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World Wildlife Fund (WWF)

Hundreds of NGO’s Slam WWF for “Greenwashing”

 

25/04/2012

Source: Cámara Nacional de Acuacultura

Organizations across continents say the WWF did not involve stakeholders in shrimp farming standards development.

Hundreds of NGOs in Asia, Latin America, Africa, North America and Europe are protesting against World Wildlife Fund, purporting the organization has a lack of concern for the environment and people’s livelihoods in the interest of industry profits from shrimp farming.

They handed an open letter to the WWF on Wednesday in protest of the WWF’s Shrimp Aquaculture Dialogue (SHAD) general steering committee and the Aquaculture Stewardship Council’s (ASC) plans for shrimp aquaculture standards.

“WWF is greenwashing an environmentally damaging and corrupt industry through certification of this luxury product,” said Luciana Queiroz of Redmanglar, representing a network of 254 organizations in 10 Latin American countries.

In the letter, they protest the destruction of mangroves and coastal zones. Three hundred organizations in Latin America, Asia and Africa signed on, as well as 30 in the United States and Europe. The letter is stamped with logos from a host of organizations, including the Food and Water Watch and the Stockholm Society for Nature Conservation.

They claim the WWF has spent four years and at least $2 million (€1.5 million) to develop standards without involving the stakeholders or resource users.

Among their 13 total objections, the organizations claim the standards criteria were developed based upon the desire to ensure that 20 percent of the existing shrimp industry is able to become certified immediately after the standards are released. The standards will perpetuate an unsustainable and destructive system of aquaculture, the groups say.

Some other complaints are:

The conversion of mangroves and coastal zones into ponds for shrimp cultivation for the export industry has caused severe environmental destruction, depletion of coastal biodiversity and wild fisheries as well as shoreline erosion. It increases susceptibility to hurricanes and tsunamis and releases massive quantities of carbon, thus contributing to climate change.

The large scale use of fishmeal exacerbates all these problems. Coastal populations in tropical countries are severely affected by the loss of livelihood, food security and protection from storms. Protests are often met with human rights abuses.

Continued lack of proper legislation and enforcement in producer nations makes adherence to any certification standard unfeasible.

The WWF certification legitimizes this situation by giving a “green stamp” to shrimp cultivation. Their certification standards, recently finalized, will be handed over to a certification company named the Aquaculture Stewardship Council (ASC).

The standards have been developed by WWF and the aquaculture industry through a process called the Shrimp Aquaculture Dialogue. The WWF says SHAD “brings together a wide range of stakeholders, such as shrimp producers and other members of the supply chain, researchers, NGOs, and government officials to engage in collaborative and voluntary standard setting.”

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.

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

 

WWF Scandal | Part 2 | Corporate Capture, Commodities and Carbon Trading

By Chris Lang, 9th February 2012

REDD Monitor

Arecent article asks whether corporations have captured big conservation? The subheading could have read, “Do bears shit in the woods?”

In the article, “Way Beyond Greenwashing: Have Corporations Captured Big Conservation?“, Jonathan Latham, takes on big conservation’s role in setting up certification schemes for commodities, including the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO), the Round Table on Responsible Soy (RTRS), the Roundtable on Sustainable Biofuels and the Better Sugar Cane Initiative (Bonsucro). He points out the low and ambiguous standards, such as the request for companies to “volunteer to obey the law”, under the RTRS.

Latham argues that WWF and other big conservation organisations have become too close to corporations, including having corporate representatives on their boards. The “market transformation” that WWF is persuing through its commodity roundtables is extremely industry friendly. “The key question then becomes: did these boards in fact instigate market transformation? Did it come from the very top?”

Latham’s article is excellent and well worth reading if you haven’t done so already.

In the article, Latham refers to a presentation by Jason Clay, Vice President for Market Transformation at WWF US, given in March 2011. Clay’s presentation outlines WWF’s strategy on REDD: bundling commodities and carbon trading.

In 2010, WWF received a total of €56 million (about US$68 million) from corporations. That’s about 11% of WWF’s total income. It’s peanuts, of course, as Clay points out in his presentation. In its 50 years of existence, WWF has raised and spent more than US$10 billion, which is “less than most major companies spend on messaging within one year”, Clay says.

“Who’s gonna win that battle? It’s not gonna be the NGOs, that put all their money into a single advertisement that shows once against the onslaught of others. So we’ve gotta work out how to work with others.”

WWF has produced a map of the world showing 35 priority regions “from a biodiversity and ecosystem services point of view”. WWF then analysed the threats in terms of 15 commodities produced from these regions, including palm oil, pulp and paper, sawn wood, soy, beef and so on. (Strangely absent are oil, gas, coal or any other mined commodities.) WWF then looked at how to influence the environmental impact of these products. There are about 7 billion people on the planet (Clay calls them “consumers”), speaking 7,000 languages. There are 1.4 billion producers of the 15 commodities. But only 300-500 companies control 70-80% of the trade in each of the 15 commodities. “Working with 300-500 companies could be a lot easier than working with 7 billion consumers or 1.4 billion producers,” Clay says.

WWF spent four years researching these commodity traders and found that the 100 largest companies are involved in 25% of the trade in all 15 commodities. And that 25% of demand leverages 40-50% of production, “because producers will change to sell into those markets”, Clay says.

But contacting companies individually takes too long. So WWF decided instead to “work with groups”. Hence the “Commodity Roundtables” that WWF has been setting up, to create what Clay describes as “credible standards that companies can buy products against”.

“We developed the FSC, we developed the MSC, the Forest Stewardship Council, the Marine Stewardship Council. We’ve since done it for almost all those other commodities.”

WWF’s goal is to have 25% of global production of these commodities to be certified by 2020. Clay’s slide makes it look simple:

But as a look at some of the problems with FSC shows, there are serious problems with the certification approach. And FSC is probably the best of these certification systems. That’s not an endorsement of FSC, by the way, just a recognition that the others are even worse.

Clay and WWF are proposing making a bad situation very much worse. In his 2011 talk, Clay mentions environmental externalities. “One of the problems is that we don’t pay the price of anything we buy, because we don’t pay for environmental externalities. So how can we bring externalities back into pricing?” Clay asks. His answer is to bring carbon into the supply chains.

“Why don’t they buy carbon and commodities at the same time? Why don’t they reward farmers for actually sequestering carbon, or avoiding carbon, or changing the trajectory of carbon intensity of the products they make?”

The argument is that because the commodity roundtables include language about reducing deforestation, there exists the possibility of selling the carbon not emitted bundled into the price of the commodity.

In September 2011, a three-day workshop took place in the University of San Diego, California, USA: “The Role of Commodity Roundtables & Avoided Forest Conversion in Subnational REDD+”. It was organised by the National Wildlife Federation, the Governors Climate and Forests Task Force, the Roundtable on Sustainable Biofuels, the Agriculture Synergies Project, the Tropical Forest Group and Amigos da Terra (which has nothing to do with Friends of the Earth). Several WWF representatives spoke at the workshop.

Obviously, there are problems with the suggestion of bundling carbon and commodities, not least of which is working out how much carbon is associated with each commodity and determining what the difference might have been if the commodity had been produced outside the vague rules of the commodity roundtable. Then there’s the fact that the rules are not policed particularly closely. And the fact that trading in something that cannot be measured accurately is an extremely high risk investment. Nevertheless, WWF is ploughing on. In his presentation, Clay explained that,

“We’ve just now got some money from the Dutch government, to do assessments of these crops to see how much carbon different farmers in different parts of the world producing these would have to sell with their commodity. Is it one tonne of carbon with every tonne of sugar cane? Is it half a tonne? Is it three tonnes? We need to have an idea of what those numbers are and then we need to draft and peer review a kind of financial approach to how you would do this.”

Clay argues that we can start with carbon, because there already is a carbon market. He appears blissfully unaware of the on-going meltdown in carbon markets. Once the carbon is traded with these commodities, Clay suggests moving on to water, pollinators and biodiversity. “We can widdle away at it, and we can add more things to the price,” he says.

At the end of his presentation Clay asks “Who will manage the planet?” While Clay answers that we all have to, it is obvious from his presentation that Clay and WWF are proposing that corporations, commodity traders and carbon traders should manage the planet. Anyone else think that this is a recipe for disaster?

WWF Scandal | Part 1 | Bears Feeding on Toxic Corporate Waste

By Chris Lang, 27th July 2011

REDD Monitor

WWF's Panda feeding on toxic corporate waste

WWF, the world’s biggest environmental organisation, is under fire. On 23 June 2011, the German TV station ARD broadcast a documentary highlighting WWF’s cozy relationship with distinctly unsustainable companies like the genetically modified giant Monsanto and the rainforest destroying palm oil company Wilmar. This week Global Witness published a report criticising WWF’s Global Forest and Trade Network.

The only surprising thing is that it has taken so long for the WWF scandal to become public. The title of this post, “Bears feeding on toxic corporate waste,” is borrowed from an email that was circulated anonymously back in April 2003 (posted in full, for a little light relief, below). Sooner or later, the WWF scandal had to go public.

Today’s post is part 1 of the WWF scandal. It looks at the ARD documentary. Part 2 (coming soon) will look at the Global Witness report investigating WWF’s abysmal failure to rein in the logging industry.

The ARD documentary, “Der Pakt mit dem Panda”, was produced by Wilfried Huismann, a prize winning investigative journalist. It is posted below and can be viewed on ARD’s website (in German).




The film produced shock waves in Germany. But rather than facing up to the fact that these are serious criticisms, WWF Germany responded defensively, producing a “fact check” page on its website and a series of interviews with staff of WWF Germany who, surprise, surprise, tell us that they are doing everything they can to save the planet.

The film focusses in on WWF’s cozy relationships with corporate eco-nasties. Here are two particularly egregious examples, from the palm oil sector in Indonesia and the soy industry in Argentina.

In Indonesia, WWF has a partnership with Wilmar, a company that has converted vast areas of rainforest to monoculture oil palm plantations. WWF is quick to point out that its Memorandum of Understanding with Wilmar is to protect high conservation value forest and that it receives no money from Wilmar under this MoU. But as Nordin, who works with WALHI (Friends of the Earth Indonesia), points out in the film, WWF is in effect helping to greenwash an environmental disgrace:

“WWF says that you can produce palm oil in a sustainable way. Look around. How can that be sustainable? Nothing regrows here. The partnership with Wilmar improves the image of the firm, not their practices. I have no evidence that WWF is corrupt but it helps the industry to expand further.”

Predictably, Wilmar mentions the MoU in its 2007 Corporate Social Responsibility report as an example of how it implements its policies:

Wilmar upholds a policy of enhancing and maintaining flora and fauna species, and uses a flexible menu of conservation practices to protect natural habitats that are found to be rich in biodiversity.

There are two toe-curlingly embarrassing interviews in the documentary with WWF staff. In the first, a WWF Indonesia employee explains that she doesn’t really know what’s happening on the ground in the Wilmar plantation where Huismann filmed. In the second, Dörte Bieler, WWF Germany’s manager for “sustainable biomass”, is interviewed at an industry conference. No other NGOs took part in the conference. She tells Huismann that

“Our work is science-based. We always conduct a study before we have an opinion… And with this science-based evidence we have been able to achieve some things.”

But she is unable to point to a single thing that WWF has achieved through its cooperation with corporations. What’s important for WWF, according to Bieler, is that the NGO is “not just ridiculed, but accepted as a competent discussion partner.”

In Argentina, Huismann looks at WWF’s relationship with soy companies. The film includes an interview with Dr Hector Laurence,[*] the personification of the WWF scandal. In a World Business Council for Sustainable Development brochure he is quoted as saying,

“I am surprised to find that some people consider that if NGOs work with business they risk loosing [sic] objectivity. Efficient and transparent collaboration between these sectors is precisely the way to overcome this prejudice.”

We shouldn’t be surprised by this, since Laurence’s career included being head of a conservation organisation called Fundación Vida Silvestre Argentina (WWF’s associate in Argentina), President of the Argentinean Asociation of Agrobusiness; and Vice-president of Pioneer Overseas Corporation, part of Dupont.

Laurence’s position on pesticides and GM soy is identical to that of the agribusinesses who have planted millions of hectares of GM soy in Argentina, Paraguay and Brazil.

WWF’s response to the interview with Hector Laurence is particularly odious:

Hector Laurence was never with WWF, instead he worked with the associated partner organisation Fundación Vida Silvestre Argentina (FVSA) until 2008.

In fact, the panda is very cuddly with FVSA. WWF’s website, under the headline “WWF-Argentina: Our solutions”, states that

Together, [WWF and FVSA] held joint campaigns, arrange global actions and receive financial backup for executing programs and projects.

The layout of FVSA’s website design is very similar to a previous WWF layout (WWF’s website has since been re-designed). FVSA’s url even includes the magic letters wwf and panda.org:

WWF-Argentina: wwfar.panda.org
WWF-International: wwf.panda.org

WWF was one of the founders of the Round Table on Responsible Soy. But the issue of genetically modified soy is not part of RTRS discussions. Members of the RTRS can use as much GM soy as they wish. WWF denies that it promotes GM crops, arguing that it remains in the Round Table on Responsible Soy in order to reduce the amount of GM soy planted. But the reality, whether WWF likes it or not, is that its presence in the RTRS is lending legitimacy to RTRS and thus to GM soy, monocultures and agribusiness. WWF knows this – it’s been pointed out to them many times.

Jason Clay of WWF-US [*] declined Huisman’s request for an interview. Instead the documentary included a 2010 presentation that Clay gave to the Global Harvest Initiative, an agribusiness lobbying initiative set up by Archer Daniels Midland, DuPont, John Deere and Monsanto. Among GHI’s consultative partners are Conservation International, The Nature Conservancy and WWF. “We need to freeze the footprint of agriculture,” Clay says in his presentation. He explains that WWF is suggesting seven or eight things we need to work on to achieve this. “One is genetics, we have got to produce more with less,” he says, sounding just like an GM agribusiness lobbyist.

“It takes 15 years, at least and maybe longer as we go along, to bring a genetically engineered product to market. If we don’t start today, we’re already at 2025. The clock is ticking. We need to get moving. There is a sense of urgency.”

WWF’s response? “WWF Germany disagrees.” But the programme is not about WWF Germany. It is about WWF. And WWF admitted to the Süddeutsche newspaper that it has accepted money from Monsanto. Meanwhile, Jason Clay is not a paper pusher in some neglected outpost of the WWF empire. He is Senior Vice President for Market Transformation at WWF-US.

Not everything in Huismann documentary hits the target. A handful of WWF’s rebuttals appear plausible. But that does not make WWF’s response either acceptable or adequate. The documentary raises important issues about WWF’s cozy relationship with massive, destructive corporations. That WWF is not even interested in an intelligent and open discussion of these issues, let alone changing the way it works with destructive corporations, is a disgrace.


UPDATE and APOLOGY – 30 July 2011:I have deleted the descriptions of Hector Laurence and Jason Clay. Thanks to everyone who pointed out that the way these people look has nothing to do with the argument. I apologise for causing any offense to anyone and promise not to do that again.

Here, for the record, is Jason Clay’s presentation in full to the Global Harvest Initiative:

Global Harvest Initiative Symposium – Clay from Global Harvest Initiative on Vimeo.

Failed Saviors | NGOs & Ecotourism [Africa, WWF, Nature Conservancy]

Source

Are ecotourism and wildlife conservation in Africa so sacrosanct in the minds of their supporters that they’ve dodged proper regulation or perhaps even swerved off moral pathways?

I obtained with pride a Conde Nast ecotourism award in 2004 for my client, Hoopoe Safaris of Tanzania. But in the decade since then my own ideas about ecotourism and NGO involvement in African conservation have changed.

There are two issues, here. The first is that “ecotourism” is no longer a legitimate marker for good tourism practices in Africa. The second is that wildlife NGOs have grown increasingly callous of the priorities of local populations. So the two are related. Both discount the preeminent interests of local people in the areas where their interests are pursued.

The common thread that I’ve watch develop over the last decade is that western-driven “charity” or “aid” or “consultation” or “community based tourism” has grown increasingly isolated from the people who theoretically will benefit from those foreign efforts.

Even if there aren’t contextual conflicts, disputes about goals or methodology, the ignoring of the local populations’ interests spawns conflict. Imagine what you might feel if a Chinese NGO came into your suburban neighborhood and began research then implementation of plans to cultivate an herbal remedy … like garlic mustard… in the city parks. You would at least expect participation in the discussion, and you would become infuriated if you weren’t consulted.

In the last decade local people throughout Africa have increased substantially in numbers and in education levels as well. Most parts of Africa have become well linked to the outside world through increased internet and cell phone access. This empowers the local communities to better scrutinize their so-called foreign benefactors.

ECOTOURISM IS A SHAM

The academic community has always been skeptical of ecotourism. A 2007 Harvard study of Tanzania ecotourism concluded that while most such projects seemed legitimate, there was a substantial percentage that weren’t. An analysis by Ohio State University in 2011 of Tanzania ecotourism was much more damning. The report actually named (accused) specific Tanzanian operators that were scamming tourists with the ploy of arguing their products were ecotouristic when they were anything but.

The above studies, and many more referenced within them, are convincing documents that ecotourism if not an out and out scam is a very poorly formed idea. The initial theories might be good, but implementation seems impossible. And the Ohio State study in particular described why self-appointed certification authorities weren’t working, either, so that the notion of creating some universal standard is mute.

The UN initially thought otherwise. It promoted ecotourism but has since backed away from the idea. Almost a year ago exactly I posted several blogs citing the growing skepticism with ecotourism throughout the world. Nothing has changed; ecotourism as commonly applied in the marketing of travel is neither honest or good.

Khadija Sharife in the Africa Report summed it perfectly last week in the post’s title, “The Drunken Logic of Ecotourism.”

WILDLIFE NGO ARROGANCE

But in the year since I and many, many others pointed out the disservice that foreign marketing ploys like “ecotourism” do to local peoples, another foreign fixture of African life has emerged as equally unfair and misleading: wildlife NGOs.

It will be harder to convince you of this, I know. The loyalty that the world’s great animal savior organizations command is legend. It’s one thing to suggest that a relatively small foreign-controlled tour company in Tanzania is not serving the local populations well. It’s another to make this claim against the World Wildlife Foundation (WWF) or the African Wildlife Foundation (AWF).

WWF’s long involvement in Africa stands mostly as a fabulous contribution to baseline research and good management of threatened and endangered species. But as with the morphing of the idea of ecotourism into a marketing scam, it could be that the long involvement developed a sense of propriety WWF should not have presumed.

Its most serious conflict is in Tanzania in the Rufiji delta, the outskirts of the great Selous game reserve, which has come under increasing scrutiny because of its enormous hydroelectric potential. A much greater controversy actually than the WWF one I describe below is the World Bank decision to support a hydroelectric dam that could seriously disrupt The Selous and Rufiji delta basin.

But the World Bank’s mission to help developed countries grow and prosper is contextually proper in weighing the consequences of a dam draining a game reserve. The debate is heated and ongoing, and everyone accepts one important debate: who should make the decision? Professionals weighing the overall value to Tanzanian society, or local people immediately impacted?

Quite unlike the World Bank, WWF skipped this important step when it began programs to inhibit rice farming on the outskirts of The Selous. Local rice farmers were obviously the first to be impacted, but they had no input into the decisions regarding the project and WWF sought none from them.

The project mission was always suspect to me, but the rapid implementation without adequate consultation with the local population reeks of arrogance. The entire project has now devolved into all sorts of criminal and unethical consequences. Eight WWF employees have resigned, plus the Tanzania country director, Stephen Mariki.

WWF should be complemented for trying to right this wrong, but the culture that led to their presumption of determining the life ways of local Tanzanian people is the real problem. And that will be a much harder thing to remedy than just abandoning the rice project.

The current most egregious wildlife NGO controversy, however, is on no path to reconciliation because the organization, the African Wildlife Foundation (AWF), continues to defend its position.

AWF encapsulates its overall mission in the phrase “heartlands.” Over the last several decades, AWF has created heartland areas throughout sub-Saharan Africa in which it concentrates its research and assistance. An essential purpose is to create wildlife corridors between established nationally gazetted protected wildlife areas like national parks to increase the potential for biodiversity and reduce the inbreeding that could otherwise effect large wild animal populations.

Noble. The problem for some time has been to create these corridors, land must be acquired from private holdings. This may have something to do with AWF’s close partnership with the Nature Conservancy in 2007.

But what happens when farmers or other landholders don’t want to sell? AWF’s response has been high-handed and now, it appears, infuriated local populations are gaining the initiative.

In and around their large Manyara ranch holding in Tanzania, AWF has negotiated versions of eminent domain with the Tanzanian government that caused enormous friction locally. And now in Kenya, their acquisition of land (which they subsequently tried to deed over to a new Kenyan Laikipia National Park) is on track to totally cripple all their good efforts in East Africa.

AWF insists it has been playing by the rules. But two thousand Samburu people don’t care if they were playing by the rules or not; they insist with credibility that they have been displaced illegally from their traditional lands by AWF’s high-handed moves.

Unlike WWF, AWF seems to be digging in its heels for a fight that will emasculate it. And if it goes down as I expect it will, so will the reputation and memories of good work that wildlife NGOs have been undertaking for decades in Africa.

Why is AWF resisting an acceptable settlement? AWF is a much younger organization than WWF, and its donor base is much smaller than WWF, much less publicly than individually endowed.

