Capitalism Won’t Save the Planet

Capitalism Won’t Save the Planet

Editor‘s note: This review from the book “Capitalism Won’t Save the Planet” talks about why the energy transition from fossil fuels to so-called renewable energy is slow and not that profitable. We at DGR believe it is not a transition – worldwide we see an increase in fossil fuel consumption. But the use of electricity from wind and solar power increases are just as strong, especially by digital companies like Amazon whose carbon emissions go up while powering with electricity. The public should get much more skeptical towards the “energy transition” and question the profit-making energy corporations.


Review of ‘The Price is Wrong: Why Capitalism Won’t Save the Planet’ by Brett Christophers.

By Simon Pirani/The Ecologist

Wind and solar power projects, that for so long needed state backing, can now provide electricity to wholesale markets so cheaply that they will compete fossil fuels out of the park. It’s the beginning of the end for coal and gas. Right? No: completely wrong.

The fallacy that ‘market forces’ can achieve a transition away from fossil fuels is demolished in The Price is Wrong: Why Capitalism Won’t Save the Planet, a highly readable polemic by Brett Christophers.

Prices in wholesale electricity markets, on which economists and analysts focus, are not really the point, Christophers argues: profits are. That’s what companies who invest in electricity generation care about, and these can more easily be made with coal and gas.

Zeitgeist

Christophers also unpicks claims that renewables projects are subsidy-free. Even with renewably-produced electricity increasingly holding its own competitively in wholesale markets, it’s state support that counts: look at China, which is building new renewables faster than the rest of the world put together.

The obsession with wholesale electricity prices, and costs of production – to the exclusion of other economic factors – emerged in the 1980s and 90s as part of the neoliberal zeitgeist, Christophers explains.

The damage done by fossil fuels to the natural world, including climate change, was priced at zero; all that needed correcting, ran the dominant discourse, was to include the cost of this ‘externality’ in prices.

This narrative became paramount against the background of neoliberal reforms: electricity companies were broken up into parts, typically for generation, transmission, distribution and supply; private ownership and competition in markets became the norm.

However prices do not and can not reflect all the economic factors that drive corporate decision-making.

Smooth

The measure that has become standard, the Levelised Cost of Electricity (LCOE), is the average cost of a unit of electricity produced by different methods. But for renewables, 80 percent-plus of this cost is upfront capital investment – and the fate of many renewables projects hinges on whether banks and other financial institutions are prepared to lend money to cover that cost. And on the rates at which they are prepared to lend.

The volatility of wholesale electricity markets does not help: project developers and bankers alike have to hedge against that. “We don’t like to absorb power price volatility”, one of the many financiers that Christophers interviewed for the book said. “We’ll take merchant price risk – right now we often don’t have a choice – but we’ll charge three times more for it. […] No bank in the world will take power price risk at low returns”.

Christophers writes in an exemplary, straightforward way about markets’ complexities. He details the hurdles any renewables project has to get over before it starts: as well as securing finance, it needs land and associated rights and licences, and – increasingly a problem in many countries including the UK – a timely connection to the electricity grid.

If we confront, confound and supercede capitalism a future in which electricity is used equitably and within bounds set collectively with a view to avoiding catastrophic climate change is surely plausible.

Corporate and financial decision-makers are concerned not so much with costs, compared to those of fossil fuel plants, as with “an acceptable rate of financial return”. Does the project meet or exceed that rate?

“The conventional transition model […] assumes an effortlessly smooth trade-off between fossil fuels and renewable electricity sources, just as stick-figure mainstream economics more widely assumes all manner of comparable smooth trade-offs, not least between present and future goods.

“But real-world processes of production and consumption involving real-world businesses do not come even close to approximating to such smooth trade-offs.”

Revival

The clearest illustration of the argument that profit is the main driver of investment, not price, is the big oil companies’ behaviour.

Christophers writes: “[T]he returns ordinarily associated with wind and solar power are much lower than those to which fossil fuel companies are accustomed in their core businesses.”

He adds: “The big new hydrocarbon projects still being initiated by the international oil majors in the 2020s, in the face of widespread public fury and dismay, promise significantly higher rates of return – and, of course, on a significantly greater absolute scale – than renewables ever do.”

So tiny renewables businesses are used solely to greenwash the companies’ continuing investment in fossil fuel production. Shell, which in 2020-22 dabbled in slightly larger renewables investments, found that the rate of return for shareholders was the lowest of all its businesses.

“Chastened by Wall Street’s savage indictment of his company’s erstwhile turn – effectively – away from profit, [Shell chief executive Wael] Sawan spent the first half of 2023 pivoting Shell back to oil and gas. Hence the horrific spectacle of a significant revival in upstream exploration activity on the part of the European majors, with Shell to the fore. […] At the same time, Shell and its peers were busily scrapping projects (including in wind) with ‘projections of weak returns’.”

The Price Is Wrong, published by Verso.

Investment

Despite all this, renewable electricity generation is expanding. Christophers forensically dissects the economics, showing that ‘market forces’ have played little or no part in this.

Many renewables projects only go ahead when they have signed long-term sales agreements (power purchase agreements or PPAs), that shelter sellers from choppy markets and provide good PR (“green” credentials) for buyers.

In many countries, PPAs with utility companies that provide electricity to households are being superceded by those with corporate buyers of electricity, and above all big tech firms that wolf down electricity for data centres and, increasingly, artificial intelligence.

And then there is state support – not only overt subsidies such as the tax credits offered by the US Inflation Reduction Act, but also schemes such as feed-in tariffs and contracts for difference, market instruments that shelter projects’ income from volatility.

China’s new megaprojects are “about as far from being market-led developments as is imaginable”, Christophers writes. So too are those in Vietnam, mammoths given the total size of the economy, that soared with a special feed-in tariff in 2020, and slumped to zero in 2021 when it was withdrawn.

“That investment plummets when meaningful support for renewables investment is substantially or wholly removed demonstrates precisely how significant that support in fact, and also just how marginal – or even downright unappealing – revenue and profitability prospects, in the absence of such support, actually are.”

Pretences

Christophers concludes that the state has to champion rapid decarbonisation, and “extensive public ownership of renewable energy assets appears the most viable model”. But this should not be done in a fool’s paradise, where it is presented as a means for taking profits from renewable electricity generators (what profits?!) and returning them to the public purse.

This is how the Labour Party is portraying its proposed state-owned renewable electricity generator, Great British Energy. Labour’s claims that GBE will benefit the state and taxpayers “betray a deep and perilous misunderstanding of the economics of renewable energy, and of the weak and uncertain profitability that actually plagues the sector”.

By way of contrast, Christophers points to the Build Public Renewables Act, passed by the US state of New York in 2021 in response to years of campaigning by climate action groups – which rests on the assumption that it is precisely the market’s failure to produce renewable energy projects on anything near to the timescale suggested by the climate emergency that necessitates state intervention.

All this prompts the question: don’t we need to challenge the whole idea of electricity being a commodity for sale, rather than a requirement of 21st-century living that should be provided as a public service?

Yes, we do, Christophers writes in his conclusions, with reference to Karl Polanyi’s idea of “fictitious commodities”, that under capitalism are bought and sold, but only in markets that are fashioned by “props, rules, regulations and norms”, and are therefore essentially pretences. The description fits the electricity markets ushered in by neoliberalism well.

