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Conservation International

FLASHBACK | Conservation International: Privatizing Nature, Plundering Biodiversity

conservation-international

Seedling | Grain

October 2003

by Aziz Choudry

Conservation International’s corporate sponsor list reads like a list of the US’ top fifty transnational corporations. Biodiversity conservation is at the top of Conservation International’s list of goals. But as the list of Conservation International’s dubious ventures and questionable partners around the world grows, Aziz Choudry is starting to wonder if it is time to ‘out’ this ‘multinational conservation corporation’ and show its true colours.

Headquartered in Washington, D.C, with operations in over 30 countries on four continents, Conservation International claims to be an environmental NGO. Its mission is “to conserve the Earth’s living natural heritage, our global biodiversity, and to demonstrate that human societies are able to live harmoniously with nature.” [1] This all sounds very laudable and Conservation International has some very high profile fans. This year Colin Powell shared the podium with Conservation International President Russell Mittermeier at the launch of the Bush Administration’s “Initiative Against Illegal Logging” at the US State Department. In December 2001, Gordon Moore, who founded Intel Corporation, donated US $261 million to Conservation International, supposedly the largest grant ever to an environmental organisation. Moore is chairman of Conservation International’s executive committee. Conservation International has repaid Moore’s largesse by nam-ing an endangered Brazilian pygmy owl after him. [2]

Keep Off The Grasslands | Mark Dowie On Conservation Refugees

WKOG Editor: We especially like the fact that Dowie distinguishes between member-funded and corporate-funded  NGOs. We also enjoyed the irony that the person who alerted Dowie to the indigenous peoples predicament was Rebecca Adamson, who, in turn, has capitalized on the indigenous rights paradigm to become a corporate broker.” [Further reading on More on Adams:  The Corporate Buy-In]

Video | These people have names…

Nakuru Lemiruni sends a message to those responsible for evicting the Samburu tribe from their land. The Samburu of Kisargei, in Kenya’s Laikipia district, were brutally evicted from the lands they call home in 2010 after the land was sold to the African Wildlife Foundation (AWF). AWF, using funds from The Nature Conservancy (TNC), says it bought the land on the understanding that no-one lived there. When the Samburu protested and took the matter to the courts the land was hurriedly ‘gifted’ to the government. Police chose a Friday “market day” for their attack, when the men were away and only women, elders, and children were in their homes. Fanning out across the 17,000- acre Eland Downs Ranch, police burned the Samburu families’ homes to the ground, along with all their possessions. Identified in the Kenyan press as “squatters,” the evicted Samburu families petitioned a regional court to recognize their ancestral claims to the land where they lived and grazed their cattle The suit has been filed by the Samburu against the African Wildlife Foundation and the former President. They need money and public support to win.

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The Sun Magazine

Issue 452 | August 2013

by Joel Whitney

Journalist Mark Dowie was speaking at an environmental conference in Ottawa, Canada, in 2004 when he was approached by Rebecca Adamson, a Cherokee and the founder and president of First Peoples Worldwide. She began telling him how conservationists were mistreating indigenous tribes around the world. Intrigued, Dowie decided to look into the subject and write about it.

He traveled for four years to remote parts of the globe, and what he found troubled him. Everywhere he went, native people were being kicked off their ancestral lands to make way for national parks or protected wilderness areas. Dowie wrote a book and titled it Conservation Refugees: The Hundred-Year Conflict between Global Conservation and Native Peoples. He estimates that over the past one hundred years there have been 20 million such refugees worldwide.

He also discovered that the large conservation organizations were partnering with corporations that wanted to build oil wells or gas pipelines or mine for minerals on these lands. Originally conservationists were opposed to drilling and mining, but, Dowie says, the lines between the conservation giants and the corporate giants are being blurred: “International conservation organizations remain comfortable working in close quarters with some of the most aggressive global resource prospectors.” These extractive projects are far more environmentally destructive than the presence of indigenous people, he says. In fact, it’s indigenous traditions that have protected these biologically rich lands, often for millennia.

Dowie was born in Toronto, Canada, and spent his formative years in Wyoming. He calls himself a “Wyoming cowboy,” and his son and ex-wife still own a ranch on the Crow Indian Reservation in Montana. Dowie worked for Mother Jones magazine from 1975 to 1985, first as general manager, then as publisher, and finally as editor. In addition to Conservation Refugees, he is the author of Losing Ground: American Environmentalism at the Close of the Twentieth Century and American Foundations: An Investigative History. During his nearly forty years in journalism, he has won nineteen awards, been nominated for the Pulitzer Prize, and contributed to the Times of London, Harper’s, The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, and The Nation. He is currently a contributing editor at Orion and has taught environmental reporting and foreign correspondence at the University of California, Berkeley Graduate School of Journalism.

I visited Dowie at his home on Tomales Bay in Inverness, California, to discuss the fate of the conservation refugees. Inverness sits on the eastern shore of Point Reyes Peninsula, a protected national seashore. Dowie lives there with his wife — the artist Wendy Schwartz — and their yellow lab, Gracie, who welcomed me with a volley of barks as I crossed the yard on my first visit.

Dowie invited me to follow him through the reeds to his shore-side observatory, a small structure on stilts in the inlet. Six foot three and bowlegged, he stooped a little as he guided me past the poison oak. At seventy-four Dowie is silver haired, broad shouldered, and quietly assertive. When questioned, he answers quickly and without meandering. When challenged, he smiles as if appreciative of the chance to clarify his meaning. He emphasizes that the conflict between native peoples and conservationists is not a story of good guys versus bad guys but “good guys versus good guys.”

 

Whitney: Your book starts close to home with the story of Yosemite National Park.

Dowie: The creation of Yosemite was a long process that began with its “discovery” by white European Americans. Native Americans, of course, were already there. John Muir, forefather of the American conservation movement, is often cited as the park’s founder. He wrote and spoke lyrically about the spiritual renewal urbanites experienced when they entered places like Yosemite Valley — which he defined as a “wilderness” despite its long-standing human population.

Corporate NGOs Work Hand in Hand With Walmart to Privatize Earth’s Oceans & Fisheries

illustration: zeeninginlaos

Walton Family Foundation Sunk $71.4 Million into Greenwashing Schemes

 

Over $36 million alone was handed over to “Marine Conservation” grantees including the Ocean Conservancy, Conservation International Foundation, Marine Stewardship Council, World Wildlife Fund and EDF. All of these organizations are notorious for their role in corporate greenwashing efforts across the globe.

 

“The Walton Family Foundation is funding the Environmental Defense Fund, which wants to commodify water through water marketing and privatize our fish through catch shares program,” said Grader. “These are tools used by corporations to further the growing disparity between 1 percent and rest of us.”

 

California Progress Report

November 19th, 2012

By Dan Bacher

 

Much recent media attention has focused on Walmart’s announcement that it is canceling Thanksgiving plans for many of its employees. These workers will now have to work on the holiday as the retail giant kicks off its holiday sale at 8 PM on Thanksgiving Day, rather than waiting until midnight on “Black Friday.”

“The result is troubling for advocates for workers’ rights, as Walmart has encroached repeatedly on a holiday that traditionally involves plenty of time spent with family and away from work,” according to a statement from the Corporate Action Network. “The decision to move up the start of Black Friday sales to Thursday could be an attempt to thwart the workers’ organization efforts scheduled for Black Friday.

Labor, social justice and human rights groups are supporting a nationwide boycott of Walmart on Black Friday to back the strike of Walmart workers that day.

However, less well known to the public is Walmart’s ambitious campaign of corporate greenwashing in recent years.

The Walton Family Foundation proudly reported “investments” totaling more than $71.4 million in “environmental initiatives” in 2011, including contributions to corporate “environmental” NGOs pushing ocean privatization through the “catch shares” programs and so-called “marine protected areas” like those created under Arnold Schwarzenegger’s Marine Life Protection Act (MLPA) Initiative.

According to a press release from the Walmart Headquarters in Bentonville Arkansas, the foundation made grants to more than 160 organizations in the U.S. and other countries “that work to protect natural resources while strengthening the local economies that depend on them.”

The foundation directed an overwhelming majority of the grants toward its two core environmental initiatives – “Freshwater Conservation and Marine Conservation.”

“Our work is rooted in our belief that the conservation solutions that last are the ones that make economic sense,” claimed Scott Burns, director of the foundation’s Environment Focus Area. “The foundation and our grantees embrace ‘conservationomics’ – the idea that conservation efforts can and should bring economic prosperity to local communities.”

The foundation donated $30.5 million to Marine Conservation, $26,842,289 to Freshwater Conservation and $14,022,907 for “Other Environment Grants.”

The Top Five Grantees were Conservation International, $16,208,278; Environmental Defense Fund, $13,683,709; the Marine Stewardship Council $3,122,500; Nature Conservancy $3,024,539, and the National Audubon Society, $2,739,859.

Conservation International, the top recipient with $16,208,278, is an organization noted for its top-down approach to conservation and involvement with corporate greenwashing.

The Walton Foundation press release claimed that, “Conservation International continued to implement a three-year program to empower local communities to manage and conserve fishing resources on Costa Rica’s Pacific Coast.”

However, the group’s board features controversial corporate leaders such as Rob Walton and Stewart Resnick.

Rob Walton, Walmart Chairman, serves as the Chairman of the Executive Committee of Conservation International. Serving with him on Conservation International’s Board of Directors is Stewart Resnick, the owner of Paramount Farms.

Resnick has been instrumental in campaigns to build the peripheral canal to increase water exports to agribusiness and Southern California, to eviscerate Endangered Species Act protections for Central Valley Chinook salmon and Delta smelt and to eradicate striped bass in California. The Center for Investigative Reporting describes Resnick as a “Corporate Farming Billionaire and One-Man Environmental Wrecking Crew.”

Resnick is notorious for buying subsidized Delta water and then selling it back to the public for a big profit, as revealed in an article by Mike Taugher in the Contra Costa Times on May 23, 2009.

“As the West Coast’s largest estuary plunged to the brink of collapse from 2000 to 2007, state water officials pumped unprecedented amounts of water out of the Delta only to effectively buy some of it back at taxpayer expense for a failed environmental protection plan, a MediaNews investigation has found,” said Taugher.

Taugher said the “environmental water account” set up in 2000 to “improve” the Delta ecosystem spent nearly $200 million mostly to benefit water users while also creating a “cash stream for private landowners and water agencies in the Bakersfield area.”

“No one appears to have benefitted more than companies owned or controlled by Stewart Resnick, a Beverly Hills billionaire, philanthropist and major political donor whose companies, including Paramount Farms, own more than 115,000 acres in Kern County,” Taugher stated. “Resnick’s water and farm companies collected about 20 cents of every dollar spent by the program.”

Likewise, the Nature Conservancy, a group that received $3,024,539 from the Walton Family Foundation, in 2011, is also known for its strong support of the Bay Delta Conservation Plan to build the peripheral tunnels that Resnick and other corporate agribusiness interests so avidly support. A broad coalition of fishermen, Indian Tribes, environmentalists, family farmers and elected officials opposes the construction of the tunnels because they would hasten the extinction of Central Valley salmon, Delta smelt, longfin smelt and other species.

Drive to Privatize Fisheries

illustration: zeeninginlaos

Environmental Defense Fund, with the second highest donation at $13,683,709, is known for its market-based approach to conservation and its push for “catch shares” that essentially privatize the oceans. The relationship between the group and the retail giant is so close that it operates an office in Bentonville, Arkansas, where Walmart is headquartered.

“Environmental Defense Fund released its ‘Catch Shares Design Manual: A Guide for Fishermen and Managers’ to provide a roadmap to catch share design, which is a focus of our Marine Conservation initiative,” according to the Walton Family Foundation.

A catch share, also known as an individual fishing quota, is a transferable voucher that gives individuals or businesses the ability to access a fixed percentage of the total authorized catch of a particular species.

“Fishery management systems based on catch shares turn a public resource into private property and have lead to socioeconomic and environmental problems. Contrary to arguments by catch share proponents – namely large commercial fishing interests – this management system has exacerbated unsustainable fishing practices,” according to the consumer advocacy group Food & Water Watch.

True to form, Sam Rawlings Walton, the grandson of Wal-Mart founder Sam Walton, serves on the Board of Trustees of EDF.

Times Articles Put Spotlight on Walmart, Highlight Media Failures

Two New York Times articles in April 2012 put Walmart and the Walton family’s “dirty laundry” in the international spotlight, leading to a renewed call by the Recreational Fishing Alliance (RFA) for the public to support their boycott of Walmart.

The Times articles covered Walton family support for anti-fishing, pro-privatization efforts in North America, followed by the publication’s exposure of alleged $24 million worth of bribes in Central America to speed up the chain’s expansion into Mexico.

“The headlines prove that Walmart and the Walton Family Foundation are no friends of local communities anywhere, and their ongoing efforts to destroy coastal fishing businesses through support of arbitrary marine reserves and privatization of fish stocks nationwide should not be supported by anglers,” said RFA executive director Jim Donofrio. “We’re asking coastal fishermen who support open access, under the law, to healthy and sustainable fish stocks to send a clear message to this arrogant corporation that we’ve had enough of their greenwashing and grafting efforts.

Donofrio noted that Walmart made world headlines following a New York Times story that charges the Bentonville, Arkansas company and its leaders of squashing an internal investigation into suspected payments of over $24 million in bribes to obtain permits to build in Mexico.

The bribery scandal was exposed on the same day that the Gloucester Times of Massachusetts exposed a reporting lapse in another recent New York Times article about the relationship between Environmental Defense Fund (EDF) and Walmart partnering together for “more enlightened and sustainable operations.”

The New York Times had earlier reported that EDF “does not accept contributions from Wal-Mart or other corporations it works for.”

However, when confronted on the fact that the $1.3 billion Walton Family Foundation (started in 1987 by Wal-Mart’s founders, Sam and Helen Walton, and directed presently by the Walton family) has been underwriting EDF’s successful effort to replace the nation’s mostly small-business, owner-operated fishing industry with “a catch shares model designed to cap the number of active fishermen by trading away ownership of the resource to those with the deepest pockets,” the author of the New York Times report conceded by email that in her rush to meet deadlines, she had not considered the relationship between the Walton family and Wal-Mart, according to Donofrio.

“I didn’t think to check the EDF board for Walton family members, or Walton Family Foundation donations,” said reporter Stephanie Clifford, adding “None of the third parties I’d spoken to had mentioned that connection, which isn’t an excuse – I should have thought of it myself, but didn’t.

RFA is hoping that saltwater anglers and fishing business owners help send Walmart stocks tumbling by refusing to shop at the corporate giant any longer.

“The Walton family uses their fortune to buy off friends who’ll cover for their despicable business practices, whether it’s corporate greenwashing with EDF, rebranding efforts through national trade association campaigns, or apparently by way of directed bribes to local officials in other countries,” Donofrio said. “Don’t just stop buying fishing tackle at Wal-Mart – stop supporting this company altogether and let’s quit supporting complete buyouts and takeovers of local communities.”

In August 2011, RFA asked fishermen to publicly boycott Walmart stores following issuance of a news release from Wal-Mart corporate headquarters in Bentonville, Arkansas where the Walton family announced investments totaling more than $71.8 million awarded to various environmental initiatives.

Over $36 million alone was handed over to “Marine Conservation” grantees including the Ocean Conservancy, Conservation International Foundation, Marine Stewardship Council, World Wildlife Fund and EDF. All of these organizations are notorious for their role in corporate greenwashing efforts across the globe.

