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Dec 14, 2009

Bund hand in 10,000 german signatures

by PhilLee — last modified Dec 14, 2009 11:21 AM
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German Environment Minister Norbert Roettgen takes delivery of 10,000 signatures collected by Friends of the Earth Germany / BUND calling for at least 40% emissions cuts by 2020 with no offsetting.

bund-handin

 

At 10am on Monday morning Anje von Broock and Tina Loeffelsend form Friends of the Earth Germany / BUND delivered 10,000 signatures collected via the DemandClimateJustice.org website calling for at least 40% cuts in carbon emissions from Germany and the EU by 2020.

 

The minister said he welcomed Friends of the Earth International's efforts to push governments forward.

 

Picking up on Chancellor Merkel’s remarks that she will not make unilateral commitments now, Anje and Tina reminded the German government that, industrialised countries have led the way in carbon emissions and now have to take the lead in reducing them in Copenhagen.

Drastic reductions of at least 40% are needed from rich countries at home without offsetting.

The minister responded by stating the German government's mid to long-term reductions targets of 80-95% by 2050. At which point Anje questioned the Minister's commitment to that pledge given the investment currently going into new coal fired power plants in the country.

 

"That is something we can debate back home" the minister responded.

 

We look forward to what will be a lively debate.

A day of actions in support of Africa

by PhilLee — last modified Dec 14, 2009 09:50 PM
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Friends of the Earth led a series of actions today in the UN climate conference in solidarity with African countries who demand that Kyoto targets for emissions reductions are protected.

nnimmo-cameras


Speaking to the cameras after the second action Nnimmo Bassey, Chair of Friends of the Earth International said the rich countries were "using dirty negotiating tactics..trying to change the rules and tilt them in their own favour."


African countries stood up to these tactics and during the action Friends of the Earth International chanted "We stand with Africa. Don't kill Kyoto targets"

Dec 11, 2009

A day at the Klimaforum

by PhilLee — last modified Dec 11, 2009 08:35 AM
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Today Friends of the Earth took part in a number of events at the Kilmaforum - the civil society event in Copenhagen. The day began with a briefing from Young Friends of the Earth and ended with the first day of the People's Tribunal on Ecological Debt and Climate Justice.

mauro-sophie-yfoeiIn recognition of 'young and future generations day' at the climate conference, the daily briefing in the Klimaforum - the civil society summit - was carried out by members of Young Friends of the Earth and other young people attending the summit.

There are around a thousand young people following the negotiations in Copenhagen and the role youth can play in these negotiations is now being formally recognised.

The panel was split into regions and Mauro Ramos from Friends of the Earth Uruguay talked about the position of Latin America, particularly when it comes to climate debt.

Firstly he spoke about Bolivia and the strong position they have taken in the region.

"They are one of the few countries that propose to maintain and preserve oil reserves in their territories"

He talked about the discussions around climate debt and how it can be paid; two options being direct payments to countries and technology transfers from developing country to non developing country.

On the subject of renewable energy he was positive but cautious:

 

"Many private companies are seeking new business opportunities. We say it's important to keep this energy at the reach of local people."

He ended by calling on negotiators to listen to indigenous people. "Native populations are not heard… these people are totally forgotten. We have to bear them in mind for a fair world."

the feminist struggle

meena-feminist-strugglesThe first talk of the afternoon was 'feminists struggling against climate change and the privatisation of the environment' organised by the World March of Women and supported by Friends of the Earth International.

Meena Raman from Friends of the Earth Malaysia began by updating us on the climate talks from the perspective of developing countries and women.

She said how great it was to be at the Klimaforum," a place of passion, inspiration, spirit and hope and justice" and went on to say how women's closeness to the earth mean they are at the forefront of the climate struggle:

 

"They see what contamination does their bodies, what pollution does their children."

She spoke with passion detailing the spin the developed countries are putting on the talks.

 

"They say there needs to be a new treaty to replace Kyoto which runs out in 2012. It doesn't."

 

She criticised the Danish government for their back room talks and other countries for invoking intellectual property rights when it comes to green technology transfer.

 

"These same rights were used to deny Africans life saving AIDS drugs" she said.

 

It's hard to get a crowd fired up on the finer points of the Kyoto Treaty yet Meena had no problem in generating whoops, sighs and cheers.

 

Thuli Mahama from Friends of the Earth Swaziland spoke in advance of the event saying the face of poverty is always that of a woman or a malnourished child yet these same people are adapting without attending any conferences."

They have no choice but to find ways to survive:

 

"In Swaziland some women scrape some sand from the ground and if they wait long enough, perhaps two hours, a small pool of water may appear. This is how women are adapting to climate change" she said.


ecological debt and climate justice

ricardo-kleinAs feminist struggles continued, over the corridor, the 'People's tribunal on ecological debt and climate justice' was taking place. There, a panel including Angela Navarro one of the Bolivian negotiators, the author Naomi Klein and Ricardo Navarro from Friends of the Earth El Salvador gave their thoughts on the pursuit of climate debt and reparations - an essential element to climate justice.

