Archives

Rainforest Action Network (RAN)

FLASHBACK 5 YEARS to 2009: The Most Important COP Briefing That No One Ever Heard | Truth, Lies, Racism & Omnicide

December 10, 2012

The Art of Annihilation

by Cory Morningstar

 

COP20-Logo-1920x1080

“This was nothing less than a colonisation of the sky. $10 billion is not enough to buy us coffins.” Lumumba Di-Aping

 

On December 11, 2009, one of the most important briefings in the history of the United Nations Conference of the Parties (COP15) took place in Copenhagen. If we lived in a world in which what we see, what we are told, and what we believe matched our existing reality, this briefing would have become the basis of all future climate negotiations and discussions. Of course, that is not the world we live in. Rather, we live in a world of unfettered illusion that is fed and fetishized by a feast of denial, apathy, subservience, obedience, consumption and distraction.

Leading up to COP15, the institutionalized environmental “movement” united under an umbrella organization/campaign titled TckTckTck, a social media giant, contrived by some of the world’s most powerful corporations and the world’s most powerful marketing executives. (The trademark TckTckTck was registered, on November 30, 2009, by the EURO RSCG firm, a subsidiary of Havas Worldwide). [1] One such TckTckTck partner was the Corporate Leaders Group on Climate Change consisting of corporations such as Shell, RBF and Coca-Cola. (Signatories here) When this information was uncovered and made public, TckTckTck removed them from their website. (See screenshot).

The Demands

“350 ppm is a death sentence.… The safe level of CO2 for SIDS (Small Island Developing States ) is around 260 parts per million.… CO2 buildup must be reversed, not allowed to increase or even be stabilized at 350 ppm, which would amount to a death sentence for coral reefs, small island developing states, and billions of people living along low lying coastlines.” AOSIS Briefing 2009 [2]

Despite the “demands” by the hope industry for a “fair, ambitious, binding agreement” – which consisted of an inadequate 40% global emission reductions by 2020, with no disclosed baseline – the G77, AOSIS (Alliance of Small Island States), and the Bolivian government (under the leadership of Indigenous president, Evo Morales) aggressively pursued the scientific targets necessary in order for the world to avoid complete ecological collapse and a global genocide of unparalleled proportions. This empty demand of a “fair, ambitious, binding agreement” was the marketing centre of the campaign that grew from that oligarchy’s wet dream, the corporate social engineering creation, TckTckTck.

Bolivia and the AOSIS called for an agreement to keep the global temperature from exceeding no more than a 1ºC rise and to reduce atmospheric CO2 to 300 ppm. In stark contrast, the corporate nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) “demanded” that temperatures not exceed a +2ºC rise and further “demanded” that world emissions peak within 8 years (meaning that emissions would continue to increase, business as usual, for a further 8 years, at which point we would begin an effort to decrease). TckTckTck includes over 350 international partners (280 in 2009) including Avaaz, 350.org (who signed on at inception – see HAVAS pager/press release), Conservation International, Greenpeace International, World Wildlife Fund (and many more pro-REDD advocates and climate-wealth profiteers) as well as Climate Action Network International [3] who represents (and speaks on behalf of) over 700 NGOs. CAN also lobbies governments for REDD – a false solution that breeds a new form of climate racism and climate colonialism. [“In Africa, REDD is emerging as a new form of colonialism, slavery, economic subjugation and a driver of land grabs so massive that they may constitute a continent grab.”] [During COP15, a representative from the IPCC stated that at an increase of temperature just below 2 degrees above pre-industrial level, the poor, the vulnerable and the disenfranchised would not survive, and below 1.5 degrees there would be a chance of survival.]

Regarding the issue of human rights and climate justice, the hundreds of corporate NGOs, by campaigning to convince the public to accept the global average temperature further rising up to a 2ºC limit, thereby sanction most all species on this planet to an unprecedented annihilation within decades. (Note: Consider that at under +1ºC, we are already committed to a minimum +2.4ºC not including feedbacks [Ramanathan and Feng 2008 paper]. Further, note climate scientist James Hansen’s warning that even 1ºC now looks like an unacceptably high risk.)

While the non-profit industrial complex, including the vast majority of the climate justice movement, may have succeeded in keeping both their eyes wide shut, leaders of vulnerable countries did not. [Who Really Leads on the Environment? The “Movement” Versus Evo Morales].

 Truth

Artist: Abezgus E.V., Koretsky V.B. , Title: Neo- colonialism is nation’s robbery, Year: 1965

“I would rather die with my dignity than sign a deal that will channel my people into a furnace.” — Lumumba Di-Aping

One of the most inspiring leaders present at the COP15 was the ever so eloquent Lumumba Di-Aping, chief negotiator of the G77. (The G77 bloc is the major group of developing countries, many of which are among the most threatened by effects of climate change, as well as the largest developing country bloc represented at the COP15.) Although Di-Aping was Sudanese by birth, his parents (who called themselves “Lumumbist”) named Di-Aping after the famous Congolese leader Patrice Lumumba. (Lumumba, the anti-colonialist democratically-elected prime minister of the Congo, was assassinated in 1960 having been deemed a severe threat by the U.S. due to his uncompromising ideas of freedom and African unity. He played a leading role in the struggle for the liberation of Africa and all of Africa’s resources.)

At the historic press conference which took place on November 11, 2009 in Copenhagen, Di-Aping addressed the international NGO community. The conference room was packed with representatives of the non-profit industrial complex and corporate media complex, which includes the so-called progressive media. In a most direct approach, Di-Aping asked NGOs to support the demand that developed countries cut emissions 52% by 2017; 65% by 2020; and 80% by 2030 (based on a 1990 baseline). Further, Di-Aping asked the NGOs to demand GHG emission cuts well above 100% by 2050, which would (perhaps) keep the global temperature from exceeding a rise of no more than 1.5ºC. These targets, if met, would perhaps allow Africa to merely stay alive.

A 2ºC rise in global temperature, which the non-profit industrial complex campaigned upon, would mean a 3.5ºC rise for Africa. This temperature is certain death for the African peoples – certain death for billions. In addition, a 2ºC global temperature rise guarantees a minimum 4ºC+ global temperature for future generations. In the film footage provided below, one bears witness to Di-Aping speaking directly to the Climate Action Network (International) representatives.

One must note the disturbing irony. After the press conference was finished, a standing ovation erupted. The room shook with an audience both inspired and enraptured. Depending on one’s depth of understanding of foundations, corporate power structures and the non-profit industrial complex, one may or may not be surprised at what happened afterwards, which was, quite simply, nothing. The white ivory towers, ever so acquiescent to their hegemonic rulers, wrote off the African people by continuing their “demand” for “a fair, ambitious, binding agreement.” In other words: “Sorry about your bad luck, Africa. Enjoy your future of hell on Earth … and fuck you.”

The non-profit industrial complex, with CAN and TckTckTck at the forefront, stuck to their 2ºC and other suicidal (non)targets. The climate justice groups dared on occasion to demand that temperatures not exceed 1.5ºC, while any discussion demanding that 1ºC be supported and campaigned upon sent this faction, too, running scared like frightened field mice. Climate justice amounted to nothing more than a branded trademark. Silence and compliance reigned as the champagne circuit discussed career options over cocktails.

Below are excerpts from the only transcript that exists.

“The second issue is the issue of reductions of emissions. There must be radical reductions of emissions starting from now. In our view, by 2017 we should cut, developed countries must cut by 52%, 65% by 2020, 80% by 2030, well above 100 [percent] by 2050. And this is very important because the more you defer action the more you condemn millions of people to immeasurable suffering. So the idea that you start from 4% today and you achieve 80 or 50 in 2050 simply means that you do not care about the lives of those who will be devastated in this period, until you pick up the pace.”

“… and I will say this to our colleagues from Western civil society — you have definitely sided with a small group of industrialists and their representatives and your representative branches. Nothing more than that. You have become an instrument of your governments. Whatever you say, whether you think it’s because it’s tactically shrewd or not, it’s an error that you should not continue to make.”

“So ask yourself, are your executive branches climate skeptics, notwithstanding their addresses like the prime minister of the UK that the cost of inaction on climate change is irreparable. His actions say he’s worse than the worst of climate skeptics. If he had asked bankers to pocket 300 billion dollars because of ‘incentivizing’ profit-seeking activities and he says 500 million is the maximum that the United Kingdom government can afford to pay to support climate change, what are we saying? What are you saying? I wonder what the distinguished colleagues from CAN are saying about that.”

“Many of you equally, and I will say this, and I would have never thought that one day I will accuse a civil society of such a thing. Dividing the G77, or helping divide the G77, is simply something that should be left to the CIAs, the KGBs and the rest [not the NGOs].”

“It’s mind boggling, and I say this having been the beneficiary of absolute support from civil society. Many of you may not know this, I come from southern Sudan. We’ve been through wars for almost 90% of our lives since independence, so I’m not sure what happened exactly to the civil society that I do know or at least knew.”

“If you have received help that enabled you to rebuild your economies and to become prosperous, how come suddenly you have turned mean? Because that 2.5 billion dollars is definitely what some of the big western industrialists lose without a sleep over a trade [lose over a trade without losing any sleep].”

Raw Footage, Lumumba Di-Aping, December 11, 2009 [Running time: 12:30]

Three days earlier, on December 8, 2009, a meeting comprised of approximately 100 African representatives of the non-profit industrial complex was announced. At the onset of this impromptu gathering (which also included a small handful of African parliamentarians), it was requested by the organizers that all microphones be turned off in order to ensure that discussions about to take place would not be recorded. (It must be noted that Di-Aping made a point of turning his microphone on.) Following introductions, Di-Aping was given the floor. Standing before the audience, Di-Aping was still. Initially he did not speak. Rather, he sat silent, as tears streamed down his face. After a long silence, Di-Aping spoke in unabashed candor. He cradled his head in his hands and stated: “We have been asked to sign a suicide pact.” The silence was deafening. The audience froze. People had no idea of how one should react to a powerful negotiator, an African elder if you like, exhibiting – in fact sharing – his raw emotions.

“This] is asking Africa to sign a suicide pact, an incineration pact in order to maintain the economic dependence of a few countries. It’s a solution based on values that funnelled six million people in Europe into furnaces.” — Lumumba Di-Aping commenting on the (non-binding) Copenhagen accord

After regaining his composure, in methodical tone, Di-Aping meticulously explained the science demonstrating why the 2ºC target being sought by the leading obstructionist states was not only certain death for Africa, but also representative of a new type of climate fascism being imposed on the African people. Di-Aping pointed out that the African negotiating delegations were weak, due to many having been “bought off” by the industrialized states, while simultaneously members of the South Africa delegation had aggressively sought to disrupt the unity of the bloc. Di-Aping, stressing the urgent need to hold Africa’s negotiators to account and the difficult struggle ahead, was unequivocal in his assessment, bluntly stating, “You have no idea of the powers that are arrayed against you.”

One example of a foundation serving as a front group for US industrialists cited by Di-Aping was the Climate Works Foundation. The CEO of Climate Works is William K. Reilly. Prior to his position with Climate Works, Reilly served as the administrator of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, president of the World Wildlife Fund, president of The Conservation Foundation, and director of the Rockefeller Task Force on Land Use and Urban Growth. As well, he headed the U.S. Delegation to the U.N. Conference on Environment and Development in Rio in 1992.

Di-Aping called upon the NGOs to demand that their African leaders reject the agreement and further, to make very clear demands. Di-Aping suggesting campaigning on the slogans: “One Africa, one degree” and “Two degrees is suicide.”

After the meeting was concluded, Di-Aping apologized to those present explaining that as a child in Sudan, he was taught that it was “better to stand and cry than to walk away.”

Plato’s Climate Justice

It is beyond obvious that the word “justice” loses all of its meaning when the “climate justice” movement 1) refuses to support what is necessary in order for the world’s most vulnerable to simply survive, and 2) refuses to represent those on the front lines of climate change who have pleaded with them to represent the interests of the world’s most vulnerable. In Plato’s Republic, Thrasymachus argues that justice is mere trickery – the interest of the strong – nothing more than a name for what the powerful elites or cunning ruler have imposed on the people. This description seems to fit like a velvet glove within this context.

It is interesting to note that the taping of this conference can be found under Rockefeller’s 1Sky (now officially/publicly merged with 350.org) video archives where they highlight under the description: “Pt. 1 includes sections ‘Introduction’, ‘Importance of 1.5 degrees C and 350ppm’, and ‘Unacceptable targets and resulting deaths.’” In both parts 2 and 3 as well as in other video clips of this same press conference, 1Sky neglects to make mention of Di-Aping’s scathing comments regarding the conduct of the NGOs. Thus, 1Sky/350.org provides an inadequate description of the press conference to those they falsely claim to represent – purposely neglecting to highlight the significant fact that the G77 had requested that NGOs campaign on the absolute necessity of deep and immediate emissions cuts. There is no disputing the fact that 1Sky/350.org et al purposely rejected these ambitious emissions targets. [Further reading: Rockefellers’ 1Sky Unveils the New 350.org | More $ – More Delusion andThe Climate Cartel: 1Sky, 350.org and Rockefeller Brothers | Stronger as One]

Of little surprise was the fact that corporate media gave no coverage to the Di-Aping press conference. The so-called “progressive” media, incidentally also funded by the corporate elites via their tax-exempt foundations, were also silent when it came to sharing the very critical issues Di-Aping had spoken of on the international stage. Controlling, manipulating and shaping public opinion has never been such a good investment. It has never been so easy. Ironically, the same “dirty oil money” that funds the “polluters” as decried by “the left” is the same “dirty oil money” that funds the environmental movement. Even the “scruffy little outfits” have lined up to get a taste of the candy. And once they taste it, they’re hooked, bought and sold – all in one breath.

As to be expected, the corporate creation TckTckTck also buried the Di-Aping press conference. TckTckTck boasts 17 million followers. “Followers” is indeed an appropriate description – like sheep to the slaughter. TckTckTck can ask 17 million followers to buy a video game for 9.99 to “save the planet” (“because today you can change the Fate of the world for only $9.99!”) yet they will not and cannot distribute any reports of relevance. 350.org, which claims to have “the most powerful brand in the world,” did not share Di-Aping’s pleas. 350.org promotes climate scientist James Hansen as their “350 messenger” in order to legitimize their “brand,” yet they will not and cannot distribute Hansen’s scientist papers (or even summaries) to their followers. Climate Action Network (CAN) International, “representing” over 700 NGOs, did not share Di-Aping’s pleas. Nor did the climate justice movement itself.

“…[B]eyond 1 degree C may elicit rapid, unpredictable and non-linear responses that could lead to extensive ecosystem damage.” — 1990, United Nations Advisory Group on Greenhouse Gases

The stakes, for all life on the planet, surpass those of any previous crisis humanity has ever witnessed. The disappearance of the 1ºC maximum temperature rise cited in 1990 by the United Nations may well be considered the greatest crime against humanity of all time. [http://theartofannihilation.com/category/articles-2010/expose-the-2o-death-dance-the-1o-cover-up-part-i/] The greatest danger we face today is continued ignorance, denial and obedience, as methane torches erupt and ice sheets disintegrate at an ever accelerating pace.

One may wonder if grossly undermining the ambitious positions put forward by Bolivia, ALBA states, the G77 and small island states was part of the “critical work” the non-profit industrial complex speaks of.

In fact, it was.

What the public and, tragically, what remains in the charred ashes of the environmental movement itself, neglects to understand is that the critical work that the non-profit industrial complex performs brilliantly is not work to advance civil society, who these self-appointed NGOs falsely claim to represent. Rather, the critical work is performed in the spirit of “bread and circuses” for those who the non-profit industrial complex serves first and foremost – their funders.

The Movement is Racist

“It is unfortunate that after 500 years-plus of interaction with the West, we [Africans] are still considered disposables.” — Lumumba Di-Aping

The question must be asked: was this deliberate dismissal of Lumumba Di-Aping’s briefing nothing more than blatant racism? The short answer to this question is an unequivocal yes.

An underlying, perhaps subconscious, yet very real and deep-rooted racism (or at least a complete obliviousness to that which is considered “other”) very quietly hums along beneath the entire system – resulting in the EuroAmerican-dominated environmental “movement” acquiescing to the industrialized capitalist system. Thus the reality of those oppressed and exploited on the receiving end of the system is an inconvenient fact that is ignored at all costs by practically everyone (predominantly the privileged white) within the complex.

“Aversive racism is a term coined by Joel Kovel to describe the subtle racial behaviors of any ethnic or racial group act who rationalize their aversion to a particular group based on majority rules and stereotypes. People who behave in an aversively racial way have beliefs in egalitarianism, but will often deny their racially motivated behavior, or shift behavior when dealing with a member of a minority group. Most of this behavior is considered to be implicit or subconscious. Though Kovel coined the term, most of the research has been done by John F. Dovidio and Samuel L. Gaertner.” [Source: Wikipedia]

There is no other sound explanation for how those who state they are “fighting” for “climate justice” were/are willing to undermine countries like Bolivia, Tuvalu and the G77, AOSIS and ALBA states, with a full understanding that millions more lives will be lost. The true grassroots organizations that actually tell the full truth and fight for what is necessary (Earth Peoples, and Global Coral Reef Alliance as just two examples) are marginalized and isolated to the point of invisibility by the complex.

There is no other sound explanation for the dead silence on the ongoing genocide in the Congo since 1996. President Paul Kagame of Rwanda, President Yoweri Museveni of Uganda, President Hyppolite Kanambe (alias Joseph Kabila) of the Congo are the three “leaders”  facilitating the Western pillage and occupation of Central Africa, responsible in large part for over ten million people dead since the U.S.-backed invasion of 1996. Of course, these are the African faces of Western occupation and imperialism. [4] This genocide far exceeds that of the Holocaust, which to this day is seared into the minds of all EuroAmerican societies. Yet the question must be asked, what if these men, women and children of the Congo were white? After 19 years of suffering and death, the Congo remains locked under illegal occupation by the Imperialist powers, including the United Nations itself.

On September 11, 2001, 3,000 people, predominately white Americans, were killed when the Word Trade Center’s twin towers were destroyed in New York. This operation opened up the door for an unparalleled slaughter in the Middle East, which only continues to escalate. The illegal occupations and covert wars (Yemen, Somalia, Pakistan) are now expanding far beyond Iraq, Afghanistan, most recently with the invasion and decimation of Libya (2011) resulting in as many as or more than 100,000 deaths. This NATO-led imperialist invasion under the guise of “humanitarian intervention” instilled and incited a most horrific and unimaginable racial “cleansing” of the black population, including black women, whose breasts were cut off their bodies with machetes.

Not only was the NGO community silent, 78 NGOs (again, predominantly white) led the way for the invasion. When the “evidence” (which provided a premise for NATO entry into the country) presented by the NGOs was proven false, was the international community horrified? Did the NGOs apologize profusely for their pivotal role in the slaughter and the obliteration of an entire country that, prior to the invasion, possessed the best living standards in all of Africa? No, not on your life. Instead, they are adamant to carry out a repeat performance in Syria. Yet another imperialist-imposed destabilization. And when an Italian grassroots anti-war group organized an urgent appeal to the UN to demand the opposite – no foreign intervention – and distributed it to the international community of NGOs, how receptive was “the movement”? Although the U.S. and Canada have been integral in placing sanctions upon Syria, with the U.S. chomping at the bit to invade, only one organization in Canada and one single organization in the United States endorsed this appeal, in spite of an urgent call-out for signatures including distribution within an international climate justice network. This is important to note as the so-called climate justice movement has full knowledge of militarism’s massive contribution to our escalating climate crisis.

Also in 2011, the non-profit industrial complex was implicated in an attempted destabilization of Bolivia. The NGOs (Avaaz, Amazon Watch, Democracy Center) who led/lead this charge (demonizing Indigenous president Evo Morales) excel in the manipulation of the public while money channeled from US powers (state and foundations) via USAID and CIDOB (Confederación de Pueblos Indígenas del Oriente Boliviano) focus on coercion and manipulation within Indigenous populations, utilizing soft power where tensions may currently already exist. Hard power is the strategy of coercion via force, whereas soft power is coercing via manipulation and seduction – like a slow, methodical, death dance. There are no organizations in a better position to employ soft power methods than those that comprise the non-profit industrial complex.

npicisdirty

This complex has become an essential tool for the power-hungry imperialist states, ever more threatened by the increasing rise of the Global South who resolutely, in unity, work towards severing the chains of enslavement, imperialism and colonialism, once and for all. A long-term strategic objective of Western policy planners is to prevent such independence by any means necessary. Thus, the destruction of any/all independent sovereign states (such as Libya, Syria, Iran, etc.) and the destabilization, isolation and encirclement of the rising global powers (in particular China and Russia) is crucial. Further, the welfare of the people is of absolutely no concern to those who salivate in the wings, waiting for the opportune moment to invade under the guise of humanitarian intervention. Puppet governments installed by the imperialist states don’t serve their citizens (who are completely irrelevant in the eyes of the corporatocracy), but rather provide a false legitimacy for the occupation of the seized state in order to grant business contracts to the colonial powers and global corporations while privatizing all services. Case in point: Despite the Congo being the world’s largest supplier of both copper and coltan, and many other precious minerals, the total tax revenue on these products in 2006-7 amounted to a miniscule £32 million. “This is surely far less than what even the most useless neo-colonial puppet would have demanded.” [Source: http://www.gata.org/node/5651]

Also Ignored by the Non-Profit Industrial Complex at COP15

  • UNFCCC was already, a binding agreement. So was the Kyoto Protocol.
  • The world was already far beyond dangerous interference with the climate system, according to both James Hansen and John Holdren.
  • Although tipping points were almost always spoken of in the future tense, methane hydrates had already begun venting, shocking the scientific community.
  • Bolivia’s position paper cited that global temperatures must not exceed 1ºC and the world must return to 300 ppm. Ignoring Bolivia’s leadership, the “movement” called for a full degree higher (2ºC) and 350 ppm. 350 ppm is in fact considered the very upper limit / maximum limit for mere stabilization by James Hansen.
  • The fact that climate scientist Kevin Anderson warned the world that by 2050 a mere half billion people would perhaps survive (based on a 4ºC global temperature rise, which is our current minimum trajectory, and a population of 9 billion).
  • That only by achieving zero carbon (as recognized by IPCC) can the Earth even begin to cool.
  • That the Ramanathan & Feng (2008) paper suggests we are committed today to a minimum 2.4ºC rise even if we were to achieve zero emissions tomorrow.
  • That feedbacks, once they are fully operational, are irreversible.
  • That militarism (whose emissions are exempted) is one of the primary contributors to climate change. “My view is that the climate has already crossed at least one tipping point, about 1975-1976, and is now at a runaway state, implying that only emergency measures have a chance of making a difference.… The costs of all of the above would require diversion of the trillions of dollars from global military expenditures to environmental mitigation.” — Andrew Glikson, Earth/Paleoclimate Scientist
  • That industrialized livestock contributes over 50% of all GHG emissions.
  • That the industrialist capitalist system is the very root cause of climate change. The climate crisis can neither be solved nor averted within this economic system.

