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Posts Tagged ‘indigenous issues’

Mariana Jiminez, a 71-year-old grandmother from the Ecuadorean Amazon, dips her hand
into the oil-black water in the precious marshlands off Louisiana's Gulf coast and
holds a dying, oil-drenched crab in her hand. She warns of the petroleum-laced
water, "This is very very dangerous. This is a poison that kills. Not instantly, but
it will kill slowly." 

This week, four Indigenous and community leaders from Ecuador (Mariana, Emergildo,
Humberto and Luis), as well as advocates from Rainforest Action Network and Amazon
Watch, are deep in Louisiana's sweltering Bayou witnessing the depth of BP's oil

The Ecuadorean delegation has come to share the hard-won lessons from Chevron's
Amazon oil disaster [
] with the United Houma Nation and Atakapa-Ishak tribes, American Indian communities
dependent on a healthy Bayou for their very survival.
[from RAN]
 Read the rest of this entry »


On June 23rd, environmental justice organizers will be guiding a tour through Toronto to expose institutions most responsible for the environmental and social impacts of Canada’s extractive industries both at home and abroad. Canada is home to 75% of the world’s mining and exploration companies, making it a global leader in this industry. Canada’s place within the G8 nations is largely due to the exploitation of Indigenous peoples, their lands and rural poor for mining, tar sands and oil/gas exploitation.

As residents of Canada, we will not standby while the Canadian government, banks, and corporations continue to destroy people’s livelihoods and ecosystems to secure wealth accumulation for a select few.

We encourage folks coming to dress up and challenge those in power with costumes, floats and fancied up bicycles. We will be working on several floats in lead up but encourage all to dress up for our action.

Ideas for costumes: Executives with blood on their hands, corporate zombies, people covered in Tar Sands bitumen,. etc. (fake blood and bitumen will be provided)


Please join us at 11 am on June 23 at Alexandra Park.

For more information or to endorse the event, please contact:

Facebook event:


The toxic tour will focus on four themes:

1. The extractive industry is violating human rights and the rights of mother earth. The federal government supports these companies even as human rights workers are killed, local peoples poisoned, and entire communities displaced. From the tar sands in northern Alberta to gold mines in Papua New Guinea to copper mines in the Democratic Republic of Congo, Canadian companies are exploiting indigenous and poor communities alike, violating their right to self-determination, poisoning their lands, manipulating any leadership that they can access, and often supporting brutal military and security operations.

2. The extractive industry is exacerbating the climate crisis. The tar sands gigaproject is the most destructive industrial project on earth and will be the leading contributor to climate change in Canada, making it impossible for our country to meet its international climate commitments. The climate crisis has been caused by the industrialization of developed countries like Canada, while disproportionately affecting indigenous peoples and the global south who are faced with sea-level rise, drought, permafrost melt, desertification, melting glaciers, and increased extreme weather events. These and other problems brought on by the climate crisis have destroyed the livelihoods of millions who are dying and being displaced from their homes.

3. The education system is taken over by corporate interests. The University of Toronto, Canada´s largest academic institution, is taken over by corporations, many of which are linked to the extractive industry. This corporate influence stifles open, honest, and critical debate in our institutions of higher learning and demonstrates how a wealthy few can dominate and shape the way people think. As an academic institution that strives to create the ‘leaders of tomorrow,’ we must challenge the notion that corporate greed and exploitation has any place in our education system.

4. The Canadian economy is dependent on exploiting marginalized peoples and the environment. Harper would not be at the G8 if it wasn’t for exploiting the resources and people of countries that the G8 is purposely shutting out of discussions. Solutions, however, are there—but the Harper government refuses to give people the ability to determine the future of their own lives and livelihoods.

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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Ongoing News Reports from the Cochabamba, Bolivia Climate Conference
Interested in following the happenings in Cochabama?  Global Justice Ecology Project is devoting our Climate Connections blog to multiple daily updates from participants at the Climate Conference.

