The Sugarcane Industry and the global economic crisis
by Maria Luisa Mendonça, Fabio T. Pitta and Carlos Vinicius Xavier
An examination of ethanol production in Brazil, highlighting the role of financial capital, the territorial expansion of agribusiness and the impacts on labour relations and indigenous peoples and peasant farmers.
application/pdf iconThe Sugarcane Industry and the global economic crisis (PDF 2.11MB)
In rural Brazil, we have observed that the expansion of monocropping for the production of agrofuels, namely sugarcane ethanol, continues. Ethanol made from sugarcane is said to be Brazil's main source of agro-energy, considering the volume produced, the total area used for sugarcane production and the amount invested in the expansion of the sugar-energy industrial park.
Described as a process to open new frontiers, the expansion of sugarcane production has been concentrated, in terms of production volume, in the Centre-South region, principally in the States of Minas Gerais, Goias and Mato Grosso do Sul, Parana and Sao Paulo.
The end of irresponsible business practices by multinationals in China
by Simon Zadek
, South China Morning Post
Multinational corporations are under siege in China. In recent months, the government has levelled a series of allegations of corporate misconduct - ranging from food-product contamination to price rigging, bribery and environmental shortfalls - against foreign-owned companies, with important implications for the development of China's business environment.
Does the government's behaviour reflect a commitment to strengthening business ethics, marking the start of a long-overdue regulatory catch-up process? Is it intended merely to create a convenient populist distraction from China's current economic woes? Or are these revelations of often long-known corporate misdemeanours part of a complex power play involving competing Chinese interests?
Obama Administration Rushes To Expand Fracking On Public Lands, Despite Frightening Evidence
by Brad Johnson, Guest Blogger
A significant milestone in the future of fracking in the United States is fast approaching, as the public comment period closes next week for industry-approved plans to open 600 million acres of public lands to the controversial drilling practice.
According to President Barack Obama, fracked natural gas “can provide not only safe cheap power, but it can only help reduce our carbon emissions.”
How Billionaire 'Philanthropy' Is Fueling Inequality and Helping To Destroy the Country
by Prashanth Kamalakanthan
Peter Buffett, the second son of billionaire investor Warren Buffett, worries that the state of philanthropy in America “just keeps the existing structure of inequality in place.” At meetings of charitable foundations, he says “you witness heads of state meeting with investment managers and corporate leaders. All are searching for answers with their right hand to problems that others in the room have created with their left.”
Yelp Joins With Advocacy Group ALEC to Fight SLAPP Lawsuits
by Ben Jacobs
The American Legislative Exchange Council once faced a backlash for its support of Stand Your Ground and voter ID laws, losing Coca-Cola and Kraft as members. Now the advocacy group is working with companies such as Google, Facebook, and Yelp, and taking more civil libertarian stances on technology issues than it has in the past
Standing up to Private Prisons
Private Prison Divestment Campaign
Private prisons undermine our democracy and destroy our communities by lobbying to keep immigrants and people of color locked away. Enlace and its allies are fighting back through a campaign to divest from the private prison industry.
Private prison companies like CCA and GEO Group profit when more people go to jail. Their business model depends on the success of their lobbying efforts, which result in laws that criminalize marginalized communities in order to keep people in jail. Over the past decade, immigrant detention has made millions of dollars for the private prison industry at the cost of hundreds of thousands of immigrant lives. Enlace and its allies are standing up to private prisons and calling for divestment from an industry that profits from racism and human misery.
US FDA recognises all toothfish as Chilean Seabass
COLTO thanks the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for updating their USA “Seafood List” which contains approved market names for all species of fish, to ensure both species of toothfish can legally be sold as “Chilean Seabass” in the United States.
In April 2013, the US based environmental organization Oceana published a report “Oceana Study Reveals Seafood Fraud Nationwide”. That report cited ‘widespread’ mislabeling of Chilean Seabass and implied that fraud was occurring in the USA market.
Wisconsin Ignored Findings of Scientists to Rewrite Mining Laws For GTAC
by Terri Hansen
, Indian Country
Wisconsin legislators didn’t heed the scientific data when they passed AB1/SB1 last spring, say scientists who testified before lawmakers.
The bill removed environmental hurdles for Gogebic Taconite’s (GTAC) proposed 4.5 mile long, 1.5 mile wide, 1,000-foot deep open pit iron ore mine in northern Wisconsin’s Gogebic Iron Range.
It created a separate set of regulations for ‘ferrous metallic mining’ of iron ore as opposed to mining for sulfide minerals, which require higher environmental standards because of the potential for acid mine drainage.
The forgotten in Mayflower
by by Sam Eifling
In the week after an oil spill strangled the air in Ann Jarrell's neighborhood, tens of thousands of her bees either died or went mad.
Jarrell has kept bees in her backyard since she moved to Mayflower almost two years ago. Living in the hamlet between Little Rock and Conway has afforded her the chance to be close to her daughter, Jennifer. Behind her three-bedroom brick home, at the corner of her small fenced-in yard, she tended to two beehives. Apiarists select and breed passive bees, and Jarrell's were no different, until they were.