After COP15 – The People’s Agreement

Why is it that the video of Venezuela’s fiery Claudia Salerno, who refused to stay silent on the bribery and blackmailing taking place within the COP17 corridors, was not publicized by the movement? Why is it that Bolivia’s Forest Proposal received/receives no support from “the movement”? (Instead they chase the REDD scheme, which is being opposed by indigenous groups across the planet.) Why is it, even though “the movement” claims it wants real action on climate change, they absolutely refuse to endorse the People’s Agreement? [5] Further, the same question must be put to civil society: Why is it, although civil society claims to want real action on climate change, they are only interested in symbolic organizations and meaningless token gestures? Why do we have 17 million citizens following TckTckTck and only 438 following the People’s Agreement? Surely civil society must acknowledge that these are the choices we make and that we make alone. No one has a gun to our heads (yet). Is it simply because the world’s most powerful NGOs are composed of largely white “leaders”? We claim disgust at symbolic, empty gestures, yet, when given the choice of what we wish to support – the People’s Agreement or the meaningless “fair, ambitious, binding agreement” – we fall over one another lusting after the shiny green patina that emulates the American empire, an empire of death, racism, genocide and colonialism. And like the empire, with the other rich nations, the international NGO community believes that they are the chosen ones, in control of the world. The champagne circuit is alive, well, wealthy – and predominantly white.

Further Irony

In 1990, an international environmental NGO believed that policy must reflect the understanding that the world must not exceed a 1ºC temperature rise. Approximately two decades later, with a full climate crisis now engulfing the planet, this same NGO “fought” in Copenhagen for a binding agreement that would allow the Earth to further warm to a full 2ºC. Who was this NGO? None other than TckTckTck partner, Greenpeace, at whose helm sits Kumi Naidoo. And who is the chair of TckTckTck? Kumi Naidoo. The token “black” of the non-profit industrial complex, donned with a white mask – the non-profit version of Obama.

Today

Consider the vulgarity of this following fact. One percent of Earth’s citizens are creating 50% of the global GHG emissions. This means that 99% of the non-profit industrial complex and those they protect, in others words, most all those attending the United Nations Conferences on behalf of the wealthy states, are the very ones demanding they be allowed to continue unprecedented gluttony. In the opposite corner, we have Bolivia, many of the African states, and ALBA states – a collective of the poorest people on the planet (in a monetary sense), whose emissions are almost irrelevant – pleading with us to live within reason, simply so they can live at all. Some would describe this as a call for simple decency. While to deny a populace the right to simply live may appear to be normal conduct for state “leaders,” the fact that professional “activists” uphold the same doctrine demonstrates unequivocally that everything can be justified and anyone is disposable when it comes to protecting white privilege.

Three years later at COP18 in Doha, Bolivia once more leads on the world stage. Alone. Again. One would be hard pressed to find even one organization endorsing or promoting Bolivia’s alternate proposal to REDD or any other futurist ideologies that Bolivia has put forward to share with the world – this from one of the most poverty-ridden states in the world. Although poor monetarily, Bolivia’s unsurpassed wealth of knowledge, compassion and visionary philosophies makes it clear that in reality it is the EuroAmerican mindset that is pitiful, starved and depraved.

2ºC = 4ºC = Omnicide

“Truth is treason in an empire of lies.” — George Orwell

Today, states and complying scientists are quietly recommending a 2ºC to 2.5ºC target; although most subtle, this target is now to be perceived and thus portrayed as transient warming. Meaning it is not being thought of/identified any longer as equilibrium warming, as the specific 1996 EU target was meant to be (the EU target was where the 2ºC guardrail came from: policy, not science). This means that “experts” (influential institutions and scientific bodies who obediently tow the line) are now in effect recommending that we heat the planet to 4ºC. While Professor Kevin Anderson explains that to avoid catastrophic climate change impacts, 1ºC is the new 2ºC and while climate scientist James Hansen states unequivocally that 1ºC is the true danger limit, we are now being prepared to submissively accept 4ºC. The fact is that to avoid 2ºC equilibrium we must limit warming to no more than 1ºC this century. [6] We either drastically conserve and sacrifice today or bury our children tomorrow. And of course, we cannot hold the temperature at 1ºC under the current economic system – the industrialized capitalist system, the very root cause of our climate crisis. The crisis is profound and unprecedented. Collectively, we steadfastly refuse to acknowledge the severity of our multiple crises, our most daunting of challenges and the harshest of realities – all staring at us directly in the face. We look back only to see ourselves.

Why it Matters

“NGOs of the world unite, you have nothing to lose but your funding.” — Ashwin Desai

The so-called environmental movement refuses to acknowledge, let alone discuss, the fact that it’s been bought, sold and muzzled, and now lies in ruins in a pile of ashes. Civil society remains largely unaware of this truth, let alone the key factors behind it. And this in itself is tragic, because this issue is one of the key factors as to why we, as a global society, have failed to mitigate our environmental crisis, and why we continue to advance further to the very precipice. Trained from birth to not challenge authority, to not offend, to be obedient, to be polite – we remain silent. Yes, impeccable manners, avoid conflict, and above all, do not question those who “know best.” Our deeply internalized passivism is as great a threat as the forthcoming climate apocalypse itself.

Ignorance really is bliss and I do want change as long as that means nothing really changes. Please pass the soma.

Implications

The implications are many. It is clear that those who claim non-profit status, on the basis that they represent civil society, clearly do not. This then presents the question as to who elected these NGOs who falsely claim to represent civil society, all while serving corporate interests? The logical question that then follows, the question that must be asked, is what constitutes criminal negligence? If countries like Bolivia and G77 are prepared to take the radical, necessary positions to avert annihilation, what does it say about our environmental movement when it resolutely undermines them? If we dismiss this factual information, what does this disclose about us? Do we deserve anything more than the representation we are receiving if we deny the facts? Finally, how can governments expect to take the necessary positions if, when they do, they do not receive the support of civil society?

Lastly, what the hell do we expect when our entire movement is funded by the very same interests that are intent on destroying us? We need to stop defending and finding excuses for those selling us out and start defending our children from a future being shaped and moulded by the global oligarchy. We can’t have it both ways.

“So, I want just to say join hands with those of us who really want a real change, because I’m confident it will come. And it will come, let me say this, whether you do or don’t. But let it not be the case that western civil society sided with the powers that be in the West. Thank you. [Thundering Applause]” Lumumba Di-Aping

In the volumes of information that will be left on our finite planet when all traces of life have, for the most part, disappeared, the film footage of Ambassador Lumumba Stanislaus-Kaw Di-Aping of the G77 will serve as a testament to who was responsible for criminal negligence, crimes against humanity, and finally, lastly, a global genocide destroying most all life: the non-profit industrial complex.

 

 

[Cory Morningstar is an independent investigative journalist, writer and environmental activist, focusing on global ecological collapse and political analysis of the non-profit industrial complex. She resides in Canada. Her recent writings can be found on Wrong Kind of Green, The Art of Annihilation, Political Context, Counterpunch, Canadians for Action on Climate Change and Countercurrents.]

 

Notes:

Briefing to Civil Society NGOs by Ambassador Lumumba Stanislaus Di-Aping. December 11th, 2009.

Full transcript:

Thank you for, I suppose, inviting me to address you this afternoon. As you know, the last few days since the beginning of this conference we have witnessed many events. I’m going to go very quickly through what I do consider to be the most critical aspects for a successful outcome in this conference. And this is of particular importance to us. We do believe that civil society and the parliament have a very critical role for our success. Without you the executive branches can get away with anything.

Now, what do we really believe are the critical success factors that we have to unite behind, because these are not simply negotiable for us as developing countries.

The first fundamental that we have to agree on at 5(4) is the issue of the 1.5 degree Celsius and the 350 ppm. And the centrality of this is because a deal that cannot save God, humanity and nature is not a deal that we should entertain in the first place. Those who articulated a perspective and tried to persuade us that the 2 degrees Celsius is a sound choice have made a trade off between life, humanity, and profit-seeking pursuits. It has no base in science. The very reports that they try to persuade us that they are based on, do not support their case. The IPCC AR4 [4th Assessment Report] says that two degrees Celsius will result in Africa warming up to 3.5[C] and the small islands states equally being threatened by the sea level rise. I will say this and I will say it with absolute conviction. Two degrees Celsius is certain death for Africa, is certain devastation of island states.

The policy decision maker, the scientists who try to do that, is definitely not only ill-advising others, he is ill-advising himself. So that’s one fundamental, if not the starting proposition for beginning sound negotiations and discussions.

The second issue is the issue of reductions of emissions. There must be radical reductions of emissions starting from now. In our view, by 2017 we should cut, developed countries must cut by 52%, 65% by 2020, 80% by 2030, well above 100 [percent] by 2050. And this is very important because the more you defer action the more you condemn millions of people to immeasurable suffering.

So the idea that you start from 4% today and you achieve 80 or 50 in 2050 simply means that you do not care about the lives of those who will be devastated in this period, until you pick up the pace. And this is one of the reasons we have asked the American administration, the American people, President Obama to join the effort and to join Kyoto Protocol.

We must defend Kyoto Protocol. And those who think that not defending Kyoto Protocol is the way forward are totally misguided because if you eliminate the balance of obligations between developed and developing countries — and I will say this to our colleagues from Western civil society — you have definitely sided with a small group of industrialists and their representatives and your representative branches. Nothing more than that. You have become an instrument of your governments. Whatever you say, whether you think it’s because it’s tactically shrewd or not, it’s an error that you should not continue to make.

Having said that, we do believe equally that a very significant, substantial financial package, both for short term and long term, is necessary. How do we define that? Simple. We must avail, or developed countries must avail in the next 5 years, fast track financing. That fast track financing is the equivalent of 1% of the GNP of developed countries. It’s around 400 to 500 billion dollars depending on where … what happens to their economies. Of this, 150 billion dollars can be issued with immediate effect because, as we speak today, the IMF is sitting over 283 billion dollars’ worth of SDR’s [Special Drawing Rights or supplementary foreign exchange reserve assets defined and maintained by the International Monetary Fund] that are not allocated. Simply sitting doing absolutely nothing, when we face a threat.

Many of you would say 400 billion dollars is a lot of money. Well, think about how much is being poured into your defence budgets and which wars are you fighting. Is there another war greater than this war on climate change?  I don’t think so. But let me equally give you the fallacy related to how big this amount is. The European [Union] today were proud to announce that there would be 2.3 billion or 2.5 billion dollars available from now until 2012. Well, the sad news is 300 billion dollars was the amount of money that bankers in London city pocketed this year.

So ask yourself, are your executive branches climate skeptics, notwithstanding their addresses like the prime minister of the UK that the cost of inaction on climate change is irreparable. His actions say he’s worse than the worst of climate sceptics. If he had asked bankers to pocket 300 billion dollars because of “incentivizing” profit-seeking activities and he says 500 million is the maximum that the United Kingdom government can afford to pay to support climate change, what are we saying? What are you saying? I wonder what the distinguished colleagues from CAN are saying about that.

Moreover, would you believe that, what is important here, in this particular conference, is decision making. There is a lot of fallacy being spread that we need a new legal instrument. Well, a decision is a legal instrument. A court decision is binding. An executive decision is binding.

A legal instrument means that you as civil society are choosing that there shall be no actions for another 15 to 20 years. Think about the journey from the Stockholm Conference to the UNFCCC [United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change]. How many years did it take the environmentalists to convince many decision makers that right action on environment is actually the pursuit of greener, low-carbon, carbon emissions?

Many of you equally, and I will say this, and I would have never thought that one day I will accuse a civil society of such a thing. Dividing the G77, or helping divide the G77, is simply something that should be left to the CIAs, the KGBs and the rest [not the NGOs]. [Applause]

It’s mind boggling, and I say this having been the beneficiary of absolute support from civil society. Many of you may not know this, I come from southern Sudan. We’ve been through wars for almost 90% of our lives since independence, so I’m not sure what happened exactly to the civil society that I do know or at least knew.

Now, I want to go back to other issues because it’s critical that we be very clear to each other. United States and United States people and United States civil society have a very important role to play. One reason is because United States is P1 [pledge 1? page 1?]. Another reason is because United States is the greatest emitter, historically and by per capita. And it is important because it wields huge power, both of influence and of signalling direction.

And that basically [is] what led us to conclude and call upon President Obama to join the Kyoto Protocol. We understand the difficulties he is in. The deep sense of conservative isolationism. It’s an American phenomenon that you all know. United States was reluctant to do anything during the catastrophe of the Second World War, until Churchill managed to persuade them to join in. But when they joined, peace prevailed and came into existence in Europe. They have this notion of exceptionalism. And that I think, this day, is to think of ourselves as one human family.

I thought that [is] what the United States signalled when they voted President Obama into office. So notwithstanding the difficulties in the United States, I think any simple analysis makes one conclude that the problem is not with the Congress, the problem is with the conservative laggard of an industrial complex. So we have to, you have to, play an important role to persuade your Congress and to move forward. Join hands with those children who wrote a letter to President Obama to join, to preserve Kyoto Protocol.

And I want to say something else. We should stop, equally, pushing this notion that the world must continue along the conflict and misguided sense of competition between the Occidentals and the Orientals … that China is the obstacle [right here?]. Three things we say about China and you all know about it. There are more poor people in China than in the entire of Africa. The only way to help China reduce rapidly its emissions is to help it through transfer of technology. Rapid transfer of technology in order to reduce emissions. Because the third neck of this argument: the poor Chinese have arrived, which we must support and that is [the why?] to development.

The conservative thinking that it’s all about nationalists trying to take advantage or starting a competitive advantage is not going to happen. So what I ask of Obama is to join as a president, as the leader of the industrialized nations, is to join Kyoto Protocol, is to refuse a deal based on 2% [degrees] that would condemn Africa and small islands to death, and to help finance the global deal on climate change.

Remember what the United States did, after the war, to Europe. The United States then was … had the size of 66% of the global economy. They launched a Marshall Plan. The Marshall Plan was 3.2% of the U.S. economy.  And that in addition to the fact, when you factor in the fact that Europe had the capacity and the know-how, you can see that the total package necessary as a starting point for addressing climate change, from public finance, is not less than 5%. And it’s commonsensical. Think about it in this way, without going into economics. If you have a house that has decayed or if you have a school in your neighbourhood that has been built or infected by asbestos, how much would it cost to repair? It’s not less than 30% of the price of that.

So, I do believe that if the United States did that before, President Obama should follow in that tradition and say to the rest of the world, “We are able. We have more than sufficient financing and capital to help, not only the poor, but to help ourselves because ultimately after we are destroyed, there will be many Katrinas [hurricanes] in the United States.”

If you have received help that enabled you to rebuild your economies and to become prosperous, how come suddenly you have turned mean? Because that 2.5 billion dollars is definitely what some of the big western industrialists lose without a sleep over a trade [lose over a trade without losing any sleep].

And I do want you to ask President Obama a simple question. Because as much as he’s an American citizen, he is an extended citizen, if there is such a notion, of Africa. Then doesn’t that lay on him any moral obligation to do what he can? Shouldn’t he commit to the principles of which many of us find ourselves fascinated and grateful that there is somebody like him today being the president of United States. Because if it’s because his advisors are part and parcel of the Bush administration, or the [regularized?] Democrats, then he should do something about that. He is the president after all. If it’s because he is thinking that this will save his political life for a next term, then inaction will actually lead to the opposite. A leader acts, a leader helps formulate the right policies, the right direction. That’s why one is a leader. A leader takes the toughest stance. If health care is so important and he is fighting that battle, climate change is as 100 times more important and it is your job as American civil society to help build that momentum. Yes, your task is a tough one because you’re moving from a very low base, but that’s part of life.

We will not give up because the West have power, absolute power, and accept whatever choices they will make.  We will continue to defend the interests of our people and the whole world. This equally applies with Australians, New Zealand and Japan and many other developed countries’ leaders. Many of them have been elected for office because they claim they support climate change, but then you have to give it to the lobbyists — they are definitely smooth operators. They twist their minds in such a short time that somebody like Kevin Rudd suddenly  moves from where he was, somebody who in Bali was the only prime minister who came to Bali to say “Climate change matters.” And then his delegation here is the complete opposite of that.

So, I want just to say join hands with those of us who really want a real change, because I’m confident it will come. And it will come, let me say this, whether you do or don’t. But let it not be the case that western civil society sided with the powers that be in the West. Thank you. [Applause]

ENDNOTES

[1] SIGNIFICANT OMISSIONS IN TCKTCKTCK: As demands for the TckTckTck (http://tcktcktck.org) campaign for COP15, the organizers, allies and partners were calling for developed states to reduce developed country emissions by at least 40% by 2020. While most developed and developing states were calling for developed states to use 1990 as a baseline, the TckTckTck campaign did not have a baseline. Consequently what they were calling for was way below what developing states were demanding. How could an NGO campaign have a percentage reduction without a baseline date? In the TckTckTck campaign demands, it was stated: “Reduce developed country emissions by at least 40% by 2020.” Is that from 2009 levels? Or Canadian 2006 levels, or US 2005 levels? It is far from what most of the developing states wanted, at least 45% from 1990 levels. Apart from calling for stabilization by 2015, the TckTckTck campaign had no commitment for subsequent years, such as calling for the reduction of global emissions by at least 95% from 1990 levels by 2050. The TckTckTck campaign was silent on a 2050 commitment. The key issues at COP15 were i) the need for a common baseline such as 1990, and the need for developed states to commit to a high percentage reduction of greenhouse gases from the 1990 baseline, and ii) the urgent demand to not have the temperature rise exceed 1 degree above pre-industrialized levels and to return to no more than 300 ppm. The TckTckTck campaign seriously undermined the necessary, bold targets that were advanced by many of the developing states.

[2] “Low lying islands and coastlines can take no further sea level rise. The “targets” of 1.5 degrees C rise and 350 ppm CO2 are a death sentence for coral reefs and a suicide pact for low lying islands and coasts. Summary: The long-term sea level that corresponds to current CO2 concentration is about 23 meters above today’s levels, and the temperatures will be 6 degrees C or more higher. These estimates are based on real long term climate records, not on models. We have not yet felt the climate change impacts of the current excess of greenhouse gases produced by fossil fuels, and the data shows they will in the long run be many times higher than IPCC models project. In order to prevent these long term changes CO2 must be stabilized at levels below preindustrial values, around 260 parts per million. Buildup must be reversed, not allowed to increase or even be stabilized at 350 ppm, which would amount to a death sentence for coral reefs, small island developing states, and billions of people living along low lying coastlines. The good news is that all the tools for reversing global warming and reducing CO2 to safe levels are ready, proven, and cost effective, but are not being seriously used due to lack of policies and funding.” [AOSIS Briefing 2009: “350 PPM IS A DEATH SENTENCE FOR CORAL REEFS AND LOW LYING ISLANDS … THE SAFE LEVEL OF CO2 FOR SIDS IS AROUND 260 PARTS PER MILLION.”] — The author is Dr. Tom Goreau, President of the Global Coral Reef Alliance, an international NGO for restoration of coral reefs, and a member of the Jamaican delegation to UNCCC. Previously he was Senior Scientific Affairs Officer at the United Nations Centre for Science and Technology for Development, in charge of Global Climate Change and Biodiversity Issues, where he contributed to the original draft of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change. Dr. Goreau developed the HotSpot method used for the last 20 years to predict coral bleaching from satellite data. He was educated in Jamaican schools, MIT (BSc in Planetary Physics), Caltech (MSc in Planetary Astronomy), and Harvard (PhD in Biogeochemistry). He has swum and dived on reefs around the world since he was a small child, including most SIDS. His father was the first marine scientist in the world to use diving as a research tool and founded the Marine Science Program at the University of the West Indies.

[3] The founding of the Climate Action Network (CAN) in 1988 can be traced back to the early players in the environmental nongovernmental organization (ENGO) community, including Michael Oppenheimer of the corporate NGO, Environmental Defense Fund. CAN is a global network of over 700 NGOs. The stated goal of CAN is to promote government and individual action to limit human-induced climate change to ecologically sustainable levels. This goal is severely problematic in (at minimum) two fundamental ways: 1) There is no such thing as “ecologically sustainable levels” of climate change, and 2) as opposed to states having to respond to approximately 700 groups demanding action on climate change, states instead bask in the comfort of having to deal with only one (CAN International), which essentially demands little to nothing. CAN has seven regional offices that coordinate these efforts in Africa, Central and Eastern Europe, Europe, Latin America, North America, South Asia, and Southeast Asia. Members include organizations from around the globe, including the largest corporate greens such as World Wildlife Fund [WWF], Greenpeace and Friends of the Earth.

[4] “Another glaring contradiction which does not bother America’s conscience (if it has any) is that American trained and paid Rwandan and Ugandan soldiers have been deployed as “peacekeepers” in Darfur and Somalia while at the same time they are making the blood of millions of Congolese flow into the ground, while billions of dollars in minerals are extracted from the earth and delivered to their corporate customers – with Rwandan and Ugandan middlemen pocketing their cut. America is also trying to sweep under the carpet the genocide that Rwanda and Uganda have committed in Congo since 1996. As we know, Rwanda and Uganda invaded the Democratic Republic of Congo in 1996, ostensibly to hunt down Hutu fighters among millions of refugees from ethnic violence in Rwanda. But the invasion became an occupation that has killed six million Congolese – the world’s greatest holocaust since World War Two. The genocide has been very profitable for Uganda and Rwanda, who have plundered eastern Congo’s mineral resources for sale to multinational corporations, most of them based in the United States and Europe.” [Source: Britain and America Target DR Congo, 12/05/2012]

[5] The exemplary People’s Agreement emerged from the April 2010 World People’s Conference on Climate Change and the Rights of Mother Earth in Cochabamba, Bolivia. It was endorsed by over 35,000 representatives of civil society, indigenous peoples and various states. During that year, the Bolivian Ambassador to the UN, Pablo Solón, participated in numerous UN processes under the UNFCCC, and valiantly struggled to include the conclusions of the Cochabamba People’s Agreement in the negotiating documents.

The main conclusions of the World People’s Conference were incorporated into the document of United Nations on Climate Change that became recognized as a negotiation text for the 192 countries that congregated in Bonn, Germany, during the first week of August 2010. The most important points that were incorporated for consideration in the negotiations before Cancun were:

1) 50% reduction of greenhouse gas emissions by developed countries for a second period of commitments in the Kyoto Protocol years 2013 to 2017

2) Stabilize the rise of temperature to 1ºC and 300 ppm of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere

3) Guarantee an equitable distribution of atmospheric space, taking into account the climate debt of emissions by developed countries for developing countries

4) Full respect for the human rights and the inherent rights of indigenous peoples, women, children and migrants

5) Full recognition to the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples

6) Recognition and defense of the rights of Mother Earth to ensure harmony with nature

7) Guarantee the fulfillment of the commitments from the developed countries though the building of an International Court of Climate Justice

8) Rejection of the new mechanisms of carbon markets that transfer the responsibility of the reduction in emissions of greenhouse gases from developed countries to developing countries

9) Promotion of measures that change the consumption patterns of the developed countries

10) Adoption of necessary measures in all relevant forums to exclude from the protection of intellectual property rights all technologies that are ecologically sustainable useful to mitigate climate change

11) Developed countries will allocate 6% of their gross national product to actions relative to climate change

12) Integrated management of forest for mitigation and adaptation, without market mechanisms and ensuring the full participation of indigenous peoples and local communities

13) Prohibition of the conversion of natural forest to plantations, since monoculture plantations are not forest; instead encourage the protection and conservation of natural forests. [Source: Joan Russow, PEJ News]

[6] The equilibrium climate sensitivity (ECS) refers to the equilibrium change in global mean near-surface air temperature that would result from a sustained doubling of the atmospheric (equivalent) carbon dioxide concentration (?Tx2). This value is estimated by the IPCC Fourth Assessment Report (AR4) as “likely to be in the range 2 to 4.5°C with a best estimate of about 3°C, and is very unlikely to be less than 1.5°C. Values substantially higher than 4.5°C cannot be excluded, but agreement of models with observations is not as good for those values.” This is a change from the IPCC Third Assessment Report (TAR, 2001), which said it was “likely to be in the range of 1.5 to 4.5 °C.” A model estimate of equilibrium sensitivity thus requires a very long model integration; fully equilibrating ocean temperatures requires integrations of thousands of model years. A measure requiring shorter integrations is the transient climate response (TCR), which is defined as the average temperature response over a twenty year period centered at CO2 doubling in a transient simulation with CO2 increasing at 1% per year. The transient response is lower than the equilibrium sensitivity, due to the “inertia” of ocean heat uptake.

