Growing Distrust In US About Offshore Oil Drilling

Growing Distrust In US About Offshore Oil Drilling

Editor’s Note: We bring to you a combination of two posts. The first is about a mass arrest of activists during climate protests on September 18. The protests were part of a global coordinated climate action. The second is about the new permits issued in the US for offshore oil drilling. For a president who ran his election on not allowing any more drillings, the move is a shift from his electoral promises. Though reflecting a lack of integrity, it still does not come as a surprise. Both the Democratic and Republican parties have shown, time and again, to favor corporations over nature, people, justice and freedom. This crackdown on protestors and permission for new drilling projects are just a reflection of that. As much as we oppose fossil fuels and oil drilling, DGR does not believe a renewable transition to be a solution to it. And calling a climate emergency to pursue that purpose would be folly.


114 Climate Defenders Arrested While Blocking Entry to NY Federal Reserve

By Brett Wilkins/Common Dreams

A day after tens of thousands of climate activists marched through Manhattan’s Upper East Side demanding an end to oil, gas, and coal production, thousands more demonstrators hit the streets of Lower Manhattan Monday, where more than 100 people were arrested while surrounding the Federal Reserve Bank of New York to protest fossil fuel financing.

Protesters chanted slogans like “No oil, no gas, fossil fuels can kiss my ass” and “We need clean air, not another billionaire” as they marched from Zuccotti Park—ground zero of the 2011 Occupy Wall Street movement—to pre-selected sites in the Financial District. Witnesses said many of the activists attempted to reach the New York Stock Exchange but were blocked by police.

“We’re here to wake up the regulators who are asleep at the wheel as they continue to let Wall Street lead us into ANOTHER financial crash with their fossil fuel financing,” the Stop the Money Pipeline coalition explained on social media.

Protests against 300-mile-long oil pipeline through the Appalachians

Local and national media reported New York Police Department (NYPD) officers arrested 114 protesters and charged them with civil disobedience Monday after they blocked entrances to the Fed building. Most of those arrested were expected to be booked and released.

“I’m being arrested for exercising my First Amendment right to protest because Joe Manchin is putting a 300-mile-long pipeline through my home state of West Virginia and President [Joe] Biden allowed him to do it for nothing in return,” explained Climate Defiance organizer Rylee Haught on social media, referring to the right-wing Democratic senator and the Mountain Valley Pipeline.

As she was led away by an NYPD officer, a tearful Haught said Biden “sold us out.”

“He promised to end drilling on federal lands, and he’s selling out Appalachia’s future for profit,” she added.

The demand is: declare a climate emergency

Responding to the “block-long” line of arrestees, Climate Defiance asked: “Why are we getting handcuffed while people who literally torch the planet get celebrated for their ‘civility’ and their ‘moderation’?”

Alicé Nascimento of New York Communities for Change told WABC that the protests—which are part of Climate Week and are timed to coincide with this week’s United Nations Climate Ambition Summit—are “our last resort.”

“We’re bringing the crisis to their doorstep and this is what it looks like,” said Nascimento.

As they have at similar demonstrations, protesters called on Biden to stop approving new fossil fuel projects and declare a climate emergency. Some had a message for the president and his administration.

“We hold the power of the people, the power you need to win this election,” 17-year-old Brooklynite Emma Buretta of the youth-led protest group Fridays for Future told WABC. “If you want to win in 2024, if you do not want the blood of my generation to be on your hands, end fossil fuels.”


‘Gross Denial of Reality’: Biden Infuriates With Approval of More Offshore Drilling

By Julia Conley/Common Dreams

Rejecting the corporate media’s narrative that U.S. President Joe Biden’s newly-released offshore drilling plan includes the “fewest-ever” drilling leases, dozens of climate action and marine conservation groups on Friday said the president had “missed an easy opportunity to do the right thing” and follow through on his campaign promise to end all lease sales for oil and gas extraction in the nation’s waters.

The U.S. Interior Department announced Friday its five-year plan for the National Outer Continental Shelf Oil and Gas Leasing Program, including three new areas in the Gulf of Mexico where fossil fuel companies will be permitted to drill.

Government won’t reach it’s climate goals whith new drilling leases

Biden promised “no new oil drilling, period” as a presidential candidate, but he announced the plan six months after the administration’s approval of the Willow oil drilling project in Alaska incensed climate advocates.

