World Rainforest Movement: Dangerous Impacts of “Zero Deforestation”

African oil palm plantations. Photo: Langelle

Communities facing Zero Deforestation pledges: the case of OLAM in Gabon

World Rainforest Movement 19 February 2020

“Zero deforestation” pledges are one more idea in the list of voluntary initiatives created in the past 10-15 years to supposedly address the negative impacts of industrial agriculture commodity crops. Oil palm plantation companies have responded to pressure from global food corporations such as Unilever, Nestle and Mars and made a commitment to “zero deforestation”1. Global food corporations are major buyers of palm oil and they, as well as the financial backers of oil palm companies, have started to feel consumer pressure about the contribution made by these companies to the destruction of the world’s tropical forests. A growing number of European and North American consumers want to be assured that their purchase of chocolate, biscuits, soap or lipstick does not contribute to this destruction.

But has it resulted in anything significant?

Undoubtedly one outcome of “zero deforestation” pledges has been a surge in paper work. Along with specific policies that have been generated to guide the implementation of these commitments, international declarations about the world´s forests that have been signed by governments, NGOs and corporations, along with certification schemes, now mention “zero deforestation” in their documents.

The commitments are also useful propaganda for oil palm companies that are concerned about creating a positive image and ‘greening up’ their reputation, having been targeted for years as drivers of deforestation.

What is striking, however, is the absence of information on the experiences of communities living inside or adjacent to the plantation areas of companies that have signed “zero deforestation” pledges.

In response to this deficit, a field study was carried out with communities located in and around four concession areas used by the agribusiness company OLAM in the province of Ngounie, which is located in central-southern Gabon, a densely forested country in Central Africa. OLAM actively promotes industrial oil palm plantations in Gabon, while supposedly committing to “zero deforestation” in 2017. The villages that were visited in these four concession areas are facing varying degrees of impacts from OLAM´s activities.

Women in particular face severe consequences as a result of these plantations, yet their voices are often absent in studies on the impacts of industrial oil palm plantations. To address this gap, the research teams placed emphasis during the field visits on allowing women to access a space to share their experiences, by way of conversations within women-only groups.

To read more visit World Rainforest Movement

Watch Now: Man Camp 1 Minute Video

Josie “You Are Not Forgotten.” Photo: GJEP/Langelle

Last year 5,590 Indigenous women were reported missing to the FBI’s National Crime Information Center…

Indigenous women have been silently disappearing for generations. The growing movement around missing and murdered Indigenous women comes from the fact that growing numbers of Indigenous women know someone who has died violently or disappeared.

For more information on these issues check out Corine and Josie’s full length interviews:

These videos were filmed by Steve Taylor and produced by Global Justice Ecology Project. The interviews occurred during “The Resurgence: 2019 North American Forest & Climate Movement Convergence” inside the Shawnee National Forest located in Southern Illinois in October 2019. It was convened by the Indigenous Environmental Network, Global Justice Ecology Project and Shawnee Forest Defense!

For more information on the Convergence:


Ongoing Demonstrations In Support of Wet’suwet’en Shut Down Rail Traffic

Photo via Wet’suwet’en Supporter Toolkit 2020

A few weeks ago we got an update from Molly Wickham, a Gidimt’en Clan member, on Sojourner Truth with Margaret Prescod​. Here’s the link to her interview in case you missed it.

Mohawk protest continues to halt rail traffic on the Toronto-to-Montreal corridor

CBC News 11 February 2020

Via Rail has cancelled another 33 train trips departing Toronto for points east Tuesday due to an ongoing demonstration in support of Wet’suwet’en pipeline opponents.

Tyendinaga Mohawk members say they won’t end their demonstration near Belleville, Ont., until the RCMP leaves the territory of the Wet’suwet’en in northwestern B.C., where there have been numerous arrests of protesters who have been blocking an access road.

The CN-owned tracks near Belleville run just outside the reserve boundaries of Tyendinaga, but are within a land claim that stretches to Highway 2, just north of the crossing.

The protest camp’s proximity to the tracks has prompted the shutdown of passenger and freight traffic since Thursday.
For more information visit CBC News.


California State Legislature Flirtation with Climate Geoengineering Merits Scrutiny

Photo: Biofuelwatch

Thanks for your attention to this story linked and pasted below. There is background material available on climate geoengineering on the Hands Off Mother Earth website.
Please check out the new updated report on biochar from Biofuelwatch which relates directly to the increasing promotion in Sacramento of climate geoengineering in the form of “negative emissions.”
We will have more material exploring dynamics regarding the rapid acceleration in promotion of climate geoengineering as a climate solution coming soon.
By Gary Graham Hughes, Biofuelwatch

California State Legislature Flirtation with Climate Geoengineering Raises Questions and Merits Scrutiny

A mysterious bill regarding the development of a protocol for measuring “radiative forcing” as a climate action indicator stalled out in the California Senate last year. While legislative staff for the author of the bill have insisted that the purpose of the bill is strictly for promoting study and research of the climate, a close look at materials and stakeholders supporting the bill reveal a strong connection with climate geoengineering.

The bill, authored by Santa Monica State Senator Ben Allen, was introduced in February of 2019, and would explicitly require the California Air Resources Board “to adopt a climate accounting protocol to evaluate the potential of proposed climate mitigation and restoration actions to reduce radiative forcing and excess heat in the atmosphere to reduce the global and regional mean temperatures.”

The direct use of the bill language regarding climate “restoration” actions to “reduce radiative forcing” is unequivocally a reference to climate geoengineering. This would include geoengineering hypotheticals like Solar Radiation Management (SRM) – essentially unproven technologies such as injecting substances into the upper-atmosphere to reflect the heat of the sun away from the Earth.

The bill was sponsored by a handful of established atmospheric scientists, and with the lobby acumen of the prominent Sacramento firm Conservation Strategy Group the bill was able to advance through the Senate Environmental Quality Committee and the Senate Committee on Natural Resources and Water before it stalled out in the Senate Appropriations Committee, where it currently resides, and is likely to expire. Legislative staff familiar with the bill indicated that the bill is unlikely to advance or be reintroduced in the 2020 legislative session.

To read more visit Biofuelwatch


Fires Lead To Red Alert In Chile

Photo: Salvaged bed frame during Chile’s 2017 devastating fires. Photo: Langelle

The Lumaco district of Chile is dominated by Mapuche communities, 60% of which live in poverty due to the theft of their land for industrial tree plantations under the Pinochet dictatorship.  Many have no, or very limited access to water due to the dominant eucalyptus and pine plantations in the region.  Industrial pine and eucalyptus plantations also played a major role in Chile’s historic wildfires of 2016-2017.

For more coverage see our Chile blog here.

Red Alert Issued in Two Chilean Communes Due to Forest Fires

Telesur 2 February 2020

Chile’s National Office for Emergency issued Sunday a red alert for the municipalities of Temuco and Lumaco after a forest fire broke out in the area.

Chilean authorities said the fire, dubbed “Tromen,” has already affected four hectares in Temuco, the capital of the central Araucania region.

The fire is close to the inhabited sectors of Lumaco, “high temperatures, humidity, and winds in the commune are leading to the spread of forest fires,” the Office of Emergencies added.

“All necessary and available resources will be mobilized, in additional support to what has already been deployed by the [National Forest Corporation] Conaf, the firefighters, and the National Civil Protection System,” the Emergency Office said.

The authorities confirmed that at the moment, five forest fires are active in the region, also keeping the red alert in the commune of Traiguen, in the Araucania region.

For more information visit Telesur