The RFA pointed out that by contributing over $36 million to NGOs promoting alleged “marine protected areas” like those created under Arnold Schwarzenegger’s Marine Life Protection Act (MLPA) Initiative and catch share programs in 2010, the Waltons were contributing to the demise of sustainable recreational and commercial fisheries and the privatization of the oceans.

Commercial Fishermen Back Boycott

Zeke Grader, executive director of the Pacific Coast Federation of Fishermen’s Associations, supports RFA’s boycott of Walmart.

“People who are concerned about our environment or labor rights should all be boycotting Walmart,” said Grader. “Their polices are clearly intended to commodify our natural resources and put them under the control of large corporations.”

“The Walton Family Foundation is funding the Environmental Defense Fund, which wants to commodify water through water marketing and privatize our fish through catch shares program,” said Grader. “These are tools used by corporations to further the growing disparity between 1 percent and rest of us.”

“I’ve been boycotting Walmart for decades and it’s absolutely great that recreational and commercial fishermen are together on this,” concluded Grader.

Disgusting but no longer shocking: Conservation International Partners with Northrop Grumman Corporation

June 27, 2012

“Northrop Grumman Corporation (NGC) is working with CI to develop and review its sustainability strategy and policies. NGC has also provided CI and its Tropical Ecology Assessment and Monitoring Network (TEAM) with remote sensing data as part of an effort to monitor long term biodiversity trends. NGC is also a member of CI’s Business & Sustainability Council, a community of companies committed to leveraging their business experience and resources to protect nature for the benefit of humanity.”

 

Corpwatch Company profile: ”

Northrop Grumman makes B-2 stealth bomber, which costs $2 billion per plane, the F-14 fighter, the unmanned Global Hawk and amphibious assault ships. Its Newport News division is the only designer, builder and refueler of nuclear-powered aircraft carriers in the US. Northrop Grumman is also responsible for ALQ-15 jamming device, used to protect jets from enemy radar-guided missiles. As David Steigman, senior defense analyst for the Teal Group, boasts, “Northrop Grumman’s role is supplying the command control communications and the intelligence surveillance systems to find the bad guys and bop them in the head.”

Read more about Northrop Grumman below Screenshot.

Screenshot from the Conservation International Website:

What’s the Fallout When Green Groups “Partner” with Arms Makers? | Conservation International & Nature Conservancy

Apr 30

Posted by

"Bombs Away!" by Anxious223 Chris Dixon. Creative Commons license.“Bombs Away!” by Anxious223 Chris Dixon. Creative Commons license. 

About a year ago Conservation International was pilloried by a couple of British videographers posing as executives of the arms maker Lockheed Martin. They bamboozled a C.I. official in London into a meeting where she outlined several ways the nonprofit could “partner” with the arms maker under terms that looked a lot like greenwashing. You can watch the video here and judge for yourself if C.I. did anything wrong.

I had a few issues with the “exposé;” chiefly that C.I. already had dealings with B2 bomber maker Northrop Grumman, whose chairman and CEO Wes Bush is a member of its board of directors. And another big group, The Nature Conservancy, was already in the pay of Lockheed. These existing relationships undermined the shock value the scamsters were going for.

Still, you’d think the critique, or at least the bad press coverage it generated, would inspire reflection about the reputational damage some corporate deals can bring down on a nonprofit organization. More specifically, is a company that makes weapons of war an appropriate partner for a group whose mission is saving the Earth’s biodiversity? Well, if those questions were raised, they didn’t lead to change.

C.I. has just cranked up its P.R. machine in service of a new partnership with Northrop, “a unique and innovative professional development program for public middle and high school science teachers.”

In a nutshell: The Northrop Grumman Foundation will pay for 16 teachers from four U.S. public school systems to visit CI’s Tropical Ecology Assessment and Monitoring Network’s Volcan Barva site inside La Selva Biological Station and Braulio Carrillo National Park in Costa Rica.

“We believe that supporting professional development opportunities for teachers will have the greatest impact on engaging students in the science, technology, engineering and mathematics fields. We expect this program will help cultivate the next generation of environmental stewards,” said Sandy Andelman, vice president at Conservation International in a press release the two partners issued April 19.

Whoa! That statement requires a reality check. According to the U.S. Department of Education, there are 3.6 million K to 12 grade teachers in the United States spread across 14,000 public school districts. The group selected for this program doesn’t even come close to representing 1 percent of the teachers in the country.

While they will surely have a rewarding time and may even return home to inspire their students, the scale of the program is too small to have the impact Andelman claims. Like so many of these corporate-conservationist joint ventures they are more symbolic than substantive.

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

 

Green Monopolists: Starbucks and Conservation International in Chiapas

Starbucks “Carbon-Neutral” Coffee

by Dawn Paley | Watershed Sentinel

The afternoon scene at the Jaime Sabinas sports complex in Jaltenango, a town in southern Mexico, is about the farthest thing imaginable from a bustling Seattle coffee shop. I’ve come to this mountainous region, hours by gravel road off the tourist track, to get a first hand look at what life is like for the people who grow the coffee we’re told is fair trade. After a drive through Jaltenango, a medium-sized, coffee growing town with prominent coffee warehouses decorated with Starbucks logos, I arrived at the stadium to meet a group of people displaced from their homes and plantations in September.

Over 100 people have been living in these close, cramped quarters since December. Most of the community left their lands after heavy rains caused mudslides in September, and now they sleep side by side on mats on the floor in a concrete auditorium. They’ve lived through an epidemic of lice, an outbreak of skin disease, and a series of respiratory infections.

The parking lot is the makeshift central park in this temporary village, which resembles a refugee camp. White, plastic roofed tents with blankets for walls serve as school and the kitchen. “It’s a disaster,” said one woman, one of the few who agreed to talk on the condition of anonymity. “In that damn stadium we have to sleep all squished together.”

The people living in the sports stadium seemed afraid of speaking to foreign journalists, as if the entire future of this community, known as Nuevo Colombia, depended on the kindness of the state government. They were promised permanent houses in a model village style housing block known as the Sustainable Rural City of Jaltenango. This new village, one of five of its kind in Chiapas, was supposed to be ready in February, but by July, not a single house had been constructed.

Most mornings, the men return to their small plots of land to care for their coffee plants. They sell their beans to a variety of organizations, including Mexico’s largest coffee buyer and exporter, United Agroindustrialists of Mexico (AMSA). Day to day life is precarious. Before long, I was escorted off the gated premises of the sports complex by police and private security. My first taste of what life is like for coffee growers displaced by an extreme climate event was about as pleasant as a day old cuppa joe. And it was just the beginning.

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.

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.”

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.

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/

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

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

ADVERTENCIA- ¿INTRODUCE OXFAM EL REDD PLUS EN MÉXICO? (English Translation Follows)

ADVERTENCIA- ¿INTRODUCE OXFAM EL REDD PLUS EN MÉXICO?

Miguel Valencia
ECOMUNIDADES
Red Ecologista Autónoma de la Cuenca de México
¡DESCRECIMIENTO O BARBARIE!
Acción inmediata frente al Pico del Petróleo y al Cambio Climático
Textos recientes en http://red-ecomunidades.blogspot.com/

Con respecto al comunicado de prensa de OXFAM que abajo viene, quisiera advertir que este comunicado parece esconder la promoción de una de las propuestas más rechazadas, mas denunciadas en la COP-16 de Cancun, por las organizaciones indígenas, la Vía Campesina y la red internacional Climate Justice Now!; me refiero a la propuesta denominada REDD plus  (Reduction Emissions for Deforestation and Degradation), impulsada por el Banco Mundial, los gobiernos poderosos del mundo (EUA, UE, Japon, etc), las transnacionales y el gobierno mexicano, e impuesta a los paises del Sur en las recientes cumbres del clima, por medio de presiones, chantaje, y sobornos..

Esta propuesta REDD+ involucra, como lo dice la Indigenous Environmenal Network, IEN, “el más grande robo de tierras de la historia”, la destrucción de la biodiversidad y un engaño, una Falsa Solución al cambio climático. La participación de las “grandes verdes” o big greens (WWF,  OXFAM, Greenpeace) en la aprobación de este nefasto programa, tanto en Copenhague, como en Cancun, les ha generado  una reprobación mundial a estas organizaciones. El Klimaforum10 ha manifestado su gran inconformidad con la actuación de estas grandes ONGs verdes en estas cumbres, en su Informe y Valuación del Klimaforum10.
En este comunicado de prensa podemos observar como se pretendería introducir en México este turbio programa climático, por medio de una Red Mexicana de Esfuerzos (RIOD-Mexico) que habría que someterla a una rigurosa observación social, ya que hay involucrado un dineral en estas campañas y al parecer estas “grandes verdes” están muy interesadas en sacar una buena tajada del gran negocio que representan las Falsas Soluciones al cambio climáticio, aprobadas en las COP de las Naciones Unidas.  La Unión Europea ha estado muy activa en la promoción de estos programas en los países del Sur. El gobernador Sabines de Chiapas, ya se ha lanzado con estos proyectos REDD plus y, por lo que percibimos en este comunicado, ya empezarían estas organizaciones ambientalistas a involucrar a muchas organizaciones locales en un negocio sucio con el cambio climático.

Quienes deseen contar con mayor información sobre estos programas para reducir la deforestación y degradación de los bosques, se las podemos proporcionar con todo gusto, pues, la organización del Klimaforum10 en Cancun, tuvo tambien como proposito conocer de primera mano los arreglos sobre estos temas que se realizan en estas cumbres del clima.

Saludos

++++++++++++++++++++++++++
COMUNICADO DE PRENSA

La Unión Europea, Oxfam y RIOD-Mex se unen en contra de la desertificación en tierras de Mesoamérica

Anuncian la realización del proyecto “Conservación y manejo sustentable de tierras secas en Mesoamérica” para fortalecer la resilencia y sustentabilidad de comunidades rurales de la región sur de México y el corredor seco de Guatemala ante el cambio climático.
México, D.F. a 16 de junio de 2011-  En el marco de la celebración del Día Mundial de Lucha contra la Desertificación y la Sequía, el día de hoy fue dado a conocer el proyecto “Conservación y manejo sustentable de tierras secas en Mesoamérica”  promovido por la Unión Europea, Oxfam México, Oxfam Gran Bretaña y la Red Mexicana de Esfuerzos contra la Desertificación y la Degradación de los Recursos Naturales (RIOD-Mex) como una acción dirigida a enfrentar los efectos del cambio climático.

Con una aportación conjunta de 900 mil euros, el proyecto será implementado en México y en el corredor seco de Guatemala dentro de comunidades marginadas que están experimentando los efectos del cambio climático, con énfasis en la atención de grupos de mujeres campesinas, indígenas y jóvenes.

Para su instrumentación, el proyecto realizará acciones en localidades de los estados de Chiapas, Oaxaca, Puebla y Veracruz en México, y el Departamento de Baja Verapaz en Guatemala.

En su metodología, el proyecto considera potenciar y privilegiar los procesos locales de producción agrícola y profundizar sobre conocimientos técnicos y empíricos de las comunidades en cuanto al manejo sustentable de tierras, energía y agua en las actividades productivas y de conservación.

El modelo incluye la transferencia de tecnología, la adopción de mejores prácticas agropecuarias, la gestión técnica y el desarrollo de mecanismos innovadores de financiamiento para la seguridad alimentaria y el impulso de economías regionales como estrategias de mitigación y adaptación ante el cambio climático.

El proyecto tendrá una duración de tres años, periodo en el que se espera se consoliden modelos de Manejo Sustentables de Tierras (MST) entre los primeros 500 productoras y productores rurales que a su vez serán replicadores de sus experiencias para generalizar las prácticas sustentables en ambas naciones.

Este esfuerzo involucrará a las autoridades forestales, agropecuarias y de medio ambiente locales y federales con la intención de que las experiencias recabadas confluyan en políticas públicas para México y Guatemala y en la construcción de una Agenda Mesoamericana.

En México, como parte de las actividades de este proyecto Oxfam y RIOD-Mex han iniciado la firma de acuerdos interinstitucionales con organizaciones sociales como la Unión de Comunidades y Ejidos Forestales de las Cordilleras de los Valles Centrales de Oaxaca, A.C. y Silvícola Ocote Real, S.C. de R.L. de C.V. Estas dos organizaciones se están incorporando con actividades en 30 municipios de los estados de Oaxaca y Puebla.

En 1994, la Asamblea General de las Naciones Unidas designó al 17 de junio como “Día Mundial de Lucha contra la Desertificación y la Sequía” como resultado de las negociaciones de la Cumbre de la Tierra de Río de Janeiro celebrada en 1992.
–oo0oo—

Sobre la Unión Europea

La Unión Europea está formada por 27 Estados miembros que han decidido unir de forma progresiva sus conocimientos prácticos, sus recursos y sus destinos. A lo largo de un período de ampliación de 50 años, juntos han constituido una zona de estabilidad, democracia y desarrollo sostenible, además de preservar la diversidad cultural, la tolerancia y las libertades individuales.

La Unión Europea tiene el compromiso de compartir sus logros y valores con países y pueblos que se encuentren más allá de sus fronteras.

http://eeas.europa.eu/delegations/mexico/index_es.htm

Sobre Oxfam México

Oxfam México es una asociación civil independiente de cooperación internacional y ayuda humanitaria que promueve la organización de las comunidades para mejorar sus condiciones de vida. Trabaja conforme al principio universal de la Equidad Social, a partir de tres causas: Justicia Económica, Construcción de Ciudadanía y Democracia, y Ayuda Humanitaria.
Su operación se financia con las aportaciones económicas de empresas, fundaciones, gobiernos, organismos internacionales y donaciones individuales, que son asignadas a diversas organizaciones de la sociedad civil para auspiciar proyectos de desarrollo sustentable.

http://www.oxfammexico.org/
——————————————————————————–

Contacto para medios Oxfam:

La Bola de Papel, Comunicación

Sara Castellanos R.

2454-0400/ 2454/0404

scastellanos@laboladepapel.com

Spanish to English translation (Google Translation)

Does it introduce OXFAM WARNING-PLUS THE REDD IN MEXICO?

Miguel Valencia
ECOMUNIDADES
Red Ecologista Autónoma de la Cuenca de México
¡DESCRECIMIENTO O BARBARIE!
Acción inmediata frente al Pico del Petróleo y al Cambio Climático
Textos recientes en http://red-ecomunidades.blogspot.com/

With respect to OXFAM press release that comes down, I realize that this statement seems to hide the promotion of one of the rejected proposals, but reported in the COP-16 in Cancun, indigenous organizations, Via Campesina and the network International Climate Justice Now!, I mean plus the proposal called REDD (Reduction Emissions for Deforestation and Degradation), promoted by the World Bank, the powerful governments of the world (U.S., EU, Japan, etc.), transnational corporations and the Mexican government , and imposed on the countries of the South in the recent climate summit by means of pressure, blackmail and bribes ..

This proposal involves REDD, as stated in the Indigenous Network Environmenal, IEN, “the greatest land theft in history”, the destruction of biodiversity and a delusion, a false solution to climate change. The involvement of “big green” or big greens (WWF, Oxfam, Greenpeace) the approval of this nefarious program, both in Copenhagen and in Cancun, it has generated a global condemnation of these organizations. The Klimaforum10 has expressed great dissatisfaction with the performance of these great green NGOs in these summits, in its Report and Valuation Klimaforum10.