The industries have already bought 9,000 drilling leases – to which the new leases will be added. This is “incompatible with reaching President Biden’s goal of cutting emissions by 50-52% by 2030,” said the Protect All Our Coasts Coalition, citing the findings of Biden’s own Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and its Office of Atmospheric Protection earlier this year.

Texan citizens suffer under pollution in the Gulf region

While the final plan scales back from the eleven sales that were originally proposed, said the coalition, “the plan is a step backwards from the climate goals the administration has set and for environmental justice communities across the Gulf South, who are already experiencing the disproportionate impact of fossil fuel extraction across the region.”

The coalition includes the Port Arthur Community Action Network, which has called attention to the risks posed to public health in the Gulf region by continued fossil fuel extraction.

“Folks in Port Arthur, Texas die daily from cancer, respiratory, heart, and kidney disease from the very pollution that would come from more leases and drilling,” said John Beard, the founder, president, and executive director of the group. “If Biden is to truly be the environmental president, he should stop any further leasing and all forms of the petrochemical build-out, call for a climate emergency, and jumpstart the transition to clean green, renewable energy, and lift the toxic pollution from overburdened communities.”

Our fossil fuel-lifestyle incompatible with the survival of the earth

Kendall Dix, national policy director of Taproot Earth, dismissed political think tanks that applauded the “historically few lease sales” on Friday.

“The earth does not recognize political ‘victories,'” said Dix, pointing to an intrusion of saltwater in South Louisiana’s drinking water in recent weeks, which has been exacerbated by the fossil fuel-driven climate crisis.

“As the head of the United Nations [António Guterres] has said, continued fossils fuel development is incompatible with human survival,” he added. “We need to transition to justly sourced renewable energy that’s democratically managed and accountable to frontline communities as quickly as possible.”

Biden’s drilling plans break his campaign promises

Along with groups in the Gulf region, national organizations on Friday condemned a plan that they said blatantly ignores the repeated warnings of international energy experts and the world’s top climate scientists who say no new fossil fuel expansion is compatible with a pathway to limiting planetary heating to 1.5°C.

“Sacrificing millions of acres in the Gulf of Mexico for oil and gas extraction when scientists are clear that we must end fossil fuel expansion immediately is a gross denial of reality by Joe Biden in the face of climate catastrophe,” said Collin Rees, United States program manager at Oil Change International. “Doubling down on oil drilling is a direct violation of President Biden’s prior commitments and continues a concerning trend.”

Rees noted that 75,000 people marched in New York City last week to demand that Biden declare a climate emergency and end support for any new fossil fuel extraction projects.

Protesters fear the destruction of land based communities and wildlife

“End Fossil Fuels is pretty clear,” said Rees, referring to campaigners’ rallying cry. “Not ‘hold slightly fewer lease sales,’ not ‘talk about climate action’—End. Fossil. Fuels.”

Despite Biden’s campaign promises, Rees noted, the U.S. is currently “on track to expand fossil fuel production more than any other country by 2050.”

“I feel disgusted and incredibly let down by Biden’s offshore oil drilling plan. It piles more harm on already-struggling ecosystems, endangered species and the global climate,” said Brady Bradshaw, senior oceans campaigner at the Center for Biological Diversity, another member of the Protect All Our Coasts Coalition. “We need Biden to commit to a fossil fuel phaseout, but actions like this condemn us to oil spills, climate disasters, and decades of toxic harm to communities and wildlife.”

Inflation Reduction Act serves industrial extension

The lease sales, said Sarah Winter Whelan of the Healthy Ocean Coalition, also represent a missed opportunity by the administration to treat the world’s oceans “as a climate solution, not a source for further climate disaster.”

Under the Inflation Reduction Act, negotiated by the White House last year, the government is required to offer at least 60 million acres of offshore gas and oil drilling leases before developing new wind power projects of similar scope.

“A single new lease sale for offshore oil and gas exploration is one too many,” said Whelan. “Communities around the country are already dealing with exacerbating impacts from climate disruption caused by our reliance on fossil fuels. Any increase in our dependence on fossil fuels just bakes in greater impacts to humanity.”

Gulf communities, added Beard, “refuse to be sacrificed” for fossil fuel profits.

“We say enough is enough,” he said.

Environmental Groups Protest Manila Bay Reclamation Project

Environmental Groups Protest Manila Bay Reclamation Project

The following is a press release by Alyansa Tigil Mina (ATM) about a protest action against seabed quarrying in Manila Bay. DGR Asia Pacific is also a collaborator of the protest.


