to impact energy prices. Approval comes as September 2023 was recorded as the hottest September since records began; and UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres warns “the area of global boiling has arrived.”

    For more information contact: press@extinctionrebellion.uk

    The post Oily Money OUT! Greta Thunberg joins climate protestors in oil summit blockade appeared first on Extinction Rebellion UK.

    Categories: B4. Radical Ecology

    Oily Money OUT! Campaigners join forces to blockade oil and gas summit in London

    Extinction Rebellion - Tue, 10/17/2023 - 01:16

    Climate protestors glue themselves to road outside summit and vow to ramp up actions as the oil industry’s Energy Intelligence Forum meets in London 

    Hundreds of climate activists are blockading a major conference of oil and gas industry leaders taking place at the InterContinental Park Lane hotel in London today (17 October).

    Protestors have glued themselves to the road outside the hotel and to its revolving door, sending a clear message to would-be attendees that London is not open to the fossil fuel industry and its enablers.

    Under the banner “Oily Money Out”, Extinction Rebellion has joined forces with a host of other campaign groups to support Fossil Free London in closing down the Energy Intelligence Forum conference, known as the “Oscars of Oil”.

    Scores of protestors are staging a major sit-down protest outside the hotel and blockading roads leading to the conference site with banners stating: “Cut the Ties to Fossil Fuels” and “Oily Money Out”. Many of the rebels are glued onto the road and to the revolving doors.

    Meanwhile a giant, hideous figure of death stalks the street outside the conference site, looming over a sea of protestors’ pink umbrellas, which are painted with eyes and bearing the message: “We Are Watching You”.

    Formerly known as the Oil and Money Conference, this major event in the fossil fuel industry’s calendar is attended by a rogues’ gallery of leaders from the world’s oil and gas giants – including Shell, Total and Equinor – as well as bankers, financiers and UK government ministers.

    Speakers include Claudio Descalzi chief executive of Italian oil giant Eni, Amin Nasser, president and CEO of major polluter Saudi Aramco, and Anders Opedal, president and CEO of Equinor, the company behind the controversial Rosebank oil field development, as well as the UK government’s Minister of State for Energy Security and & Net Zero, and the UK Minister of Energy & Climate Change.

    However, mounting opposition to this obscene gathering appears to have already deterred the attendance of Sultan Al Jaber, chief executive of the Abu Dhabi National Oil Company (ADNOC) and  COP28 President, who is no longer featured on the speakers list.

    After losing a major sponsor, this year’s forum is masquerading under a new title, claiming to have a new agenda addressing “climate change and the energy transition”, and promising “a frank conversation around the central question: “How does a divided world power the planet in a way that is reliable, affordable and clean?”

    But campaigners are not fooled by this cynical attempt at greenwashing. 

    Jonathan Kennedy, a design engineer and father of two from Brighton, said: “This is nothing but lip service to hide this industry’s real intentions. Our planet is burning. We are facing terrifying heat waves, rising sea levels, increasing water shortages, crop failures and unprecedented storms. Millions are facing extreme poverty and homelessness caused by this crisis.

    “We will not allow these fossil fuel criminals to carry on behind the façade of its fancy new name like it’s business as usual. These people are schmoozing in their “Oily Money” summit while creating climate, environmental and societal breakdown. There is no place for these climate criminals in London or anywhere in the world. Let’s break their death grip on our planet, on COP28, and on our politics. We say Oily Money OUT!”

    Nigel Harvey, 60, a recycling company CEO from St Albans, said: “I refuse to look the other way as oil and gas companies continue the reckless expansion of fossil fuels. They know this will cause untold human suffering, as large parts of our planet become uninhabitable.”

    Imogen Stitch, a senior NHS psychological therapist, said: “The fossil fuel era is over and governments and corporations need to move to a rapid transition to clean energy and green jobs for future generations. But this is not happening.

    “The current government has approved over 100 new licenses and the Labour Party is failing to make proper pledges, which shows that they are not in it for the people but for profit and big oil.

