Articles and Opinion Pieces
International Tribunal Demands GM Maize Ban in Mexico
DEC 11, 2014, MEXICO CITY—The Mexican Chapter of the Permanent Peoples' Tribunal has called on the Mexican government to ban the planting of genetically modified (GM) maize in the country. The decision cited the importance of maize as one of three principal staple crops globally, which millions depend on. The Tribunal, which considered evidence gathered over three years from over 1000 organizations on this and other issues, also highlighted the importance of Mexico as the centre of origin of maize globally.
ALEC Fumes: Transparency Threatens Corporate Free Speech!
After spending hundreds of millions of undisclosed funds on state and federal elections, the corporate members of the American Legislative Exchange Council are demanding that state legislators preserve their "right" to anonymously spend money on politics and curry favor with elected officials, and to thwart shareholder efforts to hold the corporations they own accountable. - See more at: http://www.prwatch.org/news/2014/12/12686/alec-dark-money#sthash.6YAJEBzP.5DYf3AcG.dpuf
Ecuador indigenous leader found dead days before planned Lima protest
The body of an indigenous leader who was opposed to a major mining project in Ecuador has been found bound and buried, days before he planned to take his campaign to climate talks in Lima.
The killing highlights the violence and harassment facing environmental activists in Ecuador, following the confiscation earlier this week of a bus carrying climate campaigners who planned to denounce president Rafael Correa at the United Nations conference.
Inside the fight against Ebola
Friends of the Earth Liberia/SDI has been working with its partner organizations to provide Ebola prevention and relief for communities around Liberia. The severity of the outbreak has compounded existing strains on the Liberian health system and enormously disrupted daily life across the country. Friends of the Earth International (FoEI) interviewed Nora Bowier from SDI, who has been working with the Community Awareness and Support Team (CAST) Initiative to coordinate prevention and relief efforts.
Food Chain Alliance Featured Member:The Street Vendor Project
The Street Vendors Project (SVP) is a member-based organization with nearly 2,000 vendor members working together to ensure the rights of street vendor operators in New York City. In partnership with the Urban Justice Center, a non-profit that provides legal advocacy and representation for marginalized New Yorkers, the Street Vendor Project was founded as a workers center for and by the street vendors of New York City. With over 40 affiliates in the United States, the SVP is also a member of an international alliance of street vendors who promotes solidarity and equal rights for street vendors around the globe.
The end of irresponsible business practices by multinationals in China
by Simon Zadek
, South China Morning Post
Multinational corporations are under siege in China. In recent months, the government has levelled a series of allegations of corporate misconduct - ranging from food-product contamination to price rigging, bribery and environmental shortfalls - against foreign-owned companies, with important implications for the development of China's business environment.
Does the government's behaviour reflect a commitment to strengthening business ethics, marking the start of a long-overdue regulatory catch-up process? Is it intended merely to create a convenient populist distraction from China's current economic woes? Or are these revelations of often long-known corporate misdemeanours part of a complex power play involving competing Chinese interests?
Obama Administration Rushes To Expand Fracking On Public Lands, Despite Frightening Evidence
by Brad Johnson, Guest Blogger
A significant milestone in the future of fracking in the United States is fast approaching, as the public comment period closes next week for industry-approved plans to open 600 million acres of public lands to the controversial drilling practice.
According to President Barack Obama, fracked natural gas “can provide not only safe cheap power, but it can only help reduce our carbon emissions.”
How Billionaire 'Philanthropy' Is Fueling Inequality and Helping To Destroy the Country
by Prashanth Kamalakanthan
Peter Buffett, the second son of billionaire investor Warren Buffett, worries that the state of philanthropy in America “just keeps the existing structure of inequality in place.” At meetings of charitable foundations, he says “you witness heads of state meeting with investment managers and corporate leaders. All are searching for answers with their right hand to problems that others in the room have created with their left.”
Yelp Joins With Advocacy Group ALEC to Fight SLAPP Lawsuits
by Ben Jacobs
The American Legislative Exchange Council once faced a backlash for its support of Stand Your Ground and voter ID laws, losing Coca-Cola and Kraft as members. Now the advocacy group is working with companies such as Google, Facebook, and Yelp, and taking more civil libertarian stances on technology issues than it has in the past
Wisconsin Ignored Findings of Scientists to Rewrite Mining Laws For GTAC
by Terri Hansen
, Indian Country
Wisconsin legislators didn’t heed the scientific data when they passed AB1/SB1 last spring, say scientists who testified before lawmakers.
The bill removed environmental hurdles for Gogebic Taconite’s (GTAC) proposed 4.5 mile long, 1.5 mile wide, 1,000-foot deep open pit iron ore mine in northern Wisconsin’s Gogebic Iron Range.
It created a separate set of regulations for ‘ferrous metallic mining’ of iron ore as opposed to mining for sulfide minerals, which require higher environmental standards because of the potential for acid mine drainage.
The forgotten in Mayflower
by by Sam Eifling
In the week after an oil spill strangled the air in Ann Jarrell's neighborhood, tens of thousands of her bees either died or went mad.
Jarrell has kept bees in her backyard since she moved to Mayflower almost two years ago. Living in the hamlet between Little Rock and Conway has afforded her the chance to be close to her daughter, Jennifer. Behind her three-bedroom brick home, at the corner of her small fenced-in yard, she tended to two beehives. Apiarists select and breed passive bees, and Jarrell's were no different, until they were.