Countries most exposed to the carbon bubble - map
Countries most exposed to the carbon bubble - map
This interactive map reveals which nations' stock exchanges are most exposed to the 'carbon bubble' - the theory that oil, coal and gas reserves held by fossil fuel companies are massively overvalued since climate change policy will make these reserves impossible to exploit and therefore ultimately worthless
Walmart’s big lie: No, it doesn’t create jobs!
by By Kathleen Geier
Does Walmart create jobs? That question is at the heart of the debate currently raging over its plans to open stores in Washington, DC. Last month, labor groups scored a major victory when the DC City Council passed a bill requiring Walmart and other big box retailers to pay their workers a living wage of $12.50 an hour. The mega-store has threatened to pull out of DC if the bill, which requires the signature of Mayor Vincent Gray, becomes law. (Gray has not taken a position but is said to be leaning against the measure).
When Will the Big Banks Be Reined In?
by Phil Mattera
, Dirt Diggers Digest
In case anyone had doubts about the venality of the big U.S. banks, some recent news reports provide indisputable proof.
First, David Kocieniewski of the New York Times wrote a mind-boggling front-page report on how Goldman Sachs has been using a metals storage company to move large quantities of aluminum from one warehouse to another in Detroit. The maneuver, which exploits esoteric rules of the London Metal Exchange, generates millions of dollars in profit for Goldman and pushes up the price of products such as soft drinks sold in aluminum cans.
Victory! Court Upholds Conflict Minerals Rule
by By Shreema Mehta
If you believe corporate accountability for human rights violations is a good thing, you'll love this news: Industry interest groups looking to tie up the Dodd Frank conflict minerals rule in court lost.
This week, a federal court upheld the SEC rule that requires corporations to publicly disclose whether the minerals they source have helped finance armed groups in the Democratic Republic of Congo.
- See more at: http://www.earthworksaction.org/earthblog/detail/victory_court_upholds_conflict_minerals_rule#.UfhEKW3hdvi
Debt, austerity, devastation: it’s Europe’s turn
by Susan George New Internationalist Magazine
As the creditors get fatter, the innocent are punished. Susan George laments a leadership subservient to big business.
Like plague in the 14th century, the scourge of debt has gradually migrated from South to North. Our 21st-century Yersinia pestis isn’t spread by flea-infested rats but by deadly, ideology-infested neoliberal fundamentalists. Once they had names like Thatcher or Reagan; now they sound more like Merkel or Barroso; but the message, the mentality and the medicine are basically the same. The devastation caused by the two plagues is also similar – no doubt fewer debt-related deaths in Europe today than in Africa three decades ago, but probably more permanent harm done to once-thriving European economies.
BIG NEWS for the Big Apple: NY Bans Shark Fin Trade!
by by Justine Sullivan
Shark finning is a brutal practice: Fishermen haul live sharks onto boats where their fins are sliced off, and the sharks are then thrown back into the water, alive, to drown or bleed to death. While shark finning is banned in the U.S., the demand for shark fins is allowing this brutal practice to continue outside our waters. Current reports estimate that over one hundred million sharks are killed every year, most only for their fins, which are often used in shark fin soup. Once an Asian delicacy reserved for the wealthy, now, with a growing middle class, shark fin soup has become common fare at weddings, banquets and business meetings. A bowl can cost up to $320, making the fins easily the most lucrative part of the shark. Shark fin has little to no taste, and merely contributes texture to shark fin soup.
A little basic math
by Christina Sarich
, Nation of Change
Just a few weeks ago, the U.S. Defense Secretary, Robert Gates argued against president Obama’s aim to cut $400 billion from national security spending, a bloated habit which was to be reigned in over the next 12 years, but let’s look at what the U.S. government has spent on ‘defending’ our nation in just the last decade.
First Nations man faces $16K bill for ‘Idle No More’ blockade on CN Railway
by derrick on July 25th, 2013 10:58 pm
, WC Native News
A judge has ordered a native activist to pay more than $16,000 to CN Rail for a 13-day blockade created as part of the Idle No More movement.
Ron Plain, 51, spokesperson for the blockade in Sarnia in December and January, was ordered by Justice Bruce G. Thomas of Ontario Superior Court to pay the money because he defied an injunction to stop blocking the line.
The route serves industries in the local “Chemical Valley” complex of oil refineries and chemical plants.
G20 backs plan to stop global tax avoidance and evasion
Finance ministers from the G20 group of leading nations have formally backed plans to tackle international tax avoidance and evasion.
A statement issued earlier supports the automatic exchange of tax information between countries.
SC Johnson Refuses to Respond to 52,000 Consumers
by Cassidy Randall
Have you seen that SC Johnson commercial that’s on 24/7? The one about how they’re a family company committed to “honesty” and “transparency,” and that’s why they disclose all ingredients right down to fragrance? (Except that they don’t actually tell you which fragrance ingredients are in products…)
We spoofed it. We spoofed their website, too. Watch below to get the real story.
Major Coal Companies Completely Ignore the Clean Water Act: Report
by Jacob Chamberlain, staff writer
The Clean Water Act has been "almost universally ignored by power companies and permitting agencies," says a coalition of environmental groups who released a report Tuesday revealing a long list of toxic poisons that are routinely discharged into rivers, lakes and bays across the country.
The report, conducted by Waterkeeper Alliance, Sierra Club, Environmental Integrity Project, Earthjustice and Clean Water Action, studied 386 coal-fired power plants and their local permits and found that substances such as arsenic, boron, cadmium, lead, mercury and selenium are almost continually released into public waterways.
Billion Dollar Baby: U.S. Chamber is First to Hit Lobbying Milestone
by David Steinbach on July 23, 2013
The U.S. Chamber of Commerce has made big news with the filing of a simple quarterly report.
