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Posts Tagged ‘big greens’

Mainstream enviros, timber industry shut First Nations out of “historic” deal

Dawn Paley on the Vancouver Media Co-Op

Timber companies and environmental organizations came together Tuesday to announce the Canadian Boreal Forest Agreement, which they say could protect a swath of boreal forest twice the size of Germany, and maintain forestry jobs across the country.

“This is an agreement between the two principle combatants over logging,” said Steve Kallick, director of the Boreal Conservation campaign of the Pew Environment Group.

But Indigenous peoples have been left out of the agreement, and grassroots environmentalists are concerned that the proposal represents a move towards more corporate control over forests in Canada.

“Name a forest struggle in Canada that hasn’t been spearheaded by First Nations from the beginning,” said Clayton Thomas-Muller, who is the tar sands campaigner with the Indigenous Environmental Network.

“A lot of First Nations groups, in Haida Gwaii, in the Boreal forest, and places like Grassy Narrows, Barrier Lake and Temagami, I think they would have a much different analysis and memory then Mr. Kallick.”

The three-year agreement is the largest of its kind anywhere on the planet, according to a representative from Greenpeace. Twenty one forestry companies have signed on, as have nine environmental organzations.

But for some, like Thomas-Muller, today’s announcement is reminiscent of a another deal, signed in British Columbia in 2006.

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SAN FRANCISCO- Rising Tide North America released the following statement on the influence of corporate polluters on Big “Greens” groups:

“For far too long Big Green groups like the National Wildlife Federation (NWF), Conservation International (CI), Environmental Defense Fund (EDF), Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) and many others have allowed their financial and political relationships with Corporate America to compromise their positions on the biggest ecological crises in history. These groups, ostensibly fighting on our behalf, have chosen to ally themselves with the very corporations that we must stop to avert catastrophic climate chaos. Rising Tide North America opposes the influential hold that corporate polluters have held on the Big “Green” groups for decades and calls on those groups to sever these relationships.

“We think transparency from environmental organizations is important. While some of these organizations happily accept monetary donations from corporations, some do have public policies that appear to limit such direct contributions. However, just as corporations and politicians have learned to circumvent campaign-finance and donations laws – a similar shell game is often played in the philanthropic world. Direct corporate monies may not always appear in organizational operating budgets – money and influence from corporations dramatically influence and sway the priorities, politics, and agendas of these organizations.

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A Green Left editorial

“Earth Hour” will be held around the world on March 27. The event is organised by the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) and involves participants switching off their lights for the hour as a symbolic declaration of support for environmental action.

The Earth Hour website is sponsored by, among others, Woolworths Limited, the giant supermarket and retail corporation. With the amount of waste and pollution associated with the retail industry in frivolous consumption, built-in obsolescence and so on, this would seem an odd choice for sponsor.

WWF has a shocking record for quite uncritically accepting sponsorship from polluting industries. Back in 2002, Counterpunch co-editor Jeffrey St. Clair exposed WWF’s links with logging corporation Weyerhaeuser, writing on that WWF “rakes in millions from corporations, including Alcoa, Citigroup, the Bank of America, Kodak, J.P. Morgan, the Bank of Tokyo, Philip Morris, Waste Management and DuPont”.

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Controversial Hire is an Opportunity to Start Building a Democratic Environmental Movement

Dru Oja Jay in Counterpunch

Greenpeace has come a long way since the Rainbow Warrior, the retrofitted trawler used to challenge nuclear testing and whaling, was enough of a threat that the French government dispatched commandoes to sink her in 1985.

On February 13th, Greenpeace International announced that was hiring ForestEthics founder Tzeporah Berman as director of its global climate and energy campaign. The move has provoked intense outrage among many Greenpeace supporters, staff and activists. The conflict raging within Greenpeace has the potential to be an important first step in addressing two heretofore taboo subjects in the environmental movement: the corrupting influence of corporate cash and the absence of democratic structures.

The announcement marked an acceleration of a long-term drift away from Greenpeace’s origins in direct action environmental and anti-war work. Back in 2007, Greenpeace lauded Coca-Cola for its “commitment to use climate-friendly coolers and vending machines.” (The same year, campaigns against Coke’s complicity in paramilitary assassination of union leaders in Colombia were in full swing, while a year earlier, the government of Kerala had banned Coca-Cola after a revolt over overuse and pollution of groundwater.)

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  Why did America’s leading environmental groups jet to Copenhagen and lobby for policies that will lead to the faster death of the rainforests–and runaway global warming? Why are their lobbyists on Capitol Hill dismissing the only real solutions to climate change as “unworkable” and “unrealistic,” as though they were just another sooty tentacle of Big Coal?

At first glance, these questions will seem bizarre. Groups like Conservation International are among the most trusted “brands” in America, pledged to protect and defend nature. Yet as we confront the biggest ecological crisis in human history, many of the green organizations meant to be leading the fight are busy shoveling up hard cash from the world’s worst polluters–and burying science-based environmentalism in return. Sometimes the corruption is subtle; sometimes it is blatant. In the middle of a swirl of bogus climate scandals trumped up by deniers, here is the real Climategate, waiting to be exposed.

I have spent the past few years reporting on how global warming is remaking the map of the world. I have stood in half-dead villages on the coast of Bangladesh while families point to a distant place in the rising ocean and say, “Do you see that chimney sticking up? That’s where my house was… I had to [abandon it] six months ago.” I have stood on the edges of the Arctic and watched glaciers that have existed for millenniums crash into the sea. I have stood on the borders of dried-out Darfur and heard refugees explain, “The water dried up, and so we started to kill each other for what was left.”

While I witnessed these early stages of ecocide, I imagined that American green groups were on these people’s side in the corridors of Capitol Hill, trying to stop the Weather of Mass Destruction. But it is now clear that many were on a different path–one that began in the 1980s, with a financial donation.

Environmental groups used to be funded largely by their members and wealthy individual supporters. They had only one goal: to prevent environmental destruction. Their funds were small, but they played a crucial role in saving vast tracts of wilderness and in pushing into law strict rules forbidding air and water pollution. But Jay Hair–president of the National Wildlife Federation from 1981 to 1995–was dissatisfied. He identified a huge new source of revenue: the worst polluters. Read the rest of this entry »

By Andrew MacLeod February 26, 2010 10:02 am

A prominent British Columbia environmentalist has written a letter to Greenpeace International criticizing the recent appointment of Tzeporah Berman to a position heading the organization’s climate and energy campaign.

Berman’s record of collaborating with corporations in B.C. has been disastrous, says the letter signed by the Valhalla Wilderness Society’s Anne Sherrod. “This approach means environmental groups collaborating with some [of] our most destructive corporations and most anti-environment governments,” she wrote. “It is based on the fact that corporations are always willing to give a little to conservation in order to get a lot.”

Sherrod criticized Berman’s group ForestEthics, and others, for endorsing an agreement that allows logging in two-thirds of the Great Bear Rainforest and for supporting the mountain caribou recovery plan even though it fails to appreciably reduce logging in the animal’s habitat.

“Last year Bermann [sic] shocked many B.C. environmentalists by becoming the leading advocate of private power projects on B.C.’s rivers and streams at a time when most of the environmental movement and a large swathe of the general public were fighting them tooth and nail,” she wrote. “Many of these were projects with huge carbon footprints that would do devastating damage to rivers and coastal ecosystems.” Read the rest of this entry »