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Inconvenient Truths About Tar Sands Action

Manufacturing Dissent

April 24, 2012

The Insider | Counterpunch

 

August 2011’s 350.org/BillMcKibben-lead Tar Sands Action was hailed by its ring-leaders as both “unprecedented” in nature, and in size, “the largest collective act of civil disobedience in the history
 of the climate movement.”    At the commencement of the action it even appeared as if a collective front had formed to do whatever it took to close down TransCanadas proposed Keystone XL pipeline, or “shut down the machine,” ala Mario Savio, if you will.

With a blaring headline, the Tar Sands Action announced on August 24, 2011 that the “Nations Largest Environmental Organizations
Stand Together To Oppose Oil Pipeline.” It was on that day that leaders from groups including Greenpeace USA, the Sierra Club, Rainforest Action Network, Friends of the Earth and the Environmental Defense Fund co-signed a letter to President Barack Obama telling him

“We want to let you know that there is not an inch of daylight between our policy position on the Keystone Pipeline and those of the very civil protesters being arrested daily outside the White House…It’s perhaps the biggest climate test you face between now and the election. If you block it, you will trigger a surge of enthusiasm from the green base that supported you so strongly in the last election.”

350.org Founder Bill McKibben remarked on the groups’ letter in a triumphant manner, “They’ve all shown that there is one way to demonstrate to the environmental base that the rhetoric of Obama’s 2008 campaign is still meaningful—and that’s to veto this pipeline.”

When all was said and done, some 1,252 activists from all walks of life had been arrested in front of the White House. A “movement is being born,” declared McKibben on September 3.

Really? Let’s examine this new “movement.”

Clearly it has thousands of fans, and has been widely celebrated as a stunning climate “victory” by grassroots activists. But is that the real story? Or was it in fact a manipulated charade, funded and run with loads of money from pro-Obama Democrats through non-transparent organizations like the Tides Foundation?

Noam Chomsky’s famous book on the American system of media and propaganda is titled, “Manufacturing Consent.” In this case of the Tar Sands Action we see how big liberal Democratic funders have mastered the propaganda technique of “manufacturing dissent.”

As will be seen, what occurred over the past several months was nothing more than well-funded, political theater and public relations. It was not social change, nor was it grassroots empowerment.

Quite the opposite, Tar Sands Action was a sophisticated, extremely well-funded model for creating the illusion of movement building, complete with mass civil disobedience, but the real goal, mirroring its cousin, “The 99 Spring,” was (and is) to hammer Republicans and fire up grassroots enthusiasm for Barack Obama’s re-election campaign.

Tar Sands Action: Part of Broader Tides Foundation “Tar Sands Campaign” 

When green groups announced, in an elated manner, that they had a united front to shut down the Keystone XL, what they really should have said, if they were being honest, is that they had a united funding pool and accompanying message machine, feeding from the trough of the Tides Foundation, a non-transparent slush fund into which numerous other institutional and wealthy private money managers pool cash into political “activist” campaigns.

To the public the campaign was referred to as the “Tar Sands Action,” but to insiders it is simply known as the “Tar Sands Campaign,” and sometimes also referred to as the No Tar Sands Coalition or the No Tar Sands Oil Coalition.” The Tar Sands Action is but one small piece of an ongoing multi-year campaign that began in August  2009, with Corporate Ethics International (CEI) serving as the Campaign’s “nerve center.”

The timing of the Tides Foundation August 2009 gift was interesting given that it began several months into the President Barack Obama’s first term. Perhaps the raison d’etre was to manufacture an Obama a “green victory” during his first term in the run up to the 2012 election? More on that to come.

The Campaign is the “largest cross-border collaborative environmental campaign ever waged,” proclaimed CEI on its website. CEI oversees the Business Ethics Network, or BEN. Kenny Bruno, a former member of Greenpeace USA’s Board of Directors, serves as the Campaign Coordinator, according to this LinkedIn page. His “speciality,” according to his Linked In, “is the combination of research, writing, media work, advocacy, coalition building and action known as ‘campaigns.’”

The key funder of this Campaign — though not made public by CEI — is the Tides Foundation. A January 2012 story in the Financial Post explains, “In both the U.S. and Canada, a large number of the groups that campaign against [tar sands] oil are funded by Tides USA…Tides USA and its sister organization, Tides Canada, have paid a total of US$10.2-million to 44 organizations…In 2010 alone, Tides USA made grants to 36 groups specifically for something called the ‘Tar Sands Campaign.’”

The story goes on to explain, “The top recipient of money for the Tides ‘Tar Sands campaign’ is [CEI]…From 2009 to 2010, Tides USA nearly doubled payments to CEI, to $1,450,000 from $750,000.” The list of the NGO’s funded by “Tar Sands Campaign” slush fund can be seen here. Naturally, it was most of the organizations “standing together” on the front lines of the Tar Sands Action to stop the Keystone XL Pipeline.

A July  2008 PowerPoint presentation goes further in demonstrating how the Tar Sands Campaign funding stream works, with insiders at the meeting referring to the millions flowing in simply as the “Tides Tar Sands Fund.”

Presenters at this meeting included the likes of Michael Northrop, Program Officer of the Rockefeller Brothers Fund; Michael Marx, then Executive Director of CEI and now head of the Sierra ClubsBeyond Oil Campaign; and Susan Casey-Lefkowitz, Director of the Natural Resource Defense Council’s International Program. “Tax records from the Rockefeller Brothers Fund indicate that it sent $1.25 million to Michael Marx’s organization, Corporate Ethics International, between December 2007 and November 2010,” explained the right-wing website, The Daily Caller, in a February 2012 investigation.

Rockefeller Brothers Fund, it should also be recalled, is the key patron of Bill McKibbens 350.org (of Standard Oil fame), which explains 350.org’s role in leading the Tar Sands Action.

What’s obvious here is that the Tar Sands Action was the climax of the years-long elite-funded Green NGO campaign to stop the Keystone XL. But why all the money invested to stop one measly pipeline anyway?

Unpacking the Tar Sands Action: Reviving “Brand Obama” 

Never mentioned in the Tar Sands Campaign/Tar Sands Action conversation by the likes of Bill McKibben and Friends, of course, was the fact that Obama had already approved a key tar sands pipeline in August 2009: Enbridges Alberta Clipper Pipeline. The Alberta Clipper moves tar sands crude from Alberta, Canada southeastward to Superior, WI at a rate of 450,000 barrels per day, where it is taken to the Murphy Oil refinery, then piped to various key markets. To borrow former Vice President and now “climate hawk” Al Gore’s documentary title, this is “an inconvenient truth,” to be certain.

Given the completely disastrous environmental track record of the President with an All-The-Aboveenergy policy during his first term, ranging from boisterous approval of offshore oil drilling, Arctic drilling, shale gas drilling (“fracking”)support forclean coal development,” support for nuclear energy, you name it, the Tar Sands Action, it is clear for those willing to look, was a beyond desperate effort by Obama’s key patrons, funneling money to green NGOs vis-a-vis the Tides Foundation, to manufacture a green “victory” prior to the 2012 election to sell to his “voting base.”

It is really no wonder then, that Obama imagery and language reigned supreme for the Action. Examples:

?      In the June 2011 “call to actionfor the Tar Sands Action, McKibben and Friends wrote a letter requesting that actionists wear their Obama 2008 “Hope and Change” memorabilia to the front lines: “And another sartorial tip—if you wore an Obama button during the 2008 campaign, why not wear it again? We very much still want to believe in the promise of that young Senator who told us that with his election the ‘rise of the oceans would begin to slow and the planet start to heal.’”

?      NoKXLsigns featuring the ObamaOlogo from the his 2008 presidential campaign.

?      The trademarking of the “Yes We CanStop the Pipeline” chant, a throwback to the ridiculous ObamaYes We Canspeech he made in January 2008 in the aftermath of the New Hampshire primary second place finish, and the creepy chant it inspired in the run-up to his 2008 electoral victory over John McCain.

?      Scores of references to “exciting the green voting base” and “not alienating volunteers,” including asking Obama to “live up to his 2008 campaign promises.”

?      A peeved Ralph Nader described his experience at one of the days of the Action: “Observers told me that there were to be no criticisms of Barack Obama. McKibben wore an Obama pin on the stage. Obama t-shirts were seen out in the crowd.”

?      Most obvious, perhaps, was the Nov. 6, 2011 “make anOchain around the White Houseevent called for by the Tar Sands Action, symbolizing an “O” for Obama.

In the Sept. 3, 2011 Tar Sands Action “movement being born” statement, McKibben went so far to say, “We are not going to do President Obama the favor of attacking him. We are going to hold the Obama campaign to the standard it set in 2008. Denying this pipeline would send a jolt of electricity through the people that elected this president.”

English translation: The Tar Sands Action was nothing more than an astroturf movement and pawn of the elite Tides Foundation Democratic Party allied funders. It served merely as an attempt to reinvigorate his “voting base” that fell in love with what author Chris Hedges refers to as “Brand Obama” in 2008.

“Brand Obama offers us an image that appears radically individualistic and new. It inoculates us from seeing that the old engines of corporate power and the vast military-industrial complex continue to plunder the country,” explains Hedges. “Corporations, which control our politics, no longer produce products that are essentially different, but brands that are different. Brand Obama does not threaten the core of the corporate state any more than did Brand George W. Bush.”

The “Victory” Dance Charade 

On multiple occasions, the Tar Sands Action/Tar Sands Campaign and its supporters have danced thevictorydance, proclaiming a big win for the climate justice movement.

“Um, we won. You won,” stated McKibben on November 10 after the Obama Administration kicked the can down the road on the Keystone XL Pipeline decision until after the 2012 electoral campaign. “It’s important to understand how unlikely this victory is. Six months ago, almost no one outside the pipeline route even knew about Keystone,” he continued. “The American people spoke loudly about climate change and the president responded. There have been few even partial victories about global warming in recent years so that makes this an important day.”

Nearly 10,000 people shared the euphoric (and propagandistic) statement by McKibben on Facebook.

“In case you haven’t heard the thunderous celebration by the North American climate movement, today the State Dept is set to outright reject the Keystone XL pipeline. #booyah,” stated  350.org organizer Joshua Kahn Russell. “This is a reminder that people power works. Direct Action works. Social movements work. Grassroots organizing works. Lets take some time today to celebrate another huge victory. Every time we win, it builds our resolve for the next fight.”

Even principled radicals were elated and drank the kool-aid on this one. This includes the likes of the website Waging Nonviolence, the socialist group Solidarity, and author Naomi Klein.

The victory dance, of course, rings hollow for the indigenous communities suffering who live in Alberta close to tar sands extraction sites, for the suffering communities where tar sands pipelines and refineries are already a daily reality; for citizens who live in North Dakota where, due to lack of pipeline infrastructure, fracked oil and gas is being flared ofat unprecedented rates; and generally speaking, for those who understand full well how expansive the tar sands industry already is in North America. As Mother Jones made clear in a great January 2012 article, there’s no hiding fromthe tar sands oil at this point in time in this continent.

Another inconvenient truth: the tar sands oil will be transported with or without the Keystone XL.

This is due to the fact that one of President Obama’s most loyal billionaire patrons, Warren Buffett (one of the richest men on the planet), owner of the holding company Berkshire Hathaway, owns the railroad company BNSF via Berkshire. BNSF, in turn, has the capacity and will to rail more barrels of tar sands crude per day to the U.S. than does the Keystone XL, according to a January report written by DeSmogBlog.

Meanwhile, the oil continues to flow to coastal Texas anyway, with a late-March rubber stamp by the Obama Administration of the TransCanada Cushing Extension.

Tar Sands Action and Manufactured Dissent 

John Stauber and Sheldon Rampton, in their book “Toxic Sludge is Book For You: Lies, Damn Lies and the Public Relations Industry” have a key chapter titled “Divide and Conquer,” which explains how well-paid and well-trained PR professional work overtime, applying the classic tools of counterinsurgency (think “winning hearts and minds”) to destroy radical grassroots activist movements.

They explained:

“The public relations industry . . . carefully cultivates activists who can be coopted into working against the goals of their movement. This strategy has been outlined in detail by Ronald Duchin, senior vice-president of PR spy firm Mongoven, Biscoe and Duchin [MBD]. . . In a 1991 speech to the National Cattlemen’s Association, he described how MBD works to divide and conquer activist movements. Activists, he explained, fall into four distinct categories: ‘radicals,’ ‘opportunists,’ ‘idealists,’ and ‘realists,.’ He outlined a three-step strategy: (1) isolate the radicals; (2) ‘cultivate’ the idealists and ‘educate’ them into becoming realists; then (3) coopt the realists into agreeing with industry.

According to Duchin, radical activists ‘want to change the system; have underlying socio/political motives’ and see multinational corporations as ‘inherently evil. . . These organizations do not trust the . . . federal state and local governments to protect them and to safeguard the environment. They believe, rather, that individuals and local groups should have direct power over industry. . .

Duchin defines opportunists as people who engage in activism seeking ‘visibility, power, followers and, perhaps, even employment. . .The key to dealing with opportunists is to provide them with at least the perception of partial victory. . . If your industry can successfully bring about these relationships, the credibility of the radicals will be lost and opportunists can be counted on to share in the final policy solution.’”

Put in the context of the Keystone XL Pipeline, the “radicals” have long been isolated and were boxed out of having a voice at Keystone XL rallies. Ralph Nader, as one example, was denied a chance to speak and wrote publicly about the shenanigans surrounding that particular decision.

The “idealists” here were the rank-and-file day-to-day worker-bees writing press releases and doing social media work for 350.org and Friends who became True Believers in the mission, as well as the 1,000+ arrestees, many of whom ironically probably flew to Washington, DC to get arrested on planes fueled by tar sands crude.

The “realists”? Those who soon realized President Obama is a puppet of the oil and gas industry and will simply lie and cajole Obama into winning a second term and four more years cutting deals for multinational corporations at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.

He is such a puppet, in fact, that one of the senior advisors of his campaign team, Broderick Johnson (husband of NPRsAll Things Consideredhost Michelle Norris), was formerly a lobbyist for Bryan Cave LLP and was contracted by TransCanada to lobby the Obama Administration on the Keystone XL pipeline. In addition, the Administration’s State Department team assigned to approve or disapprove of the pipeline was — surprise, surprise — stacked to the brim with revolving door ties to TransCanada, in a situation DeSmogBlog described well, calling it “State Department Oil Services.”

Exhibit A of “realist” behavior: the behavior of the Sierra Club, the League of Conservation Voters, Clean Water Action, and Environment America, who, in completely predictable fashion, have already endorsed Obama for President in 2012 despite his completely atrocious environmental record.

“The Sierra Club and our 1.4 million members and supporters share the same vision for America as the president for a prosperous and innovative economy that protects the air we breathe, the water we drink and the health of our families,” said Sierra Club Executive Director Michael Brune in a statement to The Hill that could have come straight out of The Onion.

Coming full circle, 350.org and Democratic Party allied Friends have now re-charged their email lists for the upcoming election, having gained thousands upon thousands of new people to spread their message to and convert into clicktivists who will hopefully contribute money to the ObamaIm In” 2012 Presidential campaign, ecological landscape be damned.

“Civil Obedience” 

Activist John Stauber, author of the aforementioned “Toxic Sludge is Good for You,” weighed in on the manner, telling The Insider,

“Martin Luther King must be turning in his grave.  The much-hyped victory for civil disobedience at the White House claimed by 350.org last November is a mirage. Rather than civil disobedience, it looks now like civil obedience, pursuing the goal that President Obama smell like an Earth Day rose for his heroic stand against the XL Pipeline. The commentators in the mainstream corporate media never bought the progressive liberal hype flooding the blogosphere and media from Democracy Now! to The Nation. The crusty corporate media observers knew at the time that Obama was simply signaling that in 2013 he would be approving XL. Connecting the dots, as 350.org likes to say, it’s clear that the XL victory was a setup of epic proportions.”

Stauber continued,

“The truth is that real non-violent civil disobedience is a powerful strategy and tactic in the hands of a genuine, transparent movement of grassroots organizers. But both 350.org and its cousin The 99 Spring are driven by invisible funders with their own financial and political agenda who supply the money to do the organizing.

The jig’s up, says Stauber, but that doesn’t mean all hope is lost.

“I would love to see the real people who have bought the hype and taken these civil disobedience trainings, and who have gone through the arrests, rise up and seize control of their own movement.”

Genuine movements come from the grassroots, not the invisible patronage of millionaires and billionaires. As the old adage goes, “You live and you learn.”

The Insider is the pseudonym of an activist who works inside the Liberal Foundation-Funded Democratic Party-Allied Belly of the Beast.

Keystone XL | The Ivory Towers Crushing the Last Remnants of Climate Justice

By Cory Morningstar

January 20, 2011

 

A recent article was posted to an International Climate Justice Now! listserv written by “agent” Jamie Henn of 350.org/1Sky/Tar Sands Action. The 16 January 2012 article titled “Grassroots Strategy Is Key to Winning Keystone XL Fight” gave the impression that the mainstream green groups were a magnificent force to be dealt with due to an unprecedented “grassroots” effort united.

Really?

It appears he missed Tom Goldtooth’s (Indigenous Environmental Network) interview published 5 December 2011 by The Africa Report:

“We have challenged, and become very unpopular for raising the issue of, classism, which is [a] source of the problem and requires an economic analysis if the environmental and climate narrative is to be truthful…. Look at 350.org – we had to challenge them to bring us to stand with them on the pipeline issue. Bill McKibben, the ivory tower white academic, didn’t even want to take the time to bring people of colour to the organising. We managed a negotiation that allowed for both groups to unite.” … “Well, it is always the case with the media that ‘white is right’ or that global issues affecting people of color on the frontline should be represented by the type of voices that don’t engage, in a threatening way, the realities of capitalism. There are also many fashionable voices that become part of the establishment in the sense that while they do espouse the truth, it [does] not pose a threat for change, for ending the system, because someone has adopted a cause that they were not born into. The communities that live in the cancer hotspots, in the immediate environment, their voices are too real, too threatening. Meanwhile, infiltration continues – …”

 

When I start seeing articles posted on an international climate justice listserv from 350.org celebrating NRDC [1]and friends, co-opting MLK (Martin Luther King, Jr.) for their own (branding) purposes and legitimising the Obama tagline “Yes We Can” (language that in turn gives “hope” that citizens may see “a certain young senator from Illinois” re-emerge), with no dissent to be found, it tells me that my good friend and legitimate activist Sandy was right. This Climate Justice Network has become CAN (Climate Action Network)[2] in drag. [January 2012: “But as an openly gay man can I say that sometimes I read the cjn postings and feel like cjn at times is becoming CAN in drag, in other words we have been infiltrated, so I wonder whether it is too late to lock the chicken coop when the fox is already inside.”]

Unravelling the Deception of a False Movement

Part III of an Investigative Report into Tar Sands Action & the Paralysis of a Movement

Published September 23, 2011 by Political Context: http://bit.ly/n8KiGL and Canadians for Action on Climate Change: http://bit.ly/qYogFD

by Cory Morningstar

Unravelling the Deception of a False Movement

 

 “The masses have never thirsted after truth. They turn aside from evidence that is not to their taste, preferring to deify error, if error seduce them. Whoever can supply them with illusions is easily their master; whoever attempts to destroy their illusions is always their victim” – Gustave Le Bon, 1895

In 2007 Pembina Institute submitted their infamous tar sands Carbon Neutral by 2020 report to the federal government for hearings on energy and greenhouse gas emissions regulations. This report is a most valuable asset to industry as it portrays the false illusion that it is possible for the tar sands to become “sustainable”. Further, it is an environmental “leader” making the claim as opposed to industry – a gift to the industrial capitalists. The false solutions used to perpetuate such a myth are clearly defined under the Pembina “key conclusions” such as:Carbon neutrality can be achieved by combining on-site GHG reductions using measures such as energy efficiency and/or fuel switching (to lower carbon fuels), carbon capture and storage, and/or purchasing offsets.” On November 14, 2010, Globe and Mail Business reported that Pembina (while standing as a lead ENGO in Climate Action Network [1]) essentially supports the continuation of the tar sands. In the article, Jennifer Grant, oil sands program director with the Pembina Institute, was quoted as saying: “The government needs to identify what the environmental limits are in a cumulative sense for oil sands development to proceed responsibly….”

“We can only hope that the last vestiges of manifest destiny don’t kill us off completely. Poisoning our earth in the name of profits and billionaire well-being, this is what our capitalist society stands for. Everyone wants their name at the top of the marquee in this play of the grand delusion.” — Harold One Feather

On February 25, 2010, a Globe and Mail article titled “What the forestry industry is teaching the oil sands” is most revealing. In 1996, Tom Stephens was named chief executive officer of MacMillan Bloedel Corporation, whose clearcutting of old-growth forests had provoked rage, as well as the single-largest act of civil disobedience in Canadian history at Clayoquot Sound in B.C. Caught up in a public relations nightmare, MacMillan Bloedel had the insight that it would be far wiser to engage with specific leaders: “Rather than continuing to fight the protesters, they decided to engage with them, setting in motion a transformation of forest practices that not only assuaged opponents, but also led to more profits.” One such young protester who made up the “Women of Clayoquot” was today’s “green capitalist” Tzeporah Berman, who now works for Greenpeace International. (Berman is also an endorser of the Ottawa Tar Sands Action) Janet Annesley, who campaigned for Greenpeace on the Clayoquot Sound issue, is now vice-president of communications for the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers. Today, Stephens finds himself in a new environmental battle: “He is a director of TransCanada Corp., whose pipelines serve the oil sands and whose fortunes ride on their success. He knows the value of an industry confronting its environmental demons.” [Emphasis added]

That’s an understatement.

Video: Paul Watson speaks on Greenpeace (Running Time: 7:20)

Language

 

“Political language is designed to make lies sound truthful and murder respectable …” George Orwell

Over the past years the original campaign phrase/message of “shut down the tar sands!” has slowly dissolved into much more passive language and verbal communication such as “there must be no more exploration of the tar sands until it can be done without destroying the environment.” On September 15, 2011 Council of Canadians announced the Canadian version of the tar sands civil obedience action to occur on Parliament Hill, Ottawa on September 26, 2011. The announcement calls for “an end to the destruction caused by the tar sands.”