Press release

Alyansa Tigil Mina together with Deep Green Resistance and Local Autonomous Network trooped to the Senate during the joint hearing on seabed quarrying today for a peaceful protest action dubbed “Food Not Quarry” as they asked the Senate to urge President Bongbong Marcos, Jr. to issue an Executive Order suspending all Manila Bay reclamation projects.

ATM submitted its Position Paper on Seabed Quarrying during the joint hearing of the Senate Committee on Environment, Natural Resources and Climate Change and the Senate Committee on Urban Planning, Housing and Resettlement.

“ATM respectfully calls on the distinguished members of the Philippine Senate to urge President Marcos Jr. to issue an executive order formalizing his August 9 announcement that reclamation projects in Manila Bay are suspended,” said the group in their position paper.

“Despite President Marcos’ announcement suspending the Manila Bay reclamation projects, we still observe an increase in sand mining, river dredging and seabed quarrying in Cagayan, Zambales, Bataan, and Cavite. These activities appear to provide filling materials for Manila Bay reclamation projects,” said Jaybee Garganera, ATM National Coordinator.

ATM’s position paper further notes that interviews with Cavite fishing communities revealed: the absence or lack of consultations before seabed quarrying activities were permitted; frequent incidents of dredging ships damaging fishing nets; and, sharp decline in fish catch since the dredging started.

The group called for the inclusion of people’s organizations, coastal communities, and civil society groups in the on-going cumulative assessment by the DENR.

“We also call on the Senate to hold accountable concerned government officials and private actors for the environmental damage and human rights violations caused by the seabed quarrying projects,” Garganera said.

“We likewise demand the rehabilitation of marine resources and compensation of coastal families whose rights and livelihood were adversely affected.”

Outside the Senate building, the protestors demanded the “eventual halt or cancellation of seabed quarrying projects that destroy fishing grounds and municipal waters, and bring about hunger and poverty to nearby communities.”

“Our direct action aims to surface the discontent surrounding seabed quarrying in San Nicholas Shoal Cavite as well as other areas.

We would also like to bring attention to the need for sustainable projects that ensure food security, especially in the midst of the climate crisis,” said Garganera.


Jonila Castro and Jhed Tamano resurfaced

Jonila Castro and Jhed Tamano (two activists abducted on September 2) have resurfaced. There are two versions of what happened to them.

In the official version (published September 16), the governmental law enforcement agencies claim that the two women were not abducted but left on their free will. They also claimed that they wanted to leave the group against Manila Bay Reclamation Project but were afraid to do so. As a result they fled from their homes and surrendered to the military. This news story highlights the official statement of the story.

The military presented the two women in a press conference on September 20. The aim of the press conference was to “debunk the abduction propaganda.” The two women were supposed to support the official version of the event. However, when Castro took the floor, she boldly claimed that she was abducted and forced to sign affidavit in military camps. Tamano supported Castro’s claim, after which the press conference was halted abruptly. Thankfully, the women were released hours after the conference in the presence of their families and human rights activists. A report of the press conference can be found here.

As a movement becomes more effective, the repression against it becomes stronger. The powerful will do anything in their power to destroy the movement. DGR commends the bravery of Castro and Tamano, for maintaining their courage and commitment to the natural world despite the hardships.


DGR is now selling a campaign shirt to support the operation cost of our ongoing campaign in the Philippines. We strongly opposed the Seabed Quarrying in San Nicolas Shoal in Cavite and Manila Bay Reclamation Projects which cause a wide ecological marine destruction and kill the livelihood of thousands of small fisherfolks around Manila Bay.

Price: P500.00

For every shirt that you purchase, DGR Asia Pacific will get P200 pesos that we will use in our activity and actions about Seabed Quarrying and Reclamations.

To order a shirt, please send us a message on our FB Page: https://www.facebook.com/dgrasiapacific/

Mining Reform in Mexico: Will It Protect Nature and Indigenous People?

Mining Reform in Mexico: Will It Protect Nature and Indigenous People?

