Volume , Number 0
There are no articles.Commentary
There are no articles.Culture
There are no articles.Features
Aaron St. jean
Gabriel matthew Schivone
Nuclear Power Not Clean, Green, â€¦
Tiffany Ten eyck
Z Papers on Strategy
Nicolas J.S. Davies
Gay & Lesbian Community Notes
There are no articles.
NOTE: Z Magazine subscribers and sustainers have access to all Z Magazine articles here and in the archive. The latest Z Magazine articles available to everyone are listed in the Free Articles box at the top of the table of contents, and are starred in the list below. Questions? e-mail Z Magazine Online.
Convention on Climate Change
We cannot continue to put our faith in bodies such as the UN to solve this problem for us
T he focus of UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) 2006, held in Nairobi, Kenya was the CDM—the Kyoto Protocol’s Clean Development Mechanism. The CDM is designed to enable rich countries to avoid their own emissions reductions by funding so-called “clean development,” or emissions reductions, in poor countries.
African lobby groups, headed by Climate Africa, condemned the inaction of industrialized countries stating, “We are concerned that the developed countries are not keen to take drastic action to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions.... Instead they are singly and collectively increasing their greenhouse gas emissions.”
During a side event on avoiding deforestation hosted by the European Union, ministers and UN representatives spoke at length about the importance of ending logging in native forests as a means to limiting the impacts of global warming. The solution, they concluded, was to create a huge fund to give developing countries incentives to protect their forests, which would be facilitated by assigning standing forests a dollar value for their so-called “ecosystem services.”
While the information presented on the importance of standing forests for the climate and biodiversity was extensive, the lack of information on the forces driving deforestation was glaring. The presenters ignored the financial pressures forcing countries to log their forests, leaving the impression that poor countries cut their trees because they have nothing better to do.
There was no mention of structural adjustment conditions imposed by the World Bank and IMF that force poor countries to sell off their natural resources at rock-bottom prices to repay development loans. There was likewise nothing said about the continually escalating demand for wood products from Northern countries, much of which winds up in landfills as disposable packaging, junk mail, or advertising.
This side event was emblematic of the overall UNFCCC, which emphasized problem-solving through capitalism—namely the creation of funds, and the development of market mechanisms like carbon trading that promise billions in profits while doing nothing to truly address the problem of global warming. The concepts of consumption reduction and lifestyle change were altogether lacking, except when raised by NGOs or Southern countries. Grace Akumu of Climate Africa likened the North-centric emphasis of the talks to the widely protested negotiations of the World Trade Organization (WTO), “Just like the WTO, rich countries are skewing negotiations in their favor.”
I n addition to emphasizing the role of the market in climate strategies, corporate capitalists are seizing on the growing concern about climate change to sell previously controversial projects as “solutions” to global warming. In this way, huge monoculture tree plantations, large-scale production of biofuels, genetically engineered trees and crops, massive hydroelectric projects, and nuclear power can be sold to a Northern audience as a means to maintain a grossly over-consumptive lifestyle while supposedly making a positive contribution to the fight against global warming.
The unfortunate truth about these projects, however, is that they do little to mitigate climate change while causing tremendous environmental and social impacts. This fact led the Global Forest Coalition to organize a weekend workshop called Life as Commerce: Indigenous Peoples Seminar on Carbon Trading, held in Namanga, Kenya on the Tanzanian border during the weekend lull of UNFCCC. The seminar included indigenous representatives from around the world. Some participants gave presentations on the impacts their communities have experienced due to carbon trading schemes in an effort to alert other indigenous representatives about the hidden dangers of carbon offset proposals, many of which are geared toward the lands of indigenous peoples.
Following the seminar, a collection of environmental groups held a press conference in Nairobi to condemn the promotion of such false solutions to global warming. World Rainforest Movement, Global Justice Ecology Project, Gaia Foundation, STOP Genetically Engineered Trees Campaign, Global Forest Coalition, and Large Scale Biofuels Action Network came together to demand real action against climate change and an end to measures that merely relocate the costs of the unsustainable consumption patterns of the North onto poor Southern countries where indigenous communities pay a particularly high price. “Soya plantations in Latin America and palm oil plantations in Indonesia, being developed for biofuels, are driving deforestation and pushing hundreds of thousands of farmers and indigenous peoples off of their lands. Once again the developing countries of the South are being asked to pay the price for the unsustainable lifestyle of the North,” stated Miguel Lovera of Global Forest Coalition.
