There is an iron rule of resource exploitation: Go after the easy stuff first. If you don’t, your competitors will and run you out of business with lower prices. But where do you go when the easy stuff runs out? (And the easy stuff always runs out.) The United States’ recent expanded claims to ocean seabeds signals that the easy stuff has run out or will soon. More on those claims later. The obvious answer to getting more resources is to start digging up the harder stuff. Sometimes it’s new technology that makes the harder stuff economical to extract. Heap leach mining was developed to take low concentration ores and leach out the desired metals using chemical-laced sprays that result in a liquid “leachate.”
Anchorage, Alaska – A large crowd gathered and rallied outside the Annual Alaska Federation of Natives (AFN) convention Thursday afternoon around a large hand-painted banner that read “Defend the Sacred: Extraction is NOT our way of life”. The rally was organized by a coalition of Alaska Native groups to connect the growing crisis of environmental and community health impacts of the extraction industry on Indigenous communities around the State. Host organizations included, United Tribes of Bristol Bay, Mother Kuskokwim, Native Movement and Grandmothers Growing Goodness.
The Leave it in the Ground Initiative (LINGO), in collaboration with Oil Change International, today launched the findings of a global analysis which maps fossil fuels underneath the world’s protected areas. For the first time, it quantifies the threat from fossil fuel extraction to legally protected areas worldwide. This new analysis shows that over 47 Gigatonnes of CO2 could be released by extracting and burning fossil fuels from within protected areas: more than the yearly emissions of the entire world combined. The dataset shows over 600 companies profiting from fossil fuel extraction inside protected areas.
Activists just completed the "Walk for Appalachia's Future" through West Virginia, North Carolina and Virginia to highlight the impacts of fossil fuel extraction on communities and the land. At each stop, they held events with local activists to learn about their struggles and make broader connections. The Appalachian region is a sacrifice zone - rich in mineral wealth that is extracted by large corporations without benefit to the people. West Virginia is the fifth poorest state in the US with low education attainment and high rates of physical and mental diseases. Clearing the FOG speaks with two organizers of the walk, Maury Johnson and Melinda Tuhus, about the conditions that led to organizing the walk and what they have learned along the way as well as the people's vision for the region.
At the world’s largest gathering of Indigenous leaders, women are talking about how to hold financial institutions accountable for fueling climate catastrophe through investments in the extractive industry. Michelle Cook, Navajo, was among those who offered powerful testimonies focused on the women at the frontlines of extractive projects, the boardrooms of financial institutions, and the halls of governments. Speaking at a side event hosted by Women's Earth and Climate Action Network at the 21st session of the U.N. Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues in New York, Cook described the work as being part of a sacred obligation. “That’s what we’re doing, fulfilling a prayer for the world – for nature – with love, compassion, and with courage.
On April 10, Pakistan's Prime Minister Imran Khan was ousted in what is believed to be a US-backed soft coup. One of the likely reasons for the coup is that Khan was taking action to end excessive corporate power bestowed by bilateral trade agreements. Clearing the FOG speaks with Manuel Perez Rocha of the Institute for Policy Studies about Khan and how trade agreements function to force countries into allowing corporations to exploit their workers and devastate their environment. Perez Rocha explains why ending corporate abuse is essential to addressing the climate crisis and how trade could be structured to uphold human rights and protection of the planet. He also speaks about the risks of extraction for minerals that are required for a green economy.
Pennsylvania based asset manager, Vanguard, is the world’s second largest asset manager, with over $8 trillion in assets under management. Vanguard is referred to as a “universal owner,” with ownership stake in over 10,000 corporations. The financial institution dominates market environments and consequently has the ability to set industry norms. Asset managers have largely ignored calls for divestment from extractive industries. Asset managers, like Vanguard, have failed to include a robust racial and environmental justice orientation in their business practices. In turn, they flood extractive industries with capital. Industries like the carceral and fossil fuel industries use those investments to extract from low-income and BIPOC communities.