Editor’s Note; It is important to understand the difference between a reform and a revolution in any political movement. A reform aims to tweak some aspects of the system to make it more equitable, fair and just. A revolution, on the other hand, changes the overall structure of the system. DGR, as a radical environmental and a radical feminist organization, believes that reforms are not enough in a system that is inherently rooted in oppression and injustice. We believe that a revolution is necessary to remove that deep rooted structural violence. However, we also understand that a revolution requires political organizing at a much larger scale. While we are working on building that political movement, the natural world is being destroyed. Till then, something needs to be done to protect the pieces of natural world that we have left, no matter how small. That is where reforms contribute. We understand the perseverance and diligence it takes to bring about any reform and appreciate those who are working on it. Below is the story of such a movement. Though originally designed to be much more protective of nature and indigenous people, the mining laws in Mexico were modified to be much less than that by the time they were passed. The US is still ruled by the Mining Law of 1872.


By Maxwell Radwin/Mongabay

  • Reforms to Mexico’s mining law limit harmful practices by extractive industries and improve protections for the environment and Indigenous peoples. But they’re also a far cry from the change activists had been hoping for.
  • Under the new reform, Indigenous communities will receive 5% of a mining operation’s profits. The maximum lifespan of mining concessions is also reduced from 100 years to 80.
  • Concessions will no longer be granted in areas with water shortages or in protected areas. Currently, there are 1,671 mining concessions in 70 protected areas in Mexico, spreading across 1.5 million hectares (3.7 million acres) of preserved land.

MEXICO CITY — A major reform approved by congress last week is supposed to limit harmful practices by the mining industry and improve protections for the environment and Indigenous peoples. But some parts of the reform faced strong resistance from pro-business interests, resulting in a watered-down version that some environmentalists said doesn’t go far enough.

The reform, originally introduced by President Andrés Manuel López Obrador at the end of March, was designed to make it harder for private companies to obtain mining concessions without accounting for impacts on surrounding ecosystems and local communities.

It establishes free and prior consent as a requirement for mining concessions, meaning that companies must meet with residents to discuss the impacts of their projects before receiving permits. It also requires companies to restore the land once a mine closes.

But some of the most impactful components of the proposal were negotiated down. Payment to Indigenous communities living near mining operations was originally supposed to be 10% of mining profits but lawmakers reduced it to 5%.

There was also debate about the length of mining concessions, which the previous version of the law set at up to 100 years. Although the original reform proposal wanted to limit it to just 30 years, effectively preventing the companies from shaping entire regions for the long term, lawmakers ultimately settled on 80 years.

“These topics were suppressed or modified without justification and under pressure from the business interests that are responsible for social and environmental devastation,” Colectiva Cambiémosla Ya and Alliance for Free Determination and Autonomy, two mining activist groups, said in a statement ahead of the senate vote.

Deputy Ignacio Mier Velazco, from the state of Puebla — who explained that the reforms were changed to avoid risking investment and economic development — said he was confident the version that was passed would still improve oversight of the industry. Many activists in the region agreed, telling Mongabay the reforms were a victory that allowed for some positive change and a way forward for the continued fight against mining.

Mexico’s mining industry has experienced rapid growth since 1992, when the original mining law was passed. The country has become a top exporter of silver, zinc and other important minerals. In the 1980s, less than 1% of Mexican territory was under a mining concession. Now, it’s a little more than 8%, according to the president’s reform proposal.

The private sector made a push to stall the vote when the initiative was introduced last month, accusing the president’s party, Morena, of fast-tracking the process before the end of legislative sessions in April. The Confederation of Industrial Chambers of Mexico (Concamin) and Association of Mining Engineers, Metallurgists and Geologists of Mexico (AIMMGM) called for additional dialogue with lawmakers. Credit rating agency Moody’s argued that limitations on the length of concessions could hinder growth in the sector. Officials in Canada expressed concern about whether the reforms would impact investments and Mexico’s commitment to international trade agreements. A senate commission that needed to approve the proposal even declared a recess in order to delay voting just days before the end of the legislative session. But the proposal was eventually approved on the final day with a vote of 66 in favor and zero against because the opposition wasn’t present to vote.

Other major changes

Under the original mining law, companies could easily buy up land because extractives activities were listed as having a higher economic benefit than sectors like agriculture and tourism. Now, mining companies no longer have preferential treatment and will have to compete with those industries through a public bidding process.

Companies are also held more accountable for pollution and land use changes. They will receive warnings and suspensions for environmental damage, during which time they’ll be required to correct the issue or else risk having their concessions cancelled altogether. This includes ensuring the safety of workers on-site.

“Communities continue to live in poverty despite being in areas that are very rich in gold, silver and other precious minerals,” said Beatriz Olivera, the general director of Engenera, an environmental and social advocacy NGO. “What we are going to see now is that companies can’t continue operating so irresponsibly on the part of employees.”

