Twenty Years On, Ken Saro-Wiwa’s Legacy Echoes from the Grassroots to the United Nations

Common Dreams

The man who led a popular revolt against Big Oil’s destruction in Nigeria remains a figure lionized by activists all over the world

by Godwin Ojo

In Nigeria and around the world, Ken Saro Wiwa's memory lives on. (Photo: Luka Tomac/Friends of the Earth International)
In Nigeria and around the world, Ken Saro Wiwa’s memory lives on. (Photo: Luka Tomac/Friends of the Earth International)

LAGOS, Nigeria – Ken Saro-Wiwa belonged to that rare but wonderful category of poet-writer turned non-violent resistance leader. And like too many non-violent resistance leaders, he was executed by the people whose interests he challenged. November 10th is the twentieth anniversary of his execution in his motherland, Nigeria.

Known on the international stage for his David-and-Goliath struggle with oil giant Shell, Ken Saro-Wiwa remains a figure lionized by activists all over the world, who see his example as a great victory for people power over formidable transnational corporate giants. His legacy also moves and inspires a growing movement of civil society activists who are lobbying the UN and national governments to create a binding treaty to regulate the conduct of transnational corporations with respect to human rights. Continue reading Twenty Years On, Ken Saro-Wiwa’s Legacy Echoes from the Grassroots to the United Nations

Amidst the debris: Environmental impact of conflict in Syria could be disastrous

Pax Christi USA

The ongoing conflict in Syria is likely to have a disastrous impact on the environment and public health, according to a new study published by PAX.
peace-11Four years of fighting has left cities in rubble and caused widespread damage to industrial sites, critical infrastructure and the oil industry. Pollution from these forms of damage is likely to result in acute and chronic risks to civilians and will have a long-term impact on the environment that they depend on.
“With the additional attacks by Russia in or near Aleppo, which has numerous industrial complexes processing hazardous chemicals, existing environmental and public health risks from the ongoing conflict will only be compounded,” cautioned report author Wim Zwijnenburg, researcher for PAX. Continue reading Amidst the debris: Environmental impact of conflict in Syria could be disastrous

Protecting the right of the environment and putting an end to social exclusion are inseparable, Pope Francis

Eco-Jesuit

Photo credit: social-spirituality.net
Photo credit: social-spirituality.net

After having published the encyclical Laudato si’, Pope Francis is showing that his concerns for the “common home” are not isolated thoughts, but a main stream in his pontificate, placing the environment at the same level as that of poverty in the “moral agenda” of the Catholic Church.

The visit to the United States has been a new opportunity for Pope Francis to renew his ecological commitment and to look for connections with poverty alleviation, international negotiations or the very concept of justice. Pope Francis struggles to show caring for the planet is a way of doing justice both for humans and for nature. Continue reading Protecting the right of the environment and putting an end to social exclusion are inseparable, Pope Francis

Another trail of destruction and death in the history of mining and Vale S.A.

International Articulation of People Affected by Vale S.A.

On November 5, 2015, yet another shocking and terrible report involving a large mining company and Vale S.A.

Two dams of the Samarco mining company Minera SA, a joint venture of Vale SA (50%) and BHP Billiton Brazil Ltda (50%), and also a recipient of waste from other mines of Vale SA in the region, including the Alegria mine, ruptured in the state of Minas Gerais, in Bento Rodrigues district, between the cities of Mariana and Ouro Preto.

The District is completely buried under toxic sludge, now the only possible access to the site is by helicopter. There are countless homeless families, and so far there are at least 16 dead, 45 missing and countless buried. The situation on the ground remains very serious and there is risk of new landslides. Initially, only the Bento Rodrigues district had been affected, but the flood of waste continues, reaching other districts and municipalities 60 km from the site. Continue reading Another trail of destruction and death in the history of mining and Vale S.A.

Exxon Mobil Investigated for Possible Climate Change Lies by New York Attorney General

New York Times

By JUSTIN GILLIS and CLIFFORD KRAUSS

The New York attorney general has begun an investigation of Exxon Mobil to determine whether the company lied to the public about the risks of climate change or to investors about how such risks might hurt the oil business.

According to people with knowledge of the investigation, Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman issued a subpoena Wednesday evening to Exxon Mobil, demanding extensive financial records, emails and other documents.

The investigation focuses on whether statements the company made to investors about climate risks as recently as this year were consistent with the company’s own long-running scientific research.

The people said the inquiry would include a period of at least a decade during which Exxon Mobil funded outside groups that sought to undermine climate science, even as its in-house scientists were outlining the potential consequences — and uncertainties — to company executives. Continue reading Exxon Mobil Investigated for Possible Climate Change Lies by New York Attorney General

President Obama rejects Keystone XL pipeline

National Catholic Reporter

Brian Roewe

Screen Shot 2015-11-06 at 3.08.18 PM
President Barack Obama rejected Friday the construction of the Keystone XL transnational pipeline, in part on grounds that approving the politically contentious project would have undercut U.S. leadership on the world stage in addressing climate change.