This press release can be seen as an attempt would be introduced in Mexico this cloudy climate program, by a Mexican Network of Efforts (RIOD-Mexico) would have to undergo rigorous social observation, as there are a lot of money involved in these campaigns and apparently these “big green” are very interested in getting a good slice of the big business that represent false solutions to climáticio change, adopted at the United Nations COP. The European Union has been very active in promoting these programs in the South. Governor Sabines in Chiapas, has already launched these projects REDD plus, and what we perceive in this release, and these environmental organizations to begin to involve many local organizations in a dirty business to climate change.

Those wishing to have more information on these programs to reduce deforestation and forest degradation, they can provide you with great pleasure, then, the organization Klimaforum10 in Cancun, was also intended to see first hand the arrangements on these issues are made at these summits climate.
Regards

++++++++++++++++++++++++++

PRESS RELEASE

The European Union, Oxfam and RIOD-Mex unite against land desertification in Mesoamerica

Announce the project “Conservation and sustainable management of drylands in Mesoamerica” ??to strengthen the resilience and sustainability of rural communities in southern Mexico and Guatemala dry corridor to climate change.

Mexico, D.F. to June 16, 2011 – As part of the celebration of World Day to Combat Desertification and Drought, today was released the project “Conservation and sustainable management of drylands in Mesoamerica” ??promoted by the Union Europe, Mexico Oxfam, Oxfam Great Britain and the Mexican Network of Efforts to Combat Desertification and Degradation of Natural Resources (RIOD-Mex) as an action to address the effects of climate change.

With a joint contribution of 900 000 euros, the project will be implemented in Mexico and Guatemala dry corridor within marginalized communities are experiencing the effects of climate change, with emphasis on the care of groups of rural, indigenous and youth.

For its implementation, the project will conduct activities in locations in the states of Chiapas, Oaxaca, Puebla and Veracruz in Mexico, and the Department of Baja Verapaz in Guatemala.

In its methodology, the project considers the processes promoting and privileging local agricultural production and strengthen technical and empirical knowledge of the communities in sustainable management of land, energy and water in the productive and conservation activities.

The model includes the transfer of technology, adoption of improved farming practices, technical management and development of innovative financing mechanisms for food security and boosting regional economies as mitigation strategies and adaptation to climate change.

The project will last three years, a period which is expected to consolidate models of sustainable land management (SLM) in the top 500 producers and farmers to turn their experiences will be replicated for widespread sustainable practices in both nations.

This effort will involve the authorities forestry, agricultural and local and federal environment with the intention of that experience to come together in public policies for Mexico and Guatemala and construction of a Mesoamerican calendar.

In Mexico, as part of the project activities and RIOD-Mex Oxfam have initiated the signing of interagency agreements with organizations such as the Union of forest ejidos and the Cordilleras of the Central Valleys of Oaxaca, AC Real Ocote and Forestry S.C. of R.L. de CV These two organizations are joining with activities in 30 municipalities in the states of Oaxaca and Puebla.

In 1994, the General Assembly of the United Nations designated June 17 as “World Day to Combat Desertification and Drought” as a result of negotiations at the Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro in 1992.

– Oo0oo-

About the EU
The European Union comprises 27 Member States have decided to gradually link together their know-how, resources and destinies. Over a period of enlargement of 50 years, they have built a zone of stability, democracy and sustainable development whilst maintaining cultural diversity, tolerance and individual freedoms.
The European Union is committed to sharing its achievements and values ??with countries and peoples that are beyond their borders.
http://eeas.europa.eu/delegations/mexico/index_es.htm

About Oxfam Mexico
Oxfam is a private Mexico independent international cooperation and humanitarian aid that promotes the organization of communities to improve their living conditions. Work under the universal principle of Social Equity, from three causes: Economic Justice, Citizenship and Democracy Building and Humanitarian Aid.
Its operation is funded by financial contributions from corporations, foundations, governments, international organizations and individual donations, which are assigned to various civil society organizations to sponsor sustainable development projects.
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Worth a Re-Read: The Do Nothing Strategy | An Exposé of Progressive Politics

Political Analysis

April 12, 2011

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SolarTimes editor (www.solartimes.org) Sandy LeonVest in conversation with political organizer, independent journalist and environmental and climate activist, Karyn Strickler. Their conversation includes, among other things, the utter failure of a corporate-dominated Congress to pass legislation that addresses accelerated climate change, the imperative of moving NOW to get to zero carbon emissions, and possible organizing strategies toward that end. Karyn Strickler also addresses what she calls the "Do-Nothing Strategy," a political tactic being utilized by many of today’s mainstream environmental organizations — much to the detriment of creating a sustainable future.

http://www.progressiveradionetwork.com/political-analysis/

June 30, 2003

The Do Nothing Strategy

an Exposé of Progressive Politics

By KARYN STRICKLER

If you feel frustrated and think Americans are losing ground on issues like the right to choose safe and legal abortion, environmental protection, electing more progressive women to public office and civil rights – you’re right. The reason: The Do Nothing Strategy that infects many national, progressive organizations today. The Do Nothing infection has broader implications for American democracy, liberty and justice because it allows right-wing viewpoints, by default, to dominate public policy.

The year was 1989. The U.S. Supreme Court had just decided the Webster v. Reproductive Health Services, returning the regulation of abortion to state legislatures across the country. At a meeting of the pro-choice coalition, Marylanders for the Right to Choose, the Chair of the group, an employee of Planned Parenthood of Maryland, began presenting The Do Nothing Strategy. She very carefully detailed how, in the face of potentially severe restrictions on abortion rights, those of us whose jobs were to defend reproductive choice, were going to achieve that end by actively doing nothing. Never mind that access to safe and legal abortion is critical to the lives and dignity of women or that limits on abortion could send us hurling backwards to a time when women risked their lives to get abortions.

The Do Nothing Strategy was a detailed plan with very specific strategies and tactics about how we, the pro-choice community, would spend hundreds of thousands of dollars and boundless energy — to do nothing. That way none of the Chair’s friends in the State legislature would ever have to make a tough vote on the contentious issue of abortion. The Chair had this strategy elaborately detailed on flip charts and went through it point by excruciating point. I looked around the room several times at my coalition partners and waited for someone to laugh. Surely the Chair must be kidding. No one laughed. No one asked whether our opponents might move to curtail access to safe and legal abortion if we did not move to protect it. No one challenged the perverse logic of The Do Nothing Strategy.

As the Executive Director of the Maryland affiliate of the National Abortion Rights Action League, I wasted half of my day exercising patience and listening to this surreal strategy until I could stand it no longer. Incredulous, and past the end of my patience, I stood up and said, "This is the most absurd idea I have ever heard. I’m going to codify Roe v. Wade for the State of Maryland. You have two choices. You can work with me to codify Roe v. Wade, or you can eat my dust." I left the meeting.

A broad coalition ultimately came together in Maryland and was successful in passing legislation that put the principles of Roe v. Wade onto our state law books, protecting a woman’s right to choose safe and legal abortion. We worked together in the 1990 election to defeat anti-choice legislators, then passed the codification of Roe v. Wade through the State House and Senate and finally were victorious in a statewide referendum where Maryland voters in 44 out of 47 legislative districts ratified the law making Maryland the fourth state in the nation to put the principles of Roe v. Wade onto our state law books. In fact it was this experience that gave me my understanding and strong appreciation for the effectiveness of grassroots political organizing. The voters of Maryland made this historic victory possible.

In my experience, the conventional wisdom around a controversial issue usually begins with: "Political reality dictates that it can’t be done." Ask the experts on almost any issue, they’ll tell you the same thing. Whatever reason they give, the real reason for such advice is that their funding, power and prominence comes from protecting the status quo. The next time you’re told about "political reality," ask yourself how the expert giving the advice benefits from maintaining the status quo. Then move forward in spite of this advice. The experts told Maryland NARAL that we could not unseat anti-choice incumbent legislators from pro-choice districts. We ignored them and carried forward the momentum of our electoral victories to make history and codify Roe v. Wade.

Since that first experience, when the strategy was actually named and detailed, it has become painfully clear to me that The Do Nothing Strategy defines much of the national, progressive community’s approach to issues today, whether articulated or not. It’s true on every progressive issue on which I have had direct personal experience.

The Endangered Species Coalition Steering Committee

I moved on to direct the National Endangered Species Coalition (ESC) not realizing at the time that The Do Nothing Strategy had beaten me there. America’s national environmental organizations who made up the Steering Committee of the ESC had become giant bureaucracies where self-perpetuation, the quest for funding from large foundations, and the desire for a seat at the political table has replaced environmental protection as the primary goal. It’s arguable whether environmental protection evens remains on the list of goals for some national, environmental organizations. At best these groups have been out of touch with the public and grassroots activists, engaged in destructive competition for media coverage and funding and resistant to change for more than a decade. At worst, they have been cavorting with industry to destroy the environment, just as the recent series of articles about the Nature Conservancy in the Washington Post, entitled, Big Green: When Conservation and Business Fail to Mix, have made painfully clear.

During my tenure as Executive Director, from 1993-1994, the Coalition worked to build a national grassroots force in order to reauthorize and strengthen the Endangered Species Act. A strengthened Endangered Species Act (ESA) would protect us, safeguarding species upon which we rely for medicines. Endangered species also identify problems that could be threats to human existence, just like the canary in the coal mine. The ESA protects ecosystems like wetlands, which purify our drinking water and forests which filter our air. It protects private property from corporations that benefit financially from the destruction of our natural heritage. It helps to ensure our long-term economic viability by contributing to the tourism, fishing, pharmaceutical and agricultural industries.

The talented Coalition staff of 24 employees designed a simple, compelling, campaign message meant to resonate with all Americans by emphasizing the link between issues of human health, ecosystem protection, economics and the protection of endangered plants and animals. We successfully used the message that the "Endangered Species Act Protects US" to build a large base of grassroots support for the Act, recruiting and training 1,000 citizens leaders who were to lobby and lead our efforts on the local level, 4,500 volunteers and 10,000 individual donors. We raised one million dollars. We accomplished all this in a little over 1 year’s time.

In short, the Coalition was fully prepared to fulfill our mission of reauthorizing and strengthening the Endangered Species Act (ESA) with a powerful organizational infrastructure, grassroots base, and adequate funding. There was one obstacle – not the American people – but the Steering Committee of the Endangered Species Coalition.

The Steering Committee was a small, self-appointed, decision-making group which led the Coalition. It had no criterion for participation and provided no direct funding or other assistance to the Coalition effort. The larger Coalition included 145 organizations but was governed by this self-selected Steering Committee representing 10 of the largest, national environmental groups. The Steering Committee members list reads like a Who’s Who of the national environmental groups and included organizations like Sierra Club, Sierra Club Legal Defense Fund, Environmental Defense Fund, National Audubon Society, Greenpeace, National Wildlife Federation and the World Wildlife Fund.* What the Steering Committee did not include were representatives from the 145 grassroots regional, state and local groups. Even the Coalition staff of 24 had no vote on the Steering Committee.

As the Coalition staff and I traveled the country laying the groundwork for an effective campaign, grassroots member groups who had no voice in decision-making were clamoring for reauthorization of the ESA. They urged me, as the Director of the campaign to help make it happen. The Steering Committee, however, made the unilateral decision that the Endangered Species Coalition would not move for a vote on reauthorizing the ESA in 1994. That singular decision has sealed the ill fate of 10’s of thousands of threatened and endangered species and contributed to overall environmental degradation.

Continuous delay motivated by fear resulted in the inability of the Steering Committee to understand and appreciate the power of grassroots pressure. The Committee refused to move on reauthorizing the ESA in 1994, when we had a Democratic Congress and President. I explained to them that "historically, the party controlling the White House has lost congressional seats in every midterm but 1934 and our job could range from slightly more difficult to nearly impossible in 1995 with Republican control of Congress." Of course 1995 saw the realization of the Republican Revolution and the Contract on America, led by Newt Gingrich, which had a strong anti-environmental component. But in the face of impending disaster the Steering Committee held fast to its policy of "do nothing" and "delay."

Another key reason articulated in private meetings by the Steering Committee for not pressing for a vote was that, like the Maryland Do Nothing Strategist, they didn’t want to force their friends in the U.S. Congress to vote on a controversial issue in an election year. It’s clear that there is no time when the Steering Committee would put their friends in Congress in that position. It’s now 2003 — a decade has passed — and still the Endangered Species Act languishes, unreauthorized. The logging, mining, cattle and oil industries are cheering as they head to the bank, since that failure allows them to more freely destroy unique endangered species and their habitat for profit, with impunity. Those are the species and habitat that protect us all.

Today the ESC describes the current, bleak situation on it’s website like this, "After the 2002 elections, the far right is sensing victory at last. Already, on public lands across the nation, the law is being implemented by a Secretary of Interior who has asserted that the ESA is unconstitutional and backed up by a President whose close ties to extractive industries don’t even raise eyebrows. With industry-favored appointees in every key post, carefully disguised administrative reforms are being crafted to undermine the gains of the last thirty years…The hounds are baying in Congress too, with the ascension of [anti-environmentalist] darling and ESA foe, Rep. Richard Pombo, to chairmanship of the House Resources Committee." If only we had moved for reauthorization in 1994.

When I, members of my staff and vast numbers of grassroots Coalition members tried to force the issue of reauthorizing the ESA with the Steering Committee in 1994, I was fired. My crime exactly: asking the grassroots organizational members of the Coalition who were pushing for reauthorization to communicate their thoughts directly to the Steering Committee. A Vice President with the National Audubon Society, upon hearing about this communication and in the process of terminating my employment angrily said, "How dare you lobby me. I don’t need to hear from the grassroots. I know what the grassroots thinks."

Electing Women

I still refused to believe that The Do Nothing Strategy pervaded the entire progressive community when I founded and directed Fifty plus One, an organization to train pro-choice women in the campaign skills necessary to run for public office. At the end of my tenure, I worked with a U.S. based, international organization to train 60 women to run campaigns for Parliament and Local Council in Botswana, Africa through a grant provided by United States Agency for International Development. Trainings contributed to 100% increase in the number of women in Parliament in a single election cycle — from 9% in 1994 to 18% in 1999. Trainings were also a key factor in dramatically increasing number of women in local councils.

The U.S. Senate is the rough equivalent of Parliament in Botswana. The U.S. Senate in the year 2000 saw the highest number of women in its history, with the election of 13 women. Achieving the 13% mark took over 40 years of actively working to elect women. The question is, how actively have we been working toward electing more women? Not The Do Nothing Strategy again.

Early in my tenure at Fifty plus One I approached the National Women’s Political Caucus (NWPC), to work cooperatively with that well-established organization. Their response was to offer me a schedule of NWPC trainings and tell me we could work cooperatively by having Fifty plus One pay them $5,000 per training. Since I was hoping to start with 6 trainings in our first year of operation, the bill would add up to $30,000.00 plus materials – for a fledging organization struggling to attract funding. And, by the way, it would be up to me to do the most difficult work of recruiting training participants with no assistance from NWPC. With such "cooperation" I thought unfortunately that I had to work independently of NWPC. I would lose the chance to benefit from their years of experience; they would lose the chance to nurture a new group dedicated to the same goal of increasing the number of women in politics.