About the Cochabamba Climate Conference:
People from around the world are attending the Peoples’ Conference on Climate Change and the Rights of Mother Earth in Cochabamba, Bolivia this week as a follow up to the failed UN Climate Talks in Copenhagen, Denmark last December.
Social movements have converged in Cochabamba to rally opposition to the push by the world’s leading carbon emitters to promote unjust and false solutions to climate change such as carbon offsets, and to make a collective push for stricter binding carbon reductions, reparations for industrial-driven environmental destruction, and a human rights approach to climate policies.
From North America the Grassroots Global Justice Alliance -Indigenous Environmental Network delegation is attending with the aim of amplifying the perspectives of frontline communities resisting the impacts of climate change. Global Justice Ecology Project is providing a media support role for this delegation and for Indigenous Peoples and other representatives from the Global South to link reporters and media outlets in Bolivia and internationally with the voices of representatives of communities impacted by and in resistance to climate change, fossil fuels and false solutions to climate change.
Stay tuned to Climate Connections blog for reports from Cochabamba.
If you would like to grab content from Climate Connections and post it elsewhere, this is absolutely great.  The only thing we ask is that people please reference our blog in these posts with “source: Global Justice Ecology Project’s Climate Connections blog
Other recommended sites:
Blogs focused on Indigenous Peoples:  Censored News and
EarthCycles  (web streaming)
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* Get RSS updates from the blog by going to
Photo courtesy: Jeff Conant

cross-posted from Global Justice Ecology Project Climate Voices:
From Thirty Thousand Feet Above Mother Earth

by Jeff Conant

En route to Bolivia – that is, somewhere 30,000 feet above Mother Earth – I crossed paths with Alberto Saldamando, the legal council for the International Indian Treaty Council, and a member of the Indigenous Environmental Network delegation to the Cochabamba climate summit. As we stood in the aisle of the airplane, raising the hackles of the flight crew, I asked him his vision of the week ahead. Alberto is a friend, someone I’ve worked with in the past, so he may have been more candid with me than he might be in public; when I asked his opinion on the state of the climate negotiations and his hopes for Cochabamba, he said, “I’m pessimistic. You know, greed has no bounds.”
Read the rest of this entry »

Fossil ‘Fools Day Protests Set for 30 Cities; Target Coal, Oil, Natural Gas and Big Banks

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

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

Ottawa / March 26, 2010 – The Indigenous Environmental Network, the Council of Canadians, and the Alaska based REDOIL Network have issued an open letter calling for an international moratorium on all new exploration for fossil fuel resources in the Arctic region. The letter is directed at the Foreign Ministers of Canada, Norway, Denmark, Russia and the United States who will be present at the Arctic Summit in Chelsea, Québec, March 29, 2010.

The discovery of 90 billion barrels of oil and 1,670 trillion cubic feet of natural gas in the Arctic region has triggered a rush to secure access that includes petroleum companies such as Shell and Exxon.

“New oil and gas development is anything but responsible in the face of a very serious climate crisis which requires governments like those meeting in Chelsea to rapidly reduce emissions,” says Andrea Harden-Donahue, Energy Campaigner with the Council of Canadians. “It is no small irony that increased access to exploit reserves in the fragile Arctic Ocean ecosystem is largely the result of melting sea ice.”

“We believe that a moratorium on fossil fuel development would be a first step to addressing the climate crisis we are in. Strong actions need to be taken now by Governments of the world to effectively address climate change. Indigenous peoples worldwide bear the consequences of Global Warming daily and we want concrete action now,” states Faith Gemmill, Executive Director of the Alaska based Resisting Environmental Destruction on Indigenous Lands (REDOIL).

“Climate change is responsible for increased levels of contaminants like mercury, DDTs and PCBs in staple edible fish species near my home community,” says Daniel T’seleie, a K’asho Got’ine Dene from Fort Good Hope, Northwest Territories. “Increased development of Arctic oil and gas would not only contribute to the climate crisis that is devastating Arctic communities, it would also add more direct pressure to fragile ecosystems that are already stressed by the combined impacts of climate change and existing development. This would be an unconscionable infringement on the rights of Arctic Indigenous Peoples.”

BC gov’t aims to win hearts and minds, and open province to extractives

Dawn Paley in The Dominion

VANCOUVER—Beyond rhetoric about establishing British Columbia as a centre for innovation, among the most concrete strategies suggested in the Ministry of Energy, Mines and Petroleum Resources 2010/11-2012/13 Service Plan are government-sponsored marketing campaigns to promote the benefits of the extractive industries.

The Service Plan, released in early March, outlines the BC government’s primary strategies for the energy, mining, and oil and gas industries up to 2013. The public relations efforts articulated throughout the plan contradict the demands of Indigenous nations, in whose territories these projects would be built.

One of the objectives of the Service Plan is to increase the involvement of First Nations in the oil and gas industry. This includes “advising” First Nations on how resources can be developed in an “environmentally responsible manner” by strengthening links to industry and government and negotiating revenue-sharing agreements.