The end of destruction caused by the tar sands is much different then calling for the shutting down of the tar sands. What constitutes destruction is not the same as ending production.

Further, even if it were possible – to extract tar sands without exploiting the Earth (which it is not), the end result is that the refined fossil fuels are burned. Burning equals CO2. Burning equals pollution.

On August 1, 2011 the following excerpt is taken from an article featured on the Indigenous Environmental Network website (quote originates from Chief Allan Adam of the Athabasca Chipewyan First Nation):

“Until Alberta makes meaningful efforts to protect land, regulate industry and ensure that First Nations are at the table as full partners to develop solutions to the serious environmental challenges that government and industry are creating, they can count on our opposition to further development within the region.” [emphasis added]

 

Above image: The 2010 Boreal Award was presented to Chief Allan Adam by Boreal Leadership Council member Bob Walker, of Northwest and Ethical Investments. 2009 nominees in attendance included Kimberly-Clark, Suncor Energy Inc. Stephen Harper’s henchman, John Baird was presented with an award in 2008. The 2009 and 2010 gala was sponsored by Nexen, Al-Pac, Domtar and Suncor.

The Inner Workings of Corporate Environmentalism

“Reformers who are always compromising, have not yet grasped the idea that truth is the only safe ground to stand upon.” – Elizabeth Stanton

From “The Decline of Big Green, Part One Shaky Foundations: Toxic Sources, Tainted Money” by Jeffrey St. Clair:

Philanthropy and its purposes haven’t changed much since Rockefeller millions were dispensed to winch the family name out of the mud, particularly after the Ludlow massacre when Rockefeller minions broke a strike by spraying with oil and then igniting tents filled with women and children.

…Nearly a century later, the environmental movement, supposedly big oil’s implacable foe, found itself on the receiving end of about $50 million a year from three oil conglomerates, operating through front groups politely described as private foundations. [2]

…In 1948 the family set up the Pew Charitable Trust, based in Philadelphia, with an endowment totalling nearly $4 billion in the year 2000. [3] …The utility of buying the loyalty of liberals impressed itself on the family rather late, in the 1980s. But since then they have more than made up for lost time. By the beginning of the second Clinton term, the Pew Charitable Trusts represented one of the largest donors to the environmental movement, with about $250 million a year invested. [4] …Pew rarely went it alone. It preferred to work in coalitions with those other foundations, which meant almost no radical opposition to their cautious environmental policies can get any money. [5]

…But this did not tell the full story of coercion through money. One of the conditions attached to the receipt of Pew grant money was that attention be focused on government actions. Corporate wrongdoers were not to be pursued. With Pew money rolling their way, the environmental opposition became muted, judicious and finally disappeared. As long-time New Mexico environmentalist Sam Hitt put it: “Pew comes into a region like a Death Star, creating organizations that are all hype and no substance, run by those whose primary aim is merely to maintain access to foundation funding.”

Meanwhile, the endowed money held by these trusts was carefully invested in the very corporations that a vigorous environmental movement would be adamantly opposing. An examination of Pew’s portfolio in 1995 revealed that its money was invested in timber firms, mining companies, oil companies, arms manufacturers and chemical companies. The annual yield from these investments far exceeded the dispensations to environmental groups. [6]

…In the crucial Clinton years, Alton Jones [another oil company that funds environmental groups] maintained an endowment of $220 million and in 1994 handed out $15.8 million in grants. [7]

…The last of the three big environmental foundations is the Rockefeller Family Fund. [8] …The Rockefeller Family Fund, in its 1993 IRS filing, held $3.5 million in oil and gas stocks, including Amerada Hess (one of the first companies to drill on Alaska’s North Slope and company convicted of price fixing) … and extensive holdings in the Ten Worst Corporations. [9] …The Rockefeller Family Fund also maintained hefty investments in mining companies, including ASARCO, an outfit with a distinctly noxious environmental rap sheet. Its activities have laid waste to western Montana, easily overwhelming the yelps of the Mineral Policy Center, which conducted a futile campaign against the company, partially funding by the RFF.

The Ross-run fund also invested money in FMC and Freeport-McMoRan, whose worldwide depredations were on the cutting edge not only of ecocide but – in Indonesia – of genocide as well. The Rockefeller Funds’ mineral and chemical companies holdings exceeded a million dollars in 1993.

In that same year, the RFF had a strong position in timber giant Weyerhaeuser, the largest private landowning company in North America. The potential for conflicts of interests endemic to all foundations with the ability to influence federal policy is sharply illustrated here. The Rockefeller Family Fund was one of the lead architects of the foundation-funded campaign to protect ancient forests on federal lands in the Pacific Northwest. Any reduction, actual or prospective, of timber available for logging on public lands drives up the value of privately-held timber tracts. The Fund was in a position to make a killing by buying Weyerhaeuser stock low and selling it high, before large-scale logging resumed on public lands.

The Family Fund was nicely covered because it also had holdings of $237,000 in Boise-Cascade, which at the time was the largest purchaser of federal timber sales in the Northwest. Indeed, in 1993 Boise-Cascade bought the rights to log the controversial Sugarloaf tract of 800-year-old Douglas fir trees in southern Oregon’s Siskiyou National Forest, courtesy of a released injunction engineered by a deal between the Clinton administration and environmental groups funded and closely supervised Ross’s organization. Ross also played a key role in the hiring of Democratic Party hack Bob Chlopak (another former Naderite) to oversee the conversion of a tough national grassroots movement to fight Clinton to the death over the permanent protection of old-growth forests into a supine national coalition that swiftly draped itself in the white flag of surrender.

Even after Donald Ross left the Rockefeller Family he continued to stride between two worlds. Ross formed a lobby / PR shop called M + R Strategic Services, where his clients, according to SourceWatch, included both environmental groups (the Nature Conservancy, NRD.C., the National Wildlife Federation and Earth Justice) and environmental foundations (Hewlitt Foundation, Patagonia, Lazar Foundation, and Wilberforce – as well as the Rockefeller Family Fund). He didn’t forget the corporations either. In 2009, Ross became chairman of the board of a defanged Greenpeace.

All of these foundations had their bets nicely covered, both politically and financially. The once unruly grassroots green movement was brought under tight control through annual disbursements of funds, rewarded on the condition that these groups follow the dictates of the funders. At times this meant giving up hard-won legal injunctions. In other instances, it meant refraining from filing politically sensitive lawsuits to stop timber sales or gold mines and muting its public criticism of Democratic politicians.

With court injunctions lifted, there was only one way for environmentalists to confront illegal and ecologically destructive operations: civil disobedience. And that was a tactic the big foundations would never underwrite. Disobey these conditions and a group risked the annual renewal of its funding. Precious few did.”

That is, until now. The web of deceit has grown much more sophisticated.

The Precedent for the Tar Sands Sell-Out Has Already Been Set – Junk Environmentalism

This is nothing new and we’ve seen it before.

It is imperative that citizens and grassroots recognize that many of the big greens behind The Tar Sands Action campaign (including RAN, Greenpeace, and the David Suzuki Foundation) are the same organizations that sold out the Boreal Forest in 2008 and 2010. Not all the groups sold out. There were exceptions. Most recently Greenpeace, WWF, and RAN are all under fire for what Dr. Glen Barry calls The Great Rainforest Heist: The FSC and REDD + conspiracy to log Earth’s last primary forests.

Daniel Kessler, the communications person for Tar Sands Action Group, now works for RAN as their Energy & Finance Communications Manager. RAN played an integral role in the sell-out of the Boreal Forest referred to in the above article. Prior to RAN Kessler worked as Manager of Communications at Greenpeace International. Kessler’s view of an environmental “success” mirrors his belief in the false illusion that green capitalism will save us. Kessler: “For Apple to go green would be a tremendous symbolic move for the green industry.”

Video: The Canadian Boreal Forest Agreement (Corporate Environmentalism in a Nutshell) (Running time: 61 seconds) Posted by The Forest Products Association Canada: The Canadian Boreal Forest Agreement – Toronto News Conference highlights, with Avrim Lazar (FPAC) and Richard Brooks (Greenpeace).

Secret Agreement in the Works Between ENGOs and Tar Sands Industry

November 9, 2010: In the article titled “Secret Agreement in the Works Between ENGOs and Tar Sands Industry,” journalist Dru Oja Jay writes:

Will environmentalists continue to allow foundation funding to dictate to the movement? A slew of recent articles have pointed to the likelihood that some foundation-funded environmental groups and the tar sands extraction industry are getting ready to make peace and sign a deal. The precedent, these reports note, has been set with the Canadian Boreal Forest Agreement and the Great Bear Rainforest Agreement. What the media coverage doesn’t mention is the actual character of these previous deals, and the unprecedented consolidation of funder influence in the hands of one man that is driving environmental groups toward such an agreement. [10] [11]

…On October 21, John Spears of the Toronto Star interviewed FPAC’s Avrim Lazar, who told Spears of the calls he was fielding from oil company executives curious about the logging companies’ experience finding common ground with environmental groups. Lazar said that an important precursor to an agreement is for both parties to recognize that tar sands operations have an environmental impact, but for environmentalists to ‘stop calling oil sands extraction an abomination that has to be stopped.’

…Oil companies left no doubt about their interest in an agreement. What about their ENGO partners?

They waited until October 23 to express interest. Ross McMillan, CEO of Tides Canada Foundation, wrote a letter to the Financial Post in response to a right wing attack on foundation funding for anti-tar sands work published on October 15.

“At Tides Canada we are working to bridge these two polarized camps,” wrote McMillan, referring to environmentalists and oil companies. McMillan, who was also slated to attend the aborted “fireside chat” [see 9] in April, went on to cite Tides’ role in the 2001 Great Bear Rainforest Agreement, which dealt with a massive area of BC’s central coast. When that agreement was signed, ForestEthics negotiators emerged from secret negotiations with logging companies to announce that they had signed a deal for 20 percent protection. That was less than half of what scientists said was the minimum area that would need to be preserved to avoid damaging biodiversity, and it violated protocol agreements they had signed with local ENGOs and First Nations. None of that mattered to the signatories, who proclaimed themselves victorious.

There are two key differences between agreements signed ten years ago, and those anticipated today.

First, deals have become even more transparently meaningless. Greenpeace and company literally declared that they had ‘saved the Boreal forest’ by signing an agreement that actually makes no net change in the amount of logging. No CBFA signatory can say with a straight face that they have protected an area the size of Germany, though press releases on their site still make that claim. Even the Great Bear Rainforest Agreement completely preserved 20 percent of the vast forest. Though some activists say that ENGOs subsequently turned a blind eye to clearcutting on Vancouver Island, negating even those gains.

Second, and most crucially, funders have consolidated control of funding for anti-tar sands campaigns to an unprecedented extent. Anyone who wants foundation funding (which most ENGOs rely on) for their campaigns has to talk to Corporate Ethics founder Michael Marx. Marx and his coordinators set funding priorities through the “Tar Sands Coalition,” a structure that, according to internal documents, is supposed to remain “invisible to the outside.”

All of the money for the Tar Sands Coalition comes through Tides Canada Foundation. We know little about where it originates, though the bulk of it comes from U.S. mega-foundations like the Pew Charitable Trusts, which outed itself as the architect of the CBFA after giving millions to environmental groups doing Boreal forest work. Other big donors include the Rockefeller Brothers Fund, the Gordon & Betty Moore Foundation, William & Flora Hewlett Foundation, and the David & Lucile Packard Foundation.

Together, they have given at least $4.3 million to tar sands campaigns since 2000. Together, they hold vast power to decide the fate of those campaigns.

Control over the vast majority of ENGO funding for tar sands work is firmly in the hands of Michael Marx, on behalf of foundations with a taste for collaborative agreements. Journalists seem willing to print claims about “saving the Boreal forest” or “protecting an area the size of Germany” without seeing any actual agreement. [12]

350.org Quietly Infiltrates Canada

 

3 March 2011, as found on The Pearson College website: “Dear Friends, Something exciting is brewing in Canada right now. 350.org is working with a new political organization called Leadnow, spearheaded by our friend Jamie Biggar, and we wanted you to be on the ground floor of this exciting initiative.”

Jamie Biggar is the co-founder and executive director of leadnow.ca. Biggar is an endorser and likely key organizer of, the Tar Sands Action in Ottawa. Adam Shedletzky is founding director and board representative of LeadNow modeled after MoveOn.org (USA) and GetUp.org.au. Shedletsky was the Canadian coordinator for the 350.org 10/10/10 global work party and a former management consultant. His background/education is global strategy and finance. In 2005 he co-founded It’s Getting Hot In Here (asdiscussed in the article Rockefellers’ 1Sky Unveils the New 350.org | More $ – More Delusion).

In the 2 September 2011 article, 350.org/LeadNow: Leadership or Sabotage?, the author states “Leadnow.ca is yet another unfocused, fuzzy, unprovocative and unimaginative organization dedicated to all the good things liberals crave. They are a perfect fit for our 350.org/1Sky group, detached as they are from political reality and dedicated to distracting and detaching the rest of us from meaningful, forceful action on global warming and the environment.”

Big Oil Funds the “Opposition”

“The ability to deal with people is as purchasable a commodity as sugar or coffee and I will pay more for that ability than for any other under the sun.” – David Rockefeller, current patriarch of the Rockefeller family and only surviving grandchild of oil tycoon John D. Rockefeller, founder of Standard Oil

Another big green “leading the opposition” to the Keystone expansion is the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC). The largest donors to the NRDC include the Pew Foundation (Sun Oil/Sunoco), the W. Alton Jones Foundation (Citgo), and the Rockefeller Brothers Fund (Standard Oil/Exxon Mobil). The Rockefeller family initiated the Environmental Grantmakers’ Association. The British Royals (BP) as well as Prince Bernhard (Shell) and the Rockefellers were principal actors in initiating the World Wildlife Federation (WWF) as well as the World Wildlife Fund for Nature (WWFN). The International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) NGO partners with corporations such as Shell and boasts “corporate green” members such as NRDC. The IUCN has funding of approximately $100 million in 2010 with funding from the private sector increasing considerably. The three largest conservation organizations worldwide – The Nature Conservancy, WWF, and Conservation International combined revenues exceed $2 billion (2007), more than double their revenues in 2000. Of this, the three groups received at least $35 million more from their corporate partnerships in 2010 than in 2003, although their annual reports do not clarify all sources of corporate funding. Nature Conservancy’s president and CEO is former Goldman Sachs Group executive Mark Tercek. Former Nature Conservancy presidentHenry Paulson also made his rounds through the revolving doors of Goldman Sachs. Nature Conservancy board member, Muneer Satter, also originated from Goldman Sachs.

Access and control over the environmental movement ensures the ability of capitalism to shape and control the movement. This is why the corporations initiate and fund NGOs, co-opting militant environmentalism, and diminishing possible dissent. Funding NGOs, via tax-exempt foundations, is a good business investment. As an example, the Packard Foundation currently has approximately one billion dollars invested in the false illusion of successfully drilling methane hydrates.

“350.org: $1,661,440.00. 1Sky: $3,425,549.00. The plutocracy owning and controlling the movement? Priceless.”

Since 2000, U.S. foundations have provided approximately $300 million to Canadian organizations to undertake Canadian conservation initiatives and “reform” of Canadian resource-based industries. At minimum $210 million came from five U.S. foundations: the Rockefeller Brothers Fund, the Pew Charitable Trusts, the William & Flora Hewlett Foundation, the David & Lucile Packard Foundation, and the Gordon & Betty Moore Foundation. Over $120 million in U.S. foundations’ money was designated to the Great Bear Rainforest Initiative on the coast of British Columbia and the Boreal Forest Initiative.

Since 2002, The Pew Charitable Trusts has spent $44 million on the Boreal Forest Initiative in Canada. Canada’s forests cover some of the planet’s largest deposits of minerals and energy resources. Two of Pew’s grants for the Boreal Forest Initiative are audaciously titled “British Columbia Mining.”

Many U.S. foundations have made grants that explicitly spell out over-reliance on fossil fuels as a matter of national security.

National security is an understatement.

Burn Your Obama Buttons

“The amount of blood thirst in this country is fucking barbaric.” – Nathaniel St. Clair, Counterpunch

 

Like victims of abuse, the liberal Left call upon our abusers for a kinder, gentler, more “ethical” abuse. They stand by and support those who continue to tell us to wear our buttons to demonstrate our unwavering support of, and steadfast belief in, our abusers. They work hard to convince us that we, such moral citizens, can appeal to and thus change the abusers. Such illusion will sentence most all life on Earth to certain death.

In a July 2011 article, McKibben told us: “Bring Your Obama Buttons – Momentum Builds for White House Tar Sands Action.”

From the Bill McKibben article appearing July 10 2011, The Great American Carbon Bomb:

If you want to sign up to be part of it, here’s the place to go … Two weeks ago, for instance, a few veteran environmentalists, myself included, issued a call for protest against Canada’s plans to massively expand oil imports from the tar sands regions of Alberta. We set up a new website, tarsandsaction.org, and judging from the early response, it could result in the largest civil disobedience actions in the climate-change movement’s history on this continent, as hundreds, possibly thousands, of concerned activists converge on the White House in August. They’ll risk arrest to demand something simple and concrete from President Obama: that he refuse to grant a license for Keystone XL, a new pipeline from Alberta to the Gulf of Mexico that would vastly increase the flow of tar sands oil through the U.S., ensuring that the exploitation of Alberta’s tar sands will only increase.

Lecture by John Pilger: “Obama Is A Corporate Marketing Creation” (Running Time: 5:28). John Pilger is an Australian journalist and documentary maker. He has twice won Britain’s Journalist of the Year Award, and his documentaries have received awards in Britain and the U.S..

And the Oscar goes to Barack Obama, for his portrayal of an African American president …

And anyone to wear an Obama button in 2011 – as U.S. led occupations escalate, as the bombs fall on the citizens of Iraq, Afghanistan, and now Libya, while covert wars are underway in Yemen, Somalia and Pakistan – and as corporatism eats us alive – must seriously consider hiding their face in shame.

“If you tremble with indignation at every injustice, then you are a comrade of mine.” — Ernesto “Che” Guevara

If we wish to live in a world free of war, exploitation, oppression and ecological devastation, then we must embrace the reality that the global capitalist industrialized economic system – which serves the small ruling class – must be dismantled. There is no other way. And this is the unabated truth that McKibben and his disciples (think Greenpeace, RAN, NRDC, and on and on the list goes) choose to ignore. These groups, funded by the industrial machine itself, believe in the system; therefore they support the atrocities being committed in the name of profit. Ironically, the very groups that bask in the halo of non-violent civil disobedience are the very ones who constitute the authoritarian social relationships that prop up and defend violence.

Grassroots groups have been co-opted, marginalized, drowned out and made essentially irrelevant, if not invisible, by the institutional Left and their funders. Their symbolic campaigns and “efforts” to convey essential information regarding our ecological crisis have succeeded in ensuring that any attempt to convey the truth of the severity of our crisis is framed, thus perceived by the public at large, as “radical” and “fear-mongering.” (Radical is another term co-opted by the Right and now perceived by the public as a negative trait rather than its true meaning; to get to the root of the problem.) Any real movement to prevent the eradication of all life, from what is now aptly termed by scientists as “the sixth mass extinction,” must insist that all decisions be based on real-life circumstances and not on arbitrary ideologies that allow us to remain aloof.

Essential Reading

Essay: Pacifism as Pathology by Ward Churchill; 1984:

Pacifism as Pathology

Revised 2007 Version

How Non-Violence Protects the State by Peter Gelderloos: http://zinelibrary.info/files/How%20Nonviolence%20Protects%20The%20State.pdf

References

[1] 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.

[2] through [9] Source: Jeffrey St. Clair is the author of Been Brown So Long It Looked Like Green to Me: the Politics of Nature and Grand Theft Pentagon. His newest book, Born Under a Bad Sky, is published by AK Press / CounterPunch books.

[2] According to an analysis of financial reports from the Clinton years, the top givers were the Sun Oil Company (Sunoco) and Oryx Energy, which controlled vast holdings of natural gas in Arkansas and across the oil patch. The Pew family once entirely controlled both Sunoco and Oryx, maintained large holdings in both, and was, in fact, sued for insider trading by Oryx shareholders. Excerpted from Green Scare: the New War on Environmentalism by Jeffrey St. Clair and Joshua Frank.

[3] In its early days the foundation (a collection of seven separate trusts) was vociferously rightwing, with money going to the John Birch Society, to Billy Graham. Excerpted from Green Scare: the New War on Environmentalism by Jeffrey St. Clair and Joshua Frank.

[4] During Clinton’s time, the Pew environmental sector was headed by Joshua Reichert. Reichert and his subordinates, Tom Wathen and John Gilroy, not only allocated money to individual Pew projects, such as the Endangered Species Coalition, but they also helped direct the donations of other foundations mustered in the Environmental Grantmakers’ Association. Excerpted from Green Scare: the New War on Environmentalism by Jeffrey St. Clair and Joshua Frank.

[5] There were some notable foundations that objected to Pew’s leveraged buyouts of environmental campaigns, notably the Levinson, Patagonia, and Turner Foundations. Excerpted from Green Scare: the New War on Environmentalism by Jeffrey St. Clair and Joshua Frank.

[6] Take just one of the seven Pew trust funds: the Pew Memorial Trust. This enterprise made $205 million in “investment income” in 1993 from such stocks as Weyerhaeuser ($16 million), the mining concern Phelps-Dodge ($3.7 million), International Paper ($4.56 million), and Atlantic Richfield, which was pushing hard to open even more of the Arctic to oil drilling ($6.1 million). The annual income yield from rape-and-pillage companies accruing to Pew in this single trust was twice as large as its total grants, and six times as large as all of Pew’s environmental dispensations that year (about $20 million in 1993). Excerpted from Green Scare: the New War on Environmentalism by Jeffrey St. Clair and Joshua Frank.

