Editor’s note: Lierre Keith, co founder of DGR, is going to be in London for two events. On April 1, she’s going to be a part of a Women’s Rights Conference along with a number of other feminists. On April 2, she is going to give a talk on Bright Green Lies, followed by a screening of the documentary and Q&A.
What is to be Done? Women’s Rights Conference
A hybrid conference (up to 150 of us in real life and lots more online) in London on Saturday 1st April 2023,9am-5pmnear Old St tube or Barbican tube. Women’s Declaration International invites you to a day of speeches, workshops, networking, internet livestream link to global sisters and hopefully fun. If you would like to attend, help plan, organize, volunteer on the day, run sessions, etc, please email firstname.lastname@example.org or fill in this form https://forms.gle/bFLntzbBzrm4zd6M8
We will livestream the whole thing, so you can participate online too.You can use the normal FQT attendee login so if you are registered for FQT you are registered and need to do nothing further. If not go to womensdeclaration.com and register for Feminist Question Time and you will get a Zoom link the week before.
With four rooms, a garden and a coffee area, the speakers/workshop leaders include: Sheila Jeffreys, Lierre Keith , Zuleyka Valentin Arroyo, Kaïla Atarou Manfah, Christina Ellingsen, Julia Long, Amparo Domingo, Kate Coleman, Stephanie Davies-Arai, Amber Alt, Paula Boulton, Maureen O’Hara, Marian Rutigliano, Lynne Harne, Emma Thomas, Sally Wainwright, Louise Somerville, Jan Williams, Kelly Frost, Kate Graham, Alison Jenner, Lynn Alderson, Shannon from HearSheHearShe, Jo Brew and many more!
The theme is What is to be done, so talks and workshops will focus on what we should do next.
After the day, we have booked a quiet room at a pub where we can sit and chat, plus go downstairs to buy food and drink.
In order for WDI to break even (& hopefully increase our war chest), we need all of us to support the event both financially (by buying tickets, and donating funds) and also through volunteer activities (in preparation, day of, and cleanup).
You can buy tickets for the in person event here. Register for the online event here.
From Living Planet to Necrosphere: In the Time of Patriarchy’s Endgame
Lierre Keith – writer, radical feminist, food activist, and environmentalist will be in London Sunday, April 2nd for this highly anticipated talk. This will be followed by a screening of Bright Green Lies and a Q and A with the people behind it.
More and more environmentalists are starting to question whether not just fossil fuels, but also so-called ‘green energy’, could pose a potentially serious threat to our environment and to what remains of our already threatened species and biodiversity.
With praise from world-renowned author and campaigner Vandana Shiva (anti-GMO activist and President of Navdanya International), Jeff Gibbs (director of Planet of the Humans, available to watch here for free) and Chris Hedges (Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist and author of America: The Farewell Tour), Bright Green Lies and its accompanying documentary film dig further into this issue, exploring whether our dependence on fossil fuels can really be replaced with a new form of industry that calls itself green.
Join us for the event with our expert panel:
Lierre Keith – writer, radical feminist, and food activist
Julia Barnes – Bright Green Liesfilmmaker and award-winning documentary maker
Derrick Jensen (author of the Bright Green Lies book, activist and named one of Utne Reader’s “50 Visionaries Who Are Changing Your World”)
This illuminating film “dismantles the illusion of ‘green’ technology in breathtaking, comprehensive detail, revealing a fantasy that must perish if there is to be any hope of preserving what remains of life on Earth. From solar panels to wind turbines, from LED light bulbs to electric cars, no green fantasy escapes Jensen, Keith, and Wilbert’s revealing peek behind the green curtain. Bright Green Lies is a must-read for all who cherish life on Earth.”
—Jeff Gibbs, writer, director, and producer of the film Planet of the Humans
Copies of the film on DVD will be available for purchase, alongside copies of the book which Lierre may sign for you.
When I was about 8 I lived in the mountains and our home was surrounded by tall needly trees.
Not too far from one corner of the home, just slightly down the hill, was a small cluster of boulders. The rocks were situated in such a way that I could just manage to nestle myself 8-year-old self between them.
It was a tiny haven. A mini open-air dwelling and escape from regular life.
The chipmunks would occasionally join me and there we’d sit listening to the trees creaking in the wind.
I haven’t lived in the woods or any place even remotely as wild since. I’ve called cities home for the majority of my life, both before and after that time. And for an embarrassingly long time, I didn’t realize anything was missing from my life.
But somehow I finally realized the errors in my ways. There wasn’t any specific moment in time or place I visited that reminded of what I was missing. But I began to seek out natural refuges wherever I was. And when I took the time to look around me, I saw that beautiful places were everywhere. Not just in the mountains but in the city parks. And at the beach. On the trails near my home. Even my backyard.
If I had to pick just one favorite place in nature anywhere, I think the mountains will always top the list. But actually I like to think that wherever in nature I happen to be is my favorite place.
Two thirds of the oxygen in the air we breathe comes from plankton in the ocean. We evolved with nature, shaped by our relationships with the plants and animals around us.
