Editor’s note: This piece draws links between struggles against extraction projects and other land destruction related to fossil fuels, nuclear power, and renewable energy technologies alike. Around the world, people are struggling to protect the land and water in global resistance to extractive industries. We encourage our readers to join these struggles—or to begin a new campaign if one is not already happening.
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 Green Party of St. Louis/Gateway Green Alliance gave its answer with unanimous approval of a version of the statement below in May, 2021.
Global Conflicts Over Fossil Fuels, Nuclear and Alternative Energy
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.
We stand in solidarity with the on-going Native American protests at Standing Rock in North Dakota protesting environmentally irresponsible and culturally damaging pipelines that transport crude oil extracted from tar sand, destroying their ancestral lands. So-called “clean” and “renewable” energies depend on the climate killer oil for their production.
We stand in solidarity with the Movement for Survival of Ogoni People against Shell. The Niger-Delta was devastated and traditional culture weakened by soil, surface and groundwater contamination that makes farming and fishing impossible. Local communities still seek to receive denied compensation, clean-up, a share of the profits and a say in decision-making.
We stand in solidarity with the Centre for Policy Research in India as it opposes efforts by Prime Minister Narendra Modi to open 41 new coal mines because burning coal is a major factor in climate change, leads to asthma, premature births, and spreads toxins (including mercury) by air, water and land.
We stand in solidarity with the Green Party of Pennsylvania which has opposed fracking since 2008 when it realized that use of volatile chemicals could harm local communities and waterways and contribute to climate instability. Local residents have become ill and major waterways and delicate ecosystems have been damaged.
Nuclear power and Olympic Games
We stand in solidarity with the No Nukes Action Committee of the Bay Area who are demonstrating against the Olympic Games slated for Tokyo in order to raise awareness of the ongoing disaster of Fukushima nuclear power since nuclear power is deadly and intimately connected with the potential for nuclear war.
We stand in solidarity with “Solidarity Action for the 21 Villages” in Faléa, Maliagainst the French multinational COGEMA/Orano. After years of struggle, this NGO defeated a uranium mine through community mobilizing. Aware of the detrimental effects on health, environment, agricultural land, water sources and cultural heritage, they are still fighting to undo already done infrastructural damage.
Solar arrays in Washington State
We stand in solidarity with rural Klickitat County, WA residents who are being invaded by industrial solar facilities which would exceed 12,000 acres and undermine wildlife/habitat, ecosystems, ground/water, and food production because solar panels and lithium ion batteries contain carcinogens with no method of disposal or re-cycling and could contribute to wildfires from electrical shorts.
Wind turbines in Broome County NY
We stand in solidarity with the Broome Tioga Green Party’s fight against industrial wind turbine projects that would increase drilling and mining, dynamite 26 pristine mountain tops, and destroy 120,000 trees while requiring precious minerals and lithium for batteries and being dependent on fossil fuels for their manufacture, maintenance and operation.
We stand in solidarity with the indigenous Lenca people opposing the Agua Zarca dam on the Gualcarque River in Honduras whose leader Berta Cáceres was murdered for uniting different movements to expose how dams destroy farmland, leave forests bare, disturb ancestral burial sites, and deprive communities of water for crops and livestock.
Lithium mining in Thacker Pass
We stand in solidarity with activists aiming to stop Lithium Americas’ Thacker Pass open-pit mine (Nevada). Essential for electronic devices including electric cars, the mine would destroy rare old-growth big sagebrush, harm wildlife including many endangered species and lower the water table. Its operation would require massive fossil fuel use and toxic waste ponds.
We stand in solidarity with the child laborers slaving and dying in Democratic Republic of Congo cobalt mines. Cobalt is an essential ingredient for some of the world’s fastest-growing industries—electric cars and electronic devices. It co-occurs with copper mining, used in construction, machinery, transportation and war technology worldwide.
