Sep 29, 2009
We're delighted to announce that Nnimmo Bassey, from Friends of the Earth Nigeria, and Syeda Rizwana Hasan, from Friends of the Earth Bangladesh, have been nominated by Time magazine as heroes of the environment for 2009.
In his interview with Time magazine Nnimmo talks of how a massacre in 1990 by Nigeria's armed forces prompted him into championing the environment and rights of the people around him.
"We realized that if people don't have a safe environment to live in, then they don't have literally any other rights," he says.
He talks about the work of Friends of the Earth Nigeria in documenting the environmental abuse caused by the oil companies, his efforts to educate people on their rights and the fact that his work often puts him on a collision course with the authorities.
"Oil has been the destruction of the Nigerian economy," says Bassey. "It destroys the relation between the people and the state" he says.
Syeda Rizwana Hasan
Rizwana, who is also a member of the Friends of the Earth International board, has been nominated for her legal work in advocating for tighter regulations for the country's environmentally devastating ship-breaking industry
Ship breaking is a big employer in Bangladesh - last year over 150 ships were decommissioned - and the authorities often turn a blind out to the immense harm it causes.
Rizwana sees it differently, "It's better to be jobless than to have a job that gives you cancer" she says.
In March 2009, the Supreme Court laid down strict regulations on the industry, resulting in the closure of 36 ship breaking yards operating without environmental clearance.
The government has since appealed against the ruling but Rizwana and her team will fight on.
"I don't want the outside world to think of Bangladesh as a dumping site," she says. "It is against my dignity. It is against the dignity of my nation and the dignity of the people."
Sep 23, 2009
Friends of the Earth International statement on the return of the legitimate President of Honduras to the country.
Friends of the Earth International (FoEI) applauds the return to Honduras of its legitimate president, Manuel Zelaya, who has taken refuge in the Embassy of Brazil in Tegucigalpa. At the same time we note with grave concern the siege on the Brazilian Embassy and the increase in repression following the return of President Zelaya.
Friends of the Earth International denounces the gross human rights violations in Honduras perpetuated by the illegitimate government. This repression violates international norms and cannot be accepted under any circumstances.
The people of Honduras have stood firmly by their legitimate president and have not wavered since the day the unfortunate usurpation of power took place on 28 June 2009.
Friends of the Earth International calls on the international community to pressure the illegitimate authorities in Tegucigalpa to step aside for dialogue and for the completion of term of the legitimate president. Specifically, Friends of the Earth International calls on the Security Council of the United Nations to take immediate actions to stem the rise of violence in Honduras.
We also assure the peoples of Honduras of the continued support and solidarity of our 77 groups and 2 million members spread around the world.
Chair, Friends of the Earth International
Sep 21, 2009
On September 15 2009 millions of Hondurans took to the streets to protest against the unelected government that came to power in a coup this July. Here Juan Alemendares, director of Friends of the Earth Honduras, documents the history of his country and wonders whether Hondurans will ever be free to determine their own future.
“Have you ever been inside an empty stadium? Try it sometime. Stand in the middle of the field and listen. There is nothing emptier than an empty stadium. There is nothing more silent than the stands with nobody in them”.
For the last five centuries the West and the hegemonic power of multinational colonization have been stealing the essence of life and the aroma of our Honduran lands. They were violent centuries, with massacres of the first peoples. Centuries of immolation and lies, in the name of the cross, “the idea of civilization” and weapons. Centuries antagonistic to the dreams of Lempira, Morazán, Bolívar, Valle and Martí. Centuries of resistance in historic unity by the peoples of Our America.
We were prisoners in the mining and banana enclaves. Wealth at the expense of hunger and misery. The forests were cut down. The mahogany was used to beautify the mansions in Europe, and adorn the doors of the White House in Washington. Agribusiness, agri-combustibles and the loss of alimentary sovereignty increased the treasures of Wall Street, and international financial capital. Honduras was born during the decadence of the old world and the emergence of the Monroe Doctrine and Manifest Destiny. Invaded by marines and modern pirates, who sang in unison the chorus “In God We Trust” - in God and in the World Bank.
At the beginning of the second half of the 20th century, the 1954 banana workers' strike took place. The army, guardians of the banana plantations, controlled by the Pentagon and the CIA, put an end to the workers' movement and participated in the overthrow of the government of Jacobo Árbenz in Guatemala.
In the 80s there is a military occupation of Honduras. The principal strategist, John Dimitri Negroponte, strengthened the National Security Doctrine. The disciples of the School of the Americas put into practice the torture and physical disappearance of people with the acquiescence of the state judicial apparatus.
Since 1956 until the present century, there have been: seven military coups, signifying seven plagues against national progress. The stigmas: “Banana Republic”, “Country for Rent” have injured the national soul. They are damned names that mask a history of crime, corruption and the negation of a people that have always struggled for liberation.
At the end of the 20th century we were hit by Hurricane Mitch; made worse by transnational financial capital that bribes the powers that be, sells territory to the mining companies, textile sweatshops, banana plantations, energy plants, that increase climatic injustice and social poverty.
Over all these centuries, of coups, blows, *paquetazos and trancazos*(economic packages and beatings), to the mother and fatherland, they have accumulated and assimilated their own experiences and those of other peoples. Unity is constructed in the honey of practice of the social being and in the hell of the condemned of mother earth.
We learn to reject the lies against the people and governments of Cuba, Ecuador, Bolivia, Paraguay, Argentina, Venezuela, El Salvador, Nicaragua and the very government of Honduras presided over by Manuel Zelaya; because there is no bigger truth than the generous testimonies of unconditional solidarity in health, education, economy and transport; that we have received from these sister nations.
The Bolivarian Alternative for the Peoples of Our America (ALBA) is the most concrete expression of human cooperation and fraternity in the face of the unequal trade agreements with the United States and Europe.