Monopoly

The commodification of electricity, and other energy carriers, raises the prospect that, with a perspective of confronting and superceding capitalism, it should be decommodified.

Renewables technologies have opened up this issue anew, since they have hastened the trend away from centralised power stations and made it easier than ever for people – not only through the medium of the state but as households, community organisations or municipalities – to source electricity from the natural environment, without recourse to the corporations that control the market. How this potential can be torn from those corporations’ hands is a central issue.

The analysis by Christophers of the “props, rules, regulations and norms” used to bring renewables to neoliberal markets certainly convinced me. So too did his point that the returns from developing oil and gas, relatively higher historically, “are not ‘natural’ economic facts” either.

On the contrary, government economic support has always characterised the oil and gas business: in fact the line between state and business is often blurred.

In many countries they are “the selfsame entities, actively assembling monopolistic or oligopolistic constrol specifically in order to subdue volatility, stabilise profits and encourage investment”; indeed these “established institutional architectures of monopoly power” that scaffold oil and gas are a key distinction between it and renewables.

Corporate

We badly need a comparative analysis of state support for renewables and for fossil fuels – not just the bare numbers, which are available in many reports, but an understanding of the social dynamics that drive it, and that are deliberately obscured by oceans of greenwash manufactured by the political class everywhere.

Themes that Christophers touches on, such as governments’ failure to phase out fossil fuel plants, even as they make plans to expand renewables need to be developed. The appallingly slow progress of renewables and the weight of incumbency that favours fossil fuels can not be separated.

This understandable book, which brings dry capitalist realities to life so well – and is essential reading for anyone who wants to understand why the transition away from fossil fuels is so disastrously slow – raised some questions in my mind about electricity demand.

Take the steep increase in demand for renewably generated electricity from big tech. Amazon is the world’s biggest buyer of solar and wind power under corporate PPAs, and an even bigger promoter of its own “green” image. But its carbon footprint continues to grow, Christophers points out, especially that of its “energy-gorging cloud-computing Web services business”.

A big-tech-dominated fake energy transition? “It would be difficult to conceive of a more ironic statement on the warped political economy of contemporary green capitalism.”

Trashing

Which is reason to interrogate the way society uses electricity – and the way that capitalist social relations turn use – to fulfil needs, to make people’s lives good into demand – an economic category no less ideologically-inflected than other ‘market forces’.

Amazon and the rest are sharply increasing their electricity demand, which in the US and elsewhere has led to shutdowns of coal-fired power station being postponed – while hundreds of millions of people in the global south still have no electricity at all.

Furthermore: the “green transition” envisaged by most politicians will see the economic sectors in the global north that gulp down the greatest quantities of fossil fuels – road transport, the built environment, and industry – switching many processes to electricity. The classic example is the shift from petrol vehicles to electric vehicles. And this will increase electricity demand.

Christophers takes no view on these issues: “[R]ight or wrong, good or bad, electrification largely is what is happening and what will continue to happen”.

While I agree that, under capitalism, the dominant political forces take this for granted, I think that we should not. To stick with the example of road transport, none of the scenarios that assume swapping petrol vehicles one-for-one for electric vehicles can happen without trashing meaningful climate targets.

Catastrophic

The economic transformations that tackling climate change implies must include reshaping – for collective social benefit, and with a view to rapidly reducing emissions – the huge technological systems, like road transport, that account for the largest chunks of fossil fuel use. Simply electrifying them is not enough.

Moreover, with the current level of technology, including the prospects opened up by decentralised renewables, there is potential to establish completely new relationships between production and use – which are currently controlled by big capital, but need not be.

Hopes of energy conservation implied in the International Energy Agency’s latest net zero report “border on the Pollyannaish”, Christophers writes. Yes, granted – if the perspective is limited to one dominated by capital.

But insofar as it is possible to confront, confound and supercede capitalism, a future in which electricity is used less wastefully, more equitably, and within bounds set collectively with a view to avoiding catastrophic climate change, is surely plausible.

That is where hope lies – outside the matrix of profit-driven relationships that Christophers skewers so exquisitely.


Title photo by Matthew T Rader/Wikimedia Commons CC BY-SA 4.0

Simon Pirani is honorary professor at the University of Durham and writes a blog at peoplenature.org

How To Stop Mining Before It Starts: Carlos Zorrilla

How To Stop Mining Before It Starts: Carlos Zorrilla

Editor’s Note: Brave activist throughout the world risk their lives to protect the environment. We honor and respect their courage and realize that they are truly heroes. May they remain safe and in our thoughts to give them strength to carry on. Are you working with an organization that protects the environment?


by Liz Kimbrough on 4 April 2024 / Mongabay

Over nearly 30 years, Carlos Zorrilla and the organizations he co-founded helped stop six companies from developing open-pit copper mining operations in the Intag Valley in Ecuador. As a leader and public figure, Zorrilla is often for advice from communities facing similar struggles, so in 2009 he published a guide on how to protect one’s community from mining and other extractive operations. The 60-page guide shares wisdom and resources, including mines’ environmental and health risks, key early warning signs a company is moving in, and advice on mitigating damage if a mine does go ahead. The most important point, Zorrilla says in an interview with Mongabay, is to stop mining before it starts. Carlos Zorrilla is a leader in what locals say is the longest continuous resistance movement against mining in Latin America.

Zorrilla’s family fled from Cuba to the U.S. in 1962 when he was 11 years old. He moved to the Intag Valley in Ecuador in the 1970s, citing his love for the cloud forest ecosystem there. Soon after he arrived, so did the first of the mining companies.

Over the following decades, Zorrilla and the organizations he co-founded, including DECOIN (Defensa y Conservación Ecológica de Intag), helped block five transnational mining companies and a national company from developing operations in one of the planet’s most biodiverse ecosystems.

In the process, Zorrilla and community members say they faced personal threats, smear campaigns, arrests and violence. But the movement also notched historic wins, including a constitutional case upholding the rights of nature against Chilean state-owned miner Codelco and the Ecuadorian national mining company in 2023.

Community members holding a sign that says, “let’s save Intag.” Communities in Intag Valley have been resisting mining for nearly 30 years. Photo by Carlos Zorrilla.

As a leader and public figure, Zorrilla is often sought out for advice by people facing similar threats. In response, he and two co-authors published Protecting Your Community From Mining and Other Extractive Operations: A Guide for Resistance in 2009 and an updated version in 2016. (The guide is also available in Spanish, French and Bahasa Indonesian).

“After getting rid of two mining companies, I was constantly being asked how the hell we did it,” Zorrilla tells Mongabay. “Rather than keep answering individuals, I wrote the manual. It’s much easier to just say, ‘Read the manual!’”

The 60-page guide shares experiences and resources, including the environmental and health risks of mines, strategies to prevent mining before it starts, key early warning signs a company is moving in, and advice on mitigating damage if a mine goes ahead.

Zorrilla says the most important point is to stop mining before it starts. To emphasize this point, he also published Elements for Protecting Your Community from Mining and Other Extractive Industries, which focuses on preventing mining from gaining a foothold.

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“Stop the companies before they corrupt your communities and before they discover economically viable mineral deposits,” he says. “Once they start investing in exploratory activities it becomes progressively harder to get rid of them.”

Mining is a divisive issue within Indigenous and local communities. Some see economic benefits to address poverty, own their own mining projects, and highlight the need to negotiate better benefit-sharing agreements or collaborations with mining projects as a form of self-determination.