My hopes, however, were raised again when I received a letter from the President of NWPC. I opened the letter with great enthusiasm, hoping for a plan to achieve real cooperation. Instead, in her letter and a subsequent phone call the President launched a personal attack that questioned my integrity and competence. It was an obvious attempt to deliver a crippling blow to a potential rival for funding and media coverage.

What makes this story so sad for women is that there is so much to do. There are 500,000 electoral offices in America, the overwhelming majority occupied by men. The NWPC has done a respectable job of training women for public office over time, but the job is far too big for one relatively small group. It’s like having one drinking water fountain for all of America. My experience helps me to understand why progress in electing women has been so slow. The real problem is that there aren’t enough people working to bring women into the political pipeline at the entry levels. Progress cannot be judged by input like media coverage, conferences held, and mailings sent. It must be judged by output and by the bottom line: a larger percentage of women in public office at all levels. Fifty plus One worked with over 1000 universities, labor organizations, local women’s organizations and professional associations, but we suffered and finally ceased to exist partly because of resistance that ranged from passive to active from entrenched organizations like NWPC whose mission it was to elect women to office.

So much for Sisterhood.

Protecting Choice

While at Fifty plus One I was asked to lobby on the issue of so-called "partial birth" abortion. After looking briefly at the legislation proposed in Maryland it was clear that the way legislation was written, it could ban all abortion. The Maryland legislation had language similar to laws that passed in more than 30 states and in the U.S. Congress. It’s been eight years since the anti-choice movement first introduced "partial birth" abortion legislation in the U.S. Congress and state houses across the country, it is still not recognized as a carefully crafted, national strategy to ban all abortion.

It’s easy to understand why anti-choice zealots portray the bans as narrowly drawn for the limited purpose of stopping a certain late-term abortion procedure, but if you look at the language of the legislation, you see a very different reality emerging. The mystery is why many pro-choice leaders and the mainstream media haven’t exposed the reality that nowhere in this legislation is there any reference to stage of pregnancy – not viability, not trimesters, not weeks of gestation. And the definition of the banned procedure is so broad that it could ban the safest, most commonly used abortion procedures.

The term "partial birth" abortion cannot be found in any medical dictionary because it is a political term that anti-choice zealots made up as part of their public relations campaign to stigmatize all abortion. When talking about the bans, advocates use graphic language about late-term abortion that is different from anything found in the legislation itself. The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG), which represents most ob-gyn specialists, has rejected these bans, which fail "to use recognized medical terminology and fail to define explicitly the prohibited medical techniques it criminalizes."

Federal Judge Gerald Rosen, a George H. W. Bush appointee, permanently enjoined an early Michigan ban because it was so vague that doctors lacked notice as to what abortion procedures were banned. A temporary restraining order against legislation in Arkansas said that the "act applies at any stage of gestation," and that it defies logic to say that the language applies to only one type of abortion. Despite evolution in the language defining "partial birth" abortion since these decisions, a 2000 U.S. Supreme Court decision in Stenberg v. Carhart found a Nebraska statute unconstitutional and said that the definition of "partial birth" abortion remains so broad that it could outlaw the safest, most common methods of abortion used in the second trimester of pregnancy.

The Center for Reproductive Law and Policy (CRLP) and the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) both understood that so-called "partial birth" abortion bans could ban all abortion and they have worked at every level to get that message out to voters.

In a long and difficult battle with other national pro-choice groups about how the debate on so-called "partial birth" abortion should be framed, principals of some of the national pro-choice organizations decided that those of us saying – so-called "partial birth" abortion bans were attempts to ban all abortion – had to be stopped. National pro-choice leaders decided to fight our message by calling pro-choice leaders on the state level and telling them not to work with us. The Executive Director of the National Abortion Federation concluded that our efforts to develop an accurate message should be destroyed. They knew that Fifty plus One had received funding to do trainings across the country to change the debate on so-called "partial birth" abortion. Whether or not our message was accurate, they felt threatened. The representative of the National Abortion and Reproductive Rights Action League (NARAL)*** said that she would tell her affiliates that I was "a rogue with a dangerous political message." This despite the fact that from 1986-1992, I led one of the most successful NARAL affiliates in the nation. In fact the national NARAL field office at the time referred to our affiliate as, "The Maryland Miracle."

The Center for Reproductive Law and Policy (CRLP)**** pointed out to other national groups, that together we could reach out to more states. The response of the others: "Why do we need to be in any more states? We don’t need to be in 16 states instead of 10, what good does that do us?" They were going to actively work against us and refuse to talk with me from now on. If I couldn’t use their message, the others didn’t want CRLP working with me to "legitimize" our efforts.

Many leaders of the national pro-choice movement are still debating the issue on the playing field designed and defined by their opposition, discussing the frequency and need for late-term abortions. Even worse in pursuit of this inherently losing strategy the movement destroyed its credibility by making up statistics about the frequency of certain late-term abortion procedures. They never put the partial-abortion bills in proper perspective as an effort to ban all abortions. By contrast in Maryland we did use the message that so-called "partial birth" abortion bans were designed to ban all abortion to defeat the legislation introduced into the Maryland state legislature, proving the effectiveness of the message.

Since the term "partial birth" abortion has no legitimate medical meaning, some in the media have begun an uninformed, dangerous trend by saying that "partial birth" abortion is medically known as dialation and extraction abortion (D&X). Assigning a legitimate medical term to this legislation is something that anti-choice legislators strategically avoided. They want a broad ban on abortion. Six staunchly anti-choice U.S. Congressmen including Henry Hyde, Charles Canady and James Sensenbrenner said in a letter dated March 18, 1996 on an earlier version of the bill: "H.R. 1833 does not ban ‘D&X’ or ‘Brain Suction’ abortions…the ban would have the effect of prohibiting any abortion [that meets our definition]…no matter what the abortionist decides to call his particular technique." If George Bush appoints one more anti-abortion Justice to the U.S. Supreme Court, this interpretation could well become the law of the land, in effect overturning Roe v. Wade.

Those who were intent on silencing the message that Fifty plus One, ACLU and CRLP advocated were only partially successful. They did convince some of their chapters across the country not to participate in message trainings we were offering. They convinced pro-choice U.S. Senators who had invited Fifty plus One to come and share our message with them, to "postpone" the meeting, never to be rescheduled. In Connecticut the local people had been excited to schedule a training which was mysteriously cancelled. When I traveled to California, the Planned Parenthood affiliate there obstructed the training to the extent that I was unable to present my information.

But these national pro-choice groups couldn’t stop the press from writing about the issue. Judy Mann of the Washington Post wrote an article in 1998 on the issue entitled, "Partial Birth Abortion Bans: The Big Lie," in which she said, "The very clever antiabortion movement has pulled a fast one. Laws passed in 28 states, ostensibly banning "partial-birth abortions" in the last term of pregnancy, are so vaguely worded that they, in effect, could ban abortions throughout pregnancy." She continued, "Most of the abortion rights movement have been slow to catch on to this. The courts, thankfully, have not."

At the end of the conversation after learning about the realities of this bogus legislation, Judy Mann asked me, "I just have one question for you, where have you been?" I answered by saying simply, "You wouldn’t believe where I’ve been."

Working with the Center for Reproductive Law and Policy, with funding from the Ms. Foundation for Women, we were also successful in generating supportive editorials in The New York Times, The Washington Post, Baltimore Sun, The Boston Globe, The Madison Capital Times and the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel among many others. When presented with the legislative language they drew their own conclusions. The New York Times wrote, "The ban’s proponents cloak their strategy by directing attention to a rare medical procedure used in late-term abortions called "intact dilation and extraction." But the actual language of the law says nothing about that particular procedure, nor does it say anything about late-term abortions. The wording [is] broad enough to cover the most common procedures…"

Time and again we were asked by editors across the nation, where we had been for the preceding two years and why they hadn’t been informed of the reality of this legislation previously by national pro-choice groups. We were battled to a near stand still from within the pro-choice movement. Even today, eight years later, as a so-called "partial birth" abortion ban passed the U.S. House and Senate, most pro-choice groups still have not learned how to accurately portray this issue, but instead prefer to debate the issue on the erroneous, graphic terms offered by anti-choice advocates, as though it proposes to ban a particular type of late-term abortion procedure. The anti-choice minority is actively working to ensure that the long-term consequence is an end to safe and legal abortion.

Why Do Nothing?

What The Do Nothing Strategists and Political Reality Advisors need to realize is that: Political reality is created. The perspective of dominant, national, progressive groups is generally a loser’s view of political reality. Contrary to the early days of the modern progressive movement, today they see Goliath and they shrivel. The only effective organizing such groups do is against people within their ranks who are working for real change. If only their external organizing were as effective.

The experts in political reality insisted that we couldn’t codify Roe v. Wade in Maryland. We did it. The same type expert believed that we could not reauthorize the Endangered Species Act in 1994. My indicators were all saying that it could be done. If we persuaded enough undecided legislators to vote with us through strong grassroots pressure in targeted congressional districts, we would win. We had a Democratic Congress and President. We had a regionally generated grassroots structure with trained leaders and volunteers in key districts. We had adequate funding and a strategic plan that would have gained strength with the momentum of a feisty, national campaign.

In the case of the ESC, history shows that if you don’t move when you are fully prepared, you may find yourself locked in the endless purgatory of The Do Nothing Strategy. That is until The Do Nothing Strategy becomes the political reality presented by George W. Bush and his administration whose goal is to undermine everything that environmentalists have built over the last 30 years.

Do Nothing Strategists and Political Reality Advisors will never get it. They’re afraid of change. So to those in our community who don’t share passion and commitment for actively moving toward progressive change and embracing those who try to help, you are hereby notified: You’re off the team.

Aggressive progressives can create political reality just as effectively as the Right. In the early days of the modern, progressive movement we created our own political reality through grassroots organizing strengthening environmental protection and making real advances for women and minorities. That’s still the model for effective change.

Understand that if progressives wage a grassroots battle, our opponents cannot defeat us. We have overwhelming public support on progressive issues even before we begin organizing. Change doesn’t have to happen incrementally. Radical change on women’s, environmental and civil rights issues can happen in the streets, but protests are only one tool of a winning strategy based on grassroots organizing. It can happen through collective legislative and electoral action. A small group of committed, passionate people will make political reality anything they say it is. Those kinds of groups already exist and are already working effectively, mostly on the state and local levels, but some on the national level as well. Find them and join them.

Progressives must realize that legislators with supportive constituencies who refuse to take tough stands on a controversial issue are not our friends. They need to let Do Nothing legislators know that lip service doesn’t count. If your issue never comes up for a vote, you’re guaranteed never to make progress, with the Endangered Species Act as a prime example. It’s the job of a legislator to vote on the difficult issues. If they refuse or constantly insist on compromise, we need to work through the electoral process to replace them with representatives who will lead on challenging questions.

Let’s get back to our grassroots. When asked to compromise, always remember that half of a half of a half over time equals nothing. Develop an honest, simple, compelling message around your issue. Your message can make or break you. Combine education, an uncompromising legislative strategy with an unflagging electoral strategy and an unflinching enforcement plan and you have a winning strategy. Organize locally, move swiftly and decisively when the time is right. Beware and rage against The Do Nothing Strategy. Create progressive political reality. Act! Do it as though your life depends on it.

Karyn Strickler, a grassroots, political organizer and President of Progressive Consulting Group. She can be reached at: fiftyplusone

* Members of the Steering Committee of the National Endangered Species Coalition 1993-1994 included Sierra Club Legal Defense Fund, Environmental Defense Fund, National Audubon Society, The Wilderness Society, Greenpeace, National Wildlife Federation, Sierra Club, Center for Marine Conservation (advisory status), Defenders of Wildlife, Humane Society of the United States, the World Wildlife Fund, the Natural Resources Defense Council (advisory status).

** On the phone were: The National Abortion Federation, Planned Parenthood Federation of America and the National Abortion and Reproductive Rights Action League.

*** Now known as NARAL-Pro-Choice America

**** Now called the Center for Reproductive Rights

Copyright Karyn Strickler 2003.

http://www.counterpunch.org/strickler06302003.html

Exclusive Conservation International ‘agreed to greenwash arms company’

The Ecologist

11th May, 2011

US environmental charity under fire for close links with controversial companies, including Cargill, Chevron, Monsanto and Shell

A leading environmental charity has been accused of corporate ‘greenwashing’ after a senior employee was secretly filmed by undercover reporters discussing ways in which the organisation could help an arms company boost its green credentials, the Ecologist can reveal.

Options outlined by the representative of Conservation International (CI) included assisting with the arms company’s green PR efforts, membership of a business forum in return for a fee, and sponsorship packages where the arms company could potentially invest money in return for being associated with conservation activities.

The sting was carried out by the London-based magazine Don’t Panic, with their journalists posing as representatives of a major international defence corporation.

Don’t Panic have produced a twelve-minute film in which they make the allegations (watch it below).

The female CI employee was recorded describing how the organisation could help the arms company develop key environmental messages, identify target audiences and craft a communications plan as part of one package offered by the charity.

Footage from the meeting shows the CI representative outlining the benefits of a number of the charity’s initiatives, including membership of the ‘Business and Sustainability Council’, which is offered to companies in return for a payment of $37,500 per year.

The payments would secure the company being publicly listed as a partner on the council, facilitate company representatives meeting with other council members – which includes controversial multinationals Shell, Monsanto and Chevron, amongst others – and provide access to CI expertise and networks.

Undercover footage of a Conservation International employee discussing helping an arms company with its green PR

VIDEO:

http://www.theecologist.org/News/news_analysis/877241/conservation_international_agreed_to_greenwash_arms_company.html

In the meeting, which took place in London in October 2010, the CI employee also outlined how the charity could potentially facilitate the arms company if it wanted to be associated with protecting an endangered species.

The CI manager explained how the organisation could make introductions to relevant NGOs and potentially help the arms company to develop a PR strategy for the venture, if money was invested in a relevant conservation programme.

Film footage 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’.

In follow up correspondence between CI and the undercover reporters, seen by the Ecologist, CI also outline possible sponsorship options for the arms company, with investment needing to be at least £150,000 over three years.

Close links to big business

Although there is no suggestion of illegality or wrongdoing on behalf of CI, the footage could prove embarrassing to the US-based charity and could fuel growing concerns amongst activists that some NGOs are growing too close to big businesses often linked to environmental destruction and other abuses.

‘That we [the arms company] were not serious about green issues was made clear to Conservation International over and over again [in our meeting],’ Heydon Prowse, from Don’t Panic, said.

‘We told them that one of our key environmental strategies was to recycle bomb shrapnel from battle zones to use again in new bombs and that we were adapting our cluster bomb technology to drop seeds so as to re-forest remote regions. We waited for them to be outraged… they never were.’

CI is linked with at least one other company in the defence sector – Northrup Gruman – which supplies the US military and provides parts for warplanes.

The President and CEO of Northrup Gruman, Wes Bush, also sits on the CI Board of Directors.

CI’s ‘Business and Sustainability Council’ is, according to the organisation, ‘a community of corporate leaders committed to taking positive environmental actions in their businesses.’ Members include a number of controversial companies including Cargill, Chevron, McDonald’s, Monsanto, Walmart, Goldman Sachs, Shell and Bunge.

The corporations commit to paying $75,000 over two years to CI and to send senior representatives to council meetings. The companies are also encouraged to host meetings themselves; one, held in late 2010, examined ‘sustainable agriculture’ and was hosted by Monsanto.