Ana Filippini, from the World Rainforest Movement, insisted that by their very nature, the temporary carbon storage of monoculture tree plantations cannot be looked at as a permanent solution. They do, however, cause tremendous impacts, including exhaustion of soils and ground water and displacement of indigenous and rural communities who must be evicted from the land to protect the carbon storage of the trees. “The UNFCCC needs to move away from these complicated and fraudulent carbon trading schemes. It should begin to address seriously the issues of how to phase out fossil fuels and how to stop deforestation,” she stated.
Genetically engineered trees and crops promoted as a source for biofuels or a component of carbon sink plantations were also opposed. Arguments against genetically engineered plants and trees are many, and include contamination of native forests and conventional agricultural crops with potentially destructive engineered traits. GE trees have the potential to devastate forest ecosystems by contaminating native trees with pollen or seeds engineered to kill insects, resist toxic herbicides, or grow faster. “The escape of pollen or seeds from GE trees into native forests would cause severe and totally unpredictable ecological impacts that could impact the ability of forests to store carbon, worsening global warming. They must be banned,” insisted Orin Langelle of the STOP GE Trees Campaign.
Regarding the biofuel issue, Dr. Andrew Boswell of the UK-based Large Scale Biofuels Action Network, pointed out that even if biofuels are produced only with conventional non-genetically engineered components, if produced on a large-scale, they will still not be a helpful alternative to fossil fuels. In 2005 competition for grain led to a 60 percent increase in grain prices, favoring the use of grain for biofuels and escalating the numbers of people who cannot access enough food. “The amount of grain needed to produce enough biofuel to fill a single SUV tank could feed a person for a year,” he stated.
The growing demand for biofuels is also driving the logging and burning of native forests in places like Indonesia where land is being cleared to make room for plantations of oil-rich palm trees. In addition to displacing communities and driving species to extinction, this deforestation is accelerating climate change. “Fires in Indonesian forests in 1995 released more carbon emissions than the entire European Union that year. Large-scale production of biofuels is clearly not a strategy that is going to benefit the fight against global warming,” stated Teresa Anderson of the Gaia Foundation.
But perhaps the most contentious climate change abatement strategy is carbon trading. Modeled after the pollution-trading allowed by the U.S. Clean Air Act and championed by Al Gore during his vice presidency, carbon trading enables corporations and governments to avoid reducing greenhouse gas emissions by purchasing carbon credits. These carbon credits can come either from carbon offsetting projects like tree plantations, which are established under the guise of “development” in poor countries, or from countries like Russia that have an excess of carbon credits. Because the carbon emission allowances are based on 1990 emission levels, countries like Russia—which saw many of its industries shut down after 1990—have an abundance of excess carbon emission credits, which they can sell off to the highest bidder. The theory is that the limited supply of carbon credits being traded will kick in the laws of supply and demand and the market will take over and solve the problem. (For an excellent critique, read Carbon Trading: A Critical Conversation on Climate Change, Privatisation and Power , by Larry Lohmann of The Corner House.)
Ignoring for a moment the insufficient emission reduction targets of the Kyoto Protocol—which call only for reductions of 5.2 percent below 1990 levels when climate scientists agree that immediate reductions of at least 60 percent are needed to avoid climate catastrophe; and ignoring the numerous and substantial carbon reduction verification problems with this market-based strategy—there is the inescapable dilemma that the United States, which is the largest emitter of greenhouse gases (with 6 percent of the world’s populace producing 25 percent of the global emissions) will not endorse any global warming strategy.
We cannot continue to put our faith in bodies such as the UN to solve this problem for us. Just as people around the world have risen up against the WTO, massive protests must be organized against leaders that refuse to take real, meaningful action to stave off climate catastrophe. Otherwise we face a very uncertain future.
Anne Petermann is co-director of the U.S.-based Global Justice Ecology Project, which is a founding member of the Durban Group for Climate Justice.
Z Magazine Archive
AnnouncementsLABOR - May 1 is May Day. Workers of the world will celebrate the 124th anniversary of International Worker’s Day. Born out of a call for an 8-hour workday in the United States, this day is an opportunity for all workers to show their solidarity with one another, as well as to renew the call for labor rights.
FARM CONFERENCE - The Farm Conference on Community and Sustainability will be held May 24-26 in Summertown, TN, in partnership with the Fellowship of Intentional Communities. Tour green homes, see sustainable food production, learn about solar installations, alternative education, midwifery, and more.