Every cell in our bodies comes from nature. We are made of water, plant and animal, virus and microbe. The bacteria in our gut outnumber our own cells. We are human only in relationship with the more than human world. And it is an honour to be related. To share a connection with the magnificence and intelligence embodied in the diversity of species who are our kin. It is an honour to be an animal on this planet.
I care because I am in love with the natural world. And knowing what I know, I think it is a necessity to protect it. But more than that, it is an act of gratitude. The Earth gives us our very lives. It gives us the most beautiful things we will ever experience. I could work my whole life in activism and never repay the cost of a single breath of ocean air.
We are living in unpredictable times. Whether it’s the threat of nuclear annihilation, economic depression, or ecological collapse, no one can predict exactly what will happen or when. What we do know is that cities and suburbs will not be places humans can live in the long run.
Women need to learn self-defence now. As things become increasingly chaotic, men will look for an outlet for their violence. Those outlets are always women and nature. We can attempt to learn the skills that are necessary for survival in traditional human cultures.
But there are no personal solutions to social problems, which means we need to build communities, we need to organize, and we need to defend the natural world as if our lives depend on it, because they do.
What does it mean to have a culture of resistance? What does this culture value? What is it resisting, and why? How is it different from the dominant culture?
The culture that we are living in now — a capitalist, industrial society — has certain values that we have been told are important for our well-being. Some of these values are: unlimited growth is good, we can have whatever we want, humans are superior to all other life forms on earth, we can tame the natural world for our own purposes, and the individual is more important than the community.
The problem with these values is that they are unjust and unsustainable. We aren’t living within the natural limits of our planet. We think we can continue to use up everything on the earth, and there will be no consequences. And if there is a problem, technology will solve it.
In the meantime, the population continues to rise, more and more of the earth is being destroyed, and more species are dying every day. People are becoming more alienated from each other. They don’t understand, or don’t want to acknowledge, that industrial civilization is the cause of all this suffering.
A culture of resistance rejects industrial, capitalist values. It fights for the natural world and knows that we are just one of many species that share this earth.
A culture of resistance joins together as a community, and rejects the idea of individualism. No one person is more important than another. We work together to meet our needs. We respect all beings and realize that we are dependent on nature to live. Nobody should be using up all the natural resources, thereby making it very difficult for others — human and nonhuman — to survive. It reminds me of the Buddhist teaching, “Do not take anything that is not freely given.”
A culture of resistance recognizes that the earth is finite. The planet can support a few million people, but not billions. It can provide us with all we need to stay alive and healthy: clean water and air, natural food, and adequate shelter. Other beings on the planet are respected and seen as part of the natural community, not things to be exploited. Hunter-gatherers used to live in harmony with nature for thousands of years, and it was sustainable.
The modern culture we live in today is toxic in so many ways. If we do not resist, it will continue to grow until it collapses under its own weight, causing unimaginable destruction and suffering. We must get rid of industrial civilization. Join the culture of resistance!
When I came across Deep Green Resistance I had no background in environmentalism and no knowledge about the ecological crises our planet was facing, and in many ways I felt like this put me at a disadvantage. But I think it gave me one really important advantage: it meant that I hadn’t yet been taken in by many of the false solutions offered by the mainstream environmental movement.
I hadn’t been primed to believe that my power as an activist was limited to petitions, street protests, reducing my carbon footprint and so on. And it meant that I didn’t already have a strong belief that technologies like wind and solar were solutions for the planet. It quickly became clear to me, through understanding this new analysis, that such technologies can only be seen as solutions in a world in which humans have lost their true connection to the natural world.
I learned that some studies have shown that renewables are expected to be the number one cause of habitat destruction in coming years. So that begs the question, is that what the planet needs? Is that something I can stand by and support?
My hope is that more people start to question some of these mainstream narratives, whether or not they already understand what’s happening to our planet — our home.
I want more people to look at the facts, and be unafraid in making up their own minds how they feel about what they see.
I want more people to feel confident in questioning whether a new form of industry that calls itself “green” is what the planet really needs, whether it’s really what we want to be doing to our home. And whether we think this industrial way of life we’ve all become so used to is really sustainable.
Editor’s Note: Taking the context of Maryland’s forests, the following piece analyses how the mainstream environmental movement and pro-industry management actors have used deliberately misinterpreting to outright creation of information to justify commercial activities at the expense of forests. Industrial deforestation is harmful for the forests and the planet. The fact that this obvious piece of information should even be stated to educated adults affirms the successful (and deceitful) framing of biomass as an environmentally friendly way out of climate crisis. The same goes for deep sea mining.
Most would agree that we live in an age of multiple compounding catastrophes, planetary in scale. There is controversy, however, regarding their interrelationships as well as their causes. That controversy is largely manufactured. In the following pages I will describe the state of “forestry” in the state of Maryland, USA, and connect that to regional, national, and international stirrings of which we should all be aware. I will continue to examine connections between international conservation organizations, the co-optation of the environmental movement, the youth climate movement, and the financialization of nature. Full disclosure. I am writing this to human beings on behalf of all the non-human beings and those yet unborn who are recognized as objects to be converted to capital or otherwise used by the dominant culture. I am not a capitalist. I am a human being. I occupy unceded land of unrecognized peoples which is characterized by poisoned air, water and soil, devastated forest ecosystems, decapitated mountains, and collapsing biodiversity. I am of this earth. It is to the land, water and all of life that I direct my affection and gratitude as well as my loyalty.