“But these memorandums only work with ethical mining companies and they are as rare as chicken teeth,” Zorrilla says.

Zorrilla’s opinions on mining are contentious. After the publication of the resistance guide, Ecuador’s president at the time, Rafael Correa, denounced it on public television as “destabilizing” and a foreign-led interference, in a move that Zorrilla says was “great publicity for the manual.”

Former Ecuadorian President, Rafael Correa, holds up Zorrilla’s resistance guide on public television in 2009, denouncing it as “destabilizing”.

As the world transitions away from fossil fuels, the demand for critical minerals to feed “clean” energy technologies such as electric cars is rising. Thus, mining is also increasing.

However, many experts say mining in Ecuador, especially in the Intag Valley, is just a bad idea. Aside from the earthquakes, rainfall, steep slopes and lack of infrastructure, it’s a country with a wealth of other options for development, such as ecotourism potential or sustainable agriculture.

“It’s really a poor choice to develop large-scale mining in such a rich country,” says William Sacher, professor and researcher at Simón Bolívar Andean University in Quito, who studies large-scale mining and its impacts. “If you actually do the math just in terms of cost and benefit, if you take into account the costs of large-scale mining, they outweigh the benefits.”

Zorrilla’s work with DECOIN resisting mining as well as restoring forests and watersheds has been internationally recognized with awards, including the United Nations Development Programme’s Equator Prize in 2017. This year, Zorrilla won the Global Alliance for the Rights of Nature’s award for defending nature’s rights.

It’s his connection to nature, he says, that keeps him motivated. “It is hard to put into words the connection I feel with the land and people, with the biological community I am part of,” he says. “What else could someone do that feels to be an integral part of a community? How could one not defend it against forces that would destroy it?”

In an interview with Mongabay’s Liz Kimbrough, Zorrilla discusses the guide and his experiences.

DRC copper Mine April 2017https://www.flickr.com/photos/fairphone/35456682034/in/photostream/

An open pit copper mine in DRC. Image by Fairphone (CC BY S.A. 2.0)

Mongabay: What inspired you to write this guide?

Carlos Zorrilla: I think two main reasons motivated me to write the guide. The first and most important was that we had gone through a lot in confronting a Japanese and a Canadian mining company in the 1990s and the early 2000s and had to do so without any idea of how to go about it. I kept wishing there was some concrete information on the best ways for communities to confront the presence of these companies. Much as I looked around, I was unable to find anything.

I thought other communities could benefit from our experience in successfully standing up to two transnational mining corporations and blocking mining development in our area (as of early 2024, civil society in Intag has been able to block five transnational mining companies and a national one from opening a mine).

The second reason is much more practical. After getting rid of two mining companies, I was constantly being asked how the hell we did it. Rather than keep answering individuals, I wrote the manual. It’s much easier to just say, “Read the manual!”

Mongabay: You mention that preventing a project in the exploration phase is much easier than stopping it once mining has started. What are some early warning signs that communities should look out for?

Carlos Zorrilla: First, it helps to clarify why it’s so much more difficult to stop a mine once it has opened. A large mining company can incur hundreds of millions of dollars in exploration costs — costs that, in most cases, the country issuing the licenses could be held liable for if the mining company is unable to develop the mining site. This is a result of a country signing bilateral investment treaties with other countries to protect the investments of private companies.

So, in essence, the more a company invests in a project, the more expensive it is for a signatory country to pay off the mining company to go home.

The other reason is that the longer a mining company is a territory, the more likely they are to learn how to co-opt people and institutions, and they waste no time doing so. It’s similar to contracting cancer or other similar diseases: you’ve got to treat its soon as possible, otherwise it becomes deadly or ravages your body so badly that it becomes unable to defend itself.

Another reason it is imperative to stop a company in its initial stage or before is that the longer a mining company explores, the greater the possibility of finding an economically viable ore deposit. If they are successful, companies are much more likely to convince governments to allow all permits and look the other way in cases of illegal activities. It is also much easier for the company to find investors if they can show they have a viable mine to develop.

Mongabay: What are the first signs a company is interested in exploring territory?

Carlos Zorrilla: You may find strange people wandering around the community asking questions. Another is if you suddenly find that private individuals start to buy large tracts of land. Your community could be subjected to social and economic surveys carried out by a government agency under the guise of social or economic development or identifying health needs.

Keep in mind that it’s essential for the companies to find out as much as they can about the communities and the inhabitants they will be dealing with. This also goes for local government needs. For example, they may identify basic needs, such as the lack of basic health services, road and school infrastructure that needs repairing, lack of safe drinking water, etc. Once these needs are mapped out, they will offer the community and/or subnational governments financial help to address them. They often even offer to create so-called development groups or organizations, such as farming co-ops or women’s groups, and provide initial funding to address some of the needs. Companies may sign financial agreements with local or state governments to help cover the costs of supplying communities with basic necessities.

Needless to say, the funding always has strings attached to it, the least of which is that the subnational governments and community groups support the mining company’s presence and, later, the development of the mine.

The most important thing to remember is that the main objective of the companies is to create complete dependency on what they provide, whether it is jobs, road maintenance, drinking water, or basic health services. The inhabitants become so accustomed to having the services provided by the companies that they forget that they have lived without these things all their lives or that it is the state or national government’s responsibility to provide them. The dependency can become so instituted that the locals stop petitioning the local or national governments to provide the services and rely solely on the companies. This can also apply to subnational governments, especially when the national governments purposely reduce their funding as a strategy for the mining projects to gain support from the local populace.

At the same time, the companies are gathering basic information about the community, they are also identifying key players within the community. These are persons who have influence or could be groomed to hold a position of authority. They are the first ones co-opted. It could be someone successful in business or a well-respected community leader. They, in turn, will do a lot of the work for the company, such as convincing their neighbors that mining is the best way for the community and families to get out of poverty. Or it’s really silly not to accept the company’s support to build that road everyone always wanted. That propaganda is infinitely more effective when espoused by individuals you know and respect.

Community members in Intag protest mining in the forest. Image courtesy of Carlos Zorrilla.

Mongabay: What do you believe are some of the best ways to stop a mine before it starts?

Carlos Zorrilla: The best way to know what you’re up against is to find out all that you can about the company: things like who the owners are, the company’s history, main sources of funding, and where the company’s stocks are traded (if it is a publicly traded company).

Once you know all that you can about the company, your main objective is to stop it before it starts gathering information, hiring community members, or buying land — certainly before it holds meetings in your community.

As soon as you suspect a company is interested in your territory, hold public meetings or assemblies where, hopefully, most of the community’s adult population can participate in deciding whether to meet with the company. It can help to invite knowledgeable people to discuss some of the problems the community will have to face if they open the door to mining.

It is absolutely essential that no one accepts meetings with company officials or government employees promoting mining development unless it’s in a public setting with everyone from the community invited.

It is strongly recommended that the bylaws of the community include provisions for any approval of activities affecting the natural environment or social peace of the community be approved by two-thirds majority of the community members. It is dangerous to let the board members of the community (president, vice president, secretary, etc.) represent the community when it comes to allowing activities that could have such terrible and long-lasting social and environmental impacts.

Mongabay: The guide says mining companies use many tactics to divide communities and quell opposition. What’s the most difficult company tactic to counter that you’ve encountered? What should communities be aware of?