 

NGOization: Depoliticizing Activism in Canada

New Socialist

May 25, 2014

By Dru Oja Jay

psf2

Across Canada, movement organizations are preparing for the People’s Social Forum, coming up in August. There’s a buzz of excitement and anticipation in the air as committees elect delegates, and strategies are debated. When hundreds of activists gather in Ottawa in a few months, we will be drawing from a rich, long-simmering cauldron of theoretical discussion and insight issuing from astute on-the-ground observations.

Members of a variety of organizations will gather to debate proposals and hear reports from paid organizers. Thousands will gather in major cities, and crowds ranging from dozens to hundreds are expected in smaller centres. In Kenora, a delegation of Indigenous activists are expected to present a proposal for a major change in the role of First Nations in Greenpeace campaigns. In Montreal, a left tendency within the membership is said to be preparing a resolution that would shift the Council of Canadians’ considerable campaigning clout to align more closely with the explicitly anti-capitalist student movement.

In BC, the Sierra Club will hold a series of general assemblies, bringing together its thousands of members for similar discussions. Canada World Youth, Engineers Without Borders, KAIROS and Amnesty International are holding local meetings to select delegates and discuss priorities. Southern Ontario is aflutter with activity as cross-sectoral workers’ committees meet independently of their unions to discuss strategies to proactively prevent the next plant closure and fight it with broad public support if it goes forward.

The question of which alliances to prioritize building when Canada’s still-nascent social movements gather in August is at the forefront of all these conversations. Which strategies will prevail? Which ideas will move to the fore? The anticipation is building.

Pure fiction?

With the exception of the People’s Social Forum, which is indeed planned for August 21 to 24 in Ottawa, the above scenario is pure fiction. The organizations listed above do have the membership and financial resources to open such spaces and expect people to take an interest, but few of them use that capacity. This is not an arbitrary fact of life; there are material and historical reasons why it is the case.

Decades of professionalization mean that if any of those organizations tried to hold assemblies like this, they would, at least initially, have trouble convincing people to come. Things would likely get off to an awkward start and require skilled and hands-on facilitation. A political culture of participation, collective decision-making and debate is all but missing. Decisions are made in offices and boardrooms, where professionalized staff preside over donors, petition signers and the occasional volunteer rather than a mobilized or empowered membership.

It wasn’t always like this. We don’t need to idealize the past to realize that there has been a concerted push to make what under other circumstance would be movement organizations into centrally-controlled bodies run by trained professionals. Exceptions to this trend are forever popping up: the environmental movement in the 1970s, the antiglobalization movement of the late 1990s, and most recently Occupy Wall Street are a few of the more prominent examples. But none of these exceptions has put an end to the process of bureaucratization and centralization. In fact, the process seems to accelerate when powerful grassroots movements enter onto the scene.

This process has been dubbed NGOization (after the increasingly-ubiquitous form, the Non-Governmental Organization, or NGO). While NGOization has been going on for decades, the concept is just starting to gain in currency beyond a few academics and grassroots organizers.

NGOization, write Dip Kapoor and Aziz Choudry in their edited collection by the same name, is a process of “professionalization and depolitization” which fragments and compartmentalizes the world into “issues and projects.” It works well, they add, “for neoliberal regimes.”

What NGOization precludes and inhibits is movement-building. Centralized control allows for an efficient mobilization of existing capacity, but it doesn’t provide the opportunities for masses of people to have new experiences, build their own ideas, do their own research, or start their own initiatives. It doesn’t provide the possibility of large numbers of people to decide, together, where to focus their energies or when to divide them.

The driving force behind the process of NGOization is not mysterious. Billions of dollars have been provided to Canadian NGOs to provide social services, dig wells in villages in African villages, support marginalized populations, campaign for environmental protection, and alleviate the effects of poverty. The money comes from government (the federal government spends close to a billion dollars per year on development NGOs alone) and private foundations (millions of tax-deductible dollars are spent annually to support environmental campaigns, for example).

But what do foundations and governments get for their money?

FLASHBACK | “Cause-Related Marketing”: Why Social Change and Corporate Profits Don’t Mix

pledge-ran-credo180

PRWatch

July 14, 2006

by Inger Stole 

In the 1980s, a new form of marketing was born: Cause-Related Marketing (CRM), a hybrid of product advertising and corporate public relations. CRM aims to link corporate identities with nonprofit organizations and good causes. As a tax-deductible expense for business, this form of brand leveraging seeks to connect with the consuming public beyond the traditional point of purchase and to form long-lasting and emotional ties with consumers. However, what might seem like a fair exchange between corporations in search of goodwill and non-profits in search of funds also raises a range of troubling social, political and ethical questions.

How Tides Canada Controls the Secret North American Tar Sands Coalition

Tzep

[photo] Ms. Berman presenting a “Green” Award to former Liberal Party of B.C. premier, Gordon Campbell … the man who privatized British Columbia, sold it to General Electric and other international corporations, who built highways across farmland and called it “green;” who reversed dioxin effluent safeguards that we fought for and instituted in B.C. to protect our water; who sold off the public and natural heritage of British Columbia and opened the doors to General Electric to occupy hundreds of watersheds, devastate riparian ecosystems, and destroy forests for transmission lines to carry expensive power to mines in the north and to sprawling cities in the U.S. - Photo source: BC government.

Repeat This Aloud

Counterpunch

October 16, 2013

By Macdonald Stainsby

Before Tzeporah Berman began her current position as head of the North American Tar Sands Coalition, Tides Canada had already established these structures to create near-total control over budgets– and therefore, most decisions– for staggering numbers of organizations. Berman was around at the time, working for PowerUp pushing forward offsets garnered by river destruction. Some of the participant organizations already had working partnerships with multiple tar sands producers. The over-whelming majority were already greased by primarily high donors and foundations. Thus, joining the NATSC meant, essentially, double dipping.

The Tides Foundation began the NATSC as a project with earmarked funding coming from other large philanthropic foundations. This unelected and unseen structure was created to stand as a vehicle to help forge a similar backroom strategy for and likely negotiation of a “final agreement” to end campaigns against either certain segments or corporations involved in tar sands, likely borrowing from concepts involved in crafting similar deals with forestry corporations.

In 2009, as a part of producing Offsetting Resistance, a full strategy paper document was leaked to myself and Dru Oja Jay. It was an internal paper from a few months prior that outlined the secret nature of the coalition, the internal structures, the over-all short, middle and long term goals of a foundation funded, and foundation directed entity that was earmarked as a project of Tides Canada, and not as a separate NGO.

The pressure applied and leveraged would be out of the hard work of other people. The people who had worked at a community or first nations grassroots level were not only to not be consulted, if deal negotiations were to happen it was without anyone but a select few ever knowing anything about it. Until the press conference.

The documents make this point specifically: “This document is confidential” reads the front page of the strategy paper for the single most important climate campaign of their multi-million dollar philanthropy. But the real kicker is the breakdown of the structures. Under the heading “Enroll key decision makers while isolating opponents” : We will not make the decisions to slow and clean up the tar sands – those in positions of authority will.”

Though there are many problematic proposed solutions contained within the program (carbon offsets, for example), this was written by Michael Marx, then head of Tides’ Tar Sands Coalition in 2008. Specific demands, strategy and more may well have moved on, especially in the face of new coalition partner, Bill McKibben, and the PR group that has brought the world 350.org. Pipeline struggles, in years past, were not as heavily focused upon as now. Keystone (both of them) gets only a whiff in the paper by name; Enbridge Gateway is described but not named. Indeed, how times have changed.

Instead of predictions about the terms of a sell-out, the focus here should be on the structures as they are described. We know automatically the terms will be detrimental to the needs of the climate or of community, simply because the Canadian Boreal Initiative, Environmental Defense, WWF, CPAWS and other organizations who do more than negotiate backroom deals– but publicly embrace and partner with corporations like Suncor, Nexen, Dow Chemical and more– are leading members. The coalition groups are now under the twin auspices of Tides and Pew funding, as well Tides and Pew membership as further “partners.”

This further blurring of foundations who are increasingly “activist” in their own right, speaking and campaigning as “just another green group” is accelerating. In the past few years, new brazen language has come from Tides Canada, previously unthinkable: “At Tides Canada we are working to bridge these two polarized camps (environmentalists and tar sands corporations– MS). As a convener of diverse interests, we’ve played this role before, most notably in British Columbia’s Great Bear Rainforest.1”

The quote above was a letter penned by President and CEO of Tides Canada, Ross McMillan. When the Great Bear Rainforest backroom deal was announced, it was publicized as a triumph of “Rainforest Solutions Project,” then comprising ForestEthics, Sierra Club BC, Greenpeace Canada and the Rainforest Action Network (RAN has since withdrawn support for the agreement). Tides was then, to use their jargon, “invisible to the outside,” but now speaks publicly as both a “stakeholder” and financial lifeblood. Now they advertise prior secretive involvement.

When looking at the real structures of the “North American Tar Sands Coalition” remember that it “shall remain invisible to the outside and to the extent possible, staff will be “purchased” from engaged organizations.”

“Purchasing” staff means that a person who is acting in the capacity of the directives of the paymaster coalition is never to public refer to the actual job, or even the organization. As such, even though someone took a leave from, say, the Pembina Institute to become a coordinator within the Tar Sands Coalition steering committee, and cashed paycheques from Tides referencing this work, they would publicly identify with their former employing organization, the Pembina Institute.

In fact, the above perfectly described the Canadian tar sands coordinator for Tides previously, Dan Woynillowicz. Google his name and he appears only as Pembina. The fact that demands, media, talking points, statements and interviews and paydays all then came from Tides direction was to “remain invisible to the outside.” He stepped aside for Jennifer Lash, who appears publicly as Executive Director of Living Oceans BC. She is, in fact, coordinator of Tides Canadian section.

Michael Marx is the former “lead coordinator” from the tar sands steering committee, above the American and Canadian coordinators. These three, in collaboration with media coordinators, form the power nucleus. Other foundations centralize campaign contributions to the Tides Coalition, and will re-direct appeals for tar sands funding to the national coordinators from this one group. This has effectively narrowed the overwhelming portion of all tar sands funding from foundation sources, leaving astronomical power in the hands of an unseen entity.

How does the final say evolve? According to Marx while he was still coordinator: “While NGOs generally prefer a network structure that allows for maximum communication, and minimal centralized control, foundations investing most heavily in the campaign have a vested interest in exercising some control over the process”(emphasis mine).

Michael Marx has moved on as mentioned, for Tzeporah Berman to become head of the North American Tar Sands Coalition. Marx himself is officially a campaigner once again with the Sierra Club in the United States.

The “Tar Sands Solutions Network” appears to be the vehicle for a public face to negotiate a “win-win” deal. A couple of years ago, the Mediacoop.ca and later on the Globe and Mail reported a leak of an attempted “fireside chat” that was to happen with no fanfare, media or record of its existence. This chat was to involve some of the largest players in energy corporations operating in the tar sands, “with beer in hand” alongside some of the more compromised and right wing environmental organizations.

That particular meeting was aborted after the leak.

There are other secret meetings as well, ones where you have to sign before hand not to release any information about what is discussed. There– without the input of the multiple indigenous communities and other active community resistance movements that target tar sands on both sides of the colonial border– strategy for the short, middle and long terms are drawn up.

Foundations spring for the event, foundations also “influence” talking points, strategy is laid out and so on. Recently, for example, there was such a meeting held off the coast of British Columbia. People who organize in other areas would likely know many of those who attended. Attendees are all sworn overtly not to speak out about its mere existence.

The coalition is the same invisible Trojan Horse that so many “collaborative model” agreements have come from in the past. Berman is simply the public face of capitalism’s last ditch attempt to save itself. The system needs reinvention as it collapses under strain, and the new class of would be green capitalists seek to emerge out of this crisis like Henry Ford did from the Depression. Exploitation of the working class, continued indigenous colonialism at home, war mongering imperialism, permanently expanding growth economics– all with climate effects being transferred onto the over-exploited majority world– this is all “just the way things are,” because “we don’t have time to try and transform the system,” and so on are invoked in defending a strategy of accommodation to capital.

The reality is it results in defeat; the tar sands are a cornerstone– as is all oil– to a growth economy. Fracking, tar sands, offshore, coal to liquids, mountain top removal and the prize of Utah and Colorado’s oil shale, every last bit of it and more must be opposed. Growth is the problem. Green capitalism is a false promise to unite a growth economy with a healthy atmosphere. It is a lie.

If the economic framework of assigning value to land to be converted to resources for dollars is not challenged, oil will continue. It is not a renegade or rogue industry. It is a perfectly normal, capitalist industry.

Big Energy’s power is a reflection of the centrality of energy, leading to influence. It is a logic completely at peace with accumulation of profit and the dominance of capital. More than “not a rogue industry,” it is the flagship, the pinnacle of industries under late industrial capitalism.

Oil exploitation has existed in every industrial society of the last few centuries; however, like the arms industry, the power nexus of its placement in the over-all economic structure of the West makes it absolutely impossible to decouple a dismantling of the power structure with any hope of weakening some falsely labelled “rogue” industry. We need at minimum to declare no right of any backroom negotiation around tar sands. Nothing can green them, nothing can legitimize discussions. Public or private.

Growth is the elephant in the living room we must confront. We must reject a “green shift” that panders to “have your cake and eat it too” eco-populism, the lefty-green rhetoric of a new green bourgeoisie trying to burst forth.

By making capital sacrosanct (“[F]oundations investing most heavily in the campaign have a vested interest in exercising some control over the process.”), the negotiation process cannot do anything about the situation of capital dominance.

Capital is most dominant in the North American political party system. The pro-Obama language of the “Tar Sands Solutions Network” likely indicates a nod to board member Bill McKibben, whose own Rockefeller funded, pro-Obama organizing in 350.org has become stuck on a hamster wheel chasing the Keystone XL. Simply put, the same PR professional thinking below the border that designed the Democrats’ Moveon.org are now more than likely having influence on crafting part of the over-all trajectory of tar sands big money organizing. Brand Obama sells, but the products are made of oil.

Let us ask: Can choreography win the day? In the excellent article “The Climate Movement’s Pipeline Preoccupation” from last week, four Rising Tide community organizers pointed out:

“[T]he mainstream Keystone XL and Northern Gateway campaigns operate on a flawed assumption that the climate movement can compel our elected leaders to respond to the climate crisis with nothing more than an effective communications strategy.”

The people who would negotiate away the work done in other diverse communities are unseen, unelected, unaccountable and have friendly relations with large corporations for a reason. They are not even a large minority of those organizing in opposition to tar sands and the energy industries, however. Those whose resistance have done the most to create this situation?

Some have warm relations with certain facets of Big Green, but all have organized independent of Big Green structures, built separate movements of their own, evolving community directed demands. Through a process of building, what it is that cannot be negotiated has evolved for every different movement in their own manner. There is not just one movement, and there are just as many different sets of principles.

Impacted indigenous communities are building opposition to Line 9 expansion with allies of theirs from outlying communities; People in Utah & Texas are engaged in creative responses of resistance to proposed tar sands mining or pipeline construction; indigenous territory has been reclaimed and rebuilt blocking all energy pipeline construction: Tar sands oil, fracked gas, none of it is being allowed across Unist’ot’en Territory near the Pacific Ocean coastline. There are other paths being walked.

People can now raise a clear voice in opposition to further moves to negotiate a final agreement that no one has any mandate to work on. We must reject the collaborative model succinctly for the tar sands, whether expressed by pipeline deals or in Alberta and Saskatchewan at the source of developments. The impacts globally from setting a North American tar sands collaborative process in motion could irreparably damage resistance to tar sands in places where it is now just getting off the ground around the world.

The current Big Green structures are undemocratic and cloak and dagger in appearance. The participants are organizations and certain individuals with a history of bad democratic practice and serious pro-corporate sympathies.

There comes a time, as has been said, when silence is betrayal. Let this be known as just such a time. Let us celebrate the existing diversity of the movements in opposition to tar sands and fossil fuels, and that have targeted the immediate, essential need to make clear the impossibility of parceling the land as a solution.

We must make certain solidarity is a true bottom line for those who are seen as allies in the battles over tar sands and climate. Solidarity cannot come from secret conversations with the enemy. Let us speak too, of this reality: Big energy is the enemy. Not bad practices within it, but the energy and growth economy itself.

The equivalent of the Canadian Tea Party crowd has filled newspaper columns with stories to frighten you and I about the power of American money. Much of the foundation-led anti-tar sands cash has been coming from the United States, and as such we are supposed to cringe at the origin. Yet it would not matter if the paper trail led one to the moon– resources in and of themselves are not the issue. Were spending resources to be the issue, big energy companies and the federal government within Canada itself have vastly outspent the foundations on both sides of the 49th parallel, promoting unfettered tar sands. The problem is the distortion of active resistance, and the hi-jacking of a public process.

These are battles that determine whether or not we can make a grim situation survivable. Capital has caused this near calamity, we surely need to stop trying to save it from itself any longer. Capital has also polluted our own thinking– and actions– from within. We must reinvigorate a democratic environmental movement through a refutation of back room deals– and organize active resistance to those who would try and negotiate one.

 

[Macdonald Stainsby is an anti-tar sands and social justice activist, freelance writer and professional hitchhiker looking for a ride to the better world, currently based in Vancouver, Canada. He can be reached at mstainsby@resist.ca]

 

Keystone XL: The Art of NGO Discourse | Part I

Counterpunch

April 12, 2013

An investigative report by Cory Morningstar

[Further Reading: Part II | Part III]

Gloat Like Rockefeller When Watching Trains

buffet

March 5, 2013: Buffett Says Gloat Like Rockefeller When Watching Trains

On Nov 3, 2009, Berkshire Hathaway, the investment vehicle of Warren Buffett, announced its plan to purchase the 77.4 percent of Burlington Northern Santa Fe (BNSF) that it did not already own for $26 billion in cash and stock – the largest deal in Berkshire history. The deal, which included Berkshire’s prior investment and the assumption of $10 billion in Burlington Northern debt, brought the total value to $44 billion. Buffett remarked it was a big bet on the United States.

It was TO be a bet that both President Barack Obama and Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton, would ensure he DID not lose.

“There’s class warfare, all right, but it’s my class, the rich class, that’s making war, and we’re winning.”
– Warren Buffett

Paid to Lose | The Progressive Movement is a PR Front for Rich Democrats

Counterpunch

Weekend Edition March 15-17, 2013

by John Stauber

There is good news in the Boston Globe today for the managers, development directors, visionaries, political hacks and propaganda flacks who run “the Progressive Movement.”   More easy-to-earn and easy-to-hide soft money, millions of dollars,  will be flowing to them from super rich Democrats and business corporations.  It will come clean, pressed and laundered through Organizing for Action, the latest incarnation of the Obama Money Machine which has recently morphed into a “nonpartisan non-profit corporation” that will  ‘‘strengthen the progressive movement and train our next generation of leaders.’’

FLASHBACK | 350.org: Environmental Corporatism

The following excerpts from the article Harnessing People Power Continued – The 99% Spring and the “Professional Left” are written by Edmund Berger. The article,  in its entirety, can be read on Swans Commentary where it was published May 21, 2012.

 (Swans – May 21, 2012)   “Astroturfing” is a term that has entered the popular lexicon of the politically educated, referring to the ability of largely unseen actors to mold and direct grassroots social movement. Awareness of this phenomenon is a direct fallout from the ascendancy of the Tea Party, as it became rapidly apparent that its transition from a protest movement to a legislative powerhouse was guided with the help of the now-renowned Koch brothers. These conservative-minded billionaire philanthropists, working through their interlocking family foundations, had invested vast sums of money into intermediary organizations that helped plan, facilitate, and execute successful protests, rallies, and political campaigns. Yet those who flaunt the term “astroturfing” — namely, those on the left of the spectrum — have shown a certain reluctance to acknowledge the fact that this same method is being applied to progressive grassroots movements as well, re-concentrating disenfranchisement with the dominant institutions of power into a manageable opposition capable of acting as a voting base. This is not a recent development; it dates back to the “Progressive Era” of American political history, and it forms a central apparatus of US foreign policy abroad under the non-descript diplomacy of “democracy promotion.”

350.org: Environmental Corporatism

How Environmental Groups Gone Bad Greenwash Logging Earth’s Last Primary Old Forests

The Great Rainforest Heist

April 16, 2012

by Dr. Glen Barry | Rainforest Portal

The world’s pre-eminent environmental organizations, widely perceived as the leading advocates for rainforests and old growth, have for decades been actively promoting primary forest logging [search]. Groups like Greenpeace, Rainforest Action Network (RAN), The Nature Conservancy, Conservation International, World Wide Fund for Nature/World Wildlife Fund (WWF) and the Environmental Defense Fund actively promote industrially logging Earth’s last old forests. Through their support of the existing “Forest Stewardship Council” (FSC), and/or planned compromised “Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation” (REDD), they are at the forefront of destroying ancient forests for disposable consumer items – claiming it is “sustainable forest management” and “carbon forestry”.

Rainforest movement corruption is rampant as these big bureaucratic, corporatist NGOs conspire to log Earth’s last primary rainforests and other old growth forests. Collectively the “NGO Old Forest Sell-Outs” are greenwashing FSC’s destruction of over 300,000,000 acres of old forests, destroying an area of primary rainforests and other old forests the size of South Africa (two times the size of Texas)! FSC and its members have built a massive market for continued business as usual industrially harvested primary forest timbers – with minor, cosmetic changes – certifying as acceptable murdering old forests and their life for consumption of products ranging from toilet paper to lawn furniture. Some 70% of FSC products contain primary forest timbers, and as little as 10% of any product must be from certified sources.

FSC has become a major driver of primary forest destruction and forest ecological diminishment. Despite certifying less than 10% of the world’s forest lands, their rhetoric and marketing legitimizes the entire tropical and old growth timber trade, and a host of even worse certifiers of old forest logging. It is expecting far too much for consumers to differentiate between the variety of competing and false claims that old growth timbers are green and environmentally sustainable – when in fact none are. While other certification schemes may be even worse, this is not the issue, as industrial first-time primary forest logging cannot be done ecologically sustainably and should not be happening at all. FSC’s claims to being the best destroyer of primary forests is like murdering someone most humanely, treating your slaves the best while rejecting emancipation, or being half pregnant.

To varying degrees, most of the NGO Old Forest Sell-Outs also support the United Nations’ new “Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation” program (UNREDD, REDD, or REDD+), originally intended to protect Earth’s remaining and rapidly diminishing primary rainforests and other old forests, by making “avoided deforestation” payments to local forest peoples as an international climate and deforestation solution. Large areas of primary and old-growth forests were to be fully protected from industrial development, local communities were to both receive cash payments while continuing to benefit from standing old forests, and existing and new carbon was to be sequestered.

After years of industry, government and NGO forest sell-out pressure, REDD+ will now fund first time industrial primary rainforest logging and destruction under the veil of “sustainable forest management” and “carbon forestry”. REDD+ is trying to be all things to everybody – forest logging, protection, plantations, carbon, growth – when all we need is local funding to preserve standing forests for local advancement, and local and global ecology; and assurances provided REDD+ would not steal indigenous lands, or be funded by carbon markets, allowing the rich to shirk their own emissions reductions.

