Archive for the 'greenwashing' Category

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Brazil Opens Indigenous Lands to Dams, Mining, and Military Bases in “National Interest”

Photo retrieved from: www.earthfirstnews.wordpress.com

“A directive signed Monday by Brazil’s Solicitor-General could hamper the efforts of indigenous tribes to win government recognition of their traditional lands, reports Survival International, a human rights group focused on native peoples.

The directive “opens up all indigenous areas to mineral, dams, roads, military bases and other developments of ‘national interest’ without the need to consult with or address concerns of indigenous peoples”, according to an expert familiar with the directive who asked to remain anonymous. It also restricts demarcation of new indigenous territories.

Survival International called the move “disastrous” citing the plight of the Guarani tribe, some members of which are waiting “in roadside camps or overcrowded reserves” for their ancestral lands to be mapped and allocated.”

Read more: Earth First!

 

Mexican Communities Fight Mini-Dams

Photo retrieved from: www.ipsnews.net

“Small-scale hydroelectric dams with a capacity of under 30 MW are seen by the authorities in Mexico as an important alternative for generating energy. But local communities reject them on the argument that they would cause social, economic and environmental damages.

On the front line of the struggle are communities in the southern states of Puebla, Tabasco, Veracruz, Oaxaca and Chiapas, where there is great potential to harness hydro energy with small dams.

“They claim the so-called mini-hydroelectric plants don’t have a negative impact on communities, but people already have the necessary information to know that any kind of dam has an impact,” activist Angélica Castro, coordinator of public advocacy and citizen participation in Services for Alternative Education (EDUCA), told IPS.

EDUCA, a non-governmental organisation in Oaxaca, has been working since 2006 with the people of 39 communities in six municipalities in that state that would be affected by a 510 MW dam that the state Federal Electricity Commission (CFE) plans to build on the Verde River.”

Read more: IPS

 

California’s Jerry Brown: Water Tunnel

Photo retrieved from: www.npr.org

“Calif. Gov. Jerry Brown and U.S. Interior Secretary Ken Salazar announced a new $23.7 billion proposal that would build a twin tunnel system to carry water from the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta over to the southern part of the state.

Water in Southern California has become an intractable problem. The frustration was evident at the press conference, when Brown dropped a four-letter expletive.”

The Sacramento Bee reports:

“‘Analysis paralysis is not why I came back 30 years later to handle some of the same issues,’ the 74-year-old former governor said. ‘At this stage, as I see many of my friends dying — I went to the funeral of my best friend a couple of weeks ago — I want to get s—- done.’

“The Democratic governor has been seeking a way to move water through or around the Delta since he was governor before. He persuaded the Legislature three decades ago to approve a peripheral canal, but the measure was defeated in a referendum in 1982.”

Read more: NPR

 

Some Fracking Critics Use Bad Science

Photo retrieved from: www.activistpost.com

“In the debate over natural gas drilling, the companies are often the ones accused of twisting the facts. But scientists say opponents sometimes mislead the public, too.

Critics of fracking often raise alarms about groundwater pollution, air pollution, and cancer risks, and there are still many uncertainties. But some of the claims have little — or nothing— to back them.

For example, reports that breast cancer rates rose in a region with heavy gas drilling are false, researchers told The Associated Press.

Fears that natural radioactivity in drilling waste could contaminate drinking water aren’t being confirmed by monitoring, either.

And concerns about air pollution from the industry often don’t acknowledge that natural gas is a far cleaner burning fuel than coal.

“The debate is becoming very emotional. And basically not using science” on either side, said Avner Vengosh, a Duke University professor studying groundwater contamination who has been praised and criticized by both sides.”

Read more: Associated Press

 

Will Southern’s California Controversial Desalination Plant Get Off the Ground? Here’s the Last Hurdle it Faces

Photo retrieved from: www.alternet.org

“After more than a decade spent talking about building a large-scale ocean desalination plant in Carlsbad, California, the private equity firm proposing to finance the project has one last hurdle to overcome: It needs someone to agree to buy the water.

Poseidon Resources has put forth several iterations over the years of its proposed plant in San Diego County, expected to produce up to 50 million gallons of freshwater daily. In one attempt, Poseidon inked agreements with local water agencies claiming it could sell water at no greater cost than imported water supplies.

But investors and members of the San Diego County Water Authority, both of whom Poseidon needs for support, balked at the claim and those agreements were scrapped.

Read more: AlterNet

 

 

Study Shows Underground Paths Boost Risk of Fracking Pollution

 

Photo retrieved from: www.whyfiles.org

“Researchers found it was unlikely that shale gas drilling had caused higher levels of salinity in some of the water wells sampled, since the briny wells were either not near drilling operations or showed higher salinity prior to drilling.

However, the examination also suggested that there must be natural pathways through which gases and salty brine liquid from deep in the Earth can travel in order to infiltrate and change the quality of shallow water wells.

“This could mean that some drinking water supplies in northeastern Pennsylvania are at increased risk for contamination, particularly from fugitive gases that leak from shale gas well casings,” Vengosh said.