[7] Next of the big three in environmental funding was an oil company known as Cities Services, which endowed the W. Alton Jones Foundation, based in Charlottesville, Virginia. (In the merger frenzy of the 1980s, Cities was ultimately taken over by Occidental Petroleum, in a move that saved Ivan Boesky from financial ruin. It was later parceled off to the Southland Corporation, owners of Seven Eleven; then finally, in 1990, it was sold to Petroleos de Venezuela). According to the charity’s charter, the purpose of the foundation was two-fold: preservation of biological diversity and elimination of the threat of nuclear war. Although, Alton Jones doled out about $14 million a year to environmental causes during the Clinton years with the same engulf-and-neuter tactic of Pew, this apostle of peace maintained very large holdings in arms manufacturers, including Martin-Marietta ($3.26 million), Raytheon ($1.32 million), Boeing ($1.38 million), and GE ($1.4 million). Alton Jones’ portfolio was also enhanced by income from bonds floated by Charles Hurwitz’s Scotia-Pacific Holdings Company, a subsidiary of Maxxam, which was at that very moment trying to cut down the Headwaters Grove, the largest patch of privately owned redwoods in the world. The charity’s annual statement to the Internal Revenue Service also disclosed a $1.4 million stake in Louisiana-Pacific, then the large purchaser of timber from publicly-owned federal forests. The company had been convicted of felony violations of federal environmental laws at its pulp mill in Ketchikan, Alaska, where L-P was butchering its way through the Tongass National Forest. At the same time, Alton Jones maintained a position (just under $1 million in stock) in FMC, the big gold mining enterprise, whose dousing of endangered salmon habitat in Idaho with cyanide at the Beartrack Mine was greased by Clinton’s Commerce Secretary Ron Brown. Picking up revenue from FMC’s salmon destruction with one hand, in 1993 the foundation gave about $600,000 with the other hand to supposedly protect salmon habitat in the same area. The grants went to the compliant and docile groups in the region, such as the Pacific Rivers Council. At a crucial moment in January 1994, Pacific Rivers Council and the Wilderness Society – another recipient of W. Alton Jones cash – demanded that a federal judge suspend an injunction the groups had – to their great alarm – just won. The injunction had shut down FMC’s Beartrack Gold Mine, from which the company expected to make $300 million courtesy of the 1872 Mining Act, whose reform the Clinton administration carefully avoided. When the Wilderness Society’s attorneys asked Judge David Ezra to rescind the injunction, he was outraged, but had no alternative but to comply. FMC’s stock promptly soared, yielding extra earning for Alton Jones’ holdings in the mining concern. Excerpted from Green Scare: the New War on Environmentalism by Jeffrey St. Clair and Joshua Frank.

[8] “In the Clinton era, the RFF was run by ex-Naderite Donald Ross, who pulled down, according to IRS filings, $130,000 a year, plus another $23,000 in benefits. The relationship of the Family Fund to Rockefeller oil money scarcely needs stating. Though, the Fund dispensed a relatively puny $2 million a year in grants, it exercises great influence by dint of the foundation’s leadership of the Environmental Grantmaker’s Association. The Fund also functioned as a kind of staff college for foundation executives. Pew’s John Gilroy and Tom Wathen both learned their trade under Ross’s tutelage. In the 1980s, when the Multinational Monitor revealed that the ten largest foundations in America owned billions in stock in companies doing business in South Africa, Donald Ross lamented that many foundations “simply turn their portfolios over to a bank trust department or to outside managers and that’s the last they see of it.” Excerpted from Green Scare: the New War on Environmentalism by Jeffrey St. Clair and Joshua Frank.

[9] “… as listed by Multinational Monitor …” Excerpted from Green Scare: the New War on Environmentalism by Jeffrey St. Clair and Joshua Frank.

[10] Things got started back in April, when a secret “fireside chat” was planned between oil industry executives and ENGO leaders, including former Great Bear Rainforest Agreement negotiators Tzeporah Berman and Merran Smith, and representatives from Tides Canada, World Wildlife Fund, Pembina Institute, and others. After word circulated about the “informal, beer-in-hand” discussions, the meeting was called off – temporarily. Excerpt from the “Secret Agreement in the Works Between ENGOs and Tar Sands Industry” by journalist DruOja Jay.

[11] The idea hit the corporate media in September 2010, with reports that Syncrude Chairman Marcel Coutu had solicited David Suzuki to broker an agreement between environmentalists and tar sands operators. Suzuki rebuffed him, saying that a dialogue was not possible while oil companies were funding lies about their environmental impact. But the idea didn’t die – and neither did the lies. In October 2010, during a major ad campaign from the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers that compared tar sands tailings to yogurt, the Edmonton Journal and Calgary Herald published a report by Sheila Pratt titled “Is an oilsands [sic] truce possible?” Pratt interviews Avrim Lazar, CEO of the Forest Products Association of Canada (FPAC), the group of logging companies that signed an accord with Greenpeace, the David Suzuki Foundation, and several other Environmental Non-Governmental Organizations (ENGOs). That was the “Canadian Boreal Forest Agreement” (CBFA). Pratt repeats the false claim that the agreement preserves 72 million hectares of forest. In fact, the CBFA maintains the current rate of logging, simply shifting a small portion (about the size of metro Toronto) to areas outside of the Caribou Range. Furthermore, it requires ENGOs to defend the logging companies that signed against criticism and help them market their products. Of all of Pratt’s interviewees, only Greenpeace’s Mike Hudema states the obvious: it is not possible to green the tar sands. Excerpt from the “Secret Agreement in the Works Between ENGOs and Tar Sands Industry” by journalist DruOja Jay.

[12] “Our future hinges on the tar sands. Will any level of environmental destruction, loss of human life, or climate change be considered an acceptable cost to continue consumption of fossil fuels? Or is there a limit to the amount of destruction we will accept? If a secret agreement is allowed to go forward, then those who cannot accept ever-escalating destruction will have to fight other ENGOs in addition to fighting the oil companies. Will the Tar Sands Greenwashing Accord continue as planned?” Excerpt from the “Secret Agreement in the Works Between ENGOs and Tar Sands Industry” by journalist DruOja Jay. For more about ENGOs and the collaborative model, read the 2009 report “Offsetting Resistance: The effects of foundation funding from the Great Bear Rainforest to the Athabasca River,” by Macdonald Stainsby and DruOja Jay.

The Climate Cartel: 1Sky, 350.org and Rockefeller Brothers | Stronger as One

The Climate Cartel:1Sky, 350.org and Rockefeller Brothers | Stronger as One

By Cory Morningstar

Published July 7th, 2011 by Political Context: http://bit.ly/n8FG5T and Canadians for Action on Climate Change: http://bit.ly/r1REJ0

“The ability to deal with people is as purchasable a commodity as sugar or coffee and I will pay more for that ability than for any other under the sun.” – David Rockefeller , the current patriarch of the Rockefeller family and only surviving grandchild of oil tycoon John D. Rockefeller, founder of Standard Oil.

Doublethink, a word coined by George Orwell in the novel Nineteen Eighty-Four, describes the act of simultaneously accepting two mutually contradictory beliefs as correct, often in distinct social contexts. It is related to, but distinct from, hypocrisy and neutrality. Its opposite is cognitive dissonance, where the two beliefs cause conflict in one’s mind.” (source: Wikipedia)

[Doublethink is] “To know and not to know, to be conscious of complete truthfulness while telling carefully constructed lies, to hold simultaneously two opinions which cancelled out, knowing them to be contradictory and believing in both of them, to use logic against logic, to repudiate morality while laying claim to it, to believe that democracy was impossible and that the Party was the guardian of democracy, to forget, whatever it was necessary to forget, then to draw it back into memory again at the moment when it was needed, and then promptly to forget it again, and above all, to apply the same process to the process itself — that was the ultimate subtlety; consciously to induce unconsciousness, and then, once again, to become unconscious of the act of hypnosis you had just performed. Even to understand the word ‘doublethink’ involved the use of doublethink.”

“The power of holding two contradictory beliefs in one’s mind simultaneously, and accepting both of them….To tell deliberate lies while genuinely believing in them, to forget any fact that has become inconvenient, and then, when it becomes necessary again, to draw it back from oblivion for just so long as it is needed, to deny the existence of objective reality and all the while to take account of the reality which one denies all this is indispensably necessary. Even in using the word doublethink it is necessary to exercise doublethink. For by using the word one admits that one is tampering with reality; by a fresh act of doublethink one erases this knowledge; and so on indefinitely, with the lie always one leap ahead of the truth.” – George Orwell, George (1949). Nineteen Eighty-Four. Martin Secker & Warburg Ltd, London, part 1, chapter 3, pp 32

Wikipedia: “Orwell explains that the Party could not protect its iron power without degrading its people with constant propaganda. Yet, knowledge of this brutal deception, even within the Inner Party itself, could lead to collapse of the state from within. Though Nineteen Eighty-Four is most famous for the Party’s pervasive surveillance of everyday life, this control means that the population of Oceaniaall of it, including the ruling elitecould be controlled and manipulated merely through the alteration of everyday thought and language. Newspeak is the method for controlling thought through language; doublethink is the method of directly controlling thought.

Moreover, doublethink’s self-deception allows the Party to maintain huge goals and realistic expectations.

Since 1949 (when Nineteen Eighty-Four was published), the word doublethink has become synonymous with relieving cognitive dissonance by ignoring the contradiction between two world viewsor even of deliberately seeking to relieve cognitive dissonance. Some schools of psychotherapy, such as cognitive therapy, encourage people to alter their own thoughts as a way of treating different psychological maladies.”

 

“None are more hopelessly enslaved than those who falsely believe they are free.” Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

Fair warning to those who continue to support “the new” 350.org

In April of this year, 1Sky and 350.org announced their “official” merger, even though they were already intertwined from the outset.

As documented in the expose Rockefellers 1Sky Unveils the New 350.org | More $ More Delusion,today, having possibly reached peak delusion, we now actually have the Rockefellers at the helm of our faux climate movement and even the most intelligent people have chosen to embrace it. Even anti-capitalist websites are promoting Bill McKibben’s latest piece asking for civil disobedience and signed by McKibben, Naomi Klein, Maude Barlow and others including prominent 1Sky members.

Make no mistake that civil disobedience is absolutely imperative and that yes, the tar sands must be considered a death knell to the planet in relation to climate change, which continues to escalate at a rapid rate. And yes this call to action is certainly orders of magnitude more important than anything that McKibben has demonstrated in the past.

The question is why globalist plutocrats, such as the Rockefellers, fund the majority of the mainstream environmental movement and establish an organization that now calls for civil disobedience and the halt of tar sands expansion into the US? If the true meaning of climate justice were in fact to be realized, it would mean nothing less than the stripping of wealth of these very families and corporate entities. The very system which ensures global monetary wealth and power stay securely in the hands of the privileged few today is absolutely dependent upon and cannot succeed without continuous expanding raping, pillaging and degradation to our Earth and relentless exploitation of those most vulnerable.

Since these families and corporate entities have come to fund the mainstream environmental movement, we can safely conclude that they do not fear it. The reason is simple the climate justice “movement” represents no real threat to the globe’s wealthiest and most powerful. The global elites including the dominant Rockefellers shape, define and ultimately control the movement itself. Yet these big names do lend credibility to an organization whose legitimacy is essentially non-existent.

The carefully worded “call out” from McKibben even places restrictions on the participants:

“We will do it in dignified fashion, demonstrating that in this case we are the conservatives, and that our foes who would change the composition of the atmosphere are dangerous radicals.”

Framing the term “radical” as dangerous (radical is derived from the Latin word rdclis – having roots, from Latin rdix – a root, designed to act on or eliminate the root or cause of a pathological process), McKibben exhorts would-be participants to wear business attire and show support for Obama:

“Come dressed as if for a business meeting this is, in fact, serious business. And another sartorial tip if you wore an Obama button during the 2008 campaign, why not wear it again? We very much still want to believe in the promise of that young Senator who told us that with his election the ‘rise of the oceans would begin to slow and the planet start to heal.’ We don’t understand what combination of bureaucratic obstinacy and insider dealing has derailed those efforts, but we remember his request that his supporters continue on after the election to pressure the government for change. We’ll do what we can.”

McKibben’s message on aggressive non-violence?

“One thing we don’t want is a smash up: if you can’t control your passions, this action is not for you.”

On 30 June 2011, Jeff Goodell wrote in the Rolling Stone article, Politics: Time For Climate Activists to Get Tough:

“Interestingly, organizers are asking demonstrators to ditch Birkenstocks, torn jeans and tie-dyed T-shirts for button-down, business attire. ‘We need to be able to get across to people who the conservatives are and who the radicals are,’ McKibben said. ‘People need to understand how radical it is to change the composition of the atmosphere.’ By marching in button-downs, rally organizers are clearly borrowing a page from the Mississippi Freedom Riders of the 1960s, who, by arriving in the South as well-dressed, respectable students and citizens, helped expose the moral savagery of the white power establishment.

It may be a shrewd and effective strategy, but inviting a comparison between climate activists and the Freedom Riders only underscores how tame the fight against global warming has been so far. The Freedom Riders proved the power of peaceful action, but they also showed astonishing courage and a willingness to risk their lives to change the world. Buses were firebombed. Some of them were attacked by police dogs. Others were beaten bloody, had bones broken, skulls cracked. But their suffering inspired people. ‘If those kids are wiling to lay all that on the line, I should be able to screw up at least a little courage in order to support the movement,’ one person says in Breach of Peace, Eric Etheridge’s excellent book of portraits of Freedom Riders.”

If people wish to delude themselves that 1 Sky/350.org/McKibben is our saviour that will help us avoid our own self-annihilation, I guess they can go ahead and do so. This will prove to be a massive mistake for those who claim to work towards climate justice and claim to be opposed to the commodification of Earth’s final remaining natural resources. This misguided trust will also prove to be lethal to future generations, including today’s children.

Judith Rodin, President of the Rockefeller Foundation, spoke March 19, 2010 at Innovative Philanthropy for the 21st Century: Harnessing the Power of Impact Investing: In this second phase of philanthropic innovation, our Rockefeller Foundation predecessors helped establish the non-governmental organization sector as the missing middle between giving and direct impact. This included support for entities we call them RINGOS, Rockefeller Foundation Initiated NGOs.

1Sky was a Rockefeller-initiated NGO an incubator project so to speak. Although I have documented this relationship extensively, the majority of people are only willing to see and believe what they want to see and believe. Cognitive dissonance, denial and Orwells doublespeak has proven to be a most effective strategy in the co-opting of an entire movement. On the website post below written by 1Sky Garth Brooks it is stated unequivocally that Rockefeller Brothers is a 1Sky strategic partner.

From the 1Sky Website: Weekly Round-Up 8/6/10:

“It makes me feel better, but I suspect others feel differently. Some even questioned if there was a movement. In their Grist piece, authors Kelsey Wirth, Rockefeller Family Fund’s Larry Shapiro, and Greenpeace USA’s Philip Radford put it bluntly on why the grassroots failed to help deliver a strong bill(Note: Rockefeller Brothers is a 1Sky donor and strategic partner).”

Rockefeller Fund manages approximately US$1 billion for descendants of John D. Rockefeller, the founder of Standard Oil Co., predecessor of U.S. oil giants Exxon Mobil Corp., Chevron Corp. and ConocoPhillips, all of which are tar sands developers.

For an imperative read see Offsetting Resistance and the secret structure of the tar sands coalition: “The emerging ‘North American Tar Sands Coalition,’ seeks to keep its decision-making body ‘invisible to the outside,’ while funnelling millions of dollars to its preferred groups.”

Such “campaigns” are superbly planned and executed using all tools available, with a heavy emphasis on distraction, language and manipulation using advanced and sophisticated psychology.

If the environmental movement and notable environmental leaders who speak out against capitalism (the root cause of climate change) and the fatal illusion of “green” capitalism believe that partnering and promoting an organization led by the Rockefellers, the Clintons, TckTckTck (supported/partnered with the Corporate Leaders Group on Climate Change, which includes members such as Shell) is not insane … then we really are in for a FAR WORSE situation than we realize.

Many will have taken notice by now of the big greens pushing REDD REDD being just one of the many market mechanisms the Rockefellers, with the industrial machine, have worked towards and funded with many a big green NGO to assist.

“Rockefeller was a donor to colleges all over the country and helped found the University of Chicago. Huntington, of the Central Pacific, gave money to two Negro colleges, Hampton Institute and Tuskegee Institute. Carnegie gave money to colleges and to libraries. Johns Hopkins was founded by a millionaire merchant, and millionaires Cornelius Vanderbilt, Ezra Cornell, James Duke, and Leland Stanford created universities in their own names. The rich, giving part of their enormous earnings in this way, became known as philanthropists.

These educational institutions did not encourage dissent; they trained the middlemen in the American system-the teachers, doctors, lawyers, administrators, engineers, technicians, politicians- those who would be paid to keep the system going, to be loyal buffers against trouble.” Howard Zinn from the book History is a Weapon, A Peoples History of the United States, Chapter 11 Robber Barons and Rebels

The illusion of democracy and good will is breathtaking.

Announcement on the Rockefeller Brothers Fund Website April 21, 2011

Written by Jessica Bailey (integral to the creation of 1Sky, Jessica Bailey is the Program Officer for the Rockefeller Brothers Fund’s Sustainable Development program, where she focuses on climate change. Bailey also serves on the board of directors for 1Sky):

1Sky and 350.org: Stronger as One

Posted on 04/21/2011 in Sustainable Development

By Jessica Bailey

This month marked the exciting marriage of 1Sky and 350.org two grantees of the Rockefeller Brothers Fund’s Sustainable Development program. The announcement comes as environmental policy is hitting a new low in Washington: the House of Representatives just voted to deny the science of climate change; the recently passed federal budget cuts climate change-related programs by $49 million (including a ban on funding for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Climate Service); the White House has opened up wide areas of the West for coal mining; and the environmental community is being forced to put everything it’s got into protecting the Clean Air Act a bill passed decades ago! These are challenging times for those of us working to advance solutions to climate change.

Despite the news coming from Washington, the announcement to merge 1Sky and 350.org two of the biggest movements on climate into a single organization under the banner of 350.org, gives me hope that we just might build a people-powered movement strong enough to protect this planet. 1Sky and 350.org were born around the same time and involved many of the same leaders. Bill McKibben, who has been a 1Sky board member and will chair the new 350.org board, once referred to 1Sky as the U.S. Embassy for 350.org and 350.org as 1Sky’s foreign legion. 1Sky was founded to support ambitious environmental action in the United States that would keep emissions targets to scientifically defendable levels, stop new coal-fired power plants, and build a green economy strong enough to create five million new green jobs. 350.org was founded to embed the concept of a wonky carbon emissions concept (350 ppm is the level of emissions in the atmosphere that scientists believe is safe) into the international negotiations in the run-up to the Copenhagen climate summit. While 1Sky didn’t deliver bold national policy and 350.org didn’t deliver a global treaty, both organizations have made significant progress in widening the tent of grassroots support for climate action. With the new political reality, it makes all the sense in the world to bring them together. Matching 350.org’s talent for mass mobilization and online action with 1Sky’s advocacy and field campaign experience is tremendously exciting. Mergers are tough, and I applaud the leaders in both organizations for recognizing they’d be stronger together.

The new 350.org has an aggressive plan to mobilize millions of people in a tech-savvy, citizen-driven movement that can finally build the support necessary for real climate action. The good news is they have a solid running start. The new campaign will have over 600,000 active supporters, thousands of volunteer community organizers in every state, and hundreds of partner organizations.

Let’s hope this happy union gives the climate movement the jumpstart it needs to compel our country to act on climate change before it’s too late.”

http://www.rbf.org/post/1sky-and-350org-stronger-one

“Some even believe we (the Rockefeller family) are part of a secret cabal working against the best interests of the USA characterizing my family and me as ‘internationalists’ and of conspiring with others around the world to build a more integrated global political and economic structure—one world, if you will. If that’s the charge, I stand guilty, and I am proud of it.” – David Rockefeller

In April 2011 congressman Ron Paul, sent a stark message this week to ruling elite “internationalists” attempting to expand globalism via the Western military industrial complex “you will fail”.

Will they fail?

Certainly not unless we finally make an uncompromised decision to face reality dead-on.

If you are in support of “green” capitalism meaning BAU (business as usual) and keeping the world’s monetary wealth and power in the hands of a select few the furthest thing from climate justice then just keep supporting the new 350.org/1Sky, along with the other corporate greens. It is so grossly blatant, it is difficult to accept that people are choosing to be blind to it. If you believe the Rockefellers (and the handful of other elites who control the globe) wish for a new global economy based on any kind of justice and a re-distribution of wealth and power, you’re in seriously dangerous denial.

We don’t need Rockefeller and corporate mouthpieces planning our actions, “training” us to be passive and obedient, and telling us what we can and cannot do, what is appropriate versus what is not. We need civil disobedience but it must come from the grassroots up, not from the plutocrats down.

Today’s youth, Indigenous peoples of the world, indeed all the men and women alive today, have every right to rebel against and destroy the current power structures that exist. This is necessary in order to salvage what is left of a raped and pillaged planet on the brink of ecological collapse. Martin Luther King once said that “you cannot commit an act of violence against a non-sentient object.” The real violence is what is being allowed to happen on a daily basis to our Earth Mother and global and local ecosystems, to which we have chosen to turn a blind eye. Today, police states and corporate-controlled governments protect property, corporate interests, and industrialized economic growth over life itself. Drastic times require drastic measures; thus, all peoples have the right to destroy the suicidal structures now threatening humanity. Echoing the words of Malcolm X, they must defend that right “by any means necessary.”

Refuse to be silenced. Go forward in self-defence. Do not negotiate life. Reject all compromise.

Reject all attempts for the industrial machine to smother, rehabilitate, co-opt, or psychologically marginalize our actions.