Sustainable forest management in old forests is a myth and meaningless catchphrase to allow continued western market access to primary rainforest logs. Both FSC and now REDD+ enable destruction of ancient naturally evolved ecosystems – that are priceless and sacred – for throw away consumption. Increasingly both FSC and REDD+ are moving towards certifying and funding the conversion of natural primary forests to be cleared and replanted as plantations. They call it carbon forestry and claim it is a climate good. Even selective logging destroys primary forests, and what remains is so greatly ecologically reduced from first time industrial logging, that they are on their way to being plantations.

Naturally evolved ancient forests are sacred and primeval life giving shrines, and standing and intact, large and contiguous primary rainforest and other old forests are a requirement for sustaining global ecology and achieving local advancement. Old forests are a vital part of the biosphere’s ecological infrastructure – and have a prominent, central role in making the Earth habitable through their cycling of carbon, energy, water, and nutrients. Planetary boundaries have been exceeded, we have already lost too many intact terrestrial ecosystems, and what remains is in adequate to sustain global ecology.

Primary rainforests cannot be logged in an ecologically sustainable manner; once logged – selectively, certified, legally or not – for throw-away consumer crap, their primary nature is destroyed, and ecological composition and dynamics are lost forever. What remains is permanently ecologically diminished in terms of composition, structure, function, dynamics, and evolutionary potential. Logged primary forests’ carbon stores, biodiversity and ecosystems will never be the same in any reasonable time-span. Selective, industrially logged primary rainforests become fragmented, burn more and are prone to outright deforestation.

Primary forest logging is a crime against Earth, the human family and all life – and those doing the logging, profiting and greenwashing the ecocide are dangerous criminals – who must be stopped and brought to justice. There is a zero chance of protecting and ending first time industrial logging of primary rainforests when the NGO Old Forest Sell-Outs say it is sustainable, even desirable, and continue to greenwash FSC old growth timber markets – now to be expanded with potential REDD funding – providing crucial political cover and PR for forest ecocide through their presence in the organizations.

Each of the named organizations’ forest campaigns are a corrupt shell of their former selves – acting unethically and corruptly – destroying global ecology and local options for advancement, for their own benefit. The rainforest logging apologists have chosen power, prestige and money coming from sitting at the old forest logging mafia’s table, gathering the crumbs fallen from the table to enrich their empires, rather than the difficult yet necessary job of working to fully protect rainforests and other primary forests from industrial development.

WWF, Greenpeace, and RAN are particularly culpable. With rainforests threatened as never before, RAN targets the Girl Scouts, Greenpeace supports Kleenex’s clearcut of Canadian old growth boreal forests for toilet paper, and WWF runs a bad-boy logger club who pay $50,000 to use the panda logo while continuing to destroy primary forests.

The only way this NGO old forest greenwash logging machine will be stopped is to make doing so too expensive to their corporate bureaucracies in terms of lost donations, grants, and other support – whose sources are usually unaware of the great rainforest heist. Ecological Internet – the rainforest campaign organization I head – and others feel strongly, based upon the urgency of emerging ecological science, and our closeness to global ecological collapse, that it is better to fight like hell in any way we can to fully protect and restore standing old forests as the most desirable forest protection outcome. Greenwash of first time industrial primary forest logging must be called out wherever it is occurring, and resisted by those in the global ecology movement committed to sustaining local advancement and ecosystems from standing old forests. There is no value in unity around such dangerous, ecocidal policy.

Despite tens of thousands of people from around the world asking these pro-logging NGOs to stop their old forest logging greenwash, none of the organizations (who routinely campaign against other forest destroyers, making similar demands for transparency and accountability) feel obligated to explain in detail – including based upon ecological-science – how logging primary forests protects them. Nor can they provide any detailed justification – or otherwise defend – the ecology, strategy and tactics of continued prominent involvement in FSC and REDD primary forest logging. They clearly have not been following ecological science over the past few years, which has made it clear there is no such thing as ecologically sustainable primary forest logging, and that large, old, contiguous, un-fragmented and fully ecologically intact natural forests are critical to biodiversity, ecosystems, and environmental sustainability.

We must end primary and other old forest logging for full community protection and restoration. The human family must protect and restore old forests – starting by ending industrial-scale primary forest logging – as a keystone response to biodiversity, ecosystem, climate, food, water, poverty and rights crises that are pounding humanity, ecosystems, plants and animals. There is no such thing as well-managed, sustainable primary forest logging – first time industrial harvest always destroys naturally evolved and intact ecosystems.

Humanity can, must and will – if it wishes to survive – meet wood product demand from certified regenerating and aging secondary growth and non-toxic, native species plantations. Humanity must meet market demand for well-managed forest timbers by certifying only 1) small-scale community eco-forestry practiced by local peoples in their primary forests (at very low volumes for special purposes and mostly local consumption), 2) regenerating and aging secondary forests regaining old-growth characteristics, and 3) non-toxic and mixed species plantations under local control. Further, reducing demand for all timber and paper products is key to living ecologically sustainably with old forests.

Local community development based upon standing old forests including small scale eco-forestry is fine. Small scale community eco-forestry has intact primary forests as its context for seed and animal sources, and management that mimics natural disturbance and gap species establishment. It is the industrial first time logging – selective logging, defined as selecting all merchantable, mature trees and logging them– turning primary forests into plantations, that is problematic. The goal must remain to maximize the extent, size, and connectivity of core primary forest ecosystems, to maximize global and local ecosystem processes, and local advancement and maintained well-being from standing old forests.

By dragging out the forest protection fight on a forest by forest basis, until ecological collapse becomes publicly acknowledged and society mobilizes, we can hold onto more ecosystems, biodiversity, and carbon than logging them a tiny bit better now. Soon – as abrupt climate change and global ecosystem collapse become even more self-evident – the human family will catch up with the ecological science and realize old forest destruction and diminishment must end as we ramp up natural regeneration and ecological restoration of large, connected natural forests adequate to power the global ecosystem. As society awakens to the need to sustain the biosphere, having as many intact ecosystems for models and seed sources for restoration as possible will be key to any sort of ecology and human recovery.

Rainforest protection groups engaged in greenwashing primary forest logging (an oxymoron misnomer if ever there was one), particularly while offering no defense of doing so, while raising enormous sums for rainforest “protection”, must be stopped. We must continue to call upon all big NGOs to resign from FSC and REDD, and join us in consistently working to end primary forest logging, and protect and restore old forests. Until they do, they must be boycotted and their funding cut off – even if this impacts other good works they may do, as old forests are such a fundamental ecological issue – until they stop greenwashing the final destruction of primary forests. And it is past time for their supporters to end their memberships as ultimately these big NGO businesses are more concerned with their image and money than achieving global forest policy that is ecologically sufficient, truthful, and successful.

As a rainforest movement, we must return to the goal of a ban on industrially harvested primary forest timbers. This means continuing to resist and obstruct old forest harvest, businesses (including NGO corporate sell-outs) involved, timber marketing, transportation, storage, milling, product construction, product marketing, and consumption. The entire supply chain for ecocidal primary forest timbers must be destroyed. More of us must return to the forests to work with local communities to build on-the-ground desire and capacity for ecologically inspired advancement from standing old forests, and physically obstructing old forest logging. We must make stolen, ill-gotten old wood from life-giving ecosystems an unacceptable taboo, like gorilla hand ash-trays, only worse. Together we must make old forest revolution.

###

Join and follow the End Old Forest Logging campaign at http://facebook.com/ecointernet

 

Eyes Wide Shut | The Tar Sands Action Protest & The Paralysis of a Movement – Excerpt

Eyes Wide Shut | The Tar Sands Action Protest & The Paralysis of a Movement

August 30th, 2011

Cory Morningstar

Following is an excerpt from Ward Churchill’s Pacifism as Pathology, first published in 1986. For anyone interested in mitigating the global collapse of all ecosystems and deterring planet-wide and species-wide genocide, this is essential reading.

For anyone wishing to take a critical look at the Tar Sands protests by groups funded (in some cases created) by the Rockefellers and other corporate foundations – who will stop at absolutely nothing to keep the current power structures intact – the excerpt from this essay is sure to wake one from the paralysis trapping and constraining movements and societies to the status quo.  The parallels of Churchill’s essay and events in Washington DC being celebrated and endorsed, while the planet rests on the precipice, are nothing less than Orwellian.

The question central to the emergence and maintenance of nonviolence as the oppositional foundation of American activism has not been the truly pacifist formulation, “How can we forge a revolutionary politics within which we can avoid inflicting violence on others?” On the contrary, a more accurate guiding question has been, “What sort of politics might I engage in which will both allow me to posture as a progressive and allow me to avoid incurring harm to myself?” Hence, the trappings of pacifism have been subverted to establish a sort of “politics of the comfort zone,” not only akin to what Bettelheim termed “the philosophy of business as usual” and devoid of perceived risk to its advocates, but minus any conceivable revolutionary impetus as well.[55] The intended revolutionary content of true pacifist activism — the sort practiced by the Gandhian movement, the Berrigans, and Norman Morrison – is thus isolated and subsumed in the United States, even among the ranks of self-professing participants.

Such a situation must abort whatever limited utility pacifist tactics might have, absent other and concurrent forms of struggle, as a socially transformative method. Yet the history of the American Left over the past decade shows too clearly that the more diluted the substance embodied in “pacifist practice,” the louder the insistence of its subscribers that nonviolence is the only mode of action “appropriate and acceptable within the context of North America,” and the greater the effort to ostracize, or even stifle divergent types of actions.[56] Such strategic hegemony exerted by proponents of this truncated range of tactical options has done much to foreclose on what ever revolutionary potential may be said to exist in modern America.

Is such an assessment too harsh? One need only attend a mass demonstration (ostensibly directed against the policies of the state) in any U.S. city to discover the answer. One will find hundreds, sometimes thousands, assembled in orderly fashion, listening to selected speakers calling for an end to this or that aspect of lethal state activity, carrying signs “demanding” the same thing, welcoming singers who enunciate lyrically on the worthiness of the demonstrators’ agenda as well as the plight of the various victims they are there to “defend,” and – typically – the whole thing is quietly disbanded with exhortations to the assembled to “keep working” on the matter and to please sign a petition and/or write letters to congress people requesting that they alter or abandon offending undertakings.

Throughout the whole charade it will be noticed that the state is represented by a uniformed police presence keeping a discreet distance and not interfering with the activities. And why should they? The organizers of the demonstration will have gone through “proper channels” to obtain permits required by the state and instructions as to where they will be allowed to assemble, how long they will be allowed to stay and, should a march be involved in the demonstration, along which routes they will be allowed to walk. Surrounding the larger mass of demonstrators can be seen others — an elite. Adorned with green (or white, or powder blue) armbands, their function is to ensure that demonstrators remain “responsible,” not deviating from the state-arm banded sanctioned plan of protest. Individuals or small groups who attempt to spin off from the main body, entering areas to which the state has denied access (or some other unapproved activity) are headed off by these arm-banded “marshals” who argue — pointing to the nearby police – that “troublemaking” will only “exacerbate an already tense situation” and “provoke violence,” thereby “alienating those we are attempting to reach.”[57] In some ways, the voice of the “good Jews” can be heard to echo plainly over the years.

At this juncture, the confluence of interests between the state and the mass nonviolent movement could not be clearer. The role of the police, whose function is to support state policy by minimizing disruption of its procedures, should be in natural conflict with that of a movement purporting to challenge these same policies and, indeed, to transform the state itself.[58] However, with apparent perverseness, the police find themselves serving as mere backups (or props) to self-policing (now euphemistically termed “peace-keeping” rather than the more accurate “marshaling”) efforts of the alleged opposition’s own membership. Both sides of the “contestation” concur that the smooth functioning of state processes must not be physically disturbed, at least not in any significant way.[59] All of this is within the letter and spirit of cooptive forms of sophisticated self-preservation appearing as an integral aspect of the later phases of bourgeois democracy.[60] It dovetails well with more shopworn methods such as the electoral process and has been used by the state as an innovative means of conducting public opinion polls, which better hide rather than eliminate controversial policies.[61] Even the movement’s own sloganeering tends to bear this out from time to time, as when Students for a Democratic Society (SDS) coined the catch-phrase of its alternative to the polling place: “Vote with your feet, vote in the street.”[62]

Of course, any movement seeking to project a credible self-image as something other than just one more variation of accommodation to state power must ultimately establish its “militant” oppositional credentials through the media in a manner more compelling than rhetorical speechifying and the holding of impolite placards (“Fuck the War” was always a good one) at rallies.[63] Here, the time-honored pacifist notion of “civil disobedience” is given a new twist by the adherents of nonviolence in America. Rather than pursuing Gandhi’s (or, to a much lesser extent, King’s) method of using passive bodies to literally clog the functioning of the state apparatus — regardless of the cost to those doing the clogging — the American nonviolent movement has increasingly opted for “symbolic actions.”[64]

The centerpiece of such activity usually involves an arrest, either of a token figurehead of the movement (or a small, selected group of them) or a mass arrest of some sort. In the latter event, “arrest training” is generally provided – and lately has become “required” by movement organizers – by the same marshals who will later ensure that crowd control police units will be left with little or nothing to do. This is to ensure that “no one gets hurt” in the process of being arrested, and that the police are not inconvenienced by disorganized arrest procedures. [65]

The event which activates the arrests is typically preplanned, well publicized in advance, and, more often than not, literally coordinated with the police — often including estimates by organizers concerning how many arrestees will likely be involved. Generally speaking, such “extreme statements” will be scheduled to coincide with larger-scale peaceful demonstrations so that a considerable audience of “committed” bystanders (and, hopefully, NBC/CBS/ABC/CNN) will be on hand to applaud the bravery and sacrifice of those arrested; most of the bystanders will, of course, have considered reasons why they themselves are unprepared to “go so far” as to be arrested.[66] The specific sort of action designed to precipitate the arrests themselves usually involves one of the following: (a) sitting down in a restricted area and refusing to leave when ordered; (b) stepping across an imaginary line drawn on the ground by a police representative; (c) refusing to disperse at the appointed time; or (d) chaining or padlocking the doors to a public building. When things really get heavy, those seeking to be arrested may pour blood (real or ersatz) on something of “symbolic value.”[67]

As a rule, those arrested are cooperative in the extreme, meekly allowing police to lead them to waiting vans or buses for transportation to whatever station house or temporary facility has been designated as the processing point. In especially “militant” actions, arrestees go limp, undoubtedly severely taxing the states repressive resources by forcing the police to carry them bodily to the vans or buses (monitored all the while by volunteer attorneys who are there to ensure that such “police brutality” as pushing, shoving, or dropping an arrestee does not occur). In either event, the arrestees sit quietly in their assigned vehicles – or sing “We Shall Overcome” and other favorites — as they are driven away for booking. The typical charges levied will be trespassing, creating a public disturbance, or being a public nuisance.

Purchase the book: http://www.akpress.org/2007/items/pacifismaspathologyakpress

Read the full essay online (original): http://zinelibrary.info/files/pap_imposed.pdf

Read the updated version online (2007): http://bit.ly/qujy8b

The Great Rainforest Heist: Greenpeace, WWF, RAN, FSC and REDD+ Conspiracy to Log Earth’s Last Primary Forests for Their Protection

August 10, 2011

By Earth Meanders, a project of Ecological Internet

CONTACT: Dr. Glen Barry, glenbarry

WHEN GOOD RAINFOREST GROUPS GO BAD you get monoculture and secondary forest plantations where ancient intact primary rainforests once stood, called sustainable forest management and carbon forestry, by BINGO’s (big NGOs) and United Nations greenwashers, paid for with your membership fees and taxes. Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) is primary forest logging greenwash by money-sucking environmental bureaucracies. Rainforests and other old forest must be protected and restored for local and global ecology and local eco-development from standing forests.

Please donate now to Ecological Internet’s “End Primary Forest Logging Campaign” at http://www.rainforestportal.org/shared/donate/end_primary_forest_logging/ in order to help turn this draft document into a polished, photogenic, researched and footnoted report on BINGO’s Increased Old Forest Greenwash. Relax, there are typos, but wanted to get this out right now in draft.

INTRODUCTION

What would you say to me if I told you the world’s pre-eminent environmental organizations, widely perceived as the leading advocates for rainforests and old growth, have for decades been actively, indeed intimately, involved in logging the world’s last old forests. Would you call me a liar? Tell me I am mentally ill? Or because of the cognitive dissonance would you simply ignore me, thinking it impossible? Well here goes nothing…

There is a global conspiracy to log the Earth’s last primary forests – destroying ancient forests for disposable consumer items – while claiming it is “sustainable forest management” and “carbon forestry”. A number of public forest advocacy groups are going so far as to actually claim that industrial first-time primary forest logging is good for climate, ecosystems and local peoples.

This essay is not the result of top secret research – it is all public record. For three years of campaigning and this essay, Ecological Internet, the organization I head, has been simply connecting pieces of public record information to see just how big NGOs (BINGOs), and the United Nations have been selling out old forests under the radar. They have been selling out primary rainforests and other old growth in broad-daylight, the perfect crime, for decades – and things are getting much, much worse as moves to allow primary rainforests to be cleared for toxic monoculture plantations gain strength.

If you are a Greenpeace, Rainforest Action Network (RAN), or World Wide Fund for Nature/World Wildlife Fund (WWF) member – you are funding the greenwash destruction of 320,000,000 acres of primary rainforest and other old forest logging. These groups co-founded and have been active members in the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) for two decades, an organization that exists to build markets for primary and other old growth forest timbers. Some 70% of FSC forest products – supposedly the best of forest certification – come with primary forest timbers in them, destroying an area of primary rainforests and other old forests across an area the size of South Africa (or two times the size of Texas)!

Primary rainforests cannot be logged in an ecologically sustainable manner – or for that matter even acceptably. Primary forests logged industrially for the first time – FSC certified or otherwise – are destroyed. What remains is permanently ecologically diminished in terms of composition, structure, function, dynamics, and evolutionary potential. Logged primary forests’ carbon stores, biodiversity and ecosystems will never be the same in any reasonable time-span. Selective, industrially logged primary rainforests become fragmented, burn more and are prone to outright deforestation.

FSC certified forestry destroys ancient naturally evolved ecosystems that are priceless and sacred. Old forests have a prominent role in making the Earth habitable through their cycling of energy, water, and nutrients. The Forest Stewardship Council is a non-democratic, unaccountable, unrepresentative organization that exists solely to greenwash the final first-time industrial logging and marketing of Earth’s original, naturally evolved, and last primary rainforests and other old forests – in order to turn them into tree plantations.

Increasingly both FSC and REDD+ are moving towards certifying and funding the conversion of natural primary forests to be cleared and replanted as plantations. They call it carbon forestry and claim it is a climate good. We ecologists know this destroys primary forests when they become greatly ecologically reduced from first time industrial logging, and are on their way to being plantations. Toxic mono-cultures of trees are not forests, much less when planted on cleared primary rainforests. There is far more carbon stably stored in old forests than toxic monocrop tree plantations, most of whose timbers are in the landfill decomposing within months of harvest.

There is no doubt that these groups – Rainforest Action Network, Greenpeace and WWF – are involved in this primary forest logging. Five minutes on Google can confirm this for anyone interested, as each of the old forest logging apologists takes credit for founding and supporting the FSC publicly on their websites. Despite claiming credit, there is little justification for doing so. The logging apologists are closed-mouth regarding their justifications for doing so – but presumably they believe that by industrially logging primary forests they are ending deforestation, and claim that their rules for doing so make it acceptable and superior to other ways of murdering primary forest ecosystems.

But being the best ecocidal rainforest destroyer is nothing of which to be proud. All such deadly old forest certification schemes must stop in order to ensure enough intact terrestrial ecosystems exist to power Earth’s biosphere. For nearly 20 years the FSC has certified as “well-managed” and “sustainable” primary old forest logging on a massive scale. Competing certifiers make similar claims, as do old school non-certified primary forest loggers. FSC legitimatizes this larger trade in old forest timber products, and a false market for green products from the destruction of ancient trees.

FSC is primary forest logging with Greenpeace, RAN and WWF greenwash, corruption, conflicts of interest, bad ecology, and ecocide. 500 year old trees in 60 million year old primary rainforests and other old forests are chopped for toilet paper, lawn furniture and other such “necessities” with these groups’ greenwash and marketing clout. The rainforest logging apologists – with little or no accountability, transparency, or openness are killing Earth’s last old forests. They – particularly WWF – boast they are creating markets for ancient trees industrially pillaged from primary forests, and such market forest logging campaigns are thus little better than illegal logging, which at least is honest that it is about the money for old forest timbers.

After 20 years of working prominently with various stakeholders in the rainforest movement, I have seen a whole generation of promising activists and groups sell out for good paying jobs, saying logging old forests protects them. None have fallen as dramatically or treacherously as Greenpeace and RAN and their staff (you sort of expect this corporate greenwash bullshit from WWF and the United Nations) who suckle on the teat of rainforest logging everyday for decades. The UN’s “Avoided Deforestation” work – which is now known as REDD+ – is to pay to marketizes rainforests claiming “sustainable forest management” of primary forests – turning them into secondary forests and always ultimately into tree plantations – is a public good and helps ecology.

Ecological Internet and others feel strongly based upon the urgency of emerging ecological science and our closeness to global ecological collapse that it is better to fight like hell in any way we can to fully protect and return to native tenure standing old forests as the most desirable forest protection outcome. The Earth is already undergoing global ecological collapse and it is deeply irresponsible for organizations committed to the environment to carelessly make false old forest logging prescriptions that worsen the problem.

The BINGO old forest greenwashers sound just like get-out-the-cut forest managers – we need these resources, better to log them legally than legally, primary forests exist to be logged. Where is their former channeling of the spirit of Edward Abbey, John Muir and the other conservation greats upon whose back they stand? Somewhere along the line these groups lost sight of ecology truth, didn’t keep up with the science, had no metrics or systems to identify, monitor and handle their failed forest policy, perhaps didn’t think it mattered because it was win-win and economical.

So the rainforest logging apologist lent their names and logos to those murdering rainforests, ecosystems, their plants and animals, to wipe our asses. They turned to the dark side, using business and PR techniques to market ill-gotten old forest timbers as sustainable. They sold their souls. They have bullied critics, censored and stonewalled their brothers’ and sisters’ forest protection. They have lost their souls and legitimacy as old rainforest protection voices. And they must be stopped from doing so any longer with public monies.

BINGO COMPLICITY IN FSC LED PRIMARY RAINFOREST ECOCIDE

FSC was created in 1993 to “promote responsible management of the world’s forests”, yet has failed miserably. FSC certifies as “sustainable” the logging of over a hundred million hectares of primary and old-growth forests – hundreds of year old trees in millions of year old naturally evolved ecosystems – for lawn furniture, toilet paper and other throw-away consumer items. Many environmentalists initially supported FSC, expecting it would reduce logging of primary and old growth forests, and result in more community based eco-forestry. Instead, FSC and members have built a massive market for continued business as usual industrial primary forest timbers – with minor, cosmetic changes – in order to certify as acceptable murdering old forests for consumption.

FSC has become a major driver of primary forest destruction and forest ecological diminishment. Despite certifying less than 10% of the world’s forest lands, their rhetoric and marketing legitimizes the host of other ghastly certifiers like PEFC, SFI and others, as well as traditional non-certified ancient forest timber. It is expecting far too much of consumers to expect them to differentiate between the variety of competing claims to being green and environmental sustainability – when in fact none are as they all include old growth forest timbers.