Carlos Zorrilla: The companies can use multiple tactics to neutralize the opposition. We’ve experienced just about all. Anywhere from making up criminal lawsuits to try to imprison effective opposition leaders and hiring paramilitaries to violently access the mining site, to death threats, outright buying community leaders, to terrible smear campaigns aimed at discrediting resistance leaders and/or the organizations that support the communities.

Then there are soft tactics. One of the hardest to counter is the easy money that the companies offer to the leaders and, eventually, community members when they start working for the company. This is especially effective in areas where making a living off the land is difficult.

Needless to say, this will lure people away from the fields and the normally hard work that is agriculture. Remember, the company offers steady paychecks, often accompanied by social security and health coverage. One of the things we must do is point out that these jobs will not last more than a few years or until the mine opens. Only qualified personnel are required once a mine opens, with few exceptions. But the company will never admit to it.

Communities have to know what the sacrifices are of accepting the jobs the companies offer. These include very often permanent, ongoing social conflicts; it could also lead to the relocation of whole communities to make room for the mine and its infrastructure, possibly contamination of water sources, desecrating sacred lands, and direct impacts on sustainable activities like ecotourism or agroecological farming.

It’s also been documented that there is more delinquency and violence surrounding mining projects, among many other negative impacts. The impacts are especially hard on women. Most mining jobs go to men, worsening economic inequality within households. Women often have to replace men’s work in the fields, adding even more stress to their daily lives. There also tends to be more health problems from STDs, plus more interfamily violence in mining sites.

So, when mining companies come offering jobs, communities have to consider all the impacts, not just look at the positive aspects.

That is why it is so important not to let the company get this far. Communities have to know that mining companies and government officials lie when it comes to convincing communities about mining. That is one of the most important messages. They have to lie because if they were to tell the truth about the social and environmental impacts of mining, not a single person in the community would support them.

In this light, it’s important to invite knowledgeable persons and community members from other communities that have suffered at the hands of mining companies to share with the communities what really goes on when mining companies roll into your community.

Liz Kimbrough is a staff writer for Mongabay and holds a Ph.D. in ecology and evolutionary biology from Tulane University, where she studied the microbiomes of trees. View more of her reporting here.

Photo by Diego Guzmán on Unsplash

 

Effective Activism Requires Honest Conversations

Effective Activism Requires Honest Conversations

Editor’s Note: Civilization is killing the planet. DGR believes that nature must be protected from civilization. Nature can come back from the damage that people have done but first the destruction must stop. While people can not survive without nature, nature does not need people to survive, but it could use some help to repair the damage done. That requires activism from ordinary people to counter the extractive greed of the profit motive. This is why we must organize and survive to fight another day.

Although DGR agrees with much of this article we make note that the opinions expressed are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Deep Green Resistance, the News Service or its staff.


 

Climate activist Clover Hogan says environmental activists face growing challenges not just from outside their movements, but also from within.
She shares how the prevalence of unpaid labor can make young activists’ lives even more difficult in the present while they advocate for a more livable future.
Add to that criticism for perceived imperfections over lifestyle choices and infighting between colleagues that can lead some to choose not to identify as activists at all, or leave movements altogether, she says.

On this episode of the podcast, Hogan discusses these challenges in addition to direct and existential threats that environmental defenders face worldwide, and how she thinks more inclusive and effective activism can be fostered.
There’s “this myth [of] perfection within activism and I think that’s something that sort of barricades lots of people, whether they consider themselves activists or not, from even engaging in the issues,” says Clover Hogan, a climate activist and founder of the youth-led nonprofit Force of Nature.

In addition to increased criminalization of protests worldwide, environmental activists face a wide range of difficult social, financial and physical risks to their lives and careers. These are challenges Hogan speaks about on this latest episode of the Mongabay Newscast.

Listen here:

 

Hogan also speaks candidly with fellow activists about the challenges activists face both outside and within environmental spaces on the third season of her Force of Nature Podcast, Confessions of a Climate Activist, highlighting the paradoxical standards that activists are held to, when the systems upon which societies are structured make alternative lifestyle choices a near impossibility.

“It’s no accident that we spend so much of our time thinking about our individual lifestyles and not thinking about how do we actually hold these systems accountable,” she says. “One of the ways that we’ve tackled that and addressed it in the podcast is with climate confessions [to] point at how silly it is that we feel guilty about [our] individual actions … against the scale of the problem that is, frankly, being driven by these huge organizations.”

Subscribe to or follow the Mongabay Newscast wherever you listen to podcasts, from Apple to Spotify, and you can also listen to all episodes here on the Mongabay website, or download our free app for Apple and Android devices to gain instant access to our latest episodes and all of our previous ones.

Banner image: Clover Hogan (center) speaking in Paris, France. Photo courtesy of Clover Hogan.

Mike DiGirolamo is a host & associate producer for Mongabay based in Sydney. He co-hosts and edits the Mongabay Newscast. Find him on LinkedIn, Bluesky and Instagram.

Photo by Heather Mount on Unsplash

Frontline Fishers Force Early End to New Orleans Gas Conference

Frontline Fishers Force Early End to New Orleans Gas Conference

Editor’s note: Fishermen are engaging resistance against the natural gas industry and its expansion of Liquified Natural Gas (LNG) terminals. They aim to defend their traditional work that goes back hundreds of years, their fishing habitats, and the health of their community. Europe, especially Germany, has increased its demand for LNG since refusing to buy gas from Russia when the attack on the Ukraine started. Texan gas company Cheniere delivered 70 percent of its natural gas supply to Europe last year.

At the border coast between Lousiana and Texas there is magnificent biodiversity which is barely found anywhere else in the US, such as marshes, coastal prairies and rare species like white alligators and brown pelicans. Nearly half of US wetlands in are in Louisiana.

Their LNG terminals are polluting air, the water and the soil, which is completely legal. They need to be stopped for good. This can only happen through a decrease in both economic growth and energy addiction, the elephant in the room that politicians and business people don’t want to talk about.

We wholeheartedly support this resistance against the gas conference. At the same time, we need to distinguish between subsistence fishing and commercial fishing. Subsistence fishing is a way of life where a community fishes in order for its survival. They share an understanding that their way of life is intricately intertwined with the health of the fish community. As a result, their intent is to fish in amounts that would not harm the river or oceanic community.

Commercial fishing, on the other hand, is driven by commercial interests and is, as a result, insatiable. Since the advent of industrial fishing, more than 90 percent of large fish in the ocean are gone. This ecocide is normalised as shifting baseline syndrome. In the seventeenth century, cod (from which cod liver oil was extracted) was so plentiful in the Northwest Atlantic that there was a saying that you could walk across the ocean on their backs. As a result of commercial fishing, these cod are nearing extinction. As a biophilic organization, DGR’s primary allegiance lies with the natural communities. We are against any action that harms the natural world, including commercial fishing.

In the current context of overshoot, there is also a need to reevaluate subsistence fishing. Subsistence fishing of an abundant species does not harm the fish community. However, since commercial fishing has endangered many of those once abundant species, subsistence fishing of these now endangered species might even lead to extinction.


Frontline Fishers Force Early End to New Orleans Gas Conference

By Olivia Rosane/Common Dreams

Frontline fishers and environmental justice advocates forced the meeting of the Americas Energy Summit in New Orleans to end two hours early on Friday, as they protested what the buildout of liquefied natural gas infrastructure is doing to Gulf Coast ecosystems and livelihoods.

