Tag Archive for 'activism'

Protesters Call On Obama To Reject Keystone XL Pipeline

Photo retrieved from: www.guardian.co.uk

“Tens of thousands of protesters turned out on the National Mall Sunday to encourage President Obama to make good on his commitment to act on climate change.

In his Inaugural address from outside the U.S. Capitol, the president said: “We will respond to the threat of climate change knowing that the failure to do so would betray our children and future generations.”

Just a few weeks later, next to the Washington Monument, Paul Birkeland was one of a couple dozen people holding a long white tube above their heads.

“It’s a backbone. It’s a spine. The idea is to ask the president to have some spine and stand up to oil companies. And reject the Keystone Pipeline,” Birkeland says.

The activists are focusing on the Keystone XL pipeline because it would carry tar sands oil from Alberta, Canada, to refineries on the coast of the Gulf of Mexico. To make this oil, companies use complex extraction and processing techniques that use a lot of energy. So it has a larger greenhouse gas footprint than conventional crude.”

Read more: NPR


Filmmaker bringing story of ‘paya’ to the masses

Photo retrieved from: www.inyoregister.com

“With the 100-year anniversary of the completion of the Los Angeles Aqueduct looming, a filmmaker is asking for help in her effort to tell an untold portion of the Owens Valley water wars.
Jenna Cavelle has been working on her documentary, “PAYA: The Untold Story of the L.A.-Owens Valley Water War” for the past year-and-a-half, and recently launched a Kick Starter page to help raise the funds needed to complete the project by its proposed release date this summer. “Paya” is the Paiute word for “water.”
“For the past 100 years, the L.A. Owens Valley water story always begins and ends with the L.A. Aqueduct,” Cavelle says in an introduction to her documentary at http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/jennacavelle/paya-the-untold-story-o…. “But there is a greater story, an untold story that is rich in history and human achievement. A story that is as much a part of American memory as the creation of our great cities. This story is the history of the Paiute Indians, who populated and irrigated the Owens Valley for millennia, long before the aqueduct was built. This project sheds light on the pre-history of America’s longest water war, telling the story of Paiute Native Americans and the vast irrigation systems they engineered.”
Cavelle has more than 10 years of experience working as a published journalist, photographer and researcher, in Mexico, French Polynesia, Indonesia, Cambodia and throughout the United States.
She said she got the idea for a project that would tell the history of the Paiutes’ water use in the Owens Valley when Bishop Tribal Member Harry Williams appeared as a guest speaker in one of her classes at UC Berkeley. During Williams’ lecture, “I was just completely lit up” when hearing about the Paiute’s history in the Owens Valley, and also “… saddened that this knowledge wasn’t being passed on to the younger generation.”
When the idea began, Cavelle had planned to create a museum exhibit, website and oral history about the Paiutes’ traditional uses of water in the Owens Valley, but as she began working on the project, it evolved.
“The film really didn’t come from me, it came from the community – people wanted to tell the story and reach a broader audience,” she said.”

Read more: The Inyo Register

Goldman Prize for Kenyan River Activist Ikal Angelei

Photo retrieved from: www.internationalrivers.org

“Ikal Angelei, the founder of Friends of Lake Turkana in Kenya, receives the prestigious Goldman Environmental Prize in San Francisco today. The award will honor an activist who is defending the interests of 500,000 poor indigenous people against a destructive hydropower dam, and has successfully taken on many of the world’s biggest dam builders and financiers.

Ikal Angelei grew up on the shores of Lake Turkana, the world’s biggest desert lake. This lifeline of Northwestern Kenya is under threat from the giant Gibe III Dam, currently under construction on the lake’s main water source, the Omo River in Ethiopia. When she learned about this threat, Ikal founded Friends of Lake Turkana with a few friends in 2007. Working together with partners around the world, she started an international campaign to stop the mega-dam which threatens her people’s livelihoods.”

Read more: International Rivers

Thousands Protest Against Patagonia Dams

Photo retrieved from: www.internationalrivers.org

“In a massive outpouring of public opposition to Chile’s controversial HidroAysén dam project, thousands of people are taking to the streets in 17 cities across Chile today to call on the Chilean government to cancel the project. The first action of the day took place in Valdivia, where hundreds of people interrupted President Piñera during an opening ceremony for a lakeside promenade. Actions will be taking place throughout the afternoon and evening across the country, with the largest expected to take place in Santiago beginning at 6:30pm. The rallying cry for these events has been “Juntos paremos HidroAysén: Ahora es cuando,” or “Together we’ll stop HidroAysén: The time is now.”