Nature Conservancy is itself a less publicly endowed organization limited to wealthy landowners mostly in Illinois. It could be that these two closely held NGOs feel less vulnerable to public opinion than a more globally funded organization like WWF.

Both these situations, with ecotourism and wildlife NGOs, represent not just outside interference, but outside indifference to the preeminent rights of local people. And because that indifference has been so arrogant – dare one say “racist”? – it led these otherwise noble organizations into presumptions of their legitimacy that denied the preeminent legitimacy of local peoples.

It led tourist companies to scam local peoples with ecotourism; and it led wildlife NGOs to become deluged by the power of their previous successes. It led both types of organizations to ignore the legitimate and preeminent needs of the local populations.

Africa is developing so rapidly I can see incidents of polite refusal, so to speak, of tourist projects and foreign wildlife programs that are put to bed rather easily. The recent controversy in the Kenyan Wildlife Service (KWS) involving the translocation of rhino is a good example of “local populations” politely indicting foreign organizations trying to tell them what to do.

But in heated political arenas, this politeness will be lost. WWF had to back down altogether, fire staff and refund grants. AWF should do the same. When sensibilities are exchanged for political control, foreign tour companies and foreign wildlife NGOs have no hope of prevailing.

Beware, guys. A lot of good has come from your work in the last half century. Don’t blow it.

Bolivia: The US Is Spying on Latin America Under the Cover of USAID and other NGOs

 “I am convinced that some NGOs, especially those funded by the USAID, are the fifth column of espionage in Bolivia, not only in Bolivia, but also in all of Latin America,” Morales said during a press conference in Oruro, a southwestern Bolivian city.

Feb 10, 2012

China Daily

LA PAZ – Bolivian President Evo Morales on Thursday accused the United States of spying on his and other Latin American countries.

The Bolivian president said the spying is done under the cover of the US Agency for International Development (USAID) and other non-governmental organizations (NGOs).

“I am convinced that some NGOs, especially those funded by the USAID, are the fifth column of espionage in Bolivia, not only in Bolivia, but also in all of Latin America,” Morales said during a press conference in Oruro, a southwestern Bolivian city.

Morales said the United States, through the cover of development aid operations of those organizations, knows “all the details of the activities of the social sectors and union leaders” in those Latin American countries.

The president regretted that some union leaders were allegedly used by these NGOs to stir disputes such as the one over a highway project in an indigenous territory in his country.

Agribusiness: The Corporations that Control Conservation [WWF, Conservation International, Nature Conservancy]

“So, who are the individuals guarding the mission of global conservation nonprofits? US-WWF boasts (literally) that its new vice-chair was the last CEO of Coca-Cola, Inc. (a member of Bonsucro) and that another board member is Charles O. Holliday Jr., the current chairman of the board of Bank of America, who was formerly CEO of DuPont (owner of Pioneer Hi-Bred International, a major player in the GMO industry). The current chair of the executive board at Conservation International, is Robert Walton, better known as chair of the board of WalMart (which now sells ‘sustainably sourced’ food and owns the supermarket chain ASDA). The boards of WWF and Conservation International do have more than a sprinkling of members with conservation-related careers. But they are heavily outnumbered by business representatives. On the board of Conservation International, for example, are GAP, Intel, Northrop Grumman, JP Morgan, Starbucks and UPS, among others.”

Way Beyond Greenwashing: Have Corporations Captured Big Conservation?

Beyond Greenwashing

by Jonathan Latham
Independent Science News

February 7, 2012

Imagine an international mega-deal. The global organic food industry agrees to support international agribusiness in clearing as much tropical rainforest as they want for farming. In return, agribusiness agrees to farm the now-deforested land using organic methods, and the organic industry encourages its supporters to buy the resulting timber and food under the newly devised “Rainforest Plus” label. There would surely be an international outcry.

Virtually unnoticed, however, even by their own membership, the world’s biggest wildlife conservation groups have agreed exactly to such a scenario, only in reverse. Led by the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF), many of the biggest conservation nonprofits including Conservation International and the Nature Conservancy have already agreed to a series of global bargains with international agribusiness. In exchange for vague promises of habitat protection, sustainability and social justice, these conservation groups are offering to greenwash industrial commodity agriculture.

Subvertising: A Brilliant WWF Spoof

http://vimeo.com/22131397

Watch ‘The Silence of the Pandas’ Documentary | WWF

“The WWF is the largest environmental protection organisation in the world. Trust in its green projects is almost limitless. With rousing campaigns, the WWF directly targets the conscience of its donors — everyone should do their part to save endangered species, the climate and/or the rainforest. The WWF was founded 50 years ago, on September 11, 1961. Today it is the most influential lobby group for the environment in the world, thanks largely to its excellent contacts in both the political and industrial spheres and to its ability to walk a constant tightrope between commitment and venality. A year in the making, this film will dispel the green image of the WWF however. Behind the organisation’s eco-facade, the Film uncovered explosive stories from all around the world. This documentary seeks to reveal the secrets of the WWF. It is a journey into the heart of the green empire and may shatter public faith in the panda forever.”

[Admin: On a side note, the late Godfrey Rockefeller was a founder of WWF and a former executive director.]

Must Read Interview with Tom Goldtooth – Climate Change, the Big Corrupt Business?

Admin: By far the best interview out of Durban – If only everyone spoke the truth like Tom Goldtooth in this interview … we would be winning the battle instead of losing.

The Africa Report

By Khadija Sharife in Durban

05 December 2011

Tom Goldtooth, head of the Indigenous Environmental Network talks to The Africa Report about the manipulation of carbon trading data and the double standards assumed by richer countries.

“The carbon certificate, that says one corporation somewhere in the world now controls and owns what in our culture cannot be owned – land, air, the trees”- Tom Goldtooth/Photo/Reuters

Goldtooth expresses his misgivings about agriculture being included as part of the United Nations Collaborative Programme on Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation in Developing Countries (REDD). Arguing that “REDD is going to be the largest legal land grab the world has ever seen”, the indigenous North American warns of colonialism and forced privatisation. And according to him “those with the most money and power can – by remote control, lock up the largest land areas in developing countries”. “They are happiest to work with the most corrupt because it is easiest that way,” he says.

Interview.

The Africa Report: How do indigenous peoples, such as yourself, perceive REDD?

Tom Goldtooth: There are a number of reasons for profiling REDD as a false solution. For indigenous peoples, and as an indigenous organisation that specialises in environmental issues, and which has consulted with many indigenous peoples from the North of the world to the South, from the East to the West, one of the biggest issues is escalation of global warming. In Alaska, melting ice has forced entire villages to relocate, there is coastal land erosion. It is not an easy situation to pull up your entire life – as a community – and move, especially with the other issues involved like settlers with private land rights. So the biggest issue we feel, is putting a stop to climate change by shutting the valve of GHG. It is a matter of life and death.

So we are very concerned that the second round of the Kyoto Protocol is being held back by the powerful governments of the world, including my own government, the US. Any real mitigation is welcome with open arms because we are the people who are most vulnerable and desperate for a solution. But is REDD a real solution? Already, there has been manipulation of the data, displacement of peoples, narratives driven by industry-funded scientists. We are concerned that the same people who caused the problem are now shaping the solution to fit with their agendas – which is making a profit using the same principles that caused the problem. Look at how it is being implemented as well – corporations know that it is easy to exploit the peoples of the South given the state of their governments, the lack of land rights, the violation of human rights, through that piece of paper – the carbon certificate, that says one corporation somewhere in the world now controls and owns what in our culture cannot be owned – land, air, the trees. How can this belong to a one financier when it belongs – and has a right to belong, to the earth?

Give us your perspective on the US government’s position in the climate talks?

In our country, there has been the expansion of fossil fuel development, so even while they are talking a green policy view, they are expanding dirty industry right in our backyards, which is also the homeland of indigenous peoples. Look at the tar sands in Northern Alberta, Canada – this is within the traditional homelands of the Dine’ people – I’m a Southern Dine’. Another group, the Namate, live downstream and with the immediate zone. They are about 22 corporations – many of them state-funded, including Statoil from Norway, and Total from France. The companies involved are not only polluting the atmosphere and the earth, but they’re depleting water, and the same companies are involved with clearing away the boreal forest. It is a viable option now that the price of fuel is going up. Yet Canada, which has not come close to meeting their commitments and is a signatory of the Kyoto Protocol, has gone ahead with tar sands. These are the governments that are supposed to provide the solution?

Has there been any co-option of the indigenous leadership through corporatising policies such as Alaska’s ‘native corporations’?

Yes – there are many shams, precisely like the native corporation. At the top, our allies in the UN tell us they are still wondering whether it can even scientifically work or not – offsetting biotic carbon in trees for the carbon mine from the earth and burnt through combustion. In the long term, we pay the price. The indigenous peoples in Alaska are very concerned about the destruction of their leadership through the native corporations that was a mechanism by the US government and politicians to gain title to buy them out with money through forming these corporations, which also locates negotiating tactics within these capitalist structures. We work with the Alaskan organisation Redoil – some have resisted becoming part of it and still call themselves traditional governments, they are not part of the regional corporation structures. Some have sold their shares. Others still participate to try and make a difference. These corporations are lobbied and collaborate with the business-as-usual fossil fuel leaders. It has taken us away from our traditional principles and values which is the opposite of commodifying, privatisation resources that are destructive and spell a death sentence. The native corporation heads – we see them in meetings, wearing designer suits, and talking designer talk. We don’t talk because their agenda is the same lethal talk that has caused a global crisis.

If we look at the way in which the UN is structured, is there legitimacy to this UNFCCC event – should it be delegitimised or engaged with?

It is a two-way street for us. Certainly, the UN is what you say. But look – we tried to use it as a way of lifting up issue of human rights, social and environment justice, and bring that to the framework. We know that the first Kyoto Protocol had many problems including that the emissions target that Annex 1 (developed) nations were signatories too, was the bare minimum. It was very hard for us to accept the compromise. Some of the bigger organisations said, ‘Tom Goldtooth – this is the first step, we can strengthen it later.’ But here, it is ‘later’ and the issue of relevant binding agreements holding industrialised countries accountable has to happen. But as indigenous peoples, we cannot wait for another international agreement to be negotiated – another wasted decade. You have petroleum companies now that are investing millions to offset their pollution by owning the environment. Our people end up as renters. But what happens when the carbon market falls apart or collapses? Who is liable? Who pays the price? We are told to safeguard and trust the process, but the advisors in the UN and World Bank, have even admitted that it is going to be very weak.

There is a lot of risk. We fear that at the end of the day, with agriculture now being included as part of REDD, REDD is going to be the largest legal land grab the world has ever seen. Back to colonialism, back to forced privatisation, especially for forest communities. Those with the most money and power can – by remote control, lock up the largest land areas in developing countries. And they are happiest to work with the most corrupt because it is easiest that way.

Do you have representation through large green political muscles – and if so, how, if not, why not?

“When indigenous peoples started to call into question the false solutions, we were attacked by large environmental organisations, saying that we were not looking at the bigger picture, at the benefit of REDD. We saw a campaign mounted to disrupt us, and to marginalise what we’re saying. But indigenous people no longer are able to stand back and let the ‘good intentioned’ voices speak on our behalf. In 1999, it used to be five or six people, at most, holding the line. Only when REDD became part of the picture, did indigenous peoples begin to stand up and actively resist. Corporations that fund some of the green organisations know how to play the game, and the organisations play back, to stay in business. The corporations know there is money to be made from investing in privatised trees, and that it looks good in paper. If you look at the NGOs, these are European ‘white’ NGOs, and there is tremendous racism and classism woven into that. When an ethnic person speaks up, they get offended they don’t want a solution from the marginalised. They want to devise the solution they feel is best for the whole system – and we have to ask ourselves what the system they actually represent, entails.

Many have proposed ‘eco-socialism’ and other similar models as the solution. Renowned Marxist David Harvey says it may be necessary to separate indigenous-type peoples living in the commons, like the Amazon, from the ‘natural’ commons – what is he advocating and from what standpoint?

“The white-is-right dogma – where they don’t care to understand what the reality is and the culture and beliefs, of indigenous peoples, all over the world, especially the most marginalised, the forest peoples. We are the ones most anxious to protect, our cultures are principles on the belief that we cannot own and abuse the earth for our short-term benefit.”

Youth from all over the world have flown in – yet many lack understanding of the political economy of pollution, both problem and solution. Why is this?

“Look at the role of the WWF-type organisations. These are educators. Al Gore – pushing for the carbon market, he is an educator on the environment and climate. They are slumming it out in Durban, it is fashionable for a young white kid from the US or UK to be concerned about a global poverty issue, not the reality in their own backyards, but somewhere where they can be special, become heroes. We challenged the big organisations with environmental racism – the top ten movements, including Greenpeace, the Sierra Club, to bring our voices to the board, to the way in these campaigns are shaped. They resisted us. Even when they do appoint a person of colour, it is usually from within the mentality of surburbia, so that they are never questioned or taken out of the comfort zone where ‘white is right.’ And these organisations and their narratives are so popular – you have young kids coming, getting their hands dirty. They leave, feeling vindicated, slumming around – as if they have done their share. But this is our life, and that parachuting in and out of communities, the ruckus society, is destructive and presents the distorted reality. We have challenged, and become very unpopular, for raising the issue of classism which is source of the problem and requires an economic analysis if the environmental and climate narrative is to be truthful…. Look at 350.org – we had to challenge them to bring us to stand with them on the pipeline issue. Bill McKibben, the ivory tower white academic, didn’t even want to take the time to bring people of colour to the organising. We managed a negotiation that allowed for both groups to unite.

Concerning celebrated activist voices like Naomi Klein – they appear to come from a specific formula – What are your thoughts?

“Well, it is always the case with the media that ‘white is right’ or that global issues affecting people of color on the frontline should be represented by the type of voices that don’t engage, in a threatening way, the realities of capitalism. There are also many fashionable voices that become part of the establishment in the sense that while they do espouse the truth, it is not pose a threat for change, for ending the system, because someone has adopted a cause that they were not born into. The communities that live in the cancer hotspots, in the immediate environment, their voices are too real, too threatening. Meanwhile, infiltration continues – how the corporations lend their money to the media – how the media shapes the tones and get the right voices to provide just the right amount of dissent. Meanwhile, Mayor Bloomberg donated millions to the Occupy Wall Street. We need a systems change, not an isolated trendy environmental change. The organisations that speak need to have a real constituency – they need to be accountable to the people they represent. There is no time for egos and games anymore.

As Navaho people, as Dakota people, we are struggling to understand how the problem that created the problem becomes the solution? In our language, we have no translation of ownership for the air – or carbon. One of my elders told me, if you ever have a hard time translating something into your language, beware that it may lack the truth.

http://www.theafricareport.com/index.php/news-analysis/climate-change-the-big-corrupt-business-50176874.html

The Commodification of Earth’s Forests: The Key Players Behind REDD

“The ALBA bloc also agreed to Bolivia’s proposal to reject the idea of seeing forests as simply carbon-offsets to be traded on the carbon market, as it is with the currently promoted policy of REDD. In its place, ALBA will advocate a mechanism denominated “sustainable life of forest” in which an integral vision takes into account the role forest play not only in absorbing carbon but also in regards to food production, water, biodiversity, and land.” See full article: ALBA nations prepare to fight for humanity at Durban climate summit

Evo Morales, President of Bolivia, produced a statement on REDD (September 2010) explaining in more detail his opposition to REDD (available here in Spanish, pdf file – 734.6 kB). See more on Morales regarding his leadership on environment and climate change: Who Really Leads on the Environment? The “Movement” Versus Evo Morales.

Image: The Unsuitablog

An Excerpt from a Must Read Document Written by Carbon Trade Watch

(Full document: http://www.carbontradewatch.org/downloads/publications/REDD_key_players.pdf)

Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs)

The WWF, The Nature Conservancy, Conservation International, Environmental Defense Fund, Woods Hole Research Center, CIFOR, Wildlife Conservation Society and other “conservationist” NGOs are among those who stand to make billions of dollars from REDD+.

The interests of these conservation NGOs and large corporations have become more clear. Corporations on one hand have been using these NGOs as their best green public relations’ agencies – if paid the right amounts of money, and the NGOs funds on the other hand, have grown more dependent on the “contributions” from these same corporations.

TNC states in its website that they “pursue non-confrontational, pragmatic solutions to conservation challenges”, however, right below they continue saying that they “partner with indigenous communities, businesses, governments, multilateral institutions, and other non-profits”.25 Conservation organizations such as these thrive on these types of conflicts of interest. The Noel Kempff Climate Action Project in Bolivia where TNC is a partner mentioned in above, shows how social and environmental considerations are left aside over profit interests. CI is also an intensive promoter of REDD+ including a very controversial REDD-type project in the Lancondon rainforest in Chiapas, Mexico. In 2009, the government of Chiapas began work on the Climate Change Action Programme for the State of Chiapas (PACCCH), financed by the British Embassy, with CI as a key actor in its implementation. The pilot projects were planned by CI for 2011 Several groups like The Nature Conservancy (TNC) and Conservation International (CI), for example, have lobbied for sub-national targets to be at the core of REDD+. Sub-national targets allow the implementation of specific projects without having a national-based target. An insider who is employed by a leading green group explained to the journalist Johann Hari the motivations: “It’s because they will generate a lot of revenue this way. If there are national targets, the money runs through national governments. If there are subnational targets, the money runs through the people who control those forests – and that means TNC, Conservation International and the rest. Suddenly, these forests they run become assets, and they are worth billions in a carbon market as offsets. So they have a vested financial interest in offsetting and in subnational targets, even though they are much more environmentally damaging than the alternatives. They know it. It’s shocking.”24

TNC states in its website that they “pursue non-confrontational, pragmatic solutions to conservation challenges”, however, right below they continue saying that they “partner with indigenous communities, businesses, governments, multilateral institutions, and other non-profits”.25 Conservation organizations such as these thrive on these types of conflicts of interest. The Noel Kempff Climate Action Project in Bolivia where TNC is a partner mentioned in above, shows how social and environmental considerations are left aside over profit interests.

CI is also an intensive promoter of REDD+ including a very controversial REDD-type project in the Lancondon rainforest in Chiapas, Mexico. In 2009, the government of Chiapas began work on the Climate Change Action Programme for the State of Chiapas (PACCCH), financed by the British Embassy, with CI as a key actor in its implementation. The pilot projects were planned by CI for 2011 in Chiapas – where there are 1.3 million hectares of land considered natural reserves – fall under the framework of an agreement signed in November 2010 between California in the US, Chiapas in Mexico and Acre in Brazil. The agreement establishes the bases for initiating a carbon credit scheme incorporating REDD+ and other forest carbon schemes into the regulatory frameworks of these municipalities. However, immediately outside the area designated for the sale of carbon credits, there is a continued promotion for the expansion of agroindustry, tourism development, industrial plantations of oil palm, and other activities that lead to deforestation.26

Another example of how these NGOs are counter-acting real environmental and social struggles is to take a closer look into their partners. CI’s corporate partners include several polluting industries such as ArcelorMittal, Barrick Gold, BP Foundation, Cargill, Chevron, Coca-Cola, Kimberly-Clark, Kraft Foods, McDonald’s, Monsanto, Newmont Mining Corporation, Rio Tinto, Shell, Toyota Motor Corporation, Walmart, among many others. Despite the ghastly record of human rights violation and environmental destruction of these climate criminals, CI blatantly states: “We believe that corporations are a major ally in our conservation efforts… We’ve always taken pride in our relationships with our creative corporate partners. Many have been making a difference for decades; others are just getting started.”27 In May this year, the magazine Don’t Panic secretly filmed a senior employee discussing with undercover reporters ways in which the organisation could help an arms company boost its green credentials. The film shows the CI employee suggesting North African birds of prey as a possible endangered species mascot for the arms company because of the “link to aviation”.28

These corporate partnerships are not only allowing these industries to greenwash their destructive activities, but also by paying CI or any other green group, they are buying the silence of “recognized” conservation groups about the environmental and social impacts that these activities entail.

There are many more players that are pushing for legitimizing and expanding REDD+. For example, key funders that are promoting REDD+ are the Climate and Land Use Alliance (Ford Foundation, Packard Foundation, Climate Works, Betty and Gordon Moore Foundation), the Clinton Foundation, the Norwegian Agency for Development and Cooperation (NORAD), the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ, Germany), the Danish International Development Agency (DANIDA) to name a few.

