Spring 2008 Newsletter

Global Justice Ecology Project’s E-Newsletter Spring 2008

It has been a long and busy winter for the staff at Global Justice Ecology project. In this e-newsletter you will find some brief updates on our work from the last few months, to keep you up to date on the progress of our work.

GJEP Community Potluck: We organized our January community potluck with a presentation about our work at the UN Climate Convention. We showed a powerpoint slideshow of GJEP Co-Director Orin Langelle’s photos from Bali.  A reporter from the Burlington Free Press attended and wrote an article titled “Hinesburg Residents Report on Climate Change.”

March Toward a Better World & Global Warming Panel: GJEP joined with the Vermont Workers Center, Iraq Veterans Against the War and others to organize a march in Burlington on January 26th that united the themes of “Bring the Troops Home Now!”, “Health Care is a Right” and “Climate Justice Now!”  Hundreds of people marched through the streets of Burlington as part of a global day of action for “Another World is Possible.”
Following the march, we organized a panel on false solutions to global warming that featured Larry Lohmann of The Corner House and Jutta Kill of Fern, both co-founders of The Durban Group for Climate Justice.  They challenged the plans by governments, states (including Vermont) and corporations to use of carbon trading and carbon offsets as a means to address climate change.

New Baby!  GJEP Communications Assistant Phiona Hamilton-Gordon had a 6 pound 9 ounce baby boy on January 25th.

Orin’s Leave of Absence: Orin took some much-needed time off in January to rejuvenate and prepare for all of our upcoming plans for the late winter and spring.

Scientific Body of the UN Convention on Biological Diversity: In mid-February Co-Directors Orin Langelle and Anne Petermann went to Rome for a meeting of the scientific body of the UNCBD. At the meeting the issue of GE trees was discussed to decide what recommendations to make to the full body of the UN Convention on Biological Diversity that meets in May, 2008 in Bonn.  In Bonn we will be working with our organizational, indigenous, and scientific allies from around the world to demand the UN CBD pass an international ban on the release of GE trees into the environment.

GJEP Press: Orin and Anne had an article and photos from the UN Climate Convention in the February 2008 issue of Z Magazine.  The article is titled, “Bali: Roadmap to Disaster.”  A feature about GJEP’s work in Bali during the UN Climate Convention appeared in the Burlington Free Press (Vermont’s largest daily paper) on January 31st.  Anne was interviewed for an article on global warming activities we organized which appeared in Seven Days, a weekly arts and variety publication covering a large part of Vermont.

Seven Days also did a feature on Orin’s photography and activism titled: Shutterbuggin’ in the February 20th issue. You can view it at www.7dvt.com/2008/shutterbuggin.

Sara Armstrong joins GJEP staff: Sara has joined us as our new Campaigns and Office Assistant.  Welcome Sara!

Left Forum Panel on Global Warming: Anne spoke on a global warming panel at the Left Forum in New York City.  She spoke on the links between global warming and global war and about the need for more protests and direct action to demand real action to stop global climate catastrophe.  Other panelists included Ted Glick of the Climate Crisis Coalition and Michael Dorsey, Dartmouth College professor and Durban Group member.  For the full text of Anne’s talk, co-written with Orin, go to: http://www.globaljusticeecology.org/connections.php?ID=104

Photo Opening: GJEP’s reception for the photo exhibit: “Corporate Globalization vs. Global Justice: Part II, The Struggle Continues” featuring photos by Orin was held March 21st. It will be displayed at the ArtPath Gallery in Burlington until April 25th.  You can view the show at www.globaljusticeecology.org/gallery.php

Christian Parenti lecture on Global Warming: On April 8, Global Justice Ecology Project co-sponsored a talk on global warming put on by the Will Miller Social Justice Lecture Series in Burlington, VT. International journalist Christian Parenti spoke on the topic of Climate War: the Violent Geography of Global Warming, where he presented the classic description of the “failed state” and described how global conflict is being and will be exacerbated by climate change.  In particular, when people are displaced due to droughts and floods and move onto lands controlled by other peoples, conflicts over that land are bound to ensue.

Convention on Biological Diversity Preparations: On April 10th, GJEP Co-Director and Global Forest Coalition Media Coordinator Orin Langelle joined Jim Thomas of the ETC Group and Jessica Dempsey of the CBD Alliance in meetings with the Secretariat’s office of the UN Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) about the upcoming CBD Conference in Bonn, Germany in May.

World Bank meetings: On April 13 Anne, Orin and  GJEP Biofuels Specialist Rachel Smolker traveled to Washington DC to meet with activists from the Sustainable Energy and Economy Network (SEEN), 50 Years is Enough and others about a possible campaign against the World Bank’s Climate policies.  The World Bank has been one of the world’s leading funders of fossil fuel extraction and now they are planning to play a major role in controlling and promoting market-based approaches to global warming, including carbon trading and carbon offsets.  These strategies have been a major failure in Europe where they have been put into practice.  The discussions around a campaign against the Bank are continuing.
Synthetic Biology Teach-In: Also while in DC, on April 14, Anne, Orin and Rachel participated in a Teach-In on Synthetic Biology and the “Bioeconomy” organized by the ETC Group.  Anne and Rachel both spoke during the teach-in on industry plans to the planned use of completely synthetic enzymes to digest genetically engineered trees into agrofuels (biofuels), plastics, chemicals and more.  Rachel pointed out that the quantity of cellulose that would be required to manufacture all of these products, plus the existing demand for firewood and paper, would require several planets’ worth of trees. Anne explained the deadly ramifications use of GE trees and the massively increasing demand for wood would have on both forests and forest-dependent peoples all over the world.

UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues: Over April 22-25 GJEP CO-Directors Anne Petermann and Orin Langelle attended the UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues.  They presented a workshop on the 24th titled “Wood-Based Biofuels and Genetically Engineered Trees: Impacts on Forests and Forest-Dependent Peoples,” which was co-sponsored by Global Forest Coalition.  While at the PFII meeting they networked with indigenous groups from around the world about the issue of genetically engineered trees and wood-based agrofuels in preparation for the CBD meetings in Bonn and ongoing work against agrofuels.

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