    “We will not stay quiet as the catastrophe brought to us by climate criminals around the world unfolds before us and continues to take lives and devastate communities.

    “We will not stop until necessary measures are taken immediately to halt new oil, gas and coal production. We will continue to ramp up direct disruptive action targeting climate criminals and anyone that enables them.”

    For more information contact: press@extinctionrebellion.uk

    The post Oily Money OUT! Campaigners join forces to blockade oil and gas summit in London appeared first on Extinction Rebellion UK.

    Categories: B4. Radical Ecology

    Cancel Global South debt and deliver $7.9 trillion in climate reparations NOW

    Extinction Rebellion - Thu, 10/12/2023 - 04:53

    Climate justice campaigners demand cancellation of Global South’s crippling debt repayments which are a just a fraction of the $7.9 trillion in climate reparations owed to it by the Global North

    Climate justice activists gathered outside the Bank of England today (12 October) to demonstrate how the Global South’s crippling debt repayments are 65 times smaller than the staggering $7.9 trillion in climate reparations owed to them by the countries of the Global North.

    The campaigners, from groups including Extinction Rebellion, Debt for Climate, Money Rebellion and Debt Justice, unfurled a massive banner outside the bank, emblazoned with the words: “CANCEL GLOBAL SOUTH DEBT”.

    Measuring 1.5 m x 5.4m, the banner is 65 times bigger than a single A3 sheet of paper, reflecting the fact that the bill for climate change is 65 times greater than the Global South debt. “Scales of Justice” were erected as 65 large sacks were piled high, in a further startling representation of the inequality.

    The protest was timed to coincide with the ‘Reform Priorities for Tackling Debt’ event being held during the annual meeting of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the World Bank. Black Rock, Standard Chartered Bank and the UK Government are expected to be present to discuss the current untenable debt situation.

    Today’s protest outside the Bank of England is part of a wave of protests across the globe. Throughout Africa, Latin America, and Europe, from Colombia to Uganda, Mexico, Tanzania and South Africa, UK and Germany, Debt for Climate, Extinction Rebellion and many other activist groups, are mobilising over the next four days with nonviolent actions, marches, and protests, urging immediate debt cancellation of Global South debt to enable a self-determined and just energy transition.

    Cathy Allen of Debt for Climate explained: “The Global North countries owe a climate debt of $7.9 trillion per year. That’s 65 times more than the annual debt repayments which burden the Global South. There shouldn’t be any discussion about debt reform in Marrakech. Poorer countries need the money to cope with climate breakdown.”

    In order to pay back debt in ‘hard currency’ countries of the Global South have to sign contracts with foreign companies who want to exploit their resources. Instead of fossil fuels being left in the ground, they are extracted, often under lax environmental standards, enabling the burning of oil, gas and coal which drives climate breakdown.

    All the while financial institutions like Standard Chartered and Black Rock are profiting by lending to these poorer countries at high interest rates. The UK government plays a significant role in terms of these private “cowboy” lenders because 90% of such lending is enforced through UK courts.

    Heidi Chow, Executive Director of Debt Justice said: “Cancelling debt is the only sustainable, fair way of dealing with the debt crisis that is engulfing lower income countries.

    “Debt repayments to external lenders should never be prioritised over meeting basic needs such as healthcare, education and fighting the climate crisis. The amounts owed in debt repayments are a drop in the ocean compared to the real debt owed by wealthy governments for centuries of extraction and pollution”

    Tyrone Scott from War on Want added: “Many countries in the Global South remain locked into debt, servicing vast international loans, all while facing cost-of-living crises, rising inequality and climate breakdown which is ravaging lives and livelihoods of the world’s poorest and most marginalised.

    “Today, there are 64 countries in the world which spend more on debt repayments than on their healthcare systems, let alone on adapting to the climate crisis. All while trillions continue to flow from the Global South to banks and corporations in the Global North.”