The reform bans exploration and extraction in areas with proven water shortages, underwater and in protected areas.

Currently, there are 1,671 mining concessions in 70 protected areas in Mexico, with an overlapping area of around 1.5 million hectares (3.7 million acres), according to the Ministry of Economy. Fourteen of those mining concessions overlap with protected area core zones.

Eleven mine sites labeled as “highly contaminated” by the Ministry of the Environment and Natural Resources were located within protected areas in 2019, the most recent year that the data is available.

Over half of the core zone in the Sierra de Manantlán Biosphere Reserve, or around 22,000 hectares (54,000 acres), overlaps with five mining concessions. The Zicuirán Infiernillo Biosphere Reserve has 12 mining concessions covering over 12,000 hectares (29,600 acres) of its core zone.

“It’s a big, big advance,” said Manuel Llano, Director of Carto Crítica, an NGO for environmental and social rights. “The prohibition of mining in protected areas will change what has been happening up until now, which was that land and water were being concessioned and operated on without concern.”

 

Photo by Dominik Vanyi on Unsplash

Protestors Arrested at Fairy Creek

Protestors Arrested at Fairy Creek

Editor’s Note: One of the indicators of the success of any movement is the level of oppression by the powerful. The protests against logging at Fairy Creek on Vancouver Island, Canada, are an illustration of this. Fairy Creek is home to old-growth forests and has been targeted by forest product industries. Two years ago, activists joined hands with indigenous people to protest the logging. Now renewed efforts to protect the old-growth forests have been met with force by the RCMP. We thank Brenda Norrell for permission to repost this piece.


By Brenda Norrell/Censored News

Background to Fairy Creek

The last time the world was watching Fairy Creek, we witnessed the largest act of civil disobedience in Canadian history. Well over 1,000 Indigenous and non-Indigenous forest defenders were arrested by the RCMP over months of tense standoffs in 2021 as activists sought to halt the logging of rare ancient trees.

The courts hammered that movement, with charges and bail conditions keeping many away, and the tussle in the trees went dormant for most of the last two years.

Until now.

A new blockade, led by Indigenous youth and supported by non-Indigenous allies, has just been erected on a key bridge crossing an arterial logging road. The RCMP’s specialized tactical team that responds to land defense actions is present and surveilling the camp. A raid could come any day, and having media on the ground is of crucial importance to keep tabs on police and document the latest developments as land defenders seek to protect their unceded territories from old-growth logging.

Brandi Morin, an Indigenous journalist and author who has won a number of major awards, including a Canadian Digital Publishing Award and an Edward R. Murrow award in the U.S., is getting there to bring you the story from Fairy Creek’s new front lines.

She’ll be joined by World Press Photo of the Year-winning photojournalist Amber Bracken, reuniting a dream team that last joined forces to tell the story of First Nations communities fleeing wildfires in Alberta.

Latest crackdowns by RCMP

Three forest protectors were arrested on Tuesday [August 15] protecting the old-growth forests west of Victoria, as Canada continues to target Native people with police operatives protecting the interest of destructive industries. The police ops are British Columbia’s C-IRG, the Community Industry Response Group.

Mourning the invasion of the militarized police squad who arrested the forest defenders, who were his guests, Pacheedaht First Nation Elder Bill Jones said,

“We are at the end times of our great forests.”

Cree journalist Brandi Morin, and photojournalist Amber Bracken, were there.

Morin said,

“The militarized RCMP of the C-IRG unit was also at the Savage Patch raid yesterday. At 6: am Amber and I saw some of them loading their gear to Lake Cowichan and then we raced out to the blockade, cause the raid was on its way.

“Turns out these guys hiked in behind the bridge where the old growth area is, tore the owl structure down and threw the wood in the river below. And then were guarding the bridge.”

Calling on the international community, Peace Brigades International Canada said,

“We draw the attention of the international community to the RCMP C-IRG raid against land defenders and allies protecting old-growth forest on Pacheedaht territory in Canada.”

Cree journalist Brandi Morin said,

“RCMP C-IRG unit raided and dismantled the Savage Patch blockade to protect old-growth forests from being logged this morning. Three land defenders were arrested including Uncle Ricco, Cree Matriarch, and two settler supporters.”

Morin described the Canadian police raid on Tuesday,

“RCMP Sgt. Charney grabbed me after he and others threatened me with arrest when I refused to follow their media exclusion zones during the C-IRG Unit raid of the Savage Patch blockade against old growth logging. I did, however, inform them that I knew of my rights as a journalist and their exclusion zones are illegal.”