FSC and old forest logging apologist pals policies seeking to prevent primary forests from being deforested, by allowing them to be heavily industrially and selectively logged for the first time, becoming either secondary forest or toxic mono-crop tree plantations, is not old forest protection. Deforestation and ecosystem diminishment of forests are both of profound concern ecologically – much of great importance is lost when primary forests are logged for the first time.

Standing old forests are a requirement for global ecological sustainability and local advancement. Yet, FSC is about getting out the primary forest cut – recall best estimated as 70% FSC timber and fiber from planned and past logging of 320,000,000 acres (120,000,000 hectares) – and is particularly threatening now as FSC and old forest logging apologist friends claim carbon forestry (logging primary forests to plant new plantations) is a climate change solution.

FSC’s relatively minor improvements upon the murdering of old rainforests legitimate the entire trade, FSC certified or not. While other certification schemes may be even worse, this is not the issue, as industrial first-time primary forest logging cannot be done ecologically sustainably and should not be happening at all. FSC’s claims to being the best destroyer of primary forests is like killing someone more humanely, treating your slaves better but refusing to release them, or being half pregnant. Like past battles to end monarchy and slavery before them, and continuing efforts to resist their recent forms found in fascism and human trafficking, the task before us is to fully END the stripping of Earth of its protective covering. Not doing it marginally better.

These independent estimates of FSC’s dependence upon old forest logging, one published in German already and the other by myself in publication, were able to make reasonable estimates from FSC’s own national certification data which is collate and released, and what is known about each country’s forest types and industry. If they are wrong after three years of complaint, they would have trotted out the figures and shown us. Conveniently, none of the culprits say they collect information regarding whether any particular FSC certified forest that was logged was primary, old growth or other old forests.

After years of campaigning against Greenpeace, Rainforest Action Network – two key co-founders and supporters of FSC’s primary forest logging – and FSC itself; Ecological Internet’s genuine forest ecology concerns have been met with nothing but stonewalling, censoring and vilification. No one within FSC will say how many hectares of primary forests FSC has certified for industrial logging, how much more is planned, and explained in detail how logging primary forest protects them.

Despite tens of thousands of people from around the world asking, none of the organizations who routinely campaign against other close-lipped forest destroyers, feel obligated to explain how logging primary forests protects them. Nor can they provide any other reason to justify, or to otherwise defend, the ecology, strategy and tactics of continued prominent membership in FSC primary forest logging.

WWF, Greenpeace, and RAN’s forest campaigns have been perhaps mortally compromised. Their forest advocacy efforts are a corrupt shell of their former selves. The rainforest logging apologists have chosen power, prestige and money coming from sitting at the old forest logging mafia’s table, rather than and over protecting rainforest and other primary forests. With rainforests threatened as never before, RAN targets Disney and the Girl Scouts, Greenpeace Barbie dolls, and WWF runs a bad-boy logger club which they call the Global Forest & Trade Network (GFTN). Posers like Greenpeace and RAN don’t get it because by and large they are marketers and accountants, elite liberal arts grads, and not ecologists.

WWF forest campaign is composed of resource managers, not deep ecologists, and it shows. Not only is WWF perhaps the most power BINGO totally enmeshed with FSC, it also partners with the World Bank and companies that destroy rainforests, and threaten endangered species. Some 20% of the timber industry has lined up to pay WWF $50K, for which they can use the panda logo and continue to log as they were. This is unethical, corrupt and destroying global ecology and local options for advancement.

Greenpeace’s forest protection campaign is all over the place, full of contradictions, and it is nearly impossible to see the strategy of divergent and countervailing forest protection campaign tactics. Greenpeace not only co-founded the Forest Stewardship Council, until recently Greenpeace held the international chairman of the board position for FSC for six years! Greenpeace’s quirky new rainforest campaign says Ken is leaving Barbie (Mattel’s dolls) because of rainforest destruction, yet they leave the door open for “certified” primary rainforest paper pulp for toy packaging. Two years ago Greenpeace openly embraced Kleenex’s clearcut of Canadian old growth forests for toilet paper. Now they condemn Barbie doll for tiny amounts of packaging from primary forests!

The Rainforest Action Network is the smallest of the lot, yet they are a well-known rainforest protector organization in the United States, soaking up most of the money for doing so. RAN similarly says is against primary forest logging, yet promotes FSC paper – full of old-growth – for Disney’s children books. The group is ridiculously under-qualified to be determining global rainforest policy. Their staff is mostly liberal arts grads and accountants that wouldn’t know a rainforest if it bit them in the ass. They are great at raising money, throwing lavish parties, being seen with the right celebrities, trashing opponents, and working to end coal – but their rainforest campaign is in shambles. For the first decade they worked strongly against old forest logging, but now target the Girl Scouts and Disney for relatively small amounts of rainforest destruction, as global stores of ancient rainforest temples burn and require a much larger, more urgent response.

Greenpeace, RAN and WWF must continue to be encouraged to resign from FSC greenwash; and work to end primary forest logging, protect and restore standing old forests, for local and global advancement and ecology. These groups’ vision of sustainable rainforests is logging, turning them into both secondary diminished forest (essentially plantations) and fully replanted mono-crop tree plantations, rather than working to fully protect and restore as much as possible. The rest of the grassroots global rainforest protection movement thinks we need to implement proven ways to keep old forests standing intact for local advancement and global ecology (and vice versa).

Rainforest Action Network continues to censor – and along with Greenpeace stonewall – legitimate global protest by tens of thousands of grassroots forest activists regarding their greenwash complicity in logging 320,000,000 acres of primary old forest for such necessities as toilet paper. I really don’t think young adults with liberal arts degrees should be seeking to discredit PhD professionals on the question of whether primary forests should be logged or fully protected for local community development.

At FSC recent tri-annual General Assembly in Malaysia – the “sustainable” old forest logging greenwash worsened, as FSC voted (seconded by Greenpeace) to start the process to begin certifying plantation timbers from land cleared of primary rainforests as being “sustainable”. FSC Motion 18 which was approved furthers the process of industrial toxic plantations being established on rainforests cleared since 1994, to be certified as sustainable by the Forest Stewardship Council.

Just before the vote Ecological Internet’s global network’s carried out a large email protest, which led to the motion’s wording going from essentially preparing to certify plantations on cleared rainforests, to studying it, to the latest revisionary history of completing an unnamed earlier report. Despite how it is packaged, FSC decided last month to begin trying to certify monocrop plantations on land cleared of primary rainforest since 1994.

By crossing the rubric, FSC’s embrace without merit the ideas of carbon forestry – that it is better to log well stored and carbon rich old forests, in order to plant fast growing carbon removal species – they have gone from being misguided on forest policy to being downright dangerous. FSC has already lost European NGO FERN on the issue of carbon forestry – which sees the potential peril of essentially geo-engineering the world’s old forests upon community and ecology – one of the last mighty naturally evolved ecosystems.

FSC plantations on cleared primary rainforest had rightly been excluded since FSC inception in order to not promote primary rainforest being converted specifically for later planting of depauperate plantations, but now the flood gate is wide open. FSC is continually changing the wording of Motion and downplaying its importance, and as usual Greenpeace and RAN aren’t talking, but I reckon they think tree plantations –are better than outright deforestation of primary and old growth forests. So they are trading away ecological jewels – primary forests – to become managed forests and plantations, thinking slowing outright deforestation justifies destroying wild forests.

REDD+, FSC and other certifiers, sustainable forest management, and carbon forestry are all myths and meaningless catchphrases to allow continued western market access to primary rainforest logs. Standing and intact primary rainforest and other old forests are a requirement for sustaining global ecology and achieving local advancement. We must end their logging for full protection and restoration. REDD+ has become all things to everybody – forest logging, protection, plantations, carbon, growth – when all we need is funding to preserve local old standing forests.

These organizations believe their own PR that they are so special – so hip and groovy – they can establish and avidly support with impunity an organization that facilitates the logging of rainforests and other old forests. They don’t have to answer questions about their role in rainforest destruction like others supporting logging do. It is really an abuse of power and trust. The old forest logging greenwashers all follow the same playbook and personally attack the messenger (me!). Shameful, as more old forests and terrestrial ecosystems have been lost than the biosphere can absorb and continue to make Earth habitable. This dispute is about ecological science and not personalities.

Rainforest Action Network, Greenpeace and WWF are engaged in a con game for money and influence at the expense of old forests that must remain standing for local peoples and global ecology. Global ecosystem collapse is being abetted by these so called protectors. These organizations’ policies are a carefully calibrated effort to be seen as reasonable by the growing logging industry machine and benefit in donations for doing so. None make a decision without thinking how it affects their bottom line. The only way this old forest greenwash logging machine will be stopped is to make doing so too expensive to them in terms of lost donations, grants, and other support – whose sources are usually unaware of the great rainforest heist.

WHY FSC AND OLD FOREST LOGGING MUST END FOR A NEW FOREST PROTECTION VISION

Here is the honest to Gaia old forest ecology science narrative. The human family must protect and restore old forests – starting by ending industrial-scale primary forest logging – as one keystone response to biodiversity, ecosystem, climate, food, water, poverty and rights crises that are pounding humanity, ecosystems and plants and animals. When naturally evolved old forest ecosystems are logged in any manner other than appropriately small-scaled local community traditional uses and eco-forestry – their ecological function, structure, dynamics, and composition are destroyed forever.

Protecting and restoring old forests – which means ending their industrial harvest – are a keystone response to climate, biodiversity, food, water ecology crises. You can’t take a bulldozer for a rumble through intact natural rainforests, cutting all the big merchantable timbers, and causing huge amounts of collateral damage – and not rip the hell out of ecosystems, plant communities, wildlife populations, species biodiversity, local forest dependent communities advancement potential, and carbon holding potential.

Old forests are a vital part of the biosphere’s eco-infrastructure. Along with other terrestrial, water, ocean, and atmospheric ecosystems, old forests makes Earth habitable and ensure it is fed and watered.
Old forests are perhaps the most important global ecosystem as intact primary, old growth, and regenerating old forests are at the hub of the nutrient, energy, heat, and water transfers and fluxes which power global ecosystems. It is clearly past time for an end to primary forest logging to protect these global ecological processes and local advancement potential from standing old forests.

Industrial old forest logging must end in order to protect and restore ancient forest ecosystems necessary for a habitable Earth. Primary rainforests that have been logged for the first time are on their way to being scraggly secondary forests that are in fact tree plantations, and might as well have been deforested, as their full natural ecological patterns and processes have been destroyed. When primary forests become secondary must is lost and diminished and many local and region ecological processes fail. The impacts of seeing primary forests only as resources to be whacked down has impacted a large enough area globally, with over 80% of old forests being gone or logged for the first time, that old forest logging’s impact is aggregating to diminish, damage and destroyed our one shared biosphere. Old forest logging is one of a handful of ill-advised industrial processes leading to global ecosystem collapse.

There is no such thing as well-managed, sustainable primary forest logging – first time industrial harvest always destroys natural evolution and intact ecosystems. Humanity can, must and will meet wood product demand from certified regenerating and aging secondary growth and non-toxic, native species plantations. Any lesser vision that includes “sustainable forest management” of primary forests is worthy of virulent opposition, as such greenwash destroys local livelihoods and global ecosystem services associated with standing old forests, for throw-away consumer items.

FSC should meet market demand for well-managed forest timbers by certifying only 1) small scale community eco-forestry practiced by local peoples in primary forests, 2) regenerating and aging secondary forests, and 3) non-toxic and mixed species plantations. Further, reducing demand for all timber and paper products is key to living ecologically sustainably with old forests. Only 10% of any given FSC certified product’s content need come from a certified source anyway, this is mixed with conventional fiber sources, and the 10% that is certified content is mostly murdered primary forest.

In light of current and emerging ecosystem, biodiversity and climate science; it is clear that FSC certification for industrial primary and old-growth logging is antiquated and dangerous. By logging old forests and now moving to certifying plantations established on cleared rainforests as being “sustainable”, the Forest Stewardship Council and allies are no longer a force for good, and like all primary forest logging apologists, must disband and be forcefully encouraged and assisted in doing so.

Industrial primary forest logging must end to herald in era of old forest protection and restoration based upon standing forests for local advancement and global ecological sustainability. Logging and otherwise destroying ecosystems is an 8,000 year old disease upon Gaia now perfected and terminal with RAN, Greenpeace, FSC, WWF, and REDD+ greenwash. Like slavery, industrial old forest logging for throw away consumption is a global evil that must end, not be slightly reformed. Old forest diminishment when first industrially logged is nearly as ecologically damaging as outright deforestation, as naturally evolved ecosystems that make Earth habitable are on the path to becoming tree plantations.

There is a zero chance of protecting and ending first time industrial logging of primary rainforests when RAN, Greenpeace and WWF say it is sustainable, even desirable, and continue to greenwash FSC markets for old forest timbers through their presence in the organization. Old forests must be protected and restored in order to sustain global ecology and local well-being. This NGO complicity with rainforest murder must end in order to collapse FSC and all other old forest certifiers, and move onto stopping old forest timber producers and consumers from continuing to do so using whatever means are necessary.

From the perspective of a 60 million year old primary rainforest with 500+ year old trees, it does not matter if being destroyed by illegal or legal logging, certified or not, the Asian timber mafia or WWF, Greenpeace and RAN. There is no such thing as well-managed, sustainable primary forest logging – as first time industrial harvest destroys natural evolution and intact ecosystems. Humanity can and must and will meet wood product demand from certified regenerating and aging secondary growth and non-toxic, native species plantations. If all BINGOs greenwashing FSC withdrew, old logging may well collapse as ratchet up pressure together on even lesser certifiers and old forest logging industry in general.

Together we must end primary forest logging, protecting and restoring old forests. The unholy trinity of REDD+ finance, FSC and BINGO pals for greenwash and “sustainable forest management” are clearing the biosphere’s last old forests. Please Greenpeace, RAN, WWF, and REDD+ tell us how your FSC’s logging of 500 year old trees in 60 million year old rainforests is sustainable and offers any real protection. You tout this as ending deforestation. Yet, are you aware of the tremendous damage and, by definition, ultimate destruction of primary forests that are heavily industrially and “selectively” logged for the first time?

There are others like EI that understand we have already lost more intact terrestrial ecosystems including old forests than the biosphere can bear. We will fight for each old forest and their peoples as resources and people allow, understanding when ecosystem collapse comes, having as many intact ecosystems for restoration as possible will be key to any sort of ecology and human recovery. We ecologists know that primary forests are destroyed when greatly ecologically reduced from first time industrial logging, and that plantations are not forests, much less when planted on cleared primary rainforests.

As Earth burns, any groups engaged in greenwashing primary forest logging and offering no defense of doing so are seriously misguided and in crisis themselves. If you are a RAN, Greenpeace or WWF member your donations support participation in logging primary forests and converting to plantations! Greenpeace, RAN and others’ PR stunts and market campaigns have become old, stale, ineffective and even dangerous. They are inadequate to the ecological crises on hand, and do not use these organizations’ resources and organization well. Campaigning groups need an overall ecology vision of how to achieve global ecological sustainability, to campaign more on sufficient ecological policies (whether initially photogenic or not), and work more to mobilize people protest – and less on quirky, token stunts to raise awareness and funds for themselves.

Local community development based upon standing old forests including small scale eco-forestry is fine. Small scale community eco-forestry has a context of intact primary forests as its context for seed and animal sources, and management mimics natural disturbance and gap species establishment. It is the industrial first time logging – selective logging defined as selecting all merchantable, mature trees – turning primary forests into plantations that is problematic. Ruling elite and their bought shills will not manage, invest, certify or greenwash their way to global ecological sustainability. There is no way other to global ecological sustainability than people power ecology, protecting old forests, powering down, and returning to the land.

The human family – if need be as part of a people’s power Earth revolution – must end primary forest logging, and protect and restore rainforests and all old forests, as a keystone response to biodiversity, climate, ecosystem and poverty crises. Together we will end primary forest logging, herald in an era of old forest protection and restoration, to benefit local people and sustain global ecology. We will fight for each old forest and their peoples, saving and delaying old forest industrial destruction and diminishment, and understanding when ecosystem collapse comes, having as many intact ecosystems for models and seed sources for restoration as possible will be key to any sort of ecology and human recovery. Ecological Internet puts our faith in truth and ecological science over looking good and PR greenwash.

WHAT NEXT TO SUSTAIN OLD FORESTS AND THEIR ECOLOGY

Ending primary forest logging is Ecological Internet’s number one commitment to sustaining global ecology. We will not rest until dead or an end to trade in ill-gotten forest timbers by murdering natural evolved forest ecosystems for trinkets, curios, and ass wiping. Please join with Ecological Internet and others to oppose all forces working to industrially cut or otherwise develop rainforests and other old forests, laying bare the illogical, greedy and lying rhetoric for doing so. Doing so is crucial to our and many species’ survival including Gaia, the Earth System.

As a movement, we must return to the goal of a ban on industrially harvested primary forest timbers. This means continuing to resist and obstruct old forest harvest, businesses involve, timber marketing, purchase, storage, milling, product construction and marketing. The entire supply chain for ecocidal primary forest timbers must be destroyed. More of us must return to the forests to work with local communities to build on-the-ground desire for ecologically inspired advancement from standing old forests, and blockading and physically obstructing the practice of old forest logging.

We must make ill-gotten old wood from life-giving ecosystems to become an unacceptable taboo, like gorilla hand ash-trays only worse. Ending primary forest logging further requires greater international affinity made possible by transnational advocacy networks on the Internet. There is a long proven track-record of using the boomerang effect – whereby local forest protection advocacy efforts that are being stonewalled are expressed simultaneously by the international community. The dual voices make the concern hard to ignore, the first step to ending old forest logging.

The rainforest movement has become split between those logging primary rainforests and others working to fully protect and restore for local and global benefit. I’m old enough to remember when the rainforest movement worked to protect ancient forests and ban their logging, not abet their ‘sustainable’ destruction. What these rainforest logging apologist groups are doing is every bit as alarming as loggers and governments, and they will not be given free rein to continue in their not thoughtful, self-aggrandizing manner any longer. The rainforest, forest, and ecological protection movements must unite behind effort to end primary forest logging for full protection and restoration.

And to those that say these concerns are splitting the movement, just shove it. There is no benefit to Earth from unity in support of ecocidal rainforest policy. Just as working to better the conditions of slaves is no substitute for working for total emancipation, we cannot log and have our old forests too. Even as we protest the loggers and government policies, we must continue to confront our wayward brethren that think that logging primary forests protects them – or risk becoming irrelevant as global ecosystems collapse. Rallying around a false and ecologically destructive global forest policy of logging primary forests for plantations is a must.

Rather than participating in old forest logging, it is better for the rainforest movement to fight to work to protect each old forest and their peoples, understanding that when ecosystem collapse comes, having as many intact ecosystems for restoration as possible will be key to any sort of ecology and human recovery. The grassroots global forest protection movement has to commit to fully protecting and restoring old carbon, species and ecosystem service rich forests as a keystone response to achieve global ecological sustainability.

The goal must remain to maximize the extent, size, connectivity of core terrestrial ecological areas –largely but not exclusively forested – to maximize global and local ecosystem processes, and local material and other advancement from standing old forests. By dragging out the forest protection fight on a forest by forest basis, until ecological collapse becomes publicly acknowledged, we can hold onto more ecosystems, biodiversity, and carbon than logging them now. Soon the human family will catch up with the ecological science and realize old forest destruction and diminishment must end as we ramp upreforestation and ecological restoration for large, connected natural forests adequate to power the global ecosystem.

We must continue to call upon all BINGO FSC members to reject the certification of primary forests by resigning immediately, as many others have recently done. We must continue to call upon Greenpeace, WWF, and RAN to resign from FSC, to fully account for its founding and 20 years of membership, including detailing expenditures and benefits received for greenwashing old forest logging. Further, we must demand FSC immediately stop certifying primary forest logging or disband itself.

Greenpeace, WWF and RAN have been revealed as corrupt greenwashers of the final harvest of Earth primary rainforests and other old forests, and must be stopped for global ecological sustainability and local benefits from greenwashing the destruction of standing old growth forests. This means boycotting these organizations, even their other work as what to do with old forests is such a fundamental ecological issue, until they stop greenwashing the final loss of old forests. And it is past time for the groups’ members to end their memberships as ultimately these big NGO businesses are more concerned with their image and money than having global forest policy that is ecologically valid and correct.

The worst part regarding Rainforest Action Network, Greenpeace and WWF greenwash membership in Forest Stewardship Council is their secrecy, lack of transparency, censorship, stonewalling, vilifying critics. Who do they think are? What are they hiding? What benefits are they receiving from old forest logging? Their stonewalling is reprehensible and alarming. Like all public entities they have a responsibility to defend your public positions.

Despite best attempts to portray Ecological Internet campaign and ecological science concerns as being personal and political motivated, this essay and continued growing global protest demonstrates in fact efforts to resist those supporting primary forest logging is a reasonable ecology dispute that must be redressed. We have had bad experiences with the head of RAN’s forest campaign for years, before he worked for RAN and this campaign started, so this is immaterial and we deal with his debilities. There have been a series of personal attacks coming from the other side which refuses to have a specific debate, or even provide any justification, in defense of this ecological travesty known as FSC.

Given RAN and Greenpeace’s irresponsible behavior when questioned on their rainforest ‘protection’ policy that is of global ecological importance how can they be trusted? These liberal arts under-grads and accountants think they are qualified to set policy because they have money and influential friends, but are making dreadful mistakes. Despite founding and actively supporting, they can’t say how much primary forests are being destroyed by FSC. This is ignorance, duplicity, or corruption. These groups are dangerous enemies to old forests and biosphere, profiting from their demise, while acting like and being paid well as the publicly viewed good forest protection groups.

This old forest logging corruption will not stand, it must and will be fully investigated, and end with widespread resignations. Ecological Internet calls upon Greenpeace, WWF and RAN staff to protest their organizations’ greenwash of primary forest logging from within, and resign immediately if they are not heard and NGO primary rainforest ecocide continues. It is time to investigate all three organizations’ involvement with FSC and other activities to support primary forest logging with the timber industry. Until then the awareness building and resistance to greenwash of BINGO old forest logging must continue, tarnishing the not good old forest protection names. EI remains willing to negotiate terms of their resignation from FSC and debate the importance of doing so in a public arena at any time.

In the meantime, Ecological Internet is writing a grant to do a report on the matter based loosely upon this essay. We have a good lead on a funder to investigate BINGO complicity in FSC old growth logging, but need a couple thousand dollars to prepare and do the initial research. We would really appreciate your help turning this document into a fully referenced report based upon FSC logging site visits and full of pictures by donating to our “Ending Primary Forest Logging” campaign at http://www.rainforestportal.org/shared/donate/end_primary_forest_logging . This is a draft document, put out hurriedly in draft form, before I go to vacation and decide upon Ecological Internet’s future.

Ecological Internet challenges Rainforest Action Network and/or Greenpeace to debate any time and any place of their choosing (which can afford to get to) regarding the efficacy and ecological sustainability of first time industrial logging of primary forests for toilet paper and other consumer items. From dialogue comes truth, reduction in conflict and hate, and right action. Their greenwash of old forest logging will not stand. The secret of their having been compromised is out and nothing can save their policy of logging old rainforests for their protection.

No excuse for Greenpeace, RAN and FSC for not having answered a three year global protest demanding details regarding how their forest campaign policies see logging primary forest as benefiting ecology.
Hundreds of thousands of protest emails and a dozen protests have been ignored simply because the guilty organization are bigger and think they can get away with ignoring us. Even as we protest and demand they resign, let’s hold out our hands to help rehabilitate our fallen brethren. WE have truth, ecology, old forests, Gaia and Internet on our side. Forward!