    Tarun Gidwani of the South Asia Solidarity Group observed: “At a time when 54 low income countries and 93% of countries most vulnerable to climate change are in debt distress or risk thereof, it’s inexcusable that the World Bank and friends can have meetings to discuss more loans and conditions while an immense, unrecognised debt of climate justice is owed by the rich world who are not paying up.”

    “There can be no further delay, debt cancellation must be at the top of the agenda. The day has come for the countries and corporations of the Global North to pay their climate bill.”

    For further information email: press@extinctionrebellion.uk

    The post Cancel Global South debt and deliver $7.9 trillion in climate reparations NOW appeared first on Extinction Rebellion UK.

    Categories: B4. Radical Ecology

    Extinction Rebellion and indigenous leaders disrupt Shell’s new Greenwasher-in-Chief

    Extinction Rebellion - Wed, 10/11/2023 - 05:45

    Email: press@extinctionrebellion.uk

    Phone: +447967390960

    Action pictures: https://tinyurl.com/yhj5h9b2

    Mass die-in action by climate activist movement kickstarts an ongoing campaign to force media agency to dump Shell as clients

    Giant media agency Havas was held to account today (Wednesday October 11) for becoming Shell’s new chief greenwasher as Extinction Rebellion activists and representatives of indigenous groups disrupted its London offices.

    Dozens of activists staged a die-in to block the main doors of the agency’s offices to symbolise the deaths that have happened – and the millions more that will happen in the future – as the result of the climate-wrecking activities of Havas’ latest client.

    Havas was appointed media agency to Shell in September 2023, immediately becoming responsible for convincing the public that one of the worst climate criminal companies is actually doing good for the planet. The agency faced protests in the run up to the award, begging them not to pitch for the business – a plea they ignored.  

    Activists say that the status of four Havas Media subsidiaries as B Corps – a certification that supposedly signals they are operating  in the best interests of the environment – is completely at odds with the parent company’s new role with Shell. 

    Extinction Rebellion spokesperson Katie Burrell, 51, one of the activists taking part in the action, said:  

    “Without the skill and creativity of agencies like Havas, Shell and the other fossil fuel companies driving the accelerating climate crisis with their supplies of oil, gas and coal would be revealed for what they really are – criminals who are destroying our future.

    “Shell spends more on advertising than on renewable energy like wind and solar. But now Havas will help them produce communications and media campaigns to convince the world that they are part of the solution to the climate emergency, not one of the main causes.

    “We’ve heard from people inside Havas that many of them are really unhappy about doing Shell’s dirty business. 

    “They know companies like Shell are driving the climate crisis and have been funding climate denialism for years. We encourage the people of Havas to use their voice and join our new campaign to Rebel For Truth. 

    “Imagine how powerful it would be if their discontent got Shell off the Havas books – we believe the strength of dissatisfaction within Havas could achieve this.”

    Also at the action, Lazarus Tamana, 66, President of the indigenous rights group, Movement for Survival of the Ogoni People (MOSOP) spoke to Havas workers at the action, “Shell has poisoned our land with their oil, their lies, their bribes and their violence dressed up as economic advancement.

    “We know companies have to make money but it must not be at the expense of indigenous people. I came here to speak to the people who will listen. I appeal to my brothers and sisters in Havas and tell them that when you work with Shell you are part of the harm – if you do their dirty work you’re destroying our land too.

    “My people are suffering pain and indignity from pollution. We lived on our land well for hundreds of years. Now our babies suffer birth defects, our livelihoods and fishing rights are threatened by the oil and chemicals seeping into our beautiful river delta and groundwater.”

    Princewill Chikakpobi Chukwure, 41, from Ibaa community in the Niger Delta, via recorded message, spoke powerfully about Shell’s pollution of his groundwater and land and its impact on his family. 

    He appealed to colleagues at Havas not to support Shell. “Whosoever is supporting Shell is helping them to poison my land, to damage the future of my children, to destroy our environment.” Mr Chukwure is calling on Shell to clean up oil and other contaminants from its oil business that he says started soaking into his land in 2016 and has led to long-term damage to the family’s health and livelihood. 