CI recently partnered with the Walt Disney Company on carbon offsetting, working with the media company to set up controversial Reduced Emissions from Deforestation and Degradation (REDD) schemes in Peru and the Democratic Republic of Congo.

The organisation also previously partnered with agribusiness giant Cargill as part of a project to ‘create benefits for both business and biodiversity in areas where Cargill operates’. Cargill provided support of $1.5 million to the venture.

Don’t Panic say they were astonished that CI didn’t appear to have any qualms about partnering with an arms company.

‘If we discovered that our elected politicians at DEFRA had been accepting money from these characters it would rightly be a scandal. Should we not expect as much from the charities we donate to who claim to uphold a cause on our behalf?’ said Heydon Prowse.

Conservation International declined to comment when approached by the Ecologist.

http://www.theecologist.org/News/news_analysis/877241/conservation_international_agreed_to_greenwash_arms_company.html

Greenpeace Meets George Orwell: Greenpeace Rewrites History

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Commentary by Captain Paul Watson, Greenpeace Co-Founder

Caption before:
Greenpeace co-founders Paul Watson and Robert Hunter blockade the sealing ship, Arctic Endeavor, Labrador 1976

New revised caption:
Greenpeace founder Bob Hunter and early activist Paul Watson protest the Canadian seal hunt.

Greenpeace Attempts to Make Captain Paul Watson "Disappear"

Greenpeace has become very angry with Sea Shepherd and myself because of Sea Shepherd interventions against illegal Japanese whaling in the Southern Ocean and illegal tuna fishing in the Mediterranean and because of criticisms of Greenpeace ineffectiveness. In fact, Greenpeace has become so angry that it has now posted on its website that I am no longer to be regarded as a co-founder of Greenpeace. They now classify me simply "as an early member."
This means that a bunch of people who were not around at the time, and many of whom had not even been born, have decided to rewrite Greenpeace history. As a result, the Greenpeace website has officially removed me from the list of Greenpeace founders.

Greenpeace has torn a page out of the old Russian Bolshevik manual on media relations and has chosen to simply re-write its own history. I imagine I will be deleted from early photographs next.

You would think that if I were not a founder, they would simply sue me for saying that I am, but the problem with that course of action is that the truth would be my defense, and the evidence would shrivel their revisionism on the vine.

It is really very amusing. Apparently, I have become such a threat to the bureaucrats in charge of what has become one of the world’s largest feel-good organizations that they felt motivated to deny my role as a founder of the organization that now pays their salaries.

They did this once before in the Netherlands in 1997 when I was temporarily jailed for my role in sinking a Norwegian whaling ship. However at that time, my fellow Greenpeace co-founder, friend, and first Greenpeace President, Robert Hunter, came to Amsterdam to hold a media conference to defend my position as a legitimate co-founder of Greenpeace.

Bob Hunter passed away in 2005, so he can’t do anything to counter their revised revisionist statements a second time. Other co-founders like Ben Metcalfe, Irving Stowe, Dr. Lyle Thurston, and Captain John Cormack also have died since. But Bobbi Hunter, Rod Marining, David Garrick, Paul Spong, Rex Weyler and even Patrick Moore are alive, and Greenpeace has not quoted one of them as saying I am not a Greenpeace co-founder, nor has it produced a single document to back up its accusation. The best history of Greenpeace ever written, entitled Greenpeace by Rex Wyler, and of course Bob Hunter’s legendary book Rainbow Warriors both attest to my role as a co-founder.

Below is the statement on the Greenpeace web site concerning my newly revised history. I have elected to make comments on their statements so as to correct the record. Initially, I ignored this, but too many comments have been made in the media citing this page as “evidence” that I am not a Greenpeace co-founder. I thus have no choice but to defend my position on this.

However to really get to the bottom of this, I am personally offering 25,000 Euros to any person, Greenpeace member, journalist, or lay person who can provide the proof to back up this ridiculous revisionism by Greenpeace. If anyone can prove that I am not a founding Greenpeace member, than I shall pay 25,000 Euros from my own pocket.

Not that I have anything to worry about, since the proof to back up this absurd accusation from Greenpeace does not exist, but for those who doubt and wish to back up their doubts with evidence, the reward is on the table.

So here are my remarks in response to this drivel on the Greenpeace website.

Greenpeace: Paul Watson, Sea Shepherd and Greenpeace: some facts.

Paul Watson: Stating that something is a fact does not necessarily mean it is a fact.

Greenpeace: Paul Watson is the founder of the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society and an early member of Greenpeace. Over the last few years, Paul has become extremely critical of Greenpeace in the press and at his website. The information below is provided as a service to our supporters to get a few facts out on the table about Paul’s history with Greenpeace and the nature of our disagreements.

Paul Watson became active with Greenpeace in 1971 as a member of our second expedition against nuclear weapons testing in Amchitka, and went on to participate in actions against whaling and the killing of harp seals. He was an influential early member but not, as he sometimes claims, a founder.

Paul Watson: I was on the list for the 1st crew on the first ship, but was assigned to the Greenpeace Too. It was the Greenpeace Too that was on site when the test occurred. In 1972, we changed the name of the Don’t Make a Wave Committee to the Greenpeace Foundation. I was one of the original directors of the Greenpeace Foundation from the very day of this incorporation.

I became active in October 1969 when I attended the first protest against nuclear testing at Amchitka organized by the Sierra Club and the Quakers. I was a member of the Sierra Club at the time. This protest led to the first meetings and subsequent meetings of the Don’t Make a Wave Committee at the Unitarian Church at 49th and Oak Street in Vancouver. It was in 1970 when we launched the idea to take a ship to the test site in the Aleutians. We worked throughout 1970 and 1971 to raise funds for this campaign. We held a concert with Joni Mitchell, James Taylor, and Phil Ochs to raise the money to charter the first boat. I hosted Phil Ochs at my house.

At one of the early meetings, someone left the meeting and flashed a V peace sign and said “peace”. Bill Darnell responded and said “make that a green peace.” Robert Hunter flashed on that as the name for the boat and thus the boat Greenpeace and the Greenpeace Too came before the organization named Greenpeace.

I was the youngest member of the Don’t Make a Wave Committee in 1970 and participated as a crew-member on the first Greenpeace campaign to oppose nuclear testing at Amchitka. Greenpeace states that it was the second expedition, but both the Greenpeace and the Greenpeace Too were part of the same expedition. I was on the Greenpeace Too, the ship that was in the Aleutians when the bomb went off. The first ship had already returned. When Greenpeace was officially registered as the Greenpeace Foundation in 1972, I was one of the signatory founding directors. I was also one of the eight people who established Greenpeace International in 1979. In 1972, Robert Hunter’s membership number was # 000, Roberta Hunter’s membership was #001, and mine was #007. I’ve still got the card. I was in fact the youngest founding member of Greenpeace. I was 18 when I attended the demonstration at the border in 1969 and 20 when we sailed to oppose the bomb in 1971. I do find it amusing that some of the Greenpeacers today who accuse me of not being a founder of the organization were not even born at the time.

I like how they go on to say that I participated in the actions against whaling and the killing of harp seals when in fact Robert Hunter, Paul Spong, and I initiated the anti-whaling campaign, and I personally initiated the anti-sealing campaign along with David Garrick. I was first officer on the 1st and 2nd Greenpeace campaigns to protect whales in 1975 and 1976, and I was the expedition leader for the seal campaigns of 1976 and 1977.

In September 1979, I was one of the eight signatory founders of Greenpeace International. Interesting, since this was two years after Greenpeace claims I was dismissed from the organization for advocating “violent” tactics.

A little more background on the first Greenpeace voyages:

The voyage of the Greenpeace Too, the ship that I was on, was not a 2nd expedition. It was part of the 1st expedition. The Phyllis Cormack took a crew of 13 to the Aleutians. After a month, they returned, and they were relieved by the 35 crew on the Greenpeace Too. I was one of the crew. It was our ship that was on site when the underground bomb was detonated. In fact, Rod Marining, Chris Bergthorson, and myself were the only co-founders near Amchitka that day. Although I was active with the Don’t Make a Wave Committee in 1969, Greenpeace now claims I was active in Greenpeace in 1971. This was the year of the first voyage of which I was an active crewmember, but Greenpeace did not actually exist until 1972 when the name Don’t Make a Wave Committee was changed to the Greenpeace Foundation.

Greenpeace: He was expelled from the leadership of Greenpeace in 1977 by a vote of 11 to one (only Watson himself voted against it).

Paul Watson: I was in fact never expelled from Greenpeace. I was voted off the Board of Directors in a motion tabled by Patrick Moore who opposed my aggressive opposition to baby seal killers. The underlying reason for this was I was a threat to his taking over the leadership of Greenpeace from Bob Hunter. I was free to continue to work with Greenpeace, but I chose not to. I was indeed voted off the Greenpeace Board, but I resigned voluntarily from Greenpeace. Greenpeace states this above when they say I was expelled from the leadership (meaning the Board). They do not say that I was expelled from Greenpeace. In fact, I remain a lifetime member of Greenpeace, unless they have now revoked my lifetime membership.

Greenpeace: Bob Hunter (one of Greenpeace’s early leaders, after whom a Sea Shepherd vessel was named) described the event in his book, the Greenpeace Chronicles:

"No one doubted his [Watson’s] courage for a moment. He was a great warrior brother. Yet in terms of the Greenpeace gestalt, he seemed possessed by too powerful a drive, too unrelenting a desire to push himself front and center, shouldering everyone else aside He had consistently gone around to other officees, acting out the role of mutineer. Everywhere he went, he created divisiveness We all felt we’d got trapped iin a web no one wanted to see develop, yet now that it had, there was nothing to do but bring down the axe, even if it meant bringing it down on the neck of our brother."

Paul Watson: Bob did indeed write those words, and later he left Greenpeace to sail with me on my ships, and he wrote many positive things about Sea Shepherd and myself in books like Red Blood and in his columns. He was a lifelong friend and comrade, and he and his wife Bobbi put up their house as collateral to help me finance the purchase of the Sea Shepherd II. But it should be noted that Bob used the term “brother” in that excerpt from the book. Why? Because I was not just anyone. I was an original co-founder and original crewmember. That was why Bob said it was a tough decision. The reason I was rebelling was because Patrick Moore had seized control of Greenpeace and that disturbed me. My concerns were realized years later. Patrick now works as a lobbyist and public relations flak for the logging industry, the mining industry, the salmon farmers, the chlorine industry, and President George Bush appointed him to promote the nuclear industry.

Robert Hunter did not write this in a book entitled Greenpeace Chronicles. He wrote it in a book entitled Warriors of the Rainbow. It is interesting that later, Robert Hunter told me that I was right in going the direction that I did, and he became a Sea Shepherd activist and crewmember sailing with us on numerous occasions between 1988 and 2001. Bob and Bobbi Hunter even lent me funds to help purchase the first Sea Shepherd vessel. Bob later told me and wrote in his books that it was a positive thing that I had left Greenpeace to pursue a different path. Greenpeace never named a ship after Robert Hunter, but Sea Shepherd did.

Greenpeace describes Robert Hunter as one of Greenpeace’s "early leaders". This certainly diminishes Bob Hunter’s incredible contributions to Greenpeace. The fact is that Robert Hunter is "the" founding father of Greenpeace. If not for Robert Hunter, Greenpeace would have expired as an organization in 1974. It was Hunter’s vision, drive, and determination that placed Greenpeace in the position to become a worldwide force to defend the environment.

Most of these people re-writing the Greenpeace history today never met Robert Hunter or myself and have no first-hand knowledge of the early days of Greenpeace.

A more accurate history of Greenpeace can be found in the book Greenpeace by Rex Wyler, who first served with Greenpeace on the 1975 campaign to protect the whales alongside Robert Hunter and myself.

Greenpeace: Confusion: Greenpeace and Sea Shepherd

Watson founded his own group, Sea Shepherd, in 1977.

  • in 1986, Sea Shepherd carried out an action against the Icelandic whaling station in Hvalfjoerdur and sank two Icelandic whaling vessels in Reykjavik harbor by opening their sea valves;[1]
  • in December 1992, Sea Shepherd sank the vessel Nybroena in port;[2]
  • Sea Shepherd claimed to have sank the Taiwanese drift net ship Jiang Hai in port in Taiwan and to have rammed and disabled four other Asian drift net ships;[3]
  • a Canadian court ordered Watson and his former ship, the Cleveland Armory, to pay a total of $35,000 for ramming a Cuban fishing vessel off the coast of Newfoundland in June 1993;[4]
  • in January 1994 the group severely damaged the whaling ship Senet in the Norwegian port of Gressvik.[5]

Each of the whaling ships noted above was refloated and refitted for continued whaling.

Captain Paul Watson: Greenpeace only touched on a few of our actions but seems to give the impression they were of little consequence. Saying that the ships were damaged and then refloated is not exactly true. The two Icelandic whaling ships were refloated but never used again because all the equipment and electronics were destroyed. That hit cost the Icelanders $10 million and shut them down for a decade. Greenpeace did not mention the whaler Sierra or the two Spanish whalers sunk in 1981. All three of them never whaled again. Nor did the whaler Astrid or the South African whalers Susan and Theresa. They are incorrect on the fine. Sea Shepherd never paid a fine for ramming a Cuban trawler, and in fact, the court ruled that the trawler was not rammed at all – there was no evidence of any contact. The Norwegian whalers were repaired and refloated and the result was a 3000% increase on marine insurance premiums. Our campaigns to destroy illegal whalers have been very successful and very costly to the whalers.

Greenpeace: In a 2008 article in the New Yorker, Watson claims that Sea Shepherd has sunk ten ships since its founding, but the author of the article notes, with some skepticism, that she was unable to verify that number.

Captain Paul Watson: It’s hard to verify covert actions, but no one else claimed the sinkings. Sea Shepherd did. So if not us, then who? Greenpeace seems to want to condemn us for sinking whaling ships and also for not sinking whaling ships. The article was written by a man, not a woman as Greenpeace states above.

Greenpeace: Paul Watson’s and Sea Shepherd’s actions have sometimes been wrongly attributed to Greenpeace, often in an attempt by others to damage Greenpeace’s reputation for non-violence.

Captain Paul Watson: It concerns me that Greenpeace gets credit for our actions, but it may have something to do with Greenpeace running ads to coincide with our actions or immediately following our actions so as to capitalize on the publicity. I don’t see how being accused of stopping a whaling activity can damage the reputation of an organization that claims to defend whales.

Greenpeace: Greenpeace has never sunk a whaling ship.

Captain Paul Watson: No indeed they have not. Greenpeace takes pictures and videos of whales dying, and Greenpeace has failed to save a single whale. Sea Shepherd saved 528 whales in 2010, 305 whales in 2009, some 500 in 2008, another 500 in 2007, and 83 in 2006. We also ended the careers of numerous whaling ships saving many thousands of whales. Sea Shepherd proudly claims credit for sinking whaling ships, and we are also proud of the fact that we have never injured a single person.

Greenpeace: Some anti-environmentalists try to use the fact that an extreme minority in the environmental movement resorts to force and sabotage to brand the movement as a whole as "terrorist." One such attempt has been specifically condemned by a Norwegian court.