The Supreme Court of British Columbia ruled in 2021 in its Fairy Creek decision:

“Exclusion zones, checkpoints, searches, and restrictions on media members clearly interfere with important liberties, including freedom of movement, freedom of expression (including freedom of the press), and freedom of peaceful assembly.”

RCMP’s federal watchdog agency opened a probe into the operations of the C-IRG, a special unit that polices protests against resource extraction in British Columbia, CBC reports.

Abolish C-IRG said,

“Due to the increasing amount of indigenous-led anti-resource extraction movements in British Columbia, the Community-Industry Response Group was born. C-IRG is unique to British Columbia. They are militarized, have no budget limit, and the officers get paid handsomely to force pipelines, mines, dams, and logging through unceded indigenous territories, without consent. This is just another extension of the RCMP’s original task – to remove and separate people from the land and enforce colonial rule. They do not keep us safe, they protect capital.”


Statement from Elder Bill Jones on August 15, 2023

Today, we mourn once again as the militarized police squad raided our peaceful and Indigenous-led camp near Fairy Creek on Trunk Road 11. Again, these brave people were there on my unceded land as my guests, guests who had come to protect what’s left of the old growth forests. Once again, they put themselves on teh line after hearing that the NDP government had approved several cutblocks up that forestry road. Some of those cutblocks include old-growth forests.

We cannot keep cutting our great Mother Earth like this. Once these great forests are gone, they are gone forever. We set up these camps as a last resort. The government refused to change their forestry polices and Tal Cedar has stated in their forest “stewardship” plan that they will harvest every last old-growth tree available to them. The loss of every tree is an affront to my Indigenous rights, sovereignty and title, as it is to every Indigenous person. It is also a loss to all peoples as we are as once and we must learn to stand together as one.

I say again, the forest is my cathedral and my place of spiritual meditation. Government and industry cannot come to my lands and destroy my cathedral and expect us to do nothing.

I say thank you to all those forest defenders who built the amazing screech owl sculpture on the bridge and held the camp.

Thank you to all those who donated and supported the camp.

And I applaud the three brave forest defenders who were arrested and released today. I admire your courage in facing the relentless force of the dozens of CIRG officers who showed up to destroy your camp and arrest you.

I also remind government and industry that it is laughable to charge us with offenses and call us conspirators when we are at the end times of our great forests.

We will continue to do what we can to protect out great Mother Earth.

Klecko! Klecko!


You can also listen to our latest Green Flame episode on Fairy Creek blockade with Joshua Wright:

Photo by DDP on Unsplash

Wetlands Rights & How Wealth Rules [Events]

Wetlands Rights & How Wealth Rules [Events]

Editor’s Note: The following events are not organized by DGR. We stand in solidarity with both of these and encourage our readers to get involved in these if possible.


Radical Resilience and Restoration for Wetland Rights

On June 28th CELDF’s Kai Huschke will be presenting at the Society for Wetland Scientists annual conference. Joining Kai on the panel Socio-Ecological Resilience and Adaptation: Implementing Rights of Wetlands will be Senior Ecologist/Natural Climate Solutions Specialist Gillian Davis from BSC Group, Inc. and Tufts University Global Development & Environment Institute, Matthew Simpon, Director from the UK based organization 35percent, and Bill Moomaw, Tufts University Professor Emeritus. The four have been active as part of a global collective working on the community and national levels for the legal rights of wetlands.

The talk is a part of the Society for Wetland Scientists annual conference which will be held from June 27-30, 2023 in Spokane, WA, USA at The Davenport Grand Hotel.

Here are some excerpts from Kai’s talk:

Globally for the last 200 years the prevailing directive governmentally, legally, economically, scientifically, and culturally has been to extract and exploit the natural world for the wants and needs of a single species – humans. Colonization has never stopped; it has merely changed its stripes and patterns of speech but behaviorally it continues to conquer into submission and extinction the life forces of the planet with wetlands receiving a disproportionate amount of abuse.

The emergence of legal rights of nature efforts over the last 20 years in North America and across the globe is a potent force for the cultural shift necessary to actualize living from, in, with, and as nature. Wetlands restoration efforts in the name of rights of wetlands can only occur if there is a restoration of the human species on a massive scale that would allow for the healthy and harmonious balance of living from, in, with, and as nature. Science along with other aspects of the culture must reject colonizing systems of law, economics, governance, and even science itself and develop methods and systems outside the dominant one.