Attack the economic system as this is the only language those most powerful, who control the world’s monetary wealth, understand.

It is past time to start enacting civil disobedience on a massive scale. Knowledge is the weapon and it is time to arm the masses using all organizational tools in existence. This must be a united movement. Fuel distribution centres, pipelines, dams, roads, the industrial-military complex, banks, the stock exchange, politicians, CEOs: all must be targeted.

And for fuck’s sake, don’t wear a tie unless you really want to.

Cory Morningstar is climate justice activist whose recent writings can be found on Canadians for Action on Climate Change and The Art of Annihilation site where you can read her bio. You can follow her on Twitter: @elleprovocateur

Why I Refuse to Promote Bill McKibben

Why I Refuse to Promote Bill McKibben

PublishedJuly 7, 2011by Political Context: http://bit.ly/pqOXts and Canadians for Action on Climate Change: http://bit.ly/pvnZQg

Image: Corporate media’s poster boy for the environmental movement, Bill McKibben.

“Nations and peoples are largely the stories they feed themselves. If they tell themselves stories that are lies, they will suffer the future consequences of those lies. If they tell themselves stories that face their own truths, they will free their histories for future flowerings.”Ben Okri, Nigerian poet and novelist

It continues to both concern and baffle me that those within the movement who coined the term “climate justice” continue to promote a false prophet who believes/hopes and promotes that greed can save us (see McKibben’s The Greenback Effect: Greed Has Helped Destroy the Planet – Maybe Now It Can Help Save It). Greed, of course, being one of the ugliest traits in the human species. Greed being the pivotal factor behind the “success” of capitalism. Greed being the reason the world’s wealthiest 15% contribute 75% of all global greenhouse gas emissions (Professor Stephen Pacala) on the backs of the poor and most vulnerable while simultaneously decimating and raping the Earth.

Throughout history, greed has proven to be lethal. Greed and justice cannot co-exist.

The premise that “greed can save us” is void of all ethics. It stems from either desperation or denial, or perhaps both combined.

Perhaps McKibben’s 350.org/1Sky partner – Climate Solutions (who McKibben praised/promoted in a recent article) – will soon see their wish list of “sustainable aviation,” biofuels and carbon offsets morph into a global reality. 350.org/1Sky partner Climate Solutions was a key player in the creation of 1Sky – an incubator project of the Rockefellers, who are pushing/funding REDD (the Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation program) and many other false solutions that ensure power and monetary wealth remain exactly where it is – in the hands of the few.

Of course, James Hansen’s magic wand (which Hansen himself sometimes refers to) will be most imperative for such false solutions to succeed in cooling the planet and stopping the eradication of most life on Earth.

Do we reject biofuels, carbon offsets, the greenwash and delusional concepts like “sustainable aviation”? Or do we reject these false solutions only when promoted directly by industry and government? If we do reject false solutions outright, why do those who claim to seek climate justice turn a blind eye when our “friends” and “partners” support these false solutions that we must fight against?

Perhaps it is a good time to reflect upon the concept of living well, proposed by Bolivia, which describes the capitalist system and the effects of greed that it perpetuates like this:

“We suffer the severe effects of climate change, of the energy, food and financial crises. This is not the product of human beings in general, but of the existing inhuman capitalist system, with its unlimited industrial development. It is brought about by minority groups who control world power, concentrating wealth and power on themselves alone. Concentrating capital in only a few hands is no solution for humanity, neither for life itself, because as a consequence many lives are lost in floods, by intervention or by wars, so many lives through hunger, poverty and usually curable diseases. It brings selfishness, individualism, even regionalism, thirst for profit, the search for pleasure and luxury thinking only about profiting, never having regard to brotherhood among the human beings who live on planet Earth. This not only affects people, but also nature and the planet. And when the peoples organize themselves, or rise against oppression, those minority groups call for violence, weapons, and even military intervention from other countries.”

It must be remembered that McKibben, 350.org/1Sky and most all other “big greens” have rejected the People’s Agreement of Cochabamba rather than unite behind it, in favour of the false illusion of “green” capitalism.

No Logo

I, for one, choose not to promote organizations or individuals who embrace such a system so unfair that it is systematically destroying all life, nor those who purposely and continually reject and undermine the Cochabamba People’s Agreement. I leave this to the likes of Naomi Klein, who recently joined 350.org/1Sky and other key 350.org/1Sky messengers … celebrated individuals who have warned us of the dangers of unfettered capitalism, yet have chosen to embrace the “green” capitalist entity, 350.org/1Sky.

Over a decade ago, Klein brilliantly educated the public on the growing trend of corporations hijacking public entities, including our universities and museums. In a statement on BP’s sponsorship of the Tate Museum, to which Klein is listed as the first signatory, she/they write: “Corporate sponsorship does not exist in an ethical vacuum.”

Yet, hypocritically, when it comes to corporate power funding the entire mainstream environmental movement, Klein and others have not only failed to speak out against it – they have lent their names to it. In the environmental movement, it has been decided by Klein and others that corporate funding sponsorship does indeed exist in an ethical vacuum, thereby lending legitimacy and credibility to an organization that promotes and protects the branded logo 350 – and little else. As much as Klein and other celebrated anti-capitalists such as Vandana Shiva passionately deliver us the imperative truth, when it comes to 350.org/1Sky and pro-free market McKibben, they turn a blind eye to a movement shaped and funded by the industrial machine itself. As the push towards an illusory “green economy” and “climate wealth” strengthens, even those within the climate justice movement itself are covertly being estranged from the truth.

The videos below shed light on our free markets at work. These people represent only a glimpse of those who suffer at the hands of our current economic system. Climate “justice” or any kind of justice just cannot and can never exist in our capitalist economic system, as this system is dependent upon not only continued growth, but continued violence, oppression and exploitation of perhaps 85% of humanity – who emit a mere 25% of all emissions. This way of life is coming to an end. This system is destined to ultimately collapse – or kill us – whichever comes first.

If the definition of justice is “the quality of being just or fair” – our current economic system, that being capitalism, is the furthest thing from any kind of justice. The idea that we can avert climate genocide by embracing “green” capitalism is an illusion. It is a lie whereby the consequences will prove to be lethal beyond anything our species has ever witnessed. Those who truly seek justice must think long and hard about maintaining faith in a system that has finally brought us to the precipice. We may be trapped within it – but that does not mean we cannot fight like hell to break free.

Testimony of Rosa Elbira: Gang-rapes at a Canadian-owned mine in Guatemala:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dSGuDk4cnz4&feature=player_embedded#at=15

The “Green Economy” to solve our climate crisis, in a nutshell (this is not a spoof): http://www.whitehouse.gov/photos-and-video/video/energy-security-and-independence (don’t miss ten minutes in – featured in doc END:CIV):

Violent Evictions at El Estor, Guatemala: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JgwtLuISE1Y&feature=mfu_in_order&list=UL

All That Glitters Isn’t Gold – 10 min. Trailer:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-tmqXc5rX8s&feature=mfu_in_order&list=UL

On the Origins of Green Liberalism: http://tedsteinberg.com/essays/can-capitalism-save-the-planet/

Cory Morningstar is climate justice activist whose recent writings can be found on Canadians for Action on Climate Change and The Art of Annihilation site where you can read her bio. You can follow her on Twitter: @elleprovocateur

Capitalism Trumps Climate

by Lorna Salzman

How many of you actually think that there are sincere and meaningful efforts being made to mitigate climate change? If your answer is yes, then what proof do you offer? What groups, individuals, policies or legislation do you think are making a difference or will in the near future? Why do you think so?

I will wager that more than half of you will answer yes to the first question and will then mention Bill McKibben and 350.org, and perhaps a few other obscure groups here or abroad that you have read about on the internet or in the news. But you will not be able to demonstrate exactly what these groups or individuals have accomplished, what they are doing right now, or what they say they will do in the future. That’s because almost none of them actually have real action plans that they believe in and which they are promoting.

The ugly truth is that the most influential and prominent of these groups are planning to do EXACTLY NOTHING. Do you think this is hyperbole? You won’t if you will take the time to find out who funds these groups and what their strategies are. I say “strategies” plural but that is incorrect.

There is only one strategy and that is to SAVE CAPITALISM. And they don’t even try to hide this or deny it. Let me say it again: these groups and their hidden funders and sponsors have only one objective: to use the climate change issue as a way of preserving markets and, most important, creating NEW ones. In other words, develop new ways of making profits that do not interfere with the present system or restrict economic growth.

You probably think: well, they mean renewable energy so what’s wrong with that? But if that were really the case, why was there such a massive campaign in this country not to promote renewable energy but to promote cap and trade? Why have they refused to support the things that would make renewable energy viable such as ending fossil fuel subsidies and tax breaks and taxing CO2? The cap and trade campaign was dreamed up by investment houses, brokers, financiers, and the coal industry, with a few big enviros alongside, to accomplish several things:

–delay as long as possible the shutdown of coal burning power plants;

–maintain the oil and natural gas-based economy as long and as cheaply as possible;

–push off indefinitely (to well past the year 2030) any serious efforts at reducing energy consumption through efficiency or other measures;

–avoid at all costs a carbon tax or anything that would increase energy costs and thereby stifle growth;

–keep existing federal subsidies and tax breaks for the fossil and nuclear industry.

This is by default our present national energy policy and no one, including 350.org/1Sky, has proposed anything different: no one in government, no one in industry, and no one in the top echelons of the environmental community, even though one of them, Gus Speth, knows full well what needs to be done.

None of this should be surprising, at least to those who have been paying attention or who have not bought hook, line and sinker the empty words of people like Bill McKibben, who is good at whipping crowds into a green frenzy but incapable of telling them what they should do. There is NO ENERGY AGENDA of any merit being pushed ANYWHERE, and anyone who thinks it is only the Republicans to blame is inhaling from the Big Bong. There is bipartisan and universal agreement that the first order of business is Business and the earth be damned. 350.org even sent out shameless mailings to business to curry favor with them and suck them in to believing that nothing drastic or costly need be done and that only a few nips and tucks at the margins were needed.

We are therefore being lied to, big time, by those who actually believe that climate change can be mitigated with minimal effort and cost, and that there need be no hardship or sacrifice at all. This is the latest in Comfort Food for the masses and reassurance for industry and the financial community. The only problem is that it comes with no guarantee that climate catastrophe will NOT happen. It is no better than the reassurances of the nuclear industry that a Fukushima-size disaster could never happen in this country. It is the ultimate in Happy Faces, in wishful thinking, and in calming the public’s fears.

But it is leading us over the cliff.

In case you think this is exaggeration, here is a promotional piece for Hunter Lovins, Amory Lovin’s ex-wife and an energy consultant in her own right.

FARRAR, STRAUS AND GIROUX PRESENTS

THE CLIMATE CAPITALISM TELEFORUM—A LIVE, NATIONAL, INTERACTIVE DISCUSSION OF CAPITALISM IN THE AGE OF CLIMATE CHANGE

WITH L. HUNTER LOVINS, FOUNDER OF NATURAL CAPITALISM SOLUTIONS, A TIME MAGAZINE HERO OF THE PLANET, AND NEWSWEEK’S “GREEN BUSINESS ICON”

Hardcover • 400 pp. • $27.95

ISBN 978-0-8090-3473-4

? Read More

? Sign Up for the April 29th Teleforum

? Read a preview excerpt from Climate Capitalism (PDF)

CLIMATE CAPITALISM

CAPITALISM IN THE AGE OF CLIMATE CHANGE

“A must-read for entrepreneurs, investors, industry experts, and corporations interested in capitalizing on the greatest wealth-creation opportunity of our lifetime: solving climate change.” —Jigar Shah, founder, SunEdison, and CEO, Carbon War Room

Whether you believe in climate change or not, it doesn’t matter. If your goal is profitability, you’ll act as if you do. As CLIMATE CAPITALISM shows, climate-protection efforts have failed because we have ignored the most powerful tool for unleashing the low-energy future: the business case. In their book, L. Hunter Lovins, president of Natural Capitalism Solutions and coauthor of Natural Capitalism, and Boyd Cohen, CEO of CO2IMPACT, draw on case studies of international corporations, small businesses, NGOs, and municipalities to demonstrate that efficiency and renewable energy equal the path to greater profitability and enhanced economic prosperity. Through addressing business opportunities across a range of sectors, including energy, buildings, transportation, and agriculture technologies, Lovins and Cohen powerfully address the future of capitalism in a carbon-constrained world and prove that climate change policy will promote, not hinder, the growth of our global economy.

Corporate executives, entrepreneurs, environmentalists, and concerned citizens will all find CLIMATE CAPITALISM a feisty, opportunity-rich read—one that offers a compelling road map for a new energy economy.

“A highly persuasive demonstration of how profitable economic choices can take us a long way toward dealing with climate disruption, the misguided aspects of our agriculture, oil’s strategically catastrophic monopoly over transportation, the poverty of the bottom billion, and much else. Creative and deftly crafted.”—Jim Woolsey, Former Director of CIA, Booz Allen Hamilton

“L. Hunter Lovins’ latest book should be on every CEO’s reading list and required in every corporate board room.”—Bill Becker, Executive Director, Presidential Climate Action Project

“One of the fastest growing areas in business schools today is entrepreneurship, and more specifically social entrepreneurship . . . . Climate Capitalism provides both direction and inspiration for these students who do not accept the artificial tradeoff between doing well and doing good.”—R. Bruce Hutton, dean emeritus, Daniels College of Business, University of Denver

“Nobody does a better job of laying out the business case for pursuing a cleaner, more profitable form of capitalism than Hunter Lovins.”—Andrew Winston, founder, Winston Eco-Strategies and author of Green Recovery

Note the claim that the “best case” for a low-energy future is “the business case”, stressing “the future of capitalism in a carbon-constrained world” followed by the promise that the global economy will GROW, not contract. Well, one might believe in this growth but what they don’t consider is the likelihood of a complete collapse of the global economy. If you start from a collapse, i.e. from nothing, then anything after that can be considered growth.

“Profitable economic choices” is the reward held out for not taking drastic action now in reducing energy use and mandating stringent energy efficiency measures….both of which would of course constrain growth. Having your cake and eating it too….

I do not doubt that Hunter Lovins and her associates truly believe and want a renewable energy economy. What I do doubt is whether they have read up on the science of climate change and the narrowing window of time left to us to get our house in order. Anyone who has read this knows full well that many scientists believe we are already past several tipping points and that we will be forced into adaptation and defensive measures. Where money will be found for these gigantic projects, “earth works”, to protect urban infrastructure is by no means clear. Will the budget cutters change their minds and dole out billions of dollars to the states to protect water supplies, power grids, sewage systems and transportation systems?

http://neoenigma.blogspot.com/2011/04/snickersnee_25.html

350.org on Facebook: Now You See It.Now You Don’t

Naomi Klein decided to join the board of 350.org. They are delighted, as you would be if one of the world’s most influential anti-capitalism writers joined your campaign.

Obviously this puts Naomi Klein’s writings in a whole new focus – she’s happy to be part of an organisation that received its seed money from a foundation that bears the name of the kinds of business empires she railed against in the Shock Doctrine. She’s happy to be part of an organisation that has recently forsaken its grass-roots members in favour of business partners in order to add a bit of money to its empty coffers.

They are happy, so they put something on their Facebook Page to say so. Not surprisingly the fans were also delighted and started posting gleefully, as they do on everything to do with 350.org.

Then someone posted a link to my previously mentioned article – it didn’t quite gel with the self-congratulatory sense of the rest of the comments, but criticism is criticism and 350.org are surely big enough to cope with a bit of that:

Apparently not. Within a few minutes the link was removed. Someone alerted me to this and I posted a comment asking why the link had been removed, and whether their recent merger with 1Sky was not just a way of saving money.

That post disappeared as well, as did the post of the person who originally alerted me to the link.

Then 350.org commented back, which you can see in the image below, along with the absence of the two posts being referred to:

That response in full:

“Hey Rachael and Keith. I’m a 350.org FB admin — and didn’t delete any comments, except the sudden notes you left accusing 350.org of deleting comments (could you have re-posted your criticism?) We do moderate comments, and will un-publish ones that are divisive, or seek to draw people into movement in-fighting. We don’t have time for that anymore. Critical discussion is a whole other ball-game — we welcome that, of course, and need it to keep evolving. Thanks.”

I highlighted a key phrase here – “Critical discussion is a whole other ball-game — we welcome that, of course” – in view of the next move by the 350.org administrators. They blocked both me and my contact from commenting further on the Facebook page. Not content with censoring anything that looked like dissent they decided to lock out any dissenters entirely, in case their rose-tinted views might be damaged in any way.

The following email has been sent to 350.org. I await their response:

Hi Guys

Well done for the brave move in banning people from your Facebook group. Glad to see that the merger with 1Sky is making you even more keen to avoid any kind of criticism rather than engage with the criticisms of symbolic action and working too closely to businesses.

Don’t worry, though, because the original screen captures of posts you deleted and people you banned are still available and will be appearing on a few websites soon.

I think it’s safe to say you ran out of money even with your appeals to business, which is why you have been forced to recombine with 1Sky. Call it a tactical retreat if you will, but I think there are a growing number of people who recognise that writing letters to senators and forming pretty pictures out of tee-lights isn’t really the way to undermine the planet killing system that’s loving every “action” that leaves them unscathed.

– the industrial system must be really crapping itself with this kind of hardline stuff.

Cheers

Keith Farnish
www.unsuitablog.org
www.timesupbook.com

http://thesietch.org/mysietch/keith/2011/04/08/350-org-on-facebook-now-you-see-it-now-you-dont/

350.org/1Sky:The Thinking Person’s Nightmare

SNICKERSNEE

350.org/1Sky:The Thinking Person’s Nightmare

April 11, 2011

by Lorna Salzman

Two items appeared on my screen a few days ago. The first announced the merger of 350.org and 1 Sky, two mass movement organizations claiming to be dedicated to stopping climate change. The first was founded by writer Bill McKibben. The second was long an affiliate of the first so an official merger is no surprise, nor is their Rockefeller funding. Nor is it a surprise that this merger won’t make any significant difference to resolution of the climate change issue. 350.org already unveiled its philosophical alliance with big business, overtly admitting what it had already done: abandoned grassroots resistance in order to curry favor with corporate money and power. Rest in peace, 350.org; we never believed in you anyway.

While 1Sky has taken some official positions on what needs to be done, 350.org never did. My open letter to McKibben in the May 3rd issue of The Nation last year laid out what I and other rather more militant activists decried: the refusal of the organization to articulate specific policies, taxes, incentives, and legislation to bring about their objective of reducing atmospheric CO2 concentrations back down to 350 parts per million (they are now about 390 and growing). Of course one does not get corporate or foundation grants by espousing climate change solutions that rock the boat, hence the unfocused generalizations and political side-stepping characteristic of 350.org from the beginning.

For a short period McKibben and I exchanged emails, until he cut me off, with him defending the raising of public consciousness as the primary goal and dismissing the notion of political action and lobbying as essentially useless. Though McKibben is far from being a leftist, this position – throwing weight behind mass organizing, demonstrations and direct action – has long been an article of faith on the left. This is what suppressed the birth of an American Green Party for seventeen years and can be found routinely in leftist journals. It is the very old "movement vs. party" argument that the US Green Party underwent in the 1980s and which persists today on the left. Who comprises this movement and who makes policies are unanswered questions as are the definition of democracy, legitimacy and internal accountability. These fundamentals are very likely to be stumbling blocks to the mass movement envisioned by 350.org, if it ever can get off its duff and actually propose policies for the public to support. Meanwhile, they are on extended sabbatical from the fight.

Which brings me to the second related point: the accession of leftist journalist Naomi Klein to the board of 1 Sky. Her announcement of this explicitly rejects appeals to "the elites", that is, in Congress, in favor of mass organizing. So the leftist article of faith has now been officially incorporated into the pro-business doctrine of the new entity comprised of 350.org and 1 Sky. Some of her pronouncements are little more than rhetoric: attacking "stalling tactics like action plans that get serious only in 2020"…the losing strategy of "lobbying elites behind closed doors", followed by a determination to "build the kind of mass movement that politicians cannot afford to ignore". Unfortunately it is their electoral constituency that they cannot afford to ignore, but Klein and 350.org are pretending otherwise. A million-person march on Washington to demand a reduction down to 350.org translates into exactly nada unless those million people confront their elected officials in ways they cannot ignore. This is not now in the cards at 350.org‘s table, and even less so with corporate partners holding the aces.

Left unsaid here is a back story about the whole Democratic Party and its supposed liberal wing who supported ineffective and ill-advised energy legislation and the large, wealthy Washington-based groups who have pushed the grassroots groups out of the nest, monopolize foundation grants, and transfix the mass media into thinking they speak for the whole movement, such as the Natural Resources Defense Council and the Environmental Defense Fund, who long ago abandoned their base constituency in order to curry favor with the elites Klein refers to. The other back story has been that the smaller and poorer groups have been crowded out but put up little resistance anyway. This became clear in the battle over cap and trade, where the Democrats seduced or bludgeoned many liberals into thinking this supremely capitalist tool had anything to do with reducing CO2 emissions. The opponents of cap and trade dithered too long and too late, as did McKibben himself, in exposing the real function and intent of cap and trade, which was to allow indefinite burning of coal so as to hamper energy efficiency, slow up a transition to renewables and make profits for brokers in the process.

How has it come about that the very thing that has allowed socially reactionary groups in this country to achieve notoriety has been adopted by groups purporting to oppose everything these retrogressive movements stand for? How has it become not only acceptable but praiseworthy to celebrate citizen apathy and civil disengagement from the political process? How has leftist cynicism been able to implant itself on middle of the road progressive movements, to the point where they can shamelessly boast about the inutility of involvement in politics and the reform of civil society institutions? And how can someone like Klein deplore the "deeply anti-democratic influence " of major polluters, while in effect telling the rest of us that we should abandon all avenues offering democratic participation and influence in favor of street theater and rallies?

There’s nothing like rejection of something you never tried.