Fishers and shrimpers from southwest Louisiana say that new LNG export terminals are destroying habitat for marine life while the tankers make it unsafe for them to take their boats out in the areas where fishing is still possible. The destruction is taking place in the port of Cameron, which once saw the biggest catch of any fishing area in the U.S.

“We want our oystering back. We want our shrimp back. We want our dredges back. We want LNG to leave us alone,” Cameron fisherman Solomon Williams Jr. said in a statement. “With all the oil and all the stuff they’re dumping in the water, it’s just killing every oyster we can get. Makes it so we can’t sell our shrimp.”

The protest was part of the growing movement against LNG export infrastructure, which is both harming the health and environment of Gulf Coast residents and risks worsening the climate crisis: Just one of the more than 20 proposed new LNG terminals, Venture Global’s Calcasieu Pass 2, would release 20 times the lifetime emissions of the controversial Willow oil drilling project in Alaska. Activists have also planned a sit-in at the Department of Energy in Washington, D.C., from February 6-8 to demand the agency stop approving new LNG export terminals.

The Americas Energy Summit is one of the largest international meetings of executives involved in the exporting of natural gas. More than 40 impacted fishers brought their boats to New Orleans to park them outside the Ernest N. Morial Convention Center, where the meeting was being held. After a march from Jackson Square, the fishers revved their engines to disrupt the meeting. One attendee said the disruption forced the meeting to conclude at 11 am ET, two hours earlier than scheduled.

 

“Wen you’re here on the ground, seeing it with your own eyes and talking to the people… it feels like looking into the devil’s eyes.”

“They going to run us out of the channel and if they run us out of the channel then it’s over,” Phillip Dyson Sr., a fisherman who attended the protest with his children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren, said in a statement. “We fight for them. We fight for my grandson. Been a fighter all my life. I ain’t going to stop now. So long as I got breathe I’m going to fight for my kids. They are the future. Fishing industry been here hundreds of years and now they’re trying to stop us. I don’t think it’s right.”

The fishers were joined by other local and national climate advocates, including Sunrise New Orleans, Permian Gulf Coast Coalition, Habitat Recovery Project, the Vessel Project, For a Better Bayou, the Louisiana Bucket Brigade, and actress and activist Jane Fonda.

“I thought I understood. I read the articles, I read the science, I’ve seen the photographs. But when you’re here on the ground, seeing it with your own eyes and talking to the people… it feels like looking into the devil’s eyes,” Fonda said at the protest. “I’ve talked to people who have lost what was theirs over generations and are losing their livelihoods, the fishing, the oystering, the shrimping…”

Fonda called on the Biden administration to take action: “If President [Joe] Biden declared a climate emergency he could take money from the Pentagon and he could reinstate the crude oil export [ban]. Once the export ends, the drilling will end. They’re only drilling because they can export it.”

The successful action came despite interference from police, who threatened to issue tickets and tow away the six boats the fishers had originally parked in front of the convention center. Some participants agreed to move their boats, but the group was able to park two boats in front of the center and persevere in their protest.

“We’re standing in the fire down there. And these people over here, the decisions that they make, for which our fishermen are paying the price. That’s bullshit,” Travis Dardar, who organized the fishers’ trip and founded the group Fishermen Involved in Sustaining our Heritage (FISH), said in a statement.” The police got us blocked here, they got us blocked there. But know that the fishermen are here and we’re still going to try and give them hell.”

https://x.com/labucketbrigade/status/1748376021412294825?s=20


More on The Louisiana Bucket Brigade and it’s movement against LNG


Photo by MsLightbox/Getty Images SIgnature via Canva.com

Sabotage on Tesla: The Confessional Letter

Sabotage on Tesla: The Confessional Letter

Sabotage on Tesla – Editorial

By Benja Weller

It’s a chilly spring night in early March in Gruenheide, which is around 40 km (25 miles) away from Berlin. A few determined people walk across a flat meadow surrounded by pine forests at a wintry zero degrees. They stop at a high-voltage pylon, ignite the cables, then trigger a short circuit with water. Flames shoot up with the help of car tires, the high-voltage pylon spits fire into the darkness of the night.

It may have happened roughly like this when the environmental activists from the Vulkangruppe Tesla Abschalten! (Volcano Group Switch-off Tesla!) successfully committed an act of sabotage on March 7 against the Gigafactory Tesla, Europe’s only E-car factory.

Huge Financial Losses

The power at the nearby plant goes out immediately and it’s assembly line producing 500,000 vehicles a year, comes to a standstill.

The Volcano Group, which published a letter of confession rated as genuine, calls it a “total failure of a seemingly unassailable giant”.

A few days later employees gather in solidarity in front of the Tesla plant to show that they stand by their employer, as if he needed that empathy. Elon Musk though knows how to twist the opinions in his favor, stating that  “the dumbest eco-terrorists in the world […] are puppets of those who have no good environmental goals,” in other words: he’s the one with excellent environmental goals and clearly not a puppet but a master.

Today, on March 12, the Gigafactory is running again in slow capacity, but these five days of production stoppage have caused a loss in the “high nine-digit range”, although according to a podcast by the FAZ newspaper this refers to profit rather than turnover. Car bodies had to be scrapped and robots repurposed. Tesla shares slumped by 3%.

Not bad for one burning high-voltage pole.

Citizens Against Clearcutting

There were 5,000 households and small businesses cut off from the power supply for several hours. The environmental activists apologize for this and said that there would have been no other way to shut down Tesla without risking a power outage in other areas. However, they would have ensured that no human lives were put at risk.

The activist group is not alone in its criticism of the Gigafactory: the Gruenheide Citizens’ Initiative and Tesla den Hahn Abdrehen! (Turnoff Tesla’s Tap) have been protesting against environmental poisoning and water shortages since the car manufacturer’s launch. Now Musk wants to expand the plant by 170 hectares.

A week before the sabotage, environmentalists joined forces to protest against the expansion by occupying a woodland where they set up a camp in the region, the police have approved the protests until Friday. Most of Gruenheide’s residents also oppose the expansion, for which Tesla wants to clear 100 hectares of forest.

Sabotage Weakens Industries

The Volcano group is now accused of anti-constitutional sabotage and will be prosecuted severely. But it was worth it, because our society needs these wake-up calls of property damage that temporarily paralyze the infrastructure of corporations.

The batteries for electric cars require rare earths and lithium, which are produced under the most catastrophic environmental and working conditions, so we cannot look the other way and leave it as it is without reacting.

It takes sabotage to leave a statement that makes international news. Common people see the industries and their power as untouchable, as natural, when in fact they’re only manmade so men (and women) can undo the damage that has been done to our only and sacred planet.

With the attack of the Volcano Group we see that powerful corporations are not as powerful as they seem. That small acts can have big impacts.

We stand up for this sabotage action, because the exploitation of nature and people has reached a level that we have to fight from all kinds of levels.


Here you can find some photos of the attack

Protests on March 10 against Tesla’s expansion


Volcano Group Switch-off Tesla! : Attack on power supply

The confession letter from March 5:

We sabotaged Tesla today. Because Tesla in Grünau eats up earth, resources, people, manpower and spits out 6000 SUVś, killer machines and monster trucks per week. Our gift for March 8 is to shut down Tesla.
Because the complete destruction of the Gigafactory and with it the cutting off of “techno-fascists” like Elon Musk is a step on the path to liberation from the patriarchy.