When the behemoth business trade group reported its lobbying numbers for the second quarter of 2013 on Monday, it set a new record: The Chamber became the first organization to report uschamber.jpgtotal lobbying expenditures of more than $1 billion, according to OpenSecrets.org. Reporting that it spent $19.11 million from April through June, its grand total now stands at $1,002,845,680 since 1998, when the Center for Responsive Politics began tracking lobbying data.
Breast Cancer and the Environment: Prioritizing Prevention
Breast cancer takes a tremendous toll on women and men of all ages, races, and ethnicities, as well as their families and communities. Breast cancer also has a huge impact on the health care system that treats and monitors those people who have been diagnosed with the disease and provides end-of-life care for those who die from it. Prevention is the key to reducing the emotional, physical, and financial burden of breast cancer. Despite decades of productive breast cancer research, the number of women diagnosed with the disease continues to rise. In 2012, about 227,000 women and 2,200 men in the United States will be diagnosed with breast cancer, and 40,000 women will die from it (American Cancer Society, 2012).
The U.S. counter terrorism apparatus was used to monitor the Occupy Movement nationwide
by Beau Hodai
, Center for Media and Democracy; DBA Press
On May 20, 2013, DBA Press and the Center for Media and Democracy
released the results of a year-long investigation: "Dissent or Terror:
How the Nation's Counter Terrorism Apparatus, In Partnership With
Corporate America, Turned on Occupy Wall Street.”
The report, a distillation of thousands of pages of records obtained
from counter terrorism/law enforcement agencies, details how
state/regional "fusion center" personnel monitored the Occupy Wall
Street movement over the course of 2011 and 2012.
The report also examines how fusion centers and other counter terrorism entities that
have emerged since the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001 have
worked to benefit numerous corporations engaged in public-private
intelligence sharing partnerships.
While the report examines many instances of fusion center monitoring
of Occupy activists nationwide, the bulk of the report
details how counter terrorism personnel engaged in the Arizona Counter
Terrorism Information Center (ACTIC, commonly known as the "Arizona fusion center") monitored and otherwise surveilled citizens active in
Occupy Phoenix, and how this surveillance benefited a number of
corporations and banks that were subjects of Occupy Phoenix protest
24 TED Talks That Will Help Save the Food System
TED is a non-profit devoted to "ideas worth spreading", and you can find literally thousands of free--inspiring and awesome--talks from experts and innovators around the world. We've decided to highlight 24 TED talks specifically around food issues that we found compelling and worth sharing.
Tahoe Resources Mining executive in Guatemala gives direct orders to kill protestors
Alberto Rotondo, executive of Tahoe Mine, San Rafael in Guatemala, gave direct orders to assassinate members of the community San Rafael Las Flores.
The investigation of the mining conflicts in San Rafael Las Flores, Santa Rosa, took a 180 degrees turn, after the Public Ministry submitted audio from wiretapping as evidence. In the audio it can be clearly heard how Alberto Rotondo, head of the San Rafael Mining Security outfit ordered to assassinate opponents of the mine.
The newspaper Siglo.21 published today a report titled “Rotondo ordered: Kill those sons of B..”, the report documents how the Security Chief gave direct orders to assassinate mining protesters and opponents of the mining project.
Tell Home Depot and Lowe’s to stop selling bee-killing pesticides.
Bees are essential for one out of three bites of food we eat. But last winter, beekeepers reported losses of 50-70 percent of their hives -- the worst year yet since the global bee die-off began!
A growing body of scientific evidence is pointing to neonicotinoids (neonics) as the key factor in this crisis and the European Union has just imposed a two year ban on these toxic pesticides.
These neonics are everywhere -- in commercial agriculture, on the shelf of your local garden stores, and in the plants and seeds we buy from nurseries.
Study Links Monsanto’s Roundup to Autism, Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s
by Genna Reed
A new review of hundreds of scientific studies surrounding glyphosate—the major component of Monsanto’s Roundup herbicide—sheds light on its effects within the human body. The paper describes how all of these effects could work together, and with other variables, trigger health problems in humans, including debilitating diseases like gastrointestinal disorders, diabetes, heart disease, obesity, Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s disease.
Avoiding the fire next time
by Economist Staff
, The Economist
After the Dhaka factory collapse, foreign clothing firms are under pressure to improve working conditions at Bangladeshi suppliers, or to go elsewhere. The fire that swept through the Triangle Shirtwaist factory in New York in 1911, killing 146 people, was the catalyst for big improvements in industrial working conditions in America. The collapse on April 24th of Rana Plaza—an eight-storey complex of clothing factories, near Dhaka, Bangladesh—was far deadlier, killing at least 400. Although the tragedy has led to calls for safer factories in Bangladesh and other developing countries, it is far from certain that this will happen.
Tribute to Recycling Workers
by Zero Waste World
We celebrate recycling workers around the world, who build community resilience, replenish the earth’s natural resource base, and resist polluting corporations that threaten our common future. Millions of workers are part of this transformative economic path. While organizing to build recognition and respect for their critical ecological services, they labor to recover industrial society’s discards for reuse and remanufacturing, and rebuild the soil and local energy grids through composting and biogas. Recycling workers demonstrate what it takes to put theory into practice and create local living economies that protect livelihoods and the environment at the same time.