Were these attitudes prevalent in the 1970s, it is likely that no environmental movement would have arisen. If one truly believes that governmental corruption is all-powerful to the point where one throws up one’s hands, only two stark choices remain: a stoic resignation to the forces of evil; or bomb throwing. Thus, 350.org/1Sky has literally gone on indefinite moral and intellectual vacation, where it will meet and commiserate with those on the left who can now say: See, we told you so; there is nothing else to do but rant and take to the streets. Thus, they are effectively shutting out the vast majority of people who long for strong principled leadership to push for political and electoral change.

The greens and left in this country have abandoned the climate change issue, not only for the above reasons but also because they have some peculiar and unsubstantiated notions about building coalitions of disparate interest groups to address comprehensive economic and political change. In this venture they will also meet head-on with other brick walls. But that’s another story for another time.

This just in:

Naomi Klein and Bill McKibben have just come out swinging and punching, calling for an invigorated mass movement of "bodies, passion, creativity"…..but to do what? They still won’t say.

What does this reluctance to announce an agenda mean? Does it mean they have none? Does it mean they are still figuring it out? Does it mean that they think that people shouting "stop global warming" is all we need? Or does it mean, as some of us think, that they are afraid to take strong positions commensurate with the threat out of fear of alienating their funders and the elites and the mass media?

Are they afraid to stand in front of us and say that we have to drastically and speedily reduce energy consumption across the board by raising prices through carbon taxes and an end to subsidies? Are they afraid to lead the mass movement they claim they have activated because they realize that reduced energy use on the scale required will profoundly affect the economy, changing the scale and purpose of production, jobs and consumption? In other words, are they afraid to look the capitalist growth society in the face, to say what they know full well must be done, and to do what is needed? Give us a clue, folks.

at 3:49 AM

http://neoenigma.blogspot.com/2011/04/snickersnee_11.html

2011 | The Big Green Race to Extinction

Published February 17th, 2011 by Political Context under the headline: 2011 | The Race to the Bottom Accelerates

By Cory Morningstar | http://bit.ly/i35O4J | http://bit.ly/gh2HRe | http://bit.ly/i8HdXq

 

2011 | The Race to the Bottom Accelerates

 

Illustration courtesy of Stephanie McMillan | CODE GREEN

“The Earth isn’t dying, it’s being killed, and those who are killing it have names and addresses.” – Utah Philips

As we now stand firmly on the precipice – staring irreversible climate catastrophe and natural resource depletion squarely in the face – the world accelerates its pace in a mad race to the bottom. Running with the baton are the world’s largest environmental NGOs – non-profit organizations. Although the industrial non-profit complex claims to speak for civil society, in reality these groups are the sanctioning agents of a planet which is rapidly becoming completely dominated by corporate control. These groups have been integral to lending legitimacy and credibility to the very corporations hell bent on destroying and commodifying what little remains of our increasingly fragile planet. What we are now witnessing is a race for the last remaining shared commons. Commons which should be protected and held ‘in trust’ for future generations – if only our governments were not mere puppets of corporate power and control.

WTF WEF: “Defining Civil Society, Once and For All”

“We are blinded, enchanted and finally enslaved by spectacle.” – Empire of Illusion, Chris Hedges

In the World Economic Forum (WEF) annual meeting of 2005 one topic of significant importance was ‘Defining Civil Society, Once and For All’. The moderator Bassir Pour cited there was a 15 minute delay as many of the participants had been listening to the panel titled ‘The G8 and Africa: Rhetoric or Action? ‘ This panel had highlighted an example of ‘civil society in action’ in the form of a demonstration by Greenpeace, which Pour said put a smile on her lips because it was so peaceful. To be sure, there is nothing that makes a corporation or corporate-controlled government happier than a passive, unthreatening demonstration with no fighting spirit. Mind you, the same corporate entities do not uphold such similar peaceful ideologies for themselves to abide by. For example, in Columbia and other developing countries, Coca-Cola has murdered hundreds of union leaders. Dole has had no qualms in knowingly exposing banana workers to toxins resulting in sterilization. On December 26, 2009, Dora “Alicia” Recinos Sorto, age 32, was assassinated. Dora was the second anti-mining activist killed that week in the small community of Nueva Trinidad. Recinos Sorto was eight months pregnant and carrying her two-year old child when she was shot on her way back from doing laundry at a nearby river. Canadian Mining Company Pacific Rim has come under fire for these accelerating assassinations which continue today. In vulnerable countries such violence has become a daily part of life. Activists are targeted and become the invisible victims of the murderous economic system. Demonstrations have morphed from the fierce unwavering determination witnessed in the sixties to the ‘acceptable’ demonstrations now recognized today which are overwhelmingly ineffective. Such assembly line ‘protests’ undoubtedly inspire reactions from the global elite such as, “look at the cute proles who believe they can make a difference – adorable. Now let’s get back to business.” Touching on today’s ineffective movements, on 3 February 2011, Mr. Fish of truthdig.org asks the question: “What do we have now? An anti-war movement that is so gutless and so savagely unimaginative that, rather than gaining purpose and momentum in the face of our government’s ever-increasing disdain for peace in the Middle East, it has proved itself to be too lazy, even too cowardly, to face down the very disease of oligarchy that it had concocted itself to cure.” This statement can easily be applied to today’s environmental movement.

Pacific Rim Corporation: Above: Anti-Mining Activist Recinos Sorto – Assassinated

WEF: “Organizing Their Dream World”

One response to the question of ‘how to define civil society’ was that since big business foundations are incentivized by the tax code, corporations are not civil society, but foundations are. Therefore it should be no surprise the ‘big green’ groups who claim they receive no corporate funding can legitimately do so, merely because foundations serve as corporate front groups. The big greens are funded by the very foundations set up by the corporations who essentially serve as a money laundering service in what the elites proclaim as philanthro-capitalism. Others questions in the WEF discussion were: “Could an NGO formed by a corporation be part of civil society? Does acceptance of government contracts make an NGO an extension of government? Are the big NGOs still members of civil society?” In the summing up period, Pour said, Kofi Annan’s advice was the main point: to keep “organizing our dream world.”

The following year, at the World Economic Forum Annual Meeting of 2006 a topic of significant importance was ‘Building Trust in Public and Private Institutions’. Richard Edelman, President and CEO of Edelman, USA, reported that opinion leaders now trust NGOs more than business, media and government for information. “NGOs are the most trusted institution in nearly every market,” he stated. (Edelman’s Trust Barometer 2006 Seventh Global Opinion Leaders Study). He further reported that “Information conveyed by CEOs is at the bottom of the list, even lower than politicians, with organizations such as Amnesty International, WWF World Wide Fund for Nature, Greenpeace, and Médecins Sans Frontières at the top of the ranking.” Guy Ryder, General Secretary, International Confederation of Free Trade Unions (ICFTU), Brussels, corroborated the Edelman survey: “Trust matters. There is a feeling of bewilderment which dramatically impacts on people’s lives. They feel powerless; we do not have a means of expressing opinions. ‘Trust proximity’ is the thing that you are familiar with; it includes the things you understand.” Ryder further explained that for the ordinary person, “NGOs seem ‘more like me’ and convey the things that matter to me.” He noted that the fall of confidence in public institutions is the most alarming. “53% of people in the US want to be represented by trade unions, but corporate America stops this.” (Corporate America certainly does stop this. Corporate power has been utilizing corporate-owned media to its absolute advantage in a major attempt to turn the public sentiment against unions – the last remaining collective to threaten corporate power. The rhetoric spewed out by the corporate media is nothing less than incredible.)

Make no mistake, NGOs are recognized by corporate power as an absolutely essential element – indispensable for ensuring corporate power can quite easily advance their agenda.

First Place: Nature Conservancy

 

“Advocates of capitalism are very apt to appeal to the sacred principles of liberty, which are embodied in one maxim: The fortunate must not be restrained in the exercise of tyranny over the unfortunate” – Bertrand Russell

At the front line of the race to the bottom we must recognize The Nature Conservancy for accepting the challenge of “protecting nature” in an announced new partnership with Dow Chemical who have generously gifted Nature Conservancy with a cool $10 million. Unfortunately, this ‘bankrolled consent’ most likely means Dow will be too financially strapped to clean up Bhopal – whose citizens continue to suffer to this day. Never mind last week it was announced that Dow’s profit has tripled. The corporation reported a profit of $511 million for the quarter ending in December 2010. Nature Conservancy’s president and CEO is none other than former Goldman Sachs Group executive, Mark Tercek. Perhaps not coincidentally, former Nature Conservancy president Henry Paulson also made his rounds through the revolving doors of the Goldman Sachs Group. Yet another Nature Conservancy board member, Muneer Satter, also originated from Goldman Sachs. You may recall the name Goldman Sachs – most known for their role in the brilliantly executed 2008 financial crisis which threw millions into poverty as the rich became even richer. As well, Nature Conservancy just hired a new marketing director in 2010 — former executive vice president for marketing at World Wrestling Entertainment. Prior to that position, he served as senior vice president for marketing at Showtime Networks. Showtime indeed. Fiction? Satire? Unfortunately not. If such organizations were not so dangerous, one would have to laugh. However, considering we are on the brink of exterminating our own children, this is truly sickening and no laughing matter. (Fyi – The Nature Conservancy has more than $3.7 billion in assets, annual revenue of $860 million – remember that when they ask you for your last 20 bucks.)

Second Place: Greenpeace International

And what does the world’s most recognized NGO plan to do in the face of cataclysmic climate change, as the opportunity to avoid irreversible planetary collapse slowly dissipates? It launches an international campaign to ‘green’ Facebook by Earth Day, April 22, 2011.

Enough said.

Update! 11 February 2011: “Today we need you to join a very special photo petition – … no, call it a competition – The 10 most-liked photos on Wednesday, 16 February at 17:00 CET will feature in an upcoming Greenpeace activity… (say no more, nudge nudge, wink wink). We also have campaign t-shirts for the top ten, and a CD of “Amchitka, The 1970 Concert that Launched Greenpeace,” featuring Joni Mitchell, Phil Ochs, and James Taylor, for the most popular photo of all. The funniest, weirdest, and most provocative photos will probably get the most ‘Likes’, so have some fun with it, submit your photo and get “liking” right away! Happy snapping, Team Facebook (at Greenpeace!)”

Third Place: WWF Presents National Sweater Day

 

“It’s time to Get Sweatered!” WWF-Canada announces a brand new campaign for Sweater Day, February 17, 2011. And after this you can look forward to shutting your lights off for that one hour a year in WWF’s annual Earth Hour campaign. As always, big greens frame the conversation on what an individual can do while vehemently neglecting to discuss the root cause of climate change – the current economic system. In this campaign, our youth is led to believe that small individual actions will help solve our environmental crisis. They can’t. Further, the crisis is framed to be most unthreatening, simply because the solution proposed requires so little effort. Of course, this campaign isn’t complete without prizes to feed the insatiable need to consume – which this campaign endorses by way of participation. (WWF International’s operating revenue totalled 224.2 million in 2010. Carter Roberts, CEO and President, took home a meagre $486,394 in 2008.)

Honourable Mentions: Friends of the Earth International


Courtesy of Keith Farnish’s Unsuitablog

“Find out about the Good Shopping Guide application: http://bit.ly/hH44mK Plus win an iPod touch! ” – Friends of the Earth via twitter

Friends of the Earth, 1970-2011
RIP

Worst Video

 

The video featuring a 2 minute summary of the COP16 conference and highlighting the brand TckTckTck makes light of our planetary emergency and tells the viewer… absolutely nothing. Further, the video frames Bolivia as an obstructionist to the negotiations when in fact Bolivia stood alone rejecting an agreement which will lead to mass genocide. Alone, Bolivia fought for life using powerful, ethical arguments, defending the people’s agreements adopted in Cochabamba which would protect Mother Earth, all species and future generations. All big greens have declined to endorse the People’s Agreement which places people before corporate profit. It appears this video, being promoted widely, was created by TckTckTck partner UKYCC.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=76BgKe1naFc

First Prize for Most Dangerous: Greenpeace at the World Economic Forum

“Capitalism justified itself and was adopted as an economic principle on the express ground that it provides selfish motives for doing good, and that human beings will do nothing except for selfish motives” – George Bernard Shaw

In the frontline of global economic forums such as the WEF, commonly referred to simply as Davos, you will recognize the exceptionally orchestrated Greenpeace demonstrations. This is the Greenpeace that rides today on the coat-tails of the legacy laid down by the original Greenpeace founders decades ago.  A Greenpeace which in reality no longer exists. Before being co-opted by corporate power, Greenpeace consisted of grassroots activists who were not interested in discussing compromise. One such founder, Bob Hunter, wore a ‘fuck off’ sign around his neck in a public meetings. These real-life eco-warriors had no fear of ripping to shreds those who were destroying our planet.

A headline on an image posted on 10 January 2011 reads, “Sixty Greenpeace activists dressed in skeleton suits protest in front of the World Economic Forum conference against Dow Chemical”. The banners reads, “Clean up Bhopal Now!” The images are moving. Yet, in the background something much different is going on … behind the scenes … for those who dance in the elitist circle … the champagne flows almost as fast as the money.

 

7 February 2011, Kumi Naidoo, executive director of Greenpeace International and chair of the Havas creation TckTckTck ‘speaks to power’ in Johannesburg, South Africa. Naidoo explains that at the World Economic Forum in Davos he had meetings with no fewer than 15 chief executives of major corporations, men whose decisions help shape (destroy) our environment and affect workers’ rights (exploitation) and ultimately what kind of world we pass on to our children and grandchildren (irreversible climate hell with collapsed ecosystems). Naidoo states that the first meeting was a breakfast briefing with Unilever. Naidoo states he was invited by the chief executive to speak of the curious relationship his company enjoys with Greenpeace.

Curious. Yes. It is most interesting that TckTckTck creator Havas serves the world’s most powerful clients such as Unilver and EDF (nuclear).

For an excellent briefing on why Greenpeace working with corporate power for a better world is bullshit slash greenwash, Richard Samans offers an astute analysis in “Running the World After the Crash,” in Jan 2011 Foreign Policy. “Two years ago the elites were scared to death by the global crash, their economic nostrums discredited. Thousands of citizens took to the streets. Governments fell. Others desperately promised a new era of financial re-regulation, world cooperation on the environment and food crises created by neoliberalism and exponential growth. Then they regained confidence. Banks were “too big to fail”. The taxpayer was told to pay the bill for the playboys of the Western world. Trillions of private debt were transferred to the taxpayer (socialism for the rich) – a bill that our children and their children will have to pay. A further consequence: there is “no money left”, we are told, to finance climate action, international aid, schools, healthcare, housing, job creation and infrastructure. The elites are laughing all the way to the bank. And the high priests of the system (at Davos Jan 2011) say the next whirl of the financial wheel will be based on carbon credits.”


First Prize for Most Tasteless | Greenpeace Makes Light of Tibetan Oppression

Under attack for the tasteless 30 second Super Bowl commercial using Tibet, the corporation responsible, Groupon, stepped into the defensive mode. As images of Tibet were shown, actor Timothy Hutton read, “The people of Tibet are in trouble. Their very culture is in jeopardy.” The scene cuts to Hutton inside a restaurant: “But they still whip up an amazing fish curry. And since 200 of us bought at groupon.com we’re each getting 30 dollars worth of Tibetan food for just 15 dollars at Himalayan restaurant in Chicago.”

Although this ad is clearly distasteful and trivializes the incredibly serious issue of human rights violations in Tibet, Greenpeace, who also uses Groupon, defended the ad. “Greenpeace is happily participating in the campaign. The truth is that the ‘Save the Money’ campaign and the commercial are really helping us save the whales,” Greenpeace’s John Hocevar said in a blog post. He added, “They loved the idea of poking fun at themselves by talking about discounts as a noble cause.”

People aware of how the Tibetan culture is being destroyed in the conflict with China understand struggles of Tibet deserve respect.

From the Free Tibet website: “For Groupon the commercial has generated a lot of free media coverage and it could be argued that the advert has helped raise the profile of what is happening in Tibet, after all awareness is the first step to accountability. But it does put Tibetans and their suffering at the heart of the joke and when it’s used for commercial purposes that is exploitative. The commercial also exposes that fact that across the US and arguably the world the public know what is happening inside Tibet. But that leaves the uncomfortable fact that not enough of us are holding the Chinese Communist Party accountable for the suffering in Tibet, nor for that matter are our own governments being held accountable for their failure to hold China accountable for its appalling human rights record in Tibet.”

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=reLqtMb4-e8&feature=related (What Remains of Us: This film was shot without the knowledge of the Chinese authorities, using small digital cameras, during nearly a dozen secret forays into Tibet between 1996 and 2004.)

First Prize for Most Predictable

 

Reformers who are always compromising, have not yet grasped the idea that truth is the only safe ground to stand upon.” – Elizabeth Stanton

 

Rockefeller funded 350.org wins hands down for the predictable launch of their Businesses For 350 Campaign.  How to get to 350?  You won’t find the answer on this site … maybe just keep recycling or consuming. It appears Bill McKibben of 350.org neglected to read our 10:10:10 critique from October 2010.

First Prize for Most Undetected Greenwash of 2010

TckTckTck – partner of 350.org, WWF, Greenpeace and hundreds of other NGOs – was created by Havas, one of the largest marketing and PR firms in the world. Havas clients include a torrent of the largest and most powerful corporations on the planet. Given that economic growth is the root cause of greenhouse gas emissions growth (they have been neck and neck for the last 50 years); and the raison d’etre of Havas is to ensure TckTckTck founding partner corporations including EDF (the largest nuclear corporation on the planet) increase profits through economic growth; TckTckTck was fatally compromised at its inception. In the 2010 ‘Public Eye’ campaign it states, “Organized since 2000, Public Eye reminds corporations with destructive business practices that actions have consequences, presenting ‘name and shame’ awards to the nastiest corporate players of the year and through these awards presents to the world the immoral nexus between corporate power and the political elite.” In 2010, following the Copenhagen disaster, Greenpeace Switzerland participated in naming the Public Eye Award to “the nastiest corporate player of the year”.  The nominees included GDF Suez and Roche – TckTckTck founding partners. In summary, Greenpeace, partner of TckTckTck (Kumi Naidoo chairs both Greenpeace International and TckTckTck, also known as GCCA) is in partnership with these same corporations (GDF Suez and Roche). Such campaigns and organizations make a mockery of those suffering on the front lines of the climate emergency today. The layers of deceit are breathtaking.

As of today there remains a shortcut link on the Havas website to www.tcktcktck.org to “join the fight for climate justice”. And business for Havas has never been better – new business remains strong. (€1.6 billion for the first nine months of the year, compared with €1.1 billion for the same period in 2009 (+42%)).

 

TckTckTck has removed their partner, the Corporate Leaders Group on Climate Change, from visibility on the www.tcktcktck.org website after screenshots and information of this collaboration were released to their supporters and partners using their own listserv. The TckTckTck partners within the Corporate Leaders Group on Climate Change group include Shell, Coca-Cola and RBC. RBC is the number one financier of the most destructive project on the planet – the tar sands.  Over 1,000 corporate entities make up this TckTckTck partner group.

 

Eradicating Stupidity | Going Forward

“As for the bourgeois state, we are seeking to overcome it, to overthrow it.” Salvador Allende, 1970


 

 

Just as wearing sweaters will not make any meaningful dent in our climate crisis; just as turning Facebook green amounts to essentially nothing; just as ‘green’ shopping and more i-pods only serve to further destroy us; and just as the Nature Conservancy – Dow partnership will only serve to greenwash; consuming as a means of helping will not save whales or anything else. Every day, our current economic system continues brings us one day closer to cataclysmic, irreversible climate change and ecosystem collapse on a global scale.

And while we may not expect truth from the bloated NGOs, we should not accept it. Importantly, while we recognize the demise of ethics within the vast monopoly of NGOs who protect the very system that grips us securely in a stranglehold, we must also recognize that within these corporate structures are well-intentioned citizens and even activists who are just as frustrated by the censorship and symbolic ‘feel good’ campaigns that appeal to our society’s worst traits. Such traits such as individualism, greed, apathy and narcissism are integral for a profoundly weak and divided society. Therefore, such traits are kept fed and nourished by the corporate powers who are, in turn, completely dependent upon society’s successful indoctrination and feelings of powerlessness. Fortunately, for the ethical, yet repressed, campaigners on the inside, in 2011 we now have Enviroleaks – enabling those within the system to leak imperative documents, without fear of repercussion.

What else is new in 2011? To date, there are no mainstream NGOs who are willing to campaign on militarism and its massive contribution to climate change. One would think that this would be a sure ‘win’ upon which the NGOs should love to attach themselves. Really, how many people do you know that would oppose a campaign to end occupations and war? Known to most citizens, militarism in the US represents such a massive chunk of the budget, there is little money for anything else. Healthcare and education remain mere irritants of the lowest priority. Although this reckless budget will no doubt contribute to bankrupting the US sooner rather than later – only to line bank vaults of the corporations and the controlling plutocracy – the big greens are silent on the issue. It appears that millions of lives lost count for little.

And like we must stop the soothing yet false illusion that governments will someday do what they are supposed to do – represent their constituents and act in their best interests – we must also stop the false illusion that NGOs will confront the system and inspire a desperately needed uprising of the people who reject all false solutions while also demanding nothing less a new system which functions to serve only the essential needs of the people while protecting all life and our planet.

To date, the big greens refuse to tell supporters what the most critical aspects of climate change are, in spite of the insistent urging from climate justice activists. These are the imperatives every citizen has the right to know … and are not being told.

1)    In order to stabilize the planet, the world must achieve zero carbon emissions. Zero is the only number that matters and it must be achieved in a matter of years, not decades.  We are in a planetary emergency at less than 1ºC rise.

2)    The current economic system is the root cause of climate change.

3)    A mass mobilization on a global scale is needed to convert to a clean, perpetual zero carbon economy which rejects all false solutions including green capitalism.

