Thursday, July 26, 2012

Uranium Territory: Inuit campaign for referendum over mine in far north

By Warren Bernauer 
July 25, 2012

While the government of Nunavut has given the go ahead to uranium mining on their territory, they are facing multiple accusations of bias and acting without consulting the population. 

BAKER LAKE—A conflict over a uranium mine in the far north, four decades in the making, has pitted members of a small Inuit community against their territorial government and a French company.

Inuit in the community of Baker Lake, located west of Hudson Bay in the Kivalliq region of Nunavut, have raised a hue over what they call a faulty, biased process and the Government of Nunavut's uncritical support for uranium mining.

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Arctic wilderness faces pollution threats as oil and gas giants target its riches

Melting ice caps, the influx of trawlers and tourists, and Shell's £4bn investment to drill for fossil fuels in the Chukchi Sea all raise fears

By Robin McKie                                
21 July 2012

A Russian ship, breaking through the ice in Svalbard, Norway 

It is home to a quarter of the planet's oil and natural gas reserves, yet humans have hardly touched these resources in the far north. But in a few days that could change dramatically if Shell receives approval to drill for oil in the Arctic.

The company has invested $4bn to set up exploratory wells in the Chukchi Sea, north of the Bering Straits. Once permission is given by the US Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement, - possibly in a few weeks - exploration will begin using wells in Arctic waters.

And that will bring trouble. Environment campaigners say that drilling could have terrible effects on the waters and wildlife of the Arctic. "It took a vast effort to clean up the recent spill in the Gulf of Mexico," said John Sauven of Greenpeace. "There are no such resources to stop a spill in the Chukchi. The consequences could be devastating and very long lasting."

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Pipeline setback for Enbridge doesn’t deter tar sands/natural gas rush in British Columbia

By Roger Annis
A Socialist in Canada
July 14, 2012

A four-page report by the U.S. National Transportation Safety Board into the disastrous pipeline break by Enbridge Corporation in Michigan last year is probably a final nail in the coffin of the company’s proposed ‘Northern Gateway’ tar sands bitumen pipeline across northern British Columbia to an export terminal in Kitimat.

The NSTB concurred with investigators’ findings that the Canadian pipeline builder knew for years about cracks that ruptured in July 2010 and caused more than three million litres (800,000 gallons) of tar sands oil to spill into the Kalamazoo River in Michigan. The cleanup has cost about $800 million, and counting. Several dozen lawsuits against the company have been launched.

In releasing the report, on July 10, the NSTB had harsh words for the company, which claims to have an exemplary safety record. “Learning about Enbridge’s poor handling of the rupture, you can’t help but think of the Keystone Kops,” said Deborah Hersman, chair of the NTSB. The report says pipeline operators took 17 hours to shut down the pipeline after the break was first reported.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Ecosocialist Worldview

The Spectre Confronting Neoliberals and Pseudo-Marxists

By Arun G. Mukhopadhyay
Dissident Voice
July 17th, 2012

Karl Marx (1818-1883) was certainly one of the greatest philosophers of the nineteenth century. Marx accused capitalism as the source of growing inequality between ‘haves’ and ‘have-nots’ in his theory of historical materialism. In crafting a novel world-view, Marx’s scholarship deconstructed the inner functioning of capitalism and its contradictions. Marx envisioned that these contradictions would obviously endanger the waning social order. 

But Marx had failed to accommodate properly some of his brilliant ecological ideas in his emanicipatory project which engendered ambiguities. Alex Night in his November 2010 article observed that Marx’s primary flaw was his blindly following the philosophy of Hegel that exemplify human society as constantly evolving to higher stages of more rational development. Considering capitalism as an “advance” led him to greet industrialization as the necessary material conditions for the “scientific domination of natural agencies”. 

Marx thus allegedly shares a similar anthropocentric belief with the capitalist ideology in the domination of Nature. But transcending Marxism cannot be accomplished without it. Marx’s theory of the ‘metabolic rift’ between town and countryside is about the rift between humans and nature. Based on this Marxian concept, Jason Moore in his 2011 papers, has developed the theory of capitalism as world-ecology, a perspective that bonds the accumulation of capital and the production of nature in dialectical unity.