Walmart’s big lie: No, it doesn’t create jobs!
by By Kathleen Geier
Does Walmart create jobs? That question is at the heart of the debate currently raging over its plans to open stores in Washington, DC. Last month, labor groups scored a major victory when the DC City Council passed a bill requiring Walmart and other big box retailers to pay their workers a living wage of $12.50 an hour. The mega-store has threatened to pull out of DC if the bill, which requires the signature of Mayor Vincent Gray, becomes law. (Gray has not taken a position but is said to be leaning against the measure).
When Will the Big Banks Be Reined In?
by Phil Mattera
, Dirt Diggers Digest
In case anyone had doubts about the venality of the big U.S. banks, some recent news reports provide indisputable proof.
First, David Kocieniewski of the New York Times wrote a mind-boggling front-page report on how Goldman Sachs has been using a metals storage company to move large quantities of aluminum from one warehouse to another in Detroit. The maneuver, which exploits esoteric rules of the London Metal Exchange, generates millions of dollars in profit for Goldman and pushes up the price of products such as soft drinks sold in aluminum cans.
Debt, austerity, devastation: it’s Europe’s turn
by Susan George New Internationalist Magazine
As the creditors get fatter, the innocent are punished. Susan George laments a leadership subservient to big business.
Like plague in the 14th century, the scourge of debt has gradually migrated from South to North. Our 21st-century Yersinia pestis isn’t spread by flea-infested rats but by deadly, ideology-infested neoliberal fundamentalists. Once they had names like Thatcher or Reagan; now they sound more like Merkel or Barroso; but the message, the mentality and the medicine are basically the same. The devastation caused by the two plagues is also similar – no doubt fewer debt-related deaths in Europe today than in Africa three decades ago, but probably more permanent harm done to once-thriving European economies.
BIG NEWS for the Big Apple: NY Bans Shark Fin Trade!
by by Justine Sullivan
Shark finning is a brutal practice: Fishermen haul live sharks onto boats where their fins are sliced off, and the sharks are then thrown back into the water, alive, to drown or bleed to death. While shark finning is banned in the U.S., the demand for shark fins is allowing this brutal practice to continue outside our waters. Current reports estimate that over one hundred million sharks are killed every year, most only for their fins, which are often used in shark fin soup. Once an Asian delicacy reserved for the wealthy, now, with a growing middle class, shark fin soup has become common fare at weddings, banquets and business meetings. A bowl can cost up to $320, making the fins easily the most lucrative part of the shark. Shark fin has little to no taste, and merely contributes texture to shark fin soup.
A little basic math
by Christina Sarich
, Nation of Change
Just a few weeks ago, the U.S. Defense Secretary, Robert Gates argued against president Obama’s aim to cut $400 billion from national security spending, a bloated habit which was to be reigned in over the next 12 years, but let’s look at what the U.S. government has spent on ‘defending’ our nation in just the last decade.
First Nations man faces $16K bill for ‘Idle No More’ blockade on CN Railway
by derrick on July 25th, 2013 10:58 pm
, WC Native News
A judge has ordered a native activist to pay more than $16,000 to CN Rail for a 13-day blockade created as part of the Idle No More movement.
Ron Plain, 51, spokesperson for the blockade in Sarnia in December and January, was ordered by Justice Bruce G. Thomas of Ontario Superior Court to pay the money because he defied an injunction to stop blocking the line.
The route serves industries in the local “Chemical Valley” complex of oil refineries and chemical plants.
G20 backs plan to stop global tax avoidance and evasion
Finance ministers from the G20 group of leading nations have formally backed plans to tackle international tax avoidance and evasion.
A statement issued earlier supports the automatic exchange of tax information between countries.
Major Coal Companies Completely Ignore the Clean Water Act: Report
by Jacob Chamberlain, staff writer
The Clean Water Act has been "almost universally ignored by power companies and permitting agencies," says a coalition of environmental groups who released a report Tuesday revealing a long list of toxic poisons that are routinely discharged into rivers, lakes and bays across the country.
The report, conducted by Waterkeeper Alliance, Sierra Club, Environmental Integrity Project, Earthjustice and Clean Water Action, studied 386 coal-fired power plants and their local permits and found that substances such as arsenic, boron, cadmium, lead, mercury and selenium are almost continually released into public waterways.
Billion Dollar Baby: U.S. Chamber is First to Hit Lobbying Milestone
by David Steinbach on July 23, 2013
The U.S. Chamber of Commerce has made big news with the filing of a simple quarterly report.
When the behemoth business trade group reported its lobbying numbers for the second quarter of 2013 on Monday, it set a new record: The Chamber became the first organization to report uschamber.jpgtotal lobbying expenditures of more than $1 billion, according to OpenSecrets.org. Reporting that it spent $19.11 million from April through June, its grand total now stands at $1,002,845,680 since 1998, when the Center for Responsive Politics began tracking lobbying data.
Tahoe Resources Mining executive in Guatemala gives direct orders to kill protestors
Alberto Rotondo, executive of Tahoe Mine, San Rafael in Guatemala, gave direct orders to assassinate members of the community San Rafael Las Flores.
The investigation of the mining conflicts in San Rafael Las Flores, Santa Rosa, took a 180 degrees turn, after the Public Ministry submitted audio from wiretapping as evidence. In the audio it can be clearly heard how Alberto Rotondo, head of the San Rafael Mining Security outfit ordered to assassinate opponents of the mine.