The destructive campaigns of the big greens highlighted within this article are just a drop in the bucket of symbolic brand-building nonsense. Therefore the easiest direct action of 2011 is this: hit unsubscribe. The industrial non-profit complex claims to represent and speak for you in economic forums and government institutions around the world. They don’t. And if they have no members of civil society, they immediately lose their power to speak for us.  If they no longer speak for us, they can no longer use civil society as a tool allowing the expansion of the corporate agenda.

The pursuit of profit verses our responsibility to protect nature brings us to a tragic reality that is difficult to accept. Decades of doing nothing means it is now too late to stop climate change. Yet, perhaps it is not too late (we hope) to avert the magnitude of long-term impacts by cutting emissions to zero at break-neck speed. If we miss this closing window of opportunity, feedbacks take over, at which point cataclysmic climate change becomes irreversible. Nature takes over, and our planet becomes a living hell.

Message to the Youth: do-or-die


 

“But we won’t spend a buck a dime a single cent to preclude disaster for our children. As a mother and a grandmother this is the line that grips my heart. I see this as ageism gone viral. We don’t really care about our kids just our credit rating and OUR pensions. I guess Queen Victoria was totally effective when she said, “Children should be seen and not heard. Our so called economic system doesn’t hear the children at all. I guess soon we won’t have to see them either. Good for us adults, our campaign is a BIG success.” – FB comment

Why does society expect the next generation to clean up this mess of unparalleled magnitude – especially considering instead of being given essential tools for life skills, they were given remotes, posters of corporate prostitots, and truckloads of made-for-landfill plastic stuff bursting with toxins, chemicals and everything else that makes one ashamed to be human. This apocalyptic nightmare should never have been left to a generation of youth who have been raised and indoctrinated by corporate America – yet here we are – and the wrath of insatiable greed is about to grab our youth by the throat.

While we listen to Maude Barlow and other wise owls who tell us the next generation is the one that will change everything, we must recognize that today’s youth have become a reflection of our morally bankrupt society – beautiful children who have succumbed to become, most comfortably numb. Millions have come close to over-dosing on social media such as Facebook and texting. Ironically, social media is a wet dream for the globe’s largest marketing public relations firms who represent the world’s most powerful corporations. Marketing executives and corporate super-powers are salivating over what they envision as the greatest opportunity to exploit the planet’s youth. The corporate powers are masters in the art of acclimatizing civil society into believing that we have no control. They methodically hypnotize us to believe resistance is hopeless and therefore should be given up. This very system that enslaves us can continue its existence only if we accept that resistance is futile. Not unlike pedophiles who prey upon children, the plutocracy preys upon and is dependent upon a society easily lured with candy.

Things can change. 2011 marks a paradigm shift. The Egyptians have taught the world how to use the very social media tools corporate gods had hoped would serve to manipulate, control and distract us – and use these tools, instead, as weapons of mass-resistance. We now have WikiLeaks and Anonymous, bound to inspire creativity, coupled with revolt, in ways not yet imagined. The Egyptians have also taught the world what a revolution requires – nothing less than the courage and conviction of hundreds of thousands and even millions of bodies in the streets that refuse to leave until victory is achieved.

Today’s youth have, not only a right, but a moral obligation, to rebel and destroy the current power structures that exist. This is necessary in order to salvage what is left of a raped and pillaged planet on the brink of ecological collapse. Martin Luther King once said that you cannot commit an act of violence against a non-sentient object. Today, police states and corporate controlled governments protect property, corporate interests, and industrialized economic growth over life itself. Drastic times require drastic measures; thus, our youth have the right to destroy the suicidal structures now threatening humanity. Echoing the words of Malcolm X, they must defend that right “by any means necessary”. And we must support them as they seize this right, for we have failed them.

“Liberties are not given, they are taken.” – Aldous Huxley

Go forward in self defence. No longer can we passively witness the rape, abuse and desecration of our Earth Mother.  No longer can we passively witness the exploitation, violence and oppression subjected on our brothers and sisters. In our fight  for survival and for all life, love is the guiding principle, illuminating the centre of our struggle. We will not negotiate life. We reject all compromise. We will practise non-violence in the spirit of the Buddhist concept of aggressive non-violence understanding that one cannot commit an act of violence against a non-sentient object. Although we will exercise compassionate wrath, we recognize we have the right to defend ourselves and our Earth Mother. We intend to do so. Self-defence is not a crime. We will attack the economic system – as this is the only language it understands. We will collectively fight to reclaim our dignity and power. The burning flame at the heart of our fight for life will not be smothered, rehabilitated, co-opted, or psychologically marginalized. There will be no dilution of our fervour, no lowering of the flames, or any muting of our essential collective voice. And if our fire destroys, it is for the sake or protection and healing and bringing us together as one. Our love will burn brilliantly. The time is now.

“Individually we may see ourselves as free, yet as a collective, we are slaves. The point where we free ourselves from our own animal is that moment when we become enlightened, where we see ourselves not as a person at a single point in time, but as a continuity in blood and in thought, spanning generations and time.” Harold One Feather

It is past time to start enacting civil disobedience on a massive scale. Knowledge is the weapon and it is time to arm the masses. Fuel distribution centres, pipelines, the industrial-military-complex, banks, the stock exchange: all must be targeted. Go forward. Don’t look back. Be courageous. Be strong. The truth is on our side. Our parents could not find the courage, which means we must. The Earth, and all life on this planet, pumps through our veins. To feel it, go outside and lie under a tree. Look up at the sky. We are nature. Nature is us. Our time is running out.

“None are more hopelessly enslaved than those who falsely believe they are free.” – Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

 

Cory Morningstar is climate justice activist whose recent writings can be found on Canadians for Action on Climate Change and The Art of Annihilation site where you can read her bio. You can follow her on Twitter: @elleprovocateur

Published February 17th, 2011 by Political Context under the headline: 2011 | The Race to the Bottom Accelerates

By Cory Morningstar | http://bit.ly/i35O4J | http://bit.ly/gh2HRe | http://bit.ly/i8HdXq

This piece continues the series being presented by Cory Morningstar and Gregory Vickrey and is part of their anticipated and controversial book and multimedia project due out in 2011.

2011 | The Race to the Bottom Accelerates

Illustration courtesy of Stephanie McMillan | CODE GREEN

“The Earth isn’t dying, it’s being killed, and those who are killing it have names and addresses.” – Utah Philips

As we now stand firmly on the precipice – staring irreversible climate catastrophe and natural resource depletion squarely in the face – the world accelerates its pace in a mad race to the bottom. Running with the baton are the world’s largest environmental NGOs – non-profit organizations. Although the industrial non-profit complex claims to speak for civil society, in reality these groups are the sanctioning agents of a planet which is rapidly becoming completely dominated by corporate control. These groups have been integral to lending legitimacy and credibility to the very corporations hell bent on destroying and commodifying what little remains of our increasingly fragile planet. What we are now witnessing is a race for the last remaining shared commons. Commons which should be protected and held ‘in trust’ for future generations – if only our governments were not mere puppets of corporate power and control.

WTF WEF: “Defining Civil Society, Once and For All”

“We are blinded, enchanted and finally enslaved by spectacle.” – Empire of Illusion, Chris Hedges

In the World Economic Forum (WEF) annual meeting of 2005 one topic of significant importance was ‘Defining Civil Society, Once and For All’. The moderator Bassir Pour cited there was a 15 minute delay as many of the participants had been listening to the panel titled ‘The G8 and Africa: Rhetoric or Action? ‘ This panel had highlighted an example of ‘civil society in action’ in the form of a demonstration by Greenpeace, which Pour said put a smile on her lips because it was so peaceful. To be sure, there is nothing that makes a corporation or corporate-controlled government happier than a passive, unthreatening demonstration with no fighting spirit. Mind you, the same corporate entities do not uphold such similar peaceful ideologies for themselves to abide by. For example, in Columbia and other developing countries, Coca-Cola has murdered hundreds of union leaders. Dole has had no qualms in knowingly exposing banana workers to toxins resulting in sterilization. On December 26, 2009, Dora “Alicia” Recinos Sorto, age 32, was assassinated. Dora was the second anti-mining activist killed that week in the small community of Nueva Trinidad. Recinos Sorto was eight months pregnant and carrying her two-year old child when she was shot on her way back from doing laundry at a nearby river. Canadian Mining Company Pacific Rim has come under fire for these accelerating assassinations which continue today. In vulnerable countries such violence has become a daily part of life. Activists are targeted and become the invisible victims of the murderous economic system. Demonstrations have morphed from the fierce unwavering determination witnessed in the sixties to the ‘acceptable’ demonstrations now recognized today which are overwhelmingly ineffective. Such assembly line ‘protests’ undoubtedly inspire reactions from the global elite such as, “look at the cute proles who believe they can make a difference – adorable. Now let’s get back to business.” Touching on today’s ineffective movements, on 3 February 2011, Mr. Fish of truthdig.org asks the question: “What do we have now? An anti-war movement that is so gutless and so savagely unimaginative that, rather than gaining purpose and momentum in the face of our government’s ever-increasing disdain for peace in the Middle East, it has proved itself to be too lazy, even too cowardly, to face down the very disease of oligarchy that it had concocted itself to cure.” This statement can easily be applied to today’s environmental movement.

Pacific Rim Corporation: Above: Anti-Mining Activist Recinos Sorto – Assassinated

WEF: “Organizing Their Dream World”

One response to the question of ‘how to define civil society’ was that since big business foundations are incentivized by the tax code, corporations are not civil society, but foundations are. Therefore it should be no surprise the ‘big green’ groups who claim they receive no corporate funding can legitimately do so, merely because foundations serve as corporate front groups. The big greens are funded by the very foundations set up by the corporations who essentially serve as a money laundering service in what the elites proclaim as philanthro-capitalism. Others questions in the WEF discussion were: “Could an NGO formed by a corporation be part of civil society? Does acceptance of government contracts make an NGO an extension of government? Are the big NGOs still members of civil society?” In the summing up period, Pour said, Kofi Annan’s advice was the main point: to keep “organizing our dream world.”

The following year, at the World Economic Forum Annual Meeting of 2006 a topic of significant importance was ‘Building Trust in Public and Private Institutions’. Richard Edelman, President and CEO of Edelman, USA, reported that opinion leaders now trust NGOs more than business, media and government for information. “NGOs are the most trusted institution in nearly every market,” he stated. (Edelman’s Trust Barometer 2006 Seventh Global Opinion Leaders Study). He further reported that “Information conveyed by CEOs is at the bottom of the list, even lower than politicians, with organizations such as Amnesty International, WWF World Wide Fund for Nature, Greenpeace, and Médecins Sans Frontières at the top of the ranking.” Guy Ryder, General Secretary, International Confederation of Free Trade Unions (ICFTU), Brussels, corroborated the Edelman survey: “Trust matters. There is a feeling of bewilderment which dramatically impacts on people’s lives. They feel powerless; we do not have a means of expressing opinions. ‘Trust proximity’ is the thing that you are familiar with; it includes the things you understand.” Ryder further explained that for the ordinary person, “NGOs seem ‘more like me’ and convey the things that matter to me.” He noted that the fall of confidence in public institutions is the most alarming. “53% of people in the US want to be represented by trade unions, but corporate America stops this.” (Corporate America certainly does stop this. Corporate power has been utilizing corporate-owned media to its absolute advantage in a major attempt to turn the public sentiment against unions – the last remaining collective to threaten corporate power. The rhetoric spewed out by the corporate media is nothing less than incredible.)

Make no mistake, NGOs are recognized by corporate power as an absolutely essential element – indispensable for ensuring corporate power can quite easily advance their agenda.

First Place: Nature Conservancy

“Advocates of capitalism are very apt to appeal to the sacred principles of liberty, which are embodied in one maxim: The fortunate must not be restrained in the exercise of tyranny over the unfortunate” – Bertrand Russell

At the front line of the race to the bottom we must recognize The Nature Conservancy for accepting the challenge of “protecting nature” in an announced new partnership with Dow Chemical who have generously gifted Nature Conservancy with a cool $10 million. Unfortunately, this ‘bankrolled consent’ most likely means Dow will be too financially strapped to clean up Bhopal – whose citizens continue to suffer to this day. Never mind last week it was announced that Dow’s profit has tripled. The corporation reported a profit of $511 million for the quarter ending in December 2010. Nature Conservancy’s president and CEO is none other than former Goldman Sachs Group executive, Mark Tercek. Perhaps not coincidentally, former Nature Conservancy president Henry Paulson also made his rounds through the revolving doors of the Goldman Sachs Group. Yet another Nature Conservancy board member, Muneer Satter, also originated from Goldman Sachs. You may recall the name Goldman Sachs – most known for their role in the brilliantly executed 2008 financial crisis which threw millions into poverty as the rich became even richer. As well, Nature Conservancy just hired a new marketing director in 2010 — former executive vice president for marketing at World Wrestling Entertainment. Prior to that position, he served as senior vice president for marketing at Showtime Networks. Showtime indeed. Fiction? Satire? Unfortunately not. If such organizations were not so dangerous, one would have to laugh. However, considering we are on the brink of exterminating our own children, this is truly sickening and no laughing matter. (Fyi – The Nature Conservancy has more than $3.7 billion in assets, annual revenue of $860 million – remember that when they ask you for your last 20 bucks.)

Second Place: Greenpeace International

And what does the world’s most recognized NGO plan to do in the face of cataclysmic climate change, as the opportunity to avoid irreversible planetary collapse slowly dissipates? It launches an international campaign to ‘green’ Facebook by Earth Day, April 22, 2011.

Enough said.

Update! 11 February 2011: “Today we need you to join a very special photo petition – … no, call it a competition – The 10 most-liked photos on Wednesday, 16 February at 17:00 CET will feature in an upcoming Greenpeace activity… (say no more, nudge nudge, wink wink). We also have campaign t-shirts for the top ten, and a CD of “Amchitka, The 1970 Concert that Launched Greenpeace,” featuring Joni Mitchell, Phil Ochs, and James Taylor, for the most popular photo of all. The funniest, weirdest, and most provocative photos will probably get the most ‘Likes’, so have some fun with it, submit your photo and get “liking” right away! Happy snapping, Team Facebook (at Greenpeace!)”

Third Place: WWF Presents National Sweater Day

“It’s time to Get Sweatered!” WWF-Canada announces a brand new campaign for Sweater Day, February 17, 2011. And after this you can look forward to shutting your lights off for that one hour a year in WWF’s annual Earth Hour campaign. As always, big greens frame the conversation on what an individual can do while vehemently neglecting to discuss the root cause of climate change – the current economic system. In this campaign, our youth is led to believe that small individual actions will help solve our environmental crisis. They can’t. Further, the crisis is framed to be most unthreatening, simply because the solution proposed requires so little effort. Of course, this campaign isn’t complete without prizes to feed the insatiable need to consume – which this campaign endorses by way of participation. (WWF International’s operating revenue totalled 224.2 million in 2010. Carter Roberts, CEO and President, took home a meagre $486,394 in 2008.)

Honourable Mentions: Friends of the Earth International


Courtesy of Keith Farnish’s Unsuitablog

“Find out about the Good Shopping Guide application: http://bit.ly/hH44mK Plus win an iPod touch! ” – Friends of the Earth via twitter

Friends of the Earth, 1970-2011
RIP

Worst Video

The video featuring a 2 minute summary of the COP16 conference and highlighting the brand TckTckTck makes light of our planetary emergency and tells the viewer… absolutely nothing. Further, the video frames Bolivia as an obstructionist to the negotiations when in fact Bolivia stood alone rejecting an agreement which will lead to mass genocide. Alone, Bolivia fought for life using powerful, ethical arguments, defending the people’s agreements adopted in Cochabamba which would protect Mother Earth, all species and future generations. All big greens have declined to endorse the People’s Agreement which places people before corporate profit. It appears this video, being promoted widely, was created by TckTckTck partner UKYCC.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=76BgKe1naFc

First Prize for Most Dangerous: Greenpeace at the World Economic Forum

“Capitalism justified itself and was adopted as an economic principle on the express ground that it provides selfish motives for doing good, and that human beings will do nothing except for selfish motives” – George Bernard Shaw

In the frontline of global economic forums such as the WEF, commonly referred to simply as Davos, you will recognize the exceptionally orchestrated Greenpeace demonstrations. This is the Greenpeace that rides today on the coat-tails of the legacy laid down by the original Greenpeace founders decades ago.  A Greenpeace which in reality no longer exists. Before being co-opted by corporate power, Greenpeace consisted of grassroots activists who were not interested in discussing compromise. One such founder, Bob Hunter, wore a ‘fuck off’ sign around his neck in a public meetings. These real-life eco-warriors had no fear of ripping to shreds those who were destroying our planet.

A headline on an image posted on 10 January 2011 reads, “Sixty Greenpeace activists dressed in skeleton suits protest in front of the World Economic Forum conference against Dow Chemical”. The banners reads, “Clean up Bhopal Now!” The images are moving. Yet, in the background something much different is going on … behind the scenes … for those who dance in the elitist circle … the champagne flows almost as fast as the money.

7 February 2011, Kumi Naidoo, executive director of Greenpeace International and chair of the Havas creation TckTckTck ‘speaks to power’ in Johannesburg, South Africa. Naidoo explains that at the World Economic Forum in Davos he had meetings with no fewer than 15 chief executives of major corporations, men whose decisions help shape (destroy) our environment and affect workers’ rights (exploitation) and ultimately what kind of world we pass on to our children and grandchildren (irreversible climate hell with collapsed ecosystems). Naidoo states that the first meeting was a breakfast briefing with Unilever. Naidoo states he was invited by the chief executive to speak of the curious relationship his company enjoys with Greenpeace.

Curious. Yes. It is most interesting that TckTckTck creator Havas serves the world’s most powerful clients such as Unilver and EDF (nuclear).

For an excellent briefing on why Greenpeace working with corporate power for a better world is bullshit slash greenwash, Richard Samans offers an astute analysis in “Running the World After the Crash,” in Jan 2011 Foreign Policy. “Two years ago the elites were scared to death by the global crash, their economic nostrums discredited. Thousands of citizens took to the streets. Governments fell. Others desperately promised a new era of financial re-regulation, world cooperation on the environment and food crises created by neoliberalism and exponential growth. Then they regained confidence. Banks were “too big to fail”. The taxpayer was told to pay the bill for the playboys of the Western world. Trillions of private debt were transferred to the taxpayer (socialism for the rich) – a bill that our children and their children will have to pay. A further consequence: there is “no money left”, we are told, to finance climate action, international aid, schools, healthcare, housing, job creation and infrastructure. The elites are laughing all the way to the bank. And the high priests of the system (at Davos Jan 2011) say the next whirl of the financial wheel will be based on carbon credits.”


First Prize for Most Tasteless | Greenpeace Makes Light of Tibetan Oppression

Under attack for the tasteless 30 second Super Bowl commercial using Tibet, the corporation responsible, Groupon, stepped into the defensive mode. As images of Tibet were shown, actor Timothy Hutton read, “The people of Tibet are in trouble. Their very culture is in jeopardy.” The scene cuts to Hutton inside a restaurant: “But they still whip up an amazing fish curry. And since 200 of us bought at groupon.com we’re each getting 30 dollars worth of Tibetan food for just 15 dollars at Himalayan restaurant in Chicago.”

Although this ad is clearly distasteful and trivializes the incredibly serious issue of human rights violations in Tibet, Greenpeace, who also uses Groupon, defended the ad. “Greenpeace is happily participating in the campaign. The truth is that the ‘Save the Money’ campaign and the commercial are really helping us save the whales,” Greenpeace’s John Hocevar said in a blog post. He added, “They loved the idea of poking fun at themselves by talking about discounts as a noble cause.”

People aware of how the Tibetan culture is being destroyed in the conflict with China understand struggles of Tibet deserve respect.

From the Free Tibet website: “For Groupon the commercial has generated a lot of free media coverage and it could be argued that the advert has helped raise the profile of what is happening in Tibet, after all awareness is the first step to accountability. But it does put Tibetans and their suffering at the heart of the joke and when it’s used for commercial purposes that is exploitative. The commercial also exposes that fact that across the US and arguably the world the public know what is happening inside Tibet. But that leaves the uncomfortable fact that not enough of us are holding the Chinese Communist Party accountable for the suffering in Tibet, nor for that matter are our own governments being held accountable for their failure to hold China accountable for its appalling human rights record in Tibet.”

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=reLqtMb4-e8&feature=related (What Remains of Us: This film was shot without the knowledge of the Chinese authorities, using small digital cameras, during nearly a dozen secret forays into Tibet between 1996 and 2004.)

First Prize for Most Predictable

Reformers who are always compromising, have not yet grasped the idea that truth is the only safe ground to stand upon.” – Elizabeth Stanton

Rockefeller funded 350.org wins hands down for the predictable launch of their Businesses For 350 Campaign.  How to get to 350?  You won’t find the answer on this site … maybe just keep recycling or consuming. It appears Bill McKibben of 350.org neglected to read our 10:10:10 critique from October 2010.

First Prize for Most Undetected Greenwash of 2010

TckTckTck – partner of 350.org, WWF, Greenpeace and hundreds of other NGOs – was created by Havas, one of the largest marketing and PR firms in the world. Havas clients include a torrent of the largest and most powerful corporations on the planet. Given that economic growth is the root cause of greenhouse gas emissions growth (they have been neck and neck for the last 50 years); and the raison d’etre of Havas is to ensure TckTckTck founding partner corporations including EDF (the largest nuclear corporation on the planet) increase profits through economic growth; TckTckTck was fatally compromised at its inception. In the 2010 ‘Public Eye’ campaign it states, “Organized since 2000, Public Eye reminds corporations with destructive business practices that actions have consequences, presenting ‘name and shame’ awards to the nastiest corporate players of the year and through these awards presents to the world the immoral nexus between corporate power and the political elite.” In 2010, following the Copenhagen disaster, Greenpeace Switzerland participated in naming the Public Eye Award to “the nastiest corporate player of the year”.  The nominees included GDF Suez and Roche – TckTckTck founding partners. In summary, Greenpeace, partner of TckTckTck (Kumi Naidoo chairs both Greenpeace International and TckTckTck, also known as GCCA) is in partnership with these same corporations (GDF Suez and Roche). Such campaigns and organizations make a mockery of those suffering on the front lines of the climate emergency today. The layers of deceit are breathtaking.