Read the full report: http://www.carbontradewatch.org/downloads/publications/REDD_key_players.pdf

The latest publications from Carbon Trade Watch:

@COP17 in Durban: NO REDD+ TEACH-IN
Friday, 2 December 14:00 to 17:00 at the Chemistry Building: CC1 (room size 309)
University of KwaZulu-Natal – King George V Avenue, Glenwood, Durban
“Africa says NO to a new form of colonialism!”
The purpose of this Teach-In is to share the truth about Reducing Emissions Deforestation and Forest Degradation with grassroots and community-based groups and facilitators. Will be organized using participatory workshops using popular eduction dynamics, multimedia and games.
http://www.carbontradewatch.org/take-action/cop17-in-durban-no-redd-teach-in.html

1. No REDD popular education blog!
Some say that the Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and forest Degradation (REDD+) scheme could help communities who rely on the forests while others see REDD+ as paving the way for land grabs around the world which threaten the livelihoods and cultures of communities and the forests. This educational booklet aims to decode the complexities of REDD+ using clear and straight-forward language while opening up a space for critical perspectives. This REDD+ popular education blog contains a series of educational booklets that can be used as tools for widening on-going collective discussion and learning about REDD+.
All the booklets can be downloaded in English and Spanish at http://noreddpoped.makenoise.org
Please, feel free to print, reproduce and disseminate as much as you want!

http://www.carbontradewatch.org/articles/no-redd-popular-education-blog.html

2. No REDD Papers
This booklet aspires to broaden the debate on the forest offset scam known as Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD) mechanism. It aims to highlight critical perspectives that are frequently drowned out by large NGOs, corporative lobbies, governments, carbon traders, international financial institutions and the United Nations.

http://noredd.makenoise.org/just-released-no-redd-papers-vol-1.html

3. No REDD Platform – Environmental groups denounce diversion of forest funding to REDD plantations
The No REDD Platform, a coalition of environmental groups and Indigenous peoples organizations, has launched a call to the international donor community to halt the diversion of forest conservation funding to dubious schemes to “Reduce Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation and enhance forest carbon stocks” (REDD+), which are being promoted within the framework of the United Nations Climate Convention. The Platform charge that climate policy makers are working with a flawed definition of “forests” that includes monocultures, genetically engineered trees and agrofuel plantations.

http://noredd.makenoise.org/environmental-groups-denounce- diversion-of-forest-funding-to-redd-plantations.html

4. REDD+ Fact sheets

Key arguments against REDD+ (English and Castellano)
There are many who defend REDD+ for valuing ecosystems services; there are others who see it as the only way to protect forests and stabilize the climate. But whatever form REDD+ takes, even if it includes Human Rights safeguards, it will be designed to allow industrialized countries and polluting industries to continue polluting. Corporations and Northern countries responsible for the climate crisis need to take responsibility for their own emissions by addressing the structural changes necessary to be made in the North and stopping pollution at the source.
http://www.carbontradewatch.org/publications/key-arguments-against-

reducing-emissions-from-deforestation-and-degradation.html

Some key REDD+ players
There are billions of dollars at stake and no real obligation to respect human or collective rights – the so-called ‘safeguards’ mentioned in the negotiating text states that they should only be “promoted and supported” rather than being obligatory for governments. These sneaky words are absolutely inadequate to protect Indigenous and forest-dependent Peoples’ rights. REDD-type projects have already resulted in land grabs, jailings, servitude and threats to cultural survival. It is crucial to ask who is gaining from REDD+, who is making the decisions, where is the money coming from and who is pushing REDD+, and why. This is an overview of some of the key players who are behind designing, implementing and profiting from REDD+.
http://www.carbontradewatch.org/publications/some-key-redd-players.html

5. The CDM in Africa: Marketing a new land grab
The United Nation’s carbon offset mechanism is rewarding pollution, and could lead to a land grab for industrial agrofuels, tree plantations, genetically modified crops and biochar projects in Africa. This briefing, produced by the Gaia Foundation in collaboration with the African Biodiversity Network, Carbon Trade Watch, Timberwatch Coalition and Biofuelwatch, examines the experience of the United Nation’s carbon market, the Clean Development Mechanism (CDM), and looks at emerging threats.
http://www.carbontradewatch.org/articles/africa-s-pollution- and-land-grab-threat-from-un-carbon-market.html

6. Beating Goliath: A resource for corporate campaigners
This publication gathers case studies from previous successful campaigns against corporations, looking at how they won and what we can learn from them. It provides links to many useful resources for activists, and highlights current campaigns engaged in the fight against climate change through targeting corporations.
http://www.carbontradewatch.org/articles/beating-goliath- a-resource-for-corporate-campaigners.html

7. Letting the market play: corporate lobbying and the financial regulation of carbon trading
The European Union is changing its rules on how carbon is traded in response to a series of fraud cases and the financial crisis. This report co-published by Carbon Trade Watch and Corporate Europe Observatory looks at how corporate lobbies are trying to influence this process, and notes that such measures are bound to fall short since they attempt to “regulate the unregulatable”.
http://www.carbontradewatch.org/articles/letting-the-market-play- corporate-lobbying-and-the-financial-regulation-of-carbon-trading.html

8. EU Emissions Trading System: failing at the third attempt
Emissions trading is the European Union’s flagship measure for tackling climate change, and it is failing badly. In theory it provides a cheap and efficient means to limit greenhouse gas reductions within an ever-tightening cap, but in practice it has rewarded major polluters with windfall profits, while undermining efforts to reduce pollution and achieve a more equitable and sustainable economy. The third phase of the scheme, beginning in 2013, is supposed to rectify the “teething problems” that have led to the failures to date. This report co-published by Carbon Trade Watch and Corporate Europe Observatory shows how the third phase of the ETS will continue the same basic pattern of subsidising polluters and helping them to avoid meaningful action to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
http://www.carbontradewatch.org/articles/eu-emissions-trading-system- failing-at-the-third-attempt.html

U.S. Funded Democracy Centre Reveals It’s Real Reason for Supporting the TIPNIS Protest in Bolivia: REDD $$$

November 23rd, 2011

by Cory Morningstar

DI NO AL REDD – Rapido Enriquecimiento con Desalojos, usurpación de tierras y Destrucción de biodiversidad. SAY NO TO REDD – Reaping Profits from Evictions, Land Grabs, Deforestation and Destruction of Biodiversity

“Bolivia is and will remain a country who desperately struggles to resist Imperialism and fight for their autonomy – against all odds.”

The Democracy Centre, Avaaz and Amazon Watch are the main three NGOs, heavily funded by U.S. interests (Rockefellers, David and Lucile Packard Foundation, Ford Foundation and Soros to name a few), who led the recent International campaign in which they denounced and demonized Bolivian Indigenous leader Evo Morales and his government. This destabilization campaign focused on the TIPNIS protests. A violent confrontation between TIPNIS protestors (influenced/funded by U.S. NGOs/USAID/CIDOB) and the police was the vital opportunity needed in order to execute a destabilization campaign that the U.S. has been strategically planning for decades. (Declassified Documents Revealed More than $97 Million from USAID to Separatist Projects in Bolivia | Evo Morales Through the Prism of Wikileaks – Democracy in Danger).

A key demand put forward by the TIPNIS protestors were that Indigenous peoples would directly receive financial compensation for ‘offsetting’ carbon emissions. This policy, known as REDD/REDD+ (Reduction of Emissions from Deforestation and Degradation), has been denounced as the commodification and privatisation of the forests by many, including those within the climate justice movements. The ‘People’s Agreement’ created at the World People’s Conference on Climate Change and the Rights of Mother Earth (April 2010) clearly condemned REDD, stating that it violates “the sovereignty of our Peoples.” REDD has been promoted as a mechanism to allow developed countries to continue to pollute while undermining the right for underdeveloped countries to develop their economies. Tom Goldtooth of the Indigenous Environment Network stated unequivocally that “The carbon market solutions are not about mitigating climate, but are greenwashing policies that allow fossil fuel development to expand.”

Morales survived the orchestrated attempt to destabilize his government. No one’s fool, Morales did something completely unexpected that few if anyone had even considered: he granted the Indigenous peoples of the TIPNIS every single demand which the protestors, under foreign/outside influence had sought (although he made clear that on the issue of REDD, the ‘People’s Agreement’ adopted at the World People’s Conference on Climate Change and the Rights of Mother Earth would guide any future decision on this issue). Completely caught off guard by Morales response, and realizing, perhaps for the first time, whose lives would ultimately be affected by the outcomes of the demands, and how, one anxious protestor commented “we’re screwed“.

Video: Manipulation: Indigenous Peoples Alto Xingu-STOP pushing us for REDD (running time: 9:26)

Morales has been a world leader in his vocal opposition to REDD stating that “nature, forests and indigenous peoples are not for sale.” At the opposite end of the spectrum are the foundations (who serve as tax-exempt front groups for corporations and elites) who finance the NGOs who have led the campaign to discredit Morales are most all heavily promoting and investing in REDD. CIDOB is involved in pilot REDD projects funded by the NGO called FAN (Fundación Amigos de la Naturaleza) which is funded by a slew of foreign interest entities/states and corporate NGOs such as USAID, Conservation International, European Union, American Electric Power, BP-Amoco and Dow Chemical‘s partner, The Nature Conservancy. Indeed, when it comes to the world’s most powerful NGOs voicing any dissent to the false solution of REDD, the silence is deafening. (http://www.redd-monitor.org/2011/10/26/manufacturing-consent-on-carbon-trading/)

The money behind the REDD scheme is in the trillions.

Above: Indigenous Peoples Alto Xingu – Stop Pushing Us For REDD – Photo: Rebecca Sommer

It is revealing to note that while the corporate NGOs worked feverishly to shine an International spotlight on the tear-gassing of the TIPNIS protestors by Bolivian police, a slaughter of 100,000 Libyan civilians was underway in an Imperialist, NATO-led invasion under the guise of ‘humanitarian intervention’. This invasion was made possible by the fabrication of events and lies put forward by 78 NGOs. To this day, there is no evidence to back these lies. The NGOs were and remain silent on this latest atrocity as the U.S./Euro Imperialist destabilization campaigns escalate in the Middle East in a race towards global domination.

The Democracy Centre makes clear it’s opposition to the Bolivian Morales government’s position on REDD in its policy statement on REDD drafted by staffer Kylie Benton-Connell [1]

In this report, the Democracy Centre both denies/ignores the involvement of USAID in the CIDOB promoted REDD Amazonia project via its funding to FAN, and argues that “The REDD Amazonia project is important, because it keeps the possibility of these kind of projects alive in Bolivian institutions, in a context where the national government is swimming against the tide of international REDD politics.”

Furthermore, Benton-Connell reiterates the Democracy Centre’s opposition to the Bolivian Morales government’s position and the Centre’s support for REDD in her article published on November 21, 2011 (link below and also published on the Democracy Centre’s website):

” The decision linking forest conservation to carbon markets may well be finalized at the UN climate negotiations in Durban at the beginning of December, unless it is blocked by dissident countries.”

Moreover, Benton-Connell tells us:

“… if today’s Bolivian government or a future one drops its opposition to carbon markets, and an international agreement is reached on trading in forest carbon, revenue streams could become much larger.”

Benton-Connell continues that the problem is not REDD itself, but how REDD is organized. She states:

“The fates of many ordinary people in Bolivia — and of similar communities across the globe — will be in play as technocrats discuss plans for forest carbon trading at the upcoming UN climate negotiations in Durban. As Marcos Nordgren Ballivián, climate change analyst with Bolivian organization CIPCA told us last year: “tensions already exist, and with a new source of profits such as REDD could prove to be, it might cause problems … But we’ll have to see how REDD is organized, because that will define, of course, if these conflicts are worsened.”

The following text appears 8 March 2010 in an article titled Getting REDDy to Cross the Finish Line, Two Decades in the Making: “It’s hard to imagine with all the progress REDD has achieved, that it all started less than 20 years ago with the Rio Summit in ’92, when the makings of a global sustainability architecture in the form of a climate treaty began to take shape. But a forestry treaty had yet to happen … With over 20 years of experience in the forestry sector, Michael Northrup, Program Director of Sustainable Development at the Rockefeller Brothers Fund, was invited by the Pinchot Institute for Conservation to give a Distinguished Lecture, ‘After Copenhagen: Implications for U.S. Climate, Energy, and Forest Policy’ at the high brow, exclusive Cosmos Club. Northrup casually described to the 30 or so people in the room where we are with REDD today and how we got here. Plus he played the “name game” as he knew most of the people in the room.”

Of course, Rockefeller is not alone in its quest to lead and dominate on the promise of “green capitalism”; other members of the elites will not be left behind to feed on the breadcrumbs. For example, The Climate and Land Use Alliance, whose member foundations include the ClimateWorks Foundation (Avaaz partner), the Ford Foundation, the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation, and the David and Lucile Packard Foundation, and multi-million dollar corporate NGOs – Greenpeace International and Rockefeller’s WWF have joined forces to push forward the false solution of REDD.

“The big business conservationists and their professionals didn’t buy off the movement; they built it.” -Katherine Barkley and Steve Weissman, “The Eco-Establishment“, in: Ramparts (eds.), Eco-Catastrophe, Harper and Row, 1970

Video: President Morales Speaks to Imperialism (UN Gen Ass, Sept 21, 2011)(Running time: 8:02)

Let us close while we reflect upon the words of author Juan Carlos Zambrana Marchetti:

“In the recent conflict over the construction of a highway through the TIPNIS indigenous territory, history repeated itself once again: indigenous people renounced all possibility of progress and integration in favor of the hidden political objective of the US to boycott the projects of crop-substitution and development center in the Chapare, wherein lies the core of the anti-imperialist consciousness of the Bolivian people. Once again, foreign interests have ensured that the Indians act against their own interests. This shows that a priority issue for the new agenda of president Morales should be to continue deconstructing the control mechanisms of the Western powers. “Philanthropy” has always been one of the most dangerous mechanisms.”

The article: http://www.alternet.org/water/153161/will_programs_to_off-set_carbon_emissions_fuel_further_conflict_in_bolivia%27s_forests?page=entire

For further reading on the International Campaign to Destabilize Bolivia: http://wrongkindofgreen.org/category/the-international-campaign-to-destabilize-bolivia/

[1] Benton-Connell worked with the Democracy Center in Cochabamba, Bolivia from February 2010 to June 2011, where she authored the report “Off the Market: Bolivian forests and struggles over climate change.”

WWF Denies Palm Oil is the Problem, then Counts the Cash

November 23rd, 2011

The Unsuitablog

It seems there is no depth to which the corporate world’s own favourite NGO, WWF, will not sink. An article in this week’s Guardian was happy to give WWF some free publicity, implying that the group actually give a stuff about the wildlife they were apparently set up to protect (or simply to ensure there is enough to shoot, as some sources suggest). The Palm Oil industry is growing month on month as new swathes of rainforest and other critical habitat are razed to the ground. According to Rainforest Action Network:

Approximately 85 percent of palm oil is grown in the tropical countries of Indonesia, Malaysia and Papua New Guinea (PNG) on industrial plantations[3] that have severe impacts on the environment, forest peoples and the climate.

The Indonesian government has announced plans to convert approximately 18 million more hectares of rainforests, an area the size of Missouri, into palm oil plantations by 2020

This is just on current growth in demand, but just you wait what happens when conventional oil supplies start drying up and biofuel demand starts shooting through the roof. No more rainforests.

So, what do WWF think of the palm oil situation?

Palm oil itself is not the issue,” [Adam] Harrison [of WWF] noted. “The problem is how and where palm oil is produced.

Oh, I see. What he is saying is that we can have as much palm oil as we like so long as it’s produced in the right way. Let’s put that into context by quoting from the article some more:

The WWF’s Palm Oil Buyers’ Scorecard, published on Tuesday, rates 132 mainly European companies, 29 of which received full marks, including 15 from UK such as Cadbury, Boots and Waitrose. No company achieved that level in the last scorecard report in 2009. At the bottom of the 2011 list are big retailers like Aldi, Lidl and Edeka from Germany, who refused to answer any questions about their palm oil policies.

“In the UK in particular we see progress,” said Adam Harrison, palm oil expert at WWF UK. “Due to several campaigns highlighting the damage caused by the rapid spread of palm plantations, companies see they are under pressure and respond.”

But he added: “Although there has been some progress on sustainable palm oil, new commitments are simply not translating fast enough into increased use of certified sustainable palm oil.” The report gives Unilever, the world’s biggest buyer of palm oil, 8 out of a possible 9.

Some companies bad, some companies good, apparently. Unilever are the world’s largest processors of palm oil, so that should instantly put them near the front of the queue for criticism, after all if the companies didn’t put palm oil into their products then it wouldn’t be used, as was the case as little as 10 years ago when “vegetable oil” meant all sorts of different oils that invariably didn’t contribute to the removal of vast areas of rainforest. So how do WWF justify giving a company like Unilever such a brilliant score?

The Palm Oil Buyers’ Scorecard 2011 measures the performance of more than 130 major retailers and consumer goods manufacturers against four areas which WWF
believes show whether or not these companies are acting responsibly in terms of palm oil use and sourcing:

• Being an active member of the RSPO;
• Making a public commitment to RSPO-certified sustainable palm oil;
• Disclosing how much palm oil they use;
• Showing how much of the palm oil they use is CSPO or is supporting sustainable production.

Let’s break that down a bit:

Being an active member of the RSPO;

The RSPO were founded by a band of palm oil growers, processing giants and WWF. According to WWF’s definition of “sustainable palm oil” the RSPO is the only organisation that has any credence; just like with “sustainable” timber WWF ignores, and positively campaigns against, any certifier other than FSC. WWF’s investment arm is raking in billions of dollars (I have been told this could be in the range of $60 billion for just one standards-based scheme in the Amazon) from the various schemes it oversees and then takes a cut from. The RSPO is just another such scheme: if WWF can convince everyone that this burgeoning market can be made “sustainable” then the potential from their founder member status for making money is enormous.

Making a public commitment to RSPO-certified sustainable palm oil;

The public commitment, along with the branding on products as strongly suggested by WWF, provides further credibility for this pork barrel scheme. No other certification counts, even if the palm oil was produced in an area that always contained oil palm.

Disclosing how much palm oil they use;

This serves to show the extent to which RSPO is cornering the palm oil market. Not just that, the relationship between RSPO members and WWF is a circular one; according to RSPO:

By joining the RSPO, organizations publicly communicate their commitment to sustainable palm oil production and use as well as to raise their reputation as a pro-active, solution-oriented and socially responsible organization. Ordinary Members have the right to vote at the General Assembly and can be elected to represent the relevant sector in the Executive Board by the category in question. They can have access to all materials produced by RSPO for its members, through the RSPO website and newsletter. Ordinary Members have a say in the development of criteria for sustainable palm oil production. They also have the opportunity to network with other companies in the palm oil value chain that share their values. By demonstrating their efforts towards sustainable palm oil, they can thereby improve their access to markets and investment sources.

Become a member, especially a large-scale member, and you can even change the meaning of the word “sustainable”. More importantly, you have access to all that filthy lucre. WWF, of course, get a cut of that filthy lucre.

Showing how much of the palm oil they use is CSPO or is supporting sustainable production.

CSPO means Certified Sustainable Palm Oil (a.k.a. RSPO Certified Palm Oil). Simply put, the more RSPO palm oil you use, the better your score. No matter that the members of the RSPO can manipulate the certification to suit the industry and it is in WWF’s interest to keep the biggest members on the table to ensure the RSPO monopoly is retained. As reported by Rebecca Zhou:

WWF’s Global Forest and Trade Manager Lydia Gaskell says that companies wanting to be certified are given action plans and targets according to ‘the size of the company and how sustainable they are.’

“To take a company off certification for failing to meet standards and criteria is at the very least, impractical,” said Gaskell. “There would be no need for the RSPO if everyone was meeting those principles and standards from day one.”

What really shouts out, though, is the text from WWF’s own report, which demonstrates in black and white how much value they really give to a sustainable future as compared to one in which industry holds sway over everything. They do not recommend stopping the industrial use of palm oil; instead they look forward to a thriving palm oil future. I recommend a strong stomach if you are to read the following slice of corporate-friendly PR (the emphasis of doublespeak and greenwash is mine) – after which I feel only 5 more words are necessary:

Oil palm yields more oil per hectare of land than any other crop in the world. That is one of the reasons why palm oil makes up more or less a third of the 151 million tonnes of vegetable oil produced worldwide. Its wide availability and low price combined with certain unique characteristics means that it is used in many packaged food and personal care products that line supermarket shelves. Ice cream, margarine, biscuits, cakes, breakfast cereals, soup stock cubes, snacks, ready meals, instant noodles, shampoos, soaps, lipsticks, candles and washing-up liquids—all of these items often contain palm oil that was produced in tropical countries such as Indonesia and Malaysia.

And palm oil is here to stay. Demand is expected to reach 77 million tonnes in 2050 to help feed the world’s growing population and the increased affluence of emerging economies like China and India. And its use may possibly grow even more if demand increases for palm oil as a biofuel.

The thriving palm oil industry also contributes significantly to the well-being of producer countries like Indonesia, Malaysia and Papua New Guinea, and increasingly in the palm oil frontiers of Africa and Latin America. In these countries and regions, the palm oil sector can create employment that helps to lift rural people out of poverty.

Established brands such as ASDA , Carrefour, IKEA, Morrisons, Sainsbury’s and Tesco, that are relatively large users of palm oil (using tens of thousands of tonnes each year) have progressed very well. Medium-sized users such as Co-op Switzerland, Co-operative Group UK, ICA, Marks & Spencer, Migros, Royal Ahold and Waitrose, have also performed well in their size class. Among the small palm oil volume retailers, Axfood, The Body Shop and the Boots Group are ahead of the curve.

There is a second group of retailers that are at the start of their journey and that WWF expects to do better in future Scorecards. These include Casino, Coles Supermarkets, Delhaize Group, E.Leclerc, Kesko Food, Metcash Trading, REWE Group, the SOK Group and Woolworths.

Unfortunately there is still a large number of companies that are not yet performing as well as they should, and certainly not as well as the Scorecard’s leading companies show is possible.

Disappointingly, 12 out of the 44 retailers scored have still not joined the RSPO, a very basic first step in taking responsibility for the palm oil they use.