Angela Navarro began by talking about the kind of climate agreement Bolivia wants. One that takes into account the fact that developed countries and their pursuit of ever greater profits caused the mess that we're in today.

 

"Developed countries have forgotten what a healthy relationship is with Mother Earth. In the south we are still listening to her" she said.

 

She then went on to offer developed countries capacity building on being more in tuned with the earth.

Finally she ended with some news on the negotiations:

"Our President is preparing a surprise for us. We need your help to make this process inclusive from the bottom up. Thirty nations don't have a right to impose a solution"

Having spent a few days in the convention centre where the official climate talks are taking place, Naomi Klein observed that the talks resembled "the final scrabble for the remaining resources of a planet in peril"

She gave encouragement to the movement calling for reparations comparing them to the people who asked for reparations for the slave trade:

 

"They will laugh until there is a movement... We are that movement."

Finally it was Ricardo Navarro's turn.

 

He spoke of a new paradigm of development that needs to take place where it's not the economists who have the final word. He urged people to resist any project that contributes to climate change and transform the system; "small scale agriculture and energy sovereignty is part of the solution."

Naomi Klein had the last word when she said:

 

"A common phrase in American is 'let's press the restart button.' The earth doesn't have a restart button."

Dec 10, 2009

Video: Offsetting - the greatest con trick in history

by PhilLee — last modified Dec 10, 2009 12:29 PM
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The FoEI magician try his best to magic away carbon emissions but it just doesn't work.

Dec 08, 2009

Actions, teasers and tricks

by PhilLee — last modified Dec 08, 2009 09:20 PM
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There is no shortage of energy and creativity in the Bella Center as hour after hour a new protest fills the corridors from the straight forward banner to rather complex magic tricks.

offsetting trick
Our magician try his best to magic away carbon emissions but it just doesn't work.

 

angry mermaid action
Young Friends of the Earth promote the Angry Mermaid Award

trees protest
Offsetting protest in the Bella Center atrium

 
aliens
Take me to your climate leader

indigenous protest
Indigenous protest

REDD protest
REDD protest

Dec 07, 2009

Naomi Klein speaks at the launch of the Klimaforum

by PhilLee — last modified Dec 07, 2009 10:50 PM
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Naomi Klein praises the work of the climate justice movement and urges everyone not to leave the climate up to developed countries and corporations.

naomi klein launches klimaforum

Sep 21, 2009

The Biggest Embrace in History

by PhilLee — last modified Sep 21, 2009 04:40 PM
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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.

honduras-crowd-crop.jpg“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”.
Eduardo Galeano

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.

honduras-coup-tn.jpgThe 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

Jul 06, 2009

A tree plantation is not a forest

by PhilLee — last modified Jul 06, 2009 10:51 AM
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Take a look at this poster on monoculture tree plantations produced by Friends of the Earth Argentina.

monoculture-flyer.jpg

Jul 05, 2009

Nnimmo Bassey speaking at g8 undergound

by PhilLee — last modified Jul 05, 2009 09:00 AM

He's the one on the left.

Nnimmo speaking at G8 Underground

Jul 04, 2009

The tar sands threat

by PhilLee — last modified Jul 04, 2009 05:45 PM

Ahead of the G8 summit in L’Aquila, Italy, the alternative G8 summit is taking place in Sardinia. Nnimmo Bassey Chair of Friends of the Earth International is there.

Saturday, July 4, 2009 was devoted to debates on food sovereignty and the important need for support to be given to smallholder farmers and agro-ecological approaches.

For a large part of the day I was engaged in brainstorming on the massive threats of tar sand/bitumen mining. Specific focus was on the situation in Congo DR where ENI, the Italian oil company, is involved. We particularly looked at the looming dangers to communities and their environment as well as what needs to be done to mobilize them and build resistance.

 

Lessons were also drawn from the situation in Canada. The moves towards bitumen mining in Nigeria were mentioned including the fact that a committee was set up in 2008 by the government (of Nigeria) to handle the process of bidding for 3 bitumen blocks.

We agreed that sharing of information and experiences would be a good way to move forward.

Jul 02, 2009

The alternative g8 summit

by PhilLee — last modified Jul 02, 2009 10:31 AM

Ahead of next week's G8 summit in Naples, Italy, members of civil society movements are gathering in Sardinia for an alternative G8 summit.

GS8_logo-web.jpgFor a large part of the official G8 summit world leaders will be discussing climate change. Whereas they will be talking about market based solutions and the World Bank's role in bringing about a low carbon economy the alternative summit will be discussing how this transition must be managed in a way that does not harm the poor by limiting energy access or the right to develop, and adds to the empowerment of local communities to make decisions about local resources.

 

FoE Asia Pacific statement on Honduras

by PhilLee — last modified Jul 02, 2009 11:58 AM
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Friends of the Earth Asia Pacific stands in solidarity with the Honduran people and the Latin American nations.

foe-asia-pacific-web.jpgWe, the women and men of Friends of the Earth Asia Pacific (FoE APac), defend and uphold human dignity and the universal sanctity of human rights. We believe in a just society where sovereignty and social justice can only be attained through genuine democracy.