As of today there remains a shortcut link on the Havas website to www.tcktcktck.org to “join the fight for climate justice”. And business for Havas has never been better – new business remains strong. (€1.6 billion for the first nine months of the year, compared with €1.1 billion for the same period in 2009 (+42%)).

TckTckTck has removed their partner, the Corporate Leaders Group on Climate Change, from visibility on the www.tcktcktck.org website after screenshots and information of this collaboration were released to their supporters and partners using their own listserv. The TckTckTck partners within the Corporate Leaders Group on Climate Change group include Shell, Coca-Cola and RBC. RBC is the number one financier of the most destructive project on the planet – the tar sands.  Over 1,000 corporate entities make up this TckTckTck partner group.

Eradicating Stupidity | Going Forward

“As for the bourgeois state, we are seeking to overcome it, to overthrow it.” Salvador Allende, 1970


Just as wearing sweaters will not make any meaningful dent in our climate crisis; just as turning Facebook green amounts to essentially nothing; just as ‘green’ shopping and more i-pods only serve to further destroy us; and just as the Nature Conservancy – Dow partnership will only serve to greenwash; consuming as a means of helping will not save whales or anything else. Every day, our current economic system continues brings us one day closer to cataclysmic, irreversible climate change and ecosystem collapse on a global scale.

And while we may not expect truth from the bloated NGOs, we should not accept it. Importantly, while we recognize the demise of ethics within the vast monopoly of NGOs who protect the very system that grips us securely in a stranglehold, we must also recognize that within these corporate structures are well-intentioned citizens and even activists who are just as frustrated by the censorship and symbolic ‘feel good’ campaigns that appeal to our society’s worst traits. Such traits such as individualism, greed, apathy and narcissism are integral for a profoundly weak and divided society. Therefore, such traits are kept fed and nourished by the corporate powers who are, in turn, completely dependent upon society’s successful indoctrination and feelings of powerlessness. Fortunately, for the ethical, yet repressed, campaigners on the inside, in 2011 we now have Enviroleaks – enabling those within the system to leak imperative documents, without fear of repercussion.

What else is new in 2011? To date, there are no mainstream NGOs who are willing to campaign on militarism and its massive contribution to climate change. One would think that this would be a sure ‘win’ upon which the NGOs should love to attach themselves. Really, how many people do you know that would oppose a campaign to end occupations and war? Known to most citizens, militarism in the US represents such a massive chunk of the budget, there is little money for anything else. Healthcare and education remain mere irritants of the lowest priority. Although this reckless budget will no doubt contribute to bankrupting the US sooner rather than later – only to line bank vaults of the corporations and the controlling plutocracy – the big greens are silent on the issue. It appears that millions of lives lost count for little.

And like we must stop the soothing yet false illusion that governments will someday do what they are supposed to do – represent their constituents and act in their best interests – we must also stop the false illusion that NGOs will confront the system and inspire a desperately needed uprising of the people who reject all false solutions while also demanding nothing less a new system which functions to serve only the essential needs of the people while protecting all life and our planet.

To date, the big greens refuse to tell supporters what the most critical aspects of climate change are, in spite of the insistent urging from climate justice activists. These are the imperatives every citizen has the right to know … and are not being told.

1)    In order to stabilize the planet, the world must achieve zero carbon emissions. Zero is the only number that matters and it must be achieved in a matter of years, not decades.  We are in a planetary emergency at less than 1ºC rise.

2)    The current economic system is the root cause of climate change.

3)    A mass mobilization on a global scale is needed to convert to a clean, perpetual zero carbon economy which rejects all false solutions including green capitalism.

The destructive campaigns of the big greens highlighted within this article are just a drop in the bucket of symbolic brand-building nonsense. Therefore the easiest direct action of 2011 is this: hit unsubscribe. The industrial non-profit complex claims to represent and speak for you in economic forums and government institutions around the world. They don’t. And if they have no members of civil society, they immediately lose their power to speak for us.  If they no longer speak for us, they can no longer use civil society as a tool allowing the expansion of the corporate agenda.

The pursuit of profit versus our responsibility to protect nature brings us to a tragic reality that is difficult to accept. Decades of doing nothing means it is now too late to stop climate change. Yet, perhaps it is not too late (we hope) to avert the magnitude of long-term impacts by cutting emissions to zero at break-neck speed. If we miss this closing window of opportunity, feedbacks take over, at which point cataclysmic climate change becomes irreversible. Nature takes over, and our planet becomes a living hell.

Message to the Youth: do-or-die


“But we won’t spend a buck a dime a single cent to preclude disaster for our children. As a mother and a grandmother this is the line that grips my heart. I see this as ageism gone viral. We don’t really care about our kids just our credit rating and OUR pensions. I guess Queen Victoria was totally effective when she said, “Children should be seen and not heard. Our so called economic system doesn’t hear the children at all. I guess soon we won’t have to see them either. Good for us adults, our campaign is a BIG success.” – FB comment

Why does society expect the next generation to clean up this mess of unparalleled magnitude – especially considering instead of being given essential tools for life skills, they were given remotes, posters of corporate prostitots, and truckloads of made-for-landfill plastic stuff bursting with toxins, chemicals and everything else that makes one ashamed to be human. This apocalyptic nightmare should never have been left to a generation of youth who have been raised and indoctrinated by corporate America – yet here we are – and the wrath of insatiable greed is about to grab our youth by the throat.

While we listen to Maude Barlow and other wise owls who tell us the next generation is the one that will change everything, we must recognize that today’s youth have become a reflection of our morally bankrupt society – beautiful children who have succumbed to become, most comfortably numb. Millions have come close to over-dosing on social media such as Facebook and texting. Ironically, social media is a wet dream for the globe’s largest marketing public relations firms who represent the world’s most powerful corporations. Marketing executives and corporate super-powers are salivating over what they envision as the greatest opportunity to exploit the planet’s youth. The corporate powers are masters in the art of acclimatizing civil society into believing that we have no control. They methodically hypnotize us to believe resistance is hopeless and therefore should be given up. This very system that enslaves us can continue its existence only if we accept that resistance is futile. Not unlike pedophiles who prey upon children, the plutocracy preys upon and is dependent upon a society easily lured with candy.

Things can change. 2011 marks a paradigm shift. The Egyptians have taught the world how to use the very social media tools corporate gods had hoped would serve to manipulate, control and distract us – and use these tools, instead, as weapons of mass-resistance. We now have WikiLeaks and Anonymous, bound to inspire creativity, coupled with revolt, in ways not yet imagined. The Egyptians have also taught the world what a revolution requires – nothing less than the courage and conviction of hundreds of thousands and even millions of bodies in the streets that refuse to leave until victory is achieved.

Today’s youth have, not only a right, but a moral obligation, to rebel and destroy the current power structures that exist. This is necessary in order to salvage what is left of a raped and pillaged planet on the brink of ecological collapse. Martin Luther King once said that you cannot commit an act of violence against a non-sentient object. Today, police states and corporate controlled governments protect property, corporate interests, and industrialized economic growth over life itself. Drastic times require drastic measures; thus, our youth have the right to destroy the suicidal structures now threatening humanity. Echoing the words of Malcolm X, they must defend that right “by any means necessary”. And we must support them as they seize this right, for we have failed them.

“Liberties are not given, they are taken.” – Aldous Huxley

Go forward in self defence. No longer can we passively witness the rape, abuse and desecration of our Earth Mother.  No longer can we passively witness the exploitation, violence and oppression subjected on our brothers and sisters. In our fight  for survival and for all life, love is the guiding principle, illuminating the centre of our struggle. We will not negotiate life. We reject all compromise. We will practise non-violence in the spirit of the Buddhist concept of aggressive non-violence understanding that one cannot commit an act of violence against a non-sentient object. Although we will exercise compassionate wrath, we recognize we have the right to defend ourselves and our Earth Mother. We intend to do so. Self-defence is not a crime. We will attack the economic system – as this is the only language it understands. We will collectively fight to reclaim our dignity and power. The burning flame at the heart of our fight for life will not be smothered, rehabilitated, co-opted, or psychologically marginalized. There will be no dilution of our fervour, no lowering of the flames, or any muting of our essential collective voice. And if our fire destroys, it is for the sake or protection and healing and bringing us together as one. Our love will burn brilliantly. The time is now.

“Individually we may see ourselves as free, yet as a collective, we are slaves. The point where we free ourselves from our own animal is that moment when we become enlightened, where we see ourselves not as a person at a single point in time, but as a continuity in blood and in thought, spanning generations and time.” Harold One Feather

It is past time to start enacting civil disobedience on a massive scale. Knowledge is the weapon and it is time to arm the masses. Fuel distribution centres, pipelines, the industrial-military-complex, banks, the stock exchange: all must be targeted. Go forward. Don’t look back. Be courageous. Be strong. The truth is on our side. Our parents could not find the courage, which means we must. The Earth, and all life on this planet, pumps through our veins. To feel it, go outside and lie under a tree. Look up at the sky. We are nature. Nature is us. Our time is running out.

“None are more hopelessly enslaved than those who falsely believe they are free.” – Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

Cory Morningstar is climate justice activist whose recent writings can be found on Canadians for Action on Climate Change and The Art of Annihilation site where you can read her bio. You can follow her on Twitter: @elleprovocateur Published February 17th, 2011 by Political Context under the headline: 2011 | The Race to the Bottom Accelerates

By Cory Morningstar | http://bit.ly/i35O4J | http://bit.ly/gh2HRe | http://bit.ly/i8HdXq

This piece continues the series being presented by Cory Morningstar and Gregory Vickrey and is part of their anticipated and controversial book and multimedia project due out in 2011.

2011 | The Race to the Bottom Accelerates

 

Illustration courtesy of Stephanie McMillan | CODE GREEN

“The Earth isn’t dying, it’s being killed, and those who are killing it have names and addresses.” – Utah Philips

As we now stand firmly on the precipice – staring irreversible climate catastrophe and natural resource depletion squarely in the face – the world accelerates its pace in a mad race to the bottom. Running with the baton are the world’s largest environmental NGOs – non-profit organizations. Although the industrial non-profit complex claims to speak for civil society, in reality these groups are the sanctioning agents of a planet which is rapidly becoming completely dominated by corporate control. These groups have been integral to lending legitimacy and credibility to the very corporations hell bent on destroying and commodifying what little remains of our increasingly fragile planet. What we are now witnessing is a race for the last remaining shared commons. Commons which should be protected and held ‘in trust’ for future generations – if only our governments were not mere puppets of corporate power and control.

WTF WEF: “Defining Civil Society, Once and For All”

“We are blinded, enchanted and finally enslaved by spectacle.” – Empire of Illusion, Chris Hedges

In the World Economic Forum (WEF) annual meeting of 2005 one topic of significant importance was ‘Defining Civil Society, Once and For All’. The moderator Bassir Pour cited there was a 15 minute delay as many of the participants had been listening to the panel titled ‘The G8 and Africa: Rhetoric or Action? ‘ This panel had highlighted an example of ‘civil society in action’ in the form of a demonstration by Greenpeace, which Pour said put a smile on her lips because it was so peaceful. To be sure, there is nothing that makes a corporation or corporate-controlled government happier than a passive, unthreatening demonstration with no fighting spirit. Mind you, the same corporate entities do not uphold such similar peaceful ideologies for themselves to abide by. For example, in Columbia and other developing countries, Coca-Cola has murdered hundreds of union leaders. Dole has had no qualms in knowingly exposing banana workers to toxins resulting in sterilization. On December 26, 2009, Dora “Alicia” Recinos Sorto, age 32, was assassinated. Dora was the second anti-mining activist killed that week in the small community of Nueva Trinidad. Recinos Sorto was eight months pregnant and carrying her two-year old child when she was shot on her way back from doing laundry at a nearby river. Canadian Mining Company Pacific Rim has come under fire for these accelerating assassinations which continue today. In vulnerable countries such violence has become a daily part of life. Activists are targeted and become the invisible victims of the murderous economic system. Demonstrations have morphed from the fierce unwavering determination witnessed in the sixties to the ‘acceptable’ demonstrations now recognized today which are overwhelmingly ineffective. Such assembly line ‘protests’ undoubtedly inspire reactions from the global elite such as, “look at the cute proles who believe they can make a difference – adorable. Now let’s get back to business.” Touching on today’s ineffective movements, on 3 February 2011, Mr. Fish of truthdig.org asks the question: “What do we have now? An anti-war movement that is so gutless and so savagely unimaginative that, rather than gaining purpose and momentum in the face of our government’s ever-increasing disdain for peace in the Middle East, it has proved itself to be too lazy, even too cowardly, to face down the very disease of oligarchy that it had concocted itself to cure.” This statement can easily be applied to today’s environmental movement.

Pacific Rim Corporation: Above: Anti-Mining Activist Recinos Sorto – Assassinated

WEF: “Organizing Their Dream World”

One response to the question of ‘how to define civil society’ was that since big business foundations are incentivized by the tax code, corporations are not civil society, but foundations are. Therefore it should be no surprise the ‘big green’ groups who claim they receive no corporate funding can legitimately do so, merely because foundations serve as corporate front groups. The big greens are funded by the very foundations set up by the corporations who essentially serve as a money laundering service in what the elites proclaim as philanthro-capitalism. Others questions in the WEF discussion were: “Could an NGO formed by a corporation be part of civil society? Does acceptance of government contracts make an NGO an extension of government? Are the big NGOs still members of civil society?” In the summing up period, Pour said, Kofi Annan’s advice was the main point: to keep “organizing our dream world.”

The following year, at the World Economic Forum Annual Meeting of 2006 a topic of significant importance was ‘Building Trust in Public and Private Institutions’. Richard Edelman, President and CEO of Edelman, USA, reported that opinion leaders now trust NGOs more than business, media and government for information. “NGOs are the most trusted institution in nearly every market,” he stated. (Edelman’s Trust Barometer 2006 Seventh Global Opinion Leaders Study). He further reported that “Information conveyed by CEOs is at the bottom of the list, even lower than politicians, with organizations such as Amnesty International, WWF World Wide Fund for Nature, Greenpeace, and Médecins Sans Frontières at the top of the ranking.” Guy Ryder, General Secretary, International Confederation of Free Trade Unions (ICFTU), Brussels, corroborated the Edelman survey: “Trust matters. There is a feeling of bewilderment which dramatically impacts on people’s lives. They feel powerless; we do not have a means of expressing opinions. ‘Trust proximity’ is the thing that you are familiar with; it includes the things you understand.” Ryder further explained that for the ordinary person, “NGOs seem ‘more like me’ and convey the things that matter to me.” He noted that the fall of confidence in public institutions is the most alarming. “53% of people in the US want to be represented by trade unions, but corporate America stops this.” (Corporate America certainly does stop this. Corporate power has been utilizing corporate-owned media to its absolute advantage in a major attempt to turn the public sentiment against unions – the last remaining collective to threaten corporate power. The rhetoric spewed out by the corporate media is nothing less than incredible.)

Make no mistake, NGOs are recognized by corporate power as an absolutely essential element – indispensable for ensuring corporate power can quite easily advance their agenda.

First Place: Nature Conservancy

 

“Advocates of capitalism are very apt to appeal to the sacred principles of liberty, which are embodied in one maxim: The fortunate must not be restrained in the exercise of tyranny over the unfortunate” – Bertrand Russell

At the front line of the race to the bottom we must recognize The Nature Conservancy for accepting the challenge of “protecting nature” in an announced new partnership with Dow Chemical who have generously gifted Nature Conservancy with a cool $10 million. Unfortunately, this ‘bankrolled consent’ most likely means Dow will be too financially strapped to clean up Bhopal – whose citizens continue to suffer to this day. Never mind last week it was announced that Dow’s profit has tripled. The corporation reported a profit of $511 million for the quarter ending in December 2010. Nature Conservancy’s president and CEO is none other than former Goldman Sachs Group executive, Mark Tercek. Perhaps not coincidentally, former Nature Conservancy president Henry Paulson also made his rounds through the revolving doors of the Goldman Sachs Group. Yet another Nature Conservancy board member, Muneer Satter, also originated from Goldman Sachs. You may recall the name Goldman Sachs – most known for their role in the brilliantly executed 2008 financial crisis which threw millions into poverty as the rich became even richer. As well, Nature Conservancy just hired a new marketing director in 2010 — former executive vice president for marketing at World Wrestling Entertainment. Prior to that position, he served as senior vice president for marketing at Showtime Networks. Showtime indeed. Fiction? Satire? Unfortunately not. If such organizations were not so dangerous, one would have to laugh. However, considering we are on the brink of exterminating our own children, this is truly sickening and no laughing matter. (Fyi – The Nature Conservancy has more than $3.7 billion in assets, annual revenue of $860 million – remember that when they ask you for your last 20 bucks.)

Second Place: Greenpeace International

And what does the world’s most recognized NGO plan to do in the face of cataclysmic climate change, as the opportunity to avoid irreversible planetary collapse slowly dissipates? It launches an international campaign to ‘green’ Facebook by Earth Day, April 22, 2011.

Enough said.

Update! 11 February 2011: “Today we need you to join a very special photo petition – … no, call it a competition – The 10 most-liked photos on Wednesday, 16 February at 17:00 CET will feature in an upcoming Greenpeace activity… (say no more, nudge nudge, wink wink). We also have campaign t-shirts for the top ten, and a CD of “Amchitka, The 1970 Concert that Launched Greenpeace,” featuring Joni Mitchell, Phil Ochs, and James Taylor, for the most popular photo of all. The funniest, weirdest, and most provocative photos will probably get the most ‘Likes’, so have some fun with it, submit your photo and get “liking” right away! Happy snapping, Team Facebook (at Greenpeace!)”

Third Place: WWF Presents National Sweater Day

 

“It’s time to Get Sweatered!” WWF-Canada announces a brand new campaign for Sweater Day, February 17, 2011. And after this you can look forward to shutting your lights off for that one hour a year in WWF’s annual Earth Hour campaign. As always, big greens frame the conversation on what an individual can do while vehemently neglecting to discuss the root cause of climate change – the current economic system. In this campaign, our youth is led to believe that small individual actions will help solve our environmental crisis. They can’t. Further, the crisis is framed to be most unthreatening, simply because the solution proposed requires so little effort. Of course, this campaign isn’t complete without prizes to feed the insatiable need to consume – which this campaign endorses by way of participation. (WWF International’s operating revenue totalled 224.2 million in 2010. Carter Roberts, CEO and President, took home a meagre $486,394 in 2008.)

Honourable Mentions: Friends of the Earth International


Courtesy of Keith Farnish’s Unsuitablog

“Find out about the Good Shopping Guide application: http://bit.ly/hH44mK Plus win an iPod touch! ” – Friends of the Earth via twitter

Friends of the Earth, 1970-2011
RIP

Worst Video

 

The video featuring a 2 minute summary of the COP16 conference and highlighting the brand TckTckTck makes light of our planetary emergency and tells the viewer… absolutely nothing. Further, the video frames Bolivia as an obstructionist to the negotiations when in fact Bolivia stood alone rejecting an agreement which will lead to mass genocide. Alone, Bolivia fought for life using powerful, ethical arguments, defending the people’s agreements adopted in Cochabamba which would protect Mother Earth, all species and future generations. All big greens have declined to endorse the People’s Agreement which places people before corporate profit. It appears this video, being promoted widely, was created by TckTckTck partner UKYCC.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=76BgKe1naFc

First Prize for Most Dangerous: Greenpeace at the World Economic Forum

“Capitalism justified itself and was adopted as an economic principle on the express ground that it provides selfish motives for doing good, and that human beings will do nothing except for selfish motives” – George Bernard Shaw

In the frontline of global economic forums such as the WEF, commonly referred to simply as Davos, you will recognize the exceptionally orchestrated Greenpeace demonstrations. This is the Greenpeace that rides today on the coat-tails of the legacy laid down by the original Greenpeace founders decades ago.  A Greenpeace which in reality no longer exists. Before being co-opted by corporate power, Greenpeace consisted of grassroots activists who were not interested in discussing compromise. One such founder, Bob Hunter, wore a ‘fuck off’ sign around his neck in a public meetings. These real-life eco-warriors had no fear of ripping to shreds those who were destroying our planet.

A headline on an image posted on 10 January 2011 reads, “Sixty Greenpeace activists dressed in skeleton suits protest in front of the World Economic Forum conference against Dow Chemical”. The banners reads, “Clean up Bhopal Now!” The images are moving. Yet, in the background something much different is going on … behind the scenes … for those who dance in the elitist circle … the champagne flows almost as fast as the money.

 

7 February 2011, Kumi Naidoo, executive director of Greenpeace International and chair of the Havas creation TckTckTck ‘speaks to power’ in Johannesburg, South Africa. Naidoo explains that at the World Economic Forum in Davos he had meetings with no fewer than 15 chief executives of major corporations, men whose decisions help shape (destroy) our environment and affect workers’ rights (exploitation) and ultimately what kind of world we pass on to our children and grandchildren (irreversible climate hell with collapsed ecosystems). Naidoo states that the first meeting was a breakfast briefing with Unilever. Naidoo states he was invited by the chief executive to speak of the curious relationship his company enjoys with Greenpeace.

Curious. Yes. It is most interesting that TckTckTck creator Havas serves the world’s most powerful clients such as Unilver and EDF (nuclear).

For an excellent briefing on why Greenpeace working with corporate power for a better world is bullshit slash greenwash, Richard Samans offers an astute analysis in “Running the World After the Crash,” in Jan 2011 Foreign Policy. “Two years ago the elites were scared to death by the global crash, their economic nostrums discredited. Thousands of citizens took to the streets. Governments fell. Others desperately promised a new era of financial re-regulation, world cooperation on the environment and food crises created by neoliberalism and exponential growth. Then they regained confidence. Banks were “too big to fail”. The taxpayer was told to pay the bill for the playboys of the Western world. Trillions of private debt were transferred to the taxpayer (socialism for the rich) – a bill that our children and their children will have to pay. A further consequence: there is “no money left”, we are told, to finance climate action, international aid, schools, healthcare, housing, job creation and infrastructure. The elites are laughing all the way to the bank. And the high priests of the system (at Davos Jan 2011) say the next whirl of the financial wheel will be based on carbon credits.”