Contact: Douglas@thefarmcommunity.com; http://www.thefarmcommunity.com/.
PALESTINE - The Conference of the Palestinian Shatat in North American will be held June 3-5 in Vancouver. The conference will examine the future of the Palestinian liberation movement.
Contact: email@example.com; http://www.palestinianconference.org/.
LABOR - The Pacific Northwest Labor History Association’s 45th annual conference will be held May 3-5, in Portland, OR. This year’s theme is Labor Under Attack: Learning from the Past and Preparing for the Future. A call for presentations, workshops and papers is currently underway.
Contact: PNLHA, 27920 68th Ave. East, Graham, WA 98338; 206-406-2604; PNLHA1@aol.com; http://www3.telus.net.
MARIJUANA - On the first Saturday of May marijuana legalization activists will hold informational and educational events, rallies and marches in over 300 cities around the world.
ECONOMICS - The Union For Radical Political Economics will hold its 39th annual conference May 9-11 in New York City.
RECLAIM THE DREAM - The 2013 Poor People’s Campaign & March from Baltimore to Washington D.C. will be May 11. Communities, schools and unions interested in participating are encouraged to contact the Baltimore People’s Assembly.
Contact: 410-500-2168; 410-218-4835; BaltimorePeoplesAssembly@gmail.com; Southern Christian Leadership Conference of Baltimore and the Baltimore Peoples Power Assembly, 2011 N. Charles St., Baltimore, MD 21218.
MOTHER’S DAY - The 17th Annual Mother’s Day Walk For Peace will be May 12th, in Dorchester, MA. The walk began in 1996 for families who had lost children to violence. The day has become a way for thousands of people to financially support the work of the Louis Brown Peace Institute.
Contact: http://www.ldbpeaceinstitute.org/; http://mothersdaywalk4peace.org/.
NATO 5 - An International Week of Solidarity with the NATO 5 has been called for May 16-21. Supports call on supporters to raise awareness of the NATO 5 and support funds for the defendants on the one-year anniversary of their preemptive arrests.
Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org; https://nato5support.wordpress.com.
MOUNTAINTOP - The 2013 Mountain Justice Summer Activist Training Camp will be held May 19-27 in Damascus, VA. It will be a week of workshops, field trips to view Mountain Top Removal coal mines, direct actions, and service project.
FEMINIST SCI-FI - The feminist science fiction convention WisCon 37 is scheduled for May 24-27 in Madison, WI.
Contact: WisCon, ? SF3, PO Box 1624, Madison, WI 53701; email@example.com; http://www.wiscon.info/.
ANARCHY FEST - A month-long Festival of Anarchy is scheduled for May in Montreal. The festival includes The Montreal Anarchist Bookfair (May 19-20).
Contact: http://www.anarchistbookfair.ca/; http://www.radicalmontreal.com/.
LABOR - The International Labor Rights Forum will present: Down the Supply Chain, Driving Corporate Accountability, on May 22 in Washington, DC. The Labor Rights Awards Ceremony and Reception will honor pioneers in supply chain worker organizing, working solidarity and international labor rights policy.
MULTICULTURE - The 26th annual National Conference on Race & Ethnicity in American Higher Education (NCORE) will take place May 28-June 1, in New Orleans.
Contact: SWCHRS, 3200 Marshall Avenue, Suite 290, Norman, OK 73072; 405-325-3694; firstname.lastname@example.org; www.ncore.ou.edu.
MEDIA - The 2013 Alliance for Community Media Annual Conference will be held May 29-31, in San Francisco, CA. Participants will include educators, community leaders, media professionals, journalists, nonprofit leaders, policymakers and students.
RADIO - The 38th Annual Community Radio Conference is schedule for May 29-June 1, in San Francisco, CA, with discussions and workshops.
Contact: 1101 Pennsylvania Ave. NW, Suite 600, Washington, DC 20004; 202-756-2268; email@example.com; http://www.nfcb.org/.
BRADLEY MANNING - On June 1, a rally will be held at Fort Meade in support of Bradley Manning.
BIKES - Bikes Not Bombs is holding its 24th annual Bike-A-Thon and Green Roots Festival in Boston, MA on June 3, with several bike rides scheduled, music, exhibitors and more.
