On the show today, Chris Hedges discusses the lies and fantasies told by the mainstream environmental movement about how to solve the climate crisis with authors and activists Derrick Jensen and Lierre Keith. A new book shows how technology will not solve our environmental crisis. We will not extract ourselves from the death march toward extinction by recycling, building wind turbines, relying on solar panels or driving electric cars. This is a fantasy sold to us by an environmental movement that promises we can continue to indulge in orgies of consumption and maintain the levels of waste and perpetual growth that define the industrial age. The fact is our time is up. The forests are dying. Water is polluted, and in many places poisoned. Industrial farming is depleting the soil.
Total’s objective in recent years has been to close its refineries in France. It has found ways to refine elsewhere: in Dubai, India, China, and with plans for Africa. The objective is twofold: to refine as close as possible to the crude oil deposits, but also to do so in countries where working conditions are worse and environmental standards are lower. Disastrous consequences have resulted, such as the forced displacement of entire populations in Uganda. Even though oil refining fulfills important needs in the region around Paris, and it is very profitable, Total’s refinery in Grandpuits was put on the list to be closed. In 2018 a lack of structural maintenance led the pipeline to burst, which accelerated Total’s plan. The company refused to invest the several hundred million needed for repairs and decided to shut down the refinery.
Fifty years ago, my young daughter and I were on the National Mall in Washington, D.C., for the first Earth Day. A group of us were then launching the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC). Since then, the NRDC and other U.S. environmental groups have racked up more victories and accomplishments than one can count. But here’s the deeply troubling rub: As our environmental organizations have grown stronger, more sophisticated and more global in reach, the environment has continued to slide downhill. And not just slightly downhill. Climate change is coming at us very hard. Worldwide, we are losing biodiversity, forests, fisheries and agricultural soils at frightening rates.
Seattle, WA - At the corner of Third and Union, amid a sea of downtown high-rises and just across from Macy’s, members of the Northern Cheyenne tribe in native regalia walked alongside Montana ranchers in cowboy hats. The ranchers’ forerunners occupied the same stretch of the Little Bighorn River where Lakota, Northern Cheyenne, and Arapaho warriors crushed the infamous U.S. Army General George Custer. On this December morning in 2012, however, they made common cause. First the Cheyenne and ranchers set out together to find breakfast. Then they walked to Seattle’s Convention Center to square off against a modern-day enemy with global reach: coal firms proposing to move mile-long-plus trains through the Pacific Northwest to be loaded on ships bound for Asia.
Manhattan — With trial still months away, taxpayers have paid more than a quarter-million dollars to a private law firm deputized by a federal judge to convict an environmental attorney of misdemeanors. That is only one of the many oddities of United States v. Steven Donziger, a criminal contempt case against a lawyer defending a more than $9 billion verdict that he helped Ecuadorean villagers obtain against Chevron for oil contamination in the Amazon rainforest in 2011. “So — the punchline is: The government has spent $254,930 to date prosecuting a misdemeanor,” Donziger’s attorney Zoe Littlepage summarized in an email to her co-counsel and her client.
The year 2019 was the most dangerous on record for environmental activists, a new report says. Every day around the world, people stand up to companies exploiting land for profit, felling trees, damming and polluting waterways, displacing ancestral homes and destroying wildlife habitats. Every week, an average of four of these defenders are killed. The Global Witness Defending Tomorrow report, released Tuesday, counted 212 people killed last year for their efforts to protect the Earth from the destructive effects of development for oil and gas, mineral extraction, agriculture, logging and other practices.
In this week’s episode of On Contact, Chris Hedges discusses the criticism and censorship of Michael Moore's film Planet of the Humans with the director, Jeff Gibbs. "Perhaps it's a form of denial to actually instead of understanding the - this civilization, the industrial civilization, the human species - we're hitting limits and we're gonna crash. We're instead hoping that this fantasy will save us. And as I discovered, and I'm not saying that all environmental leaders are on the take, but one of the things our critics ignore is that the shocking list of things that you when you divest from fossil fuels and you invest in supposedly sustainable, you wind up investing in Big Ag, you wind up investing in mining and banks and all this - that part of the film was hardly talked about.
Friends of the Earth tweeted #BlackLivesMatter, and the head of the NRDC promised: “to be fully and visibly committed to the fight against systemic racism.” When New York Communities for Change helped lead a demonstration of 500 on Monday in Brooklyn to protest George Floyd's killing in Minneapolis, the grassroots group's activism spoke to a long-standing link between police violence against African Americans and environmental justice. Elizabeth Yeampierre, executive director of UPROSE, Brooklyn's oldest Latino community-based organization, said she considers showing up to fight police brutality and racial violence integral to her climate change activism. These community organizations in New York have been joined in protest by the nation's most prominent climate change activist groups, including the Sierra Club, 350.org, the Natural Resources Defense Council, the Sunrise Movement and Extinction Rebellion.
The Autonomous University of Barcelona's Institute of Environmental Science and Technology (ICTA-UAB) published a study that shows that 13 percent of environmental activists are killed and another 18 percent are victims of physical violence worldwide. Research reveals that citizen movements halt ecological degradation by up to 27 percent of environmental conflicts, despite the high rate of criminalization, violence, and murders, especially in conflicts related to mining. The Environmental Justice (ENVjustice) scientists analyzed 2,743 cases of environmental conflicts from around the world recorded in the Global Atlas of Environmental Justice (EJAtlas), an interactive map that identifies and locates existing ecological conflicts.
If environmental organizations want to become racially diverse, says sociologist Dorceta Taylor, they need to change the way they perceive people of color. In an e360 interview, she talks about how the conservation movement must transform itself to become more inclusive and effective. In 2014, Dorceta Taylor, a professor of Environmental Sociology at the University of Michigan, authored a groundbreaking report that documented a troubling lack of racial diversity in major U.S. environmental organizations and government agencies. Following up on those findings, Taylor published a study earlier this year that found fewer organizations are now voluntarily reporting their diversity statistics and, of those that are, the percentage of nonwhites on their staff and boards remains low.