The newspaper Siglo.21 published today a report titled “Rotondo ordered: Kill those sons of B..”, the report documents how the Security Chief gave direct orders to assassinate mining protesters and opponents of the mining project.
Three Arrested at Peabody Coal Shareholders Meeting
Rising Tide NA
GILLETTE, WY– Peabody Energy shareholders affiliated with Powder River Basin Resource Council, Missourians Organizing for Reform and Empowerment (MORE), CO-FORCE (Coloradans for Fair Rates and Clean Energy), and Forgotten People from Black Mesa/Big Mountain in Arizona converged in Gillette, Wyoming, on Monday, April 29, 2013, at Peabody’s Annual General Meeting. Peabody has always held its meeting near its headquarters in St. Louis, but moved it this year to avoid public scrutiny. After the meeting, an activist affiliated with MORE was arrested dropping a banner saying, “Peabody Attacks: Pensions, Diné Lands, Climate.” 2 other activists were arrested for holding up banner in the parking lot that said “Peabody Abandons Miners.”
Comment: 1993’s Clayoquot Summer was a game-changer
by Valerie Langer , Eduardo Sousa , Maryjka Mychajlowycz , Jens Wieting and Torrance Coste.
, Times Colonist
Twenty years ago today, about 30 residents of Tofino were driving up and down the highway by Long Beach, communicating via handheld radios, tracking a helicopter carrying B.C.’s premier of the day and select media.
A local guy listening in on emergency, aviation and boat communications was transmitting the play-by-play, while the helicopter sought a quiet landing spot where the premier could make a “contained” statement about the fate of Clayoquot Sound’s forests.
Nothing that followed, however, in what was to become the Clayoquot Summer of 1993, could be construed as “contained.”
Rio Tinto accused of environmental and human rights breaches
by Rupert Neate
Protesters from around the world attacked mining company Rio Tinto for a string for alleged environmental and human rights breaches during a fiery meeting with shareholders in London on Thursday.
Native Mongolian herders claimed that a $5bn (£3.3bn) expansion of the company's Oyu Tolgoi copper and gold mine in the Gobi desert threatened the fresh water supply of hundreds of nomadic people and the area's unique ecology.
Legalizing Sustainability? Santa Monica Recognizes Rights of Nature
by Reprinted from Global Exchange.
On April 9, the City Council of Santa Monica voted 7-0 to adopt the state’s first ever Bill of Rights for Sustainability, directing the city to “recognize the rights of people, natural communities and ecosystems to exist, regenerate and flourish.” Santa Monica joins dozens of U.S. communities, the nations of Ecuador, Bolivia, and New Zealand in the fast-growing movement for Nature’s Rights.
Congratulations to the 2013 Goldman Prize Recipients
On Monday, April 15, we celebrated six environmental heroes in front of an audience of 3,200 at San Francisco’s War Memorial Opera House. The ceremony was punctuated by powerful video profiles, energizing speeches from the recipients and overwhelming applause from the audience.
Following the ceremony, guests were treated to a reception at San Francisco’s City Hall, where they had the opportunity to meet the Goldman Prize recipients and members of the Goldman family.
Congratulations to the 2013 Goldman Prize recipients: Jonathan Deal, Azzam Alwash, Rossano Ercolini, Mama Aleta Baun, Kimberly Wasserman, and Nohra Padilla.
22-Foot Gash in Pegasus Pipeline Puts Gaping Hole in Safety Claims
by Jon Queally, staff writer
, Common Dreams
Dustin McDaniel, the Arkansas Attorney General announced on Wednesday evening that a "22 foot long and 2 inch wide" gash along the Pegasus pipeline allowed crude oil to flood the town of Mayflower with thousands of gallons of tar sands oil on March 29.
"The pipeline rupture is substantially larger than many of us initially thought." Arkansas Attorney General Dustin McDaniel speaks in Little Rock, Ark., Wednesday, April 10, 2013, about last month's oil pipeline leak in Mayflower, Ark. McDaniel says an ExxonMobil pipeline that burst last month, leaking oil into a neighborhood at Mayflower, has a hole in it that is 22 feet long and 2 inches wide. (AP Photo/Danny Johnston) "The pipeline rupture is substantially larger than many of us initially thought," McDaniel said at the press conference.
Former Walmart District Manager Accuses Company of Widespread Inventory Manipulation
by Spencer Woodman
In 1996, Sylvester Johnson left his post as a commanding officer in the US Army and began a career managing logistics at Walmart’s corporate headquarters in Bentonville, Arkansas. Once there, he received a series of rapid promotions, eventually overseeing the HR management of over 26,000 employees in five states. He became friendly with Walmart executive Mike Duke, who became CEO in 2009. In 2002, Johnson received the Sam M. Walton Hero Award, a prestigious company distinction. In 2003, he moved to North Carolina where he oversaw eleven Walmart Supercenters. The company fired him in 2009 for allegedly giving orders to manipulate inventory counts, a claim Johnson denies
UN demands ‘immediate suspension’ of Amazon gas plans
The United Nations has demanded an immediate halt to the expansion of a major gas project in the Peruvian Amazon, over concerns that it poses a grave risk to the lives of uncontacted Indians living nearby.
In a letter to the Peruvian government, the UN’s Committee for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination (CERD) requested the ‘immediate suspension’ of plans to expand the existing Camisea gas project further into the Nahua-Nanti reserve, as it ‘threatens the physical and cultural survival of the indigenous peoples living there.’