Greenpeace International and Rainforest Action Network in particular would rightly never accept rainforest or other environmental destroyers unwilling to defend their policies, they would protest until they got answers and it ended. The same is true with the more grassroots, transparent rainforest protection movement regarding RAN and Greenpeace’s failure to defend in detail their support and membership in FSC, which greenwashes the destruction of massive tracts of primary rainforests, old growth and other old forests for consumer products.

The Greenpeace and RAN Out of FSC Primary Forest Logging Now! campaign on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/oldforests/ has been going on for nearly 3 years with picketing and online protests. We will protest there and elsewhere at the time and place of our choosing – as the old forest logging apologists do against the orders of magnitude smaller rainforest destruction by Barbie, Disney and Girl Scouts – until old forest logging apologists unconditionally resign from FSC greenwash of ancient primary forest logging.

ANY continued deforestation or diminishment of old forests – legal or illegal, certified or not – are not ecologically or socially acceptable. At risk is Earth’s continued habitability if old forests continue to be lost and are not restored. Old forest logging certification schemes are ecocidal certified madness as these standing old forests are needed for global ecology and local advancement. BINGO’s will resign from FSC and forest certification of primary forest logging end or protests continue against the greenwashers and all perpetrators of these ecocidal practices. For Earth, we must end old forest logging now.

http://www.rainforestportal.org/issues/2011/08/earth_meanders_the_great_rainf.asp

Tar Sands development edging closer in Trinidad and Tobago? | Rainforest Action Network

Tar Sands development edging closer in Trinidad and Tobago?

RBC appears at Trinidad government forum extolling their record in Canada’s tar sands

by Macdonald Stainsby

In December of 2010, Rainforest Action Network [RAN], issued a press release that was full of praise for the Royal Bank of Canada adopting a new framework around investments in companies involved in tar sands production.

RBC was coming under increasing pressure to end their investments in tar sands extraction, and on December 22nd of 2010 RAN announced an end to the campaign to force RBC to divest from tar sands production, citing a ‘victory’ when RBC announced their intentions to use Free Prior and Informed Consent [FPIC] in evaluating future investments in energy and related projects.

FPIC means many things, but the core component of the concept is the ‘right to say no’ to development on the part of an affected community. RBC uses many words to describe how they interpret FPIC– but the absolute right of a veto is nowhere in their description. “The policy also recognizes the importance of community relations, and in particular aboriginal community relations, in operating and growing a business, and we look at how our clients consult and meaningfully accommodate these communities,” said Gordon Nixon, the CEO of RBC in their announcement.

This is the same exact language used by the Federal government of Canada: the language of consultation and accommodation, which is different from Free, Prior and Informed Consent. That RBC wants to end the public pressure and remake their image as one of friendly to indigenous and frontline communities is of no surprise– but why would an organization like RAN want to help in this endeavor, and even go so far as to counsel other activists to “lay off for awhile”?1

This question of the impacts of RBC’s new policy was urgent from the get go of the RAN announcement– but is made even more urgent by the recent moves of RBC in Trinidad and Tobago– where the government has recently begun advertising for possible tar sands mining.

(The glossy advertisement from the current Ministry of Energy and Energy Affairs for Trinidad and Tobago is available here.)

RBC involvement in Canadian tar sands has not abated, nor has there been any actual commitment to removing any level of investment, but RBC can now publicly state they have been given “applause” from the Rainforest Action Network in Canada. “RBC is raising the bar for the financial sector and signaling to oil and gas corporations that it is time to take environmental and human rights seriously,” said Brant Olson, campaign director of RAN, in a release applauding the policy.

RAN’s involvement in such a climb down has no small implications. Not only have many of the activists opposed to RBC tar sands investment become dormant, confusion about what exactly is Free, Prior and Informed Consent has been sewn. FPIC means the right to say no, something that the communities near tar sands in T&T have already done through social struggle to developments such as smelter plants and steel mills.

In Trinidad and Tobago, it was in 2009 (during the annual Carnival) that then Minister of Energy and Energy affairs Conrad Enil announced that the People’s National Movement [PNM] government would be opening tar sands mining to exploration. Previous work on deposit evaluation came from a joint venture consisting of Canadian based Western Oil Sands alongside T&T’s own Petrotrin in the early 2000s. After Marathon Energy of the US bought out Western Oil Sands the arrangement with Petrotrin was abandoned in 2008.

On February 13 of 2009, Enil announced exploration blocks of pilot projects extracting bitumen for synthetic petroleum production. During the announcement of licenses for the Parrylands and Guapo Field, Enil also stated that T&T was trying to follow the Canadian model, a model that people of all stripes across North America have labelled the most destructive industrial development on earth today.

Having seriously slowed down the campaign against them without divesting a single penny, RBC has moved on to other sources of energy revenue. Having bought the Royal Bank of Trinidad & Tobago [RBTT], RBC recently attended a “Green Business Forum” held by the T&T Environmental Management Authority [EMA] in Port of Spain (the capital of the Twin Island Nation).

RBC sent their “Director of Corporate Environmental Affairs” Sandra Odendahl to the forum, to tout their socially and environmentally responsible policies as potentially large investors in Trinidad and Tobago (one of 58 countries in which RBC operates).

As reported in the T&T Newsday on March 31, 2011 “Now that RBTT is part of the RBC umbrella, Odendahl would like to introduce RBC’s Capital Markets Policy (CMP) to TT, once the integration process has been completed. [….] It was developed after extensive stakeholder consultation, much of it headed by Odendahl, on Canada’s oil sands energy sector.”

The Royal Bank of Canada has received further publicity help from environmental organizations as well, with Odendahl recently appearing on panels held in Canadian cities alongside well-known environmental organizers to ostensibly debate whether bank funding for major industrial developments can be made socially responsible. Given the small attendance at such events, the appearance of environmental organizers along side Ms Odendahl will further help the RBC spokeswoman shore up the image of the bank that only months ago was in dire straits.

In the months right prior to the 2009 announcement around possible tar sands development in Trinidad’s South there was a major turning point in the so-called battle over tar sands in Canada. A campaign was launched by grassroots groups and environmental Non-Governmental Organizations [ENGOs] alike to force the hand of RBC out of their tar sands investments.

The campaign was effective, and RBC took serious hits to their credibility thanks to RAN and grassroots organizers– even going so far as to target the ostensibly green sensibilities of RBC chairman Gordon Nixon’s wife, Janet. In recent months RAN has ended their participation in the activist campaign against the Royal Bank of Canada.

Like Canada, in Trinidad and Tobago companies that wish to develop are required to go through a hearing process with affected communities. In the recent past Trinidad has seen such hearings into a now cancelled plan to construct an aluminium smelter in Southern Trinidad, the same region where bitumen deposits exist at a depth suitable to the energy industry for mining.

From Canada, with neither divestment nor the right to say no established for indigenous and frontline communities, RBC may attempt to start investments in Petrotrin for the development of tar sands in the south of the island. If such were to happen, RBC may try to use such applauded policy at the Trinidadian Environmental Management Authority [EMA].

In environmental struggles against industrial development in Trinidad the Rights Action Group has been front and centre as a part of the resistance. “The EMA said you had to have consultation, but really didn’t define what consultation was. So they would do something and say they had consultation,” said Rights Action Group executive Burton Sankeralli.

Regarding the piecemeal approach to approvals, Sankeralli says that the EMA would give licensees a certificate to clear, and a separate certificate to build, so they can clear without disclosing they will put there. This approach scattered the permitting process. “It would be like you were getting one certificate for the first project you were planning, another certificate for the port, another certificate for the power plant so it was like a jigsaw puzzle,” he said. “There was no overall assessment on cumulative impacts and all that, it was a mess.”

How the EMA holds such hearings would fit RBC fairly well.

“The environmental impact assessment [EIA] is done by a company hired by the corporation or the government agency who want the land cleared or who is putting up the structure. So they do the EIA and they anticipate the ending. And then they do the consultation. With this whole farce of consultations when the decision has been made and no clear things on all these consultations has been done,” said Sankeralli.

According to Attilah Springer, journalist at Gayelle TV in Trinidad,

“There was one extra consultation that happened which the head of the EMA attended. This meeting went on for about four hours and at some point somebody came up and said ‘Can you tell me what I said at 3:05pm?’, then it was discovered that nobody was taking notes. So there was this long meeting going on that was not being properly documented or recorded. At that point people had no more faith in the consultation process and realized that it was completely flawed.”

This breakdown led to more determined resistance to the Smelter outside of the consultation process.

“After the consultation began a new phase, outside the process that started with a replanting of areas cleared for the proposed smelter, in a buffer zone on the edge of the proposed site,” explained Springer. Also important in the resistance was community level cultural activities and gatherings.

“Culture played a huge role in everything that we did and we used a lot of things in our cultural landscape to drive the point home.”

When permits were granted resistance did not stop, but increased. Springer explains in this quote:

“It was soon after that it was announced that the CEC had been granted and that’s when the shit really hit the fan and things went into high gear and there were protests and general wildness that I don’t think it’s appropriate to talk about considering some of the parties involved are still alive.

People would go on the site, you know, and liberate things… a lot of the stuff that happened we didn’t share information on.”

“What started happening was that the government of the day started to accuse some of the more prominent environmental activists of being outsiders, when the case was that these communities had asked for help. Here you had two communities that absolutely and unequivocally said to Hell with Y’all and Hell no.

Nobody was ever convinced that the EMA was concerned with protecting the interests of communities.”

The EMA is now getting ready to help the RBC use their recently applauded “policy” developed around tar sands for effected communities in Trinidad. Despite the retreat of RAN, and the greenwashing of tar sands projects in Canada, perhaps the first victory against tar sands developments will take place in the Caribbean– which would not only protect dwindling water supplies and the forests themselves near La Brea, it may indeed help Canada reverse course on the tar sands gigaproject right from the global ground zero of Alberta, where a global fate tied to locking into the worst fossil fuel developments around the planet has begun to export.

Macdonald Stainsby is a freelance journalist, social justice activist and the coordinator of http://oilsandstruth.org. He can be reached at mstainsby@resist.ca

1 http://understory.ran.org/2010/12/22/rbc-takes-a-step-away-from-tar-sands/ (note comment below article, also written by Brant Olson)

http://www.mediacoop.ca/story/tar-sands-development-edging-closer-trinidad-and-tobago/7003

Saving Trees and Capitalism Too

By Michael Barker

“Describing a group funded by the world’s leading capitalist elites as grassroots demonstrates how desperately well-meaning environmentalists cling to the illusion that by working with capitalists (not the grassroots) they will be able to counter the destruction wrought on the planet by capitalists (evidently for the benefit of the grassroots).”

Capitalism requires trees, but trees do not need capitalism. Following this logic, one can opt to save trees by promoting a thoughtful capitalism that protects limited parts of the natural environment to ensure sustained economic growth, or one can promote an alternative to capitalism adopting an ideology not premised on endless economic growth. The former approach conserves capitalism (and some trees), while the latter envisages the creation of an alternative political system that counters the present environmental catastrophe posed by capitalism. Applying the same idea to a related matter; capitalism requires workers, but workers do not need capitalism. Consequently, during the Progressive Era longsighted robber barons recognized that the most effective way to save workers for capitalism would be to encourage the growth of work-place rights via their support of corporate-backed unions and the like. Capitalists still of course waged direct attacks on organized labor (most especially anti-capitalist radicals), [1] much in the same way that capitalists ostensibly concerned with saving trees simultaneously destroy many more trees than they protect. Sadly the historical lessons that should have been learned from the Progressive Era have not penetrated popular consciousness, and so many overworked citizens who are concerned with the destruction of the environment have ended up supporting proponents of neoliberal environmentalism. Capitalism is yet again undergoing a miraculous rebranding, and the robber barons of old are now the saviours of the planet, now being widely touted as the Eco Barons. [2] By reviewing the activities of leading tree protectors, the Rainforest Action Network, this essay will demonstrate how the activism promoted by eco barons though such groups ultimately works to conserve capitalism and create the powerful illusion of progressive social change.

Formed in 1986, the Rainforest Action Network (RAN) was the brainchild of environmental activists Randall (Randy) Hayes and Mike Roselle who created it to “protect rainforests and the human rights of those living in and around those forests.” Of the group’s two founders, Roselle was the more experienced environmentalist having previously cofounded Earth First! in 1979; Hayes on the other hand was a relative latecomer to environmentalism, bursting onto the scene to establishment acclaim in 1983 when as a student of environmental planning he co-produced the award-winning documentary The Four Corners. [3] Informed by the consumer activism of the 1970s, and emulating the muckraking journalism of the Progressive Era, from their outset RAN adopted a reformist position by choosing to focus public attention on individual corporate malfeasance. In a recent interview when asked to explain RAN’s interest in targeting corporations not governments, Roselle noted how:

The government has not been willing to do anything. They are so big and bureaucratic and so political that they are often hard or impossible to move. Corporations on the other hand have customer bases, they have advertising they invest a lot in burnishing their brand. So what we try to do is take the luster off of it, affect their bottom line, and then we can get them to the bargaining table. [4]

Roselle has long been a vocal critic of corporate environmentalism, most especially the activists of the “Big Green” groups, so it is perhaps a sign of the times that an ostensibly radical group like RAN should now be working in partnership with the very groups they once critiqued so vehemently. For instance, one of RAN’s first actions “highlight[ed] the destructive lending practices of the World Bank, International Monetary Fund, and global ‘free trade’ agreements.” This is significant because Hayes now serves on the board of directors of a free-market group called Forest Trends, whose staff includes many World Bank representatives (including not least their current president and CEO). Another curious example of RAN’s “success story” (taken from their Web site) occurred in 1998, as they point out how years of campaigning resulted in “Mitsubishi Motor Sales America and Mitsubishi Electric America pledging to end use of old-growth forest products and phase out use of tree-based paper and packaging products in favor of alternative fibers.” [5] One might assume that Mitsubishi has now improved their environmental credentials, especially given their representation on the board of directors of Forest Trends, but unfortunately only two American Mitsubishi subsidiaries were forced into making environmental concessions. As Boris Holzer observes…

the American subsidiaries are probably two companies with only minor involvement in timber activities. Their positive approach is basically in line with their long-standing efforts to improve their environmental records. Thus, the agreement did not necessarily hit the most destructive parts of the Mitsubishi Group. [6]

This example provides an elegant illustration of the problems associated with single issue, media-driven campaigns that target individual “bad” corporations. [7] Indeed while similar RAN campaigns have regularly come under criticism from conservative think tanks, among less rabidly free-market friendly liberal elites such activism is popular precisely because it does not pose a serious threat to capitalism. In this respect RAN is akin to many of the big green corporate environmentalists that it rhetorically sets itself apart from. One need only delve into their latest annual report to see their major donors include the Roddick Foundation and the Sandler Family Supporting Foundation, and minor funders like the Tides Foundation, with 74 per cent of their $4.4 million annual budget derived from such grants, and only 18 per cent supplied via public support and membership. [8]

Other notable major funders of RAN – that is philanthropic bodies that have given them more than $100,000 in any given year – include the Ford Foundation, the Rockefeller Brothers Fund, the Wallace Global Fund, and the Rudolf Steiner Foundation. Money talks, as RAN activists well understand; although RAN activists are perhaps not quite as conversant with the cooptive influence of liberal philanthropy as that of conservative foundations. As Joan Roelofs observes “almost all civil rights, social justice, and environmental organizations” are dependent on “corporate and foundation funding.” While the various recipients of corporate monies may not feel pressured to conform to elite priorities, all the same “funders are anxious to help radical protesters and oppressed minorities while transforming their goals and removing any threat to corporate wealth and power.” On this point Roelofs notes that when former Ford Foundation president, McGeorge Bundy (1966-79), was testifying before Congress in 1969, he was asked why Ford supported radicals, he replied:

There is a very important proposition here that for institutions and organizations which are young and which are not fully shaped as to their direction it can make a great deal of difference as to the degree and way in which they develop if when they have a responsible and constructive proposal they can find support for it. If they cannot find such support, those within the organization who may be tempted to move in paths of disruption, discord and even violence, may be confirmed in their view that American society doesn’t care about their needs. On the other hand, if they do have a good project constructively put forward, and they run it responsibly and they get help for it and it works, then those who feel that that kind of activity makes sense may be encouraged. [9]

To be fair, many environmental activists are not aware of, or choose to ignore, the deradicalizing influence of liberal philanthropy, and a good example is provided by popular environmental writer George Monbiot. [10] Thus it is ironic that many of the groups that RAN has pressured into adopting socially responsible practices are intimately connected to such liberal philanthropists. So in 2004 RAN “declare[d] victory after a four-year campaign” when Citigroup announced “its ‘New Environmental Initiatives’, the most far-reaching set of environmental commitments of any bank in the world.” This activist victory is particularly intriguing as in the same year Citigroup recruited the president of the Rockefeller Foundation, Judith Rodin, to their board of directors. Likewise Alain Belda, who has served as a board member of Citigroup since 1997 and had acted as a trustee of the Ford Foundation board member from 1997 until 2009; while longstanding Citibank board member Franklin Thomas was the president of the Ford Foundation from 1979 until 1996. More recently, in 2009, Thomas retired from Citibank’s board of directors, and their new board chair was none other than Richard Parsons, an individual who presently serves as an advisory trustee of the Rockefeller Brothers Fund.

Similarly, in 2005 RAN took credit for JPMorgan Chase releasing a “comprehensive environmental policy that takes significant steps forward on climate change, forest protection, and Indigenous rights.” Yet from 1969 until 1980 David Rockefeller – liberal philanthropist extraordinaire – had served as the CEO of Chase Manhattan Bank, a bank that was merged with J.P. Morgan & Co. in 2000 to form JPMorgan Chase. These examples are not meant to imply that most RAN activists were not sincerely engaged in vigorous efforts to encourage financial giants like JPMorgan Chase and Citibank to support green capitalist ideologies, but the fact of the matter is that some of the liberal elites managing these corporations were the same people who have expressed a longstanding commitment to coopting the environmental movement to serve capitalist interests. Viewed in this light it should come as no surprise that in 2005 RAN boasted that by “[w]orking closely” with Goldman Sachs it became “the first global investment bank to adopt a comprehensive environmental policy”.

Goldman Sachs’ commitment to capitalist conservation was clearly not entirely due to RAN activism, as the former chairman and CEO of Goldman Sachs (1999-2006), and subsequent Secretary of the US Department of the Treasury, Henry Paulson, served as the chair of the Nature Conservancy’s board of directors from 2004 until 2006 (a noted member of the “Big Green”). [11] In addition, Paulson had served as the chair of the Peregrine Fund, an environmental group he had been connected to since 1990. The close working relationship between Goldman Sachs and the Nature Conservancy continues to this day, and since 2008 former Goldman Sachs managing director, Mark Tercek, has served as the president of the Nature Conservancy. Likewise, Tercek’s commitment to free-market environmentalism means that he presently sits on the steering group of the Prince of Wales Rainforest Project, on the board of directors of Resources for the Future, and serves on the Wildlife Conservation Society’s Chilean advisory council. [12] Tercek’s latter service, with regard to Chile, is particularly noteworthy as prior to heading up the Nature Conservancy he had headed the Goldman Sachs Center for Environmental Markets and its Environmental Strategy Group. This is significant because in late 2004 Goldman Sachs donated a sizable chunk of Chile to the Wildlife Conservation Society – using land which it had obtained by purchasing defaulted bonds from US forestry company Trillium Corporation. On these Chilean conservation efforts Tercek would have worked closely with the current chair of Resources for the Future, Lawrence Linden, who while based at Goldman Sachs worked in collaboration with the Wildlife Conservation Society to create a massive 735,500 acre nature preserve on the island of Tierra del Fuego, Chile.

Here it is appropriate to introduce American multimillionaire Douglas Tompkins, as this key bankroller of environmental activism (and the “dean” of the new eco barons) has similarly bought hundreds of thousands of acres of forest land in southern Chile though his Conservation Land Trust to create a reserve called Parque Pumalin. Over the years Tompkins’ Foundation for Deep Ecology (which was formed in 1989) has been an important funder of forest activism including, to name just a few, the work of RAN, Earth First!, and Amazon Watch. Indeed, in 2008 at RAN’s 14th annual World Rainforest Awards Ceremony, Tompkins and his wife Kristine were honoured as environmental heroes. Consequently it is of more than passing interesting that an influential critic of deep ecology, the late Murray Bookchin, was of the opinion that with regards to deep ecology, “no other ‘radical’ ecology philosophy could be more congenial to the ruling elites of our time.” [13] To take just one example, the interest of leading “humanitarian” capitalists in deep ecology was illustrated when Tom Brokaw penned the foreword for Tom Butler’s book Wild Earth: Wild Ideas for a World out of Balance (Milkweed Editions, 2002). [14]

Wild Earth author, Tom Butler, presently serves as the editorial projects director for the Foundation for Deep Ecology, but had formerly been the editor of Wild Earth magazine (1997-2005). Launched in 1990 Wild Earth magazine was set up by Earth First! founder Dave Foreman, former Earth First! journal editor John Davis (1986-89), Reed Noss, David Johns, and Mary Byrd Davis. [15] John Davis served as the founding editor of Wild Earth until he passed the reigns to his life-long friend Tom Butler (in 1997), so John could serve as the biodiversity and wildness program officer for the Foundation for Deep Ecology. Not surprisingly John has served on the board of directors of Tompkins’ Conservation Land Trust; a group who’s most notable current board member is Peter Buckley, who is the chair of the David Brower Center – a center whose other board members includes RAN cofounder, Randall Hayes. While for many progressive activists the environmental career of the late David Brower (1912-2000) is beyond criticism, it is worrisome that like his deep ecologist counterparts he apparently became fixated on Malthusian analyses that blame procreation, not capitalism, for environmental devastation. I say this because Brower was a former member of the advisory board for a controversial group called Californians for Population Stabilization. [16] The current president of Californians for Population Stabilization, Diana Hull, serves on the advisory board of two more openly racist groups, NumbersUSA and Federation for American Immigration Reform. [17]

Deep ecology is of course an important ideology that has helped popularize concern with human population growth, so it should come as no surprise that RAN’s advisory board has been host to a host of leading environmental Malthusians. Two particularly noted individuals are Norman Myers, who is a patron of Optimum Population Trust, and former Sierra Club treasurer (1999-2000) Anne Ehrlich, who is married to Optimum Population Trust patron Paul Ehrlich, the author of the book The Population Bomb (Sierra Club, 1968).