Last winter, amid deep concerns about the present mass extinction and an unshakeable feeling of helplessness, I began to search for answers and ecological allies. I compiled a running list of local, regional, national, and international organizations that seemed to have at least some interest in the environment. The list quickly swelled to hundreds of entries. I attempted to assess the organizations based upon their mission, values, goals, publications and other such things. I hoped that the best of the best of these groups could be brought together around ecological restoration and the long-term benefits of clean air, water, healthy soil supporting vigorous growth of food and medicine, and rebounding biodiversity throughout our Appalachian homeland. Progress was and continues to be slow. Along the way, I encountered an open stakeholder consultation (survey) regarding a risk assessment of Maryland’s forests. As an ethnobotanist with special interests in forest ecology and stewardship, Indigenous societies and their traditional ecological knowledge, symbiotic relationships, and intergenerational sustainability, I realize that my unique perspectives could be helpful to the team conducting the assessment. I proceeded to submit thought provoking responses to each question. Because the consultation period was exceedingly brief and outreach to stakeholders was weak at best, and because the wording of the questions felt out of alignment with the purported purpose of the survey, I sensed that something was awry. So I saved my answers and resolved to stay abreast of developments.
Summer came around, I became busy, and the risk assessment survey faded from my mind until a friend recently emailed me a draft of the document along with notice of a second stakeholder consultation and the question: should we respond? This friend happens to own land registered in the Maryland Tree Farm Program. The selective outreach to forest landowners with large acreage was an indication as to who is and who is not considered a “stakeholder” by the committee.
After reviewing the Consultation Draft: A Sustainability Risk Assessment of Maryland’s Forests I felt sick. Low to Negligible was the risk assignment for every single criteria. I re-read the document – section by section – noting the ambiguity, legalese and industry jargon, lack of definitions, contradictory statements, false claims, poorly referenced and questionable sources, and more. Have you heard of greenwashing? Every tactic was represented in the 82 page document. Naturally, then, I tracked down and reviewed many of the referenced materials and I then investigated the contributors and funders of the report.
Noting, furthemore, that on the Advisory Committee sits a member of the Maryland Forests Association (MFA). On their website they state: “We are proud to represent forest product businesses, forest landowners, loggers and anyone with an interest in Maryland’s forests…” They also state: “Currently, Maryland’s Renewable Energy Portfolio Standard uses a limiting definition of qualifying biomass that makes it difficult for wood to compete against other forms of renewable energy,” oh yes, and this extraordinarily deceptive bit from a recent publication, There’s More to our Forests than Trees:
When the tree dies, it decays and releases carbon dioxide and methane back into the atmosphere. However, we can postpone this process and extend the duration of carbon storage. If we harvest the tree and build a house or even make a chair with the wood, the carbon remains stored in these products for far longer than the life of the tree itself! This has tremendous implications for addressing the growing levels of carbon dioxide, which lead to increased warming of the earth’s atmosphere. It means harvesting trees for long-term uses helps mitigate climate change. We can even take advantage of the fact that trees sequester carbon at different rates throughout their lifespan to maximize the carbon storage potential. Trees are more active in sequestering carbon when they are younger. As forests age, growth slows down and so does their ability to store carbon. At some point, a stand of trees reaches an equilibrium where the growth and carbon-storing ability equals the trees that die and release carbon each year. Thus, a younger, more vigorous stand of trees stores carbon at a much higher rate than an older one.
Just in case you were convinced by that last bit, my studies in botany and forest ecology support the following finding:
“In 2014, a study published in Nature by an international team of researchers led by Nathan Stephenson, a forest ecologist with the United States Geographical Survey, found that a typical tree’s growth continues to accelerate (emphasis mine) throughout its lifetime, which in the coastal temperate rainforest can be 800 years or more.
Stephenson and his team compiled growth measurements of 673,046 trees belonging to 403 tree species from tropical, subtropical and temperate regions across six continents. They found that the growth rate for most species “increased continuously” as they aged.
Al Goertzl, president of Seneca Creek (a shadowy corporation with a benign name that has no website and pumps out reports justifying the exploitation of forests) who is featured in MFA’s Faces of Forestry, wouldn’t know the difference, he identifies as a forest economist. In another publication marketing North American Forests he is credited with the statements: “There exists a low risk that U.S. hardwoods are produced from controversial sources as defined in the Chain of Custody standard of the Program for the Endorsement of Forest Certification (PEFC).” and “The U.S. hardwood-producing region can be considered low risk for illegal and non-sustainable hardwood sourcing as a result of public and private regulatory and non-regulatory programs.” The report then closes with this shocker: “SUSTAINABILITY MEANS USING NORTH AMERICAN HARDWOODS.”
Why are forest-pimps conducting the risk assessment upon which future decisions critical to the long-term survival of our native ecosystem will be based? What is really going on here?