SOAS law students establish international human rights advocacy network
by Becky Waller-Davies
A group of law students from the School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London (SOAS) have established an advocacy network which aims to rival the Harvard Human Rights Clinic in its reach and power.
The network, Banyan, allows students to work pro bono on cases which aim to further human rights, development or social justice and are committed to practical change. The group is offering its research skills and knowledge to civil society agencies, development groups and law firms.
Keystone Public Comments Won't Be Made Public, State Department Says
by By John H. Cushman Jr.,
, InsideClimate News
WASHINGTON—When the State Department hired a contractor to produce the latest environmental impact statement for the controversial Keystone XL pipeline, it asked for a Web-based electronic docket to record public comments as they flowed in each day. Thousands of comments are expected to be filed by people and businesses eager to influence the outcome of the intense international debate over the project.
But the public will not find it easy to examine these documents.
My search for a smartphone that is not soaked in blood
by George Monbiot
None of the campaigning groups wants companies to stop buying minerals from eastern Congo. Global Witness and FairPhone, for example, point out that mining supports many families in a country where 82% are considered underemployed. But they also insist that the trade can be dissociated from violence: if, and only if, companies ensure they're not buying minerals which have passed through the hands of militias. Given the potential damage to their reputations, you might have expected these firms to take the issue seriously. With a few exceptions, you would be wrong.
Proceed with caution when betting against environmentalists
by Martin Mittelstaedt
, Globe and Mail
Oil sands investors, it turns out, should have listened to environmentalists after all.
Placing a bet on the oil sands, once thought of as a sure path to riches, is looking like an over-hyped investment theme in the process of confronting a less glamorous reality. Stocks in companies involved in the industry have been taking on water, but they’re not yet cheap enough to make compelling buys.
Kick the Habit, Congress
by By Carl Gibson, Reader Supported News
What if there were a really smart, knowledgeable, innovative guy who had dreams of curing cancer or writing a bestselling novel or recording an acclaimed album, but couldn't do any of the above because of a crippling cocaine addiction? Similarly, Congress's deadly addiction to corporate cash is the main reason Washington is unable to solve the myriad problems affecting our economy, environment and politics. If only we could help Congress kick the habit, our government could work for us again.
Corpocrisy: The systematic betrayal of American Workers
by Paul Buccheit
, Nation of Change
Free market idealists argue that capitalism works for anyone with a little initiative and a willingness to work hard. That might be true if job opportunities were available to everyone. But the facts reveal a lack of opportunity, largely because the very system of capitalism that's supposed to work for everyone is betraying its most productive members.
It's a step-by-step process of hypocrisy disguised as free enterprise:
The plight of Cambodia’s garment workers
by Clothilde Le Coz
, Asian Correspondent
The plight of Cambodia’s garment workers
By Clothilde Le Coz Feb 01, 2013 4:50PM UTC
2 Comments and 11 Reactions
A striking garment worker participates in a rally in Phnom Penh. Pic: AP.
Striking workers call on Wal-Mart to take responsibility after supplier skips country owing $200,000 in wages
On Thursday morning garment workers gathered outside the US Embassy in Phnom Penh to follow up with the petition they submitted on Januray 18th, 2013 asking the US government to pressure Wal-Mart. They are owed $200,000 by Kingsland, a Hong Kong-based company that started to operate in Cambodia 10 years ago and worked with Wal-Mart and H&M suppliers.
Here’s What Your $97 Million Drug War in Central America Actually Bought
by Robert Beckhusen
The U.S. isn’t just shoveling cash to stem the tide of narcotics in Mexico and Colombia. Quietly, it’s built up its drug war in Central America, too — spending nearly $100 million over four years on advanced gear for local forces. Not that Washington has any idea what it’s gotten for its money.
A new report from the Government Accountability Office provides a rare glimpse into the Central American war on drugs. Between 2008 and 2011, the report finds, the government spent $97 million for gear and training for its Central American partners. On the plus side, it’s laughably low compared to the more than $640 billion (and rising) the U.S. has spent on the war in Afghanistan.
Bush’s Corporate Education Group Operates from ALEC’s Playbook
by Mike Hall
, AFL CIO
The American Legislative Exchange Council’s (ALEC's) long history of influencing state legislators—sometimes even writing legislation for them—to pass laws and promote policies that advance a corporate profit agenda, and at times an extreme conservative agenda, is well documented.
Forest Service wields an uncommon mining law
by Marshall Swearingen
The Mining Law of 1872 is famously generous to miners when it comes to granting them rights to the riches on public lands. But in northern Idaho, a scuffle between miners and the Forest Service hinges on a related, but lesser-known law: the Mining Claims Rights Restoration Act of 1955. And unlike the 1872 law, this law gives the public lands agency the upper hand in dealing with mining on public lands.
Nigerian farmer wins against Shell oil
by Yvonne Ndege
Today's ruling in the Netherlands which found the Nigerian subsidiary of the Anglo-Dutch oil giant Royal Dutch Shell guilty of causing pollution, is a historic legal victory for oil producing communities in Nigeria and probably across Africa.
72 year old fish farmer Friday Akpan, from Akwa Ibom State, one of Nigeria's richest oil producing states, was one of four fish farmers who was able to prove that Shell Nigeria, the subsidiary of one of the world's most profitable companies Royal Dutch Shell, which made more than $30 billion dollars in profit in 2011, failed to properly maintain oil pipelines and other installations in Ikot Ada Udo community. Shell Nigeria's negligence led to oil spills that devastated Friday Akpan's 47 fishponds.
