Last week, more than 60 activists protested outside the Le Parc Hotel in San Francisco against the presentation of Blue Green Alliance’s Right Stuff Award to governor Jerry Brown. Brown did not turn up to accept the award.
The protesters included indigenous leaders, environmentalists and labour activists, and they focussed on Brown’s support of fracking in California and support of REDD. One of the people at the protest was Steve Ongerth, founder of the IWW Environmental Caucus. He spoke about how much the Blue Green Alliance has changed since it was established in 1998 by two Earth First!ers. (The Blue Green Alliance seems to have forgotten this part of its history – on its website, it states that it was founded in 2006.) In a piece on Counterpunch, Ongerth describes Jerry Brown as “The Wrong Stuff”:
Governor Brown is not Green. He is fast-tracking the Bay Delta Conservation Plan (BDCP), a pork barrel boondoggle to divert massive quantities of water from the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta for Big Ag and Big Oil, which will lead to the extinction of many fish species. Brown recently signed SB4 which greenlights “fracking” in California.
Tom Goldtooth, of the Indigenous Environmental Network, was also part of the protest. He spoke out against carbon trading and REDD.
And here is the statement that Tom Goldtooth gave at the protest:
San Francisco, Oct. 17 – Governor Jerry Brown of California was slated to receive the Blue Green Alliance’s Right Stuff award for environmentalism in San Francisco this evening but did not show up perhaps because he knew it was going to be protested. Outside of the awards ceremony at the Parc 55 Hotel, people protested including Tom Goldtooth, Executive Director of the Indigenous Environmental Network who read the following statement.
PRESS STATEMENT OF TOM GOLDTOOTH
Behind the backs of the People of California, Gov. Brown advances a policy harmful to Indigenous Peoples and Mother Earth
Contacts: Tom Goldtooth, Indigenous Environmental Network (218) 760-0442 email@example.com
Pennie Plant, Idle No More Solidarity Bay firstname.lastname@example.org
Despite being awarded, as I speak, for his supposed environmentalism, Governor Brown is moving ahead with a policy that grabs land, clear-cuts forests, destroys biodiversity, abuses Mother Earth, pimps Father Sky and threatens the cultural survival of Indigenous Peoples.
This policy privatizes the air we breathe. Commodifies the clouds. Buy and sells the atmosphere. Corrupts the Sacred.
This policy is called carbon trading and REDD. REDD stands for Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and forest Degradation. But REDD really means Reaping profits from Evictions, land grabs, Deforestation and Destruction of biodiversity. REDD does nothing to reduce greenhouse gas emissions at source. And REDD may result in the biggest land grab of the last 500 years.
The State of California is ALREADY using national forests and tree plantations as supposed sponges for its pollution instead of reducing greenhouse gas emissions at source. The infamous oil giant Shell is using forests in Michigan to offset its refinery in Martinez, California.[i] California is at the vanguard of REDD in the world and posed to do REDD internationally.
REDD is bad for the climate, bad for the environment, bad for Californians, bad for human rights and bad for the economy.
REDD-type and carbon offset projects are already causing human rights violations, land grabs and environmental destruction.[ii] California, you do not want Indigenous Peoples’ blood on your hands. You do not want to be complicit in the Continent Grab of Africa.[iii] Governor Brown, you do not want to contribute to the destruction of the climate by allowing corporate criminals like Shell and Chevron off the hook.[iv] California must not include REDD in its climate law. It is matter of life and death for communities and the climate, and, ultimately, even for Californians.
Officially, California is telling us there is no date to make a decision about international REDD. However, meanwhile behind the backs of the good People of California, the State of California is charging ahead with this false solution to climate change that will render the planet uninhabitable and threaten YOUR future. The Governor recently returned from China where he talked climate and REDD. Behind your backs, California is negotiating the fine print of REDD risk insurance with oil giant Chevron.[v] Yes, Chevron, California’s biggest polluter, infamous for its destruction of the Ecuadorian Amazon and sending 15,000 Californians to the hospital last year after the explosion in its Richmond refinery.
Indigenous Peoples, environmental justice organizations and human rights advocates requested a meeting with Governor Brown to explain our grave global and local concerns with REDD but haven’t received even an acknowledgement of our request. But we are here right now!
- REDD is bad for the climate because it lets climate criminals like Shell, Chevron and fracking companies off the hook.
- REDD is bad for the environment because it includes clear-cutting, logging and tree plantations which destroy biodiversity.
- REDD is bad for Californians because it allows polluters to not reduce their pollution and cause more asthma and cancer.
- REDD is bad for human rights. REDD-type projects are already resulting in massive land grabs, violent evictions, forced relocation and carbon slavery.
- REDD is bad for the economy because the carbon market is crashing and investing in it is bad business.
Over a century ago, Chief Seattle asked “How can you buy and sell the sky?” Well, that is exactly what California is doing. That is what Governor Jerry Brown is allowing to be done. This does not deserve an award.
Sitting Bull says that “the warrior’s task is to take care of the future of humanity.”
The future of humanity is precisely what is at stake.
- Do we want more pollution?
- Do we want more cancer and asthma?
- Do we want more climate change?
- Do we want carbon trading?
- Do we want REDD?
It is time to defend Mother Earth and Father Sky. Your future depends on it.
[i] Reuters Point Carbon, Shell to buy 500,000 California forest carbon credits.
[ii] A Dozen of the Worst REDD-type Projects.
[iii] The Worst RED-type Projects in Africa.
[iv] Exposing REDD, video.
[v] California To Put Buyers On The Hook For Forest Offsets.
PHOTO Credit: indybay.org.