…and benefiting WWF’s financial performance.

http://thesietch.org/mysietch/keith/2011/11/23/wwf-denies-palm-oil-is-the-problem-then-counts-the-cash/

Who Really Leads on the Environment? The “Movement” Versus Evo Morales Who Really Leads on the Environment? The “Movement” Versus Evo Morales Who Really Leads on the Environment? The “Movement” Versus Evo Morales


The Environmental “Movement” Versus the Bolivian Morales Government

September 30th, 2011

by Cory Morningstar

Evo Morales is Bolivia’s first-ever Indigenous president. In his January 2006 inaugural speech, Morales’s focus was the years of discrimination against Indians, and he compared Bolivia to apartheid-era South Africa. Morales hailed the election as the end of the Colonial and Neo-Liberal Era. In October 2009, Morales was named “World Hero of Mother Earth” by the General Assembly of the United Nations.

In December 2009, the Morales government proved the most progressive of all states (in alliance with ALBA and the G77 nations) at the COP15 climate conference in Copenhagen. This union, led by Bolivia, aggressively pursued the scientific targets necessary in order for the world to avoid complete ecological collapse and a global genocide of unparalleled proportions. Ironically (and most revealing), these progressive states led leaps and bounds ahead of the environmental movement itself.

The institutionalized environmental “movement” was united under an umbrella organization/campaign titled TckTckTck, a social media giant, contrived by some of the world’s most powerful corporations and marketing executives. [1] One such TckTckTck partner (there are 280 partners made public) was the Corporate Leaders Group on Climate Change consisting of corporations such as Shell, RBF and Coca-Cola. (When this information was uncovered and made public, TckTckTck removed them from their website and scrambled to recover from the PR nightmare.) The Bolivian government’s leadership was so incredibly dignified and courageous that it even put the more legitimate Climate Justice movement to shame.

To get a sense of exactly who the corporate greens really represent (hint – it is not you), consider this: Bolivia, ALBA and the G77 demanded that states not exceed a 1ºC global temperature rise. In stark contrast, the NGOs “demanded” that temperatures not exceed a +2ºC and further “demanded” that world emissions peak by 2019 (meaning that emissions would continue to increase, business as usual, until 2019 at which point we would begin an effort to decrease). TckTckTck includes over 200 international partners including Avaaz, Conservation International, Greenpeace International, World Wildlife Fund (and many more pro-REDD advocates and profiteers) as well as Climate Action Network International [2] who represents (and speaks on behalf of) over 700 NGOs.

Regarding the issue of human rights, the hundreds of corporate NGOs – by campaigning to get the public to accept the global average temperature further rising up to a 2ºC limit – thereby sanctioned/sanctions 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.]

Considering that the corporate NGOs are leading us to certain species eradication, one must consider what constitutes criminal negligence. In the United States, the definition of criminal negligence is compelling: “Crimes Committed Negligently (Article 33.1) A crime shall be deemed to be committed with clear intent, if the man or woman was conscious of the social danger of his actions (inaction), foresaw the possibility or the inevitability of the onset of socially dangerous consequences, and willed such consequences to ensue.” “A crime shall be deemed to be committed with indirect intent, if the man or woman realized the social danger of his actions (inaction), foresaw the possibility of the onset of socially dangerous consequences, did not wish, but consciously allowed these consequences or treated them with indifference.” “A Crime Committed by Negligence (Article 33.1): A criminal deed committed thoughtlessly or due to negligence shall be recognized as a crime committed by negligence.” “A crime shall be deemed to be committed thoughtlessly, if the man or woman has foreseen the possibility of the onset of socially dangerous consequences of his actions (inaction), but expected without valid reasons that these consequences would be prevented.” “A crime shall be deemed to be committed due to negligence if the man or woman has not foreseen the possibility of the onset of socially dangerous consequences of his actions (inaction), although he or she could and should have foreseen these consequences with reasonable.”

After the massive failure/corruption of COP15 in 2009, in 2010 Bolivia organized and hosted the World People’s Conference on Climate Change and the Rights of Mother Earth, which produced The Cochabamba Accord (April 2010), specifically rejecting REDD: “We condemn market mechanisms such as REDD (Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation) and its versions + and + +, which are violating the sovereignty of peoples and their right to prior, free and informed consent as well as the sovereignty of national States, the customs of Peoples, and the Rights of Nature.”

The ‘buen vivir‘ (“good life”) ideology, also enshrined into Bolivia’s constitution, was yet another visionary philosophy that secured Bolivia as the conscience of the world on climate change and moral principles. The buen vivir philosophy was presented by the Bolivia delegation at the United Nations in April 2010. In December 2010, the revolutionary “Law of the Rights of Mother Earth” (“Ley de Derechos de la Madre Tierra”) was passed by Bolivia’s Plurinational Legislative Assembly. Bolivia’s ideas, positions and beliefs under the leadership of Morales, were in fact, so advanced both intellectually and philosophically – that most often Bolivia stood alone in the International arena while those lacking courage, ethics, or both, were left behind within the flocks of sheep. In a world where compromise of human life has become status quo – Bolivia, under Morales,  has consistently refused to abandon their principled positions. This from a country that emits approximately one quarter of the CO2 emissions than that of green-house gas leading obstructionist states such as United States and Canada.

History repeated itself in 2010 when, at the 16th Conference of the Parties (COP16), which took place in Cancún, Mexico, Bolivia again stood alone in the International arena as the only one of the UN’s 192 member countries to vote against a deal which effectively sanctioned a global suicide pact. The suffering and devastation that will result from the greatest heist in history is unparalleled desperation, starvation and death on a massive scale.

Compare the Morales Leadership to NGO Avaaz, Which has Launched an International Campaign Against Morales

Avaaz is a member of The Climate Group.

The Climate Group is pushing REDD: http://www.theclimategroup.org/_assets/files/Reducing-Emissions-from-Deforestation.pdf

The Rockefeller Brothers Fund also acts as an incubator for in-house projects that later evolve into free-standing institutions – a case in point being The Climate Group, launched in London in 2004. The Climate Group coalition includes more than 50 of the world’s largest corporations and sub-national governments, including big polluters such as energy giants BP and Duke Energy, as well as several partner organizations, such as NGO Avaaz. The Climate Group are advocates of unproven carbon capture and storage technology (CCS), nuclear power and biomass as crucial technologies for a low-carbon economy. The Climate Group works closely with other business lobby groups, including the International Emissions Trading Association (IETA), which works consistently to sabotage climate action. The Climate Group also works on other initiatives, such as the Voluntary Carbon Standard, a new global standard for voluntary offset projects. One marketing strategist company labeled the Climate Group’s campaign “Together” as “the best inoculation against greenwash.” The Climate Group has operations in Australia, China, Europe, India, and North America. It was a partner to the Copenhagen Climate Council.

http://www.theclimategroup.org/about-us/our-partners/

The U.S. backed Avaaz NGO (Soros funding) has never endorsed the People’s Agreement of Cochabamba. Neither has any other corporate green group.

The Environmental movement? It’s a movement, alright. A movement to protect the world’s wealthiest families and corporations who fund the movement via tax-exempt foundations.

Morales Position on REDD

Morales produced a statement on REDD (September 2010) explaining in more detail his opposition to REDD (available here in Spanish, pdf file – 734.6 kB).

NATURE, FORESTS AND INDIGENOUS PEOPLES ARE NOT FOR SALE


Indigenous brothers of the world:

 

I am deeply concerned because some pretend to use leaders and indigenous groups to promote the commoditization of nature and in particular of forest through the establishment of the REDD mechanism (Reduction Emissions from Deforestation and Degradation) and its versions REDD+ REDD++.

 

Every day an extension of forests and rainforest equivalent to 36,000 football fields disappears in the world. Each year 13 million hectares of forest and rain forest are lost. At this rate, the forests will disappear by the end of the century.

 

The forests and rainforest are the largest source of biodiversity. If deforestation continues, thousands of species, animals and plants will be lost forever. More than three quarters of accessible fresh water zones come from uptake zones in forests, hence the worsening of water quality when the forest condition deteriorates. Forests provide protection from flooding, erosion and natural disasters. They provide non-timber goods as well as timber goods. Forests are a source of natural medicines and healing elements not yet discovered. Forests and the rainforest are the lungs of the atmosphere. 18% of all emissions of greenhouse gases occurring in the world are caused by deforestation.

 

It is essential to stop the destruction of our Mother Earth.

 

Currently, during climate change negotiations everyone recognizes that it is essential to avoid the deforestation and degradation of the forest. However, to achieve this, some propose to commoditize forests on the false argument that only what has a price and owner is worth taking care of.

 

Their proposal is to consider only one of the functions of forests, which is its ability to absorb carbon dioxide, and issue “certificates”, “credits” or “Carbon rights” to be commercialized in a carbon market. This way, companies of the North have the choice of reducing their emissions or buy “REDD certificates” in the South according to their economic convenience. For example, if a company has to invest USD40 or USD50 to reduce the emission of one ton of C02 in a “developed country”, they would prefer to buy a “REDD certificate” for USD10 or USD20 in a “developing country”, so they can they say they have fulfilled to reduce the emissions of the mentioned ton of CO2.

 

Through this mechanism, developed countries will have handed their obligation to reduce their emissions to developing countries, and the South will once again fund the North and that same northern company will have saved a lot of money by buying “certified” carbon from the Southern forests. However, they will not only have cheated their commitments to reduce emissions, but they will have also begun the commoditization of nature, with the forests

 

The forests will start to be priced by the CO2 tonnage they are able to absorb. The “credit” or “carbon right” which certifies that absorptive capacity will be bought and sold like any commodity worldwide. To ensure that no one affects the ownership of “REDD certificates” buyers, a series of restrictions will be put into place, which will eventually affect the sovereign right of countries and indigenous peoples over their forests and rainforests. So begins a new stage of privatization of nature never seen before which will extend to water, biodiversity and what they call “environmental services”.

 

While we assert that capitalism is the cause of global warming and the destruction of forests, rainforests and Mother Earth, they seek to expand capitalism to the commoditization of nature with the word “green economy”.

 

To get support for this proposal of commoditization of nature, some financial institutions, governments, NGOs, foundations, “experts” and trading companies are offering a percentage of the “benefits” of this commoditization of nature to indigenous peoples and communities living in native forests and the rainforest.

 

Nature, forests and indigenous peoples are not for sale.

 

For centuries, Indigenous peoples have lived conserving and preserving natural forests and rainforest. For us the forest and rainforest are not objects, are not things you can price and privatize. We do not accept that native forests and rainforest be reduced to a simple measurable quantity of carbon. Nor do we accept that native forests be confused with simple plantations of a single or two tree species. The forest is our home, a big house where plants, animals, water, soil, pure air and human beings coexist.

 

It is essential that all countries of the world work together to prevent forest and rainforest deforestation and degradation. It is an obligation of developed countries, and it is part of its climate and environmental debt, to contribute financially to the preservation of forests, but NOT through its commoditization. There are many ways of supporting and financing developing countries, indigenous peoples and local communities that contribute to the preservation of forests.

 

Developed countries spend tens of times more public resources on defense, security and war than in climate change. Even during the financial crisis many have maintained and increased their military spending. It is inadmissible that by using the needs communities have and the ambitions of some leaders and indigenous “experts”, indigenous peoples are expected to be involved with the commoditization of nature.

 

All forests and rainforests protection mechanisms should guarantee indigenous rights and participation, but not because indigenous participation is achieved in REDD, we can accept that a price for forests and rainforests is set and negotiated in a global carbon market.

 

Indigenous brothers, let us not be confused. Some tell us that the carbon market mechanism in REDD will be voluntary. That is to say that whoever wants to sell and buy, will be able, and whoever does not want to, will be able to stand aside. We cannot accept that, with our consent, a mechanism is created where one voluntarily sells Mother Earth while others look crossed handed

 

Faced with the reductionist views of forests and rainforest commoditization, indigenous peoples with peasants and social movements of the world must fight for the proposals that emerged of the World People’s Conference on Climate Change and the Rights of Mother Earth:

 

1. Integrated management of native forests and rainforest not only considering its mitigation function as CO2 sink but all its functions and potentiality, whilst avoiding confusing them with simple plantations.

 

2. Respect the sovereignty of developing countries in their integral management of forests.

 

3. Full compliance with the Rights of Indigenous Peoples established by the United Nations Declaration on Rights of Indigenous Peoples, Convention No. 169 of the ILO and other international instruments; recognition and respect to their territories; revalorization and implementation of indigenous knowledge for the preservation of forests; indigenous peoples participation and indigenous management of forest and rainforest.

 

4. Funding of developed countries to developing countries and indigenous peoples for integral management of forest as part of their climate and environmental debt. No establishment of any mechanism of carbon markets or “incentives” that may lead to the commoditization of forests and rainforest.

 

5. Recognition of the rights of Mother Earth, which includes forests, rainforest and all its components. In order to restore harmony with Mother Earth, putting a price on nature is not the way but to recognize that not only human beings have the right to life and to reproduce, but nature also has a right to life and to regenerate, and that without Mother Earth Humans cannot live.

 

Indigenous brothers, together with our peasant brothers and social movements of the world, we must mobilize so that the conclusions of Cochabamba are assumed in Cancun and to impulse a mechanism of RELATED ACTIONS TO THE FORESTS based on these five principles, while always maintaining high the unity of indigenous peoples and the principles of respect for Mother Earth, which for centuries we have preserved and inherited from our ancestors.

 

EVO MORALES AYMA
President of the Plurinational State of Bolivia

 

+++

WHAT MAINSTREAM MEDIA AND NGOs ARE NOT REPORTING

VIDEO: Sept. 30th, 2011: TIPNIS: Indigenous of Western Bolivia support Government (english subs)

“… political opportunists who have infiltrated this mobilization … they took advantage of it in order to discriminate and criticize the changing process … we will tell these political rascals in their presence … here is the people! Here are the real ones who have struggled to defend the changing process! … 20 or 30 years from now … Bolivia will be truly independent … without the intrusion of neo-liberal parties …”


From the article: Bolivia: Amazon protest — development before environment? by Fred Fuentes:

US interference

As the uprising against neoliberalism grew in strength, overthrowing a neoliberal president in 2003, US imperialism sought to use money to increase divisions within the indigenous movements.

In late 2005, investigative journalist Reed Lindsay published an article in NACLA that used declassified US documents to expose how US government-funded agency USAID was used to this effect.

USAID was already planning by 2002 to “help build moderate, pro-democracy political parties that can serve as a counterweight to the radical MAS or its successors”.

The downfall in 2003 of president Gonzalo Sanchez de Lozada triggered a step-up in this subversive activity.

A particular target was CIDOB.

The group was in a crisis after Fabricano was accused of profiting from illegal logging and he accepted the post of vice-minister of Indigenous Affairs under Sanchez de Lozada.

Through USAID funding to the Brecha Foundation, an NGO established by CIDOB leaders, the US hoped to further mould the organisation to its own ends.

Referring to comments made by Brecha director Victor Hugo Vela, Lindsay notes that during this time, “CIDOB leaders allied with Fabricano have condemned the cultivation of coca, helped the business elite in the department of Santa Cruz to push for region autonomy and opposed a proposal to require petroleum companies to consult with indigenous communities before drilling on their lands”.

The CSUTCB (divided between followers of Morales and radical Aymara leader Felipe Quispe), CSCB, FNMCB-BS and organisations such as the neighbourhood councils of El Alto (Fejuve), and to a less extent worker and miner organisations, were at the forefront of constant street battles and insurrections.

CIDOB, however, took an approach marked by negotiation and moderation.

It was not until July 2005 that CIDOB renewed its leadership, in turn breaking relations with Brecha.

CIDOB was not the only target for infiltration.

With close to $200,000 in US government funds, the Land and Liberty Movement (MTL) was set up in 2004 by Walter Reynaga.

As well as splitting the Movement of Landless Peasant’s (MST), one wing of which operated out of his La Paz office, Lindsay said Reynaga, like Vega, tried to win control of the “MAS-aligned” CONAMAQ.

Demands

And it is also true that the demands of the Sub Central of TIPNIS, and in particular CIDOB, are far removed from any notion of communitarianism.

Although initially focused on opposition to the highway, protesters presented the government with an original list of 13 demands, then extended to 16, on the day the march began.

Among those were calls for indigenous peoples to be able to directly receive compensation payment for offsetting carbon emissions.

This policy, know as REDD+, has been denounced as the privatisation of the forests by many environmental activists and the Peoples’ Summit of Climate Change organised in Bolivia in 2010.

It has also been promoted as a mechanism to allow developed countries to continue to pollute while undermining the right underdeveloped to develop their economies.

Another demand calls for the replacement of functionaries within the Authority for Control and Monitoring of Forests and Lands (ABT).

This demand dovetails with the allegations made by Morales against CIDOB leaders, and never refuted, that they want to control this state institution.

Much focus has been made of the potential environmental destruction caused by a highway that would open the path to future “coloniser” settlements.

But these arguments have only focused on one side of the equation.

Much has been made of a study by Bolivian Strategic Research Program that concluded that 64.5% of TIPNIS would be lost to deforestation by 2030 as a result of the highway.

Few, though, have noted that the same study found that even without the highway 43% of TIPNIS would be lost if the current rate of deforestation continues.

The biggest cause of this is the illegal logging that continues to occur, in some cases with the complicity of some local indigenous leaders and communities.

An environmental impact studies by the Bolivian Highway Authority have found the direct impact of the highway on TIPNIS to be 0.03%.

But this has to weighed up with the fact that the highway would provide the state with access to areas currently out of its reach.

This would enable not only access to services, but a greater ability to tackle illegal logging and potential narcotrafficking in the area.

At the same time, the government has asked the indigenous communities of TIPNIS to help in drafting legislation that would impose jail terms of 10 to 20 years on those found to be illegally settling, growing coca or logging in TIPNIS.

+++

The manipulation by NGOs and corporations is clear in this interview (below) with Pirakuma Yawalapiti, the Xingu spokesperson speaking on the issue of carbon trading. This dialogue was filmed by Rebecca Sommer of EARTHPEOPLES, a global network for and by Indigenous Peoples. The interview is just one of hundreds that give documented testament to the deliberate manipulation of the threatened people most vulnerable to climate change. To view more videos and further understand the exploitation of Indigenous Peoples in pursuit of the profits behind REDD, please visit  SommerFilms.

 

[In the interview, the NGOs/agencies who Yawalapiti speaks of (that are pressuring the Indigenous communities of Alto Xingu to agree to REDD projects they do not want) are FUNAI – National Indian Foundation Brazil / Fundação Nacional do Índio and IBAMA – Brazilian Institute of Environment and Renewable Resources / Instituto Brasileiro do Meio Ambiente e dos Recursos Naturais Renováveis.]

 

 

[1] The following companies who have already come on board as partners includes Galeries Lafayette, Virgin Group, Yahoo! Music, iTunes, Google, Pernod Ricard, EDF, Microsoft, Zune, YouTube, USA Today, National Magazines, HSBC, M&S, Uniqlo, Lloyds Bank, MySpace, MTV, Bo Concept Japan K.K., Volvo, Kipa Turkey, Claro Argentina, Peugeot, NTV, Universal, Tesco, Sina.com, GDF Suez, Centrica, Oxfam, New Zealand Wine Company, 350.org, Handbag.com, Avaaz.org, Lesinrockuptibles, Harper’s Bazaar, Esquire, Cosmopolitan, EMap, Greenpeace, Commensal, The Atlantic, Fast Company, News Limited, Tesla, Wired Magazine, and RFM Radio.

 

[2] The founding of the Climate Action Network (CAN) in 1988 can be traced back to the early players in the ENGO community, including Michael Oppenheimer of the corporate NGO, Environmental Defense Fund. CAN is a global network of over 700 nongovernmental organizations (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) 2 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 300 groups demanding action on climate change, states instead bask in the comfort of having to deal with only one (that of CAN), which essentially demands little to nothing. CAN has seven regional coordinating 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.


The Environmental “Movement” Versus the Bolivian Morales Government

September 30th, 2011

by Cory Morningstar

Evo Morales is Bolivia’s first-ever Indigenous president. In his January 2006 inaugural speech, Morales’s focus was the years of discrimination against Indians, and he compared Bolivia to apartheid-era South Africa. Morales hailed the election as the end of the Colonial and Neo-Liberal Era. In October 2009, Morales was named “World Hero of Mother Earth” by the General Assembly of the United Nations.

In December 2009, the Morales government proved the most progressive of all states (in alliance with ALBA and the G77 nations) at the COP15 climate conference in Copenhagen. This union, led by Bolivia, aggressively pursued the scientific targets necessary in order for the world to avoid complete ecological collapse and a global genocide of unparalleled proportions. Ironically (and most revealing), these progressive states led leaps and bounds ahead of the environmental movement itself.

The institutionalized environmental “movement” was united under an umbrella organization/campaign titled TckTckTck, a social media giant, contrived by some of the world’s most powerful corporations and marketing executives. [1] One such TckTckTck partner (there are 280 partners made public) was the Corporate Leaders Group on Climate Change consisting of corporations such as Shell, RBF and Coca-Cola. (When this information was uncovered and made public, TckTckTck removed them from their website and scrambled to recover from the PR nightmare.) The Bolivian government’s leadership was so incredibly dignified and courageous that it even put the more legitimate Climate Justice movement to shame.

To get a sense of exactly who the corporate greens really represent (hint – it is not you), consider this: Bolivia, ALBA and the G77 demanded that states not exceed a 1ºC global temperature rise. In stark contrast, the NGOs “demanded” that temperatures not exceed a +2ºC and further “demanded” that world emissions peak by 2019 (meaning that emissions would continue to increase, business as usual, until 2019 at which point we would begin an effort to decrease). TckTckTck includes over 200 international partners including Avaaz, Conservation International, Greenpeace International, World Wildlife Fund (and many more pro-REDD advocates and profiteers) as well as Climate Action Network International [2] who represents (and speaks on behalf of) over 700 NGOs.