    Extinction Rebellion has been targeting the enablers of fossil fuel companies since November 2022 but only recently put Havas in its sights. Previously, global public relationships firms Hill + Knowlton and Edelman have both been subject to actions by the environmental protest group for greenwashing for climate criminals.

    Update: 17/10/23

    Havas Media, the parent company of the Havas Media Group, is not B Corp certified, but four of its subsidiaries New York, London, Lemz and Immerse are. As B Corp’s Executive Director Chris Turner has stated, Havas Media’s work for Shell could bring the certification of the entire Havas group into question.

    In September, Turner told The Drum: “As with any company looking to become a B Corp, when the parent goes for certification, if they are not meeting our standards (for example, material work with clients that operate in sensitive industries such as the fossil fuel industry), then the eligibility of the entire group for certification would be reviewed.”

    A spokesperson for B Lab UK, which is home to the B Corp movement in the UK, said: “We are aware of news that Havas, which has certified B Corp subsidiaries New York, London, Lemz, and Immerse, has been appointed as the media buying agency for Shell.

    “B Lab Global is currently reviewing the implications of this as part of B Lab’s Public Complaint Process. We’re committed to following due process and appreciate your patience as we follow the procedures we have in place.”

    Notes to editors 

    Protesters already targeted Havas in June 2023 asking them not to pitch

    https://www.campaignlive.co.uk/article/shell-launches-global-media-review-prompting-protests-incumbent-wpps-offices/1824923

    https://www.adweek.com/agencies/most-media-agencies-wont-admit-theyre-pitching-shell/

    Extinction Rebellion has run its Cut the Ties actions since November 2022 to challenge the enablers of fossil fuel companies.

    The Movement for Survival of the Ogoni People (MOSOP) shares the voices of Ogoni people whose land in the Niger Delta has been devastated by Shell’s oil extraction there.

    In Q4 of 2022, Shell spent nearly double (1.85x) the amount on marketing as it invested through its “Renewable and Energy Solutions” (RES) division, at £1.7bn and £0.9bn, respectively. https://www.common-wealth.org/publications/shells-exceptional-profits-are-yet-another-reminder-that-big-oil-wont-deliver-the-green-transition  

    Shell is a repeat offender at greenwashing https://www.clientearth.org/projects/the-greenwashing-files/shell/ 

    The post Extinction Rebellion and indigenous leaders disrupt Shell’s new Greenwasher-in-Chief appeared first on Extinction Rebellion UK.

    Categories: B4. Radical Ecology

    Standard Chartered: Can you see what you are doing?

    Extinction Rebellion - Tue, 10/10/2023 - 12:21

    A selection of heartbreaking images capturing scenes of environmental destruction, by reknowned photographer Gideon Mendel, were displayed by climate protestors outside Standard Chartered’s London office this week (9 October) to protest the Bank’s sponsorship of the Royal Meteorological Society’s Weather Photographer of the Year competition, while continuing to fund the development of fossil fuel projects.

    Gideon Mendel’s photography bears stark witness to the suffering wreaked on communities and the widespread environmental destruction created by wildfires, which are occuring ever more frequently as global temperatures continue to rise, fuelled by the burning of fossil fuels.

    According to the Royal Meteorological Society’s website, the annual Standard Chartered Photography Competition, now in its eighth year, aims to “provide an international platform to raise awareness about the environmental issues putting our planet at risk.”

    With no sign of irony, considering this year’s competition is sponsored by a Bank which in 2022 alone funded fossil fuel companies to the tune of $5.1bn, the Royal Meteorological Society notes: “Climate change is one of the greatest challenges facing the world today, and its impact on the environment and human health significantly affects sustainable economic growth and the future of society.”

    A spokesperson from Money Rebellion, which organised the action, called on Standard Chartered to really look at how its billions of dollars of funding is contributing to widespread climate and environmental breakdown and societal trauma and stop financing the fossil fuel sector NOW.