How Wealth Rules: Part III

CELDF’s Ben G. Price has been hosting lively and engaging discussions on his award-winning book, How Wealth Rules the World: Saving Our Communities and Freedoms from the Dictatorship of Property.

Many books have been written about wealth, power and politics in the United States. Most of them make intuitive sense. Wealthy people use their power to influence and control politics. But Ben Price’s new book is often counterintuitive as he explores how wealth itself is imbued with power.

CELDF is making available, a serialization of Ben Price’s book. You can read this award-winning book in free installments of downloadable pdf files and join Ben Price for monthly webinars to discuss the book in the sequence of shared chapters.

You can find earlier webinars: One Right to Rule Them All, The Dark Side of Property and Property is Not an Unalienable Right.

You can register for the next webinar (The Ongoing Counter Revolution) at June 13th from 7:00 – 8:30 PM EDT.

Photo by Sara Cottle on Unsplash

Over 150 Groups Urge to Immediately Shut Down Line 5

Over 150 Groups Urge to Immediately Shut Down Line 5

Editor’s Note: Civilization is destructive. It endangers everyone in its quest for development, including vulnerable human communities. We stand in solidarity with all efforts by communities to protect themselves and the natural communities they live in. The following is a press release by Women’s Earth and Climate Action Network International (WECAN). You can find the original statement here.


USA, May 25, 2023 — Today, Indigenous women leaders from the Indigenous Women’s Treaty Alliance, joined by over 150 organizations, representing millions nationwide, submitted a letter to the Biden Administration with an emergency request to decommission Enbridge Line 5 pipeline due to imminent threats of oil spills impacting the Bad River Watershed and the Great Lakes.

Enbridge’s Line 5 pipeline was originally built in 1953, and continues to operate nearly 20 years past its engineered lifespan, transporting crude oil through northern Wisconsin, Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, and under the Straits of Mackinac. The letter to President Biden and representatives of the Environmental Protection Agency follows the advocacy of the Bad River Band of Lake Superior Chippewa who submitted a court filing in May calling for the shutdown of Line 5 after showing evidence that record snowfalls, and heavy rains and winds have further compromised the integrity of the pipeline.

Due to recent flooding, erosion of a local riverbank has led to Line 5’s centerline to be within 11 feet or less of the river waters, creating an immediate threat. The letter notes that erosion from receding waters or the next rainfall could cause a “guillotine rupture” – a vertical break causing oil to gush from both sides, poisoning the Bad River watershed and Lake Superior, impacting the Great Lakes region which holds one-fifth of the world’s fresh surface water, and provides drinking water for 40 million people in North America.

The letter points to the significant harms an oil spill would have on waterways, ecosystems, wild rice beds, and clarifies how it directly undermines Indigenous rights and Indigenous Sovereignty:

“Imminent pipeline ruptures at the Bad River in Wisconsin and into the Straits of Mackinac threaten our drinking water, fisheries, manoomin and cultural survival…Our sovereignty and treaty-protected rights to hunt, fish, and gather food and medicine are all at risk.”

Already, Line 5 has spilled over 30 times, dumping more than a million gallons of oil. Independent consultants have estimated clean-up costs for a crude oil spill in the Great Lakes at $1.878 billion.

The signatories urge President Biden to revoke the Presidential Permit and force Enbridge to cease Line 5’s operations, pointing to the Administration’s climate directives and goals.

The letter comes from Indigenous women who are advocating to stop Line 5, and is endorsed by local and national groups representing Indigenous groups, environmental organizations, faith groups, and more. Please see quotes from the initiating signatories of the letter below:

Aurora Conley, Bad River Ojibwe, Anishinaabe Environmental Protection Alliance:

“As a Bad River Band of Lake Superior Ojibwe member, I am calling on the Biden Administration to shut down Line 5 immediately. Our territories and water are in imminent danger, and we do not want to see irreversible damage to our land, water, and wild rice. We do not want our lifeways destroyed. The Ojibwe people are here in Bad River because of the wild rice. A rupture from this oil spill will irreversibly harm the Great Lakes and wild rice beds. This is unacceptable. We will not stand for this. Shut down Line 5 now.”