National Parks Should Take the Lead on America's Other Best Idea: Clean Public Water
by Rep. Raúl M. Grijalva
, Corporate Accountability International
Our national parks are governed as public ecological trusts, not theme parks, and that's meant a legacy of conservation that matches any in the world. I think we should keep up the good work. Unfortunately, bottled water interests -- especially Coke -- disagree.
Bottled water creates a great deal of waste, both in the production stream and as physical garbage. It has no place in our national parks. Arizonans know the value of water as well as anyone, and I know you need a good canteen to enjoy the outdoors. Bottled water isn't the answer. This week, in honor of Earth Day, I think it's time to talk about other options.
Everything Is Rigged: The Biggest Price-Fixing Scandal Ever
by Matt Taibbi
, Rolling Stone
Conspiracy theorists of the world, believers in the hidden hands of the Rothschilds and the Masons and the Illuminati, we skeptics owe you an apology. You were right. The players may be a little different, but your basic premise is correct: The world is a rigged game. We found this out in recent months, when a series of related corruption stories spilled out of the financial sector, suggesting the world's largest banks may be fixing the prices of, well, just about everything.
Three Arrested at Peabody Coal Shareholders Meeting
Rising Tide NA
GILLETTE, WY– Peabody Energy shareholders affiliated with Powder River Basin Resource Council, Missourians Organizing for Reform and Empowerment (MORE), CO-FORCE (Coloradans for Fair Rates and Clean Energy), and Forgotten People from Black Mesa/Big Mountain in Arizona converged in Gillette, Wyoming, on Monday, April 29, 2013, at Peabody’s Annual General Meeting. Peabody has always held its meeting near its headquarters in St. Louis, but moved it this year to avoid public scrutiny. After the meeting, an activist affiliated with MORE was arrested dropping a banner saying, “Peabody Attacks: Pensions, Diné Lands, Climate.” 2 other activists were arrested for holding up banner in the parking lot that said “Peabody Abandons Miners.”
Comment: 1993’s Clayoquot Summer was a game-changer
by Valerie Langer , Eduardo Sousa , Maryjka Mychajlowycz , Jens Wieting and Torrance Coste.
, Times Colonist
Twenty years ago today, about 30 residents of Tofino were driving up and down the highway by Long Beach, communicating via handheld radios, tracking a helicopter carrying B.C.’s premier of the day and select media.
A local guy listening in on emergency, aviation and boat communications was transmitting the play-by-play, while the helicopter sought a quiet landing spot where the premier could make a “contained” statement about the fate of Clayoquot Sound’s forests.
Nothing that followed, however, in what was to become the Clayoquot Summer of 1993, could be construed as “contained.”
Rio Tinto accused of environmental and human rights breaches
by Rupert Neate
Protesters from around the world attacked mining company Rio Tinto for a string for alleged environmental and human rights breaches during a fiery meeting with shareholders in London on Thursday.
Native Mongolian herders claimed that a $5bn (£3.3bn) expansion of the company's Oyu Tolgoi copper and gold mine in the Gobi desert threatened the fresh water supply of hundreds of nomadic people and the area's unique ecology.
Nestlé: Stop trying to patent the fennel flower.
Nigella sativa -- more commonly known as fennel flower -- has been used as a cure-all remedy for over a thousand years. It treats everything from vomiting to fevers to skin diseases, and has been widely available in impoverished communities across the Middle East and Asia.
But now Nestlé is claiming to own it, and filing patent claims around the world to try and take control over the natural cure of the fennel flower and turn it into a costly private drug.
Tell Nestlé: Stop trying to patent a natural cure
Legalizing Sustainability? Santa Monica Recognizes Rights of Nature
by Reprinted from Global Exchange.
On April 9, the City Council of Santa Monica voted 7-0 to adopt the state’s first ever Bill of Rights for Sustainability, directing the city to “recognize the rights of people, natural communities and ecosystems to exist, regenerate and flourish.” Santa Monica joins dozens of U.S. communities, the nations of Ecuador, Bolivia, and New Zealand in the fast-growing movement for Nature’s Rights.
Congratulations to the 2013 Goldman Prize Recipients
On Monday, April 15, we celebrated six environmental heroes in front of an audience of 3,200 at San Francisco’s War Memorial Opera House. The ceremony was punctuated by powerful video profiles, energizing speeches from the recipients and overwhelming applause from the audience.
Following the ceremony, guests were treated to a reception at San Francisco’s City Hall, where they had the opportunity to meet the Goldman Prize recipients and members of the Goldman family.
Congratulations to the 2013 Goldman Prize recipients: Jonathan Deal, Azzam Alwash, Rossano Ercolini, Mama Aleta Baun, Kimberly Wasserman, and Nohra Padilla.
San Pedro River Condemned by Arizona Department of Water Resources
The Arizona Department of Water Resources has approved a massive groundwater pumping project that will drain the Upper San Pedro River in Southern Arizona. This decision comes despite opposition from the property owners along the river and the U.S. Bureau of Land Management (BLM), and ignores the project’s impact on the birds, wildlife, and local residents and businesses that are dependent on a healthy river.
22-Foot Gash in Pegasus Pipeline Puts Gaping Hole in Safety Claims
by Jon Queally, staff writer
, Common Dreams
Dustin McDaniel, the Arkansas Attorney General announced on Wednesday evening that a "22 foot long and 2 inch wide" gash along the Pegasus pipeline allowed crude oil to flood the town of Mayflower with thousands of gallons of tar sands oil on March 29.