The study focused on the northeastern Pennsylvania region and included 426 samples from groundwater aquifers in six counties overlying the Marcellus shale formation.

The formation is located about a mile underground and contains highly saline water that is naturally enriched with salts, metals and radioactive elements.

Valleys appeared to be particularly vulnerable, said Nathaniel Warner, a PhD student at Duke who was lead author on the study.”

Read more: AlterNet

Bottled-Water Habit Keeps Tight Grip on Mexicans

Photo retrieved from: www.nytimes.com

“In Iztapalapa and in many communities across Mexico, talk of tap water is a constant — whether there is any, how it smells, what color it is, or whether it carries sand, mud or unspecified insect life.

Despite reassurances from the authorities that municipal plants pump clean water into the supply network, skepticism is widespread, even when politicians sometimes come forward to guzzle some tap water in public to make a point. “Who knows?” Mr. Montero asked.

A study released last year by the Inter-American Development Bank found that Mexicans used about 127 gallons of bottled water per person a year, more than four times the bottled-water consumption in the United States and more than any country surveyed.

“People are using this water for cooking, for bathing their babies,” said Federico Basañes, division chief for water and sanitation at the development bank.

There is a similar move toward jugs of clean water in countries like China, Indonesia and Thailand, the development bank found, as rising incomes give residents the ability to buy bottled water.”

Read more: New York Times

 

Amazon Indians Occupy Belo Monte Dam Site

Photo retrieved from: www.earthfirst.wordpress.com

“An estimated 200 indigenous people from Brazil’s Amazon region have occupied a work area at the Belo Monte dam construction site, at least partially halting work on the controversial mega project on the Xingu river.

The indigenous people are from at least four tribes – the Xikrin, Juruna, Parakana and Araras – and are protesting against what they say is the negative effects of the construction.

They say the construction runoff is muddying the waters and drying up parts of the river they use to fish.

They are also upset that mitigation projects or compensation promised to the indigenous people by the builders to minimize effects of the construction have been slow to materialize.

The indigenous people have occupied one of work sites of the dam since last Thursday, making it the longest occupation of its kind on the construction site.

The builders have halted work on the part of the dam that is being occupied by the indigenous people, but say work continues unabated in other areas. (The construction site is so big it’s divided up into multiple work sites).

According to a local federal prosecutor, the builders’ judicial request to have the Indians removed by force by police was rejected by a federal judge over the weekend.”

Read more: Aljazeera

‘Shock Doctrine’ in Action: Vital Freshwater Resources Under Attack by Privatization Capitalists

Photo retrieved from: www.alternet.org

“We are countless compared to the infinitesimal contingency who live to profit off of water. For the purposes of Patagonia Rising, screening now in New York and beyond, that includes the privatization capitalists of HidroAysen, which is planning to build five hydroelectric power plants (marketspeak for dams) to choke off Chile’s glacially fed Baker and Pascua rivers, two of the planet’s purest. Signed by President Sebastien Pinera, the first billionaire to be sworn into the Chilean presidency, but stalled thanks to vigorous protests, HidroAysen would effectively hand over almost all of Chile’s energy market to a duopoly run by Spain’s Endesa and Italy’s Enel. And they’re not exactly hiding their distaste for environmental impact of five dams cornering the prize jewel of Patagonia’s freshwater business.”

“This exploits the best use of water,” a HidroAysen executive argues in Patagonia Rising. “That’s sustainability.”

Read more: AlterNet

The Belo Monte Dam: An Environmental Crime

Photo retrieved from: www.internationalrivers.org

“Meanwhile, three thousand kilometres north, and unbeknownst to most participants at Rio +20, the Brazilian government is carrying out an objectionable project: a series of dams in the heart of the Amazon rainforest. The Belo Monte and Madeira Dam complexes are already underway. They are part of a larger scheme known as the Integrated Regional Infrastructure for South America (IIRSA), supported by Brazil’s Accelerated Growth Programme (PAC). The Brazilian Development Bank (BNDES) has publicly committed to funding up to 80% of the project. The ultimate objective is to create a trans-Brazilian system of waterways to connect through Peru and Bolivia, to transport raw material exports to China, Japan and North America.

On the 16th of June 2012, protesters stormed the construction site of the Belo Monte Dam. They dug a channel through the earth coffer dam, chanting ‘Free the Xingu.’ They lay on the dam, their bodies spelling out the words ‘Pare Belo Monte:’ Stop Belo Monte.

These dams are already impacting the livelihoods of local communities, threatening the cultural identities of indigenous tribes and devastating the environment.

The Madeira Dam complex should serve as a warning of what we can expect from Belo Monte, and the other dams. The Madeira complex will consist of four dams: the Santo Antonio and Jirau which are already under construction, the Cachuela Esperanza Dam on the Beni River near Riberalta, Bolivia which is nearly ready for construction and the Guajará-Mirim Dam on the Madeira River upstream from Abunã, which is in the planning stages. Very little is being admitted publicly about these last two dams.”

Read more: International Rivers