Regarding the issue of human rights, the hundreds of corporate NGOs – by campaigning to get the public to accept the global average temperature further rising up to a 2ºC limit – thereby sanctioned/sanctions 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.]

Considering that the corporate NGOs are leading us to certain species eradication, one must consider what constitutes criminal negligence. In the United States, the definition of criminal negligence is compelling: “Crimes Committed Negligently (Article 33.1) A crime shall be deemed to be committed with clear intent, if the man or woman was conscious of the social danger of his actions (inaction), foresaw the possibility or the inevitability of the onset of socially dangerous consequences, and willed such consequences to ensue.” “A crime shall be deemed to be committed with indirect intent, if the man or woman realized the social danger of his actions (inaction), foresaw the possibility of the onset of socially dangerous consequences, did not wish, but consciously allowed these consequences or treated them with indifference.” “A Crime Committed by Negligence (Article 33.1): A criminal deed committed thoughtlessly or due to negligence shall be recognized as a crime committed by negligence.” “A crime shall be deemed to be committed thoughtlessly, if the man or woman has foreseen the possibility of the onset of socially dangerous consequences of his actions (inaction), but expected without valid reasons that these consequences would be prevented.” “A crime shall be deemed to be committed due to negligence if the man or woman has not foreseen the possibility of the onset of socially dangerous consequences of his actions (inaction), although he or she could and should have foreseen these consequences with reasonable.”

After the massive failure/corruption of COP15 in 2009, in 2010 Bolivia organized and hosted the World People’s Conference on Climate Change and the Rights of Mother Earth, which produced The Cochabamba Accord (April 2010), specifically rejecting REDD: “We condemn market mechanisms such as REDD (Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation) and its versions + and + +, which are violating the sovereignty of peoples and their right to prior, free and informed consent as well as the sovereignty of national States, the customs of Peoples, and the Rights of Nature.”

The ‘buen vivir‘ (“good life”) ideology, also enshrined into Bolivia’s constitution, was yet another visionary philosophy that secured Bolivia as the conscience of the world on climate change and moral principles. The buen vivir philosophy was presented by the Bolivia delegation at the United Nations in April 2010. In December 2010, the revolutionary “Law of the Rights of Mother Earth” (“Ley de Derechos de la Madre Tierra”) was passed by Bolivia’s Plurinational Legislative Assembly. Bolivia’s ideas, positions and beliefs under the leadership of Morales, were in fact, so advanced both intellectually and philosophically – that most often Bolivia stood alone in the International arena while those lacking courage, ethics, or both, were left behind within the flocks of sheep. In a world where compromise of human life has become status quo – Bolivia, under Morales,  has consistently refused to abandon their principled positions. This from a country that emits approximately one quarter of the CO2 emissions than that of green-house gas leading obstructionist states such as United States and Canada.

History repeated itself in 2010 when, at the 16th Conference of the Parties (COP16), which took place in Cancún, Mexico, Bolivia again stood alone in the International arena as the only one of the UN’s 192 member countries to vote against a deal which effectively sanctioned a global suicide pact. The suffering and devastation that will result from the greatest heist in history is unparalleled desperation, starvation and death on a massive scale.

Compare the Morales Leadership to NGO Avaaz, Which has Launched an International Campaign Against Morales

Avaaz is a member of The Climate Group.

The Climate Group is pushing REDD: http://www.theclimategroup.org/_assets/files/Reducing-Emissions-from-Deforestation.pdf

The Rockefeller Brothers Fund also acts as an incubator for in-house projects that later evolve into free-standing institutions – a case in point being The Climate Group, launched in London in 2004. The Climate Group coalition includes more than 50 of the world’s largest corporations and sub-national governments, including big polluters such as energy giants BP and Duke Energy, as well as several partner organizations, such as NGO Avaaz. The Climate Group are advocates of unproven carbon capture and storage technology (CCS), nuclear power and biomass as crucial technologies for a low-carbon economy. The Climate Group works closely with other business lobby groups, including the International Emissions Trading Association (IETA), which works consistently to sabotage climate action. The Climate Group also works on other initiatives, such as the Voluntary Carbon Standard, a new global standard for voluntary offset projects. One marketing strategist company labeled the Climate Group’s campaign “Together” as “the best inoculation against greenwash.” The Climate Group has operations in Australia, China, Europe, India, and North America. It was a partner to the Copenhagen Climate Council.

http://www.theclimategroup.org/about-us/our-partners/

The U.S. backed Avaaz NGO (Soros funding) has never endorsed the People’s Agreement of Cochabamba. Neither has any other corporate green group.

The Environmental movement? It’s a movement, alright. A movement to protect the world’s wealthiest families and corporations who fund the movement via tax-exempt foundations.

Morales Position on REDD

Morales produced a statement on REDD (September 2010) explaining in more detail his opposition to REDD (available here in Spanish, pdf file – 734.6 kB).

NATURE, FORESTS AND INDIGENOUS PEOPLES ARE NOT FOR SALE


Indigenous brothers of the world:

I am deeply concerned because some pretend to use leaders and indigenous groups to promote the commoditization of nature and in particular of forest through the establishment of the REDD mechanism (Reduction Emissions from Deforestation and Degradation) and its versions REDD+ REDD++.

Every day an extension of forests and rainforest equivalent to 36,000 football fields disappears in the world. Each year 13 million hectares of forest and rain forest are lost. At this rate, the forests will disappear by the end of the century.

The forests and rainforest are the largest source of biodiversity. If deforestation continues, thousands of species, animals and plants will be lost forever. More than three quarters of accessible fresh water zones come from uptake zones in forests, hence the worsening of water quality when the forest condition deteriorates. Forests provide protection from flooding, erosion and natural disasters. They provide non-timber goods as well as timber goods. Forests are a source of natural medicines and healing elements not yet discovered. Forests and the rainforest are the lungs of the atmosphere. 18% of all emissions of greenhouse gases occurring in the world are caused by deforestation.

It is essential to stop the destruction of our Mother Earth.

Currently, during climate change negotiations everyone recognizes that it is essential to avoid the deforestation and degradation of the forest. However, to achieve this, some propose to commoditize forests on the false argument that only what has a price and owner is worth taking care of.

Their proposal is to consider only one of the functions of forests, which is its ability to absorb carbon dioxide, and issue “certificates”, “credits” or “Carbon rights” to be commercialized in a carbon market. This way, companies of the North have the choice of reducing their emissions or buy “REDD certificates” in the South according to their economic convenience. For example, if a company has to invest USD40 or USD50 to reduce the emission of one ton of C02 in a “developed country”, they would prefer to buy a “REDD certificate” for USD10 or USD20 in a “developing country”, so they can they say they have fulfilled to reduce the emissions of the mentioned ton of CO2.

Through this mechanism, developed countries will have handed their obligation to reduce their emissions to developing countries, and the South will once again fund the North and that same northern company will have saved a lot of money by buying “certified” carbon from the Southern forests. However, they will not only have cheated their commitments to reduce emissions, but they will have also begun the commoditization of nature, with the forests

The forests will start to be priced by the CO2 tonnage they are able to absorb. The “credit” or “carbon right” which certifies that absorptive capacity will be bought and sold like any commodity worldwide. To ensure that no one affects the ownership of “REDD certificates” buyers, a series of restrictions will be put into place, which will eventually affect the sovereign right of countries and indigenous peoples over their forests and rainforests. So begins a new stage of privatization of nature never seen before which will extend to water, biodiversity and what they call “environmental services”.

While we assert that capitalism is the cause of global warming and the destruction of forests, rainforests and Mother Earth, they seek to expand capitalism to the commoditization of nature with the word “green economy”.

To get support for this proposal of commoditization of nature, some financial institutions, governments, NGOs, foundations, “experts” and trading companies are offering a percentage of the “benefits” of this commoditization of nature to indigenous peoples and communities living in native forests and the rainforest.

Nature, forests and indigenous peoples are not for sale.

For centuries, Indigenous peoples have lived conserving and preserving natural forests and rainforest. For us the forest and rainforest are not objects, are not things you can price and privatize. We do not accept that native forests and rainforest be reduced to a simple measurable quantity of carbon. Nor do we accept that native forests be confused with simple plantations of a single or two tree species. The forest is our home, a big house where plants, animals, water, soil, pure air and human beings coexist.

It is essential that all countries of the world work together to prevent forest and rainforest deforestation and degradation. It is an obligation of developed countries, and it is part of its climate and environmental debt, to contribute financially to the preservation of forests, but NOT through its commoditization. There are many ways of supporting and financing developing countries, indigenous peoples and local communities that contribute to the preservation of forests.

Developed countries spend tens of times more public resources on defense, security and war than in climate change. Even during the financial crisis many have maintained and increased their military spending. It is inadmissible that by using the needs communities have and the ambitions of some leaders and indigenous “experts”, indigenous peoples are expected to be involved with the commoditization of nature.

All forests and rainforests protection mechanisms should guarantee indigenous rights and participation, but not because indigenous participation is achieved in REDD, we can accept that a price for forests and rainforests is set and negotiated in a global carbon market.

Indigenous brothers, let us not be confused. Some tell us that the carbon market mechanism in REDD will be voluntary. That is to say that whoever wants to sell and buy, will be able, and whoever does not want to, will be able to stand aside. We cannot accept that, with our consent, a mechanism is created where one voluntarily sells Mother Earth while others look crossed handed

Faced with the reductionist views of forests and rainforest commoditization, indigenous peoples with peasants and social movements of the world must fight for the proposals that emerged of the World People’s Conference on Climate Change and the Rights of Mother Earth:

1. Integrated management of native forests and rainforest not only considering its mitigation function as CO2 sink but all its functions and potentiality, whilst avoiding confusing them with simple plantations.

2. Respect the sovereignty of developing countries in their integral management of forests.

3. Full compliance with the Rights of Indigenous Peoples established by the United Nations Declaration on Rights of Indigenous Peoples, Convention No. 169 of the ILO and other international instruments; recognition and respect to their territories; revalorization and implementation of indigenous knowledge for the preservation of forests; indigenous peoples participation and indigenous management of forest and rainforest.

4. Funding of developed countries to developing countries and indigenous peoples for integral management of forest as part of their climate and environmental debt. No establishment of any mechanism of carbon markets or “incentives” that may lead to the commoditization of forests and rainforest.

5. Recognition of the rights of Mother Earth, which includes forests, rainforest and all its components. In order to restore harmony with Mother Earth, putting a price on nature is not the way but to recognize that not only human beings have the right to life and to reproduce, but nature also has a right to life and to regenerate, and that without Mother Earth Humans cannot live.

Indigenous brothers, together with our peasant brothers and social movements of the world, we must mobilize so that the conclusions of Cochabamba are assumed in Cancun and to impulse a mechanism of RELATED ACTIONS TO THE FORESTS based on these five principles, while always maintaining high the unity of indigenous peoples and the principles of respect for Mother Earth, which for centuries we have preserved and inherited from our ancestors.

EVO MORALES AYMA
President of the Plurinational State of Bolivia

+++

WHAT MAINSTREAM MEDIA AND NGOs ARE NOT REPORTING

VIDEO: Sept. 30th, 2011: TIPNIS: Indigenous of Western Bolivia support Government (english subs)

“… political opportunists who have infiltrated this mobilization … they took advantage of it in order to discriminate and criticize the changing process … we will tell these political rascals in their presence … here is the people! Here are the real ones who have struggled to defend the changing process! … 20 or 30 years from now … Bolivia will be truly independent … without the intrusion of neo-liberal parties …”


From the article: Bolivia: Amazon protest — development before environment? by Fred Fuentes:

US interference

As the uprising against neoliberalism grew in strength, overthrowing a neoliberal president in 2003, US imperialism sought to use money to increase divisions within the indigenous movements.

In late 2005, investigative journalist Reed Lindsay published an article in NACLA that used declassified US documents to expose how US government-funded agency USAID was used to this effect.

USAID was already planning by 2002 to “help build moderate, pro-democracy political parties that can serve as a counterweight to the radical MAS or its successors”.

The downfall in 2003 of president Gonzalo Sanchez de Lozada triggered a step-up in this subversive activity.

A particular target was CIDOB.

The group was in a crisis after Fabricano was accused of profiting from illegal logging and he accepted the post of vice-minister of Indigenous Affairs under Sanchez de Lozada.

Through USAID funding to the Brecha Foundation, an NGO established by CIDOB leaders, the US hoped to further mould the organisation to its own ends.

Referring to comments made by Brecha director Victor Hugo Vela, Lindsay notes that during this time, “CIDOB leaders allied with Fabricano have condemned the cultivation of coca, helped the business elite in the department of Santa Cruz to push for region autonomy and opposed a proposal to require petroleum companies to consult with indigenous communities before drilling on their lands”.

The CSUTCB (divided between followers of Morales and radical Aymara leader Felipe Quispe), CSCB, FNMCB-BS and organisations such as the neighbourhood councils of El Alto (Fejuve), and to a less extent worker and miner organisations, were at the forefront of constant street battles and insurrections.

CIDOB, however, took an approach marked by negotiation and moderation.

It was not until July 2005 that CIDOB renewed its leadership, in turn breaking relations with Brecha.

CIDOB was not the only target for infiltration.

With close to $200,000 in US government funds, the Land and Liberty Movement (MTL) was set up in 2004 by Walter Reynaga.

As well as splitting the Movement of Landless Peasant’s (MST), one wing of which operated out of his La Paz office, Lindsay said Reynaga, like Vega, tried to win control of the “MAS-aligned” CONAMAQ.

Demands

And it is also true that the demands of the Sub Central of TIPNIS, and in particular CIDOB, are far removed from any notion of communitarianism.

Although initially focused on opposition to the highway, protesters presented the government with an original list of 13 demands, then extended to 16, on the day the march began.

Among those were calls for indigenous peoples to be able to directly receive compensation payment for offsetting carbon emissions.

This policy, know as REDD+, has been denounced as the privatisation of the forests by many environmental activists and the Peoples’ Summit of Climate Change organised in Bolivia in 2010.

It has also been promoted as a mechanism to allow developed countries to continue to pollute while undermining the right underdeveloped to develop their economies.

Another demand calls for the replacement of functionaries within the Authority for Control and Monitoring of Forests and Lands (ABT).

This demand dovetails with the allegations made by Morales against CIDOB leaders, and never refuted, that they want to control this state institution.

Much focus has been made of the potential environmental destruction caused by a highway that would open the path to future “coloniser” settlements.

But these arguments have only focused on one side of the equation.

Much has been made of a study by Bolivian Strategic Research Program that concluded that 64.5% of TIPNIS would be lost to deforestation by 2030 as a result of the highway.

Few, though, have noted that the same study found that even without the highway 43% of TIPNIS would be lost if the current rate of deforestation continues.

The biggest cause of this is the illegal logging that continues to occur, in some cases with the complicity of some local indigenous leaders and communities.

An environmental impact studies by the Bolivian Highway Authority have found the direct impact of the highway on TIPNIS to be 0.03%.

But this has to weighed up with the fact that the highway would provide the state with access to areas currently out of its reach.

This would enable not only access to services, but a greater ability to tackle illegal logging and potential narcotrafficking in the area.

At the same time, the government has asked the indigenous communities of TIPNIS to help in drafting legislation that would impose jail terms of 10 to 20 years on those found to be illegally settling, growing coca or logging in TIPNIS.

+++

The manipulation by NGOs and corporations is clear in this interview (below) with Pirakuma Yawalapiti, the Xingu spokesperson speaking on the issue of carbon trading. This dialogue was filmed by Rebecca Sommer of EARTHPEOPLES, a global network for and by Indigenous Peoples. The interview is just one of hundreds that give documented testament to the deliberate manipulation of the threatened people most vulnerable to climate change. To view more videos and further understand the exploitation of Indigenous Peoples in pursuit of the profits behind REDD, please visit  SommerFilms.

[In the interview, the NGOs/agencies who Yawalapiti speaks of (that are pressuring the Indigenous communities of Alto Xingu to agree to REDD projects they do not want) are FUNAI – National Indian Foundation Brazil / Fundação Nacional do Índio and IBAMA – Brazilian Institute of Environment and Renewable Resources / Instituto Brasileiro do Meio Ambiente e dos Recursos Naturais Renováveis.]
Environmental Defense Fund. CAN is a global network of over 700 nongovernmental organizations (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) 2 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 300 groups demanding action on climate change, states instead bask in the comfort of having to deal with only one (that of CAN), which essentially demands little to nothing. CAN has seven regional coordinating 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.


The Environmental “Movement” Versus the Bolivian Morales Government

September 30th, 2011

by Cory Morningstar

Evo Morales is Bolivia’s first-ever Indigenous president. In his January 2006 inaugural speech, Morales’s focus was the years of discrimination against Indians, and he compared Bolivia to apartheid-era South Africa. Morales hailed the election as the end of the Colonial and Neo-Liberal Era. In October 2009, Morales was named “World Hero of Mother Earth” by the General Assembly of the United Nations.

In December 2009, the Morales government proved the most progressive of all states (in alliance with ALBA and the G77 nations) at the COP15 climate conference in Copenhagen. This union, led by Bolivia, aggressively pursued the scientific targets necessary in order for the world to avoid complete ecological collapse and a global genocide of unparalleled proportions. Ironically (and most revealing), these progressive states led leaps and bounds ahead of the environmental movement itself.

The institutionalized environmental “movement” was united under an umbrella organization/campaign titled TckTckTck, a social media giant, contrived by some of the world’s most powerful corporations and marketing executives. [1] One such TckTckTck partner (there are 280 partners made public) was the Corporate Leaders Group on Climate Change consisting of corporations such as Shell, RBF and Coca-Cola. (When this information was uncovered and made public, TckTckTck removed them from their website and scrambled to recover from the PR nightmare.) The Bolivian government’s leadership was so incredibly dignified and courageous that it even put the more legitimate Climate Justice movement to shame.

To get a sense of exactly who the corporate greens really represent (hint – it is not you), consider this: Bolivia, ALBA and the G77 demanded that states not exceed a 1ºC global temperature rise. In stark contrast, the NGOs “demanded” that temperatures not exceed a +2ºC and further “demanded” that world emissions peak by 2019 (meaning that emissions would continue to increase, business as usual, until 2019 at which point we would begin an effort to decrease). TckTckTck includes over 200 international partners including Avaaz, Conservation International, Greenpeace International, World Wildlife Fund (and many more pro-REDD advocates and profiteers) as well as Climate Action Network International [2] who represents (and speaks on behalf of) over 700 NGOs.

Regarding the issue of human rights, the hundreds of corporate NGOs – by campaigning to get the public to accept the global average temperature further rising up to a 2ºC limit – thereby sanctioned/sanctions 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.]

Considering that the corporate NGOs are leading us to certain species eradication, one must consider what constitutes criminal negligence. In the United States, the definition of criminal negligence is compelling: “Crimes Committed Negligently (Article 33.1) A crime shall be deemed to be committed with clear intent, if the man or woman was conscious of the social danger of his actions (inaction), foresaw the possibility or the inevitability of the onset of socially dangerous consequences, and willed such consequences to ensue.” “A crime shall be deemed to be committed with indirect intent, if the man or woman realized the social danger of his actions (inaction), foresaw the possibility of the onset of socially dangerous consequences, did not wish, but consciously allowed these consequences or treated them with indifference.” “A Crime Committed by Negligence (Article 33.1): A criminal deed committed thoughtlessly or due to negligence shall be recognized as a crime committed by negligence.” “A crime shall be deemed to be committed thoughtlessly, if the man or woman has foreseen the possibility of the onset of socially dangerous consequences of his actions (inaction), but expected without valid reasons that these consequences would be prevented.” “A crime shall be deemed to be committed due to negligence if the man or woman has not foreseen the possibility of the onset of socially dangerous consequences of his actions (inaction), although he or she could and should have foreseen these consequences with reasonable.”

After the massive failure/corruption of COP15 in 2009, in 2010 Bolivia organized and hosted the World People’s Conference on Climate Change and the Rights of Mother Earth, which produced The Cochabamba Accord (April 2010), specifically rejecting REDD: “We condemn market mechanisms such as REDD (Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation) and its versions + and + +, which are violating the sovereignty of peoples and their right to prior, free and informed consent as well as the sovereignty of national States, the customs of Peoples, and the Rights of Nature.”

The ‘buen vivir‘ (“good life”) ideology, also enshrined into Bolivia’s constitution, was yet another visionary philosophy that secured Bolivia as the conscience of the world on climate change and moral principles. The buen vivir philosophy was presented by the Bolivia delegation at the United Nations in April 2010. In December 2010, the revolutionary “Law of the Rights of Mother Earth” (“Ley de Derechos de la Madre Tierra”) was passed by Bolivia’s Plurinational Legislative Assembly. Bolivia’s ideas, positions and beliefs under the leadership of Morales, were in fact, so advanced both intellectually and philosophically – that most often Bolivia stood alone in the International arena while those lacking courage, ethics, or both, were left behind within the flocks of sheep. In a world where compromise of human life has become status quo – Bolivia, under Morales,  has consistently refused to abandon their principled positions. This from a country that emits approximately one quarter of the CO2 emissions than that of green-house gas leading obstructionist states such as United States and Canada.