The Gigafactory has become known for its extreme conditions of exploitation. The factory contaminates the groundwater and consumes huge amounts of the already scarce drinking water resource for its products. The state of Brandenburg-Berlin is being dug up for Tesla without any scruples.

Critics at the waterworks, local residents and eco-activists are being silenced. Figures are embellished. Laws are being bent. People are deceived. Yet a large part of the population around Grünheide rejects the Gigafactory because of water theft and gentrification. The protest and resistance continues unabated. And it is growing, because there is more than one reason. In addition to the dirty battery factory, Tesla now wants to expand its factory site by a further 100 hectares, including for a freight yard. An expansion of the storage and logistics areas directly at the plant (including the possibility of intensive rail logistics) is intended to help stabilize supply chains and production. This is currently impaired because deliveries from the forced labor camps in China cannot take the direct route through the Red Sea. The Brandenburg Ministry of Economic Affairs is eating out of Tesla’s hand, despite many reasons for refusing any approval. The only important thing is that Brandenburg is flourishing as a business location.

Tesla is a symbol of “green capitalism” and a totalitarian technological attack on society.

The myth of green growth is just a dirty ideological magic trick to close the ranks against domestic criticism. It suggests a way out of the climate catastrophe. But “green capitalism” stands for colonialism, land theft and an exacerbation of the climate crisis! Lithium batteries come from toxic mines in Chile and devour other rare metals, which means misery and destruction for the people in the mining areas. The battery factory in Grünheide near Berlin, for example, requires the rare raw material lithium, which is also mined in Bolivia. Musk puts his cards on the table to push through lithium mining in Bolivia: “We will coup if we want to”, commenting on the indigenous resistance to mining. Mineral resources are being ripped from the earth under brutal conditions. The “green deal” is merely the expansion of economic growth without limits. In Portugal, too, the rural population is resisting the forced extraction of lithium.

Just as the earth is used and raped on a daily basis, Tesla does the same with people. And has forced laborers all over the world, such as Uyghur people in China, working (to death) for it (just like VW), whom the racist Chinese regime serves up to the company for its production. Even in Grünheide, the working conditions are considered catastrophic. Only recently, a works council member of IG Metall in Grünheide was dismissed. Despite a yellow works council installed by Tesla, the conditions in the factory are leaking out. In order to improve accident statistics, people are taken to hospital by cab instead of by emergency call and ambulance. Internal opponents are dismissed and if they take legal action, they are forced into a legal settlement. The compensation is then used as a muzzle, for example to stifle public discussion of a racist dismissal by threatening contractual penalties. The terminated employee has to shut up for the money – that is the calculation.
The totalitarian technological attack then looks like this.

A Tesla vehicle is a surveillance device for public spaces

It is equipped all around with high-resolution cameras from Samsung. Samsung is a company that is a leader in weapons technology, among other things.

According to the manufacturer, the cameras record up to 250 meters away. In “guard mode”, they film everything in the vicinity of the vehicle and guarantee that the driver is also monitored while driving. The driver is already a free integral part of the Telsa universe and a guinea pig. Artificial intelligence will register every movement and every mistake made by the driver and monetize it in order to train the software for autonomous driving with the data.
Tesla is militarizing the road. Its moving tanks are weapons of war. The car as a weapon. The road is the battlefield.

Instead of 9mm, Tesla has now introduced 856 hp to the world: “If you get into a fight with other cars, you will win,” says Elend Musk.*

*Elend means misery in German, a word play for Elon (comment by the editor)

A Tesla is a status symbol, statement and propaganda at the same time: for contempt for humanity, boundless destruction through “progress” and an imperial, patriarchal way of life.
Anyone who buys an SUV is most likely a supporter of an imperial way of life who wants to profit from this madness to the bitter end. Every activist’s secret poetry album should include a scrapped Tesla. No Tesla in the world should be safe from our flaming rage. Every Tesla that burns sabotages the imperial way of life and effectively destroys the ever-tightening network of seamless smart surveillance of every expression of human life.

Armies use Tesla’s Starlink satellite system in their wars

For example in Ukraine. Russia’s army also accesses Starlink satellite terminals from third countries to carry out attacks. Israel also uses the Starlink satellite system to murder people in Gaza. Tesla’s Starlink infrastructure is a military player. Rolled up like a string of pearls of garbage, they plow through the sky to make surveillance total.
Let’s talk about a man who will crumble to dust, even if he would rather be immortal: Elon Musk.
For men like him, the swear word has not yet been invented that could aptly describe them in their arrogance, contempt for humanity and anti-social greed for power and recognition.

He makes no secret of his chauvinism. His propaganda platform X is the means to an end. This is where he gathers supporters of an imperial way of life. This is where anti-Semites, anti-feminists, authoritarians, chauvinists, fascists and supporters of hatred against “foreigners” reassure themselves. This is where they organize themselves with their elitist view of the world and as master race. This is where the Aryans of the AfD meet their peers.

When Elon Musk cheers the anti-feminist and neoliberal president of Argentina on X, it is because they are united. There is no shyness in this regard, they have decided to stand on the side of a deadly masculinism and drag a trail of blood behind them like a man-eating monster.

Elon Musk is the new type of neoliberal and patriarchal, neocolonial predatory capitalist of this century, who uses different means than the exploiters before him in the last century.

It is an invasive zeitgeist that uses the self-fabricated economic crises of valorization in order to tackle the next destruction. It is only following in the prepared brown footsteps of other patriarchal pioneers. Even the “carmaker” Henry Ford was an admirer of the Nazis with their “Volkswagen” and their efficient organization of industry. The plant in Wolfsburg was run on the backs of forced laborers. Every German was to be able to get a Volkswagen in order to reach their destination by car or tank on the new autobahn. Ford, inspired by the efficiency of German labour organization, transferred the ideas to his empire in the USA. The attack on workers and the economization of exploitation became known as “Fordism”.

This included work organization and assembly line work – mass production with simultaneous mass consumption of the car. The model, also known as Taylorism, was also a class struggle from above. Elon Musk combines the invasive technological possibilities of our time with his mysogynistic world view, patriarchal extremism and the totalitarian attitude typical of his caste. As a “car manufacturer”, he is a revenant in historical tradition. In keeping with the times, he acts as a “techno-fascist”.
Instead of scrapping the car on the garbage heap of history and expanding free public transport, only the drive technology is being changed, from combustion engines to electric motors, in order to save individual transport. The imperial way of life is economically more lucrative.

The positions of power allow patriarchal “visionaries” such as Elon Musk to experiment with the most “advanced” forms of exploitation and with the available resource of “human beings” in the most terrible sense.

Conquering new territories and penetrating the earth without being asked

Into space, into the sky, into public space, into our heads – the rapist leaves nothing untouched. The neurotechnology company Neuralink aims to link human brains with machines. It is using animals to test how streams of thought can be read. Just like SpaceX and Tesla, Neuralink is also aiming for a long-term perspective in which people are worth different things. In which some people are entitled to a better life within the ecological catastrophe that is already underway.

Even if you are not on X, formerly Twitter, if you are just walking through the public streets, you will still be touched by this wretched man and his cameras and propaganda. The positions of power allow a permanent encroachment, an invasive relationship towards all life that can only be stopped by resolute resistance. The “technological progress” of the epochs offers them, the “techno-fascists”, a tool of possibilities with which the exploitation and indescribable destruction of the planet is always topped off.

