Climate change poses a global threat to human rights, underscoring the need for worldwide action to rein in runaway greenhouse gas emissions, a group of United Nations independent experts has stressed. The Special Rapporteurs, independent experts and working group members issued their warning in an open letter (pdf) dated Friday and sent to governments involved in the upcoming UN climate negotiations. “The need for urgency in addressing this topic is underscored by the approaching deadlines for the climate negotiations to reach a concrete solution,” they write. “We urge the State Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change to recognize the adverse effects of climate change on the enjoyment of human rights, and to adopt urgent and ambitious mitigation and adaptation measures to prevent further harm. We call on the State Parties to include language in the 2015 climate agreement that provides that the Parties shall, in all climate change related actions, respect, protect, promote, and fulfill human rights for all.”
Standing at the front of the conference room, the University of California, San Diego professor took the crowd through the advanced computer model he was using to answer that rather direct question. He talked about a whole bunch of other stuff largely incomprehensible to those of us uninitiated in complex systems theory. But the bottom line was clear enough: Global capitalism has made the depletion of resources so rapid, convenient and barrier-free that “earth-human systems” are becoming dangerously unstable in response. When a journalist pressed Werner for a clear answer on the “Is earth fucked?” question, he set the jargon aside and replied, “More or less.” There was one dynamic in the model, however, that offered some hope. Werner described it as “resistance”—movements of “people or groups of people” who “adopt a certain set of dynamics that does not fit within the capitalist culture.”
This month of October presents us with 13 years of permanent war for profit or, as the warmongers call it, the “war against terror”. This “operation” is killing and maiming millions of people especially in the oil rich Middle East. Simultaneously these Juggernaut nations “of the willing” are choking Mother Earth to death—polluting the air we breathe, the water we drink, the soil that spawns our food, and eradicating millions of species. Most people are clearly aware that the main cause of climate change, which is destroying the planet, is human motivated. And many are acting against this. But most environmental organizations and activists ignore the wars that kill people while they pollute the planet. People in the east and south are usually the major victims of the wars started or backed by the west, and they want no part of this violence. Most people in the west, however, are not upset enough about this warring to act against it, although when asked most acknowledge that they wish for peace.
Boise, ID — An oil and gas lease auction on Oct. 15, 2014 by the Idaho Department of Lands (IDL) was delayed for about 30 minutes as protesters went back and forth with state officials concerning their right to silently protest the event. Reporters at local EnviroNews Idaho have witnessed similar silent protests in the past conducted by Wild Idaho Rising Tide (WIRT) and Idaho Residents Against Gas Extraction (IRAGE) during IDL’s oil and gas tract auctions without incident. Previous auctions have been held at the IDL’s office in Boise but this oil and gas tract sale was hosted by the Idaho Department of Fish and Game, due to it’s larger conference room. According to video taken by WIRT and given to EnviroNews, activists who were confined to a “protest area” were told their signs were disruptive to the auction and would have to be taken outside.
In Washington, D.C., next month, environmentalists who’ve made their way across the country are planning to pressure the Obama administration to stop using fossil fuels. They’re part of the Great March for Climate Action that started in March in Los Angeles. One sunny Saturday afternoon this October, the marchers met with local fracking activists in Diamond Park, across from the Butler County Courthouse. The event was part of the Global Frackdown, one of many protests worldwide against fracking for oil and gas. Lisa DeSantis, from Lawrence County, describes herself as an activist clown. She’s painted tears of oil dripping down her face for this protest. She thinks fracking should be banned because it can contaminate water.
The Maine Walk for Peace & A Sustainable Future is underway and winding its way along the glorious autumn roads of central Maine. It began Saturday, Oct. 11, in Rangeley, and the group will pass through Phillips, Farmington, Livermore Falls, Lewiston, Gray, Portland, and Saco before the scheduled arrival in North Berwick on Monday, Oct. 20. It is the goal of the walk, sponsored by Maine Veterans for Peace, to connect various communities that have become reliant on military production for jobs. “We hope to accelerate a statewide discussion about the need to diversify Maine’s growing dependence on military production,” explained lead organizer, Bruce Gagnon, at the introductory meeting. The walk will conclude with a demonstration at the Pratt-Whitney plant in North Berwick, which has a $2 billion contract to build F-35 fighter engines.
Lasqueti Island – In response to the announcement of the approval of permits for the shipment of US thermal coal through Greater Vancouver, the Fraser River, and up the Salish Sea to Texada Island, citizens in the region protested by Occupying the Sabine Channel on Saturday, October 4, 2014. More than 150 people, primarily from Lasqueti Island’s 426 population, came out in boats and on the shoreline to object to the Salish Sea being the staging ground for the export of dirty Thermal coal from Wyoming and Montana to Asia. Several boats were also there from Texada and Thetis islands. Disallowed by US ports to date, this polluting and dirty coal will come by train across the border to the Fraser/Surrey docks (up to 2 trains per day, each train up to 1km long.)