Contact: Bikes Not Bombs, 284 Amory St., Jamaica Plain, MA 02130; 617-522-0222; firstname.lastname@example.org; www.bikesnotbombs.org.
LEFT FORUM - The 2013 Left Forum will be held June 7-9, at Pace University in New York City.
Contact: 365 Fifth Avenue, CUNY Graduated Center, ? Sociology Dept., New York, NY 10016; http://www.leftforum.org/.
VEGAN FEST - Mad City Vegan Fest will be held in Madison, WI, June 8. The annual event features food, speakers, and exhibitors.
Contact: 122 State Street, Suite 405 B, Madison, WI 53701; email@example.com; http://veganfest.org/.
ADC CONFERENCE - The American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee (ADC) holds its annual conference June 13-16, in Washington, DC, with panel discussions and workshops on civil rights, media and other topics.
Contact: 1990 M Street, Suite 610, Washington, DC, 20036; 202-244-2990; firstname.lastname@example.org http://convention.adc.org/.
CUBA/SOCIALISM - A Cuban-North American Dialog on Socialist Renewal and Global Capitalist Crisis will be held in Havana, Cuba, June 16-30. There will be a 5 day Seminar at University of Havana, plus visits to a cooperative, urban garden, community development project, social research centers, and educational & medical institutions.
Contact: email@example.com; http://www.globaljusticecenter.org/.
NETROOTS - The 8th Annual Netroots Nation conference will take place June 20-23 in San Jose, CA. The event features panels, trainings, networking, screenings, and keynotes.
Contact: 164 Robles Way, #276, Vallejo, CA 94591; firstname.lastname@example.org; http://www.netrootsnation.org/.
MEDIA - The 15th annual Allied Media Conference will be held June 20-23, in Detroit.
Contact: 4126 Third Street, Detroit, MI 48201; http://alliedmedia.org/.
GRASSROOTS - The United We Stand Festival will be hosted by Free & Equal, June 22 in Little Rock, Arkansas. The festival aims to reform the electoral process throughout the U.S.
SOCIALISM - The Socialism 2013 Conference is scheduled for June 27-30 in Chicago, featuring talks and panel discussions.
Contact: email@example.com; http://www.socialismconference.org.
LITERACY - The National Association for Media Literacy Education (NAMLE) will hold its conference July 12-13 in Los Angeles under the heading, Intersections: Teaching and Learning Across Media.
Contact: 10 Laurel Hill Drive, Cherry Hill, NJ 08003; http://namle.net/conference/.
IWW - The North American Work People’s College will take place July 12-16 at Mesaba Co-op Park in northern Minnesota. The event will bring together Wobblies from branches across the continent to learn new skills and build One Big Union.
PEACESTOCK - On July 13th, the 11th Annual Peacestock: A Gathering for Peace, will take place at Windbeam Farm in Hager City, WI. The event is a mixture of music, speakers and community for peace. Sponsored by Veterans for Peace.
Contact: Bill Habedank, 1913 Grandview Ave., Red Wing, MN 55066; 651-388-7733; firstname.lastname@example.org; http://www.peacestockvfp.org.
CHILDREN’S DEFENSE - July 15-19, join clergy, seminarians, Christian educators, young adult leaders and other faith-based advocates for children at CDF Haley Farm in Clinton, Tennessee, for five days of spiritual renewal, networking, movement building workshops, and continuing education about the urgent needs of children at the 19th annual Proctor Institute for Child Advocacy Ministry.
Contact: email@example.com; http://www.childrensdefense.org.
ACTIVIST CAMP - Youth Empowered Action (YEA) Camp will have sessions in July and August in Ben Lomond, CA; Portland, OR; Charlton, MA. YEA Camp is designed for activists 12-17 years old who want to make a difference in the world.
Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org; http://yeacamp.org/.
LA RAZA - The annual National Council of La Raza (NCLR) Conference is scheduled for July 18-19 in New Orleans, with workshops, presentations and panel discussions.
Contact: NCLR Headquarters Office, Raul Yzaguirre Building, 1126 16th Street, NW, Washington, DC 20036; 202-785-1670; www.nclr.org.
LABOR - The Eastern Conference For Workplace Democracy: Growing Our Cooperatives, Growing Our Communities, will be held at Drexel University in Philadelphia, PA, July 26-28.
Contact: email@example.com; http://east.usworker.coop/.