History repeated itself in 2010 when, at the 16th Conference of the Parties (COP16), which took place in Cancún, Mexico, Bolivia again stood alone in the International arena as the only one of the UN’s 192 member countries to vote against a deal which effectively sanctioned a global suicide pact. The suffering and devastation that will result from the greatest heist in history is unparalleled desperation, starvation and death on a massive scale.

Compare the Morales Leadership to NGO Avaaz, Which has Launched an International Campaign Against Morales

Avaaz is a member of The Climate Group.

The Climate Group is pushing REDD: http://www.theclimategroup.org/_assets/files/Reducing-Emissions-from-Deforestation.pdf

The Rockefeller Brothers Fund also acts as an incubator for in-house projects that later evolve into free-standing institutions – a case in point being The Climate Group, launched in London in 2004. The Climate Group coalition includes more than 50 of the world’s largest corporations and sub-national governments, including big polluters such as energy giants BP and Duke Energy, as well as several partner organizations, such as NGO Avaaz. The Climate Group are advocates of unproven carbon capture and storage technology (CCS), nuclear power and biomass as crucial technologies for a low-carbon economy. The Climate Group works closely with other business lobby groups, including the International Emissions Trading Association (IETA), which works consistently to sabotage climate action. The Climate Group also works on other initiatives, such as the Voluntary Carbon Standard, a new global standard for voluntary offset projects. One marketing strategist company labeled the Climate Group’s campaign “Together” as “the best inoculation against greenwash.” The Climate Group has operations in Australia, China, Europe, India, and North America. It was a partner to the Copenhagen Climate Council.

http://www.theclimategroup.org/about-us/our-partners/

The U.S. backed Avaaz NGO (Soros funding) has never endorsed the People’s Agreement of Cochabamba. Neither has any other corporate green group.

The Environmental movement? It’s a movement, alright. A movement to protect the world’s wealthiest families and corporations who fund the movement via tax-exempt foundations.

Morales Position on REDD

Morales produced a statement on REDD (September 2010) explaining in more detail his opposition to REDD (available here in Spanish, pdf file – 734.6 kB).

NATURE, FORESTS AND INDIGENOUS PEOPLES ARE NOT FOR SALE


Indigenous brothers of the world:

 

I am deeply concerned because some pretend to use leaders and indigenous groups to promote the commoditization of nature and in particular of forest through the establishment of the REDD mechanism (Reduction Emissions from Deforestation and Degradation) and its versions REDD+ REDD++.

 

Every day an extension of forests and rainforest equivalent to 36,000 football fields disappears in the world. Each year 13 million hectares of forest and rain forest are lost. At this rate, the forests will disappear by the end of the century.

 

The forests and rainforest are the largest source of biodiversity. If deforestation continues, thousands of species, animals and plants will be lost forever. More than three quarters of accessible fresh water zones come from uptake zones in forests, hence the worsening of water quality when the forest condition deteriorates. Forests provide protection from flooding, erosion and natural disasters. They provide non-timber goods as well as timber goods. Forests are a source of natural medicines and healing elements not yet discovered. Forests and the rainforest are the lungs of the atmosphere. 18% of all emissions of greenhouse gases occurring in the world are caused by deforestation.

 

It is essential to stop the destruction of our Mother Earth.

 

Currently, during climate change negotiations everyone recognizes that it is essential to avoid the deforestation and degradation of the forest. However, to achieve this, some propose to commoditize forests on the false argument that only what has a price and owner is worth taking care of.

 

Their proposal is to consider only one of the functions of forests, which is its ability to absorb carbon dioxide, and issue “certificates”, “credits” or “Carbon rights” to be commercialized in a carbon market. This way, companies of the North have the choice of reducing their emissions or buy “REDD certificates” in the South according to their economic convenience. For example, if a company has to invest USD40 or USD50 to reduce the emission of one ton of C02 in a “developed country”, they would prefer to buy a “REDD certificate” for USD10 or USD20 in a “developing country”, so they can they say they have fulfilled to reduce the emissions of the mentioned ton of CO2.

 

Through this mechanism, developed countries will have handed their obligation to reduce their emissions to developing countries, and the South will once again fund the North and that same northern company will have saved a lot of money by buying “certified” carbon from the Southern forests. However, they will not only have cheated their commitments to reduce emissions, but they will have also begun the commoditization of nature, with the forests

 

The forests will start to be priced by the CO2 tonnage they are able to absorb. The “credit” or “carbon right” which certifies that absorptive capacity will be bought and sold like any commodity worldwide. To ensure that no one affects the ownership of “REDD certificates” buyers, a series of restrictions will be put into place, which will eventually affect the sovereign right of countries and indigenous peoples over their forests and rainforests. So begins a new stage of privatization of nature never seen before which will extend to water, biodiversity and what they call “environmental services”.

 

While we assert that capitalism is the cause of global warming and the destruction of forests, rainforests and Mother Earth, they seek to expand capitalism to the commoditization of nature with the word “green economy”.

 

To get support for this proposal of commoditization of nature, some financial institutions, governments, NGOs, foundations, “experts” and trading companies are offering a percentage of the “benefits” of this commoditization of nature to indigenous peoples and communities living in native forests and the rainforest.

 

Nature, forests and indigenous peoples are not for sale.

 

For centuries, Indigenous peoples have lived conserving and preserving natural forests and rainforest. For us the forest and rainforest are not objects, are not things you can price and privatize. We do not accept that native forests and rainforest be reduced to a simple measurable quantity of carbon. Nor do we accept that native forests be confused with simple plantations of a single or two tree species. The forest is our home, a big house where plants, animals, water, soil, pure air and human beings coexist.

 

It is essential that all countries of the world work together to prevent forest and rainforest deforestation and degradation. It is an obligation of developed countries, and it is part of its climate and environmental debt, to contribute financially to the preservation of forests, but NOT through its commoditization. There are many ways of supporting and financing developing countries, indigenous peoples and local communities that contribute to the preservation of forests.

 

Developed countries spend tens of times more public resources on defense, security and war than in climate change. Even during the financial crisis many have maintained and increased their military spending. It is inadmissible that by using the needs communities have and the ambitions of some leaders and indigenous “experts”, indigenous peoples are expected to be involved with the commoditization of nature.

 

All forests and rainforests protection mechanisms should guarantee indigenous rights and participation, but not because indigenous participation is achieved in REDD, we can accept that a price for forests and rainforests is set and negotiated in a global carbon market.

 

Indigenous brothers, let us not be confused. Some tell us that the carbon market mechanism in REDD will be voluntary. That is to say that whoever wants to sell and buy, will be able, and whoever does not want to, will be able to stand aside. We cannot accept that, with our consent, a mechanism is created where one voluntarily sells Mother Earth while others look crossed handed

 

Faced with the reductionist views of forests and rainforest commoditization, indigenous peoples with peasants and social movements of the world must fight for the proposals that emerged of the World People’s Conference on Climate Change and the Rights of Mother Earth:

 

1. Integrated management of native forests and rainforest not only considering its mitigation function as CO2 sink but all its functions and potentiality, whilst avoiding confusing them with simple plantations.

 

2. Respect the sovereignty of developing countries in their integral management of forests.

 

3. Full compliance with the Rights of Indigenous Peoples established by the United Nations Declaration on Rights of Indigenous Peoples, Convention No. 169 of the ILO and other international instruments; recognition and respect to their territories; revalorization and implementation of indigenous knowledge for the preservation of forests; indigenous peoples participation and indigenous management of forest and rainforest.

 

4. Funding of developed countries to developing countries and indigenous peoples for integral management of forest as part of their climate and environmental debt. No establishment of any mechanism of carbon markets or “incentives” that may lead to the commoditization of forests and rainforest.

 

5. Recognition of the rights of Mother Earth, which includes forests, rainforest and all its components. In order to restore harmony with Mother Earth, putting a price on nature is not the way but to recognize that not only human beings have the right to life and to reproduce, but nature also has a right to life and to regenerate, and that without Mother Earth Humans cannot live.

 

Indigenous brothers, together with our peasant brothers and social movements of the world, we must mobilize so that the conclusions of Cochabamba are assumed in Cancun and to impulse a mechanism of RELATED ACTIONS TO THE FORESTS based on these five principles, while always maintaining high the unity of indigenous peoples and the principles of respect for Mother Earth, which for centuries we have preserved and inherited from our ancestors.

 

EVO MORALES AYMA
President of the Plurinational State of Bolivia

 

+++

WHAT MAINSTREAM MEDIA AND NGOs ARE NOT REPORTING

VIDEO: Sept. 30th, 2011: TIPNIS: Indigenous of Western Bolivia support Government (english subs)

“… political opportunists who have infiltrated this mobilization … they took advantage of it in order to discriminate and criticize the changing process … we will tell these political rascals in their presence … here is the people! Here are the real ones who have struggled to defend the changing process! … 20 or 30 years from now … Bolivia will be truly independent … without the intrusion of neo-liberal parties …”


From the article: Bolivia: Amazon protest — development before environment? by Fred Fuentes:

US interference

As the uprising against neoliberalism grew in strength, overthrowing a neoliberal president in 2003, US imperialism sought to use money to increase divisions within the indigenous movements.

In late 2005, investigative journalist Reed Lindsay published an article in NACLA that used declassified US documents to expose how US government-funded agency USAID was used to this effect.

USAID was already planning by 2002 to “help build moderate, pro-democracy political parties that can serve as a counterweight to the radical MAS or its successors”.

The downfall in 2003 of president Gonzalo Sanchez de Lozada triggered a step-up in this subversive activity.

A particular target was CIDOB.

The group was in a crisis after Fabricano was accused of profiting from illegal logging and he accepted the post of vice-minister of Indigenous Affairs under Sanchez de Lozada.

Through USAID funding to the Brecha Foundation, an NGO established by CIDOB leaders, the US hoped to further mould the organisation to its own ends.

Referring to comments made by Brecha director Victor Hugo Vela, Lindsay notes that during this time, “CIDOB leaders allied with Fabricano have condemned the cultivation of coca, helped the business elite in the department of Santa Cruz to push for region autonomy and opposed a proposal to require petroleum companies to consult with indigenous communities before drilling on their lands”.

The CSUTCB (divided between followers of Morales and radical Aymara leader Felipe Quispe), CSCB, FNMCB-BS and organisations such as the neighbourhood councils of El Alto (Fejuve), and to a less extent worker and miner organisations, were at the forefront of constant street battles and insurrections.

CIDOB, however, took an approach marked by negotiation and moderation.

It was not until July 2005 that CIDOB renewed its leadership, in turn breaking relations with Brecha.

CIDOB was not the only target for infiltration.

With close to $200,000 in US government funds, the Land and Liberty Movement (MTL) was set up in 2004 by Walter Reynaga.

As well as splitting the Movement of Landless Peasant’s (MST), one wing of which operated out of his La Paz office, Lindsay said Reynaga, like Vega, tried to win control of the “MAS-aligned” CONAMAQ.

Demands

And it is also true that the demands of the Sub Central of TIPNIS, and in particular CIDOB, are far removed from any notion of communitarianism.

Although initially focused on opposition to the highway, protesters presented the government with an original list of 13 demands, then extended to 16, on the day the march began.

Among those were calls for indigenous peoples to be able to directly receive compensation payment for offsetting carbon emissions.

This policy, know as REDD+, has been denounced as the privatisation of the forests by many environmental activists and the Peoples’ Summit of Climate Change organised in Bolivia in 2010.

It has also been promoted as a mechanism to allow developed countries to continue to pollute while undermining the right underdeveloped to develop their economies.

Another demand calls for the replacement of functionaries within the Authority for Control and Monitoring of Forests and Lands (ABT).

This demand dovetails with the allegations made by Morales against CIDOB leaders, and never refuted, that they want to control this state institution.

Much focus has been made of the potential environmental destruction caused by a highway that would open the path to future “coloniser” settlements.

But these arguments have only focused on one side of the equation.

Much has been made of a study by Bolivian Strategic Research Program that concluded that 64.5% of TIPNIS would be lost to deforestation by 2030 as a result of the highway.

Few, though, have noted that the same study found that even without the highway 43% of TIPNIS would be lost if the current rate of deforestation continues.

The biggest cause of this is the illegal logging that continues to occur, in some cases with the complicity of some local indigenous leaders and communities.

An environmental impact studies by the Bolivian Highway Authority have found the direct impact of the highway on TIPNIS to be 0.03%.

But this has to weighed up with the fact that the highway would provide the state with access to areas currently out of its reach.

This would enable not only access to services, but a greater ability to tackle illegal logging and potential narcotrafficking in the area.

At the same time, the government has asked the indigenous communities of TIPNIS to help in drafting legislation that would impose jail terms of 10 to 20 years on those found to be illegally settling, growing coca or logging in TIPNIS.

+++

The manipulation by NGOs and corporations is clear in this interview (below) with Pirakuma Yawalapiti, the Xingu spokesperson speaking on the issue of carbon trading. This dialogue was filmed by Rebecca Sommer of EARTHPEOPLES, a global network for and by Indigenous Peoples. The interview is just one of hundreds that give documented testament to the deliberate manipulation of the threatened people most vulnerable to climate change. To view more videos and further understand the exploitation of Indigenous Peoples in pursuit of the profits behind REDD, please visit  SommerFilms.

 

[In the interview, the NGOs/agencies who Yawalapiti speaks of (that are pressuring the Indigenous communities of Alto Xingu to agree to REDD projects they do not want) are FUNAI – National Indian Foundation Brazil / Fundação Nacional do Índio and IBAMA – Brazilian Institute of Environment and Renewable Resources / Instituto Brasileiro do Meio Ambiente e dos Recursos Naturais Renováveis.]

 

 

[1] The following companies who have already come on board as partners includes Galeries Lafayette, Virgin Group, Yahoo! Music, iTunes, Google, Pernod Ricard, EDF, Microsoft, Zune, YouTube, USA Today, National Magazines, HSBC, M&S, Uniqlo, Lloyds Bank, MySpace, MTV, Bo Concept Japan K.K., Volvo, Kipa Turkey, Claro Argentina, Peugeot, NTV, Universal, Tesco, Sina.com, GDF Suez, Centrica, Oxfam, New Zealand Wine Company, 350.org, Handbag.com, Avaaz.org, Lesinrockuptibles, Harper’s Bazaar, Esquire, Cosmopolitan, EMap, Greenpeace, Commensal, The Atlantic, Fast Company, News Limited, Tesla, Wired Magazine, and RFM Radio.

 

[2] The founding of the Climate Action Network (CAN) in 1988 can be traced back to the early players in the ENGO community, including Michael Oppenheimer of the corporate NGO, Environmental Defense Fund. CAN is a global network of over 700 nongovernmental organizations (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) 2 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 300 groups demanding action on climate change, states instead bask in the comfort of having to deal with only one (that of CAN), which essentially demands little to nothing. CAN has seven regional coordinating 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.

The Climate Movement: Australia’s Patrons of Climate Change Activism

"Then there’s the revolving door. Some who opposed the CPRS when they worked for environmental groups now work in parliament for the Greens, where cheering for the CEF is expected. Meanwhile, like the carbon lobby, big-brand environmental groups recruit former political staffers and senior bureaucrats. Radicals have been replaced by ‘realists’ who know that if they collaborate with the powers that be – often former colleagues – they can secure incremental wins without threatening the system." …

The Nation Reviewed

By Guy Pearse

September 2011

With Tony Abbott up in the polls, both sides saying they’ll stand or fall on climate policy, and some believing effective ‘climate action’ and the fate of ‘progressive politics’ this decade are at stake, much of the environmental movement has decided it must cheer for Prime Minister Julia Gillard’s Clean Energy Future (CEF) carbon-pricing package. As Abbott and an emboldened carbon lobby paint Gillard’s plan as economic Armageddon, environmentalists are cheering as if the clean energy revolution has begun.

Image Caption: Aided by Purves Environmental Fund, sculptor Mark Coreth rides his life-sized ice polar bear in Sydney, 3 June 2011. © Reuters/Daniel Munoz

Image Caption: Illustration by Jeff Fisher.

It’s a far cry from 2009 when the environmental movement split over the so-called Carbon Pollution Reduction Scheme (CPRS). The Australian Conservation Foundation (ACF), World Wildlife Fund (WWF) and the Climate Institute went one way – backing the CPRS in exchange for Labor adopting a highly conditional 25% emission-reduction target for 2020. The Greens, Greenpeace, Friends of the Earth, Wilderness Society, Australian Youth Climate Coalition (AYCC) and GetUp!, among others, went another way, knowing the conditions attached to the 25% target meant it wouldn’t happen. Now environmentalists are cheering almost as one, not just for ‘climate action’ but for Gillard’s plan.

The Greens, as co-authors, declare “the old, polluting ways will have to change and a new, exciting era is set to begin”; the ACF calls the plan an “important step to start Australia’s transition to a low carbon economy”; the Climate Institute calls it a “vital step towards lower pollution and clean energy in Australia”; the WWF says it “will finally create a financial incentive to change old habits and old technologies”. Even Greenpeace calls it “the fundamental first step in our journey towards a clean energy future”.

Everyone is emphasising that ‘first step’ bit, as if using the same talking points. Under the “Say Yes” banner, the message that ticking the carbon price box equals a clean energy future is being amplified. At one “Say Yes” rally, GetUp! boss Simon Sheikh declared: “Now is a moment of celebration” and “We’re ready to power our economy with 100% renewable energy. We say yes!” The banners proclaim: “Say yes to cutting carbon pollution” and “Unlock clean energy”. One GetUp! video affirms: “get rid of our reliance on fossil fuel”. It’s implied that the government’s plan will achieve these things.

But will it? The Greens say the CEF package is superior to the CPRS: the official 2050 emissions reduction target was 60% – now it’s 80%; the CPRS allowed unlimited use of imported carbon credits, allowing Australia to outsource almost all its obligations – now imported credits aren’t allowed until 2015 and then only for 50% of polluter liabilities; there’s a new Clean Energy Finance Corporation with $10 billion to spend and a Carbon Farming Initiative to encourage farmers to store more carbon in vegetation and soils. The Greens have sought to make backsliding harder by institutionalising what they can. So, for instance, governments will have to publicly explain if they choose not to accept emission cap recommendations from the proposed Climate Change Authority.

It’s better than the CPRS, but here’s the curious thing – most of the flaws of the CPRS remain in the CEF. Big polluters are again excused from paying for 66–94.5% of their emissions, notwithstanding Gillard’s claim that “big polluters will pay for every tonne of carbon pollution they put into our atmosphere”. There’s the same inadequate 5% unconditional emissions reduction target for 2020; same hypothetical 25% target; still no carbon price at the bowser; billions of dollars going to emission-intensive power generators; $1.3 billion to coal producers whose exports are Australia’s largest contribution to climate change; and handouts to householders still mean most Australians won’t notice a carbon price. It’s another huge money-go-round that intercepts the price signal a carbon tax is intended to send industry and consumers to drive a shift to lower-emission behaviour. The pledge to pay owners of 2 gigawatts of the most emission-intensive coal-fired generation to exit the industry is an admission pricing carbon this way won’t achieve even that.

Perhaps not surprisingly, the emission projections are familiar. Treasurer Wayne Swan and Climate Change Minister Greg Combet say the agreed package would “closely match” Treasury projections released earlier this year. They envisage Australia’s domestic emissions (excluding carbon credit imports) to “increase around 10% from 2010 to the late 2020s”. With the 50% limit on credit imports ending in 2020, we’d rely mainly on outsourcing emission cuts to meet our targets well into the 2030s. Even by 2050, domestic emissions are barely below 2000 levels! Meanwhile, even with the carbon price, and well before 2050, coal-industry output doubles.

For all Gillard’s hype that a carbon price will “turbo-charge” clean energy, projections show almost no increase in renewable energy deployment prior to 2020 beyond what’s required to achieve the existing 20% renewable electricity target. With coal exports doubling and coal seam gas exports growing faster, renewables would by 2020 still account for less than 2% of energy produced in Australia.

In truth, there’s much less difference between the two major parties than either side makes out: both have a 5% target; both price carbon – Labor through a carbon tax and emissions trading, the Coalition by effectively running a national tender process for emission reduction; both cosset fossil-fuel addiction – the Coalition mainly by paying farmers to increase carbon storage in soils, Labor by importing carbon credits.

Ask people in the movement why everyone’s cheering for a plan you’d expect them to stomach under sufferance and the responses all begin the same way: “This is strictly off the record.” Most cite partisan bias, driven more by Pavlovian habit than ideology. While relations with the Coalition have usually been acrimonious, Labor has delivered various groups their biggest wins and political influence. A former insider of the Climate Institute tells me its unofficial mission when established was to “get rid of John Howard”. Post-Howard the CEO is said to have defined its new role as being Labor’s “mine-sweeper”. A “Say Yes” campaign insider recently told me: “People are so desperate to get something rather than nothing that we’re all running cover for Labor; so, rather than getting a better scheme from them or the other side, it’s all about helping Gillard sell the scheme.”

Another reason cited for the cheering is the increasing tendency of environmental groups to focus on incremental wins. Rather than asking ‘What needs to be done?’, they’re asking ‘What’s possible soon, given the lie of the land?’ Rapid transitions to renewables and away from fossil-fuel exports are considered unthinkable, given the grip that coal companies and unions have on both major parties. Settling for much less ambitious goals and overstating their significance is easier.

