World Leaders Honor Chico Mendes' Fight for Environmental and Land Rights

Truthout.org, June 30, 2014, By Raven Rakia

"On the first weekend in April, grassroots leaders and activists from all over the world met in a conference room in Washington DC for The Chico Mendes conference, named after indigenous environmental rights activist from Brazil, Francisco Alves "Chico" Mendes, a rubber tapper from the Amazon region, assassinated in 1988 by a rancher.

He joined the fight to protect the Amazon, the environment and people's livelihoods from cattle ranchers, government officials and large-scale mining corporations - whose profit depends on the destruction of the environment. In one of his most well-known quotes, Chico says, "First, I thought I was fighting for the rubber tappers, then I thought I was fighting for the Amazon, then I realized I was fighting for humanity." Throughout his life he worked as a rubber tapper, a trade union leader, and an activist before being shot down in 1988. At the conference, environmental activists met from all over the world to discuss tactics and strategy, commemorate Chico's life and discuss how to continue Chico's fight."


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How much does EPA’s objection to Keystone XL matter? A lot.

The Washington Post, April 23, 2013, By Juliet Eilperin

"How much does it matter that the Environmental Protection Agency has officially questioned aspects of the State Department’s draft environmental review of the Keystone XL pipeline proposal?

A lot. ...

EPA’s objection to the State Department’s draft analysis not only provides opponents with political ammunition, it could force President Obama to directly weigh in on the permitting decision if they raise similar objections later when State conducts a national interest determination. As long as no other agency objects, State can issue a ruling on the pipeline on its own; if EPA challenges the national interest determination the State Department makes at the end of its review process, Obama himself would have to issue the final permit decision.

This is not the first time EPA has questioned the State Department’s assessment of the project’s climate impact. The agency sharply criticized a previous draft EIS the State Department issued in April 2010, saying the review did not fully explore the potential environmental impact or the prospect of a more rapid transition to alternative energy that would make the imports unnecessary.

Opponents of the project, who have already generated 1 million comments on the draft review, were quick to tout the EPA’s objections on Monday. “The Environmental Protection Agency’s letter shows that despite multiple tries, the State Department is incapable of doing a proper analysis of the climate, wildlife, clean water, safety and other impacts of this disastrous and unneeded project,” said Jim Murphy, senior counsel for the National Wildlife Federation, an advocacy group."



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The Fossil Fuel Resistance

Rolling Stone, April 11, 2013, By Bill McKibben

"After decades of scant organized response to climate change, a powerful movement is quickly emerging around the country and around the world, building on the work of scattered front-line organizers who've been fighting the fossil-fuel industry for decades. It has no great charismatic leader and no central organization; it battles on a thousand fronts. But taken together, it's now big enough to matter, and it's growing fast."


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Remove 4 dams on Klamath, study urges

San Francisco Chronicle, April 4, 2013, By Peter Fimrite

"The four hydroelectric dams on the Klamath River that block salmon migration and cause toxic algae blooms in stagnant lake water should be removed, concludes the most comprehensive environmental study ever done on the river system that flows from Oregon through California to the Pacific.

If the dams go - still no sure bet - 420 miles of historic habitat would open for the first time in more than a century."


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350.org Calls for Public Comment on Keystone XL Pipeline

"After the recent tar sands pipeline spill in Arkansas, where thousands of gallons of toxic oil ran through the streets of a small community, the climate change organization 350.org is asking Americans to join in the public commenting process for the Keystone XL pipeline.

The U.S. State Department is reviewing applications for permits needed for the international pipeline to advance. The State Department is soliciting public comment on the issue until April 22."


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Can the new EPA chief stop Obama approving the Keystone XL pipeline?

The Guardian, March 4, 2013, By Richard Schiffman

"Environmentalists got some bad news when the State Department released a report on Friday – a full month earlier than had been anticipated – saying that there are no convincing environmental reasons that the Keystone XL pipeline should not be built.