Captain Paul Watson: The Sea Shepherd Conservation Society is not a terrorist organization, and we have never been convicted of a single felony (unlike Greenpeace), and we have never had anyone seriously injured (unlike Greenpeace), and we have shut down numerous illegal whaling, sealing, and fishing operations (unlike Greenpeace). Sea Shepherd does not break laws, we enforce them. Greenpeace has had numerous felony convictions; Sea Shepherd has had none.

Greenpeace: In 1991, we had an agreement with Sea Shepherd that we would refrain from public criticism of one another. Today, many of Sea Shepherd’s fundraising communications and Paul Watson’s public communications are filled with attacks on Greenpeace, our methods, our activists, and our supporters. They are often peppered with inaccuracies and outright untruths. Paul Watson is still fighting a one-sided battle that was over for Greenpeace in 1977.

Captain Paul Watson: I am not aware of any such agreement, but I think it would be a good idea. What Greenpeace describes as attacks by Sea Shepherd are in fact our response to their accusations against us. I do not take accusations of terrorism lightly, and I do not agree that they should raise money to send ships to Antarctica when they do not do so. In my book, that is stealing money from the public. I have written to Greenpeace every year asking for an agreement that will allow us to cooperate with each other, and every year Greenpeace has rejected my offer.

Greenpeace: In most cases, we simply don’t respond to Paul Watson’s criticism. While we don’t agree with Sea Shepherd’s methods, we also know that stories of divisiveness within the ranks of environmental groups distract from the real issues which unite us, and we prefer that when the media writes about whaling, they write about the real issues. Although Paul Watson is a vehement anti-whaling activist, he regularly lends his support to attacks on Greenpeace — some of them organized by the whalers themselves. [8]

Captain Paul Watson: Sea Shepherd has never participated in any campaign against Greenpeace organized by the whaling industry. This is a viciously false and misleading statement. What we have been critical of Greenpeace for is accusing us of violence, accusing us of being terrorists, and claiming credit for things that Sea Shepherd has accomplished. We also criticise Greenpeace for collecting money on issues they do not campaign against.

Greenpeace: Our commitment to non-violence: why we don’t cooperate?

Paul Watson has made many public requests for Greenpeace to reveal the location of the whaling fleet or otherwise cooperate with Sea Shepherd in the Southern Ocean when the ships of both organizations have been there simultaneously.

Captain Paul Watson: We have always given Greenpeace the coordinates of the whaling fleets once we have found them. They have never returned the favour. It’s all academic now, because they no longer even send ships to intervene against whaling operations.

Greenpeace: We passionately want to stop whaling, and will do so peacefully. That’s why we won’t help Sea Shepherd. Greenpeace is committed to non-violence and we’ll never, ever, change that; not for anything. If we helped Sea Shepherd to find the whaling fleet we’d be responsible for anything they did having got that information, and history shows that they’ve used violence in the past, in the most dangerous seas on Earth. For us, non-violence is a non-negotiable, precious principle. Greenpeace will continue to act to defend the whales, but will never attack or endanger the whalers.

Captain Paul Watson: Sea Shepherd has never employed violence. We have never injured anyone ever. We have never committed or been conviccted of a felony ever. Dr. Martin Luthor King once saaid that violence cannot be committed against a non-sentient object. We have the support of the Dalai Lama. Greenpeace has worked with Earth First, a group that engages in sabotage of industrial equipment. Greenpeacers have committed and been convicted of felonies. Greenpeace has had crewmembers killed and injured. Sea Shepherd has not. Greenpeace defends the stealing of property from the mail. In fact, Greenpeace justifies its action and condemns ours, not on the basis of tactics, but on the basis of politics. By refusing to assist us on occasion, Greenpeace was responsible for the deaths of whales we could have saved, because whereas Greenpeace takes pictures, Sea Shepherd intervenes to protect lives.

Greenpeace: We differ with Paul Watson on what constitutes violence. He states that nobody has ever been harmed by a Sea Shepherd action. But the test of non-violence is the nature of your action, not whether harm results or not. There are many acts of violence — for example, holding a gun to someone’s head — which result in no harm. That doesn’t change their nature. We believe that throwing butryic acid at the whalers, dropping cables to foul their props, and threatening to ram them in the freezing waters of the Antarctic constitutes violence because of the potential consequences. The fact that the consequences have not been realized is irrelevant.

Captain Paul Watson: After three decades of operations, we have proven our expertise in getting results without causing injuries or committing felonies. The test of non-violence is consequences, and Sea Shepherd has exercised extreme caution to save lives without causing injury. We practise non-violence in the spirit of Hayagriva, the Buddhist idea of aggressive non-violence or the exercise of compassionate wrath. In others words, intimidation without injury for the purpose of achieving enlightenment. The Dalai Lama is a Sea Shepherd supporter, and I don’t think he would be supporting us if we were a violent organization as Greenpeace constantly accuses us of being. By the above logic, Greenpeace, I repeat, is also guilty of violence, because by constantly accusing Sea Shepherd of being violent, they are providing justification to the whalers to respond violently against us.

Greenpeace: In addition to being morally wrong, we believe the use of violence in protection of whales to be a tactical error. If there’s one way to harden Japanese public opinion and ensure whaling continues, it’s to use violent tactics against their fleet. It’s wrong because it puts human lives at risk, and it’s wrong because it makes the whalers stronger in Japan.

Captain Paul Watson: These modern Greenpeace bureaucrats are stating here that all the original Greenpeace co-founders who have served with Sea Shepherd are morally wrong. In other words, the men and women who created Greenpeace are being judged as morally wrong by upstarts who are being paid to work for Greenpeace today. None of these people were there to construct the foundation of the organization that now pays them their comfortable wages. I never worked for money for Greenpeace a day in my life. I was a volunteer, and my lifetime membership number is 007. I am the 8th founding member of Greenpeace, because Bob Hunter was 000 and Bobbi Hunter is 001. The bottom line is that Sea Shepherd is speaking the language the Japanese whalers understand economics. We have negated their proffits for seven years and that will end whaling – not the hanging of banners and the stealing of whale meat from the Japanese mail.

Greenpeace: We work with many other groups whose methods differ from ours, and we know the power of cooperation among groups with a common objective but diverse ways of working. For decades, we have had productive working relationships with the Worldwide Fund for Nature, Friends of the Earth, International Fund for Animal Welfare, Sierra Club, Environmental Investigative Agency, and a host of other groups dedicated to whale conservation. We would only be willing to cooperate with Sea Shepherd under the condition that it would not facilitate endangering human life.

Captain Paul Watson: They neglected to mention they have worked with Earth First, an organization that has undertaken industrial sabotage. Sea Shepherd has never endangered any person’s life. Greenpeace has had crewmembers killed and injured.

Greenpeace: To give one example, in 2005/2006, Sea Shepherd attempted to snarl the propeller of the Nisshin Maru with a rope and cable, as reported on their own website:

Two of our three zodiacs were equipped with devices we had made to foul their propeller; basically two buoys connected with steel cable and rope that we would place in front of their ship in hopes that the Maru would run it over, it would pass underneath their hull and into their propeller at the stern of their ship causing their ship to slow down dramatically or be stopped completely. The Maru was running at full speed away from the Farley. Both zodiacs deployed their devices repeatedly. None seemed to work against the goliath Nisshin Maru ship…

Running out of options and having lost both of our propeller fouling devices, all hope seemed lost of slowing the Maru…

Disabling a ship at sea in the Antarctic, regardless of how much one may object to its activities, is not only a callous act of disregard for human life — it’s courting an environmental disaster in one of the most fragile environments in the world.

Captain Paul Watson: We use intimidation because we know that prop foulers will not cause permanent damage to the ships, but it will slow them down enough to not be able to hunt whales. We are aware that the Japanese vessels have cutting blades on their props.

Greenpeace: Such tactics are not only dangerous to the whalers, they are dangerous to the cause of stopping Japanese whaling. Our political analysis is unequivocal: if Japanese whaling is to be stopped, it will be stopped by a domestic decision within the Japanese government to do so. That’s why we have invested heavily in a Greenpeace office in Japan and efforts to speak directly to the Japanese public — 70 percent of whom are unaware that whaling takes place in the Southern Ocean at all. A majority of those who are aware of the whaling program, oppose it. Support for whaling in Japan has been steadily falling for the last decade. Consumption of whale meat is in decline, the cost of the program to taxpayers is being questioned by the business community, and the political costs of the program have created opposition in the Foreign Affairs department in Japan. All of this progress could be undone by a nationalist backlash. By making it easy to paint anti-whaling forces as dangerous, piratical terrorists, Sea Shepherd could undermine the forces within Japan which could actually bring whaling to an end.
A few facts

Captain Paul Watson: Because of our dramatic campaigns in the Southern Ocean, the Japanese people are now very much aware of the activities of their illegal whaling fleet in the Southern Ocean. That is education, and we have an international television show to get our message across. Convincing the Japanese public to oppose whaling will not be guaranteed to change anything. The majority of Canadians are opposed to the annual commercial seal slaughter, yet the seal hunt continues to be subsidized by the Canadian government. Greenpeace has made very little progress with their public education programs, including programs where Greenpeacers publicly ate whale meat to demonstrate they were respectful of Japanese culture.

Greenpeace: We’ve got fairly thick skins here at Greenpeace. When you challenge powerful forces, you need to be ready to put up with accusations of ulterior motives and hidden agendas. What’s unfortunate is when we have to spend time countering friendly fire — attacks by an organization that shares the same goals as we do. We don’t mind robust disagreements, but we do object to falsehoods.

Captain Paul Watson: Sea Shepherd does not share the same goals with Greenpeace. We are dedicated to ending whaling. Greenpeace is not. Greenpeace supported the recent compromise that would have allowed legal whaling by Japan. Greenpeace does not support ending the commercial seal hunt in Canada or the dolphin slaughter in Japan or the killing of pilot whales in the Faeroe Islands. Greenpeace does not send ships to the Southern Ocean, yet they continue to raise money for their campaign which have been reduced to “saving” whales on a Southern Ocean whale defense video game.

Greenpeace: As the New Yorker article on Paul Watson noted, in his book "Earthforce!":

Watson advises readers to make up facts and figures when they need to, and to deliver them to reporters confidently, "as Ronald Reagan did."

Captain Paul Watson: This statement is taken out of context. I was explaining that modern media is manipulated by politicians and corporations to manipulate the truth and that, yes, Ronald Reagan made up facts to support his agenda, as do almost all politicians. This is classic McLuhanism and an understanding of modern media strategies. Greenpeace does it all the time, by the way, as do most other organizations, political parties, and corporations. What was once a lie is now merely called a spin, and Greenpeace has become the master of the spin. I may be guilty of this also, but I am an amateur compared to the Greenpeace media department.

Greenpeace: Paul Watson has claimed that Greenpeace goes to the Antarctic merely to film whales being killed, to wave banners and to bear witness to their deaths — but does nothing to save them.

This is untrue.

Greenpeace saves whales

Greenpeace has directly saved the lives of countless whales over more than three decades by maneuvering our boats between the harpoon and the whale. Many of us have risked our lives in those actions from Iceland to the Antarctic. But, while we consider it acceptable to risk our own lives for the whales, we don’t believe in risking anyone else’s.

Captain Paul Watson: They still use images of Bob Hunter and myself in zodiacs blocking harpoons from 1975 and 1976. They forget that the legacy that has enabled Greenpeace to become what it is today was laid down by myself and others who are no longer in Greenpeace. In fact there is not a single living founding member of Greenpeace active in Greenpeace today. We created the tactics they are bragging about. But they have not prevented the killing of any whales. The Japanese whalers slaughtered whales in front of Greenpeace as the Greenpeacers held banners and staged photo ops that I call ocean posing.

Greenpeace: In 2006, a harpoon was fired over one of our inflatables and the line fell on the boat, pulling one crew member into the freezing waters of the Antarctic. According to records kept by the whalers (we were too busy to keep records), we interfered with them 26 times in 2006. Shortly after sighting us, the whalers departed at high speed — their own records show they lost nine days of hunting due to interference with their operations. The whalers rammed our ships twice, hit one of our crew members with a metal pole, and used a high-powered water cannon against us. Despite this, they came in 82 whales short of their quota. In 2008, the whalers ran from us for 14 consecutive days, days that were lost to them for hunting. Since they need to catch an average of around 9-10 whales a day to make their self-appointed quota, this action alone saved the lives of over 100 whales.

Captain Paul Watson: It is my opinion that they came 82 whales short of their quota because Sea Shepherd was chasing them continuously. They were not running from Greenpeace, they were running from Sea Shepherd. And falling in the water is no big deal when you are wearing a drysuit or a wet suit under a survival suit. We fall in the water all the time, but we don’t make a drama out of it. The high powered water cannon is easily avoided, but Greenpeace runs straight into it for the dramatic photo opportunity it provides. Posturing and posing and making whale snuff flicks is what they do, and they do it well, but it has not saved a single whale. It may be noticed that in previous years when Sea Shepherd was not chasing the whaling fleet, they made no such claims of successful interventions. I find it interesting that they claim they were too busy to keep records. That is what a logbook is for, and the officer of the watch has the responsibility to keep those records.

Greenpeace: Greenpeace works to save whales around the world, all year round, and with a variety of tactics.

Along with the Worldwide Fund for Nature, we were the primary advocates that created public pressure for the moratorium on commercial whaling which was agreed in 1982. That single piece of work has saved the lives of tens of thousands of whales and ended the whaling programs of the Soviet Union, Brazil, Peru, Chile, and Spain.

We have undertaken political work to maintain support for the moratorium on commercial whaling and counter Japanese vote-buying schemes. There have been years in which the conservation majority in the International Whaling Commission has hung by a thread, in one case by a single vote. By lobbying conservation-minded countries to join the International Whaling Commission and successfully pressuring countries like Denmark to change their policies toward conservation, our millions of supporters and activists have worked quietly behind the scenes to save whales.

Captain Paul Watson: I was a part of that pressure to create the moratorium as were many others. It was not a Greenpeace achievement, it was an anti-whaling movement achievement. Sea Shepherd helped Ecuador to join the IWC and delivered a vote for the whales. And Denmark changing their policies? – I think not. Denmark is a major advocate of whaling and thousands of pilot whales are killed each year in the Danish Faeroe Islands where Sea Shepherd has intervened four times and Greenpeace never has, because they said that their supporters in Denmark did not support interference with their culture. Apparently, interfering with everyone else’s culture is okay for the Danes.

What Greenpeace forgets is that there are very few persons who have been consistent activists for the whales from 1974 until the present like I have. That is 37 years of defending the whales in every sea on the planet, yet they dismiss my experience and my persistence as something negative. I am merely doing today what I did when I was with Greenpeace three decades ago. Greenpeace changed. I did not. There is no other original Greenpeace activist alive that continues to confront the whalers.

Greenpeace: Working in Japan to stop whaling

Greenpeace has had an office in Japan since 1989. As a result of hard, steady work over the years we have succeeded in making whaling a subject of domestic debate in Japan where none has existed before. We’ve brought Japanese celebrities, musicians, and artists to speak out against whaling, exposed taxpayer-sponsored promotional efforts by the Japanese government — by exposing waste and corruption in the bureaucracy that supports whaling, we’ve generated criticism of whaling in some of Japan’s largest newspapers, and articles in the business press asking whether Japan should end its whaling program.

