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.
Cop cars on fire. Occupations of the Weelaunee Forest. Weeks of action. Volunteers with clipboards, collecting referendum petition signatures in the summer heat. Weekly canvassing. Town halls and open mic sessions. Direct action and civil disobedience. Record-breaking numbers of people showing up for public comment (on three separate occasions!). Regular food distributions and mutual aid. Surveillance cameras smashed. Music festivals in the forest. Comrade care clinics. Protests outside the homes of politicians and CEOs. Trivia night fundraisers at local restaurants. Shareholder divestment campaigns. Wheatpasting, movement art, and diss track competitions.
Not long past the break of dawn, along a remote road deep in the unceded, forested mountains of southern Vancouver Island, the steady blaring of a conch shell sends a warning through the trees. A raid is coming. In the Savage Patch camp, a new front in a years-long struggle over the fate of some of the country’s oldest trees, a small group of forest defenders scurry to pack sleeping bags and douse the fire that kept them warm through the night. Uncle Rico, a Cree land defender, streaks her face with red warpaint. A young, broad-shouldered settler land defender, known as Sandstorm, beats a drum gifted to him by a Native ally.
In the breathtakingly beautiful redwood forests of Northern California, a battle is being waged – a battle that is part of the larger war against corporate greed and extraction. Tree-sitters, forest advocates, and Indigenous peoples are working to protect, reclaim and manage the remaining 2% of old growth redwood forests, as well as second-growth areas that are beginning to become nurturing ecosystems again. But it's an uphill battle in every sense of the word. Green Diamond owns some 400,000 acres of land in Northern California, tucked away on private lands behind sparse beauty screens and an eco-groovy public image. Tree-sitters protect what they can where they can, tying trees together to multiply their efforts.
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.
A customer entering Home Depot, the largest home improvement retailer in the United States, will find elegant redwood with a certification of “sustainable forestry” available. Humboldt Redwoods Company (HRC) provides this shiny commodity. The company claims to be reducing the use of herbicides, and selecting trees for cutting, rather than “clear-cutting” (general clearing of an area). The agent that creates the concepts and criteria of selection and of sustainability, however, is the company itself. For instance, they commit not to cut “old growth trees,” despite there being no scientific or consensual definition of the age or conditions that would characterize those.
Dekalb County, Georgia – At least 30 people were arrested on Sunday evening in the South River Forest during a ‘week of action’ music festival taking place near the location of the proposed controversial ‘Cop City’ facility. UPDATE: 3/6/23 – According to the Atlanta Police Department press release, there were at least 35 people detained. Unicorn Riot also learned that of those arrested, approximately 22 were charged with state-level domestic terrorism charges. Earlier in the evening, a march of several hundred opponents of the project (generally known as ‘forest defenders’) took over a police surveillance outpost along a power line clearing near Intrenchment Creek.
Atlanta, Georgia - “A massive victory,” is how one participant, “Jean,” who spoke to It’s Going Down in a recent interview, described this weekend’s mobilization against “Cop City” in Atlanta. The movement is currently at a high-point, following an outpouring of support and rage over the brutal murder of Manuel “Tortuguita” Teran, an anarchist and forest defender, who was shot and killed by law enforcement during a raid on tree-sits and protest encampments on January 18th. Statements of solidarity and support have come in from across the Left and the environmental movement, spanning from the Sierra Club and 350.org, to grassroots collectives and organizations all over the US and the world.