State of California Orders Walmart-Contracted Warehouse to Pay More than $1 Million in Stolen Wages
The state of California has ordered a Southern California warehouse that processes merchandise for Walmart and other retailers to pay 865 workers more than $1 million in stolen wages.
The California Division of Labor Standards Enforcement issued the citations Monday, Jan. 28 against Quetico, LLC, a large warehouse complex in Chino, California. Back wages and unpaid overtime total more than $1.1million and in addition the state issued about $200,000 in penalties.
Hey Citizen, Can You Spare $1,000? How About $10 Million?
by Blair Bowie
, Huffington Post
When was the last time you contributed $1,000 to a political candidate or cause? If you’re like most people, the answer is “Never -- if I have that kind of money it’s in the college savings account.”
Well, candidates for the U.S. Senate this election got nearly 64 percent of the money they raised from individuals in contributions of at least $1,000 -- from just four one-hundredths of one percent of the population.
An Outrageous Form of Corporate Waste
by Alyce Lomax
Shareholders invest in publicly traded companies for many reasons, not least of which is to make decent returns. Generally speaking, investors hope their companies invest capital into productive channels: inventing, innovating, delighting customers with their products, and otherwise paving the road to growth, leading to fantastic financial results over the long haul.
Missouri Bill Introduced to Require GM Fish and Meat Labeling
A state Senator from St. Louis has introduced a bill requiring the labeling of genetically modified meat and fish in Missouri.
State Sen. Jemilah Nasheed (D-St. Louis) introduced Senate Bill 155 this week.
“While I understand that food production is an integral Missouri industry, I don’t feel the trend of biotechnology and genetically engineered foods is always apparent to the average citizen, “ said Sen. Nasheed. “I am merely asking for clarity in the sale of certain genetically engineered, or GE, foods to Missouri’s customers.”
The global water grab
by Shiney Varghese
Writing in National Geographic in December 2012 about “small-scale irrigation techniques with simple buckets, affordable pumps, drip lines, and other equipment” that “are enabling farm families to weather dry seasons, raise yields, diversify their crops, and lift themselves out of poverty” water expert Sandra Postel of the Global Water Policy Project cautioned against reckless land and water-related investments in Africa. “[U]nless African governments and foreign interests lend support to these farmer-driven initiatives, rather than undermine them through land and water deals that benefit large-scale, commercial schemes, the best opportunity in decades for societal advancement in the region will be squandered.”
Organic Farming Crucial to Food Security, Addressing Climate Change
As the world begins to wrestle with rising food insecurity associated with climate change, a report from Worldwatch points to the crucial role organic farming plays.
Not only is organically produced food more nutritious, but it sustains livelihoods of millions of people in developing countries, because unlike conventional agriculture, it relies on labor. And it increases crop yields.
Do You Live in One of the 32 States that Has Been Fracked?
by Natural Resources Defense Council By Matthew McFeeley
Last month, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) released a “progress report” on its ongoing study of hydraulic fracturing and the impacts of fracking on drinking water. The progress report contains a lot of interesting information, but one particular map caught my eye. The map shows that fracking has occurred in more states than previously known, including places like Arizona, Nevada and Maryland. All in all, we now know that fracking has occurred in at least 32 states since 2005.
SEC's Republicans won't back political disclosure rule
by By Sarah N. Lynch | Reuters – 20 hrs ago
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - There is not enough support among top U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission officials to advance a proposal that would require companies to disclose their political spending, a Republican commissioner said on Wednesday.
Daniel Gallagher said the agency had other priorities, and said the two Republican commissioners would not back such a measure.
With the SEC currently divided between two Democrats and two Republicans, the lack of support effectively kills for now the measure which has been pushed by disclosure activists.
Climate Change Series: Where Science And Ethics Meet
What do we mean when we talk about the imminent threat of rapid and irreversible climate change?
And what ethical responsibilities do we — especially those of us in the societies most responsible for the emission of destabilizing greenhouse gases — have in the face of that threat?
Harvard chemist James Anderson and Northeastern philosopher Ronald Sandler examine the interplay of science and ethics as Cognoscenti and the Open Classroom kick off our series Climate Change. Challenges. Solutions.
The Business Case for DISCLOSURE
What makes a company decide, in the wake of the Citizens United decision, NOT to spend money on T.V. and radio ads about candidates? Fear of reprisal? For some, sure, especially when those companies which spent money directly in the 2010 Midterms got heat from shareholders and customers.
The Center for Responsive Politics is the nation's premier research group tracking money in U.S. politics and its effect on elections and public policy. Nonpartisan, independent and nonprofit, the organization aims to create a more educated voter, an involved citizenry and a more transparent and responsive government.
Create A Better Future Now
Polling shows that the vast majority of people in the United States, no matter what political party they belong to, oppose the Citizens United decision. We need to tap into this energy.
Environmentalists, forest industry struggle to complete Great Bear Rainforest conservation plan
by Gordon Hamilton
Environmentalists are ready to give up on negotiations over the acclaimed Great Bear Rainforest conservation agreement, saying the forest industry is not moving quickly enough to achieve ecological and economic goals in the world’s largest temperate rainforest.
Read more: http://www.vancouversun.com/technology/Environmentalists+forest+industry+struggle+complete+Great+Bear+Rainforest+conservation/7776998/story.html#ixzz2HpU24Wve
The U.S. Chamber, Citizens United, and Federal Elections
Citizens United made it possible for corporations to spend unlimited amounts of money from their general treasuries on ads for or against candidates. Corporations which did this directly in the 2010 elections faced backlash from shareholders and customers. Many corporations chose to fund the ads they wanted through the U.S. Chamber instead.