In the first decade of the 21st century, June 28th of 2009; the first political, economic and military coup in Latin America takes place, carried out by an armed, religious, political, ideological and media alliance of local powers in tandem with world imperialist powers.
The de facto regime celebrated its repressive power in the patriotic festivities of September 15. The festivities reminded us of our infancy when we were forced to march in the parades. As children we were dressed in uniform and transformed into “infantry”. We gathered in the stadiums to be passive, tolerant listeners to the despot of the moment. These were like religious rites, football and military rituals, with their generals, captains, bishops, reverends and chaplains and somehow a bad imitation of the carnivals of New York or California.
The lead soldiers marched, the uniformed robots without their masks of crime, the tanks and the canons burned gun powder and shot false canon balls. The speeches were rusty and cheaply patriotic. They debuted manoeuvres
in F5 planes, the parachute show of a parachute government.
The aerial noise did not scare the vultures that share the misery of the children living in the garbage, vultures that fly making fun of the war planes. It was a Neronian circus with forced students and teachers, beaten and threatened. The horses and the cavalry greeted with honors their great perfumed chiefs in ties. The popular protest could never be heard in a sports stadium empty of all popular warmth.
The National Resistance Against the Military Coup marched challenging the de facto government; rejecting the electoral farce, demanding the return to constitutional order and of president Zelaya. The popular clamor was for a Constitutional Assembly, The Second Independence, and the re-founding of the State of Honduras.
Recognition was expressed of the solidarity of all the peoples and governments, social movements, parties, ecclesiastical communities, women´s organizations, gay groups, human rights organizations, social communicators, worldwide fast, Vía Campesina, Friends of the Earth of Latin America and International Friends of the Earth.
On September 15th millions of Hondurans marched against the military political coup. The popular joy announced a dawning of justice. The hummingbirds jumped for joy and bathed in the dew of the ALBA and savored the nectar of the dreams of liberation. The march was the Biggest Embrace in History, with which the people, poets of liberty, have become poets for all the people of the world.
Tegucigalpa, September 15, 2009
Sep 16, 2009
Friends of the Earth International is proud to be associated with The Age of Stupid, director Franny Armstrong's new film illustrating the disastrous effects of climate change.
The premiere of The Age of Stupid will take place worldwide on September 21/22 for International Day of Climate Action and is expected to set a new Guinness World Record for the largest simultaneous screening ever.
Global support for the film is quickly bolstering, and celebrities and politicians are lined up to take part in the premiere across the globe. The New York premiere alone will feature Kofi Annan, Gillian Anderson, Moby, The Age of Stupid's oscar-nominated star Pete Postlethwaite and filmmakers Franny Armstrong and Lizzie Gillett.
Many other A-list celebrities will be arriving to the Big Apple premiere by sailing boat, bike, rickshaw, electric car or skateboard before walking down the green (not red!) carpet, and Radiohead's Thom Yorke is scheduled to play a song for the global audience via satellite linkup.
There will be a global digital screening of The Age of Stupid plus highlights from the New York premiere on September 22nd at 19:00 (CEST).
For information about where the film will be showing in your country, go to The Age of Stupid website.
Sep 14, 2009
Friends of the Earth Europe are hosting a one day conference in Brussels looking at the environmental and social Impacts of the oil and gas Industry.
The Conference aims at presenting solutions and developing policies that will result in reducing greenhouse gas emissions (for the oil and gas industry), conserving energy, reducing environmental pressure across chains of production (fossil fuels) and making sustainable use of natural resources (oil and gas).
It will bring together representatives of civil society from European and developing countries including communities affected by the industry operations, the European Commission, the European Parliament, industry, international organisations and the media.
Speakers include the Friends of the Earth International Chair, Nnimmo Bassey, our economic justice coordinator Paul de Clerk and many more.
location, time and further information
European Parliament, Room ASP
Friends of the Earth Europe can reimburse travel and accommodation costs for a limited number of civil society participants.
Sep 10, 2009
If you're going to be on Thailand on October 5 join us in Bangkok for the people's march for climate justice.
The Asian Peoples' Solidarity for Climate Justice was formed to prepare the civil society program in parallel with the United Nations climate talks, September 28 to October 9, 2009, Bangkok.
In addition to a dynamic and extensive schedule of events, we invite you to participate in a peaceful and public demonstration of our collective demand for climate justice.
We demand immediate cuts: cut the carbon, cut the foreign debt, cut the false solutions, cut the World Bank and the corporations out! We demand recognition and full respect for peoples' rights, reparation for climate debts and peoples sovereignty NOW!
Join with us in the streets of Bangkok with your banners and flags to create a colourful, vibrant, energetic peoples march for climate justice. There will be a program of events at the conclusion of the march including speakers from across civil society and music.
Support the Asian Peoples' Solidarity for Climate Justice!
More details to follow shortly.
Asia Peoples' Solidarity for Climate Justice preparatory meeting was hosted by the Thai Working Group on Climate Justice in Bangkok 18-19 July 2009.
The following organisations participated in the meeting: Jubilee South-APMDD, Freedom from Debt Coalition, SEAFISH/ Tambuyog, SAAPE Earth Rights, IESR-Indonesia, GAIA, Christian Aid, Oxfam Great Britian/Thailand, 350.org, NGO- Forum on ADB, Assembly of the Poor, AIPP, Chang Mai IKAP network/ IPFCC, Thailand AIPP, IBON Foundation/ PMCC, APWLD, ECOT, CEC/ PCWA, BIOTHAI, Friends of the Earth International, NGO-COD, Thai TERRA, GCCA- Asia, Focus on the Global South, OWINFS, Oxfam International, Third World Network, ETC Group.