Akbelen forest, western Turkey. Local villagers and environmental activists try to stop the expansion of a coal mine. Just three months after strongman President Erdoğan was re-elected, people flocked here from all over Turkey to try to save the remaining woodland. The protest is a symbol of a wider struggle to protect the environment in Turkey, from companies which often enjoy close relations with the government. The coal giant Limak Holding is a typical example. President Erdoğan dismissed the protesters as ‘marginal’, opposed to the country’s economic development. Despite a nation-wide outcry, the forest clearing continues with the protection of the Turkish security forces.
The Amazon rainforest is the largest tropical rainforest on the planet. It is home to more animal and plant species than any terrestrial ecosystem, including one-third of the world’s tropical trees. This diverse sanctuary is also one of the last refuges for jaguars, pink river dolphins and harpy eagles, according to WWF. Brazil has an Action Plan for the Prevention and Control of Deforestation in the Amazon by 2030, and since President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva took office at the start of this year, deforestation has fallen dramatically. The country’s Minister of the Environment and Climate Change Marina Silva said that deforestation in Brazil’s Amazon in Brazil dropped 66.11 percent in August.
The government of leftist Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva will launch a social program with economic aid to vulnerable families working in the conservation of the Amazon rainforest that is a similar program that was repealed by the previous president, the far-right Jair Bolsonaro (2019-2022). The program, called ‘Bolsa Verde’, an environmental version of the popular ‘Bolsa Familia’, will be implemented in 30,000 families in the Brazilian Amazon, but the government’s intention is to expand it to other biomes, such as the Cerrado (the Brazilian savannah) or the Atlantic Forest, all threatened by deforestation and other environmental crimes.
Atlanta’s 15-member City Council approved USD 31 million in funding to help build “Cop City,” the “urban warfare” training facility proposed to be built in the forest in the southern city. The 11-4 vote took place after 15 hours of public comments were heard regarding the project, with the vast majority expressing overwhelming concern over the project and and rejecting it. Throughout the session, over 1,000 people gathered inside and outside Atlanta City Hall to protest the controversial project. The Atlanta Police Foundation (APF), ostensibly a nonprofit but which provides support for the Atlanta Police Department and is spearheading the project of Cop City, believes that the facility is necessary.
The “greenwashing” efforts of UK airlines may be contributing to the destruction of rainforests in Asia, openDemocracy can reveal. The aviation industry began boasting of using ‘sustainable aviation fuel’ (SAF) last year. It claims this will help it to achieve net-zero emissions by 2050 because it is made from ‘waste and residue’ materials and can produce 80% less emissions than fossil jet fuel. But government data reveals that more than 80% of the 26 million litres of SAF supplied to airlines in the UK last year was made from imported “used cooking oil”. Most came from countries in Asia, where its authenticity has been questioned.
On Sunday January 1, Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva of the Workers’ Party of Brazil (PT) gave his first speech to the Brazilian people as president at the National Congress. In the speech, he presented a brief diagnosis of the situation and conditions of the country that he will govern over for the next four years. “It’s appalling,” said Lula, about the conditions in which he receives the country from his predecessor, former president Jair Bolsonaro of the Liberal Party, who abandoned the country and went to the US just before the inauguration. “They have emptied out the resources for health. They have dismantled the Education, Culture, Science and Technology [sectors]. They destroyed environmental protection. They left no resources for school lunch, vaccination, public security.”
Calamities are familiar to the people of Pakistan who have struggled through several catastrophic earthquakes, including those in 2005, 2013, and 2015 (to name the most damaging), as well as the horrendous floods of 2010. However, nothing could prepare the fifth most populated country in the world for this summer’s devastating events, which began with high temperatures and political chaos followed by unimaginable flooding. Cascading frustration with the Pakistani state defines the public mood. Taimur Rahman, the general secretary of the Mazdoor Kisan Party (‘Workers and Peasants Party’), told Peoples Dispatch that after the 2010 floods, there was ‘enormous outrage about the fact that the government had not done anything to ensure that… when there is an overflow of water, it can be controlled’.