In its abundance of power, this type can sometimes act like a head of state without having been elected

They have the necessary means of production and the “human” resource to make political decisions. This type can buy heads of state or bring parties to power, even if they are called Hitler. This type is the mastermind behind the alleged decision-makers of governments. They can impose conditions on states or reduce heads of state to supplicants. The patriarchal system churns out tons of people like this, they strive for the top because that corresponds to the patriarchal model. They stage coups when things don’t go their way. They are replaceable. Only their power gives them these opportunities – without power they are just pompous, ridiculous egomaniacs. They have been driving millions of people to their deaths for centuries, destroying nature as if it belonged to them. If we don’t destroy the system that produces such egomaniacs, new ones of their kind will emerge. So it is not (only) about misery Musk – but about an imperial way of life – that these men are imposing on us. It’s about a showdown between an imperial way of life versus freedom for all people.

This type of person and their economic concept represent a minority on this planet who believe that this imperial way of life is the only right one. What is new is that the tipping points that show us the finite nature of this destructive way of life have been passed in many cases. Other tipping points are approaching at breathtaking speed. Year by year, month by month, day by day.
(If all else failed, Elon Musk and a handful of slaves and his ilk would flee the consequences of his imperial way of life and insult Mars with his presence. But our strong extra-planetary allies are already waiting for him; solar storms would crash his rocket, as they have done to 30% of his satellites in space before. So we will win.)

Many people still consider this way of life and the supposed wealth associated with it to be natural and desirable

Many people, clouded and misguided, confuse possessions and material wealth with freedom and happiness. Ignorance, manipulation and fear characterize generations of many people. We are reduced to work and consumption and degraded to an imperial way of life. This material wealth at the expense of other people is an indictment of “civilization”. This way of life does not make its beneficiaries happy either. The alternatives are made invisible or destroyed in the making. Approaches that could benefit humanity without generating money or power are delegitimized. Indigenous ways of life that relate to nature and its protection have been and are being wiped out. Emancipatory approaches that go to the roots have been drowned in blood in all eras. Or revolutionary movements are corrupted, infiltrated, their “leaders” bought in order to secure domination and the progress of destruction for decades to come.

On the eve of March 8th, we therefore lit a beacon against capital, patriarchy, colonialism and Tesla

We counter the ongoing rape of the earth with sabotage. The ideology of limitless economic growth and a belief in progress based on destruction have reached their end. In order for Europe to become a “first-class investment location with a strong industrial ecosystem”, giants like Tesla are still being rolled out of the way. But something is slipping. We, a broad and colorful resistance, are rolling them back down. We are the heaps of rubble and grains of sand in the gears of a machine that is stamping inexorably forward. We are disruptive factors in the engine room. We are the desperate and the outcasts. We are middle-class people in Germany or migrants on the run. We can be many people in the forest and in the tree houses and on the street, we can be covert sabotage groups like ours. It can also be people in the gigafactory who take revenge on their foreman’s machines for his working conditions. We can be caught, beaten, humiliated, raped or murdered – but we are in the right. Only violence can keep us down. But we will get up again. And others will come after us.

With our sabotage, we have set ourselves the goal of the largest possible blackout of the Gigafactory. We have ruled out endangering our lives and the lives of others. The shutdown of production in the automotive industry is the beginning of the end of a world of destruction. Our bonfire of liberation was aimed at supplying Tesla with electricity. We wanted to hit the overhead line of a high-voltage pylon in the connection to the underground cables at the watertight cable sleeves and short-circuit the six 110 kV cables inside. To do this, we opened the shaft to the cable joints, half of which was under water. We still flamed the exposed power cables and, in combination with the water, may have caused a short circuit. Damage to cable joints is often time-consuming and expensive to repair. At the same time, we set the fire large and high with lots of car tires to weaken the steel structure and cause the mast to become unstable.

A steel mast only melts at around 1300 -1500 degrees. As we were working with a heat development of around 900 degrees, the aim was to change the mechanical properties of the mast. As a steel structure under load, a rapid, large fire from 500 degrees upwards can lead to a loss of strength and change the stiffness, yield strength and elasticity of the metal. This can lead to buckling effects, twisting or deflection. That was our intention.

We feel connected to all the people who are fighting around the world and who are reaching out with our words

We feel connected to all the people who will not let Tesla turn off the tap. If we want to win against such giants as Tesla, we need many forms of resistance. Ours is one of many. Unpredictable and diverse, only together can we force the Brandenburg Ministry of Economic Affairs to respect the will of the people. Minister of Economic Affairs Jörg Steinbach (SPD) sees the result of the vote by the residents of Grünheide (71% against the expansion of the Tesla factory site) as just one important vote. Above all, he sees the vote as a “healing opportunity”, which means that Tesla has not succeeded in convincing people and the company still has to do its homework in order to divide, buy, cajole and persuade the population. He does not accept the public’s “no” and calls on Tesla to soften the “no” by May.

Everyone is free to be openly or secretly happy about our action. Anyone who feels compelled to distance themselves should ask themselves why? And who has an interest in this?

Together we will bring Tesla to its knees. Switch off for Tesla.

Share the declaration. Translate it and send it to other people in the global struggle.

Volcano Group switch-off Tesla!

The addendum from March 11:

Follow-up to the arson attack on Tesla

Open letter to the citizens’ initiative in Grünheide and the alliance “Tesla den Hahn Abdrehen” (Turnoff Tesla’s Tap).
To the various organizations and action groups. To the squatters.
To the private households affected by the power outage.

We, the “Shutdown Tesla Volcano Group!”, speak only for ourselves. We do not speak for other Volcano Groups. Nevertheless, we have been inspired by the content of the actions of other Volcano Groups and have adopted formulations and content that have convinced us. By and large, we share the actions that have been carried out by Volcano Groups since 2011. So much for the many speculations about our group “Shutdown the Tesla Volcano Group!”.

We do not speak for the citizens’ initiative in Grünheide, nor for the “Tesla den Hahn Abdrehen” alliance, nor for other organizations and action groups that criticize Tesla, protest and develop resistance for various reasons. What we have in common is the intention to put up barriers to Tesla and prevent the planned battery factory and other corporate logistics, even if our approach goes far beyond that. This is not a problem for us. We see no reason to distance ourselves from public groups and respect your work.

We recognize the great pressure that some local groups were unable to escape after our attack with its far-reaching consequences

We read many statements as uncertainty rather than distancing. We also understand the concern about the status of the occupied site in the forest or the worry about acceptance among the population. Why allow yourself to be put under pressure and not react calmly to blatant calls to distance yourself? There is no reason to distance yourself from our action, for which you are not responsible. Distancing yourself from each other is not very helpful. Everyone is free to be openly or secretly happy about our action and the shutdown at Tesla. Anyone who feels compelled to distance themselves should ask themselves why? And who has an interest in this?

Nor do we believe that we have harmed the “cause”. For one thing, the “cause” is seen differently. For another, we are proposing a different perspective:
We have been able to implement “Stop Tesla” in the short term. The total failure of a seemingly unassailable giant should bring tears of joy to all our eyes and give us courage beyond the pressure that weighs on us. The nimbus of the unassailable has been broken by this action. And as important as the regional level is, the international context is just as important. The resistance against Tesla has been put in an international light by the action and has also brought attention, encouragement and support to the local resistance.
We have the greatest pressure. The head of Brandenburg’s CDU has expressed the strategy of the investigating authorities at the highest level. The aim is to catch the perpetrators and punish them severely in order to deter others from coming up with similar ideas.
The accusation of “anti-constitutional sabotage” is countered by the “right to resist”. The idea is in the world, even if we could be caught.