"The pipeline rupture is substantially larger than many of us initially thought." Arkansas Attorney General Dustin McDaniel speaks in Little Rock, Ark., Wednesday, April 10, 2013, about last month's oil pipeline leak in Mayflower, Ark. McDaniel says an ExxonMobil pipeline that burst last month, leaking oil into a neighborhood at Mayflower, has a hole in it that is 22 feet long and 2 inches wide. (AP Photo/Danny Johnston) "The pipeline rupture is substantially larger than many of us initially thought," McDaniel said at the press conference.
Former Walmart District Manager Accuses Company of Widespread Inventory Manipulation
by Spencer Woodman
In 1996, Sylvester Johnson left his post as a commanding officer in the US Army and began a career managing logistics at Walmart’s corporate headquarters in Bentonville, Arkansas. Once there, he received a series of rapid promotions, eventually overseeing the HR management of over 26,000 employees in five states. He became friendly with Walmart executive Mike Duke, who became CEO in 2009. In 2002, Johnson received the Sam M. Walton Hero Award, a prestigious company distinction. In 2003, he moved to North Carolina where he oversaw eleven Walmart Supercenters. The company fired him in 2009 for allegedly giving orders to manipulate inventory counts, a claim Johnson denies
Stand Up for Strong Organic Standards
Food & Water Watch
When you buy organic, you should feel safe knowing that your food was raised without synthetic chemicals or genetic engineering. That's why we have the USDA organic label in the first place!
But, in April, the National Organic Standards Board (NOSB) will meet to decide whether they want to grant organic apple and pear growers yet another extension on ending the use of the antibiotic tetracycline. Sign the petition below demanding that the NOSB protect organic standards and take a stand against the use of tetracycline in fruit production today.
Sign now and we'll deliver your petition signature to the NOSB.
PIELC 2013 Keynote Address by Thomas Linzey of CELDF
Thomas Linzey of Community Environmental Legal Defense Fund (CELDF) delivers the keynote address of the 31rst Public Interest Environmental Law Conference (PIELC) held at the University of Oregon in Eugene, Oregon, February 28 through March 3, 2013. Linzey points out the folly of the traditional avenues of redress environmental law has pursued, offering a new model to return democracy to the people currently hi-jacked by a corporate friendly legal system.
UN demands ‘immediate suspension’ of Amazon gas plans
The United Nations has demanded an immediate halt to the expansion of a major gas project in the Peruvian Amazon, over concerns that it poses a grave risk to the lives of uncontacted Indians living nearby.
In a letter to the Peruvian government, the UN’s Committee for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination (CERD) requested the ‘immediate suspension’ of plans to expand the existing Camisea gas project further into the Nahua-Nanti reserve, as it ‘threatens the physical and cultural survival of the indigenous peoples living there.’
SOAS law students establish international human rights advocacy network
by Becky Waller-Davies
A group of law students from the School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London (SOAS) have established an advocacy network which aims to rival the Harvard Human Rights Clinic in its reach and power.
The network, Banyan, allows students to work pro bono on cases which aim to further human rights, development or social justice and are committed to practical change. The group is offering its research skills and knowledge to civil society agencies, development groups and law firms.
Today on Your Call: Should plastic manufacturers be held responsible for plastic pollution?
by Ali Budner
On today's Your Call, we’ll talk about what corporate responsibility should look like for the plastics and packaging industry. Given the overwhelming amount of plastics that end up in the environment, what responsibility do the manufacturers of disposable plastic and packaging products have for limiting and cleaning up this waste? Join us at 10am Pacific Time or post a comment here. Do we need more legislation to hold corporations responsible? And who's really making the decisions in this industry? It’s Your Call, with Rose Aguilar, and You.
Keystone Public Comments Won't Be Made Public, State Department Says
by By John H. Cushman Jr.,
, InsideClimate News
WASHINGTON—When the State Department hired a contractor to produce the latest environmental impact statement for the controversial Keystone XL pipeline, it asked for a Web-based electronic docket to record public comments as they flowed in each day. Thousands of comments are expected to be filed by people and businesses eager to influence the outcome of the intense international debate over the project.
But the public will not find it easy to examine these documents.
Victory! More than 739 Miles of U.S. Coastline Protected for Loggerhead Sea Turtles
Loggerheads face threats from all sides, including from pollution, degradation of foraging areas, and serious injury and death from entanglement in fishing gear. They’re also faced with the loss of their nesting habitat due to coastal development as well as sea level rise.
Loggerheads, which make some of the longest journeys of any sea turtle—across entire ocean basins—nest on beaches from Texas to Virginia, but 90 percent of U.S. loggerhead nesting occurs in Florida. This new protection means that any new beachside hotels, homes or commercial construction built on protected beaches that require federal permits would need to be reviewed to prevent harm to nesting areas.
My Toxic Couch
Toxic flame retardant chemicals are saturated in the foam inside our furniture. These chemicals are linked to serious health effects and are worthless in preventing furniture fires. We need better regulation of these chemicals to address this problem.
My search for a smartphone that is not soaked in blood
by George Monbiot
None of the campaigning groups wants companies to stop buying minerals from eastern Congo. Global Witness and FairPhone, for example, point out that mining supports many families in a country where 82% are considered underemployed. But they also insist that the trade can be dissociated from violence: if, and only if, companies ensure they're not buying minerals which have passed through the hands of militias. Given the potential damage to their reputations, you might have expected these firms to take the issue seriously. With a few exceptions, you would be wrong.