“Europe’s largest single source of renewable energy is sustainable biomass, which is a cornerstone of the EU’s low-carbon energy transition […] For the last decade, forest resources in the US South have helped to meet these goals—as they will in the future. This heavily forested region exported over <7 million metric tons of sustainable wood pellets in 2021 – primarily to the EU and UK – and is on pace to exceed that number in 2022 (emphasis mine) due to the ongoing war in Ukraine, which has pinched trade flows of industrial wood pellets from Russia, Belarus and Ukraine.”
Sustainability means using North American hardwoods.
If it has not yet become clear, the stakeholder consultation for the forest sustainability risk assessment document which inspired this piece was but a small, local, component of an elaborate sham enabling the world to burn and otherwise consume the forests of entire continents – in comfort and with the guilt-neutralizing reassurance that: carbon is captured, rivers are purified, forests are healthy and expanding, biodiversity is thriving and protected, and “the rights of Indigenous and Traditional Peoples are upheld” as a result of our consumption. (FSC-NRA-USA, p71) That is the first phase of the plan – manufacturing / feigning consent. Next the regulatory hurdles must be eliminated or circumvented. Cue the Landscape Management Plan (LMP).
“Taken together, the actions taken by AFF [American Forest Foundation] over the implementation period have effectively set the stage for the implementation of a future DBC project to promote and expand SDE+1 qualifying certification systems for family landowners in the Southeast US and North America, generally.”
“As outlined in our proposal, research by AFF and others has demonstrated that the chief barrier for most landowners to participating in forest certification is the requirement to have a forest management plan. To address this significant challenge, AFF has developed an innovative tool, the Landscape Management Plan (LMP). An LMP is a document produced through a multi-stakeholder process that identifies, based on an analysis of geospatial data and existing regional conservation plans, forest conservation priorities at a landscape scale and management actions that can be applied at a parcel scale. This approach also utilizes publicly available datasets on a range of forest resources, including forest types, soils, threatened and endangered species, cultural resources and others, as well as social data regarding landowner motivations and practices. As a document, it meets all of the requirements for ATFS certification and is fully supported by PEFC and could be used in support of other programs such as other certification systems, alongside ATFS. Once an LMP has been developed for a region, and once foresters are trained in its use, the LMP allows landowners to use the landscape plan and derive a customized set of conservation practices to implement on their properties. This eliminates the need for a forester to write a complete individualized plan, saving the forester time and the landowner money. The forester is able to devote the time he or she would have spent writing the plan interacting with the landowner and making specific management recommendations, and / or visiting additional landowners.
With DBC support, AFF sought to leverage two existing LMPs in Alabama and Florida and successfully expanded certification in those states. In addition, AFF combined DBC funds with pre-existing commitments to contract with forestry consultants to design new LMPs in Arkansas and Louisiana. DBC grant funds were used to cover LMP activities between July 1, 2018 and December 31, 2018 for these states, namely stakeholder engagement, two stakeholder workshops (one in each state Arkansas and Louisiana) and staffing.” (American Forest Foundation, 2, 7).
It is clear that global interests / morally bankrupt humans have been busy ignoring the advice of scientists, altering definitions, removing barriers to standardization / certification, and manufacturing consent; thus enabling the widespread burning of wood / biomass (read: earth’s remaining forests) to be recognized as renewable, clean, green-energy. Imagine: mining forests as the solution to deforestation, biodiversity loss, pollution, climate change, and economic stagnation. Meanwhile, mountains are scalped, rivers are poisoned, forests are gutted, biological diversity is annihilated, and the future of all life on earth is sold under the guise of sustainability.
Sustainability means USING North American hardwoods!
The perpetual mining of forests is merely one “natural climate solution” promising diminishing returns for Life on earth. While the rush is on to secure the necessary public consent (but not of the free, prior, and informed variety) to convert the forests of the world into clean energy (sawdust pellets) and novel materials, halfway around the planet and 5 kilometers below the surface of the Pacific another “nature based solution” that will utterly devastate marine ecosystems and further endanger life on earth – deep sea mining (DSM) – is employing the same strategy. Like the numerous other institutions that are formally entrusted with the protection of forests, water, air, biodiversity, and human rights, deep sea mining is overseen by an institution which has contradictory directives – to protect and to exploit. The International Seabed Authority (ISA) has already issued 17 exploration contracts and will begin issuing 30-year exploitation contracts across the 1.7 million square mile Clarion-Clipperton zone by 2024 – despite widespread calls for a ban / moratorium and fears of apocalyptic planetary repercussions. After decades of environmental protection measures enacted by thousands of agencies and institutions throwing countless billions at the “problems,” every indicator of planetary health that I am aware of has declined. It follows, then, that these institutions are incapable of exercising caution, acting ethically, protecting ecosystems, biodiversity or indigenous peoples, holding thieves, murderers and polluters accountable, or even respecting their own regulatory processes. Haeckel sums up industry regulation nicely in a recent nature article regarding the nascent DSM industry:
“…Amid this dearth of data, the ISA is pushing to finish its regulations next year. Its council met this month in Kingston, Jamaica, to work through a draft of the mining code, which covers all aspects — environmental, administrative and financial — of how the industry will operate. The ISA says that it is listening to scientists and incorporating their advice as it develops the regulations. “This is the most preparation that we’ve ever done for any industrial activity,” says Michael Lodge, the ISA’s secretary-general, who sees the mining code as giving general guidance, with room to develop more progressive standards over time.