Such Malthusian (mis)reasoning has long been popular within the environmental movement and is exemplified by a recent statement by Paul Watson, the founder and president of the Tomkins backed Sea Shepherd Conservation Society. (Tompkins is an avid supporter of the Sea Shepherd work having recently spent Christmas and New Year on the Antarctic high seas, as their vessels acting quartermaster.) Returning to Watson’s comment: writing in 2005, in response to the famous essay ‘The Death of Environmentalism’, Watson wrote that while global warming “will certainly be a major contributor to this mass global extinction [facing the Earth] … it is a problem caused by the first major threat and that is escalating human population growth.” [18] While certainly problematic, this capitalist-friendly argument sounds eerily reminiscent of the populationist views of the Sea Shepherd’s land-based counterpart, Earth First!; opinions that Watson and Foreman no doubt internalized during their “environmental” forays with the Sierra Club during the 1970s. Like their radical environmental “offspring” the Sierra Club to this day remains embroiled in immigration controversies stemming from their long-term commitment to Malthus. Watson himself played an important role in this propagating such Malthusianism as he served a board member of the Sierra Club from 2003 until 2006, and was the endorsed candidate of anti-immigration body, Sierrans United for US Population Stability. [19]

As one might expect the Shepherd Conservation Society and RAN share more in common than the eco baron and social engineer Douglas Tompkins, as Watson and Randall Hayes both sit on the advisory board of a philanthropic body known as the Fund for Wild Nature. This Fund’s president, Marnie Gaede, is a former director of the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society, while other notable Fund for Wild Nature board members include Mary Anne Hitt (who is the deputy director of the Sierra Club’s national ‘Move Beyond Coal’ campaign), and former Fund president Dave Parks (who has been involved in political campaigns with both Earth First! and RAN). Other interesting Fund for Wild Nature advisors include Louise Leakey, who additionally serves as a Sea Shepherd advisor, and Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger’s (Republican-California) environmental appointee, Terry Tamminen. [20] Incidentally, Tamminen served for five years as executive director of the Environment Now, a group whose four key staff members include two former Foundation for Deep Ecology employees, Caryn Mandelbaum and Fund for Wild Nature board member Douglas Bevington. The latter individual’s backgrounds emphasize the cognitive dissonance that resonates within many of the staffers of the organizations that have been discussed in this article as Bevington recently completed a PhD in sociology for a dissertation titled ‘The Rebirth of Environmentalism: Grassroots Activism and the New Conservation Movement, 1989-2004? (University of California, Santa Cruz, 2007). Thus although Bevington cites the current literature that demonstrates how liberal philanthropists regularly co-opt social change agents via funding, he writes in his study that the grassroots organizations he examined “relied primarily on grants from philanthropic foundations.” [21] (Bevington’s thesis was published in September as The Rebirth of Environmentalism: Grassroots Activism from the Spotted Owl to the Polar Bear (Island Press, 2009).)

One of the primary groups examined in Bevington’s study was the Center for Biological Diversity (formed in 1989), [22] and which in 2008 received support from elite philanthropic bodies that included the Foundation for Deep Ecology, the Environment Now Foundation, Tides Foundation, ExxonMobil Foundation, The New York Times Company Foundation, and even the “big green” environmental outfit, The Wilderness Society. Corporate funders of the “grassroots” Center for Biological Diversity included the likes of Goldman Sachs, the Bank of America, and Microsoft. [23] The fact that Bevington describes a group funded by the world’s leading capitalist elites as grassroots demonstrates how desperately well-meaning environmentalists cling to the illusion that by working with capitalists (not the grassroots) they will be able to counter the destruction wrought on the planet by capitalists (evidently for the benefit of the grassroots). [24] Needless to say it is hardly surprising that the Center for Biological Diversity was pleased by the fact that Edward Humes’ “devot[ed] a fourth of his book” Eco Barons to their history and achievements. [25]

Considering the depths of elite intrusion into the heart of US-based activism it is critical to ask: how has this situation been ignored by so many critical and progressive intellectuals and researchers for so long? The answer cannot simply be that progressive historians are too busy to undertake research into the influence of liberal philanthropy on the processes of social change, as no historian in their right mind could accidentally forget to examine so big a topic. There is no doubt that critical researchers have been correct to focus on the influence of for-profit corporations on society, producing research which is necessary to undergird any successful attempts to hold corporations accountable to the public. However, although writers have noted the powerful influence wielded by conservative not-for-profit corporations (like the John M. Olin Foundation), they have totally neglected the equally important liberal side of the philanthropic equation. Thus, leaving aside conservative commentators, who have provided what seems like an endless volume of criticisms of liberal philanthropy, critiques of liberal philanthropy from the political Left are almost invisible. For instance, there have been no critical investigations of the background of one of the Left’s most important coordinating and funding bodies, the RAN connected International Forum on Globalization.

The International Forum on Globalization is a particularly important group to study within the confines of this article as it was formerly headed by RAN cofounder Randall Hayes, who now presently serves as their senior strategist. Furthermore, the International Forum on Globalization has been heavily supported by Douglas Tompkins’ eco-philanthropy, and former Foundation for Deep Ecology staffer, Victor Menotti, presently serves as their executive director. Formed in 1994, the Forum’s Web site notes that it was set up because of a “shared concern that the world’s corporate and political leadership was rapidly restructuring global politics and economics on a level that was as historically significant as any period since the Industrial Revolution.” The key person involved in establishing this critical Forum was Jerry Mander, a former president of a major San Francisco advertising company and ‘Grateful Dead’ promoter who decided to turn his talents at manipulating symbols and images to protecting the environment in the late 1960s (initially working with David Brower while he was based at the Sierra Club). In addition to Mander’s work at the International Forum on Globalization, he also found the time to briefly serve as a program director for the Foundation for Deep Ecology. Perhaps Mander’s most influential book, vis-à-vis the alter-globalization movement was his co authorship with Edward Goldsmith of the edited volume, The Case Against the Global Economy and For a Turn Toward the Local (Sierra Club Books, 1996) – some of the many contributors to this book included Maude Barlow, Richard Barnet, Wendell Berry, John Cavanagh, William Grieder, David Korten, Ralph Nader, Helena Norberg-Hodge, Jeremy Rifkin, Kirkpatrick Sale, and Vandana Shiva.

The year following Mander and Goldsmith’s edited collection, Sierra Club Books published another powerful and widely read book, Joshua Karliner’s The Corporate Planet: Ecology and Politics in the Age of Globalization (Sierra Club Books, 1997), which contains radical criticisms of liberal elites like Maurice Strong, whom Karliner writes insists that business, not environmentalists, must act to “redefine environmentalism in its own way if the world is to resolve the immense problems it faces.” However, while Karliner is opposed to “top-down, technocratic, managerial solu¬tion[s]” he is not opposed to top-down funding of activist organizations. [26] Indeed, Karliner’s work on this book catalysed the formation (in 1996) of CorpWatch – a group that he headed from 1996 until 2002 – that has, with the strong support of elite funders, steadfastly refused to submit not-for-profit corporations to the same critical scrutiny that they apply to their for-profit counterparts. [27] Thus it is hardly surprising that two CorpWatch advisory board members, Andre Carothers and Allan Hunt-Badiner, both sit on RAN’s board of directors (the former as RAN’s board chair).

Carothers is also a board member of International Rivers, a group whose Latin America campaigns are directed by Glenn Switkes, the former coordinator of RAN’s Western Amazon oil campaign. International Rivers board is chaired by Martha Belcher (who directed the recent creation of the David Brower Center), but their most intriguing board member is David Pellow, co-editor with Robert Brulle of the book Power, Justice, the Environment: A Critical Appraisal of the Environmental Justice Movement (MIT Press, 2005). This is because Pellow and Brulle’s book contains powerful warnings about the cooption of radical environmental groups: for example, within the book Robert Benford writes:

On the one hand, the problems diagnosed and attributions proffered by the environmental justice movement represent a radical critique of entire social systems at the local, regional, national, and global levels. On the other hand, by framing solutions primarily in terms of “justice” the [Environmental Justice Movement] places its faith in the efficacy of using extant legislative and judicial systems to remedy problems – an ironic commitment to, and reaffirmation of, the systemic status quo. Audre Lorde, a famous black feminist, eloquently outlined the pitfalls of seeking to transform such a corrupt system from within: “For the master’s tools will never dismantle the master’s house. They may allow us temporarily to beat him at his own game, but they will never enable us to bring about genuine change.” [28]

International Rivers’ even includes Drummond Pike, the treasurer of one of the master’s leading democracy-manipulating tools known as the Democracy Alliance, on their US advisory board. Finally, it is interesting that former International Rivers executive director, Juliette Majot, presently serves with Josh Karliner on the steering committee of Environmentalists against War, alongside others like International Forum on Globalization staffer, Claire Greensfelder, and the RAN’s executive director Michael Brune.

Somewhere along the line progressive activists seem to have forgotten that to undertake radical analyses one needs to dig to the root of the sinews of power that comprise the capitalist system. Thus the limited reformist agenda of supposedly radical activists like those based at RAN and International Rivers has been adequately vocalized by RAN’s executive director Michael Brune, who observed in 2007:

I sometimes like to think of RAN as “hopeful skeptics”; we believe that corporations and governments can transform themselves, and can actually play an important role in slowing down climate change and protecting forests and the rights of their inhabitants. At the same time, we won’t be fooled by double-speak and false promises of future action. This attitude is the motivation behind much of our work. [29]

The sad irony is that many activists, like Brune, are already being fooled by the double-speak and false promises of not-for-profit corporations. So while Kenny Bruno – who co-authored two books with Joshua Karliner (in 1999 and 2002) – is well-known in progressive circles for producing the seminal critique of corporate greenwashing, the tables have turned and he is now acting as corporate greenwasher in his capacity as the campaign director for Corporate Ethics International. [30] The executive director of this greenwashing initiative is none other than former RAN board member Michael Marx (see footnote #6), an elite conservationist who was recently critiqued in Macdonald Stainsby and Dru Oja Jay’s excellent self-published report, “Offsetting Resistance: The Effects of Foundation Funding and Corporate Fronts,” (July 2009). [31] Marx’s organization Corporate Ethics International, ties many of the groups examined so far together through its project known as the Business Ethics Network, which includes Amazon Watch, CorpWatch, and RAN.

Such connections should hardly be unexpected when one casts a quick eye over RAN’s board of directors, which includes Anna Hawken McKay (who is the wife of Rob McKay, the founder of eco baron hangout, the Democracy Alliance), and James Gollin (cofounder of the Social Venture Network, a group which is “committed to building a just and sustainable world through business”). Yet the most interesting RAN board member is Martha DiSario, who is the secretary of ActiveMusic, an activism marketing group with “ties to the music community [that] saw music as a means to draw people to the causes they were working with.” ActiveMusic’s cofounder, Richard Wegman, manages Global Green USA’s finances and administration, and in addition to this stellar connection to the eco barons, ActiveMusic’s vice chair, Brian Wesley Ames, is a division chief in the African department of the International Monetary Fund (yes that’s right the IMF!), while one of ActiveMusic’s advisory board members is none other than RAN cofounder, Randall Hayes. [32]

RAN’s connection to ActiveMusic is most appropriate given that RAN considers image manipulation to be a vital part of its activism, so their honorary board of directors draws upon the celebratory prestige of five well-known entertainers: former singer with the Grateful Dead, Bob Weir, American blues singer-songwriter Bonnie Raitt, former drummer for The Doors, John Densmore, actress and Yoga-guru Ali McGraw, and actor Woody Harrelson, who recently starred in the film Battle in Seattle (2007). Harrelson’s link to the latter film is important, as David Solnit, one of the organizers with the Direct Action Network that was involved with preparing for the real Battle of Seattle, observed that the film was hardly supportive of activism: and he wrote the “movie implies that the activists ‘won’ because police were caught by surprise, were too lenient, and waited too long to use violence and chemical weapons, and to make arrests.” [33]

Here it is important to recall that the Ruckus Society (which was cofounded by RAN’s Mike Roselle) “provided the first physical forum for the Direct Action Network which coordinated the [Battle of Seattle] demonstrations, and itself trained many of the participants.” [34] Moreover as John Sellers, the former Greenpeace activist and former head of the Ruckus Society points out: “When we first started, it was almost entirely folks from Greenpeace or Rainforest Action Network, with a few EarthFirsters.” (Greenpeace having disbanded its direct-action office in 1991.) According to Sellers, after Ruckus was founded in 1995, the former CNN boss cum eco baron, Ted Turner, “carried Ruckus on his back” for their first few years. Thus Sellers who is well-known for saying: “F–k that s–t! You’re corporate sellouts!” to journalists “just to gauge their reaction,” evidently does not see how ironic his litmus test of corporate cooption really is. Likewise greenwash guru, Kenny Bruno, who currently acts as the media and strategic campaigning trainer for the Ruckus Society, appears to see no contradiction in working for an organization whose former long serving trustee is corporate greenwasher extraordinaire, the late Anita Roddick.

In summary, the Rainforest Action Network and its related cohorts have been highly profitable investments for the world’s leading capitalists. Not only has their small financial commitment to the environment promoted the conservation of capitalism, it has also protected some trees, but only those it does not need. Perhaps more valuably though, this “radical” investment has helped sustain the illusion that capitalism can be green and good for the environment – a win-win-win scenario for capitalism, but not for us. Quite expectedly such good fortune has not been visited upon the environment, and capitalism has barely missed a beat in its profitable consumption of planet earth. That said we should be thankful that capitalism has so far only been able to conserve its ideological domination in the short-term, and with a little genuine grassroots funding alongside popular activism the tables can be turned all too easily. In this manner, it will be possible to expose the delusions that undergird capitalist conservation efforts so we can strive to render capitalists extinct. Such work will enable concerned citizens to protect the planet and the real living organizations that inhabit it, not the ideologies that are destroying it.

 

Michael Barker is an independent researcher who currently resides in Australia. His other articles can be accessed at michaeljamesbarker.wordpress.com.

 

Endnotes

1. Graham Adams, Jr., The Age of Industrial Violence, 1910-1915 (Columbia University Press, 1966); James Weinstein, The Corporate Ideal in the Liberal State, 1900-1918 (Beacon Press, 1968).

2. Edward Humes, Eco Barons: The Dreamers, Schemers, and Millionaires Who Are Saving Our Planet (HarperCollins, 2009).

3. The Four Corners (1983) was directed by Christopher McLeod, and produced by Christopher McLeod, Glenn Switkes and Randy Hayes.

4. Interview, ‘Radical Environmentalism with Mike Roselle and Josh Mahan’, GritTV (2009), see 4.01 min. http://vodpod.com/watch/2270716-radical-environmentalism-with-mike-roselle-and-josh-mahan Mike Roselle was being interviewed about his new book Tree Spiker: From Earth First! to Lowbagging: My Struggles in Radical Environmental Action (St Martin’s Press, 2009).

5. Rainforest Action Network, ‘Twenty Banner Years: Annual Report 2004-2005?, 5-6.
http://ran.org/fileadmin/materials/comms/mediacontent/annual_reports/RAN_AnnualReport2005.pdf
For a detailed critique of Forest Trends, see Michael Barker, ‘When Environmentalists Legitimize Plunder’, Swans Commentary, January 26, 2009.
http://www.swans.com/library/art15/barker12.html

6. Boris Holzer, ‘Transnational Protest and the Corporate Planet: The Case of Mitsubishi Corporation vs. The Rainforest Action Network’, In Leslie King and Deborah McCarthy, eds., Environmental Sociology: From Analysis to Action (The Scarecrow Press, 2005), 362; The International Boycott Mitsubishi Campaign was designed and then directed by Michael Marx.

7. Michael Barker, ‘Conform or Reform? Social Movements and the Mass Media’, Fifth-Estate-Online – International Journal of Radical Mass Media Criticism, February 2007.
http://www.fifth-estate-online.co.uk/criticsm/conformorreformsocialmovements.html

8. Rainforest Action Network, ’2008 Annual Report’; Recent annual reports also demonstrate that RAN’s total funding has been steadily increasing since at least 2004 when their total income was $1 million. The executive director of the Tides Foundation, Idelisse Malave, is a former RAN board member.

9. Joan Roelofs, ‘Networks and Democracy: It Ain’t Necessarily So’, American Behavioral Scientist, 52 (March 2009), 997.

10. Michael Barker, ‘George Monbiot and the Population Myth’, Swans Commentary, November 2, 2009.
http://www.swans.com/library/art15/barker34.html

11. Henry Paulson’s son, Merritt Paulson, is a trustee of the Wildlife Conservation Society. Exhibiting a similar commitment to free-market environmentalism, David Blood, the former CEO of Goldman Sachs Asset Management (1999-2003), serves on the four-person strong board of New Forests, a “forestry investment management and advisory firm currently managing $200 million in assets throughout Australia, New Zealand, the U.S. and the Asia Pacific region.” Chairman and founder of New Forests, David Brand, sits alongside Randall Hayes on the board of the aforementioned Forest Trends, and serves on the board of directors of Environment Business Australia – a “business think tank” that is chaired by the former president of WWF Australia (1999-2006).

12. For criticisms of all these influential free-market environmental outfits see:
http://michaeljamesbarker.wordpress.com/environment/

13. Dave Foreman and Murray Bookchin, Defending the Earth (South End Press, 1991), 129; For a summary of the differences between Foreman and Bookchin, see Michael Barker, ‘When Environmentalists Legitimize Plunder’, Swans Commentary, January 26, 2009.
http://www.swans.com/library/art15/barker12.html

14. Tom Brokaw is a board member of two groups that promote what has been referred to by critics as humanitarian imperialism; these are the International Crisis Group and International Rescue Committee. See Michael Barker, ‘Imperial Crusaders for Global Governance’, Swans Commentary, April 20, 2009.
http://www.swans.com/library/art15/barker18.html

15. Reed Noss is the consulting editor of the Society for Conservation Biology’s journal Conservation Biology, and it is significant to observe how after attending the 2007 annual meeting of the Society for Conservation Biology, Bram Buscher explained within the pages of the Society’s journal that “Conservation biology is actively reinventing itself to fit the neoliberal world order.” Bram Buscher, ‘Conservation, Neoliberalism, and Social Science: a Critical Reflection on the SCB 2007 Annual Meeting in South Africa’, Conservation Biology, 22 (2), 229; Writing for Save the Redwoods League, Reed Noss published The Redwood Forest: History, Ecology, and Conservation of the Coast Redwoods (Island Press, 2000); For criticisms of Save the Redwoods League, see Michael Barker, ‘Laurance Rockefeller and Capitalist Conservation’, Swans Commentary, October 19, 2009.
http://www.swans.com/library/art15/barker33.html

16. Other than David Brower the only two emeriti advisory board members of Californians for Population Stabilization are the late Garrett Hardin (1915-2003), and his co-author and wife Jane Hardin (1922-2003). Professor Eric Ross has undertaken a valuable task in tracing the evolution of Garrett Hardin’s work and suggests that when his work is considered in its entirety one can see how this book “embodies all the cardinal qualities of Cold War Malthusian thinking: it is anti-socialist, anti-democratic and eugenic.” Unfortunately, although the myth of the tragedy of the commons has now been discounted, it still remains popular, no doubt in part because of its compatibility with elitist concepts of environmental management. See Eric Ross, The Malthus Factor: Population, Poverty, and Politics in Capitalist Development (Zed Books, 1999), 73-78.

17. Alfredo Martin Bravo de Rueda Espejo, ‘The charming racism of NumbersUSA’, Daily Kos, June 6, 2009.
http://www.dailykos.com/story/2009/6/7/739587/-The-charming-racism-of-NumbersUSA

For a similarly exhaustive critique of the Federation for American Immigration Reform, see their Right Web profile:
http://www.rightweb.irc-online.org/profile/Federation_for_American_Immigration_Reform

18. Paul Watson, ‘Report on the Death of Environmentalism is Merely Wishful Thinking’, Lowbagger News, February 2005.
http://lowbagger.org/watson.html

19. Nicolas Rangel, Jr., ‘The Greening of Hate?: Rhetoric in Sierra Club’s Internal Division on Immigration Neutrality’, American Communication Journal, 2008.
http://www.acjournal.org/holdings/vol10/04_Winter/articles/rangel.php

20. Louise Leakey is the daughter of Richard Leakey – a pioneer of “coercive conservation” – thus it is appropriate that Louise’s husband, Emmanuel de Merode, is the chief executive of Wildlife Direct, a group who founder and chair is Richard Leakey and includes among their board members Walter Kansteiner III, the former US assistant secretary of state for African affairs. For a discussion of the principles of coercive conservation, see Nancy Lee Peluso, ‘Coercing Conservation’, In Ken Conca and Geoffrey Dabelko, eds., Green Planet Blues: Environmental Politics from Stockhold to Kyoto, 2nd edn. (Westview Press, 1998), 350-1.

Terry Tamminen is a trustee of Waterkeeper Alliance, a environmental group who board of directors is chaired by Robert F. Kennedy, Jr., who is in turn the vice chair of a New York-based environmental organization simply known as Riverkeeper – a group that works closely with the Natural Resources Defense Council. Incidentally, Alex Matthiessen, the president of Riverkeeper and board member of Waterkeeper Alliance, formerly served as RAN’s grassroots program director. So in keeping with RAN’s own tight connections to liberal philanthropists, Riverkeeper’s board is awash with elite conservationists, like for example, Jeff Resnick (who is a managing director at Goldman Sachs), Renee Rockefeller (who is a trustee of the Rockefeller Family Fund), Hamilton Fish (who currently serves as president of The Nation Institute, the foundation associated with The Nation magazine), and their board chair George Hornig (who is the chief operating officer of Credit Suisse First Boston Private Equity). Finally, Harrison Ford serves as the Riverkeeper’s first airborne watchdog: for a detailed critique of Ford’s environmental resume, see Michael Barker, ‘Hollywood’s Corporate Conservation Collaborators’, Swans Commentary, February 23, 2009.
http://www.swans.com/library/art15/barker14.html

21. Douglas Bevington, ‘The Rebirth of Environmentalism: Grassroots Activism and the New Conservation Movement, 1989-2004?, (PhD Thesis, University of California, Santa Cruz, 2007), 15. His advisors for this thesis were Andrew Szasz (Chair), Barbara Epstein, and Richard Flacks; The most critical book that Bevington cites with regard to the negative impacts of foundation funding is INCITE! Women of Color Against Violence, eds., The Revolution Will Not Be Funded: Beyond the Non-Profit Industrial Complex (South End Press, 2007).

22. Center for Biological Diversity cofounder, Todd Schulke, presently serves as their forest policy analyst, and also serves as a board member of the New Mexico Wilderness Alliance – a group on whose board Dave Foreman had formerly served.

23. Center for Biological Diversity 2008 Annual Report.
http://www.biologicaldiversity.org/publications/reports/AnnualRpt2008.pdf

24. Another illustration of the manner by which concerned activists trust that elite funders will fund revolutionary social change is provided by the Center for Biological Diversity’s climate campaign coordinator, Rose Braz. This is because Braz helped found and was the campaign and media director for Critical Resistance, a group seeking to bring an end to the Prison Industrial Complex with funding derived from George Soros’ Open Society Institute. This relationship shows exactly how underfunded and desperate such radical activists are, especially given that Critical Resistance regularly work with INCITE! Women of Color Against Violence (see note #21). For a deeper and more critical analysis of the same issues, see Joan Roelofs, Foundations and Public Policy: The Mask of Pluralism (State University of New York Press, 2003).

25. Eco Barons
http://www.biologicaldiversity.org/eco_barons/index.html

26. Joshua Karliner, The Corporate Planet: Ecology and Politics in the Age of Globalization (Sierra Club Books, 1997), 32; Karliner seeks to obtain “democratic control over corporations and economies” by utilizing a small proportion of their overall profits for activist purposes, not by working to abolish capitalism.

27. An unaffiliated British organization with the similar name Corporate Watch, although predominantly focused on for-profit corporations, recently devoted a special issue of their newsletter to a critical investigation of not-for-profit corporations. See Corporate Watch, ‘The Art of Funding’, Issue 43, June 2009.
http://www.corporatewatch.org.uk/?lid=3397

28. Robert Benford, ‘Diffusion, and Stagnation’, in David Pellow and Robert Brulle, eds., Power, Justice, the Environment (MIT Press, 2005), 51; More specifically, with reference to funding issue, Robert Brulle and Jonathan Essoka note that if environmental…

“movement organizations are not authentic community representatives, this limits and compromises the independence of these movement organizations. The mobilization of citizens to create political demand for change can easily he replaced in professional organizations to targeted advocacy activities. Members become seen as something to be managed and as a source of funds solicited via mass mailings. Foundation funding also becomes an appealing source of funding. As the source of fund¬ing shifts, the social movement organization is increasingly controlled by external organizations with their own agendas. So instead of serving as all authentic voice of the community, a social movement organization can become subordinated and controlled by external organizations. This can limit the civic capacity and political power of the organization.” (216)

Robert Brulle later worked with J. Craig Jenkins to co-author the book chapter, ‘Foundations and the Environmental Movement: Priorities, Strategies, and Impact’, in Faber, D., and McCarthy, D., eds., Foundations For Social Change: Critical Perspectives on Philanthropy and Popular Movements (Rowman & Littlefield, 2005).