10 reasons why national parks should buck the bottle
Corporate Accountability International
You’ve probably seen them. Plastic bottles of water for sale … in some of our most pristine and naturally gorgeous places: our national parks.
You’re not alone. Every year, hundreds of millions of park visitors get the message that the only place to get safe water is from a plastic bottle. This is just wrong, because bottled water is far less regulated than tap.
Minnesota says 'no thanks' to triclosan
Good news for public health and water quality from Minnesota this week. By June of this year, state agencies and institutions will no longer be buying soaps and cleaning products containing the pesticide triclosan.
Governor Mark Dayton made the shift with an executive order signed Monday. The new policy — the first of its kind in the country — comes in response to a combination of strong science and public concern about the chemical's prevalence and harms.
New report: Governments must protect land, food systems as trade liberalization accelerates land grabbing
by Sophia Murphy
IATP has always argued that trade agreements need to respect and promote human rights, not drive a process of globalization that privileges commercial interests and tramples on public interests. In a new paper on land grabs, we reaffirm that position.
“Land grabs” are large-scale purchases or leases of agricultural or forested land on terms that violate the rights of the people who live on or near that land. The problem has commanded enormous public policy and media attention for the last few years. In our paper, IATP sets some context for the land grabs phenomenon. We focus on two forces that have contributed significantly to the problem:
Good work on the U.S. Chamber last year: Your voice needed in the continued fight ahead.
With your help we had great success with our work in 2012 to expose the U.S. Chamber of Commerce as a funnel for secret corporate money in U.S. elections. In addition to the guessers in our Guess What the Chamber Will Spend contest, working with several partners we had over 30,000 people sign our “tongue-in-cheek” birthday cards (Please insert a birthday card image) to the U.S. Chamber and scores join a rally to deliver the cards to the Chamber.
Proceed with caution when betting against environmentalists
by Martin Mittelstaedt
, Globe and Mail
Oil sands investors, it turns out, should have listened to environmentalists after all.
Placing a bet on the oil sands, once thought of as a sure path to riches, is looking like an over-hyped investment theme in the process of confronting a less glamorous reality. Stocks in companies involved in the industry have been taking on water, but they’re not yet cheap enough to make compelling buys.
The Environmental Trial of the Century
by Aaron Viles
Today, before opening remarks began in the "Environmental Trial of the Century" that will determine just how much BP and their partners must pay for the destruction they have wrought in the Gulf, I joined colleagues and activists to greet lawyers and media with a simple message: #MakeBPpay.
Of course, the BP disaster is ultimately not something that can be 'fixed' with any amount of money. The oil, the dispersant and the taint of this historically horrific event can not be scrubbed away. The bell cannot be unrung and the ecosystem can not proceed as if it was never exposed to BP's crude and corexit.
Our new report, Secret Scents: How Hidden Fragrance Allergens Harm Public Health, finds that millions of people are affected by skin allergies caused by chemicals in fragrance. Unfortunately, it’s nearly impossible for consumers to avoid specific fragrance allergens because companies keep fragrance ingredients a secret.
The solution is simple: Companies should disclose fragrance ingredients in products so that people have the choice to avoid harmful chemicals.
Kick the Habit, Congress
by By Carl Gibson, Reader Supported News
What if there were a really smart, knowledgeable, innovative guy who had dreams of curing cancer or writing a bestselling novel or recording an acclaimed album, but couldn't do any of the above because of a crippling cocaine addiction? Similarly, Congress's deadly addiction to corporate cash is the main reason Washington is unable to solve the myriad problems affecting our economy, environment and politics. If only we could help Congress kick the habit, our government could work for us again.
We luv Columbia Sportswear 4 helping 2 stop tar sands!
Roses are red, violets are blue, Columbia Sportswear: We luv U (for helping to stop tar sands, that is)!
Columbia Sportswear is the latest of 19 companies that have committed to help stop the expansion of tar sands by pushing for tar sands free transportation. This growing trend is key to protecting the forests of North America and the communities near US oil refineries from the destructive and health threatening effects of tar sands.
Join us in thanking Columbia Sportswear for their environmental leadership!
Citizen Video for Journalists: A New Blog Series
Citizen videos take us to corners of the world that reporters cannot access, and put us on the scene long before investigators arrive. Average citizens now have an unprecedented ability to record, upload, and share what they see.
Citizen video was responsible for the rapid circulation of news of Oscar Grant's fatal shooting.
Citizen video was responsible for the rapid circulation of news of Oscar Grant’s fatal shooting.
Think of the death of Oscar Grant in California, where video taken by fellow passengers was used to instantly spread awareness of his shooting by a transit officer, and was submitted as evidence in his court trial. Or the war in Syria, where mainstream news is banned but civilians and soldiers have taken up cameras and YouTube accounts to document the uprising. Citizen video is changing the roles of reporters, editors, and audiences. And it’s raising new technical and ethical concerns for those covering the news.
Ecology Without Equality
earthjustice-down2earth and others on SoundCloud.
In this episode, we speak with Vernice Miller-Travis, a longtime environmental justice advocate and co-founder of WE ACT for Environmental Justice, a northern Manhattan community-based organization. Vernice believes that green groups and environmental justice groups must work together in order to build a more diverse and effective environmental movement.
Vernice spoke with Jessica Knoblauch, content producer at Earthjustice, in January 2013.