April 26 was named a national day of action for a Patagonia Without Dams after HidroAysén submitted its environmental impact assessment for the third time to Chilean authorities seeking an environmental license for the project. The Commission of Environmental Evaluation of the Aysén Region has until May 16 to make a decision about the project. The Chilean government is widely believed to be in favor of approving the project with conditionalities, but the Patagonia Sin Represas – “Patagonia Without Dams” – campaign is planning to step up pressure on the government to reject the project.

“This month an IPSOS poll found that 61.1% of Chileans are against HidroAysén and damming Patagonia, nearly double the figure of only two years ago. We are calling on the Piñera government to respect the will of the people and refuse to approve HidroAysén. Today’s actions are just the first in a series of actions aimed at stepping up the pressure on Piñera in the coming weeks,” said Patricio Segura of the Patagonia Sin Represas coalition.”

Read more: International Rivers


Movement Against Barro Blanco Dam in Panama Heats Up

Photo retrieved from: www.internationalrivers.org

“Since then, the indigenous movement against the project, led by the M10 (the April 10 Movement for the Defense of the Tabasara River, which gathers all the affected communities along the banks of the Tabasara River) has really heated up. For 15 days, they have shut down part of the Pan-American Highway and camped outside of the dam site, effectively stopping construction.

The beginning of the day would start with group prayers in Ngobe and in Spanish requesting the help from the Almighty in thisunequal struggle. The M10 (April 10 Movement for the Defense of the Tabasará) which gathers all the affected communities on the banks of the Tabasará River (which is sacred to the Ngobe Bugle Indians) protest group have already 12 days camped outside of the entrance of the Barro Blanco Dam project site, thereby effectivelyblocking the entrance of additional machinery to the project site. The two remaining machines have long run dry of fuel and are unable to continue with their tasks of devastation of the Tabasará riverbed.
The protesters have nothing to lose, they are even willing to give up their lives if need be I was told. Just as one of the leaders told me” I am losing 5 hectares of my best farming land to the project so I have nothing to lose”.  They even dared to close one of the lanes of the Pan-American hwy. (because according to Panamanian legislation closing up one lane is still considered “peaceful protest”) but also threatening to entirely block the entire highway. The police immediately came to the scene to warn then, but after two hours they returned to their designated point. They were even ad-vised against this by their fellow indigenous leaders, that it’s better to maintain theirpoint at the entrance as a peaceful struggle than lose everything in the desperation.”


Blogging for Water: SUCCESS!

Photo retrieved from: www.tprf.org

“Lots of fun was had by all as over 100 bloggers spent March 22, World Water Day, blogging to raise $10,000 in 24 hours to bring sustainable clean water to villagers in India. The initiative, called typeTAP, was the brainchild of The Adventure Project, an innovative non-profit founded last year with the aim of raising awareness and funds to support the world’s most effective social ventures.

The idea was to find at least 100 bloggers who could inspire at least 10 readers to give US$10 to assure clean water for villagers in India. In the end 148 bloggers joined in, 321 donations were made, and as midnight arrived, the popular project had raised $11,390.  With matching funds from TPRF,  over $22,780 will go to train local mechanics to repair hundreds of broken-down pumps that have left countless villagers with no ready source of clean water.

All funds collected go to WaterAid, a charity that takes a unique approach to providing the poorest communities with potable water. Rather than building and abandoning wells that would quickly fall into disrepair, WaterAid equips and trains villagers to repair water sources across their region. More unique still, they strive to educate women so that they can become economically independent participants in what are often conservatively traditional communities.”

Read more: The Prem Rawat Foundation


Oscar-Nominated ‘Gasland’ Director Calls Latest Attack on His Film ‘Outlandish’ and Tells Why the Industry Is Getting Desperate

Photo retrieved from: www.heatingoil.com

“When the gas industry sent an open letter this month to the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences demanding it revoke its best documentary nomination for the gas-drilling exposé Gasland, many seemed surprised by this brazen missive.

Gasland director Josh Fox wasn’t one of those people.

“What this points to is the culture of that industry, which is bullying, which is aggressive, which is outlandish in their tactics, which will stop at nothing,” Fox told AlterNet during a nearly hour-long interview.

The Oscar nomination, of course, ensures wider attention to the dangers of the natural gas drilling process called hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, on our nation’s water supply, air quality and overall impact on citizens’ health.