A protest group has set up camp near Horley to protect a site from possible fracking following news that oil ‘shows’ at Horse Hill after weeks of exploration. Horse Hill Developments has been drilling at the Horse Hill site since the beginning of September with a promise to campaigners that it would not be fracking there, butFrack Free Surrey fear the company is testing the ground for future projects in the Weald. The company does not currently have a license to frack, but stated on September 18 that “the information gained through these activities will provide valuable insights into the technical and economic viability of unconventional development elsewhere in the Weald Basin”.
Spoken word from Immortal Technique and Erica Violet Lee of Idle No More, plus: 3 interviews looking at the climate crisis from 3 angles: Medea Benjamin of Code Pink talks about the links between the peace movement and the climate justice movement – and how Code Pink started as an Environmental group- Then Howie Hawkins, as his momentum in the New York gubernatorial race is ramping up, talks about Green justice in the electoral arena. Also, Occupy Sandy organizer Nastaran Mohit talks about our need to face down white privilege within the movement, and step out of our comfort zones. Finally, Jill Stein points out that we have critical mass and critical momentum to win the day.
This year Seattle and Minneapolis proclaimed the second Monday in October Indigenous Peoples’ Day. They are the latest U.S. cities to join the trend that began in Berkeley in 1992 to supplant Columbus Day with a formal recognition of the people who have survived over five centuries of genocide, war, dislocation, discrimination, and social exclusion in the nations that were subsequently developed in the Americas. Multinational corporations have replaced kingdoms, empires and the Catholic Church as the prime agents of devastation and wealth extraction, but the exploitative dynamic remains fundamentally the same 522 years after Christopher Columbus first dropped anchor in the Caribbean.
Russell Brand and the author Naomi Klein have called for a “revolution” that could potentially see oil giants like Exxon Mobil dismantled. Speaking to Brand as part of a podcast exclusively shared with The Huffington Post, Klein agreed with the comedian’s call for a political and economic revolution, but warned: “It’s not going to happen in the right way if we don’t talk about the distribution of resources.” The pair zeroed in on multinational oil giants such as Exxon Mobil, referring to them as companies that were “addicted to stupid money”, with Klein arguing that the world could convert from fossil fuels to renewable energy within 15 years. “What the hell’s going on,” said Brand. “Is there no money in it? Why don’t people do it? They could still make money out of windmills couldn’t they?”
Millions are rising globally to challenge corporate domination of government, people, and the commons, and building a ‘movement of movements’. Hundreds gathered in San Miguel de Allende, Mexico, for the ‘Moving Beyond Capitalism’ Conference in August, 2014, and we share the millions’ principles for building a new world. This new world is founded upon the basic human rights principles of universality, accountability, transparency, and equity. It is rooted in interconnection, interdependence, and love. It is based on a popular sovereignty which involves direct, democratic participation in shared, from-the-ground-up, cooperative decision-making for collective action that serves the common good, with higher levels supporting the lower.
Chevron made waves in the business world when it announced its October 6 sale of 30-percent of its holdings in the Alberta-based Duvernay Shale basin to Kuwait Foreign Petroleum Exploration Company (KUFPEC) for $1.5 billion. It marked the first North American purchase for the Kuwaiti state-owned oil company and yields KUFPEC 330,000 acres of Duvernay shale gas. Company CEO and the country’s Crown Prince, Sheikh Nawaf Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah, called it an “anchor project” that could spawn Kuwait’s expansion into North America at-large. Kuwait’s investment in the Duvernay, at face-value buying into Canada’shydraulic fracturing (“fracking”) revolution, was actually also an all-in bet on Alberta’s tar sands. As explained in an October 7 article in Platts, the Duvernay serves as a key feedstock for condensate, a petroleum product made from gas used to dilute tar sands, allowing the product to move through pipelines.
After disasters like Hurricane Katrina or Hurricane Sandy, groups like Common Ground and the Red Hook Initiative received national media attention for offering more effective support to victims than large groups like the Federal Emergency Management Agency or the Red Cross. This was possible because grassroots groups relied on pre-existing community ties while also embracing new technologies like social media, as in the case of groups like Occupy Sandy, a community that was built and organized to help the victims of this storm to recover. And while Wall Street reopened two days after Hurricane Sandy made landfall, millions of residents spent much longer in the dark. Even climate change researchers were victims of the power outage.