People the world over are opposing fossil fuel extraction in an incalculable number of ways. It is now clear that burning fossil fuels threatens millions of Life forms and could be laying the foundation for the extermination of Humanity. But what about “alternative” energy? As progressives stand shoulder-to-shoulder with those rejecting fossil fuels and nuclear power, should we despise, ignore, or commend those who challenge the menace to their homes and their communities from solar, wind and hydro-power (dams)? The Gateway Green Alliance gave its answer with unanimous approval of a version of the statement below in May, 2021. The monumental increase in the use of energy is provoking conflicts across the Earth. We express our solidarity with those struggling against extraction, including these examples.
In the face of environmental collapse, deepening inequalities and capitalism in crisis, resisting violence requires challenging its colonial constructions.
Thanks to its very name — renewable energy — we can picture a time in the not-too-distant future when our need for non-renewable fuels like oil, natural gas, and coal will vanish. Indeed, the Biden administration has announced a breakthrough target of 2035 for fully eliminating U.S. reliance on those non-renewable fuels for the generation of electricity. That would be accomplished by “deploying carbon-pollution-free electricity-generating resources,” primarily the everlasting power of the wind and sun. With other nations moving in a similar direction, it’s tempting to conclude that the days when competition over finite supplies of energy was a recurring source of conflict will soon draw to a close. Unfortunately, think again: while the sun and wind are indeed infinitely renewable, the materials needed to convert those resources into electricity — minerals like cobalt, copper, lithium, nickel, and the rare-earth elements, or REEs — are anything but.
The Green New Deal has attracted perhaps the greatest attention of any proposal for decades. It would guarantee Medicare-for-All, Housing-for-All, student loan forgiveness and propose the largest economic growth in human history to address unemployment and climate change. But the last of these hits a stumbling block. Creation of all forms of energy contributes to the destruction of nature and human life. It is possible to increase the global quality of life at the same time as we reduce the use of fossil fuels and other sources of energy. Therefore, a “deep” GND would focus on energy reduction, otherwise known as energy conservation. Decreasing total energy use is a prerequisite for securing human existence.
In the social science literature, there’s this sense that countries or states that rely on mining or oil for their revenues are doomed to some kind of pathology: they’re going to be authoritarian, or stuck in underdevelopment. There’s a related notion that resource politics are an elite affair: that what governs the global oil economy is corporations, or the members of OPEC, or oil ministers—and likewise for mining. What I learned doing ethnographic research in Ecuador is that resource politics is much more contested and interesting. Focusing on resource politics as this vibrant field of contention gives a different view of the stakes of...
To the government of the Republic of Ecuador and the national and international community: We sign this statement to express our deep concern for the events occurring in Ecuador. As professors, students, investigators, artists, activists and companions of diverse social processes, we reject the state of exception and, specifically, the militarization and disproportionate use of police and military force across the country, since the 3 rd of October, 2019. The violence used in social repression has been excessive. Military forces are using rubber and conventional bullets, as well as tear gas. Hundreds of Ecuadorians are wounded, more than 490 have been detained, 12 are missing, and at least two people have died, to-date (October 7th).
The big driver of the world economy is a plundering process where powerful corporations loot the natural resources of low-income countries. These highly influential multinational corporations (MNCs) facilitate the expatriation of profits and natural assets from resource-rich but capital-poor countries by engaging in a wide range of morally egregious profit maximization practices. Predatory practices carried out by MNCs deprive developing countries of being able to benefit equitably from their own natural resource supply and ultimately undermine their pursuit of emancipatory economic development policies. How do systematic underdevelopment and exploitation of developing countries and their peoples occur? Two common strategies of corporate plunder through global extractive industries are rent-seeking and wage exploitation.
6,000 Amazon Employees, Including A VP And Directors, Are Now Calling On Jeff Bezos To Stop Automating Oil Extraction
On Monday, a group of Amazon employees began circulating an open letter that calls on CEO Jeff Bezos and the board of directors to adopt a companywide plan to address climate change. By Wednesday, over 3,500 Amazoners had signed on. By Friday, that number had surpassed 6,000—meaning a number equivalent to about 1/10th of the company’s entire corporate workforce had publicly added their names. And those names are still rolling in. One of the latest names belongs to Tim Bray, a VP and Distinguished Engineer who, per his LinkedIn profile, is “an AWS geek at Amazon.com.”