The proposed Keystone XL pipeline sought to move daily as many as 830,000 barrels of Canadian crude oil from Alberta tar sands fields to refineries in the Gulf of Mexico. The proposed project would have stretched 1,100 miles, crossing the U.S.-Canadian border in Montana before linking with already-constructed Keystone pipelines. Unlike the southern leg, the northern leg, due to crossing an international border, required federal approval. Continue reading President Obama rejects Keystone XL pipeline

With rare unity, Catholic leaders urge ‘transformation’ climate deal

Christian Science Monitor

An international group of Catholic leaders has appealed to the United Nations to forge a strong climate agreement that is fair to poorer nations.

By Henry Gass, Staff writer

Cardinal Oswald Gracias (c.) signs an appeal next to Cardinal Ruben Salazar Gomez (2nd l.) during a news conference at the Vatican, Monday. Roman Catholic leaders from around the world on Monday made a joint appeal to a forthcoming United Nations conference on climate change to produce a 'fair, legally binding and truly transformational' agreement. Al­essandro Bianchi/Reuters
Cardinal Oswald Gracias (c.) signs an appeal next to Cardinal Ruben Salazar Gomez (2nd l.) during a news conference at the Vatican, Monday. Roman Catholic leaders from around the world on Monday made a joint appeal to a forthcoming United Nations conference on climate change to produce a ‘fair, legally binding and truly transformational’ agreement. Al­essandro Bianchi/Reuters

Following in the footsteps laid by Pope Francis in June, Roman Catholic leaders from around the world have issued an unprecedented joint appeal to an upcoming United Nations conference on climate change to produce “a truly transformation” agreement to stem global warming.

The group, which included Catholic cardinals, patriarchs, and bishops from five continents, signed the 10-page appeal at the Vatican on Monday. The document, based on the Pope’s landmark encyclical “Laudato Si”, says that any climate agreement must be fair to the poorest and most vulnerable nations. Continue reading With rare unity, Catholic leaders urge ‘transformation’ climate deal

Red Tape Slows U.S. Help for Children Fleeing Central America

New York Times

By MICHAEL D. SHEAR

Between Borders: American Migrant Crisis From Central America, thousands of children fleeing poverty and danger make multiple attempts to reach the United States despite increased efforts by Mexico to turn them back. By BRENT RENAUD and CRAIG RENAUD o Watch in Times Video »
Between Borders: American Migrant Crisis
From Central America, thousands of children fleeing poverty and danger make multiple attempts to reach the United States despite increased efforts by Mexico to turn them back. By BRENT RENAUD and CRAIG RENAUD o
Watch in Times Video »

WASHINGTON — President Obama vowed a year ago to give Central American children fleeing violence a new, legal way into the United States by allowing them to apply for refugee status while in their own countries instead of accepting help from smugglers or resorting to a dangerous trek across Mexico.

But not a single child has entered the United States through the Central American Minors program since its establishment in December, in large part because of a slow-moving American bureaucracy that has infuriated advocates for the young children and their families.

More than 5,400 children, most of them trying to escape street gangs, extortion and sexual assault in El Salvador, have applied to join their parents, who are already in the United States legally. So far the Department of Homeland Security has interviewed only 90 of them, and lengthy procedures for getting airplane tickets and processing paperwork have delayed those whose applications were approved. Continue reading Red Tape Slows U.S. Help for Children Fleeing Central America

Brazil dam burst engulfs homes in Minas Gerais

BBC

http://www.bbc.com/news/world-latin-america-34742272
http://www.bbc.com/news/world-latin-america-34742272

More than a dozen people are feared dead after a dam holding back waste water from an iron ore mine in Brazil burst, flooding nearby homes.

Officials in south-eastern Minas Gerais state say one person is confirmed dead. But there are reports that up to 16 have died and others are missing.

Rivers of thick red mud surged down the valleys of the hilly area outside the old colonial city of Mariana.

It engulfed cars and lorries, and destroyed homes.

Authorities in Mariana said the dam had ruptured on Thursday afternoon and sent torrents of mud and debris into the small town of Bento Rodrigues, about 7km (four miles) away.

The BBC’s Julia Dias Carneiro in Rio de Janeiro said the area affected is home to about 500 people.

The rescue operation has been hampered by fears of landslides but helicopters have taken several stranded people to safety, she adds.
Authorities have warned that the water mixed with residue from mining operations could be toxic.

A spokesman for the Samarco mining company, which owns the dam, said the cause of the breach was not yet known.

1.4 million Brazilians sign zero deforestation bill

2012 The Awakening

Campaigners deliver 1.4 million signatures supporting the zero deforestation bill to the Brazilian congres Photo © Marcos Oliveira/Agência Senado.
Campaigners deliver 1.4 million signatures supporting the zero deforestation bill to the Brazilian congres Photo © Marcos Oliveira/Agência Senado.

For the past three years, Greenpeace Brazil has been collecting signatures in support of a bill to establish a zero deforestation law in the country. As a result, the group were able to present draft legislation to the Brazilian congress last week

On 7 October, accompanied by senators, religious leaders, celebrities and other supporters of a ban on the felling of Brazil’s forests, Greenpeace Brazil formally presented the draft legislation to the Brazilian congress – signed by 1.4 million Brazilians.

“We submit this bill to congress and now it’s time for them to reflect on the will of the people,” Cristiane Mazzetti of Greenpeace Brazil said in a statement. Continue reading 1.4 million Brazilians sign zero deforestation bill