    The spokesperson said: “The photography contest suggests that extreme weather is sublime, underplays the perils, the extent of the resulting destruction and does not mention the causes of climate change. This year has shown us that nobody is safe.

    “In visual dialogue with this award, the images from Gideon Mendell are from communities and landscapes ravaged by wildfires around the world.

    “As we experience the alarming rise in global temperatures everywhere, there is clear evidence that these fires are intrinsically linked to the combustion of fossil fuels enabled by banks like Standard Chartered.

    “With these images we invite all those complicit in the funding of climate change to look directly at the consequences of their business.

    “In the seven years since it began supporting this competition Standard Chartered Bank has invested over $46 billion in fossil fuel projects. These pictures are a “beautiful” warning that we could be next.”

    For further information contact: press@extinctionrebellion.uk

    The post Standard Chartered: Can you see what you are doing? appeared first on Extinction Rebellion UK.

    Categories: B4. Radical Ecology

    Flashmob climate choir at Science Museum demands an end to toxic fossil fuel sponsorship NOW

    Extinction Rebellion - Sat, 10/07/2023 - 07:05

    October 7, 2023

    Climate choir demand a fossil fuel-free Science Museum

    A 100-strong climate choir staged a surprise protest inside the London Science Museum today (7 October) demanding trustees refuse toxic sponsorship money from the giant coal and gas producer Adani for the new Energy Revolution Climate Change Gallery.

    The 100 singers, from nine Climate Choirs, came together in a stunning choral protest inside the Science Museum, their voices ringing out with the words “The Climate’s Changing.”

    Huge banners were dropped from the Energy Hall balcony, unfurling to read “Science Museum, Stop ignoring Science”. 

    The protest comes prior to a meeting of Science Museum Trustees later in the week, which will provide the opportunity for the sponsorship deals to be cancelled before the new gallery opens.

    Co-founder of the Climate Choir Movement, Jo Flanagan said: “We are here to peacefully use our voices to challenge the Science Museum who are one of the last of our public institutions to accept fossil fuel money. 

    “It gives their sponsors an unwarranted respectability and privileged access to their networks while sending the message that these fossil fuel companies are doing the right thing when quite clearly they are not. 

    “When tobacco sponsorship became toxic the laws started to change.  We now need that shift with fossil fuel companies”. 

    Burning oil, gas and coal causes climate breakdown. Coal is the dirtiest of all the fossil fuels and Adani has the largest coal expansion plans of any fossil fuel company in the world. 

    Dr. David L. Clements, Reader in Astrophysics, Imperial College, London, added: “If the Science Museum is going to properly present the effects of fossil fuels and fossil fuel companies on the climate, it has to be able to speak truth to power.

    “It’s willing acceptance of gagging clauses and greenwashing by Adani show it is more interested in sponsorship money than actually telling the scientific truth.”

    Dr Sophie Renner, Lecturer in physics, University of Glasgow said: “Why is the Science Museum not presenting exhibitions about the role of fossil fuels in the destruction of our planet? Instead it is inviting fossil fuel companies to present themselves in a favourable light to children and families.

    “The management of the Science Museum is complicit in delaying action to cut our emissions to a pace required by the science.”

    The Science Museum enables its sponsors, which, in addition to Adani, include BP, which is rowing back on renewables and Equinor, which owns the controversial Rosebank field in the North Sea, to greenwash their continued investments in oil, gas and coal. 

    Adani has been accused of violating the human rights of indigenous people, contaminating crops, and was called out for corruption and fraud after publication of the Hindenburg report.

     And, in taking this dirty money from Adani, Science Museum trustees have themselves become complicit in their murderous greenwash.

    For further information email: press@extinctionrebellion.uk

    The post Flashmob climate choir at Science Museum demands an end to toxic fossil fuel sponsorship NOW appeared first on Extinction Rebellion UK.