29. Rhett Butler, ‘Savvy Environmentalists Challenge Corporations to Go Green: An Interview with Michael Brune, Executive Director of RAN’, Mongabay.com, January 29, 2007.
http://news.mongabay.com/2007/0130-ran.html

30. Kenny Bruno and Joshua Karliner, EarthSummit.Biz: The Corporate Takeover of Sustainable Development (Food First Books, 2002); Kenny Bruno, Joshua Karliner and China Brotsky, Greenhouse Gangsters vs. Climate Justice (TRAC-Transnational Resource & Action Center, 1999); Kenny Bruno and Jed Greer, Greenwash: The Reality Behind Corporate Environmentalism (Third World Network, 1996).

31. Macdonald Stainsby and Dru Oja Jay, ‘Offsetting Resistance: The Effects of Foundation Funding and Corporate Fronts’, July 2009.
http://s3.amazonaws.com/offsettingresistance/offsettingresistance.pdf

32. For a detailed critique of Global Green USA and the World Future Council – a group at which Randall Hayes has directed their US Liaison Office (since July 2008) – see Michael Barker, ‘Who Wants A One World Government?’, Swans Commentary, April 6, 2009.
http://www.swans.com/library/art15/barker17.html

33. David Solnit, ‘The battle for reality’, Yes! Magazine, Fall 2008.
http://www.yesmagazine.org/issues/purple-america/the-battle-for-reality
For an alternative activist-produced record of the Seattle protests, see This is What Democracy Looks Like (2000) – a film narrated by ‘actorvist’ Susan Sarandon.

34. John Sellers, ‘Raising a Ruckus’, New Left Review, July-August 2001.
http://newleftreview.org/A2334

http://www.stateofnature.org/savingTrees.html

Rainforest Action Network Expands Misleading Greenwashing of Primary Forest Logging

EI PRESS/SOCIAL MEDIA RELEASE
Rainforest Action Network Expands Misleading Greenwashing of Primary Forest Logging

RAN’s recent “rainforest safe” book and luxury shopping bag campaigns show they value greenwashing primary forest logging and sustaining old growth timber markets more than ecological science showing without primary forest logging ban biosphere collapses. Ecological Internet renews demand that RAN stops promoting primary forest logging as a false solution to rainforest loss and diminishment, and resigns from Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) immediately.

June 12, 2010
Contact: Dr. Glen Barry, glenbarry

Despite escalating international protest, Rainforest Action Network (RAN) continues to promote Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) certification of first time industrial logging of primary forests. RAN’s new “Rainforest Safe Summer Reading List” [1] and “Gucci Shopping Bag” [2] campaigns falsely claim FSC certified paper products are free of rainforest destruction. In fact, most FSC products come from the first time industrial logging of primary forests or from toxic, industrial monoculture plantations which displace old forests. Virtually all of FSC’s tropical timbers and fibers come from such sources.

“The world’s rainforests, biodiversity, ecosystems, climate and biosphere are in a state of severe crisis and are collapsing; and the best Rainforest Action Network can do is continue lying regarding where FSC certified products come from, and shilling for primary forest books and shopping bags? As America’s largest rainforest protection group, RAN raises and expends more monies on behalf of rainforests than any organization, yet continues to insist FSC logging of primary forests ‘protects’ rainforests. This old forest logging appeasement will continue to be challenged by biocentric ecologists. Unless this NGO greenwash ends, and we join forces to end primary forest logging, the future of Earth and all life are at stake,” states Dr. Glen Barry, Ecological Internet President.

After years of protest against RAN’s support of FSC, and several broken promises to address the matter, RAN is still unable to answer the question of how logging 500 year old trees in millions of year old ecosystem – in this case for children’s books and high-end Gucci shopping bags – meaningfully protects rainforests. RAN’s “market campaigns” completely miss the point that over-consumption in general and paper in particular is the problem. Having co-founded, been long-time active members, and being one of the leading radical supporters of FSC; RAN and FSC are unable or unwilling to state publicly the exact percentage or even an approximation of FSC certified products which come from primary and old growth forest loss and severe ecological diminishment when selectively logged for the first time.

“With FSC having certified over 133 million hectares, Ecological Internet stands by our analysis – using the national certification figures, the only information FSC provides on the matter, and what is known about forestry practices in each country – to estimate 60% of FSC timber comes from first time industrial primary forest logging. This means that FSC and RAN’s past and planned certification is destroying for throw-away consumption an area two times the massive state of Texas,” says Dr. Barry.

“This is greenwash of an unmatched immensity, and all RAN (and Greenpeace [3]) supporters are responsible for this destruction of the last primary forests to make Gucci bags, books and toilet paper. Ecological Internet understands this campaign makes some conservationists feel uneasy, yet this is ecological skullduggery of unimagined magnitude. This behavior by any other segment of society would be held to account as well. All environmental groups – and their members and donors – supporting FSC primary forest logging must stop their policy of promoting logging of 500 year old trees for throw away consumer items.”

### MORE ###

Primary rainforests have tremendous species numbers, carbon stores and provide ecosystem services – water, nutrient and energy cycling – required for a habitable Earth. When primary rainforests are lost or diminished through first time industrial harvest – be it outright deforestation or ‘selective’ first time logging – local ecological and social conditions deteriorate, regional weather and species distributions change, and the global biosphere and its ability to maintain conditions for life are weakened. Recent ecological science makes clear old forests continue to sequester new carbon, and that selectively logging primary forests leads to more forest fires.

All global ecological indicators show Earth and humanity have surpassed the amount of primary, old growth and other intact terrestrial ecosystems that can be lost and still maintain a habitable planet. RAN’s lack of primary forest protection vision and minor market campaign tinkering would be laughable if it wasn’t greenwashing industrial primary forest logging of the ecosystems necessary for humanity’s shared survival. These books and shopping bags promoted by RAN are likely from clearcut FSC certified primary boreal forests, or from industrial tropical tree plantations displacing native forests and peoples.

### ENDS ###

Please join Ecological Internet’s campaign to get “Greenpeace and RAN Out of FSC Primary Forest Logging Now!” on Facebook at: http://www.facebook.com/oldforests and Ecological Internet at http://www.facebook.com/ecointernet

[1] RAN’s “Rainforest Safe Summer Reading List” – http://ran.org/content/rainforest-safe-summer-reading-list . Falsely states” “FSC certified or recycled paper [allows] parents the assurance of knowing that their childrens’ books are not contributing to the loss of Indonesia’s or other endangered rainforests.”

[2] “Gucci’s Luxury Packaging Gets a Green(er) Makeover” http://www.treehugger.com/files/2010/06/gucci-luxury-packaging-gets-a-greener-makeover.php

[3] “RELEASE: Greenpeace Partners with Industry Logging Canadian Boreal Forests”
http://forests.org/blog/2010/05/release-greenpeace-partners-wi.asp

DISCUSS THIS RELEASE: http://www.rainforestportal.org/blog/ and http://www.facebook.com/ecointernet

FB ALERT & RELEASE: Protest Greenpeace and Rainforest Action Network’s Censoring of Facebook Criticism of Their Support for Primary Forest Logging

ECOLOGICAL INTERNET PRESS/SOCIAL MEDIA RELEASE and FACEBOOK ALERT!

Protest Greenpeace and Rainforest Action Network’s Censoring of Facebook

Criticism of Their Support for Primary Forest Logging

Genuine and growing concern with their ongoing, publicly undefended support

for Forest Stewardship Council “certified” primary forest logging –

destroying an area two times the size of Texas – deleted, blocked and

reported to Facebook as terms of use violations.

March 22, 2010

From Earth’s Newsdesk, a project of Ecological Internet (EI)

http://www.facebook.com/ecointernet

Greenpeace US and International, as well as Rainforest Action Network, are

censoring comments of concern regarding their support for “sustainable

forest management” of old forests including primary rainforests on Facebook

and their blogs. Ecological Internet has been at the vanguard of working to

protect and restore primary and old growth forests globally by ending their

industrial logging and other developments. Unfortunately this has required

campaigning to confront Greenpeace[1] and Rainforest Action Network[2] – two

of the strongest supporters of continued primary forest logging.

“As Greenpeace condemns censorship by Nestle[3] of a YouTube video showing

their use of oil palm at the expense of orangutans, and RAN blasts Facebook

censorship of its use of tar sands financier RBC Bank’s logo, both groups

are systematically removing criticism of their support for first time

industrial primary forest logging from their facebook pages and blogs. To

who are these groups accountable,” asks Dr. Glen Barry? “For years these

groups have inconsistently promoted logging primary forests – and have

gotten away with ignoring genuine widespread concern that such old forests

are key to solving the biodiversity and climate change crises.”

Global ecological sustainability depends upon a consistent, ecologically

credible position on protecting old forests. Please visit and become

temporary ‘fans’ of the following Greenpeace (GP) and Rainforest Action

Network (RAN) facebook and blog sites, demanding the censorship end, that

they please resign from the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) immediately,

and commit to ending industrial old forest logging. Please be polite yet

pointed that further censoring, stonewalling and vilification is

unacceptable.

RAN Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/rainforestactionnetwork

RAN Blog: http://understory.ran.org/

Greenpeace US Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/greenpeaceusa

Greenpeace International Facebook:

http://www.facebook.com/greenpeace.international

Please fan and post copies with EI at: http://www.facebook.com/ecointernet

Action Alert: Let Rainforest Action Network Know Global Ecological Sustainability Depends Upon Ending Old Forest Logging

Rainforest Action Network is a key supporter of failed Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) efforts to “sustainably” log tens of millions of hectares of primary and old-growth forests for lawn furniture, toilet paper and other throw-away consumer items. As RAN celebrates its 25th anniversary, let them know old forests will never be fully protected as long as they and others unquestioningly support “certified” yet ecologically unsustainable first-time industrial primary rainforest logging. Demand RAN vigorously defend their support for first-time primary forest logging over an area two times as large as Texas, or resign from FSC immediately. Encourage RAN to spend the next 25 years working to protect and expand old forests to maintain a habitable Earth.

By Rainforest Portal, a project of Ecological Internet – March 13, 2010

//

Share on Facebook

1.) Inform Yourself

QUICK JUMP: ENTER INFO (2) | SEND (3)

NOTE: This is a protest, not a petition, sending emails to many real decision makers on matters vital to the Earth.

RAN supports old forest logging
Caption: RAN’s 25th anniversary celebration and hiring of new executive director provides excellent opportunity to re-examine support for FSC and first time industrial logging of old forests two times the size of Texas. (link)

Old forests including tropical rainforests are the ultimate expression of life, evolution and ecology. The term “old forests” is used to describe primary unlogged forests, regenerating late successional natural old-growth, and planted mixed-species forests regaining old-growth characteristics. Here untold co-evolved species and genetic diversity exist and interact with each other and their environment to provide ecosystem services – water, nutrient and energy cycling – required for a habitable Earth. Forests logged industrially for the first time are permanently ecologically damaged in terms of composition, structure, function and dynamics. When primary forests are lost or diminished, it is inevitable that local ecological and social conditions deteriorate, regional weather and species distributions deviate, and the global biosphere and its ability to maintain conditions for life are weakened.

The forest protection movement, like many social justice movements before it, is at a crossroads. The slavery abolitionists had to choose between improving conditions for slaves or pursuing their freedom. American revolutionaries chose between greater autonomy under continued British colonialism or to fight for full freedom and liberty. Similarly, the forest movement has to decide whether we want to work to fully protect and restore old carbon and species rich forests as a keystone response to achieve global ecological sustainability, or continue to log – in only a slightly better manner – 500 year old trees in 60 million year old ecosystems for disposable consumer products. By definition, primary forests are destroyed.

Since 1993 best estimates are the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) has sanctioned the logging of sixty million hectares of primary and old-growth forests, and an equal amount is threatened in coming years. But no one really knows the full extent of the problem as FSC does not compile how many old forests it certifies for first time heavy industrial logging. This means FSC and the Rainforest Action Network (RAN) — an FSC founding member and ardent supporter — are responsible for the past and threatened loss of about 460,000 square miles of primary and other old forests – an area the size of South Africa, or nearly two times the size of Texas. FSC has not responded to numerous requests to gather more accurate figures, when directly questioned FSC board members say they do not know, and even RAN who is a member was not provided this information.

In light of current and emerging ecosystem, biodiversity and climate science; as well as evident abrupt climate change and the ongoing biodiversity extinction crises, it is clear that FSC certification for primary and old-growth logging – except under specific circumstances such as small scale community eco-forestry practiced by local peoples – is one of the primary threats to old forests. This is particularly true when many other certification schemes and business as usual industrial rainforest logging make competing claims of sustainability. Internationally, forest carbon efforts – such as Reduced Emissions from Deforestation and Degradation (REDD) – build upon the falsehood that logging primary forests, even establishing plantations where they once stood, is a desired outcome. In most countries it is impossible to suggest old forest logging end and development be based upon standing old forests, as the response is they are to be “sustainably” logged. It is becoming abundantly clear that ending industrial diminishment and working for the full protection and restoration of old forests are keystone responses to the climate change, biodiversity, ecosystem, water and poverty crises.

If RAN can target others for damaging the environment, then clearly their own involvement in such massive and unexplained logging of ancient forests is worthy of a campaign and deserves a reasoned response. Past protests have been shrugged off and twice RAN reneged on promises to get FSC to address the problem. RAN’s former executive director – who never thought it necessary to publicly defend their position – now heads the Sierra Club, another FSC supporter, and the controversy follows him there. Both organizations are already taking a strong and successful ecological position on coal, why not old forests? Sierra Club founder John Muir – who long defended a preservationist ethic against utilitarian conservationist approaches – is assuredly rolling in his grave. There is no chance old forest logging will ever end until otherwise ecologically attuned groups like RAN and the Sierra Club discontinue their FSC membership. Please demand these leading organizations vigorously defend their positions and resign from FSC immediately.

http://www.rainforestportal.org/shared/alerts/send.aspx?id=ran_ancient_forest_logging

Communication to TckTckTck Partner: Rainforest Action Network (RAN) – Feb. 21st, 2010

UPDATE: MARCH 25th, 2010. RAN has notified us that they have sent a letter to tcktcktck.org –  officially asking to be removed:

From: Joshua Kahn Russell [mailto:josh@ran.org]
Sent: Thursday, March 25, 2010 3:51 PM
To: Cory Morningstar
Subject: FW: Taking RAN off the list

 

FYI

RAN sent a letter to tcktcktck officially asking to be removed.

+++

As of March 15th, 2010, there has been no response to our inquiry. (Note: We have had an unofficial response that RAN never agreed to partner with TckTckTck – however – this is from a RAN staff person and not from the RAN national office.  As of March 15th, 2010, RAN is still listed as a partner on the TckTckTck.org website.)

From: Canadians for Action on Climate Change [mailto:canadiansforactiononclimatechange@bell.net]
Sent: February-21-10 2:21 PM
To: ‘answers@ran.org’
Cc: ‘GlobalComplianceResearch@gmail.com’
Subject: TckTckTck Concerns | Time Sensitive – Your Response is Requested

Dear Rainforest Action Network (RAN),

We are writing to you because we are concerned about the corporate connections, and about the weak demands in the TckTckTck campaign. We are conducting a survey related to these aspects of the campaign. We will be posting the results of our survey to the web, as well as issuing a media release. We will be issuing the press release on March 15th, 2010. For this reason could your organization please respond no later than February 28th, 2010?  If we do not receive a response by this time we will state that your organization did not comment.

Corporate connections of TckTckTck

We note your organization is listed in as a partner or ally of the TckTckTck campaign initiative. We are very alarmed to learn various details about the campaign. The trademark TckTckTck was registered, on November 30, 2009, by the EURO RSCG firm, a subsidiary of Havas Worldwide, a public relations firm. Partners of this campaign include multinational corporations. Two of these are Electricity of France (EDF)  which now uses the TckTckTck logo, in TV commercials. EDF, the world’s leading nuclear power utility, operates a French nuclear fleet consisting of 58 reactors spread over 19 different sites. Havas also lists GDF Suez which affirms that there is a nuclear revival. With 45 years of involvement in the nuclear industry, GDF SUEZ confirms its intention to take an active part in developing a new generation of nuclear power worldwide.

In the Havas press release (attached) it also states “Havas Worldwide incorporates the EURO RSCG” whose clients include Novartis and Adventis – both biotech industries in genetic engineering and biofuel.  Both Nuclear and Biofuel are deemed to be ‘solutions’ that are equally bad, if not worse than the problem they are intended to solve.  Through your association with the TckTckTck campaign, your organization has created intentionally or unintentionally the perception that your organization is supportive of false solutions such as nuclear and biofuel.

When challenged over the inappropriateness of associating NGO partners with the corporate sector, (see EYES WIDE SHUT | TckTckTck exposé) the TckTckTck.org campaign organizer Jason Mogus claimed the two campaigns are different.  His argument is not convincing when one sees the press release issued in September of 2009 (screenshot attached). It clearly states that the North American TckTckTck.org is Havas Worldwide.  In the September 2009 press release the last paragraph states: “Havas Worldwide Web Site: http://tcktcktck.org”.  There is further information about this in an article by ‘Peace, Earth & Justice News’. See the news article here.

One of your partners listed is at tcktcktck.org is the ‘Corporate Leaders Group on Climate Change’.  Signatories: can be found here. Of interest is the fact that on this page the multinational corporations ‘business verdict’ share your tcktcktck postCOP15 catch phrase ‘not done yet’.  This is perhaps one of the most truthful statements coming out of the entire tcktcktck campaign.  Partners in this group include Shell, Coca-Cola and RBC.  RBC is the number one financier of the most destructive project on the planet – the tar sands.  Over 1,000 corporate entities make up this TckTckTck partner group.

Furthermore, two of the same creators & partners (Havas & Euro RSCG) of TckTckTck were also initial partners of the infamous Hopenhagen campaign which was labeled a massive greenwash by the likes of Naomi Klein and others during COP15. (Farbman is reluctant to discuss what led to Ogilvy’s predicament or why previously enthusiastic partners were no longer involved.  See article here)

Many of us oppose, at least in principle if not vocally, the consumption of small community business into behemoth sized mega-corps.  We fear this is a growing trend with our NGOs.  We feel that we must work together to demand an end to this new strain of globalization which undermines and threatens our entire movement.

The entire TckTckTck campaign has been created in partnership with major multinational corporations.  These are the same multinational corporations that activists and legitimate grassroots organizations all over the world challenge on a daily basis.  People are devoting and risking their very lives defending themselves, their children and their environment from exploitation by these corporations in the name of corporate profit.  To have the largest climate change campaign on the planet formed, funded and shaped by the same corporate interests destroying our planet is a grave injustice to those already suffering.  It destroys all of our credibility, undermines true climate justice and erodes public trust.

Weak Targets advanced by TckTckTck

SIGNIFICANT OMISSIONS IN TCKTCKTCK http://tcktcktck.org DEMANDS

In the TckTckTck (http://tcktcktck.org) campaign for COP15, the organizers, allies and partners were calling for developed states to reduce developed country emissions by at least 40% by 2020. While most developed and developing states were calling for developed states to use 1990 as a baseline, the TckTckTck campaign did not have a baseline. Consequently what they were calling for was way below what developing states were demanding. How could an NGO campaign have a percentage reduction without a base-line date? In the TckTckTck campaign demands it was stated: “Reduce developed country emissions by at least 40% by 2020″. Is that from 2009 levels? or Canadian 2006 levels, or US 2005 levels?  It is far from what most of the developing states wanted, at least 45% from 1990 levels. Apart for calling for stabilization by 2015, the tcktcktck campaign had no commitment for subsequent years, such as calling the reduction of global emissions by at least 95% from 1990 levels by 2050. The TckTckTck campaign was silent on a 2050 commitment. The Key issues at COP15 were i) the need for a common baseline such as 1990, and the need for developed states to commit to high percentage reduction of greenhouse gases from the 1990 baseline, and ii) the urgent demand to not have the temperature rise exceed 1degree above preindustrialized levels and to return to no more than 300ppm. The tcktcktck campaign seriously undermined the necessary, bold targets as advanced by many of the developing states.   The TckTckTck (http://tcktcktck.org) list over 220 NGOs. We ask for your response on the following questions:

1)     Was your NGO aware that the brand “TckTckTck” has deep corporate ties?

2)     If so, how do you understand this relationship?

3)     Do you see yourselves as part of a campaign alongside “corporate partners” such as nuclear energy, genetic engineering, biofuels, aviation, automotive and other problematic sectors?

4)     If so, do you see how this creates confusion?

5)     In a release from Havas Worldwide it states “the idea behind TckTckTck was to create a movement…rather than a campaign, but a movement with a deadline. …the objective of the campaign was to make it become a movement that consumers, advertisers and the media would use and exploit.”

Were you aware that your NGO’s name and credibility would be used as a commodity in this way? (and continues to be used)

6) Do you intend to remain a partner of TckTckTck even though there are corporate ties?

7) Would you like to be removed from the list of partners of TckTckTck?

If yes to number 7;

To be removed from the list, contact laura.comer@tcktcktck.org.

8) Would your organization endorse the proposed ‘Post Cop15 Declaration’ that unequivocally supports the needs of the developing states.  It can be read here.

There are further questions related to privacy of the fifteen million people who signed on to it. There is an absolute breach of trust.  Who has collected such vital information on citizens with concern for environmental issues is anyone’s guess.  Trusting individuals disclosed personal information with no idea the campaign was aligned with corporate interests.  This is a separate and distinct issue altogether.  It is most likely that of privacy violations which warrant further investigation.

We wish that it be clear that we send this message in solidarity – that we have grave concerns with this “coalition”.  We do not wish to be patronizing but only elaborate on the concerns we share in the hope that you will share our concerns and come to the conclusion others have reached – that such a campaign is no longer the right place for any organization who believes in real climate justice to invest energies. If we say nothing – then our silence lends us as being complicit.  Therefore, we feel that must ask of all our allies to be accountable for their actions.  If we remain silent – we effectively breach the trust of those we claim to represent – the billions suffering at the hands of exploitation in the name of profits.  Let us be clear – we do not condone such a campaign and will speak out against it.

We hope that this communiqué will bring about debate that can strengthen our common understanding of the threats and opportunities for true climate justice. Our first priority is the planet, and this can only be worthwhile if it is another strand in unmasking the lies surrounding “climate politics” that threaten us with climate injustice.

Sincerely,

Canadians for Action on Climate Change | Cory Morningstar

Joan Russow | Global Compliance Research Project | www.climatechangecopenhage.org | For further information:  see Joan Russow , TckTckTck Hoodwinked NGOs, www.Pej.org)

Pacific Indigenous Peoples Environment Coalition | Aotearoa [New Zealand] | Sandy Gauntlett

Please send response to canadiansforactiononclimatechange@bell.net

The responses will be posted on the websites.

We do apologize for the mess, we are currently undergoing some necessary maintenance. Our articles and information will still be available though not as you would normally expect it to look. Thank you for your patience and have a wonderful day.