Of course, this “New Deal for Nature” requires “decarbonization” while producing billions of new electric cars, solar panels, wind mills, and hydroelectric dams. The metals for all the new batteries and techno-solutions have to come from somewhere, right? According to Global Sea Mineral Resources:
“Sustainable development, the growth of urban infrastructure and clean energy transition are combining to put enormous pressure on metal supplies.
Over the next 30 years the global population is set to expand by two billion people. That’s double the current populations of North, Central and South America combined. By 2050, 66 percent of us will live in cities. To support this swelling urban population, a city the size of Dubai will need to be built every month until the end of the century. This is a staggering statistic. At the same time, there is the urgent need to decarbonise the planet’s energy and transport systems. To achieve this, the world needs millions more wind turbines, solar panels and electric vehicle batteries.
Urban infrastructure and clean energy technologies are extremely metal intensive and extracting metal from our planet comes at a cost. Often rainforests have to be cleared, mountains flattened, communities displaced and huge amounts of waste – much of it toxic – generated.
That is why we are looking at the deep sea as a potential alternative source of metals.”
Did you notice how there is scarcely room to imagine other possibilities (such as reducing our material and energy consumption, reorganizing our societies within the context of our ecosystems, voluntarily decreasing our reproductive rate, and sharing resources) within that narrative?
Do you still wonder why the processes of approving seabed mining in international waters and certifying an entire continent’s forests industry to be sustainable seem so similar? They are elements of the same scheme: a strategy to accumulate record profits through the valuation and exploitation of nature – aided and abetted by the non-profit industrial complex.
“The non-profit industrial complex (or the NPIC) is a system of relationships between: the State (or local and federal governments), the owning classes, foundations, and non-profit/NGO social service & social justice organizations that results in the surveillance, control, derailment, and everyday management of political movements.
The state uses non-profits to: monitor and control social justice movements; divert public monies into private hands through foundations; manage and control dissent in order to make the world safe for capitalism; redirect activist energies into career-based modes of organizing instead of mass-based organizing capable of actually transforming society; allow corporations to mask their exploitative and colonial work practices through “philanthropic” work; and encourage social movements to model themselves after capitalist structures rather than to challenge them.” (Beyond the Non-Profit Industrial Complex | INCITE!).
The emergence of the NPIC has profoundly influenced the trajectory of global capitalism largely by inventing new conservation and the youth climate movement –
“What’s infuriating about manipulations by the Non Profit Industrial Complex is that they harvest the goodwill of the people, especially young people. They target those who were not given the skills and knowledge to truly think for themselves by institutions which are designed to serve the ruling class. Capitalism operates systematically and structurally like a cage to raise domesticated animals. Those organizations and their projects which operate under false slogans of humanity in order to prop up the hierarchy of money and violence are fast becoming some of the most crucial elements of the invisible cage of corporatism, colonialism and militarism.” (THE MANUFACTURING OF GRETA THUNBERG – FOR CONSENT: THE GREEN NEW DEAL IS THE TROJAN HORSE FOR THE FINANCIALIZATION OF NATURE [ACT V]).
We must understand that the false solutions proposed by these institutions will suck the remaining life out of this planet before you can say fourth industrial revolution.
An important point must never get lost amongst the swirling jargon, human-supremacy and unbridled greed: If we do not drastically reduce our material and energy consumption – rapidly – then We (that is, all living beings on the planet including humans) have no future.
In summary, decades of social engineering have set the stage for the blitzkrieg underway against our life-giving and sustaining mother planet in the name of sustainability industrial civilization. The success of the present assault requires the systematic division, distraction, discouragement, detention, and demonization (reinforced by powerful disinformation) and ultimately the destruction of all those who would resist. Remember also: capital, religion, race, gender, class, ideology, occupation, private property, and so forth, these are weapons of oppression wielded against us by the dominant patriarchal, colonizing, ecocidal, empire. That is not who We are. Our causes, our struggles, and our futures are one. Unless we refuse to play by their rules and coordinate our efforts, We will soon lose all that can be lost.
Learn more about deep sea mining (here); sign the Blue Planet Society petition (here) and the Pacific Blue Line statement (here). Tell the forest products industry that they do not have our consent and that you and hundreds of scientists see through their lies (here); divest from all extractive industry, and invest in its resistance instead (here). Inform yourself, talk to your loved-ones and community members and ask yourselves: what can we do to stop the destruction?
All flourishing is mutual. The inverse is also true.