    Categories: B4. Radical Ecology

    PODCAST: The Global Garbage Crisis w/ Author Oliver Franklin-Wallis

    Rising Tide North America - Mon, 08/28/2023 - 09:53

    cross-posted from the Green and Red Podcast

    In much of the developed world, waste is out of sight and out of mind. The world generates around 2 billion tons of municipal solid waste annually, with at least 33% of it not managed in an environmentally safe manner, according to a 2018 World Bank report. Though high-income countries only account for 16% of the world’s population, they generate about 34% of the world’s waste each year. A third of all food produced is wasted and ends up in the garbage can. Plastic waste is another mounting issue: Across the globe, less than 10% of it is recycled, according to the most recent data from 2018 published by the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development. Plastic waste has more than doubled globally since 2000.

    Listen in: apple.co/47OU18j

    In our latest, we talk with journalist, and author of “Wasteland: The Dirty Truth About What We Throw Away, Where It Goes, And Why It Matters,” Oliver Franklin-Wallis (@olifranklin) and take a deep dive into the global waste crisis.

    Bio// Oliver Franklin-Wallis is an award-winning magazine journalist, whose writing has appeared in WIRED (where he is a contributing editor), British GQ, The Guardian, The New York Times, The Times Magazine, The Sunday Times Magazine, 1843, and many other publications. He’s also the author of “Wasteland: The Dirty Truth About What We Throw Away, Where It Goes, And Why It Matters.”

    Categories: B4. Radical Ecology

    Guardian: ‘I’m not the guilty one’: the water protector facing jail time for trying to stop a pipeline

    Rising Tide North America - Sun, 08/27/2023 - 10:31

    cross-posted from the Guardian

    Mylene Vialard goes on trial this week for opposing a pipeline on Indigenous land amid warnings peaceful protest is under threat

    by Nina Lakhani, climate justice reporter

    54-year-old climate activist who was among hundreds of peaceful protesters criminalised for opposing the construction of an oil pipeline through pristine Indigenous lands is facing up to five years in prison, amid growing alarm at the crackdown on legitimate environmental protests.

    Mylene Vialard was arrested in August 2021 while protesting in northern Minnesota against the expansion and rerouting of Line 3 – a 1,097-mile tar sands oil pipeline with a dismal safety record, that crosses more than 200 water bodies from Alberta, Canada, to refineries in the US midwest.

    Vialard was charged with felony obstruction and gross misdemeanour trespass on critical infrastructure after attaching herself to a 25ft bamboo tower erected to block a pumping station in Aitkin county. The gross misdemeanour charge, a post 9/11 law which has been used widely against protesters, was eventually dismissed after a court ruled there was insufficient evidence.

    Vialard refused to take a plea deal on the felony charge, and her trial opens in Aitkin county on Monday.

    “It was kind of a torturous decision. But in the end, I couldn’t sign a piece of paper saying I was guilty because I’m not the guilty party here. Enbridge is guilty, the violation of treaty rights, the pollution, the risk to water, that is what’s wrong. I’m just using my voice to point out something that’s wrong,” said Vialard, a self-employed translator and racial justice activist from Boulder, Colorado.

    “I’m preparing my house for the worst case scenario,” she added.

    Environmental activists protest in front of the construction site for the Line 3 oil pipeline site in 2021. Photograph: Kerem Yücel/AFP/Getty Images

    Vialard’s arrest was not an anomaly. Minnesota law enforcement – which along with other agencies received at least $8.6m in payments from the Canadian pipeline company Enbridge – made more than 1,000 arrests between December 2020 and September 2021.

    The protesters, who identified as water protectors, were arrested during non-violent direct actions across northern Minnesota as construction of the 330-mile line expansion jumped from site to site, in what campaigners say was a coordinated strategy to divide and weaken the Indigenous-led social movement – an allegation Enbridge denies.