First Prize for Most Tasteless | Greenpeace Makes Light of Tibetan Oppression

Under attack for the tasteless 30 second Super Bowl commercial using Tibet, the corporation responsible, Groupon, stepped into the defensive mode. As images of Tibet were shown, actor Timothy Hutton read, “The people of Tibet are in trouble. Their very culture is in jeopardy.” The scene cuts to Hutton inside a restaurant: “But they still whip up an amazing fish curry. And since 200 of us bought at groupon.com we’re each getting 30 dollars worth of Tibetan food for just 15 dollars at Himalayan restaurant in Chicago.”

Although this ad is clearly distasteful and trivializes the incredibly serious issue of human rights violations in Tibet, Greenpeace, who also uses Groupon, defended the ad. “Greenpeace is happily participating in the campaign. The truth is that the ‘Save the Money’ campaign and the commercial are really helping us save the whales,” Greenpeace’s John Hocevar said in a blog post. He added, “They loved the idea of poking fun at themselves by talking about discounts as a noble cause.”

People aware of how the Tibetan culture is being destroyed in the conflict with China understand struggles of Tibet deserve respect.

From the Free Tibet website: “For Groupon the commercial has generated a lot of free media coverage and it could be argued that the advert has helped raise the profile of what is happening in Tibet, after all awareness is the first step to accountability. But it does put Tibetans and their suffering at the heart of the joke and when it’s used for commercial purposes that is exploitative. The commercial also exposes that fact that across the US and arguably the world the public know what is happening inside Tibet. But that leaves the uncomfortable fact that not enough of us are holding the Chinese Communist Party accountable for the suffering in Tibet, nor for that matter are our own governments being held accountable for their failure to hold China accountable for its appalling human rights record in Tibet.”

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=reLqtMb4-e8&feature=related (What Remains of Us: This film was shot without the knowledge of the Chinese authorities, using small digital cameras, during nearly a dozen secret forays into Tibet between 1996 and 2004.)

First Prize for Most Predictable

 

Reformers who are always compromising, have not yet grasped the idea that truth is the only safe ground to stand upon.” – Elizabeth Stanton

 

Rockefeller funded 350.org wins hands down for the predictable launch of their Businesses For 350 Campaign.  How to get to 350?  You won’t find the answer on this site … maybe just keep recycling or consuming. It appears Bill McKibben of 350.org neglected to read our 10:10:10 critique from October 2010.

First Prize for Most Undetected Greenwash of 2010

TckTckTck – partner of 350.org, WWF, Greenpeace and hundreds of other NGOs – was created by Havas, one of the largest marketing and PR firms in the world. Havas clients include a torrent of the largest and most powerful corporations on the planet. Given that economic growth is the root cause of greenhouse gas emissions growth (they have been neck and neck for the last 50 years); and the raison d’etre of Havas is to ensure TckTckTck founding partner corporations including EDF (the largest nuclear corporation on the planet) increase profits through economic growth; TckTckTck was fatally compromised at its inception. In the 2010 ‘Public Eye’ campaign it states, “Organized since 2000, Public Eye reminds corporations with destructive business practices that actions have consequences, presenting ‘name and shame’ awards to the nastiest corporate players of the year and through these awards presents to the world the immoral nexus between corporate power and the political elite.” In 2010, following the Copenhagen disaster, Greenpeace Switzerland participated in naming the Public Eye Award to “the nastiest corporate player of the year”.  The nominees included GDF Suez and Roche – TckTckTck founding partners. In summary, Greenpeace, partner of TckTckTck (Kumi Naidoo chairs both Greenpeace International and TckTckTck, also known as GCCA) is in partnership with these same corporations (GDF Suez and Roche). Such campaigns and organizations make a mockery of those suffering on the front lines of the climate emergency today. The layers of deceit are breathtaking.

As of today there remains a shortcut link on the Havas website to www.tcktcktck.org to “join the fight for climate justice”. And business for Havas has never been better – new business remains strong. (€1.6 billion for the first nine months of the year, compared with €1.1 billion for the same period in 2009 (+42%)).

 

TckTckTck has removed their partner, the Corporate Leaders Group on Climate Change, from visibility on the www.tcktcktck.org website after screenshots and information of this collaboration were released to their supporters and partners using their own listserv. The TckTckTck partners within the Corporate Leaders Group on Climate Change group include Shell, Coca-Cola and RBC. RBC is the number one financier of the most destructive project on the planet – the tar sands.  Over 1,000 corporate entities make up this TckTckTck partner group.

 

Eradicating Stupidity | Going Forward

“As for the bourgeois state, we are seeking to overcome it, to overthrow it.” Salvador Allende, 1970


 

 

Just as wearing sweaters will not make any meaningful dent in our climate crisis; just as turning Facebook green amounts to essentially nothing; just as ‘green’ shopping and more i-pods only serve to further destroy us; and just as the Nature Conservancy – Dow partnership will only serve to greenwash; consuming as a means of helping will not save whales or anything else. Every day, our current economic system continues brings us one day closer to cataclysmic, irreversible climate change and ecosystem collapse on a global scale.

And while we may not expect truth from the bloated NGOs, we should not accept it. Importantly, while we recognize the demise of ethics within the vast monopoly of NGOs who protect the very system that grips us securely in a stranglehold, we must also recognize that within these corporate structures are well-intentioned citizens and even activists who are just as frustrated by the censorship and symbolic ‘feel good’ campaigns that appeal to our society’s worst traits. Such traits such as individualism, greed, apathy and narcissism are integral for a profoundly weak and divided society. Therefore, such traits are kept fed and nourished by the corporate powers who are, in turn, completely dependent upon society’s successful indoctrination and feelings of powerlessness. Fortunately, for the ethical, yet repressed, campaigners on the inside, in 2011 we now have Enviroleaks – enabling those within the system to leak imperative documents, without fear of repercussion.

What else is new in 2011? To date, there are no mainstream NGOs who are willing to campaign on militarism and its massive contribution to climate change. One would think that this would be a sure ‘win’ upon which the NGOs should love to attach themselves. Really, how many people do you know that would oppose a campaign to end occupations and war? Known to most citizens, militarism in the US represents such a massive chunk of the budget, there is little money for anything else. Healthcare and education remain mere irritants of the lowest priority. Although this reckless budget will no doubt contribute to bankrupting the US sooner rather than later – only to line bank vaults of the corporations and the controlling plutocracy – the big greens are silent on the issue. It appears that millions of lives lost count for little.

And like we must stop the soothing yet false illusion that governments will someday do what they are supposed to do – represent their constituents and act in their best interests – we must also stop the false illusion that NGOs will confront the system and inspire a desperately needed uprising of the people who reject all false solutions while also demanding nothing less a new system which functions to serve only the essential needs of the people while protecting all life and our planet.

To date, the big greens refuse to tell supporters what the most critical aspects of climate change are, in spite of the insistent urging from climate justice activists. These are the imperatives every citizen has the right to know … and are not being told.

1)    In order to stabilize the planet, the world must achieve zero carbon emissions. Zero is the only number that matters and it must be achieved in a matter of years, not decades.  We are in a planetary emergency at less than 1ºC rise.

2)    The current economic system is the root cause of climate change.

3)    A mass mobilization on a global scale is needed to convert to a clean, perpetual zero carbon economy which rejects all false solutions including green capitalism.

The destructive campaigns of the big greens highlighted within this article are just a drop in the bucket of symbolic brand-building nonsense. Therefore the easiest direct action of 2011 is this: hit unsubscribe. The industrial non-profit complex claims to represent and speak for you in economic forums and government institutions around the world. They don’t. And if they have no members of civil society, they immediately lose their power to speak for us.  If they no longer speak for us, they can no longer use civil society as a tool allowing the expansion of the corporate agenda.

The pursuit of profit verses our responsibility to protect nature brings us to a tragic reality that is difficult to accept. Decades of doing nothing means it is now too late to stop climate change. Yet, perhaps it is not too late (we hope) to avert the magnitude of long-term impacts by cutting emissions to zero at break-neck speed. If we miss this closing window of opportunity, feedbacks take over, at which point cataclysmic climate change becomes irreversible. Nature takes over, and our planet becomes a living hell.

Message to the Youth: do-or-die


 

“But we won’t spend a buck a dime a single cent to preclude disaster for our children. As a mother and a grandmother this is the line that grips my heart. I see this as ageism gone viral. We don’t really care about our kids just our credit rating and OUR pensions. I guess Queen Victoria was totally effective when she said, “Children should be seen and not heard. Our so called economic system doesn’t hear the children at all. I guess soon we won’t have to see them either. Good for us adults, our campaign is a BIG success.” – FB comment

Why does society expect the next generation to clean up this mess of unparalleled magnitude – especially considering instead of being given essential tools for life skills, they were given remotes, posters of corporate prostitots, and truckloads of made-for-landfill plastic stuff bursting with toxins, chemicals and everything else that makes one ashamed to be human. This apocalyptic nightmare should never have been left to a generation of youth who have been raised and indoctrinated by corporate America – yet here we are – and the wrath of insatiable greed is about to grab our youth by the throat.

While we listen to Maude Barlow and other wise owls who tell us the next generation is the one that will change everything, we must recognize that today’s youth have become a reflection of our morally bankrupt society – beautiful children who have succumbed to become, most comfortably numb. Millions have come close to over-dosing on social media such as Facebook and texting. Ironically, social media is a wet dream for the globe’s largest marketing public relations firms who represent the world’s most powerful corporations. Marketing executives and corporate super-powers are salivating over what they envision as the greatest opportunity to exploit the planet’s youth. The corporate powers are masters in the art of acclimatizing civil society into believing that we have no control. They methodically hypnotize us to believe resistance is hopeless and therefore should be given up. This very system that enslaves us can continue its existence only if we accept that resistance is futile. Not unlike pedophiles who prey upon children, the plutocracy preys upon and is dependent upon a society easily lured with candy.

Things can change. 2011 marks a paradigm shift. The Egyptians have taught the world how to use the very social media tools corporate gods had hoped would serve to manipulate, control and distract us – and use these tools, instead, as weapons of mass-resistance. We now have WikiLeaks and Anonymous, bound to inspire creativity, coupled with revolt, in ways not yet imagined. The Egyptians have also taught the world what a revolution requires – nothing less than the courage and conviction of hundreds of thousands and even millions of bodies in the streets that refuse to leave until victory is achieved.

Today’s youth have, not only a right, but a moral obligation, to rebel and destroy the current power structures that exist. This is necessary in order to salvage what is left of a raped and pillaged planet on the brink of ecological collapse. Martin Luther King once said that you cannot commit an act of violence against a non-sentient object. Today, police states and corporate controlled governments protect property, corporate interests, and industrialized economic growth over life itself. Drastic times require drastic measures; thus, our youth have the right to destroy the suicidal structures now threatening humanity. Echoing the words of Malcolm X, they must defend that right “by any means necessary”. And we must support them as they seize this right, for we have failed them.

“Liberties are not given, they are taken.” – Aldous Huxley

Go forward in self defence. No longer can we passively witness the rape, abuse and desecration of our Earth Mother.  No longer can we passively witness the exploitation, violence and oppression subjected on our brothers and sisters. In our fight  for survival and for all life, love is the guiding principle, illuminating the centre of our struggle. We will not negotiate life. We reject all compromise. We will practise non-violence in the spirit of the Buddhist concept of aggressive non-violence understanding that one cannot commit an act of violence against a non-sentient object. Although we will exercise compassionate wrath, we recognize we have the right to defend ourselves and our Earth Mother. We intend to do so. Self-defence is not a crime. We will attack the economic system – as this is the only language it understands. We will collectively fight to reclaim our dignity and power. The burning flame at the heart of our fight for life will not be smothered, rehabilitated, co-opted, or psychologically marginalized. There will be no dilution of our fervour, no lowering of the flames, or any muting of our essential collective voice. And if our fire destroys, it is for the sake or protection and healing and bringing us together as one. Our love will burn brilliantly. The time is now.

“Individually we may see ourselves as free, yet as a collective, we are slaves. The point where we free ourselves from our own animal is that moment when we become enlightened, where we see ourselves not as a person at a single point in time, but as a continuity in blood and in thought, spanning generations and time.” Harold One Feather

It is past time to start enacting civil disobedience on a massive scale. Knowledge is the weapon and it is time to arm the masses. Fuel distribution centres, pipelines, the industrial-military-complex, banks, the stock exchange: all must be targeted. Go forward. Don’t look back. Be courageous. Be strong. The truth is on our side. Our parents could not find the courage, which means we must. The Earth, and all life on this planet, pumps through our veins. To feel it, go outside and lie under a tree. Look up at the sky. We are nature. Nature is us. Our time is running out.

“None are more hopelessly enslaved than those who falsely believe they are free.” – Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

 

Cory Morningstar is climate justice activist whose recent writings can be found on Canadians for Action on Climate Change and The Art of Annihilation site where you can read her bio. You can follow her on Twitter: @elleprovocateur

Interview With Bill McKibben, Winner of Puffin/Nation Prize for Creative Citizenship and Gregory Vickrey, Winner of International Peanut Butter Subsistence Prize

February 24th, 2011

Climate reality writer and activist Gregory Vickrey. (L) ( Photo: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)
Founder of 350.org, writer and environmentalist Bill McKibben. (R) (Photo: Nancie Battaglia /
350.org)

Bill McKibben, Schumann distinguished scholar at Middlebury College, is the author of a dozen books about the environment, including “The End of Nature” (1989), regarded as the first book for a general audience about global warming. He is also founder of the global grassroots climate movement 350.org, which organized what CNN called “the most widespread day of political action in the planet’s history.” Most recently, he was the recipient of the annual $100,000 Puffin/Nation Prize for Creative Citizenship. Of this honor, McKibben said:

“I’m a beginner as an organizer; it’s a great honor to be included on this list of people who have changed America for the better. I am deeply grateful to The Puffin Foundation and The Nation Institute for this recognition of my work. I am even more appreciative that this award is representative of a shared conviction that now is a singular moment in our history for all people of good conscience to come together in defense of the planet. Our work has never been more urgent.”

Gregory Vickrey, Peace of the Action distinguished board member and generally unknown writer and activist, is the author of not a few critiques of environmental organizations, including “Environmentalism is Dead”, likely one of the least read articles on Counterpunch, ever. He has been lucky to work with Cory Morningstar of Canadians for Action on Climate Change; otherwise, he’d be extra-unknown. Most recently, he was the recipient of the $0 Peanut Butter Subsistence Prize. Of this honor, Vickrey said:

“It sucks to be broke and targeted, but what can I do? The entire world is at stake. So few of us stick to our guns and speak the truth about climate change – recognizing it as the greatest crime against humanity in history – I’d hate to cull myself from that group. Even if it meant I could also afford jelly on occasion.”

On that note, I interviewed Bill McKibben and Gregory Vickrey and would like to share our conversation with you.

Mickey Z.: You’ve noted that this award highlights your shift from writer to organizer. Can you tell us more about how and why you made that shift?

Bill McKibben: At some point, it became obvious to me that we were losing badly in the global warming fight, and that one reason was we had no movement. All the scientific studies and policy plans on earth don’t get you very far if there’s no movement to push them. So we’re doing our best to build that – too late and too slowly, but as best we can.

Gregory Vickrey: I think Bill is genuine here. He did realize we are losing badly in the global warming fight – and we still are. It is important to question ourselves when we endeavor to build a movement. In Bill’s case, I think one of the first questions was funding. And that’s can be a dangerous question, especially when one considers the history of the environmental movement, and even recently sees organizations like The Nature Conservancy cutting deals with Dow Chemical. Unfortunately, with the incarnations of what was to become 350.org, we find seed money from the likes of Rockefeller Brothers Fund (think big oil), and we find a pronounced effort to create a brand, rather than a movement – and that strategy was created by Havas, one of the world’s largest marketing firms.

MZ: Of your work, Derrick Jensen has said: “One of the problems that I see with the vast majority of so-called solutions to global warming is that they take industrial capitalism as a given and the planet which must conform to industrial capitalism, as opposed to the other way around.” How do you respond to this critique?

BM: It strikes me that the single biggest variable explaining the structure of the world today is the availability of cheap fossil fuel – that’s what happened two hundred years ago to create the world we know, especially its centralization. I think if we can put a serious price on fossil fuel, one that reflects the damage it does to our earth, then the fuels that we will depend on – principally wind and sun – will push us in the direction of more localized economies. Those kind of changes have been the focus of my work as a writer in recent years.

GV: What strikes me is that Bill did not respond to the question that was asked. What Bill says instead is that we should depend upon the political system that got us into this mess to get us out of it by taxing the crap out of fossil fuels. Unfortunately, we could elect Bill (or me!) as president and we still wouldn’t get the policy in place to force corporations to kill the carbon economy. Jensen is on point with the quote you provided, and Bill and corporate brand 350.org ignore that part of reality.

MZ: So many people believe they’re already “doing their part,” e.g. recycling, using CFL bulbs, bringing their own bag to the grocery store etc. How do we help them see ASAP that this isn’t even remotely enough?

BM: Well, I think we keep encouraging them to become politically active too, not instead. It’s good to do what you can around your house; and our job is to help people realize that there are ways they can be effective in a larger sphere too. That’s what movements are. And especially with climate change, the feeling that you’re too small to make a difference can be crippling.

GV: This is another arena where Bill has no forthright response at the ready, because he and 350.org are not in the business of systemic change. They believe in green capitalsm, so changing light bulbs is good, recycling is good, etc. See, the “feel good” in recycling allows us to continue consuming at preposterous rates. Changing light bulbs damns us to suffer Jevons Paradox, and corporations love that. So 350.org loves that. Instead, we should be making people aware of reality: our only chance is effective zero carbon emissions, and we must get there in a matter of years. That means dramatic systemic change. That means drastic lifestyle changes. It’s apolitical, in the end, because Mother Nature doesn’t care about having a seat at the table in DC. She doesn’t need it.

MZ: The US Department of Defense is the world’s worst polluter, the planet’s top gas guzzler, and recipient of 53.3 percent of American taxpayer dollars. How does your work address this situation and the concurrent “untouchable” status the US military has among the majority of American citizens?

BM: I’m not sure it really does, directly. Indirectly, I think the biggest reason we have the oversized defense that we do is that we rely on distant and unstable sources of energy as the core of our economy. I remember one sign in particular from the early Anti-Iraq-War rallies I went to: “How did our oil end up under their sand?”

GV: Bill’s work doesn’t address militarism at all. We need to drastically cut military spending in order to subsidize systemic change in the short term, and that mechanism is the fastest way to start cutting carbon. You won’t find that on the 350.org website.

MZ: Since 51 percent of human-created greenhouse gases come from the industrial animal food business, are you encouraging people to adopt a plant-based diet lifestyle?

BM: I’ve written time and again that industrial agriculture, especially factory livestock farming, is a bane – not only for its greenhouse gases, but for myriad other reasons. Interestingly, though, scientific data from the last couple of years is leading to the conclusion that local, grasspastured, often-moved livestock, by the action of their hooves and the constant deposition of manure, improve soils enough to soak up more carbon and methane than they produce. (This would explain why, say, there could have been more ungulates on the continent 300 years ago than now without it being a curse to the atmosphere). So there may be hope for meat-eaters as well – but only if you know and understand where your dinner is coming from.

GV: Again, Bill misses the point. Beyond eliminating militarism, we can cut into our carbon budget most drastically and immediately by scrapping the agro-meat industry. In time, Bill’s scenario providing hope for voracious meat eaters may come into effect, but we do not have the time to gradually shrink agro-meats. If we implement a strategy of incrementalism here, we are doomed to suffer the worst effects of climate change.

MZ: Is there a question you’ve always wished to be asked during an interview? If so, please feel free to ask and answer now.

BM: I’ve … done a lot of interviews.

GV: How do we get to zero? In short, the United States, Canada, and Australia must get to zero emission before 2020, with most of the cuts occurring over the next 5 years. Europe, Japan, China, India, and a few other countries must accomplish the same before 2025. The rest of the developing world must accomplish the same before 2030. Even in the best of circumstances, this scenario does not protect us from the feedback loops that are not included in any of the predictive models. But it gives us our best shot. Assuming policy-makers balk at this, we need an all-out global uprising to overcome, overwhelm, and overtake the system, and to be prepared for massive sacrifice. The system and its masters will not be easily returned to the masses. We must give them no choice.

MZ: What do you like to do when not engaged in writing, organizing and activism? What inspires you outside of those realms?

BM: I like to be outdoors – cross-country skiing most of all, or hiking. That’s why I live in the woods. And that’s why it’s tough to be on the road so much organizing. But I love the people, especially the young people, who are my colleagues.

GV: I chase dogs and kids and soccer balls. I succumb to the “need” of college basketball. I wonder where my next meal is coming from.

MZ: How can readers connect with you and get involved with your work?

BM: By going to 350.org and signing up. We spent what little money we had on a website; it works in about a dozen languages, and we think it’s pretty sharp.

GV: People can learn more about Bill’s work here and here. People can go to my website to get in touch and learn more about climate reality; it works in one language – occasionally two when I can manage to get a translator – and it’s pretty sharp considering I still owe the guy who helped me with it some cash. Maybe I can fix him a peanut butter sandwich instead.

Note: The preceding interview is not real. Mickey Z. and Bill McKibben held an interview that may be found here; their sections remain the same. Gregory Vickrey’s sections are a fictitious addition meant to bring the reality of corporate brand 350.org to the fore, and to urge everyone to get serious about climate change. Wake up. Tear down. Rise up.

http://thesietch.org/mysietch/keith/2011/02/24/interview-with-bill-mckibben/