This just two weeks after thousands of demonstrators gathered at the National Mall for what has been called the largest climate rally ever. Environmental groups have joined in a rare united front to block the pipeline. If built, activists predict that the pipeline will hugely increase greenhouse gas emissions and reverse the progress that has been made in recent years toward switching to renewable sources of energy.

The usually measured Sierra Club president, Michael Brune, called last week's State Department report "nothing short of malpractice", and suggested that the president toss it in the garbage. In an email interview, 350.org spokesperson Daniel Kessler characterized the pipeline as "a boondoggle perpetuated by monied interests" whose impact on the climate would be "horrific".

But there has been a lot of pressure on the administration from the fossil fuel industry to ratify the pipeline."


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Sea Shepherd: defending the integrity of the Southern Ocean whale sanctuary

The Guardian, February 18, 2013, By Paul Watson

"I don't think that there is a more isolated, more remote, or more forbidding place on this planet than where we find ourselves at this moment.

Draw a line due south from Sri Lanka for 4,404 nautical miles and it will bring you to Prdyz Bay, deep in the Cooperation Sea, close to the massive Amory ice shelf.

Some 2,632 nautical miles to the north-east is Perth, Western Australia and 2,632 miles to the north-west is Cape Town, South Africa.

In contrast, we are only 1,380 miles to the south pole.

It is summertime in Antarctica and outside on the deck, the wind is blowing at 30 knots and the temperature has dropped to -10C.

Forsaken yet incredibly beautiful. The seas are bejeweled with thousands of icebergs, ranging in size from that of a small building to massive tabletops larger than major cities. And it is not all white on blue, the icebergs boast a spectrum of blues, indigos, and greens; and the ever-present sun splatters the horizon twice a day with the spectrum of reds, orange and yellows.

In the sea and flying through the air are the great living treasures of these waters - the birds, whales, seals, and penguins; and beneath the surface the great schools of fishes and the vast plumes of plankton and krill.

What brings us down here year after year is the simple fact that these waters have been designated by the international community of nations as the Southern Ocean whale sanctuary, and we are here to defend the integrity and the sanctity of this legal sanctuary for whales.

The Japanese whalers are slaughtering protected, threatened, and endangered species of whales within this sanctuary in violation of a global moratorium on commercial whaling. They are also in contempt of an Australian federal court ruling from 2008 that specifically forbade them from killing whales in the waters of the Australian Antarctic territory."


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10 Stunning Things You Should Know About the Environmental Movement — 'A Fierce Green Fire' Film Inspires

AlterNet, February 25, 2013, By Scott Thill

"With runaway global warming threatening to annihilate climate stability and perhaps life on Earth as we know it, there's no bigger issue on humanity's crowded docket and no better time to catch up on the history of the environmental movement. So let's give thanks that writer, producer and director Mark Kitchell's A Fierce Green Fire has arrived to exhaustively school us all. Especially since the Obama administration has gone long on rhetoric but short on activism, and practically begged to be pushed into action by the American people.

"The main lesson of A Fierce Green Fire is the importance of bottom-up movements to force political action and change at the top," Kitchell, director of the Oscar-nominated Berkeley in the Sixties, told me. "Although the environmental movement put on the largest demonstration ever on the original Earth Day in 1970, it was never all that big on taking to the streets. So I’m pleased that the Sierra Club is endorsing getting arrested, and environmental organizations are forming an alliance against the Keystone XL pipeline. The time has come for nonviolent civil disobedience. This is what we need, and we need more of it."


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Why the Sierra Club Broke Tradition to Protest the Keystone Pipeline


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Environmental warrior Martin Litton is still fighting at 95

High Country News, By Jane Braxton Little, From the February 20, 2012, issue

"Martin Litton, 95, wastes no time on proprieties. "I'm supposed to be dead, you know," he growls on a January morning, leading me through a thicket of potted plants into his home in the hills near Palo Alto, Calif.

A towering presence with a booming voice, Litton has spent his life battling developers, extractive industries and federal agencies on behalf of iconic Western landscapes. He is among the last of a generation of take-no-prisoners environmental activists."