Read more HERE.

Monday, July 16, 2012

A Call for Ecosocialist Convergence

Organize! Organize! Organize!

Ecosocialist Horizons

One of the central purposes of our organization is to “organize convergences to advance diverse struggles towards an ecosocialist horizon.”

We are on a threshold in both human and natural history. An old world is dying and new ones are struggling to be born. To rise to this world-historic occasion, we hope to facilitate the organization of an ecosocialist movement, locally and globally, towards a post-capitalist economy and ecology.

This movement has already begun. All over the world, people are reclaiming the commons, demanding justice and defending nature. There is a growing realization, both in practice and in theory, that the fate of humanity and the fate of the planet are one.

Saturday, July 14, 2012

The Great Eco-Leninist Conspiracy

By Freedom Road Ecology Workteam
June 27, 2012
Let us not, however, flatter ourselves overmuch on account of our human victories over nature. For each such victory nature takes its revenge on us. Each victory, it is true, in the first place brings about the results we expected, but in the second and third places it has quite different, unforeseen effects which only too often cancel the first.
Each April 22nd we celebrate Earth Day and Lenin’s birthday.
In what is believed by rational people to be pure coincidence, the first Earth Day April 22,1970 fell on Lenin’s 100th birthday. At the time, the Daughters of the American Revolution said, “subversive elements plan to make American children live in an environment that’s good for them.” Conspiracy theorist J. Edgar Hoover urged the F.B.I. to investigate the mass environmentalist demonstrations.
Even today the Earth Day/Lenin’s birthday convergence is seen as by the extreme right as conspiracy of communists attacking the rights of oil companies and private property. In a sorry attempt at wit, they suggest that Earth Day should be moved to April 20, Hitler’s birthday, because Hitler was more caring about the environment than Lenin. Many mainstream environmentalists find the coincidence vaguely distressing and tend to talk about the disaster at the V.I. Lenin Memorial Chernobyl Nuclear Plant and show photos of pollution in Chinese cities as examples of how fair they are in their views of ecological devastation. 

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Why Canada's scientists need our support

Protests by scientists in Canada may seem like a national issue, but their funding cuts could have a global impact

By Alice Bell,
11 July 2012 

The scientists of Canada are revolting. They marched through Ottawa in their thousands on Tuesday, a sea of white coats making its way up Parliament Hill, carrying tombstones and a coffin to symbolise the "death of evidence", chanting "What do we want? SCIENCE! When do we want it? After peer review!"

Scientists seem to be forever complaining they're marginalised so, it might be tempting to roll your eyes. When a group from the UK drove a coffin down Westminster last May they were described as "childish". This recent Canadian action might look similar, but it was far from childish.

They weren't simply sticking up for their pay cheques, they were sticking up for the right to ask difficult questions and provide uncomfortable knowledge, in particular when it comes to the Arctic. They were sticking up for the things they research as well as the right to keep doing their research. They were sticking up for the planet. The Canadian scientists who spoke to the Guardian were keen to stress this is less about research budgets versus the rest of the economy, and more simply evidence versus ideology.

The Unity-in-Diversity of Ecosocialism: A Real Challenge to Global Capital

Better Worlds, Brighter Futures
July 10, 2012
The truth is the whole…. -GWF Hegel
Better Worlds, Brighter Futures endeavors to create a comradely “unity-in-diversity” between the broadly ecosocialist tendencies of the radical left, to pose a substantive challenge to the system of global, monopoly capitalism that is shown to be at root of both the ecological and social crises. As hinted at in previous posts (see “In Search of a Broad, Coherent Social Ecology” and “Reopening the ‘Intellectual Space’ of Social Ecology“), there is much theoretical agreement between the different approaches.

This entry serves to make explicit the connections between seemingly disparate theorists and tendencies within ecosocialism, broadly conceived. It is hoped this will begin to show that a radical, pluralistic, united, and comradely ecosocialist movement is a realistic (and necessary?) possibility. This entry is simply an outline at present.