    Overall, at least 967 criminal charges were filed including three people charged under the state’s new critical infrastructure protection legislation – approved as part of a wave of anti-protest laws inspired by the American Legislative Exchange Council (Alec), a rightwing group backed by fossil fuel companies.

    Among those criminalised were a grandfather in his late 70s, numerous teenagers, first-time protesters and seasoned activists – many of whom travelled long distances amid growing anger and desperation at the government’s lack of urgency in tackling the climate emergency.

    Yet the vast majority of charges were eventually dismissed – either outright by prosecutors and judges or through plea deals, suggesting the mass arrests were about silencing and distracting protesters, according to Claire Glenn, an attorney at the Climate Defense Project.

    “It was obviously not about criminal sanctions or public safety because otherwise the prosecutors would not be dismissing these cases left and right. Enbridge was paying police to get people off the protest line and tied up with pretrial conditions, so they could get the pipeline in the ground, and it worked,” said Glenn, who has represented more than 100 Line 3 protesters including Vialard.

    In a statement to the Guardian, Enbridge said the protesters were not arrested for peaceful protest but acted in ways that were “illegal and unsafe”, endangering themselves and others and causing damage.

    Line 3 has a long track record of environmental disasters since it began operating in 1968, including a 1.7m gallon spill at Grand Rapids, Minnesota, in 1991 which remains the largest inland oil leak in US history. Enbridge reduced its capacity amid growing concerns about the pipeline’s safety, but in 2014 announced a multibillion-dollar project to expand and partially reroute the pipeline.

    Construction went ahead everywhere except Minnesota due to widespread opposition from tribal nations, some state agencies, and climate and environmental groups. But in late 2020, regulators granted the remaining permits, and construction began in freezing cold December as thousands of Americans were dying every week from Covid.

    Vialard and her teenage daughter were among thousands of ordinary people from across the US to respond to Indigenous activists requesting help in protecting their sovereign territory and water sources.

    “The video of Indigenous leaders calling on white people to show up and do what was necessary to protect the land was very moving. There’s been so much racism and so much abuse towards Indigenous people throughout history, that this felt like part of the work that we need to do,” Vialard said.

    It wasn’t the first time an Indigenous-led movement garnered wider public support.

    Line 3 was Vialard’s first experience of civil disobedience or direct action. Photograph: Youtube

    The huge 2016 gathering of tribes and allies defending Standing Rock Sioux territory from the Dakota Access pipeline captured the world’s attention, and inspired a global movement of resistance to fossil-fuel infrastructure projects. The protest was brutally policed but the tribe never backed down and succeeded in forcing an environmental impact study – which could eventually shut down the pipeline.

    The Standing Rock success triggered a wave of new anti-protest laws and could explain why in Minnesota Enbridge made it difficult for activists – and the media – by constructing at multiple sites simultaneously, according to the attorney Glenn.

    Vialard had supported Standing Rock from afar but Line 3, located more than 1,000 miles from Boulder, was her first experience of civil disobedience or direct action. The arrests were tough – but Vialard says that the environmental destruction she saw was even harder.

    “People being arrested was the reality. But I was mostly worried about the destruction of pristine lands that I was witnessing. I went to the headwaters of the Mississippi, such an iconic gorgeous river full of rare species, and to turn around and see this big swath of destruction through the forest … that was really very moving to me, it just breaks my heart.”

    The new Line 3 started transporting oil in October 2021.

    Minnesota environmental regulators have confirmed four groundwater aquifer breaches along the new pipeline – including one last month in Aitkin county, not far from where Vialard was arrested, at a wild rice lake in an area with complex wetlands and peat bogs. Enbridge, which reported gross profits of $16.55bn for the year ending June 2023, has so far been fined $11m to address the breaches, which a spokesperson said “Enbridge reported transparently and corrected them consistent with plans approved by the agencies.”