Then there’s the revolving door. Some who opposed the CPRS when they worked for environmental groups now work in parliament for the Greens, where cheering for the CEF is expected. Meanwhile, like the carbon lobby, big-brand environmental groups recruit former political staffers and senior bureaucrats. Radicals have been replaced by ‘realists’ who know that if they collaborate with the powers that be – often former colleagues – they can secure incremental wins without threatening the system.

Most ‘suit-wearing’ greenies also sport a neo-liberal faith in markets, with many building careers promoting the idea that emissions trading is the solution to climate change. Thus, campaigners at groups such as the WWF, the ACF and the Climate Institute turn ‘think global, act local’ on its head, believing a global carbon trade is paramount, not local action. To a worldview that cares not where emissions are cut but that cuts are made globally, at least cost, importing carbon credits en masse and ignoring coal exports fits perfectly. Never mind that a lower carbon price makes renewables deployment here less viable. Ross Garnaut’s starring role on the national stage as a carbon-price Pied Piper from the neo-liberal establishment encapsulates the dominant mindset.

Lastly, there’s the widespread desire to fill the tent. Many said ‘never again’ after the suspension of the CPRS in 2009. The Mittagong Forum, which was founded a decade earlier in the Southern Highlands, NSW, and intended to keep the environment movement singing from a similar song sheet, was torn apart. The acrimony within the ACF was intense – irate members resigned. I’m told that the Climate Institute’s board ordered an internal review of strategy. Since then, the groups that did a backroom deal with then Prime Minister Rudd have been on a charm offensive – encouraging a much broader group to come on board. Frustrated campaigners explain that the more groups involved, the faster the race to the bottom. One tells me: “If you’ve got ACF, WWF and the Climate Institute in the tent, you can’t talk about export coal; can’t talk down ‘clean coal’ or importing carbon credits or carbon farming.” As the carbon price becomes the issue upon which Labor stands or falls and the Greens’ forward momentum depends, the tent is filling up with unions, celebrities and GetUp!, among others.

This partly explains the cheering, but it’s hard not to wonder if something else is also going on here. Money explains the behaviour of many campaigning against Gillard, as those in her corner are quick to highlight; the proudly sceptical and coal-friendly Institute of Public Affairs, for example, has admitted they rarely take a position different from the “dozen energy firms” who contribute funds to them, because “otherwise they’d stop funding us”. Should we expect different from those funding big-brand green groups? It might seem like a diverse range of groups are all concluding independently that Gillard’s carbon price equals clean energy future, but they’re largely funded through two wealthy farmers: Robert Purves and Mark Wootton.

Robert Purves is the former chair and major shareholder of health group DCA; Mark Wootton is married to Eve Kantor, Rupert Murdoch’s niece. Through the Purves Environmental Fund (PEF) and the Poola Foundation respectively, they bankroll most of Australia’s best known environment groups, including many of those behind the “Say Yes” show.

The Poola Foundation, established in 1995, has for years been the ACF’s principal donor. The ACF’s building was gifted by a Poola-linked company in 2009, providing a permanent rental income stream. A donation of $10 million from the estate of Eve Kantor’s late brother (administered by Wootton and Eve Kantor) established the Climate Institute in 2005, with another $4 million invested since. Climate change “couldn’t be left to the environment movement”, says Wootton. Through the Climate Institute, the Poola Foundation provides office space to support the AYCC, and it is the largest contributor to the Australia Institute think tank. It originally funded the Mittagong Forum and provided resources and personnel to establish the Australian Environmental Grantmakers Network to co-ordinate environmental philanthropy.

Robert Purves is more prolific, particularly since establishing the PEF in 2004. He has given millions of dollars to the WWF, is the primary sponsor of the Wentworth Group of Concerned Scientists and supports the core global team running Earth Hour. A polar bear made of ice that paraded through Sydney streets in June was also Purves-funded. Few people realise that Purves substantially funded the writing and extensive promotion of Tim Flannery’s book The Weather Makers. The AYCC credits core funding provided by Purves, their only ‘gold supporter’, for their exponential growth in 2010. Purves has also funded Sustainable Business Australia, The Climate Group, the Climate Action Network Australia, the Copenhagen Climate Council and Clean Up Australia. He funds the Total Environment Centre and its Green Capital program, which hosted one of Julia Gillard’s first speeches after the release of the CEF package. Purves funds Terrestrial Carbon Group and the Bio-CCS Group, which push all manner of cheap carbon-credit generating alternatives to switching away from fossil fuels to help Australia meet emissions targets: carbon farming, forest protection abroad, growing algae with CO2 from coal-fired power stations. Through Sustainable Business Australia (SBA) he also co-hosts Carbon Expos for those keen to profit from trading such credits.

Wootton and Purves are hardly the only philanthropists assisting green causes. Wotif.com founder Graeme Wood’s record-breaking $1.6 million contribution to the Greens prior to the 2010 federal election drew plenty of attention. What sets Wootton and Purves apart is their ubiquity – especially on the issue of climate change – and their hands-on approach: Purves is a former president and current board member of WWF (Australia), a former board member of WWF (International), the chair of SBA, a governor of AYCC and the only non-scientist member of the Wentworth Group. Similarly, Mark Wootton chairs the Climate Institute board and, until recently, sat on the boards of both the ACF and the Australia Institute.

Moreover, both men appear to advocate the ‘carbon price as panacea’ approach championed by Rudd and now Gillard. “It’s all about putting a price on carbon,” says Purves; it’s a “conservative, market-based solution”, says Wootton. As far as I can tell, neither has publicly opposed continued coal export expansion, cast doubt over ‘clean coal’ or opposed the large-scale use of imported carbon credits. While both back renewable energy, they’re also strong advocates of bio-sequestration options that help avoid a switch away from fossil fuels. The organisations they fund take similar views; a coterie of corporations deeply enmeshed in vast new coal- and gas-mining projects, or simply poised to gain from the carbon credit opportunities promoted by Wootton and Purves, now co-fund the same organisations.

This is not to parallel the friendly takeover of environmentalism in the past decade with the self-interested clout exerted by those funding Australia’s carbon lobby. Wootton and Purves might gain from generating carbon credits on their farms, but by all reports their philanthropy is driven by genuine altruism rather than vested interest. However, they embody much of what movement insiders cite as problematic – neo-liberal minded corporate greenies chasing incremental results based on ‘what’s possible’. So perhaps it’s inevitable that, as more groups come to rely heavily on the same patronage, the environment movement’s centre of gravity has shifted.

If more people knew to what they were saying ‘yes’, and to whom, it’s hard not to wonder whether there’d be a lot less cheering. Now, as in 2009, the Poola Foundation and Purves-backed entities are teaming up with Labor to establish a minimalist carbon price deal that allows Australia’s contribution to climate change to keep increasing during the most crucial of decades and beyond. Naturally, Labor and its unions are geeing up the “Say Yes” crowd. The ACTU is again in the thick of the action and, having received a

$1.12 million donation from Australia’s largest coal union in 2010, GetUp! is cheering too. There’s been a cumulative cost of up to $5 million for the omnipresent ‘independent’ commentary produced by the Garnaut Climate Change Review from 2007–11. A $12 million advertising campaign is up and running and soon the government will distribute grants of “up to $250,000 for organisations to engage with the public on the opportunities of a clean energy future”. It’s a new strategy, but the same people and money taming environmentalists into backing yet another ineffective policy.

After a decade of false starts, Gillard’s plan shows beyond doubt that the only carbon price Australia will adopt is one that largely defeats the purpose of a carbon price. The Turnbull-backed CPRS was probably the best deal negotiable between the two major parties, just as the Gillard plan is probably the best the Greens could expect from a partnership with Labor. Pricing carbon this way does not equal a clean energy future, but that will take years to dawn on many in the cheer squad. Meanwhile, perhaps the best that can be said of the Gillard package is that passing it makes room for issues that the current debate has kept off the table. With the carbon price box finally ticked, the massive expansion in Australia’s fossil-fuel emission exports will become harder to ignore. When we finally confront that issue we’ll be getting serious as a nation about a Clean Energy Future.

http://www.themonthly.com.au/australia-s-patrons-climate-change-activism-climate-movement-guy-pearse-3786

From the Belly of the Beast – A MUST READ on REDD – | REDD is Supported by Greenpeace, Conservation International, Nature Conservancy, Environmental Defense Fund, WWF & Many More Corporate Greens

Blog Post from the Belly of the Beast: In the Bowels of the World Bank

–by Anne Petermann, Executive Director, Global Justice Ecology Project; North American Focal Point, Global Forest Coalition

… the Indonesian military is getting money through climate financing for REDD-type projects. The communities that live in the forests–some of them Indigenous to the area, some of them relocated there in the 80s–are being invaded by heavily armed forest rangers, paramilitaries and police; and are forced to leave at gunpoint while their homes are burned to the ground.

Benoit Bosquet, Coordinator of the World Bank’s Forest Carbon Partnership Facility, defends the bank’s role in "forest conservation" in Indonesia, where forest-based communities have been forcibly evicted at gunpoint. Behind him is a photo of one such eviction. Photo: Petermann/GJEP

Today commenced the fall meetings of the World Bank in Washington, DC. The Bank has long been known for its strong-arm tactics to force countries in the Global South to turn over their resources–whether natural resources or poor peoples’ labor– to corporations based in the Industrialized North.

While the Bank is notorious as a major funder of fossil fuel projects, devastating large-scale hydroelectric projects and deforestation projects, they have now become one of the leaders in the effort to use “market-based” schemes for climate mitigation. They are the world’s carbon brokers.

Indeed, one of the items on their meeting agenda is climate finance–pumping money into various developing countries to supposedly undertake climate mitigation programs that will predominately benefit countries in the north, by enabling them to maintain business as usual and avoid cutting greenhouse gas emissions.

Appropriately, there was a civil society session this morning on the impacts of climate finance for REDD projects in Indonesia. Indonesia is a global focal point for climate action because of the massive climate emissions that have occurred there largely as a result of the burning of primeval peat forests for conversion to oil palm plantations. But even the climate mitigation programs come with a high price, and Indonesia provides a stark case study of the devastating social and ecological impacts of REDD (the scheme to Reduce Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation).

But in order to participate in the workshop, it was first necessary to navigate the World Bank’s ridiculous security process.

It became obvious quickly that the Bank is quite paranoid about security. Now why, I wondered sarcastically, would an institution whose mission is ostensibly about poverty eradication need blocks and blocks of metal barricades and legions of police surrounding it?

Perhaps it has something to do with all of the people around the globe who have suffered under their severely unjust policies. Maybe they never quite got over A-16, (April 16, 2000) when thousands of activists descended on DC to blockade all of the streets surrounding the World Bank in a massive condemnation of the Bank’s dirty dealings.

But on this day, there were no protests, yet I still got the run-around by numerous unfriendly security officers and police, directed this way and that until I finally managed to find the registration building.

Once there, I explained for the fourth time that I was only there for one workshop and just needed a day pass. “We’re not giving out day passes today,” the desk jockey muttered. I had not encountered such surly, robot-like people since the Manchester, New Hampshire jail after a group of us were arrested in January 2000 for occupying Al Gore’s NH campaign headquarters in support of the U’Wa people of Colombia, whose lands were threatened by oil drilling by Occidental Petroleum. (Al had a lot of stock in Occidental).

Frustrated, irritated and thoroughly disgusted, I was ready to give up and make the trek back uptown when I saw a separate registration area for CSOs (civil society organizations). Okay, I thought, one more try.

I won’t go into the details, but suffice it to say, I talked my way into an official access badge. Then after navigating yet more metal barricades, police officers and a metal detector, I finally arrived at my destination: the workshop on the impacts of REDD and forest “conservation” in Indonesia. It was horrifying.

Global Justice Ecology Project has been exposing the impacts of REDD on communities in Chiapas, Mexico and California as the result of a sub-national REDD carbon offset deal between the two states. Indigenous communities in the jungle of Chiapas are threatened with displacement for “forest protection” projects, and being subjected to intimidation tactics such as the withholding of medical services to try to force them to leave.

But what is happening on the ground in Indonesia is even more extreme. As one panelist pointed out, the violence happening to the people in the forests is even worse than the violence that occurred under the Suharto dictatorship.

While the dictatorship no longer exists, the military still maintains most of the power in the country–and now that the forests have suddenly increased in value because of REDD (because the carbon stored by the trees now has value), people who live in the forests but do not have official title to their lands (which is about 80% of the people in the rural areas) are being violently evicted for “conservation” projects.

In the 1980s, a program was initiated in Indonesia called the Transmigration Program. It moved 2.5 million people off of the heavily populated islands of Bali and Java and onto other islands, leading to tremendous land conflicts. In some areas, the ratio of migrants to locals was 2:1. This, the speaker explained, is exactly what is now happening under REDD. Massive population displacement.

In a nutshell, the Indonesian military is getting money through climate financing for REDD-type projects. The communities that live in the forests–some of them Indigenous to the area, some of them relocated there in the 80s–are being invaded by heavily armed forest rangers, paramilitaries and police; and are forced to leave at gunpoint while their homes are burned to the ground.

All in the name of conservation.

I spoke briefly with the panel moderator, a woman native to Indonesia, about our work in Chiapas and what we had found there.

“Yes,” she replied. “What we see in Indonesia is not unique. It is happening all over with these REDD projects.”

And what is the point of all of this suffering and misery and violence? To provide corporations in the industrialized north with the opportunity to avoid reducing their pollution by “buying” carbon stored in some distant forest thereby “offsetting” their emissions.

So, in other words, impoverished rural and Indigenous peoples are being confronted with unspeakable violence to allow companies in the North to continue to poison and pollute poor communities near their facilities in the North.

Benoit Bosque, of the World Bank’s Forest Carbon Partnership Facility (the Bank’s program to help design and fund REDD projects in tropical and subtropical countries) spoke and tried to deflect this intense critique by explaining that REDD was extremely complex, but we shouldn’t give up. “These conflicts are about an accumulation of past mistakes. We cannot let fear of mistakes prevent us from taking bold steps forward.”

Yeah, tell that to the Indigenous Peoples being thrown off of their ancestral lands…

His callous reply received a lot of indignant responses from both the audience and the panel, who pointed out that the World Bank’s track record of enforcing even its own safeguards is terrible. “Consultations have been window dressing. Demands must be made for accountability with World Bank partners or don‘t make them partners. Don’t give them funding!”

At that Benoit bid his adieu before there were any more confrontations about the Bank’s role in funding violence against forest dependent communities.

For these reasons and many, many more, organizations and Indigenous Peoples’ groups around the world are condemning REDD. For more information on this, go to: http://noredd.makenoise.org/. To learn more about GJEP’s work in Chiapas and California on REDD, go to http://climate-connections.org/category/chiapas-2/. To view our photo essay from the community of Amador Hernandez in the Lacandon Jungle, click here

http://climate-connections.org/2011/09/23/blog-post-from-the-belly-of-the-beast-in-the-bowels-of-the-world-bank/

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

A Tar Sands Partnership Agreement in the Making?

By Macdonald Stainsby
Canadian Dimension
August 1st 2011

 

Campaigns against tar sands production have grown rapidly over the last four years. From the relative obscurity in Alberta to an international lightning rod for people trying to address all manner of concerns from indigenous and community self-determination to peak oil and climate change – criticisms of the largest industrial project in human history have gained a major voice.

The voices are certainly not homogenous, but a large contingent of these voices call for a shut down of tar sands production and a move away from fossil fuels – if not an outright move away from market-led growth of any sort. But, in the language of the environmental elite, what are the “decision makers” preparing to do with all this anti-tar sands resistance?

While there are still small scale, community led victories against certain developments – like the defeat of the recent Prosperity Mine proposal in British Columbia – I contend that mainstream environmentalism has effectively become a means by which corporations (who used to be anathema to environmentalists) now get the social license necessary to operate. There are obvious examples such as the World Wildlife Fund running commercials with Coca-Cola. But the real social management is done out of sight, and involves some of the most important players in the circles of the North American ruling class.

Co-opting Environmentalism

In the United States, major foundations – led at the time by the Sunoco-oil founded and controlled Pew Charitable Trusts – stopped fighting against environmentalism and sought instead to co-opt it and make it a “partner.” This model expanded over the next couple of decades until it slowly began to creep north of the border into Canada. Now this same technique dominates the Canadian enviro landscape as well, in some cases with a new twist. The Canadian Boreal Initiative [CBI] – a champion of “working with industry to find common solutions” – is not even an organization, but receives their money from Ducks Unlimited Canada who receive theirs from Ducks Unlimited in the United States. All of this funding originates with the Pew Charitable Trusts in Philadelphia. The Pew Foundation was started with a multi-billion dollar grant from Sunoco and today their board of directors is more than 50 percent tied to Sunoco, either through the Pew family or executive work with the oil giant. This same Pew gives funding to other well-known policy right-wing hawkish think tanks like the Heritage Foundation and the American Enterprise Institute.

The CBI spearheads something they call “the Boreal Conservation Framework,” a plan to protect at least half the Boreal Forest. Fact: far, far less than half the boreal forest has been developed or is slated for development. This “initiative” partners openly with corporations such as Suncor, Nexen and several leading forestry corporations. The CBI, funded and directed by the Pew, also signs on to their framework the International Boreal Conservation Campaign – another Pew front group in the US. Along with corporate friendly organizations like the WWF, Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society, the Nature Conservancy and of course, Ducks Unlimited are a smattering of First Nations governments. Also among their signatories are the Tides Foundation and the Ivey Foundation.

With this behind them, the CBI then “negotiates” what the final deal of a particular industry should look like. Guaranteed at the outset is that corporations will continue operations, and that the general public is out of the loop right up until the moment the “deal” is announced.

Many other foundations – most but not all American – now play the same game of social manipulation in the environmental field. Foundations such as Rockefeller Brothers, Ford and Hewlett have not only entered into the fray in a major way, in the case of the tar sands campaigns, they have collaborated with the Pew to take social manipulation to a new level. The aforementioned Tides Foundation was set up as a sort of clearing house for other philanthropists and foundations, for many years receiving the overwhelming bulk of their money through the Pew. Today, other groups and foundations give them money and earmark where they want it spent. Tides exercises total control over something you are not supposed to hear about: The North American Tar Sands Coalition.

The Tides and the North American Tar Sands Coalition

The routine is fairly straightforward. After a long stretch when grassroots and community led struggles build up support using a multitude of strategies – from direct action blockades to boycott campaigns and speak outs, demonstrations and more – suddenly many of the organizers who started the campaign are shuffled aside. Professionals are either appointed within the ranks or are imported from outside and all are given foundation-led salaries. With or without public knowledge (almost always without) a “stakeholder” negotiation is undertaken between corporations, government and the new “professional” environmentalists will take place. The terms of the negotiations do not reach the public until a smiling photo-op of the “stakeholders” appears at a press conference to announce an “end” to a particular “campaign” now called a “win-win.” Details will vary, but they always include three things: A promise to stop organizing against a particular industry, market-based incentives that would lead to “change practices” and a guarantee for that industry to be allowed to develop, now unhindered. Such a process is slowly being constructed for tar sands production in Canada.

As if on cue, once the multitude of forces against tar sands development began to crack into both national and international media the large foundations appeared in the background. In this particular case, they had set up a spider’s web of control from the getgo. All the usual foundations – Pew Charitable Trusts, Hewlett, Rockefeller Brothers, Ford Foundation – now use the Tides Foundation as a singular source to centralize control over the would be recipients of funding.

By funnelling all money through the Tides Foundation all organizations and movements that approach any of these sources can be directed to only one source – the Tides Foundation and their “North American Tar Sands Coalition.” The NATSC is headed by one Michael Marx. While they also have “Canadian” and “American” campaign leaders, Marx has near total authority to forge the funding decisions, policy directions, media strategy and over-all focus of how the “coalition” will operate. Who then, is Michael Marx?

Marx is known as a “corporate responsibility” campaigner. Previously working with Forest Ethics and now, along side his control over the tar sands campaign, he is a head of Corporate Ethics International. His own personal bio celebrates that he has previously helped “green” Wal-Mart, one of the largest and most labour exploitative corporations in the world. He does not believe that the tar sands can or should be shut down, and is shaping political messaging to that end. The list of ENGO’s that are funded by Michael Marx’s NATSC is long, but to list merely the largest of the Canadian ones that have been with them from the beginning of the “invisible to the outside” coalition: The Pembina Institute, Environmental Defense Canada, ForestEthics, World Wildlife Fund (Canada), The Sierra Club of Canada (and associated regional chapters), Eco Justice and the Canadian Boreal Intiative. Perhaps most important to note is that the coalition also involves Greenpeace Canada – important because historically GPC did not take foundation funding but has now been listed for several grants from Tides Canada for this work.

There are also many regional only organizations – working on regional only campaigns, such as to ostensibly stop the Enbridge Gateway Pipeline across arts of unceded first nations territory in northern British Columbia. These groups involve Living Oceans society, The David Suzuki Foundation, west Coast Environmental Law and the Dogwood Initiative with a host of community led groups. These regional grants are controlled by Canadian understudy to Michael Marx, Jennifer Lash.

Since the highly criticized deal called the “Canadian Boreal Forest Agreement” was signed in 2010 between what was called nine environmental NGOs and 21 forestry companies, Tides has started muttering in public as their own voice – calling for the “bridging of the two camps” of environmentalists and energy companies over the tar sands. No first nations have been mentioned in their pronouncements. Nonetheless, in Europe they have moved in to steer the direction of anti-tar sands campaigning. Marx himself showed up recently in the UK, speaking out on campaigns to “stop tar sands expansion” in ads paid for by Corporate Ethics International. These same ads have appeared in Alberta; Marx himself lives in San Francisco.