“…future environmental conditions will be far more dangerous than currently believed. The scale of the threats to the biosphere and all its lifeforms—including humanity—is in fact so great that it is difficult to grasp for even well-informed experts […] this dire situation places an extraordinary responsibility on scientists to speak out candidly and accurately when engaging with government, business, and the public.” – Top Scientists: We Face “A Ghastly Future”
—Austin is an ecocentric Appalachian ethnobotanist, gardener, forager, and seed saver. He acknowledges kinship with and responsibility to protect all life, land, water, and future generations—
Editor’s Note: The Earth is dying and the industrial civilization is killing it. Decades of the environmental movement has not only failed to stop the ecocide, let alone even to slow it down. By the time you finish reading this article, a species will have gone extinct. We’ve tried peaceful negotiations. We’ve lobbied. We’ve protested. We’ve organized non violent direct action. Yet, what seems to be the most effective action is sabotage of infrastructures, be it the attack on Saudi oil wells or on the Niger Delta. DGR is an aboveground organization, yet believes that it is necessary to use any means necessary to bring down the industrial civilization. You can know the difference between an underground and an aboveground organization here.
The following is a communique from an underground group. It is posted from BC Counter Info.
Over the past few months, several sections of the coastal gaslink pipeline have been vandalized. Financially, the consequences of each act were minor: a few holes in the pipeline here, some corroded welding seams there, damaged concrete here. Our goal was to contribute to the small delays in a project that was already well over budget.
We drilled holes less than a penny wide in a section of pipe that had not yet been lowered into the trench. We covered the holes with fiberglass film, which temporarily prevents leaks in the pipes, but only lasts a few months. We know that welded sections of coated pipe are assessed before being lowered into the trench. After the trench is backfilled, they are tested under pressure. The holes were sealed in the hope that they would pass the first pressure test, but will have to be excavated and repaired before the pipeline is completed. This occurred during the last week of October on section 8 of the pipeline, between Kilometers 610 and 613.
Between 585 and 588 kilometers of the pipeline, we found a section of pipe that had been dug out, so we damaged the coating at the joints by chipping and sanding it off in less visible places. This coating is needed to protect the pipe from corrosion and rust. We did this in early November. We liked this approach because the damage is not visible, but can still have a significant long-term structural impact if corrosion and rust show up, so it will need to be fixed.
We drilled very small holes and filled them this time with an epoxy putty, somewhere between Kilometers 605 and 608 of the pipeline route (that’s in section 8.) We did this in the second week of November. We weren’t sure if the sealant would withstand the pressure test, but decided it was worth a try since this sealant is easier to source and use than the fiberglass coating.
At the end of November, we drilled and filled holes in the pipe string before it would be lowered into section 6 of the pipeline between Kilometers 486 and 489.
In early December, we chipped and busted the welds on a section of pipe that had not yet been lowered into the trench between Kilometers 606 and 609.
We damaged the protective coating on a section of pipe by chipping and grinding, and chipped a welded seam on several sections of pipe before they were backfilled between Kilometer 377 and 380 of section 5 of the pipeline. This work was performed in early January.
Near Kilometer 27 of North Hirsch forestry road we damaged welds and coating on a pipe section in the middle of January.
We poured hydrochloric acid on the concrete pipes we knew were meant for the tunnel under Wedzin Kwa and used a concrete drill inside the pipe to weaken them even further. The concrete pipes are designed to protect the pipe itself from the pressure of the surrounding soil. Given the heightened security and surveillance of concrete pipe storage, we can’t say when this happened.
In early December, we grinded and chipped the coating on the welded seams of the pipe sections between Kilometers 598 to 601.
In mid February, we scraped and chipped large portions of the pipe coating of the string between Kilometers 626 and 629.
Or is that in fact what happened? Only some of these activities have actually taken place. We waited to share this information all at once, complete with some additional false reports, so the only way to know where repairs are really needed is to excavate and re-examine all the above-mentioned pipes. Cracked concrete or rusted and patched pipes can lead to small leaks and large-scale spills, which is why every action, whether genuine or falsified, is being brought to the attention of the public long before the pipeline is operational.
While we would prefer to write only completely honest report backs, we also believe that we should be resourceful and use every means at our disposal to delay construction as best we can. We apologize to those involved in the struggle for not being able to give you an accurate picture of what we have really accomplished. CGL we wish you all the best in your treasure hunt.
Editor’s note: In Atlanta City, local people are protesting a proposed police training facility. The project includes a mock metropolis, and is proposed to be built on the lands of Weelaunee Forest. Protestors have camped in the Forest. Clashes with the police led to one being killed over a month ago. This article discusses different aspects of the Cop City.
In September 2021, the Atlanta City Council passed legislation to build a $90 million police training facility, despite overwhelming opposition from the Atlanta community. The compound would include a mock city complete with houses, a school, a gas station, a bank, and a community centre; it would also feature a Black Hawk landing pad, shooting ranges, and a bomb testing site.
At 85 acres, it would be the largest police training facility in the United States. If constructed, it will be a rehearsal space for cops from all over the country and the world to practice urban warfighting with the latest military technologies.
Cop City—euphemistically and offensively called a “Public Safety Training Center” by its proponents—carries within it a confluence of catastrophes, including police brutality, militarism, racism, environmental damage, gentrification, and corporate profiteering.
Police forces in the United States have always been militarised. There is a perpetual pipeline between the US military and police forces in terms of equipment and personnel. But more than that, both institutions seek domination and control over populations that are not part of, or act in opposition to, the political and economic elite.