We are biased. We are handing over further political evaluation and classification to other militant groups

The scale and impact of the action is already huge. Even before our letter on the arson became known, Tesla shares fell by 3%. The market does not forgive vulnerability and weakness. After all, an international “global player” of the “technological attack” on society was severely hit and demonstrated. This signal was not only immediately understood by the country’s economically liberal politicians, but was also evaluated at the highest levels of business representatives and politics. Within hours of the letter becoming known, the various institutions attempted to avert the damage to Brandenburg’s and Germany’s image as an investment paradise and took countermeasures. Jörg Steinbach from the Brandenburg Ministry of Economic Affairs immediately phoned Elon Musk. They assured each other of their common interests for the future.

We recommend that the citizens, the local groups and the tree houses allow themselves to be less impressed by our action

And less influenced by the pressure to distance themselves, and instead study the reactions of politics, the state and ultimately the economy more closely.

Because here it becomes clear how determinedly the opponents are trying to push through the further Tesla settlement. It is clear how resolutely the social model of “destructive progress” is being adhered to. We will not go into the content of the latter here. Some older texts by other Volcano Groups and many other militant groups have said something about this.

We don’t just want to prevent something. Together, we are all in a position to initiate a change of direction. Tesla can become one of the crystallization points of this confrontation with the global social model of “destructive progress”. So it goes far beyond the regional.
In these dark times, our action is a small beacon that, with the old tires and our measurements on site, came to around 1000 degrees. Sabotage groups like ours are an important part of the resistance, even if the priorities of other important groups are different. No small militant group alone, no regional group and no non-violent action group that has traveled here can defeat this major opponent. Stopping Tesla can only be done together.
We are not distancing ourselves.

For us, non-violent and militant are not contradictory

In order to divide the movement against Tesla, politicians and the investigating authorities have resorted to the familiar rhetorical tricks. “Left-wing extremists”, “Green RAF”, “terrorism”, “stupidest eco-terrorists in the world”, “children of the RAF”, “blind destructive rage”, “close to terrorism”, “internationally operating criminal gang”, “terrorist organization” are all attempts at stigmatization. Rather, it is also about a desolidarization within the population! This rhetoric misses the core of the problem. We are not terrorists and will not become terrorists. We don’t work for Rheinmetall. We are not called Elon Musk. We don’t let people mine lithium under horrific conditions. We are not destroying the earth. We don’t trade grain on the stock exchange. We don’t want to kill other people or accept their deaths to maximize profits.
We even save the snails on the electricity pylon before we light it on fire minutes later.

We have ruled out any risk to human life. The operation would never have been carried out if we had had the slightest doubt about it. We bore the greatest risk. Here, too, we could not afford to make a mistake.

In contrast to Tesla, hospitals and old people’s homes with medical equipment, for example, are equipped with a redundant system. As our action was clear in its objective and consequences, the other side must try everything possible to publicly discredit the successful arson. They gratefully seized on the “stupidest eco-terrorists in the world” slogan from the “techno-fascist” Elon Musk. Within a few hours, Brandenburg’s politicians tried to get a grip on the power of interpretation over the attack. The reception of the action in the media was often revealing.
All of us in the protest and resistance can learn a lot from the action. And crucially, none of the substantive arguments put forward publicly have been able to refute our position so far.

We can only laugh about the raging misery Musk

Of course, he has to insult us as the “dumbest eco-terrorists” because he defends his business model, to which we have put a visible scratch on his body. Since, according to the latest reports, he will be a potential donor for the presidential election campaign of the putschist Trump, we are happy to have burned some of “his” money. This money is lacking elsewhere. Because misery Musk doesn’t have insurance. We are pleasantly surprised by the amount of damage caused by the blackout, but honestly; 10 million, several 100 million or one billion euros are beyond our imagination. The longer the Gigafactory is sealed, the better for Earth. Switch-OFF! Tesla.

There is only one thing for which we would like to apologize. We didn’t see any way to carry out the action without about 5,000 households and small businesses being without electricity for five hours. According to the media, all private households had electricity again at 10:22 a.m. If we had seen another option, we would have acted differently. Before the action, we were not able to check whether only Tesla was hanging from the high-voltage pylon that had been specially converted for it or whether private households were also hanging on it. It was about Tesla, not about our homes where we live. We apologize to all those affected.

Greeting and kiss

Your “dumbest eco-terrorists in the world” in the Volcano Group Switch-off Tesla!


Photo by Anja/Pixabay
Event: Will Changing Behaviours Secure the Future?

Event: Will Changing Behaviours Secure the Future?

Editor’s note: This is not a DGR sponsored event. While we may not agree with all of the analysis, this event may offer some useful points into understanding the disease of wetiko. DGR knows that the only way to secure the future of life on the planet is to dismantle civilization, which is the source of the dominant culture’s behaviours. This can not be accomplished through individual lifestyle and behaviour change. But it can be accomplished by joining together with like minded people that hold the commitment to fight against the destruction of the planet that is done in the name of “progress”.

Will Changing Behaviors Secure the Future?

Tuesday, March 12th, we will be discussing how to shift the Growth economy toward an economy which serves people and ecosystems first.

A Zoom and face-to-face gathering will take place at the Kanata Legion (70 Hines Road, Ottawa, Canada) on Tuesday, March 12th. The meeting, with Zoom, begins at 1:00 pm (EST) with short panel presentations setting the theme, followed by discussion. It will be preceded for those in the area with social time and bring your own lunch. Doors open at 11:00 am. The event will be recorded and added to CACOR’s YouTube channel.
The Zoom link is:
This session is hosted by Values Committee of the Canadian Association for the Club of Rome (CACOR) and is inspired by: World Scientists’ Warning: The behavioural crisis driving ecological overshoot; Joseph J Merz, Phoebe Barnard, William E Rees, Dane Smith, Mat Maroni, Christopher J Rhodes, Julia H Dederer, Nandita Bajaj, Michael K Joy, Thomas Wiedmann, Rory Sutherland, 2023. The panel will consist of Andrew Welch and Mike Nickerson, facilitated by Lalith Gunaratne with introductions by Gabriela Gref-Innes.
The Starting Theme:
Even with CO2 reduction and renewable electrification of everything, we still have to deal with the Growth based system that is overwhelming Earth.
Humankind needs to pioneer new values and cultural forms that are not dependent on continuous Growth.
Some Questions to consider:
What are the psychological and other reasons that society adheres to the “Growth Everlasting” ideology ?
How is that ideology being sustained ? How is commercialization and marketing hijacking human impulses and public domain.
How might we work with humanity’s underlying motivations to secure long-term well-being in response to the problems of growing past Earth’s ability to sustain us ?
Meeting details:
As with CACOR’s previous gatherings, doors will open at 11, with a $5.00 charge to cover the cost of the room rental. You can bring your own lunch or something to share with the group. Coffee and tea will be available and the bar will be open for wine and beer sale. Plenty of free parking is available.
Hoping you can join us,
Yours, Mike N.
A world at peace and in balance with the environment is hard for our minds to grasp, but it is not beyond the capacity of our hearts to experience and to hunger for.
Seventh Generation Initiative
CACOR