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Extreme Drought Continues, Could be Most Extreme Weather Event This Year

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What I learned the day a dying whale spared my life

The Guardian, January 9, 2013, By Paul Watson

"It was 1975, Greenpeace's first campaign, and the bodies of six Soviet-slaughtered whales were lying lifeless in the swell. I thought to myself, is humanity really this insane? The greatest gift that I have ever received is also my great and enduring curse."


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Global Whaling Moratorium Stands as IWC Shelves Compromise Plan

Environmental News Service, June 23, 2010

"A controversial plan that would have meant the end of a 24-year long moratorium on commercial whaling was today put on ice for a year by the International Whaling Commission at its annual meeting.

The 88 IWC member governments meeting in Agadir failed to agree on the proposed compromise between whale conservation nations and whaling nations that would have legalized whaling in return for bringing the hunt under IWC control.

Currently, three whaling nations - Japan, Norway and Iceland - set their own quotas without regard for the moratorium observed by all other countries."


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Amazon deforestation hits record low

Associated Press via guardian.co.uk, November 28, 2012

"Deforestation in Brazil's Amazon rainforest has dropped to its lowest level in 24 years, the government said on Tuesday. For Marcio Astrini, Greenpeace coordinator in the Amazon region, the lower figures show that reducing deforestation is possible, but he added that "the numbers are still too high for a country that does not have to destroy one single hectare in order to develop."


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The life and legacy of Chico Mendes

BBC News, December 22, 2008, by Sue Branford

"Twenty years ago Amazon environmentalist Chico Mendes was shot dead in front of his home in the remote Brazilian state of Acre. He had campaigned for years to stop the slashing and burning of the rainforest.

Brazil specialist Sue Branford, who met him, reflects on his life and legacy..."


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25 Years of an Inspirational Journey: From Love Canal to the Nation

Part 1:

Part 2:

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‘Okay, You Want to Fight Back?’

Audubon Magazine, August 2011, By Paul Raeburn

"Lois Gibbs found her voice at Love Canal. Thirty years later, in her latest crusade, she has Fortune 500 companies rolling over faster than she can create her hit list."


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Klamath Dam and Water Deals Delayed Further

Two Rivers Tribune, By KRISTAN KORNS, January 13, 2013

"All of the 42 groups involved in negotiating the Klamath Basin Restoration Agreement (KBRA), including Humboldt County, the Karuk Tribe, the Yurok Tribe, and framers in the Upper Klamath Basin, have signed on to extend the agreement for another two years."


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Klamath River dam removals should go forth

San Francisco Chronicle, January 30, 2012

"After an all-sides agreement and lengthy scientific study, the country's biggest dam removal project should be on track to restore the Klamath River. But the momentum behind this promising project could stall if Washington lets political gridlock sour the deal."



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Dam’s Flow Limit Loosened to Feed Grand Canyon

"The Interior Department announced a plan on Wednesday to allow periodic increases in the flow of Colorado River water through the Grand Canyon, alleviating the environmental disruption caused by the construction of the Glen Canyon Dam in Arizona in the 1960s."


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Introducing Bullfrog Communities

Welcome to
Bullfrog Communities

We aim to energize change, and to help local activists broaden their reach.

  • We provide powerful films and all the support materials you need to create an effective community event.

  • We will send out strategic petitions, asking you to sign and send them on to your network, using the power of this medium on behalf of the people and the earth. These will be either national in scope — asking you to join an uproar of opinion, or very local — asking you to add your voice to attain a specific victory, which may provide a watershed — changing the mindset of the people empowered in a community, of multinational corporations' assumptions as to what they can get away with, and of politicians who notice the change in the wind.

  • We will provide a forum for sharing ideas that work and news that can inform action on an issue. We ask for your discussion, suggestions, feedback, and reports of successes in your community.

Please join. Let's see what we can accomplish together.

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The Battle for a Living Planet