Most of all, we stand in solidarity with thousands upon thousands of communities across the Earth opposing every form of extraction or transmission for energy which seeks to cover up human health and environmental dangers.
If you would like to join those spreading the word regarding the need to challenge all forms of energy extraction because we can provide better lives for every society on Earth by reducing the global production of energy, please contact the author at the email below.
Don Fitz is on the Editorial Board of Green Social Thought He was the 2016 candidate of the Missouri Green Party for Governor. His book on Cuban Health Care: The Ongoing Revolution has been available since June 2020. He can be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
This article was first published Green Social Thought. The version adopted by the Gateway Green Alliance differs only by referring to its organizational name in the text.
Folks around are increasingly distraught over the state of affairs and yet here we are betrayed—once again by big greens/NGOs including the individuals who claim to be one of the people. See links included here.
Folks, we need to get money out of politics and reaffirm the fact that corporations are NOT people! We need to allow for innovation that is not hindered by the energy industry who want to maintain control over who and what is developed as they insure their energy oligopoly.
…We are worshiping monetary wealth and those who accumulate the most. No matter how horrifically ill-gotten. A dollar is more valuable than life itself.
We can all feel it…We are running out of time and the powers, the imperialistic oligarch that we allow to control our destinies demonstrate a complete disregard for all life on this planet—Our mother earth, She that sustains life—all the while they keep us fighting brothers and sisters family all—Keep in mind they can and do hire one half of the people to kill the other half…
Please contemplate what is written in the links here so that the ones who identify as ‘liberal’ and who insist on incremental change can stop interfering and step aside so that those who care and are doing the work can in fact save us all from ourselves. Incrementalism is going to kill us all as money and greed continues to corrupt and destroy everything at an unprecedented rate.
Our minds and bodies are warning us. We know something is wrong. Are we,You, going to rise to the challenge?
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Respectful yet with concern:
As mentioned they(special interest)whine and dine you, they bring you in and give you papers and metals to hang on the wall as you succumb to the comfort of agreement, a sense of belonging and righteousness takes hold.
At those times Please remember You/We are fighting for the next generations, our families; our own lives.
How disappointing to read about this:
After reading the below; Please read my comments.
In Solidarity We Will Stand Divided We Will Fall
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Moderates Caution Against Haste Even As the Nation Burns …
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Moderates Caution Against Haste Even As the Nation Burns. Slow progress is no progress. Walter Rhein. Follow. Jan 25 …
Obviously this resistance is great. But it’s only one thing that needs to be done, and the more minor one at that. The major thing that needs to be done is to reduce DEMAND for fossil fuels. That means much lower population, and in the case of the most modern societies, much lower consumption & much simpler and more natural lifestyles. The latter is a requirement for everyone except for people living pre-industrially, but the more technologically advanced the society, the greater changes are needed.
Full agreement with Jeff. The whole problem with civilized humanity is our obsession with “growth” in EVERYTHING — from “be fruitful and multiply” to capitalism, and the perverse notion that we must all have “more” of whatever — “development,” “progress,” wealth, profit, etc.
As I’ve often noted, the fix for our disease is the creation of an economic system that rewards inventing, extracting, producing, consuming, and wasting AS LITTLE AS POSSIBLE, rather than AS MUCH AS POSSIBLE.
In the face of human-caused climate change, deforestation, desertification, depletion, toxification, pollution, and mass extinction, we — as a species — are biologically compelled to begin reversing all of the above: systematically depopulating, reforesting, etc., until we rejoin the norm of all other species, which is to live in balance with the Earth, PRODUCING ZERO INORGANIC WASTE, EXTRACTING NOTHING, and GROWING NOTHING — with the possible exception of the organic food necessary to survival, while replenishing the soil, forests, rivers, seas, aquifers, and non-human populations we have been destroying, since the creation of the first settlement that wasn’t fully self-sustaining.
And if that means a few billion humans starve to death in the 21st century, so be it. In capitalism’s own language, that’s the cost of doing business.