Captain Paul Watson: Sea Shepherd has been active in Japan since 1981, beginning with our efforts to free dolphins from the nets of their killers. Our efforts have actually saved lives. Greenpeace efforts have not made a dent in Japanese policies on whaling. Japanese businessmen understand profit and loss and have little use for sentimental campaigns. They simply do not care about cruelty issues, nor do they seem very concerned about conservation issues. Sea Shepherd speaks the one language they understand – profit and loss – and we have them on the ropes financially with a loss of profits for five years running.

Greenpeace: On May 15, 2008, Greenpeace Japan used undercover investigators and the testimony of informers to expose that large amounts of prime cut whale meat were being smuggled from the whaling ship Nisshin Maru disguised as personal baggage, labeled "cardboard" or "salted stuff" and addressed to the private homes of crewmembers. Greenpeace activists Junichi Sato and Toru Suzuki intercepted one box out of four sent to one address, discovered it contained whale meat valued at up to US$3,000, and took it to the Tokyo public prosecutor.

Captain Paul Watson: Whaling is illegal, so I am at a loss as to what can be gained by exposing corruption inside an illegal industry. The only people concerned about the theft of whale meat are the whalers. This is like the FBI investigating the Mafia for the benefit of the Godfather. Stealing whale meat from the mail in Japan has nothing to do with stopping illegal whaling by the Japanese whaling fleet in Antarctica.

Greenpeace: Their public press conference drew national attention in Japan, and a promise by the public prosecutor to "fully investigate" the charges.

Instead, Junichi and Toru were arrested for stealing the box of whale meat, and the scandal investigation was dropped by the Tokyo public prosecutor’s office the same day; it was clear that the two events were connected, just as it is clear that both were politically motivated. Although Junichi and Toru had provided full cooperation to the police, it took some five weeks to make the arrests, and when they did, more than 40 officers raided the Greenpeace Japan office, with the media tipped off by police beforehand. The Greenpeace activists learned of their imminent arrest from the TV news the same day the embezzlement case was dropped.

Captain Paul Watson: The charges could indeed have been politically motivated, but Greenpeace put themselves into the position of being charged for theft. It was not a smart tactic. Strategy requires preparation. On the positive side, the case did attract attention to the issue of illegal whaling.

Greenpeace: The two activists now face up to ten years imprisonment. We consider them political prisoners, and believe that powerful forces have instrumented a crackdown aimed at discrediting Greenpeace in Japanese society. This means we’ve hit a nerve. We intend to put all our efforts into turning the tables, and putting the whaling interests on trial in the court of public opinion in Japan. We see the reaction of whaling interests as conforming perfectly to the way the most successful Greenpeace campaigns play out: "First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you. Then you win."

Captain Paul Watson: This is amusing, because that is exactly what Greenpeace has done with Sea Shepherd. First they ignored us, then they laughed at us, and then they attacked us. I remember Greenpeace leader David McTaggart once telling The Age newspaper when asked abut Sea Shepherd, "Sea Shepherd, never heard of them," and then added, "they are irrelevant." Japan does not need a campaign to discredit Greenpeace in Japan. They were discredited many years ago. They tried to make a mountain out of a molehill by saying they had to focus all of their energies on defending their two directors. This was simply a convenient excuse for not sending down a ship and crew to Antarctica. They could certainly afford to do both. Now that the men are free, Greenpeace still has no intention of returning to the Southern Ocean with a ship although they continue to raise money for that purpose. The two Greenpeace activists received suspended sentences.

Greenpeace: Greenpeace has too much money?

Watson likes to paint a picture of Greenpeace as enjoying vast riches, but in fact Greenpeace accepts no money from governments or corporations, and our resources are minuscule compared to the task before us. We rely almost entirely on the donations of nearly 3 million people worldwide, and we spend those hard-earned donations in ways that win campaigns for the environment.

Captain Paul Watson: This is not true that they have not accepted corporate or government funding. I was the dissenting vote in 1976 when Greenpeace accepted a large donation from Ed Daly of Air America also known as the C.I.A. airways. The donation came with the condition that Greenpeace continue to harass the Soviet whaling fleet and to not pursue the Japanese whaling fleet. This was in fact the beginning of my disagreements with the Greenpeace Board of Directors. Greenpeace also accepted a very large donation in the mid-eighties from the Soviet Union to sponsor a peace concert in Moscow. I notice that Greenpeace states they rely "almost entirely" on the donations of their members. That implies other sources of funding.

Greenpeace: To put our budget in perspective, in 2007 Exxon-Mobil generated more revenue in less than six hours than Greenpeace raised worldwide from its supporters for the entire year. Our annual donations are less than the value of seven days of the global value of the illegal forest industry, or three days of the subsidies to the global fisheries industry. The nuclear industry spends more money in advertising than Greenpeace International’s entire operating budget.

Captain Paul Watson: This is an absurd comparison, but it illustrates just how much money Greenpeace does raise. Exxon-Mobil generates an incredible amount of money in six hours and the amount of money given in subsidies to global fisheries worldwide is about $75 billion dollars so three days of subsidies is about $600 million dollars which is about twice Greenpeace’s actual budget. I don’t begrudge Greenpeace this budget, I only wish they used the funds more effectively.

Greenpeace: The full breakdown of what we raise, what we spend, and what we spend it on is released every year in our Annual Report.

Most importantly, Greenpeace gets results. In the three decades since our founding, we have combined our unique brand of non-violent direct action with political lobbying, scientific research, and public mobilization to bring an end to nuclear weapons testing, stop the dumping of hazardous waste at sea, secure the moratorium on commercial whaling, and win dozens of other significant steps toward our ultimate goal of a green and peaceful future for our planet.

Captain Paul Watson: There is no argument from me that Greenpeace has taken credit for much of this. And the fact is there are well intentioned dedicated Greenpeace activists on the ground doing good work, inspired by the cause. But I would compare it to the Catholic Church. There are thousands of dedicated and sincere Catholic priests and nuns working to help the poor all over the world but they are not the Pope. The institution of the Catholic church is rich, corrupt and powerful but this does not make their followers culpable. Greenpeace today sells ecological dispensation in the same way that Pope Rodrigo Borgia once sold dispensation into heaven. Greenpeace has become the world’s largest feel-good organization. Join Greenpeace and become part of the solution without having to change your life-style. It’s a growing business. There is the illusion that Greenpeace gets results and in some cases they do, but in reality there is little bang for the buck. Greenpeace has become a compromising organization.

Greenpeace: In Conclusion

Paul Watson is welcome to express his opinions about Greenpeace — as a more progressive environmental organization, we have a wide spectrum of detractors, and we welcome fair criticism. But, we expect fair debate to be based in fact, not falsehoods.

Captain Paul Watson: I am more than willing to cooperate with Greenpeace as long as they use the large sums of money they collect to defend whales to actually defend whales. As a co-founder of Greenpeace, I have to say I am proud of the idea called Greenpeace that we launched in the early Seventies. We saw it then as a movement and not as the corporation that it has become today. When Greenpeace stops referring to us as violent, then we will stop openly referring to them as ineffective. When Greenpeace stops referring to us as eco-terrorists, we will no longer openly accuse them of turning the environment into a marketable resource. When Greenpeace uses the money it has collected to save the whales to actually save the whales, then we will stop accusing them of fraud. And finally, if Greenpeace had not posted this fiction they call fact, I would not be having to post a response.

http://www.sea-shepherd.com/news-and-media/editorial-110115-1.html

Environmental Activists Target Big “Greens” For Link to Corporate Polluters

For Immediate Release:

April 1, 2010

CONTACTS:

Brihannala Morgan (415) 341-7051

Matt Wilkerson (828) 622-9525

Environmental Activists Target Big “Greens” For Link to Corporate Polluters

Fossil Fool’s Day Protests Set for 30 Cities; Target Coal, Oil, Natural Gas and Big Banks

SAN FRANCISCO—More than 30 cities throughout North America have organized demonstrations against the fossil fuel industry, corporate banks and big environmental organizations for April 1’st national Fossil ‘Fools’ Day. Demonstrations are being coordinated by Rising Tide North America , which has also launched an online campaign targeting “Big Green” groups that have taken money from the worst corporate polluters. Key targets of the campaign include Conservation International, Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC), National Wildlife Federation and Environmental Defense.

The National Day of Action – organized by Rising Tide North America, Mountain Justice, a coalition of Canadian climate activists and others – will feature clownish parades, flyering, subversive advertising, creative street theater, and non-violent direct actions targeting the coal, oil, natural gas and banking sectors. Cities where actions will take place include Asheville, Boulder, Chicago, Edmonton, New York, Philadelphia, Phoenix, Portland, Ottawa, Salt Lake City, San Francisco, Seattle, Toronto and Washington D.C. Corporations targeted will include Chevron, JPMorgan Chase, NW Natural Gas, Pepco and Shell.

“Extractive industries are holding our climate and our communities’ hostage,” said Lacy MacAuley, an organizer of the Washington D.C. actions. “I am participating in this Day of Action to tell fossil fools, like JPMorgan Chase and Pepco, that their destructive investments are threatening our homes, our communities, and our climate.”

In conjunction with protests across the country, Rising Tide North America is launching an online campaign targeting environmental NGOs criticized for taking donations from some of the worst corporate polluters. Groups like the National Wildlife Federation, Conservation International, Environmental Defense, and NRDC are being accused of allowing their financial and political relationships with Corporate America to compromise their positions on climate change. Beginning in the 1980’s, the National Wildlife Federation pioneered fundraising strategies based on taking money from polluters like Shell and BP in exchange for forestalling real critiques of the companies behavior. This practice has become systemic amongst the Big “Green” groups and Thursday’s online action will demand an end to it.

“In Dec. 2009, we received a wakeup call in Copenhagen where the world’s governments failed to enact effective climate legislation and many large players in the environmental movement were neutralized by decades of compromise and corruption,” said Matt Wilkerson of Rising Tide North America. “A grassroots movement of environmental justice groups, climate justice groups, Indigenous peoples, frontline communities and energized activist networks are mobilizing to counter the toxic influence of industry and their proxies in big environmental NGOs over policy and public opinion. Professional environmentalists have sold us out to greedy corporations and it’s time regular people took the lead in solving this grave ecological crisis.”

In the past decade, climate change and climate justice have gone from issues discussed amongst scientists and policy experts to being the impetus for a growing international movement that has stopped dozens of proposed coal fired power plants, directly challenged entrenched interests in the Canadian tar sands and Appalachian mining industry and worked in solidarity with frontline communities. After Copenhagen, the grassroots climate movement will shift its attention from negotiations and compromise to more frontline and anti-corporate struggles.

Fossil Fools Day began in 2004 with coordinated actions across the United States and Canada. Events are held in many cities around the world. These events oppose energy derived from fossil fuels, promote education about alternative sources of energy, and encourage support for climate justice, sustainable communities, corporate responsibility and a clean renewable energy future.

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Rising Tide North America’s Online Action calling on the “Big Green” groups to stop taking corporate polluter’s donations – http://bit.ly/aVhTGH

Rising Tide North America recently released a new publication called “The Climate Movement is Dead: Long Live the Climate Movement” critiquing the relationship between the green groups and Corporate America.

For more information, visit fossilfoolsday

Rising Tide North America is an all-volunteer decentralized network with over 50 local chapters and contacts throughout Canada, Mexico and the United States challenging the root causes of climate change.

Conservation Refugees

When protecting nature means kicking people out

by Mark Dowie

Published in the November/December 2005 issue of Orion magazine

Photograph by Joy Tessman/National Geographic, used with permission

A LOW FOG ENVELOPS THE STEEP and remote valleys of southwestern Uganda most mornings, as birds found only in this small corner of the continent rise in chorus and the great apes drink from clear streams. Days in the dense montane forest are quiet and steamy. Nights are an exaltation of insects and primate howling. For thousands of years the Batwa people thrived in this soundscape, in such close harmony with the forest that early-twentieth-century wildlife biologists who studied the flora and fauna of the region barely noticed their existence. They were, as one naturalist noted, “part of the fauna.”

In the 1930s, Ugandan leaders were persuaded by international conservationists that this area was threatened by loggers, miners, and other extractive interests. In response, three forest reserves were created—the Mgahinga, the Echuya, and the Bwindi—all of which overlapped with the Batwa’s ancestral territory. For sixty years these reserves simply existed on paper, which kept them off-limits to extractors. And the Batwa stayed on, living as they had for generations, in reciprocity with the diverse biota that first drew conservationists to the region.

!Kung San, Botswana
Photograph | Peter Johnson, Corbis

However, when the reserves were formally designated as national parks in 1991 and a bureaucracy was created and funded by the World Bank’s Global Environment Facility to manage them, a rumor was in circulation that the Batwa were hunting and eating silverback gorillas, which by that time were widely recognized as a threatened species and also, increasingly, as a featured attraction for ecotourists from Europe and America. Gorillas were being disturbed and even poached, the Batwa admitted, but by Bahutu, Batutsi, Bantu, and other tribes who invaded the forest from outside villages. The Batwa, who felt a strong kinship with the great apes, adamantly denied killing them. Nonetheless, under pressure from traditional Western conservationists, who had come to believe that wilderness and human community were incompatible, the Batwa were forcibly expelled from their homeland.

These forests are so dense that the Batwa lost perspective when they first came out. Some even stepped in front of moving vehicles. Now they are living in shabby squatter camps on the perimeter of the parks, without running water or sanitation. In one more generation their forest-based culture—songs, rituals, traditions, and stories—will be gone.

It’s no secret that millions of native peoples around the world have been pushed off their land to make room for big oil, big metal, big timber, and big agriculture. But few people realize that the same thing has happened for a much nobler cause: land and wildlife conservation. Today the list of culture-wrecking institutions put forth by tribal leaders on almost every continent includes not only Shell, Texaco, Freeport, and Bechtel, but also more surprising names like Conservation International (CI), The Nature Conservancy (TNC), the World Wildlife Fund (WWF), and the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS). Even the more culturally sensitive World Conservation Union (IUCN) might get a mention.

Wai Wai, Guyana
Photograph | John Martin / Conservation International

In early 2004 a United Nations meeting was convened in New York for the ninth year in a row to push for passage of a resolution protecting the territorial and human rights of indigenous peoples. The UN draft declaration states: “Indigenous peoples shall not be forcibly removed from their lands or territories. No relocation shall take place without the free and informed consent of the indigenous peoples concerned and after agreement on just and fair compensation and, where possible, with the option to return.” During the meeting an indigenous delegate who did not identify herself rose to state that while extractive industries were still a serious threat to their welfare and cultural integrity, their new and biggest enemy was “conservation.”

Later that spring, at a Vancouver, British Columbia, meeting of the International Forum on Indigenous Mapping, all two hundred delegates signed a declaration stating that the “activities of conservation organizations now represent the single biggest threat to the integrity of indigenous lands.” These rhetorical jabs have shaken the international conservation community, as have a subsequent spate of critical articles and studies, two of them conducted by the Ford Foundation, calling big conservation to task for its historical mistreatment of indigenous peoples.

“We are enemies of conservation,” declared Maasai leader Martin Saning’o, standing before a session of the November 2004 World Conservation Congress sponsored by IUCN in Bangkok, Thailand. The nomadic Maasai, who have over the past thirty years lost most of their grazing range to conservation projects throughout eastern Africa, hadn’t always felt that way. In fact, Saning’o reminded his audience, “…we were the original conservationists.” The room was hushed as he quietly explained how pastoral and nomadic cattlemen have traditionally protected their range: “Our ways of farming pollinated diverse seed species and maintained corridors between ecosystems.” Then he tried to fathom the strange version of land conservation that has impoverished his people, more than one hundred thousand of whom have been displaced from southern Kenya and the Serengeti Plains of Tanzania. Like the Batwa, the Maasai have not been fairly compensated. Their culture is dissolving and they live in poverty.