    Climate activists and Indigenous community members gather on top of the bridge after taking part in a traditional water ceremony during a rally and march to protest the construction of Enbridge Line 3 pipeline in Solvay, Minnesota, on 7 June 2021. Photograph: Kerem Yücel/AFP/Getty Images

    Oil from tar sands is among the dirtiest and most destructive fossil fuels, emitting three times as much planet-heating pollution as conventional crude oil. Environmentalists say the Line 3 expansion was the equivalent of adding 38m fossil fuel-powered vehicles to our roads.

    Many of the Line 3 defendants – including Vialard’s daughter – opted for plea deals, but the legal wrangling still tied people up for months or years. Some were left with a criminal record while others were able to secure a “deferred adjudication” plea in exchange for the charge being erased after a probationary period that restricted their ability to protest, find work and travel.

    Vialard’s is only the second felony case to reach the trial phase, but several other Line 3 cases remain open and a misdemeanor trial against 70-year-old Jill Ferguson also begins on Monday, in Clearwater county. Next month three Anishinaabe women elders – Winona LaDuke, Tania Aubid and Dawn Goodwin – will go on trial together on gross misdemeanour critical infrastructure charges related to a January 2021 protest.

    But the mass arrests and criminalization of Line 3 activists is part of a nationwide – and global – trend of suppressing legitimate protests about climate and environmental harms, according to Marla Marcum, director of the Climate Disobedience Centre, which supports climate activists engaged in civil disobedience in the US.

    “The pattern of heavier and heavier criminalization is undeniable. It’s a tactic which aims to divide and distract activists, suppress dissent and stop ordinary folks getting involved as more and more people wake-up to the urgency of the situation … tying people up for years is a huge emotional and energy drag.”

    Demonstrators gather at the Minnesota state capitol during a rally to stop Line 3 in August 2021. Photograph: Bloomberg/Getty Images

    Marcum says that most environmental activists are being charged with serious crimes from old statutes such as domestic terrorism and gross trespass.

    Yet since 2017 45 states have passed or tried to pass new legislation that further restricts the right to protest, and which expands penalties for protesters. At least three states – Oklahoma, Iowa and Florida – have passed legislation providing some impunity for those who injure protesters, according to the International Center for Not-For-Profit Law, which tracks anti-protest bills.

    “When a protest movement is righteous, effective and powerful, the US government responds by trying to chill, deter and criminalise rather than engaging with the issue,” said Vera Eidelman, a staff attorney with the ACLU’s speech, privacy and technology project who focuses on the right to protest and free speech rights.

    A spokesperson from Enbridge said: “Protesters were not arrested for peaceful protest. They were arrested for breaking the law. Illegal and unsafe acts by protesters endangered themselves, first responders and our workers. They also caused millions of dollars in damages … including to equipment owned by small businesses and Tribal contractors on the project. We support efforts to hold protesters accountable for their actions. Activists may attempt to position this as a global conspiracy. It isn’t.”

    Mylene Vialard: ‘I feel like it’s our duty to to fight when the decisions being made are so wrong.’ Photograph: Simone Lueck/The Guardian

    The past two years since the arrest have been difficult for Vialard, and fighting the criminal charges has cost a lot of time, energy and lost income, but she doesn’t regret answering the call for help from Indigenous leaders.

    “I was born and raised in France, and was never taught about the people and wisdom being crushed and forgotten because of colonisation. But there’s so much to learn from ancient wisdom and so much to unpack within ourselves … You don’t have to get arrested, but be brave and do something that’s valuable for your future, for your children and their children’s future. It’s so enriching.”

    Last week, Vialard packed up her house and headed back to northern Minnesota to prepare for the trial among those who tried their best to stop the pipeline that is polluting waterways and warming the planet.

    “I am preparing for the worst case scenario. Making this decision was not an easy one, but I feel like it’s our duty to to fight when the decisions being made are so wrong. There is pollution everywhere, climate change is a reality and yet the oil and gas industry is still destroying our planet. I’m just a regular person but it’s pretty crazy to me.”

    Over the course of the next few months, the Guardian will be reporting on the criminalisation of climate and environmental activists globally.

    Categories: B4. Radical Ecology

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