Jannan J. Cornstalk, Citizen of Little Traverse Bay Bands of Odawa Indians, and Director of the Water is Life Festival:

“Our very lifeways and cultures hang in the balance as Line 5 continues to operate illegally in Indigenous territories and water. These are our lifeways– when that water is healthy enough that rice is growing– that not only benefits our communities, but that benefits everybody up and down stream. Allowing Line 5 to continue to operate is cultural genocide, and the Biden Administration must listen and shut down Line 5. That water is our relative, and we will do whatever it takes to protect our water, our sacred relative.”

Jaime Arsenault, White Earth Band of the Minnesota Chippewa Tribe, Tribal Historic Preservation Officer:

We are urging the Biden Administration to revoke its Presidential Permit and shut down Line 5. We saw a multitude of preventable environmental tragedies occur in Minnesota with the destruction brought by Line 3. As a result – wild rice, watersheds, traditional lifeways and the wellbeing of Indigenous communities are still under constant threat. Right now, the Biden Administration has the opportunity to protect waterways, rice watersheds and lands threatened by a rupture of Line 5. Honor the treaties and the leadership of Tribes, and shut down Line 5.”

Rene Ann Goodrich, Bad River Tribal Elder, Native Lives Matter Coalition and Wisconsin Department of Justice MMIW Task Force Member:

“Line 5 crosses over tribal treaty territory and one of those ceded territories is my own reservation of Bad River. So the age of the pipeline, the danger that it brings to the environment is our biggest concern here.  We have that need, we have that responsibility, we have that duty to protect our life givers. Our life givers are the earth, the aquifers underneath the earth, the women that are sacred water carriers, and water itself that brings life. As sacred water carriers we stand with the water, and urge the Biden Administration to take action and shut down Line 5 immediately.”

Carrie Chesnik, Oneida Nation Wisconsin, Founder of the Treaty Land Trust:

“We have an opportunity here to shut down the Line 5 pipeline, and protect what we all hold dear. We all have the responsibility and agency to act in a good way, to care for the land and waters. What our communities have known for a long time is that the water is hurting, Mother Earth is hurting, and pretty soon we won’t have clean water for our kids, for future generations. As a Haudenosunee woman, an auntie, daughter, and sister, I have an inherent responsibility to the water and our children. Every single one of us has agency and a responsibility to take action, honor the treaties, and protect Mother Earth. It is the time to be brave and courageous.”

Gaagigeyaashiik – Dawn Goodwin, Gaawaabaabiganigaag, White Earth-Ojibwe, Co-founder of R.I.S.E. Coalition, Representative of Indigenous Environmental Network:

“As a member of the Wolf Clan I have an inherent responsibility to protect the environment and the people. I want us to imagine a world where we are working as one team as we should be working together. The government has failed to protect the water in the past, yet there is an opportunity now to protect the water before irreparable damage occurs. Our treaties are being ignored and yet, treaties are the SUPREME LAW of the land. It is time to honor and respect the treaties as the supreme law of the land, as they were written and intended, and to listen to Tribes and Indigenous leaders calling for an immediate shut down to the Line 5 pipeline. We are the women of the Indigenous Women’s Treaty Alliance calling upon you to rise and to protect all that is sacred – shut down Line 5!”

Nookomis Debra Topping, Nagajiiwanong, 1854 Treaty Fond du Lac, Co-founder of R.I.S.E. Coalition:

“Nibi (water) is sacred, Manoomin is sacred, that is our life blood, that is us, that is why we are here. We will not allow any further destruction to our sacred ecosystems and water. Everyday the threat increases, allowing Canadian Corporation Enbridge’s Line 5 to continue operating is genocide! We’ve followed every process, Tribes and the Governor of Michigan have called for a shut down of Line 5. The science is there, the evidence is there. Deny Enbridge any further allowance to destroy Mama Aki (Earth), and shut down Line 5.”

Since 2022, the Women’s Earth and Climate Action Network (WECAN) has been honored to facilitate the Indigenous Women’s Treaty Alliance. In response to the call for action, Osprey Orielle Lake, Executive Director of the Women’s Earth and Climate Action Network (WECAN) stated: “The Bad River Band continues to sound the alarm, and the Biden administration must listen and immediately shut down Line 5. The imminent danger of a rupture to Line 5 due to increased erosion on the Bad River threatens Indigenous Peoples existence and rights, biodiverse ecosystems, and the Great Lakes, which holds one-fifth of the world’s freshwater. The Administration has the necessary tools to cease operations, and must take action before it’s too late. The Great Lakes and local communities cannot be the next sacrifice zone.”

Photo by Andrew Ling on Unsplash