Read the rest of this entry »

A high-level delegation from Canada were greeted this morning by protesters with banners that read: “Canadian Tar Sands – Climate Crime”, outside Canada House in Trafalgar Square. The protest, on Thursday 18 March, is part of a growing campaign by UK groups against the tremendous human and ecological devastation caused by extracting oil from Canada’s tar sands – and is taking place in solidarity with First Nations and Canadian environmental justice organizations. The Canadian delegation is being hosted by UK Trade and Investment, a government department that exists to promote the interests of British industry.

“The Canadian and British governments should know that people in the UK are very concerned about the tar sands,” said Alice Hargreaves of the UK Tar Sands Network which has organised the protest along with members of Rising Tide and Camp for Climate Action. “The tar sands are the world’s most destructive project. Canada is ripping up an area larger than England, creating sprawling toxic lakes and ever-expanding carbon emissions. This environmental horror story is violating indigenous peoples’ rights – they are losing their traditional ways of life, and some are getting cancer from the pollution. The tar sands is a project that needs to be stopped, yet British companies like Shell, BP and RBS are involved, and with this event, UK Trade and Investment is actively promoting further British involvement.”

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Joshua Kahn Russell on The Understory

Today more than 170 people rallied outside of the Royal Bank of Canada’s (RBC’s) Annual General Shareholder meeting (AGM) in Toronto after a series of creative non-violent actions all morning. Inside, First Nations Chiefs and community representatives from four different Nations demanded RBC phase out of its Tar Sands financing and to recognize the right to Free, Prior and Informed Consent for Indigenous communities. Afterward, Indigenous leaders lead the crowd in a march to rally outside both RBC Headquarters buildings.

Other cities across Canada supported the First Nations voices inside the AGM as well with solidarity actions from (click on a city for pictures) London, Calgary, Vancouver, Edmonton, Victoria and more. Check out photos from those and our events in Toronto.

And see some preliminary media coverage from the Wall Street Journal and Yahoo.

Since 2007 RBC has backed more than $16.7 billion (USD) in loans to companies operating in the tar sands—more than any other bank. Called, ‘the most destructive project on Earth,’ Alberta’s tar sands projects will eventually transform a Boreal forest the size of England into an industrial sacrifice zone complete with lakes full of toxic waste and man-made volcanoes spewing out clouds of global warming emissions.

Outside the shareholder meeting school children, bank customers of every age, First Nations community representatives joined Rainforest Action Network, Indigenous Environmental Network, No One Is Illegal, and Council of Canadians made their outrage at RBC’s investments heard – to the thumping beats of street Samba band, the crowd shouted “Cultural Genocide: who do we thank? Dirty investments from Royal Bank!

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Sakura Saunders on the Vancouver Media Co-op

The Vancouver Olympics were billed by governments, sponsors and promotors as the “greenest games ever.” But the resistance movement against the Games has decimated these claims, by bringing voices from people on the front lines of environmental destruction to the fore.

The 2010 Olympics has managed its “green” image by using shallow reporting and flawed accountability, says Clayton Thomas Muller of the Indigenous Environmental Network. He spoke out against the environmental impacts of the 2010 Games and its corporate sponsors along with representatives from impacted communities and major environmental justice organizations on the eve of the Olympic Opening Ceremonies.

“When we look at the assessment of the carbon footprint of the Games, the reality of it is that they only looked at very surface issues; they only looked at the flights,” Muller told a press conference on Olympic greenwashing. “They did not look at the forest loss, the tree loss, the impact on wetlands. They did not look at the construction CO2 imprint of all of the machinery that has been going 24/7 for the last year in preparation for the Games.”

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All Out March 3rd – Tell RBC shareholders: Stop bankrolling tar sands!

On March 3rd, the Royal Bank of Canada will hold its annual general meeting of shareholders’ at the Toronto Metro Convention Center. It’s the one time every year that the bank’s top executives, board and other decision makers gather in the same place to hear from shareholders. This year, we want them to hear from you!

Since 2007 RBC has backed more than $16.9 billion (USD) in loans to companies operating in the tar sands—more than any other bank. Expansion of the tar sands is trampling the rights of Indigenous peoples, destroying globally significant ecosystems and significantly increasing Canada’s carbon emissions.

Representatives from several First Nations impacted by tar sands expansion will attend the meeting to demand that RBC recognize the right to Free, Prior and Informed Consent for Indigenous communities and suspend its financial support for tar sands expansion.