The US police, which began as “slave patrols” to capture enslaved Black people escaping plantations, have white supremacy and capitalist interests embedded in their function. Regardless of diversity, training, or other reforms, the police seek to cage or control those perceived as a threat to the country’s racialised, capitalist order. The US military, meanwhile, asserts itself as a global police force to enforce this same order abroad. Its pursuit of a “national security state” and “full spectrum dominance” guide its actions in seeking to dominate the world.
The US military already trains militarised forces globally. Its infamous School of the Americas is one example, and its but the US military runs training operations for police and soldiers around the world. US police also already participate in military trainings, including with the Israel Defense Forces. As an organizer with Jewish Voice for Peace notes, “The exchanges refine and enhance the militarization rooted in American policing with Israeli tactics and technology of occupation and apartheid that are being tested on Palestinians on a daily basis.”
Cop City would be part of this cycle of exporting and importing violence in preparation for suppression of dissent as the world burns. The creation of this kind of compound is an escalation in the violence against those who are marginalised by the state, as well as an attack on the planet’s well-being.
In addition to the extreme carbon footprint of US militarism, Cop City would actively destroy wetlands and forest. Its construction would result in bulldozing a large part of the Weelaunee Forest, otherwise known as the South River Forest. This land is essential for environmental well-being, especially as the climate crisis worsens.
Stop Cop City forest defenders explain, “The wetlands within the forest help to mitigate the risk of dangerous flooding, and provide breeding grounds for amphibians and migration sites for wading birds…. Over 150 species call the Weelaunee Forest home, including river otters and white-tailed deer and Carolina wrens and salamanders.”
Furthermore, “The extensive tree canopy keeps the surrounding areas cooler (something hugely important as the risk of fatal heatwaves grows with each passing year), captures and stores carbon dioxide from the air, and acts as a natural filter that mitigates air pollution.” The forest’s canopy is already diminishing. Cop City would raze many acres more.
In addition to the environmental destruction, Cop City also imposes further racialised violence upon land that has seen more than its share of pain.
The proposed site for Cop City is in a majority Black area of DeKalb County, on land that was once stolen from Muscogee-Creek people, that was then used as a plantation during slavery, and then as a prison form where incarcerated, mostly Black, people were forced to work on projects for the city of Atlanta.
Building a massive police facility where police will be trained to use military equipment and urban warfighting techniques in a predominantly Black area is a nightmare for residents, especially in the midst of relentless police brutality against Black and other communities of colour across the United States.
But part of the interest in the site for this project is likely precisely because it is in a predominantly Black neighbourhood. The construction of projects like this are often tied to gentrification. As Atlanta has been tapped to host games in the 2026 World Cup and is seeking to host the 2024 Democratic National Convention, being able to offer the “security” afforded by a heavily-militarised police force is meant as a selling point.
Cop City has significant backing from the Atlanta Police Foundation, which is a private-public partnership and a major player in local politics. The Nationreports, “Its executive board is a veritable who’s who of corporate power and inherited wealth. Last year, the foundation expended large sums of its donors’ money lobbying for police expansion.”
The Foundation has leveraged its corporate backers—from Delta Airlines to the Waffle House—to raise two-thirds of the costs of constructing Cop City. The other third will be paid for by taxpayers. The Foundation has also relied upon the captured local media to manufacture consent for the project. The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, the city’s so-called paper of record, is owned by Cox Enterprises. The CEO of Cox Enterprises is Alex Taylor, who is leading the fundraising drive for Cop City. Thus, the paper of record has only ever recorded the support for Cop City from corporate elites.
Organising to Stop Cop City
Organisers in Atlanta have opposed Cop City since the beginning. They signed petitions, engaged in protest, and contributed 17 hours’ worth of commentary to public hearings at City Hall. After the plans for Cop City were approved, an even broader movement formed to defend the forest against destruction. Some have taken up residence in the forest while others have continued organising against the corporate backers across the country.
In December 2022, a joint police task force violently arrested six forest defenders and charged them with “domestic terrorism”. Then, on 18 January 2023, Georgia State Police marched into the forest and killed a nonviolent forest defender, Manuel “Tortuguita” Terán. The circumstances of this police killing of a climate activist are highly suspicious, as no body camera footage is available and the police have refused to release the names of the officers involved. An independent autopsy has confirmed that police shot Tort thirteen times. Since then, over ten more individuals have been arrested and charged with domestic terrorism, despite the fact that they are only accused with trespassing.
Tort’s killing comes on the heels of the most lethal year on record for police killing civilians. It marks the first known killing of an environmental activist by police in the United States. As noted in The Nation, the policing of protests is “structurally skewed in favor of the police—and, according to multiple studies, systematically biased against Black Lives Matter and the political left.”
On 31 January 2023, the Mayor of Atlanta announced that the permits have been approved to begin destruction of the forest. Police are preparing to do another sweep against forest defenders. On 6 February, heavily armed police raided the forest to clear it out and escort accompanied construction workers—at the same time that Tortuguita’s family held a press conference demanding answers for their killing.
But Cop City is not an inevitability; organisers are clear that it can—and must—be stopped. They explain that the mayor can cancel the lease, and they urge City Council to pass an ordinance doing so. The contractors and the corporate backers could be compelled to pull out of the projects.