Marx and Engels can be viewed as the direct antecedents of modern ecosocialism, inspiring contemporary theorists throughout the spectrum of this container category. While some theorists also draw from early anarchist-communists such as Peter Kropotkin and Elisee Reclus (who themselves have great potential for informing ecosocialist theory), Marx and Engels are the earliest common ancestors of contemporary ecosocialism.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Greenhouse gas levels at highest point in 800,000 years

By John Crump
July 10, 2012

Mont Blanc glacier tracks. Photo: Alistair Knock/Flickr
The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) held its 35th session recently in Geneva, on the northern shore of Lac Leman. Across the water from the UN quadrant where the IPCC's decision-making body met lies Mont Blanc.

At 4,800 metres Mont Blanc is the highest peak in the Alps. Like nearly all alpine glaciers, it is losing mass at a rapid rate. Light brown patches on its slopes point to where the ice recently lay and the extent of the mountain's glacial retreat is obvious and worrisome. It is disappearing as fast as the multi-year sea ice in the Arctic.

Among other things, the IPCC discussed its 2014 Fifth Assessment Report, which will examine the state of the global climate. Produced every seven years, the IPCC reports are the product of careful consideration and much negotiation by the government representatives in the room. The tone of the session is very different from the frenetic two-week marathon of the United Nations Framework Convention Climate Change negotiations that take place very December.

Saturday, July 7, 2012

After Rio: Building a genuine Quebec, Canada and First Nations alliance

By Michel Lambert
July 6, 2012 

On June 20, anticipating the failure of the United Nations Conference Rio+20, more than 50,000 people took to the streets of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil conjointly with dozens of other demonstrations around the world. These mobilizations demanded from the governments and corporations involved in the official conference, that solutions immediately be put into place to counter climate change and the degradation of the terrestrial environment. But more than the challenge, the great popular march in Rio was celebrating at the same time the holding of the People’s Summit for Social and Environmental Justice, an unprecedented meeting at which notably the policies of extractivist expansion of the governments of Quebec and especially of Canada were decried. For the hundred Quebecers present, it is a matter upon their return of being the bearer of the vision of the Peoples’ Summit and of achieving victories here against these anti-environmental policies, for the sake of our health and that of the rest of humanity. But we will not be doing it alone...

The Quebec and Canadian Plan Nord

The extractivist production model has as its aim the maximum exploitation of elements of Nature that are salable on the world market. Traditionally, what this has referred to is mineral extraction and production of oil, two Canadian "specialties." The extractive industry is based on the dispossession of the common heritage. In Canada, as elsewhere where Canadian extractive industries are at work: environmental tragedies multiply, local and indigenous communities are despoiled, legislation aimed at protecting ecosystems is dismembered, democratic rights of people are enfeebled, and policies of privatization are put into place to benefit the interests of transnationals and the energy and extractive industries.

Friday, July 6, 2012

Global Warming: a Marxist perspective

By Chris Burrows 
06 July 2012

Just five years ago, not a day would go by without global warming making the headlines. The American politician Al Gore’s documentary film about climate change, An Inconvenient Truth, was seen by hundreds of thousands in cinemas across the world. The Conservative Party rebranded themselves as the champions of the environment, nailing their ecological colours to the mast and urging people to ‘vote Blue to go Green’. Even the arch-reactionary American president George W. Bush was forced to concede that, maybe, the environment was worth thinking about.

Times really have changed! After the onset of the economic crisis in 2008, little else has been in the headlines except gloomy financial forecasts, scandals in Westminster, and reports of revolution from the Middle East. Global warming and environmental issues have taken a backseat, even in liberal newspapers like the Guardian and Independent. One could be forgiven for thinking that all our environmental problems had miraculously disappeared. Only once or twice a year, when an international conference or some ecological catastrophe occurs, does the environment make headlines. This has been combined with a resurgence of climate-scepticism: denying the reality of Global Warming as being based on poor science, or as part of a conspiracy.