Chamber of Deceit
by Bartlett Naylor
The next time Chamber of Commerce lobbyists testify before Congress and claim fatuously on behalf of its contrived three million small business members that Wall Street reform law must be gutted, responsible senators and representatives should throw this in their face: a new poll showing overwhelming support among small business FOR the reform law.
APP commits to end deforestation! Victory!
If this policy is successfully implemented, it will be huge step towards reforming Indonesia’s paper industry, protecting its rainforests and the remaining Sumatran tigers that call that place home.
Remember our recent victories with Mattel, Lego, IGA and KFC? When big companies like these started ditching their contracts with APP, it helped persuade the company to make this new commitment.
Down here in Australia, we’ve played an incredibly important part of this win (our colleagues at Greenpeace HQ in Amsterdam often referred to us as the “secret weapon in the campaign!). As well as joining in international work against the likes of customers like Mattel, Paperlinx, KCF, Fuji Xerox and others, we’ve taken it right to the doorstep of APP subsidiaries, Solaris and Collins Debden. The loss of IGA led to a mothballing of their Australian factory.
Another bee-harming pesticide? No thanks.
While European policymakers are taking steps to protect bees from harmful pesticides, EPA is poised to approve yet another bee-toxic pesticide for use here in the U.S.
Instead of following the science and protecting bees from known harms, the agency is set to conditionally register another new pesticide known to harm bees, sulfoxaflor, for a broad variety of uses.
Sulfoxaflor is a cousin to imidacloprid and clothianidin, with shared mechanisms of action (all work on the same bee brain synapses — nicotinic acetylcholine receptors)
We have between now and February 12 to send a clear message: Bees need protection from harmful pesticides, not more exposure. EPA decisionmakers, it's time to step up!
Letter to the Arctic Environmental Ministers on Black Carbon
We, the undersigned non-governmental organizations, write to urge you to use the occasion of the historic second meeting of Arctic environment ministers to strongly encourage Arctic states to take significant action to reduce emissions of black carbon.
Last year the Arctic experienced record melting of both summer sea ice and the Greenland Ice Sheet and land glaciers, with grave implications for Arctic peoples and biodiversity, and for low-lying nations and communities around the world.
While deep cuts in CO2 remain the backbone of efforts to limit the long-term consequences of climate change, rapid reductions in emissions of short-lived climate forcers such as black carbon and methane have been identified as perhaps the most effective strategy to slow warming and melting in the Arctic over the next few decades. This is critical to give the cultures and biodiversity of the region more time to adapt and to slow sea level rise by reducing continental ice melting.
Corpocrisy: The systematic betrayal of American Workers
by Paul Buccheit
, Nation of Change
Free market idealists argue that capitalism works for anyone with a little initiative and a willingness to work hard. That might be true if job opportunities were available to everyone. But the facts reveal a lack of opportunity, largely because the very system of capitalism that's supposed to work for everyone is betraying its most productive members.
It's a step-by-step process of hypocrisy disguised as free enterprise:
Here’s What Your $97 Million Drug War in Central America Actually Bought
by Robert Beckhusen
The U.S. isn’t just shoveling cash to stem the tide of narcotics in Mexico and Colombia. Quietly, it’s built up its drug war in Central America, too — spending nearly $100 million over four years on advanced gear for local forces. Not that Washington has any idea what it’s gotten for its money.
A new report from the Government Accountability Office provides a rare glimpse into the Central American war on drugs. Between 2008 and 2011, the report finds, the government spent $97 million for gear and training for its Central American partners. On the plus side, it’s laughably low compared to the more than $640 billion (and rising) the U.S. has spent on the war in Afghanistan.
Save Mardi Gras Pass
by Scott Eustis
Will the Corps and the state of Louisiana starve the Delta at the whim of oil and gas?
In 2011, a swollen Mississippi River re-connected itself with the marshes of Bohemia, without any help from the Corps--but it forgot to ask Shaw for a permit to restore our coast.
After 2 years, the oil company that operates in this Wildlife Management Area, Sundown Energy LP, wants to fill in this new reach of the Mississippi with limestone and pipe culverts. Perhaps it would increase their margin, but it would destroy a new branch of the Mississippi River.
State of Power 2013
As the world's most powerful corporate leaders and richest individuals gather at the exclusive World Economic Forum in Davos, TNI offers a visual insight into who is dominating the planet at a time of systemic economic and ecological crisis.
Bush’s Corporate Education Group Operates from ALEC’s Playbook
by Mike Hall
, AFL CIO
The American Legislative Exchange Council’s (ALEC's) long history of influencing state legislators—sometimes even writing legislation for them—to pass laws and promote policies that advance a corporate profit agenda, and at times an extreme conservative agenda, is well documented.
Forest Service wields an uncommon mining law
by Marshall Swearingen
The Mining Law of 1872 is famously generous to miners when it comes to granting them rights to the riches on public lands. But in northern Idaho, a scuffle between miners and the Forest Service hinges on a related, but lesser-known law: the Mining Claims Rights Restoration Act of 1955. And unlike the 1872 law, this law gives the public lands agency the upper hand in dealing with mining on public lands.
Nigerian farmer wins against Shell oil
by Yvonne Ndege
Today's ruling in the Netherlands which found the Nigerian subsidiary of the Anglo-Dutch oil giant Royal Dutch Shell guilty of causing pollution, is a historic legal victory for oil producing communities in Nigeria and probably across Africa.