Corporations and carpools
by Tim Redmond
I absolutely love this story: A Marin activist named Jonathan Frieman, who runs a small nonprofit corporation (the JoMiJo Foundation) was driving in the carpool lane on highway 101 in Marin when he was stopped by a cop and given a $478 ticket. Ah, but Frieman insists he wasn't driving alone; beside him in the car were the articles of incorporation and other relevant corporate paperwork for his foundation — and in the United States, corporations are considered people. In fact, the California Vehicle Code refers to “natural persons or corporations.”
King Coal Gets a Boost through ALEC
As Americans experienced epic droughts, freakish hurricanes, and other extreme weather over the past few years, many are eager to see our nation secure a sustainable energy supply for the future that won’t break our climate. But others – most notably the polluting fossil fuel industries – are eager to double down on the same old technologies that are responsible for the climate crisis in the first place.
Fossil fuel industry lobbyists descended upon the American Legislative Exchange Council’s (ALEC) annual policy summit in Washington, DC last month. The Energy, Environment, and Agriculture Task Force met again to discuss new ways to block renewable energy and encourage the burning of fossil fuels. On the docket, a new bill, that would end run the EPA and promote the development of new coal mines (or something like that that is much more specific).
Top 10 Stakeholder Issues 2013
As a team, The Future 500 staff, board, and senior fellows believe passionately in the promise of corporations and NGOs coming together to advance systemic solutions to our most urgent sustainability challenges. Each Fall, we hold a series of strategic planning meetings where we synthesize the trends we see, outlining our core issues of focus for the coming year and beyond.
From that promise, we identify what we anticipate are the Top 10 issues that activists and corporations will likely contend with in the coming. For 2013, we have expanded our focus beyond the top overarching issues to identify the key issues facing key sectors in which we work: Energy, Technology, and Consumer Brands.
The Irish Media and the Corrib Gas Project
by by Foras Teamhrach
, The Speckled Blog
On the 22 April 2009, a protest was taking place at the site in Glengad, Co. Mayo where the Corrib Gas Pipeline is planned to come ashore. This site had been occupied by protesters for weeks, attempting to prevent the erection of fencing by Shell, despite the apparent lack of planning permission. Winner of the Goldman Environmental Prize and member of the Rossport 5 Willie Corduff lay under a Shell truck, preventing work from continuing. According to Mr. Corduff’s statement, in an attempt to remove him from beneath the truck, Gardaí threw stones and insulted him. At 11.30pm, what Shell to Sea describes as “a handful of protestors” unravelled some fencing surrounding the site. 
David Ravelo and the Struggle for Colombia
by Tom Whitney
Colombian political prisoner David Ravelo, jailed since September 14, 2010, learned late in November, 2012, that he had been convicted and sentenced to 18 years in jail. His case, based on spurious evidence, reflects epic military, police, and judicial repression carried out under a regime of big landowners and the urban elite. After 50 years they are still intent upon military victory over insurgents defending agrarian rights. Ravelo’s case deserves attention: Colombia’s prison population has increased 30 percent during the tenure of President Juan Manuel Santos, Colombian jails now house 10,000 political prisoners, Ravelo’s human rights record is exemplary, and his case has taken on every sign of a judicial frame-up.
Matt Taibbi: After Laundering $800 Million in Drug Money, How Did HSBC Executives Avoid Jail?
by Matt Taibbi
The banking giant HSBC has escaped indictment for laundering billions of dollars for Mexican drug cartels and groups linked to al-Qaeda. Despite evidence of wrongdoing, the U.S. Department of Justice has allowed the bank to avoid prosecution and pay a $1.9 billion fine. No top HSBC officials will face charges, either. We’re joined by Rolling Stone contributing editor Matt Taibbi, author of "Griftopia: A Story of Bankers, Politicians, and the Most Audacious Power Grab in American History." "You can do real time in jail in America for all kinds of ridiculous offenses," Taibbi says. "Here we have a bank that laundered $800 million of drug money, and they can’t find a way to put anybody in jail for that. That sends an incredible message, not just to the financial sector but to everybody. It’s an obvious, clear double standard, where one set of people gets to break the rules as much as they want and another set of people can’t break any rules at all without going to jail." [includes rush transcript]
Let’s Keep Making Noise About Why Organics Matter
This is a guest post from Anne Pernick, Executive Director of Corporate Ethics International and the Business Ethics Network. The Business Ethics Network (BEN) is a project of Corporate Ethics International, a 501(c)(3) working to bring corporations back in service to and under the control of the citizenry.
This year has brought quite a dust up about organic food. The controversy tells us much more about our need to be spokespeople about the issues we care about than it does about organics, however.
Read more: http://www.care2.com/causes/lets-keep-making-noise-about-why-organics-matter.html#ixzz2FBDST9Li
Poisoning the Well: How the Feds Let Industry Pollute the Nation’s Underground Water Supply
by by Abrahm Lustgarten
Federal officials have given energy and mining companies permission to pollute aquifers in more than 1,500 places across the country, releasing toxic material into underground reservoirs that help supply more than half of the nation's drinking water.
In many cases, the Environmental Protection Agency has granted these so-called aquifer exemptions in Western states now stricken by drought and increasingly desperate for water.