Astro-turfing is a term often applied to various Republican or Tea Party ventures in the United States, ones where money and slick marketing are used to build an appearance of a grassroots network where, in fact, none truly exists. While there most certainly is such a grassroots network against the tar sands – and it is expanding globally – the astro-turfing of “demands” to go into the backroom negotiations is tailored to appear genuine. The manner it is done is to put forward a vague and almost completely uncontroversial call and ask people to sign on to some declaration.

As of late that has appeared to be towards the blight of the toxic tailings ponds littering the landscape by the vast open-pit mines. In recent months as well, Suncor (the original tar sands corporation, former property of Sunoco oil and largest energy company in Canada) announced they had developed “dry tailings technology” and that they planned over time to roll out and implement it. Considering that Suncor is openly partnered with the Canadian Boreal Initiative, it seems strangely convenient that the astroturfing campaign is now targeting tailings ponds – shortly after many of the more corporate environmental organizations and the largest players among tar sands operators were caught – trying to have a private, unreported meeting together.

The first attempt at such a meeting, last April, was spearheaded by the Pembina Institute. The Pembina is employed as consultants for Nexen, Suncor, TD Financial and many other industrial corporations and has partnered with the original tar sands giant Suncor Energy since 1982. That meeting was to be a “fireside chat” but it was cancelled when people got wind of it and it appeared first on the mediacoop.ca and later on in the Globe and Mail. Today, the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers, the Tides Foundation and others are calling for “dialogue.”

What Would a Tar Sands Partnership Agreement Look Like?

Based on the market trajectory of the Marx-led team, it will involve beyond promises on water and tailings – including carbon offsets, promised investments in “green” energy technology alongside perhaps some announcement on further research into carbon capture and sequestration (CCS).

Based on all previous deals in Canada and the United States, such a framework could only be announced as the “end to the war over tar sands” – to effectively give social license to tar sands operations permanently. This would then eliminate Tides based on all previous deals in Canada and the United States, such a framework could only be announced as the “end to the war over tar sands” – to effectively give social license to tar sands operations permanently. This would then eliminate Tides based anti-tar sands funding for all organizations in the NATSC. Certain groups such as Greenpeace, the Indigenous Environmental Network, Rainforest Action Network as well as several community initiatives have official positions to end tar sands development. The Pembina Institute, CBI, Tides, David Suzuki Foundation, Sierra Club, and near the totality of ENGO’s who receive NATSC funding in the United States do not call for the cessation of tar sands development, but mitigation of the “worst” impacts.

The breathtaking pace and size of tar sands development in Canada has not gone unnoticed to other would-be producers; many countries around the planet have deposits of bitumen that would require much the same technology. Those investors have been visiting Canada, learning, and heading elsewhere where bitumen beckons. A partial list of locations that are now threatened with tar sands extraction includes Trinidad and Tobago, The Republic of Congo, Madagascar, the US state of Utah, China, Russia and Jordan. There is also the country that may have even larger deposits than Canada – the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela.

With the exception of Venezuela, whose production is still but a fraction of Canada’s, none of these countries have gone into commercial production at this point. It will be nearly impossible to stop tar sands developments in Africa, Latin America Asia and elsewhere if all of our collective work in opposition to the development of tar sands is sacrificed to a “partnership deal” that allows for continued tar sands extraction. Corporations like France’s Total in Madagascar could then argue: “If this development is clean and responsible enough for Canada, why not so for Madagascar?” Such a dynamic must be avoided at all costs on many levels, not least of which is the remaining sliver of hope that the worst effects of climate change can be avoided, rather than simply managed or mitigated.

Climate justice organizing is, in part, an attempt to go beyond the counting of C02 emissions and to get to the heart of solutions to the climate crisis – solutions that involve the end of oppression of the communities that bear the brunt of the climate crisis, and do so in ways that respects their self-determination. Addressing the needs of these communities as they speak for the solutions they want cannot be a part of a backroom, anti-democratic model of development pushed forward with money from the very industries trying to eliminate them from history. It will take a global effort to hear and then amplify the voices – from Africa to Asia, and north to south in the Americas. None of these voices can be heard if someone closes a door to hold secret meetings with the financial powers whose assets already scream so loudly – as we edge ever closer to a point of no return.

MacDonald Stainsby is a social justice activist and journalist currently living in Edmonton and is the coordinator of http://oilsandstruth.org.

http://ecosocialismcanada.blogspot.com/2011/08/tar-sands-partnership-agreement-in.html

http://canadiandimension.com/

WWF-endorsed logging companies trade in illegal timber

WWF timber scheme allows illegal logging, forest destruction and fails to prevent human rights abuses

25th July 2011

Click here to read this release in FrenchSpanishGermanNorwegian, Bahasa.

Click here to read Pandering to the Loggers

Read WWF’s response to the report

Click here to read coverage of this report on the BBC and the Guardian

WWF’s flagship scheme to promote sustainable timber – the Global Forest and Trade Network (GFTN) – is allowing companies to reap the benefits of association with WWF and its iconic panda brand, while they continue to destroy forests and trade in illegally sourced timber, a new briefing by Global Witness reveals. While GFTN is intended to reduce and eliminate such practices over the first 5 years of membership, systemic failures blight the scheme’s ability to deliver for forests.

The Global Witness briefing, Pandering to the Loggers, discovered that major Malaysian logging company Ta Ann Holdings Berhad, which is a paying member of the scheme, has forest operations destroying rainforest at the equivalent rate of 20 football pitches a day, including orang-utan habitat within the boundaries of WWF’s own ‘Heart of Borneo’ project. Another member, UK building supplier Jewson, had failed to eliminate illegally sourced timber 10 years after joining the scheme. A third timber company, the Swiss- German Danzer Group, has a subsidiary which has been repeatedly involved in conflicts with local communities resulting in human rights abuses, including allegations of rapes and beatings by state forces, yet the Danzer Group continues to enjoy membership to the scheme.
Global Witness has found systemic problems with GFTN including:

  • GFTN lacks transparency and accountability; the scheme is opaque, with little or no information in the public domain about the performance of individual participating companies, or the impact of the scheme itself;
  • GFTN’s membership and participation rules are wholly inadequate, allowing some companies to systematically abuse the scheme;
  • GFTN lacks proper monitoring and enforcement mechanisms;
  • There is no adequate procedure in place for independently evaluating the scheme on forest sustainability.

“When a landmark scheme created in the name of sustainability and conservation tolerates one of its member companies destroying orang-utan habitat, something is going seriously wrong,” said Tom Picken, Forest Campaign Leader at Global Witness. “Through government grants, taxpayers are footing a large part of this scheme’s annual £4m [US$ 7m] budget and they have a right to know their money isn’t being spent greenwashing bad practice,” continued Picken.

Global Witness is calling for an independent and comprehensive evaluation of GFTN rules, transparency procedures and the scheme’s impact on forests. WWF must make membership of the scheme conditional on companies following sustainable, ethical and legal practices and prohibit any company from participating if it continues to destroy natural forest, trade in illegal timber, or is involved in human rights abuses.

“WWF should publicly disassociate itself from any company using timber from illegal or unethical sources. It’s shocking that one of the world’s most trusted conservation groups deems it acceptable to take money from such companies,” said Picken.

“This investigation raises bigger questions about the underlying strategy and efficacy of such voluntary schemes. To protect the world’s remaining forests and avoid duping consumers, initiatives should focus on reducing overall demand rather than certify ever-expanding areas of forest being felled,” said Picken.

/Ends

Contact:

Tom Picken, Campaign Leader Forests, +44 (0)781 055 8247 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting            +44 (0)781 055 8247      end_of_the_skype_highlighting, tpicken@globalwitness.org;

Oliver Courtney, Communications Officer, +44 (0)773 932 4962 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting            +44 (0)773 932 4962      end_of_the_skype_highlighting, ocourtney@globalwitness.org;

Patrick Alley, Director, +44 (0)207 492 5880 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting            +44 (0)207 492 5880      end_of_the_skype_highlighting, palley@globalwitness.org.

Notes to editors:

1) The Global Forest and Trade Network (GFTN) is WWF’s flagship scheme to promote the global trade in legal and sustainable timber products. It is one of the world’s biggest and best-funded schemes of its kind. The scheme’s stated objective is to ‘turn the global marketplace into a positive force to save the world’s most valuable and threatened forests’ by helping companies to produce and trade in ‘credibly certified’ wood products. In return for commitments to improve the legality and sustainability of the wood products they harvest, buy or sell, companies that pay to participate in GFTN benefit from technical assistance available to members and from association with WWF and its world-famous panda brand.

2) GFTN states that its 288 members trade 252 million cubic metres of wood products, representing around 16 per cent of the globally traded volume of forest products with combined annual sales of US$68 billion. There are currently around 75 ‘forest members’ – logging companies – from Russia, Latin America, Africa and Asia, which between them hold the rights to log an area of forest larger than the UK. The remaining members are classed as ‘trade members’ – processors, traders and retailers of wood products.

Must Watch Interview with WWF doc maker in English | The Silence of the Panda

Interview with WWF doc maker in English:

http://www.toxicsoy.org/toxicsoy/news/Artikelen/2011/7/1_Interview_with_WWF_doc_maker_in_English.html

English subtitled interview with Wilfried Huismann, the maker of the documentary ‘The silence of the Pandas’, just before it was broadcasted on German TV. Contains some previews of the documentary and some extra items.

http://www.gmwatch.org/latest-listing/1-news-items/13305-shock-documentary-wwf-and-industry-the-pact-with-the-panda?utm_source=twitterfeed&utm_medium=twitter

Shock documentary: WWF and industry – The pact with the Panda

Tuesday, 05 July 2011

The article below summarises the contents of the recently broadcast German documentary ‘The silence of the Pandas’, which exposed WWF’s close ties with corporations, including Monsanto. The film has caused shockwaves in Germany and many donors have reportedly withdrawn their support for WWF.

An English-subtitled interview with Wilfried Huismann, the maker of the documentary ‘The silence of the Pandas’, is here.

EXCERPTS: since 2010 Monsanto’s genetically modified soybeans have been certified as “sustainable” by the “Round Table on Responsible Soy” (RTRS). The certification system was created at the initiative of the WWF.

Hartmut Vogtmann, head of the Deutscher Naturschutzring (German League for Nature Conservation and Environmental Protection), is clearly outraged at this. In an internal letter to Detlev Drenckhahn, president of the German WWF division, he warns insistently against participating in the “Round Table on Responsible Soy”. In the letter, obtained by sueddeutsche.de, Vogtmann argues that according to recent studies, through the cultivation of soy, the use of pesticides has “increased tremendously … because more and more weeds are becoming resistant to Roundup, which is used in the cultivation of soybeans”. Its active ingredient, glyphosate, “causes malformations in embryos and leads to higher rates of cancer,” he writes with respect to an investigation, and concludes: The Round Table, co-founded by the WWF, is “artificially keeping a failed system of agriculture alive”.

… Even before its initial screening, the film clearly stirred the German affiliate of the WWF. Attempts were made, through warnings and media attorneys, to influence the broadcast and to cancel interviews.

And what is one to think when the organization, in response to inquiries by the daily Süddeutsche Zeitung, admits to having accepted donations from Monsanto? And of the fact that the promotion of genetic engineering by Jason Clay is termed an “individual opinion of an outsider”? In fact, he is not. He is the vice president of the WWF global organization.


Enquiries by WDR into the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF)
WWF and Industry – the Pact with the Panda[1]
By Lars Langenau[2]
sueddeutsche.de
22 June 2011
[German original: http://bit.ly/SZPandaPakt]

How industry-friendly is the WWF? On the fiftieth anniversary of the organization’s founding, the German broadcaster WDR did some behind-the-scenes research on the renowned globally operating environmental organization. Its explosive documentary shows how deeply the organization has become entrenched in economic interests and their billions in profits.

Baby tigers, polar bear cubs, young orangutans – cute and cuddly and evoking sympathy with their big eyes and snub noses. They have the perfect look that appeals to children. There’s only one thing that tops them all: the panda, cuddliness personified.

The panda is the poster animal of the globally renowned World Wide Fund for Nature, also still known today by its former name, the World Wildlife Fund. According to market research, the most powerful nature conservation organization in the world has one of the most credible images in the world. For 50 years it has stood for climate protection, sustainability, and the maintenance of the earth’s biological diversity.

And it is always in search of donors – in the service of nature. Children will not hesitate to raid their piggy banks; they collect animal pictures that the supermarket giant Rewe, in cooperation with the WWF, was until recently giving away with purchases, setting off a collection frenzy (“Animals – adventure. Discover all of them!”). Donors are made to feel as though they are buying a little piece of an ideal world.

But reality, at least in part, looks in fact quite different.

According to research by the WDR, the influential environmental organization WWF with its annual donations of around 500 million euro, its 4,000 employees, and affiliates in more than 100 countries, has become entwined in industry interests – the report raises the question whether the work of the organization can be reconciled with the slogan “For a living Planet”.

In the WDR documentary “The Pact with the Panda”, which was broadcast by ARD[3] last Wednesday at 11:30 PM, Wilfried Huismann, the recipient of several Grimme [media] awards, suggests that donors’ credulity is in some cases stretched rather thin for interests that scarcely serve the preservation of the planet.

Journey around the globe

Huismann documents that the WWF is clearly helping dubious companies obtain “sustainability certificates”. The organization cooperates in “roundtables” with GMO companies such as the agricultural giant Monsanto and the multinational Wilmar Group – and then certifies that they produce soy and palm oil “sustainably”.

In the film, the nature conservation organization justifies such close cooperation as a “non-ideological” course that “accomplishes a great deal more than consistent rejection”. Huismann, through his research, shows what consequences this cooperation with industry can have.

Displacement of one million aboriginal inhabitants for the tiger

Among other things, he cites the massive, often forced displacement of native peoples in India and Indonesia, who had coexisted for centuries with the wild animals that they venerate as holy. Huismann traveled to India, where one million aboriginal inhabitants are to be displaced, allegedly for the protection of tigers. But local activists say this is nonsense. WWF’s Tiger Project has been in existence since 1974, when there were still 5000 tigers. If it had been successful, then at least 8000 should be living there now, says an environmental activist, but there are clearly far fewer. And these few big cats are followed around their tiger reserve for eight hours a day by eco-tourists brought in by the WWF’s own travel company in its 155 jeeps. According to research, the well-heeled guests must pay about $10,000 for the privilege, while local activists complain that in the name of eco-tourism the original forest is being destroyed.

In Argentina the issue is genetically modified monocultures that place stress on humans and the environment. Huismann traveled in the northern part of the country, in the Gran Chaco, once the largest savannah in the world. Nowadays half of it has been cut down and taken over by a monoculture of soybeans which is spreading to adjoining land and is alleged to make people sick. The WWF’s attitude? “As of today, the soy wasteland in South America covers an area twice the size of Germany,” says the narrator in the film. “And the acreage is scheduled to double. The Argentinian WWF supports the project because the forests here, in its opinion, are of ‘low value’, and have been ‘degraded’ by human use”. Of the original forest stock, nothing more is to be seen.

The tightrope act of an environmental protection organization

Huismann also traveled to Borneo, where slash-and-burn clearing for the monoculture of palms to produce palm oil has been advancing at a rapid pace. In return, those in charge are locally creating a token forest for precisely two orangutans. But even these are threatened with starvation due to the minimal size of the reserve, says Huismann: “80 hectares on a 14,000-hectare plantation, that’s 0.5 percent. Is that a success, when 99.5 percent is wiped out?” In one of the most powerful scenes in the film, Doerte Bieler, the WWF’s specialist for biomass, is confronted with this question and responds laconically: “Now, if the 80 hectares were no longer there, that would mean absolutely certain death. Then they would be dead already.”

When Bieler is asked by Huismann to give an example of successful cooperation with industry, she is unable to find an answer. What’s important to her is that the WWF as a non-governmental organization (NGO) is “not just to be ridiculed, but to be accepted as a competent discussion partner.”

In Indonesia Huismann is visiting a plantation, one that research shows has just been certified as “sustainable” with the help of the WWF, and in which unfiltered wastewater seeps in to the ground. With this certificate “the company can cash in on subsidies ‘for regenerative energy’,” says the film’s narrator, and adds: “And the WWF gets a fee for having advised the company in ‘sustainability’ issues. For both sides, this is a good deal.”

According to Huismann, one major bank alone is forking over $100 million for a “climate partnership” with the WWF. But meanwhile, in Indonesia, that very financial institution is financing clear cutting by palm oil companies, to which large parts of the rain forest have already fallen victim. Despite that, the WWF sits down with the major players in the food industry at a “Round Table for Sustainable Palm Oil” (RSPO). Other NGOs, such as Friends of the Earth or Greenpeace, are distancing themselves, have left this round, or were never part of it.

Married to aristocracy – of blood or of money

The film also documents the involvement of aristocracy, whether of blood or of money, in the WWF. Its honorary president is Prince Philip. In an exclusive interview with the WDR he justifies hunting wild animals this way: “A balance among the species must be created. This can’t be left to nature. By decimating predators, you protect the animals.” The 90-year-old consort of the Queen of England defends his own shooting of a tiger in 1961 by noting that, after all, it was only one.

The secret “Club of 1001″

The WWF was co-founded largely by members of European aristocratic families. Huismann speculates that the organization was established only because, in the era of decolonization, the higher nobility were afraid of losing their hunting preserves. Their motto was still that of colonialism: “Nature is the absence of people – or at least of locals,” says Huismann to Süddeutsche Zeitung (sueddeutsche.de), one of Germany’s largest dailies.

Over the last few decades, hardly any donation, and hardly any donor, was objectionable to the WWF, from Dow Chemical and Shell all the way to – at least for WWF USA – Monsanto itself.

Prince Bernhard of the Netherlands, the organization’s first president, also founded the “Club of 1001″, a sort of “Friends of the WWF”, in which the western elite meets to this day. Its members are primarily from industry. In the early days even leading figures in the South African apartheid regime belonged to the Club, along with members of the Argentine junta and state terrorists such as Zaire’s dictator Mobutu Sese Seko.

Membership in this green country club is still secret. Only a few prominent members have left, mainly members of the aristocracy, says Huismann. According to his research, at least during the mid-eighties, many major figures from the German industrial elite were also members, from the bankers Robert von Pferdmenges and Hermann Abs to Friedrich Flick and Bertold Beitz.

Inhuman broadcasting time

That is a thing of the past, as the film’s narrator also says. But today, too, the WWF does not have many reservations. Thus, since 2010 Monsanto’s genetically modified soybeans have been certified as “sustainable” by the “Round Table on Responsible Soy” (RTRS). The certification system was created at the initiative of the WWF.

Hartmut Vogtmann, head of the Deutscher Naturschutzring (German League for Nature Conservation and Environmental Protection), is clearly outraged at this. In an internal letter to Detlev Drenckhahn, president of the German WWF division, he warns insistently against participating in the “Round Table on Responsible Soy”. In the letter, obtained by sueddeutsche.de, Vogtmann argues that according to recent studies, through the cultivation of soy, the use of pesticides has “increased tremendously … because more and more weeds are becoming resistant to Roundup, which is used in the cultivation of soybeans”. Its active ingredient, glyphosate, “causes malformations in embryos and leads to higher rates of cancer,” he writes with respect to an investigation, and concludes: The Round Table, co-founded by the WWF, is “artificially keeping a failed system of agriculture alive”.

The WWF Germany wrote to sueddeutsche.de on this issue: “We are continuing to cooperate with the RTRS because we want more GM-free soy, and in general, we want to minimize the environmental damage caused by soy cultivation, such as the destruction of forests.”

Meanwhile, the WWF has published a “fact check” on its website, stating, among other things: “We reject genetic engineering. We will do so until it is proven that genetically modified plants are completely harmless for the environment, for biodiversity and for us humans. This position of the WWF International applies to all WWF national organizations.” However, it is conceded that, at the level of “individual national organizations, there are also employees whose opinion does not conform to the official WWF position. This is particularly true for countries in which the share of genetically engineered crops in agriculture is already very high, such as the USA und Argentina”.

Even before its initial screening, the film clearly stirred the German affiliate of the WWF. Attempts were made, through warnings and media attorneys, to influence the broadcast and to cancel interviews.

And what is one to think when the organization, in response to inquiries by the daily Süddeutsche Zeitung, admits to having accepted donations from Monsanto? And of the fact that the promotion of genetic engineering by Jason Clay is termed an “individual opinion of an outsider”? In fact, he is not. He is the vice president of the WWF global organization.

Copyright 2011 © sueddeutsche.de GmbH / Süddeutsche Zeitung GmbH

Notes
1. This article was posted on the homepage of sueddeutsche.de at 7:00 PM on 22 June 2011 where it remained in the top position for over 24 hours when it was moved further down to make room for more pressing news. It remained on the homepage until the evening of 24 June, the day a different article on the same issue was published in the print version of Süddeutsche Zeitung (p. 19 – Im Namen des Pandas: Der WDR dokumentiert die Verstrickung des Naturschutzverbandes mit Industrie und Lobbyisten.) In that second article the paper focuses more on the events that occurred immediately after the TV documentary was broadcast.
2. Translation from the original article in German by Larrass Translations, Ottawa
3. May be viewed online from the official ARD website media archive at http://bit.ly/ARDPandaPakt

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