WOMEN/LYNNE STEWART- Radical Women is asking for support letters and cards to be sent to Lynne Stewart. Stewart is a civil rights attorney and political prisoner who is currently in jail. She has breast cancer and authorities have denied her request for transfer from her Texas prison to the New York City hospital where she received medical attention during a prior bout of breast cancer. Send messages and cards to: Lynne Stewart 53504-054, Federal Medical Center Carswell, P.O. Box 27137, Fort Worth, TX 76127.
Contact: 747 Polk Street, San Francisco, CA 94109; 415-864-1278; RadicalWomenUS@gmail.com; http://lynnestewart.org/; http://www.radicalwomen.org/.
HAITI/WOMEN - Haiti’s government is considering a legal reform measure that would prohibit and punish all sexual assault, including marital rape. MADRE and the International Campaign to Stop Rape & Gender Violence in Conflict are launching a petition to raise international support for this push to address violence against women in Haiti.
Contact: 121 West 27th Street, #301, New York, NY 10001; 212-627-0444; firstname.lastname@example.org; http://www.madre.org.
SYRIA/MIDDLE EAST - The Middle East Children’s Alliance (MECA) is currently seeking funds to assist more than 200,000 refugees fleeing violence in Syria.
FOLK FESTIVAL - The Falcon Ridge Folk Festival will be held August 2-4, in the Berkshires, NY.
Contact: http://www.falconridgefolk.com/; email@example.com.
WAR RESISTERS - The War Resisters League will hold its 90th anniversary conference, Revolutionary Nonviolence: Building Bridges Across Generations and Communities, August 1-4, at Georgetown University. The event will focus on the U.S.’ long history of antimilitarism.
Contact: 339 Lafayette Street, New York, NY 10012; 212-228-0450; firstname.lastname@example.org; http://www.warresisters.org.
POPULAR ECONOMICS - The Center for Popular Economics is holding its 2013 Summer Institute August 4-9 at Hampshire College in Amherst, MA. No background in economics is needed for this intensive training. This year’s theme is, The Care Economy: Building a Just Economy with a Heart.
Contact: Center for Popular Economics, PO Box 785 Amherst, MA 01004; 413-545-0743; email@example.com; www.populareconomics.org.
VETERANS - Veterans for Peace is holding the 28th annual convention August 6-11 in Madison, WI. This year’s theme is, Power To The Peaceful.
DEMOCRACY - The Democracy Convention will take place August 7-11 in Madison, WI. The convention brings together nine conferences including topics such as media, education, defense, race, environment and others.
MEN - The 38th National Conference on Men & Masculinity: Forging Justice: Creating Safe, Equal and Accountable Communities, presented in partnership with HAVEN, will be held in Detroit, MI, August 8-10.
Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org; http://www.nomas.org/.
OCCUPY - An Occupy National Gathering will be held in Kalamazoo, MI, August 21-25.
Contact: email@example.com; http://occupynationalgathering.net/.
COMMUNITIES - The Communities Conference is a networking and learning opportunity for co-operative or communal lifestyles, with workshops, events and entertainment; scheduled for August 30-September 2 at the Twin Oaks Community in Louisa, Virginia.
LABOR DAY - The 29th annual Bread and Roses Festival, a celebration of the ethnic diversity and labor history of Lawrence, MA, will be held September 2, in honor of the 1912 Bread and Roses Strike. There will be music, dance, poetry, drama, ethnic food, historical demonstrations, walking & trolley tours.
Contact: PO Box 1137, Lawrence, MA 01842; 978-794-1655; http://www.breadandrosesheritage.org/.
OCCUPY WALL STREET - September 17 is the two-year anniversary of the Occupy Wall Street movement. Events are planned in New York City and worldwide.
TEACHERS - The 13th Annual Conference, “Teaching for Social Justice: The Politics of Pedagogy,” will be held October 12 in San Francisco, CA. The free event features workshops, resources, and free childcare.
Contact: 415-676-7844; firstname.lastname@example.org; http://www.t4sj.org/.
HAITI - International Action, which brings clean water and chlorinators to Haiti, seeks office space capable of housing up to six people and their office equipment.
Contact: Zach Bremer, Zbrehmer@haitiwater.org; 202-488-0735; http://www.haitiwater.org/.
MEDIA - The Union for Democratic Communications and Project Censored are sponsoring a joint conference on media democracy, media activism and social justice to be held November 1-3 at the University of San Francisco. Proposals for presentations, workshops and panels from activists and critical scholars are invited.