We got a copy of the subpoena Chevron sent a rebellious shareholder
by By Philip Bump
Chevron has a lot of money. Which is a good thing, because lawyers are expensive, and Chevron has developed quite an affinity for lawyers. And if you’re a Chevron shareholder who dares speak out, expect to hear from them.
The fossil fuel giant faces an $18 billion fine levied by a court in Ecuador stemming from massive pollution in the Amazon rainforest throughout the 1970s and ’80s. Chevron is understandably loathe to write a check for that amount, given that it constitutes almost nine months’ worth of 2011 profits (or, if you prefer, 25 days worth of revenue). Instead, it would rather unleash an army of esquires who are already on retainer.
The racist roots of 'right to work' laws
by Chris Kromm
This week, Republican lawmakers in Michigan -- birthplace of the United Auto Workers and, more broadly, the U.S. labor movement -- shocked the nation by becoming the 24th state to pass "right-to-work" legislation, which allows non-union employees to benefit from union contracts.
Bayou Frack-Out: The Massive Oil and Gas Disaster You've Never Heard Of
by By Mike Ludwig, Truthout | Report
For residents in Assumption Parish, the boiling, gas-belching bayou, with its expanding toxic sinkhole and quaking earth is no longer a mystery; but there is little comfort in knowing the source of the little-known event that has forced them out of their homes.
Located about 45 miles south of Baton Rouge, Assumption Parish carries all the charms and curses of southern Louisiana. Networks of bayous, dotted with trees heavy with Spanish moss, connect with the Mississippi River as it slowly ambles toward the Gulf of Mexico. Fishermen and farmers make their homes there, and so does the oil and gas industry, which has woven its own network of wells, pipelines and processing facilities across the lowland landscape.
by PATRICK BOND
This week’s World Toilet Summit offers an opportunity to contemplate how we curate our crap. Increasingly the calculus seems to be cash, generating contradictions ranging from local to global scales, across race, gender, generation and geography. Nowhere are they more evident than in the host city, my hometown of Durban. We’ve suffered an 18-year era of neoliberal-nationalist malgovernance including toilet apartheid, in the wake of more than 150 years of colonialism and straight racial-apartheid.
BREAKING: Sustained Hunger Strike Launched with Blockade at Valero’s Houston Refinery
UPDATE: 4:00 PM – Diane and Bob Refuse Their First Meal in Jail – The Hunger Strike Has Begun
Blockading the dirty fuel and chemicals entering the Manchester community was just the opening salvo of Bob and Diane’s action. Today the two lifelong friends begin a sustained hunger strike to demand that Valero, which has made the largest commitment to tar sands from Keystone XL, divest entirely from this dangerous project and invest that money into the health and well-being of the people of Manchester. Hunger strikers will begin their protest in theHarris County Jail.
First Nation and Metis groups denied effective access to justice
November 26, 2012 Fort McMurray, AB – Today the Athabasca Chipewyan First Nation (ACFN) received a decision from the Alberta Court of appeal dismissing their application for leave to appeal a decision of the Joint Review Panel to not review the adequacy of Crown consultation before deciding whether to approve Shell’s Jackpine Mine expansion project. The First Nation is extremely disappointed and is currently reviewing their options to address the lack of adequate consultation with respect to Shell’s tar sands project.
Photos Show Walmart Apparel at Site of Deadly Factory Fire in Bangladesh
by Josh Eidelson on November 26, 2012 - 11:41 AM ET
NGOs are slamming Walmart following a Saturday fire that killed at least 112 workers at a Bangladesh factory supplying apparel to the retail giant. While Walmart says it has not confirmed that it has any relationship to the factory, photos provided to The Nation show piles of clothes made for one of its exclusive brands.
In a statement e-mailed Sunday night, Walmart expressed sympathy for the victims’ families, and said that it was “trying to determine if the factory has a current relationship with Walmart or one of our suppliers…” The company called fire safety “a critically important area of Walmart’s factory audit program,” and said that it has been “working across the apparel industry to improve fire safety education and training in Bangladesh.” Walmart added that it has “partnered with several independent organizations to develop and roll out fire safety training tools for factory management and workers.”
How Big Oil Spent Part of Its $90 Billion in Profits So Far in 2012
by By Daniel J. Weiss and Jackie Weidman
, EcoWatch/Center for American Progress
Lingering high oil and gasoline prices contributed to another quarter of huge profits for the big five oil companies: BP plc, Chevron Corp, ConocoPhillips, ExxonMobil Corp and the Royal Dutch Shell Group. They earned a combined $28 billion in the third quarter of 2012, reaping more than $90 billion in profits through the first three quarters of the year (see Table 1). As they did last year, the “big five” are on track to easily exceed $100 billion in profits this year.
Everyone hates Citizens United
by Alex Seitz-Wald
Maybe it’s the fact that people are tired of having their favorite TV shows as a side dish to political attack ads this time of year, but a new poll shows that Americans think there’s way too much money in politics. Almost 90 percent of respondents agree there’s too much corporate money in politics, with 51 percent strongly agreeing, according to a new poll released today by the Corporate Reform Coalition. The poll of 804 Americans was conducted by the Democratic-leaning P.R. firm Bannon Communications.
Lies, Damned Lies And Coal Company Biologists
by Ted Zukoski
, Earth Justice
Coal companies have been blasting mountains, dumping waste rock into streams, and undermining private and public lands for more than a century. It’s apparently lucrative to do so.
But a recent filing by a coal company shows just how far they have drunk their own Kool-Aid (or coal ash?) in justifying the damage mining can cause.