72 year old fish farmer Friday Akpan, from Akwa Ibom State, one of Nigeria's richest oil producing states, was one of four fish farmers who was able to prove that Shell Nigeria, the subsidiary of one of the world's most profitable companies Royal Dutch Shell, which made more than $30 billion dollars in profit in 2011, failed to properly maintain oil pipelines and other installations in Ikot Ada Udo community. Shell Nigeria's negligence led to oil spills that devastated Friday Akpan's 47 fishponds.
State of California Orders Walmart-Contracted Warehouse to Pay More than $1 Million in Stolen Wages
The state of California has ordered a Southern California warehouse that processes merchandise for Walmart and other retailers to pay 865 workers more than $1 million in stolen wages.
The California Division of Labor Standards Enforcement issued the citations Monday, Jan. 28 against Quetico, LLC, a large warehouse complex in Chino, California. Back wages and unpaid overtime total more than $1.1million and in addition the state issued about $200,000 in penalties.
Controversial Oil Pipeline Lawsuit Settled in Texas
Rising Tide NA
Determined activists to press on with resistance to pipeline construction
Eugene, OR–Twenty-nine individuals and organizations named in a civil lawsuit filed by the notorious Canadian pipeline company, TransCanada, agreed under duress today to settle, under threat of expansive injunction terms. The far-reaching Strategic Lawsuit Against Public Participation (SLAPP) was filed on the heels of record numbers of non-violent protests in Texas opposing the controversial XL Pipeline construction.
Hey Citizen, Can You Spare $1,000? How About $10 Million?
by Blair Bowie
, Huffington Post
When was the last time you contributed $1,000 to a political candidate or cause? If you’re like most people, the answer is “Never -- if I have that kind of money it’s in the college savings account.”
Well, candidates for the U.S. Senate this election got nearly 64 percent of the money they raised from individuals in contributions of at least $1,000 -- from just four one-hundredths of one percent of the population.
An Outrageous Form of Corporate Waste
by Alyce Lomax
Shareholders invest in publicly traded companies for many reasons, not least of which is to make decent returns. Generally speaking, investors hope their companies invest capital into productive channels: inventing, innovating, delighting customers with their products, and otherwise paving the road to growth, leading to fantastic financial results over the long haul.
Missouri Bill Introduced to Require GM Fish and Meat Labeling
A state Senator from St. Louis has introduced a bill requiring the labeling of genetically modified meat and fish in Missouri.
State Sen. Jemilah Nasheed (D-St. Louis) introduced Senate Bill 155 this week.
“While I understand that food production is an integral Missouri industry, I don’t feel the trend of biotechnology and genetically engineered foods is always apparent to the average citizen, “ said Sen. Nasheed. “I am merely asking for clarity in the sale of certain genetically engineered, or GE, foods to Missouri’s customers.”
The global water grab
by Shiney Varghese
Writing in National Geographic in December 2012 about “small-scale irrigation techniques with simple buckets, affordable pumps, drip lines, and other equipment” that “are enabling farm families to weather dry seasons, raise yields, diversify their crops, and lift themselves out of poverty” water expert Sandra Postel of the Global Water Policy Project cautioned against reckless land and water-related investments in Africa. “[U]nless African governments and foreign interests lend support to these farmer-driven initiatives, rather than undermine them through land and water deals that benefit large-scale, commercial schemes, the best opportunity in decades for societal advancement in the region will be squandered.”
Billion-Dollar Democracy: The Unprecedented Role of Money in the 2012 Elections
The first presidential election since Citizens United lived up to its hype, with unprecedented outside spending from new sources making headlines.
Demos and U.S. PIRG Education Fund analysis of reports from campaigns, parties, and outside spenders to the Federal Election Commission found that our big money system distorts democracy and creates clear winners and losers.
Organic Farming Crucial to Food Security, Addressing Climate Change
As the world begins to wrestle with rising food insecurity associated with climate change, a report from Worldwatch points to the crucial role organic farming plays.
Not only is organically produced food more nutritious, but it sustains livelihoods of millions of people in developing countries, because unlike conventional agriculture, it relies on labor. And it increases crop yields.
Do You Live in One of the 32 States that Has Been Fracked?
by Natural Resources Defense Council By Matthew McFeeley
Last month, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) released a “progress report” on its ongoing study of hydraulic fracturing and the impacts of fracking on drinking water. The progress report contains a lot of interesting information, but one particular map caught my eye. The map shows that fracking has occurred in more states than previously known, including places like Arizona, Nevada and Maryland. All in all, we now know that fracking has occurred in at least 32 states since 2005.
Organic Seed v. Monsanto
PUBPAT encourages the public to not buy any products made with corn, soy, sugar, canola, cotton or alfalfa (this includes milk, as dairy cows eat alfalfa) unless you are certain it was made without any use of genetically modified seed. If you're not sure, call the manufacturer and ask. If they can't or don't give you a straight answer, then don't buy their product. The proponents of genetically modified seed have vigorously opposed labeling of genetically modified food here in America (although Europe and Asia have such labeling), so to make this effort easier on your fellow Americans, once you know whether certain products are derived from genetically modified seed or not, spread that information so others know. Increasing consumer awareness and demand for food not derived from genetically modified seed, even slightly, will increase the supply of the food we want, which will reduce prices and increase availability. If you want to purge genetically modified food from society, you can help do so every time you go to the grocery store or a restaurant. It's your money, spend it as you see fit.