Join us for a morning of creative, non-violent direct action culminating in a rally outside the Metro Center at 1 pm to show solidarity with First Nations representatives.

When: morning actions, rally @ 2pm, March 3, 2010
Where: Metro Convention Center, 255 Front St. W, Toronto

Take Action in your area – If you are interested in organizing an action before or at RBC’s AGM, please contact Eriel Deranger or Dave Vasey


Here’s the Facebook event posting –

A report from a successful environmental justice rally and action in downtown London, Ontario, Canada, on Saturday, February 13th

Some photos from our event are posted here and here.

The local protest was part of a wider day of action, which was called by the Indigenous Environmental Network, with others who supported action against Olympics sponsors, Olympics greenwashing, the Albertan tar sands, and native oppression.  Local activists here in London, Ontario know of other Canadian protests in Ottawa, Toronto, Vancouver, Halifax, Kitchener-Waterloo, and Montreal. There even was an event in London, England, which was timed to coincide with the Canadian protests.

In each city, the focus was the same: we were raising awareness about and protesting against the social dislocation and environmental destruction associated with the Olympics and its leading sponsors — including RBC (the leading financier of tar sands projects) and PetroCanada/Suncor (which directly operates six tar sands projects).

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Black Mesa, AZ – A Department of Interior Administrative Law Judge withdrew Peabody Coal Company’s Life of Mine permit for operations (Black Mesa Complex) on Black Mesa, AZ, handing a major victory to tribal and environmental organizations who appealed the permit decision in January. The permit had been granted on December 22nd 2008 by the Department of Interior’s Office of Surface Mining (OSM) in one of several fossil-fuel friendly 11th hour decisions by the Bush Administration.

According Judge Robert G. Holt, “OSM violated NEPA [National Environmental Protection Act] by not preparing a supplemental draft EIS [Environmental Impact Statement] when Peabody changed the proposed action. As a result, the Final EIS did not consider a reasonable range of alternatives to the new proposed action, described the wrong environmental baseline, and did not achieve the informed decision-making and meaningful public comment required by NEPA. Because of the defective Final EIS, OSM’s decision to issue a revised permit to Peabody must be vacated and remanded to OSM for further action.”

Wahleah Johns, co-director of Black Mesa Water Coalition, one of the petitioners in the appeal, issued the following statement: “As a community member of Black Mesa I am grateful for Judge Holt’s decision. For 40 years our sacred homelands and people have borne the brunt of coal mining impacts, from relocation to depletion of our only drinking water source. This ruling is an important step towards restorative justice for Indigenous communities who have suffered at the hands of multinational companies like Peabody Energy. This decision is also precedent-setting for all other communities who struggle with the complexities of NEPA laws and OSM procedures in regards to environmental protection. However, we also cannot ignore that irreversible damage of coal mining industries continues on the land, water, air, people and all living things.”

Press Release – 1/13/2010:

“Indigenous Peoples are being forced to sign over their territories for REDD to the Gangsters of the Century, carbon traders, who are invading the world’s remaining forests that exist thanks to the knowledge of Indigenous Peoples,” denounced Marlon Santi, President of the CONAIE, the Confederation of Indigenous Nationalities of Ecuador, one of the most powerful native organizations in the world. “Our forests are spaces for life not carbon markets.”

Indigenous leader kidnapped and forced at gunpoint to surrender carbon rights for REDD in Papua New Guinea

New York, USA — As carbon traders hawk permits to pollute at the Second Annual Carbon Trading Summit, Indigenous Peoples denounced that selling the sky not only corrupts the sacred but also destroys the climate, violates human rights and threatens cultural survival.

“Carbon trading and carbon offsets are a crime against humanity and Creation,” said Tom Goldtooth, Executive Director of Indigenous Environmental Network. “The sky is sacred. This carbon market insanity privatizes the air and sells it to climate criminals like Shell so they can continue to pollute and destroy the climate and our future, rather than reducing their emissions at source.”

“This Carbon Traitors’ Summit comes on the heels of the failed UN Copenhagen climate conference which put forests in carbon markets by creating a mechanism called REDD or REDD-plus (Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Degradation).” According to Goldtooth, “Most of the forests of the world are found in Indigenous Peoples’ land. REDD-type projects have already caused land grabs, killings, violent evictions and forced displacement, violations of human rights, threats to cultural survival, militarization and servitude.” Read the rest of this entry »