“We don’t want to be like you,” Saning’o told a room of shocked white faces. “We want you to be like us. We are here to change your minds. You cannot accomplish conservation without us.”

Although he might not have realized it, Saning’o was speaking for a growing worldwide movement of indigenous peoples who think of themselves as conservation refugees. Not to be confused with ecological refugees—people forced to abandon their homelands as a result of unbearable heat, drought, desertification, flooding, disease, or other consequences of climate chaos—conservation refugees are removed from their lands involuntarily, either forcibly or through a variety of less coercive measures. The gentler, more benign methods are sometimes called “soft eviction” or “voluntary resettlement,” though the latter is contestable. Soft or hard, the main complaint heard in the makeshift villages bordering parks and at meetings like the World Conservation Congress in Bangkok is that relocation often occurs with the tacit approval or benign neglect of one of the five big international nongovernmental conservation organizations, or as they have been nicknamed by indigenous leaders, the BINGOs. Indigenous peoples are often left out of the process entirely.

Curious about this brand of conservation that puts the rights of nature before the rights of people, I set out last autumn to meet the issue face to face. I visited with tribal members on three continents who were grappling with the consequences of Western conservation and found an alarming similarity among the stories I heard.

Hmong, Thailand
Photograph | Jeremy Horner / Corbis

KHON NOI, MATRIARCH OF A REMOTE mountain village, huddles next to an open-pit stove in the loose, brightly colored clothes that identify her as Karen, the most populous of six tribes found in the lush, mountainous reaches of far northern Thailand. Her village of sixty-five families has been in the same wide valley for over two hundred years. She chews betel, spitting its bright red juice into the fire, and speaks softly through black teeth. She tells me I can use her name, as long as I don’t identify her village.

“The government has no idea who I am,” she says. “The only person in the village they know by name is the ‘headman’ they appointed to represent us in government negotiations. They were here last week, in military uniforms, to tell us we could no longer practice rotational agriculture in this valley. If they knew that someone here was saying bad things about them they would come back again and move us out.”

In a recent outburst of environmental enthusiasm stimulated by generous financial offerings from the Global Environment Facility, the Thai government has been creating national parks as fast as the Royal Forest Department can map them. Ten years ago there was barely a park to be found in Thailand, and because those few that existed were unmarked “paper parks,” few Thais even knew they were there. Now there are 114 land parks and 24 marine parks on the map. Almost twenty-five thousand square kilometers, most of which are occupied by hill and fishing tribes, are now managed by the forest department as protected areas.

“Men in uniform just appeared one day, out of nowhere, showing their guns,” Kohn Noi recalls, “and telling us that we were now living in a national park. That was the first we knew of it. Our own guns were confiscated . . . no more hunting, no more trapping, no more snaring, and no more “slash and burn.” That’s what they call our agriculture. We call it crop rotation and we’ve been doing it in this valley for over two hundred years. Soon we will be forced to sell rice to pay for greens and legumes we are no longer allowed to grow here. Hunting we can live without, as we raise chickens, pigs, and buffalo. But rotational farming is our way of life.”

A week before our conversation, and a short flight south of Noi’s village, six thousand conservationists were attending the World Conservation Congress in Bangkok. At that conference and elsewhere, big conservation has denied that they are party to the evictions while generating reams of promotional material about their affection for, and close relationships with, indigenous peoples. “We recognize that indigenous people have perhaps the deepest understanding of the Earth’s living resources,” says Conservation International chairman and CEO Peter Seligman, adding that, “we firmly believe that indigenous people must have ownership, control and title of their lands.” Such messages are carefully projected toward major funders of conservation, which in response to the aforementioned Ford Foundation reports and other press have become increasingly sensitive to indigenous peoples and their struggles for cultural survival.

Financial support for international conservation has in recent years expanded well beyond the individuals and family foundations that seeded the movement to include very large foundations like Ford, MacArthur, and Gordon and Betty Moore, as well as the World Bank, its Global Environment Facility, foreign governments, USAID, a host of bilateral and multilateral banks, and transnational corporations. During the 1990s USAID alone pumped almost $300 million into the international conservation movement, which it had come to regard as a vital adjunct to economic prosperity. The five largest conservation organizations, CI, TNC, and WWF among them, absorbed over 70 percent of that expenditure. Indigenous communities received none of it. The Moore Foundation made a singular ten-year commitment of nearly $280 million, the largest environmental grant in history, to just one organization—Conservation International. And all of the BINGOs have become increasingly corporate in recent years, both in orientation and affiliation. The Nature Conservancy now boasts almost two thousand corporate sponsors, while Conservation International has received about $9 million from its two hundred fifty corporate “partners.”

Maasai, Tanzania
Photograph | Tim Graham / Getty Images

With that kind of financial and political leverage, as well as chapters in almost every country of the world, millions of loyal members, and nine-figure budgets, CI, WWF, and TNC have undertaken a hugely expanded global push to increase the number of so-called protected areas (PAs)—parks, reserves, wildlife sanctuaries, and corridors created to preserve biological diversity. In 1962, there were some 1,000 official PAs worldwide. Today there are 108,000, with more being added every day. The total area of land now under conservation protection worldwide has doubled since 1990, when the World Parks Commission set a goal of protecting 10 percent of the planet’s surface. That goal has been exceeded, with over 12 percent of all land, a total area of 11.75 million square miles, now protected. That’s an area greater than the entire land mass of Africa.

During the 1990s the African nation of Chad increased the amount of national land under protection from 0.1 to 9.1 percent. All of that land had been previously inhabited by what are now an estimated six hundred thousand conservation refugees. No other country besides India, which officially admits to 1.6 million, is even counting this growing new class of refugees. World estimates offered by the UN, IUCN, and a few anthropologists range from 5 million to tens of millions. Charles Geisler, a sociologist at Cornell University who has studied displacements in Africa, is certain the number on that continent alone exceeds 14 million.

The true worldwide figure, if it were ever known, would depend upon the semantics of words like “eviction,” “displacement,” and “refugee,” over which parties on all sides of the issue argue endlessly. The larger point is that conservation refugees exist on every continent but Antarctica, and by most accounts live far more difficult lives than they once did, banished from lands they thrived on for hundreds, even thousands of years.

John Muir, a forefather of the American conservation movement, argued that “wilderness” should be cleared of all inhabitants and set aside to satisfy the urbane human’s need for recreation and spiritual renewal. It was a sentiment that became national policy with the passage of the 1964 Wilderness Act, which defined wilderness as a place “where man himself is a visitor who does not remain.” One should not be surprised to find hardy residues of these sentiments among traditional conservation groups. The preference for “virgin” wilderness has lingered on in a movement that has tended to value all nature but human nature, and refused to recognize the positive wildness in human beings.

Expulsions continue around the world to this day. The Indian government, which evicted one hundred thousand adivasis (rural peoples) in Assam between April and July of 2002, estimates that 2 or 3 million more will be displaced over the next decade. The policy is largely in response to a 1993 lawsuit brought by WWF, which demanded that the government increase PAs by 8 percent, mostly in order to protect tiger habitat. A more immediate threat involves the impending removal of several Mayan communities from the Montes Azules region of Chiapas, Mexico, a process begun in the mid-1970s with the intent to preserve virgin tropical forest, which could still quite easily spark a civil war. Conservation International is deeply immersed in that controversy, as are a host of extractive industries.

Tribal people, who tend to think and plan in generations, rather than weeks, months, and years, are still waiting to be paid the consideration promised. Of course the UN draft declaration is the prize because it must be ratified by so many nations. The declaration has failed to pass so far mainly because powerful leaders such as Tony Blair and George Bush threaten to veto it, arguing that there is not and should never be such a thing as collective human rights.

Sadly, the human rights and global conservation communities remain at serious odds over the question of displacement, each side blaming the other for the particular crisis they perceive. Conservation biologists argue that by allowing native populations to grow, hunt, and gather in protected areas, anthropologists, cultural preservationists, and other supporters of indigenous rights become complicit in the decline of biological diversity. Some, like the Wildlife Conservation Society’s outspoken president, Steven Sanderson, believe that the entire global conservation agenda has been “hijacked” by advocates for indigenous peoples, placing wildlife and biodiversity in peril. “Forest peoples and their representatives may speak for the forest,” Sanderson has said, “They may speak for their version of the forest; but they do not speak for the forest we want to conserve.” WCS, originally the New York Zoological Society, is a BINGO lesser in size and stature than the likes of TNC and CI, but more insistent than its colleagues that indigenous territorial rights, while a valid social issue, should be of no concern to wildlife conservationists.

Maya, Guatemala
Photograph | AFP / Getty Images

Market-based solutions put forth by human rights groups, which may have been implemented with the best of social and ecological intentions, share a lamentable outcome, barely discernible behind a smoke screen of slick promotion. In almost every case indigenous people are moved into the money economy without the means to participate in it fully. They become permanently indentured as park rangers (never wardens), porters, waiters, harvesters, or, if they manage to learn a European language, ecotour guides. Under this model, “conservation” edges ever closer to “development,” while native communities are assimilated into the lowest ranks of national cultures.

It should be no surprise, then, that tribal peoples regard conservationists as just another colonizer—an extension of the deadening forces of economic and cultural hegemony. Whole societies like the Batwa, the Maasai, the Ashinika of Peru, the Gwi and Gana Bushmen of Botswana, the Karen and Hmong of Southeast Asia, and the Huarani of Ecuador are being transformed from independent and self-sustaining into deeply dependent and poor communities.

WHEN I TRAVELED THROUGHOUT MESOAMERICA and the Andean-Amazon watershed last fall visiting staff members of CI, TNC, WCS, and WWF I was looking for signs that an awakening was on the horizon. The field staff I met were acutely aware that the spirit of exclusion survives in the headquarters of their organizations, alongside a subtle but real prejudice against “unscientific” native wisdom. Dan Campbell, TNC’s director in Belize, conceded, “We have an organization that sometimes tries to employ models that don’t fit the culture of nations where we work.” And Joy Grant, in the same office, said that as a consequence of a protracted disagreement with the indigenous peoples of Belize, local people “are now the key to everything we do.”

“We are arrogant,” was the confession of a CI executive working in South America, who asked me not to identify her. I was heartened by her admission until she went on to suggest that this was merely a minor character flaw. In fact, arrogance was cited by almost all of the nearly one hundred indigenous leaders I met with as a major impediment to constructive communication with big conservation.

If field observations and field workers’ sentiments trickle up to the headquarters of CI and the other BINGOs, there could be a happy ending to this story. There are already positive working models of socially sensitive conservation on every continent, particularly in Australia, Bolivia, Nepal, and Canada, where national laws that protect native land rights leave foreign conservationists no choice but to join hands with indigenous communities and work out creative ways to protect wildlife habitat and sustain biodiversity while allowing indigenous citizens to thrive in their traditional settlements.

In most such cases it is the native people who initiate the creation of a reserve, which is more likely to be called an “indigenous protected area” (IPA) or a “community conservation area” (CCA). IPAs are an invention of Australian aboriginals, many of whom have regained ownership and territorial autonomy under new treaties with the national government, and CCAs are appearing around the world, from Lao fishing villages along the Mekong River to the Mataven Forest in Colombia, where six indigenous tribes live in 152 villages bordering a four-million-acre ecologically intact reserve.

The Kayapo, a nation of Amazonian Indians with whom the Brazilian government and CI have formed a co-operative conservation project, is another such example. Kayapo leaders, renowned for their militancy, openly refused to be treated like just another stakeholder in a two-way deal between a national government and a conservation NGO, as is so often the case with co-operative management plans. Throughout negotiations they insisted upon being an equal player at the table, with equal rights and land sovereignty. As a consequence, the Xingu National Park, the continent’s first Indian-owned park, was created to protect the lifeways of the Kayapo and other indigenous Amazonians who are determined to remain within the park’s boundaries.

In many locations, once a CCA is established and territorial rights are assured, the founding community invites a BINGO to send its ecologists and wildlife biologists to share in the task of protecting biodiversity by combining Western scientific methodology with indigenous ecological knowledge. And on occasion they will ask for help negotiating with reluctant governments. For example, the Guarani Izoceños people in Bolivia invited the Wildlife Conservation Society to mediate a comanagement agreement with their government, which today allows the tribe to manage and own part of the new Kaa-Iya del Gran Chaco National Park.

Nez Perce, Idaho, US
Photograph | Joel Sartore / National Geographic

TOO MUCH HOPE SHOULD PROBABLY NOT be placed in a handful of successful co-management models, however. The unrestrained corporate lust for energy, hardwood, medicines, and strategic metals is still a considerable threat to indigenous communities, arguably a larger threat than conservation. But the lines between the two are being blurred. Particularly problematic is the fact that international conservation organizations remain comfortable working in close quarters with some of the most aggressive global resource prospectors, such as Boise Cascade, Chevron-Texaco, Mitsubishi, Conoco-Phillips, International Paper, Rio Tinto Mining, Shell, and Weyerhauser, all of whom are members of a CI-created entity called the Center for Environmental Leadership in Business. Of course if the BINGOs were to renounce their corporate partners, they would forfeit millions of dollars in revenue and access to global power without which they sincerely believe they could not be effective.

And there are some respected and influential conservation biologists who still strongly support top-down, centralized “fortress” conservation. Duke University’s John Terborgh, for example, author of the classic Requiem for Nature, believes that co-management projects and CCAs are a huge mistake. “My feeling is that a park should be a park, and it shouldn’t have any resident people in it,” he says. He bases his argument on three decades of research in Peru’s Manu National Park, where native Machiguenga Indians fish and hunt animals with traditional weapons. Terborgh is concerned that they will acquire motorboats, guns, and chainsaws used by their fellow tribesmen outside the park, and that biodiversity will suffer. Then there’s paleontologist Richard Leakey, who at the 2003 World Parks Congress in South Africa set off a firestorm of protest by denying the very existence of indigenous peoples in Kenya, his homeland, and arguing that “the global interest in biodiversity might sometimes trump the rights of local people.”

Yet many conservationists are beginning to realize that most of the areas they have sought to protect are rich in biodiversity precisely because the people who were living there had come to understand the value and mechanisms of biological diversity. Some will even admit that wrecking the lives of 10 million or more poor, powerless people has been an enormous mistake—not only a moral, social, philosophical, and economic mistake, but an ecological one as well. Others have learned from experience that national parks and protected areas surrounded by angry, hungry people who describe themselves as “enemies of conservation” are generally doomed to fail.

More and more conservationists seem to be wondering how, after setting aside a “protected” land mass the size of Africa, global biodiversity continues to decline. Might there be something terribly wrong with this plan—particularly after the Convention on Biological Diversity has documented the astounding fact that in Africa, where so many parks and reserves have been created and where indigenous evictions run highest, 90 percent of biodiversity lies outside of protected areas? If we want to preserve biodiversity in the far reaches of the globe, places that are in many cases still occupied by indigenous people living in ways that are ecologically sustainable, history is showing us that the dumbest thing we can do is kick them out.

http://www.orionmagazine.org/index.php/articles/article/161/

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