The frequency and extent of wildfires are increasing all over the world. In South America, Brazil has had the highest incidence of forest fires in recent years. In 2019, during the first year of Jair Bolsonaro’s government, fires in the Amazon made headlines around the world. For the first time on record, the smoke from the forest fires in the Amazon reached São Paulo, the largest city in South America, more than 1,600 miles to the southeast of the burned regions. And in 2020, one third of the Pantanal wetlands biome was burned (11 million acres), leaving an estimated wildlife death toll of over 17 million animals. Despite the large fires of 2019 and 2020 associated with higher deforestation rates in the Amazon, the Brazilian government has not instituted any additional public policy to fight forest fires.
In his speech at COP26 on November 2, British prime minister Boris Johnson announced that more than 100 countries had joined the Leaders’ Declaration on Forests and Land Use, which seeks to halt and reverse the alarming levels of global deforestation by 2030. The declaration also emphasizes the need for countries to facilitate sustainable trade and development policies, promote food security through sustainable agriculture, and “accelerate the transition to [a green] economy.” To that end, more than $19 billion in public and private funds have been pledged for the plan, backed by countries including Brazil, China, Colombia, Democratic Republic of Congo, Indonesia, Russia, and the United States.
Animal Rebellion protesters have barricaded a McDonald's factory in Scunthorpe in a move to get the burger chain to switch to an entirely "plant-based food menu by 2025." The ‘animal and climate justice’ movement said that around 100 protestors set up a blockade using trucks, tents, bamboo structures in the early hours of Thursday morning to stop the facility from distributing burgers. Trucks with the sign “McMurder” stood outside the factory while police vans encircled the area. The campaigners, urging others to join in, said they will stay as long as it takes until McDonald’s commits to changing towards a plant-based menu. Accusing the global fast-food chain of poor labour conditions and wreaking havoc on the environment, the activists said that they would end the blockade if McDonald’s makes the first step towards this goal by committing to becoming 20 per cent plant-based within one year.
As global banking giants and investment firms vow to divest from polluting energy companies, they’re continuing to bankroll another major driver of the climate crisis: food and farming corporations that are responsible, directly or indirectly, for cutting down vast carbon-storing forests and spewing greenhouse gas emissions into the atmosphere. These agricultural investments, largely unnoticed and unchecked, represent a potentially catastrophic blind spot. “Animal protein and even dairy is likely, and already has started to become, the new oil and gas,” said Bruno Sarda, the former North America president of CDP, a framework through which companies disclose their carbon emissions. “This is the biggest source of emissions that doesn’t have a target on its back.”
“Zero deforestation” pledges are one more idea in the list of voluntary initiatives created in the past 10-15 years to supposedly address the negative impacts of industrial agriculture commodity crops. Oil palm plantation companies have responded to pressure from global food corporations such as Unilever, Nestle and Mars and made a commitment to “zero deforestation”1. Global food corporations are major buyers of palm oil and they, as well as the financial backers of oil palm companies...
The Washington Post recently published an article that “Jet Blue plans to go completely carbon neutral on all U.S. Flights.” While this sounds like a delightful and guilt-free way to keep on flying, this move by Jet Blue is nothing short of a ploy to manufacture a green veneer for their very UN-green activities. For an excellent analysis of the language behind “green” schemes such as this that actually accelerate environmental destruction and human rights abuses, please listen to the Earth Minute above and then read this piece from the latest World Rainforest Movement Bulletin.
Meat isn't good for you – even if it's good for you. Next, the charred reality driving deforestation and greenwashed consumer products in your markets. Plus, Fight Toxic Prisons joins us to talk direct action, solidarity with prisoners and the layers of toxicity in the prison industrial complex.
While the world watches in horror as fires rage on in the Amazon, activists are shining a light on the big businesses destroying what’s popularly known as the “lungs of the Earth.” On September 5, people around the globe stood in solidarity with the rainforest’s indigenous communities by partaking in the Global Day of Action for the Amazon, staging protests and singling out the bad actors profiting off deforestation. In Washington, D.C. protesters chanted “Put out the flames, we name your names — politicians, corporate vultures, you’re the ones we blame,” as they marched from the White House to the Brazilian Consulate.