How to take action
In their book Rehearsals for Living, Robyn Maynard and Leanne Betasamosake Simpson write about living in ways we want the world to be, such as through mutual aid and relationality. Cop City is the antithesis to this. It is a space for cops to rehearse militarised oppression and violence.
This will impact all our movements. Whether you are working on climate change, police violence, economic or social justice, racial justice, housing rights, disarmament and demilitarisation, etc., the training grounds at Cop City are meant to oppress you. Stopping Cop City is not just the responsibility of those living in Atlanta. All our struggles for a livable world are bound up in this struggle.
There are many ways to take action to Stop Cop City, including:
Ray Acheson is Director of Reaching Critical Will, the disarmament program of the Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom (WILPF). They provide analysis and advocacy at the United Nations and other international forums on matters of disarmament and demilitarization. Ray also serves on the steering group of the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN), which won the 2017 Nobel Peace Prize for its work to ban nuclear weapons, as well as the steering committees of Stop Killer Robots and the International Network on Explosive Weapons. They are author of Banning the Bomb, Smashing the Patriarchy (Rowman & Littlefield, 2021) and Abolishing State Violence: A World Beyond Bombs, Borders, and Cages (Haymarket Books, 2022)
Editor’s note: None of the events are being organized by DGR. We stand in solidarity and encourage our readers to get involved in these if possible.
Kangaroo: A love-hate story (Film Screening)
Kangaroo reveals Australia’s relationship with its beloved icon, uncovering disturbing scenes behind the largest mass destruction of wildlife in the world. Using investigative techniques such as interviews, citizen footage, and research, Kangaroo: A Love-Hate Story shows how the kangaroo meat industry and the Australian government put profits ahead of animal welfare, native species protection and the environment. In addition, farmers who are guided by misinformation and profit take whatever steps they deem necessary to eradicate the species.
A free community screening presented by Woolgoolga Regional Community Gardens and Kangaroo Advocate Yurpia McCafferty, at 6pm (AEST) Tuesday 7th March, on 79 Scarborough St, Woolgoolga. You can find out more about the event here.
Violence Against Rural Indigenous Women: Brazil, Guatemala, Peru, and the United States
Throughout the Western Hemisphere, indigenous women and girls suffer extreme and disparate levels of gender-based violence. For those living in rural and remote communities on their own indigenous lands, these problems are even more pronounced. Our event will feature a panel of indigenous women from Brazil, Guatemala, Peru, and the United States, who will discuss how violations of indigenous peoples’ land rights and right to self-government expose their women and girls to racial discrimination, gender-based violence, and other human rights violations and how living in rural communities intensifies these problems.
The webinar will happen on March 8, 2023 at 1:00 p.m. – 3:00 p.m. (EST).
Black Summer Vigil
This online and offline event is being organized in the three-year anniversary memorial for the three billion animals who died in the Australian bush fires. The event will bring together stories from first responders across wildlife rescue, rural fire service, photojournalism, Aboriginal custodianship, veterinary medicine, ecology, and more. Speakers include:
Greg Mullins, Former Commissioner, Fire and Rescue NSW; Climate Councillor and founder, Emergency Leaders for Climate Action. Greg warned Australia’s then–Prime Minister in April 2019 that a bushfire catastrophe was coming. He pleaded for support and was ignored, then risked his life dealing with the ramifications on the ground.
Internationally recognised ecologist and WWF board member, Professor Christopher Dickman oversaw the work calculating the animal deaths from Black Summer. A Fellow of the Australian Academy of Science, Professor Dickman already wore the heavy task of being an ecologist during the sixth mass extinction, in the country that has the worst rate of mammalian extinction in the world. On 8 January 2020 media around the world shared his finding that Black Summer fires had killed one billion animals. Sadly, the fires continued for two more months, and his team’s final count was three billion. This does not include invertebrates: it is estimated 240 trillion beetles, moths, spiders, yabbies and other invertebrates died in the fires.
Coming up from the South Coast, owner of Wild2Free Kangaroo Sanctuary Rae Harvey, as seen in The Bond and The Fire. She is in the sad position of having personally known and cared for a number of Black Summer’s victims: many of the orphaned joeys she cared for were killed in the fires. (She nearly died herself too.) For three years, she has been unable to even speak their names. Now, for the first time, she will tell the story of the joeys she lost.
Cultural burning practitioner and Southern NSW Regional Coordinator with Firesticks Alliance, Djiringanj-Yuin Custodian Dan Morgan. Dan practises using Aboriginal knowledge to heal Country. He has worked for 18 years with the NSW National Parks & Wildlife Service and is on the board of management for the Biamanga National Park, a sacred area home to the last surviving koalas on the NSW south coast – which was partly destroyed by the fires of Black Summer.
Head of Programs & Disaster Response at Humane Society International (HSI) Evan Quartermain, who was one of the first responders on Kangaroo Island where nearly 40% of the island burnt at high severity.
The physical event will happen in Camperdown Memorial Rest Park (Sydney) at 2pm Sunday 2 April 2023 (AEST). You can also attend it online. You can find more information here.