How the Komen Board is Cashing in on Shale Gas Pinkwashing Fracking?
by STEVE HORN
The Wizard of Oz was spot on when he said to “Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain.” That’s good life advice if you fall into the “Ignorance is bliss” camp. For a journalist though, it’s doing the exact opposite that’s a sin qua non for the job.
Kevin Begos of the Associated Press took the Wizard’s advice to heart in his July 22 story titled, “Experts: Some fracking critics use bad science.”
World Bank Refuses Call to Halt Land Deals
by By Carey L. Biron
The World Bank has rejected a call to suspend its involvement in large scale agricultural land acquisition following the release of a major report by the international aid agency Oxfam on the negative impact of international land speculation in developing countries.
“We share the concerns Oxfam raised in their report,” the bank stated in an unusually lengthy public rebuttal to the Oxfam Report. “However, we disagree with Oxfam’s call for a moratorium on World Bank Group…investments in land intensive large-scale agricultural enterprises, especially during a time of rapidly rising global food prices.”
Nicaragua Withdraws from School of the Americas
by Collette Cosner - Yes! magazine
, Nation of Change
After a meeting on September 4 with international peace activists from School of the Americas Watch (SOAW) and Nicanet, president Daniel Ortega announced that Nicaragua would withdraw its troops from the Western Hemisphere Institute for Security Cooperation (WHINSEC)—formerly and more widely known as the School of the Americas (SOA). A combat training school located in Fort Benning, Georgia, the WHINSEC is notorious for training Latin American military personnel in techniques of repression, including human rights violations such as torture, forced disappearance, and selective assassination.
TPP: Corporate Power Tool of the 1%
Have you heard? The Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) “free trade” agreement is a stealthy policy being pressed by corporate America, a dream of the 1 percent, that in one blow could:
offshore millions of American jobs,
free the banksters from oversight,
ban Buy America policies needed to create green jobs and rebuild our economy,
decrease access to medicine,
flood the U.S. with unsafe food and products,
and empower corporations to attack our environmental and health safeguards.
Closed-door talks are on-going between the U.S. and Australia, Brunei, Chile, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore, Malaysia and Vietnam; with countries like Japan and China potentially joining later. 600 corporate advisors have access to the text, while the public, Members of Congress, journalists, and civil society are excluded. And so far what we know about what's in there is very scary!
Activists warned to watch what they say as social media monitoring becomes 'next big thing in law enforcement'
by Kevin Rawlinson
Political activists must watch what they say on the likes of Facebook and Twitter, sites which will become the “next big thing in law enforcement”, a leading human rights lawyer has warned.
John Cooper QC said that police are monitoring key activists online and that officers and the courts are becoming increasingly savvy when it comes to social media. But, speaking to The Independent, he added that he also expected that to drive an increase in the number of criminals being brought to justice in the coming months.
Science and human rights: a valuable perspective
by David Dickson
Promoting a human rights approach to S&T advances will reinforce moves towards inclusive development. But implementation challenges remain.
There was a time when debates on the links between science and human rights focused on the plight of individual scientists, and in particular on their rights — both as humans and as intellectuals — to the freedom of expression.
Campaign for Safe Cosmetics
Key nonprofit coalition partners in the Campaign include the Alliance for a Healthy Tomorrow (represented by Clean Water Action and Massachusetts Breast Cancer Coalition), the Breast Cancer Fund, Commonweal, Environmental Working Group, Friends of the Earth and Women’s Voices for the Earth. The Breast Cancer Fund, a national 501(c)(3) organization focused on preventing breast cancer by identifying and eliminating the environmental links to the disease, serves as the national coordinator for the Campaign.
Campaign to Shut Down the Crawford and Fisk Coal Plants
Chicago Youth Climate Coalition, Eco-Justice Collaborative, Environmental Law and Policy Center, Environment Illinois, Greenpeace, Faith in Place, Illinois Student Environmental Coalition, Little Village Environmental Justice Organization, Nuclear Energy Information Service, Pilsen Alliance, Pilsen Environmental Rights and Reform Organization, Protestants for the Common Good, Rainforest Action Network Chicago, Respiratory Health Association of Metropolitan Chicago, Doctor’s Council SEIU, Sierra Club Beyond Coal, Southeast Environmental Task Force
Wal-Mart drops plans for first-ever New York City store in Brooklyn
by By Martinne Geller, Reuters
Wal-Mart Stores Inc said on Friday it had failed to reach a deal with a developer to have a store in Brooklyn's East New York neighborhood, dealing the company a setback in its attempt to open its first location in the largest U.S. city.
Wal-Mart, the world's largest retailer, had been in talks with Related Companies to open a store that would have anchored the Gateway Two Plaza development in Brooklyn. A Shop Rite supermarket will instead occupy that space.
'NAFTA on Steroids': New Round of Secret Trade Negotiations Begins
Trade negotiators from the US and eight other Pacific Rim countries met outside of Washington, DC Wednesday, commencing a new round of the secretive Trans-Pacific Partnership trade agreement negotiations, also known as 'Nafta on steroids.'
The TPP negotiations began in 2007 and have been carried through by the Obama administration and several Pacific nations under conditions of 'extreme secrecy' without press, public or policymaker oversight. Although most of the content involved in the discussions have been kept in secret, document leaks have revealed that negotiators are working out deals which could hamper free speech on the Internet, reduce access to affordable medicines, deregulate environmental laws, and harm labor rights around the world.
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