Gasland already won the prize for best documentary at the 2010 Sundance Film Festival and debuted on HBO last summer. The film’s Facebook page boasts 40,000 followers — which Fox said is “like a news ticker of gas drilling contamination stories” — with people linking to the latest reports of poisoned aquifers, sickened citizens and calls for drilling moratoriums, as well as first-person accounts of those living in the gaslands.

Fox and actor/activist Mark Ruffalo stormed Capitol Hill a few days ago, garnering heightened national attention to the issue as they called for an immediate federal moratorium on natural gas drilling.”

Read more: AlterNet

Kenyans to Protest Chinese Involvement in Ethiopia’s Gibe III Dam

Photo retrieved from: www.ethiofocus.yolasite.com

“The mammoth $1.7 billion Gibe 3 Dam project to be constructed on the Omo River, some 300 kilometres south-west of the Ethiopian capital Addis Ababa, is the largest project to ever be implemented in Ethiopia. Once completed, it will stand at 240 metres high – to become the tallest dam in Africa – and hold a 211 km2 reservoir behind it. Construction begun in 2006 and the first power production was scheduled for 2011, while the dam would be completed in 2012. Ethiopia hopes to produce 1,870 megawatt, more than double the country’s current installed capacity and make $ 400 million from power export to Kenya, Sudan and Djibouti.

Communities living within the Omo River-Lake Turkana basin are opposed to this project that will inflict permanent damage to their way of life and peace in the region. Damming the Omo River will permanently change the river’s flood patterns which the Ethiopian communities living in the lower Omo basin have depended on for centuries. It will also reduce or completely cut out inflow of water into Lake Turkana – which depends on the river for 90% of its water – especially during the period of filling up the reservoir. “These drastic changes will irreparably destroy the lives of some 700,000 already disadvantaged people in both Kenya and Ethiopia”, said Ikal Angelei, Director of Friends of Lake Turkana.

Due to the project’s unpopularity and its potential social and environmental injustices, various prospective donors – including the World Bank and the European Investment Bank (US$341 million loan) – have withdrawn their support. The African Development Bank was also considering funding the project.”

Read more: African Press Agency

For the Freedom of Rolling Rivers

Wang Yongchen on her 10th journey to the Salween River. Photo retrieved from: www.china.org.cn

“In order to gain a better understanding of the Salween River issue, Wang set out on a nine-day expedition with volunteers and media reporters in February 2004. This first trip to the Salween River produced a large number of pictures and written and audio records. When the voyagers returned to Beijing, they financed the “Love Salween River” photography show.

“We just want to introduce the beauty of the Salween River to more people and gather more support from them,” they said. “Even if the power station goes on to be built, we still need to tell the public and later generations what the river was once like.”

According to Wang, there are options available in choosing potential sources of energy, but there is no way to turn the clock back once the natural eco-environment has been destroyed. “A lot of people will be displaced in order to develop hydropower in the government’s poverty relief effort. But will they gain prosperity once removed from their roots? From their traditions? How many generations did it take to form their customs and culture? And it could all be destroyed in the blink of an eye.”

On February 18, 2004, Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao wrote in his instruction on the Salween River dam project that: “A scientific decision will be made through cautious discussion on such a large-scale hydropower project that has generated widespread public concern and provokes different opinions from environmental groups.” When the instruction was issued, Wang and her friends were still wandering in the valleys of the river. When she read the news on her cell phone, she couldn’t help but cry aloud.”

Read more: China.org.cn

4,000 Hold Protest To Save Agusan Watershed

Photo retrieved from: www.balatucan.com

“SAN FRANCISCO, Agusan del Sur — At least 4,000 people joined Saturday’s “Motor Caravan to Save Mt. Magdiwata” in a bid to stop illegal miners from encroaching into the watershed forest reserve surrounding the 633-meter high peak to cut trees for mining tunnels.

The local parish priest and other religious leaders led prominent citizens and representatives of business and other sectors in a motor caravan protest aimed to stop logging, mining and other destructive activities that threaten the water supply of around 100,000 residents of this capital town.

The caravan of about 200 vehicles, including some 10-wheeler trucks, marched through the town’s major streets to end up at the foot of the Mt. Magdiwata range. Protesters in open cargo trucks bore placards, and chanted “Stop mining, stop cutting trees inside Mt. Magdiwata.”

San Francisco Water District General Manager Elmer Luzon, who joined the march and led his colleagues, said his office decided to take to the streets to dramatize their continuing opposition to ongoing illegal mining and logging activities inside the watershed.

“We have already tried all legal means and done exhaustive leg work to coordinate with various government agencies, but it seems it was not enough as illegal logging and mining activities continue to this day,” Luzon said.”

Read more: GMA News