 

As a continent that has been ravaged by dictatorships and oppression, we oppose dictators and the military in their fascist attempts to suppress the sovereign rights of peoples. We continue to fight and stand together with masses of people, with communities and with movements in pushing for genuine democracy.

We cannot remain silent when our sisters and brothers across the oceans are blatantly denied their genuine democracy and are being abused for exercising their rights.

Therefore, our nations in the Asia Pacific, stand together with our sisters and brothers in Honduras and in Latin America who are opposing the fascist coup d'etat staged against the Honduran people and the government of Honduras which led to the kidnapping and exile of President-elect Manuel Zelaya.

We reject the installation of Roberto Micheletti as Honduran President and condemn the Congress, the military forces and their elitist powerful cohorts in protecting an installed leadership in Honduras which is not the popular will of the Honduran people.

We denounce the blatant abuse of power and the human rights violations committed against the right of the Honduran people to demonstrate against the perpetrators of the coup d'etat, where hundreds were beaten and seriously wounded. We oppose the repression, intimidation, persecution and silencing of our comrades and leaders of social movements.

We denounce the crack-down on freedom of speech and the closing down of broadcast media where national television stations and radio stations were taken off the air following Sunday's military-led coup d'etat. We condemn the corporate mass media in promoting Micheletti and the Honduran oligarchy in their efforts to stop popular will and peoples' democracy by justifying and supporting the coup d'etat.  

We, therefore, demand:

  1. The immediate and unconditional reinstatement of Manuel Zelaya as the President elect of Honduras;
  2. The protection and respect towards Manuel Zelaya upon his return to Honduras;
  3. That freedom of speech be respected and that the crack-down on broadcase media immediately ceases;
  4. That Honduran Armed Forces immediately cease to protect the interest of the powerful and the elite, and instead fulfil their duty to serve and protect Honduras and its people;
  5. That activists and leaders of social movements are respected and not harmed while exercising their right to freedom of speech; and
  6. That an immediate investigation be conducted on the human rights violations that have been committed against demonstrators, activists and social movements and that justice will be attained for those who fought for genuine democracy


We call on the international community to continue to be vigilant and support genuine democracy in Honduras.  Say NO TO FASCIST MILITARY RULE! NO TO DICTATORSHIP! NO TO HUMAN RIGHTS VIOLATIONS!

In solidarity, the women and men of Friends of the Earth Asia Pacific, stand united with our sisters and brothers in Honduras.

Friends of the Earth Australia, BELA – FoE Bangladesh, WALHI – FoE Indonesia, FoE Japan, SAM – FoE Malaysia, ProPublic – FoE Nepal, PENGON – FoE Palestine, CELCOR – FoE Papua New Guinea, LRC/KsK – FoE Philippines, KFEM – FoE South Korea, CEJ – FoE Sri Lanka and HABURAS – FoE Timor Leste

GSott8 opens!

by PhilLee — last modified Jul 02, 2009 03:00 PM

Ahead of the G8 summit in L’Aquila, Italy, the alternative G8 summit is taking place in Sardinia. Nnimmo Bassey Chair of Friends of the Earth International is there.

It is the 1st of July and we were on our way to the Southern tip of Italy. Getting to Cagliari, Sardinia, Italy, was a fascinating experience. From the aircraft seat, the runway below was clearly in sight but the pilot went a circuitous path before finally touching them smoothly. As we came in, you could see the entire breadth of the Sardinia Island, its rugged mountains and some of its population centres. On this flight were four of us heading for the GSott8: Luca of CRBM, Zakir Kibria of Praxa  Bangla, Bangladesh, Nicholas Hildyard of the Corner House and yours truly.

The welcome party was warm and soon we were on our way to Iglesias…town name and not a bunch of churches, if you get what I mean. The ride ended in a restaurant at the city centre where we did not only dine and wine but began to talk about the events of the next days. By midnight a bunch of us were on our way to Casa di Nonna, a Bed & Breakfast at Villamassargia…,which I thought was a massage home! But it was not…

 

2nd July broke with a bright sunlight hitting my tightly shut eyes from long before 6 AM. A quick breakfast and we were on our way to a trip to the mines at Monteponi….  Soon helmeted, we entered the belly of the earth though tunnels dug by men from 1882 and from which zinc, copper and lead were mined until 8 years ago. The mines and related infrastructure now serves as the Faculty of Mineralogy of the University of Cagliari where studies are focussed on the mining and other engineering studies.

 

The mine is as interesting as it is instructive.  Most of its equipment and spare parts were manufactured on the location and once installed were expected to stay in the belly of the earth “for ever.” The mine starts from 150m above sea level and goes down 200m below sea level and required a massive water pumping works to keep the water out of the tunnels and allow the extraction of the vital minerals.


Why was the mine closed? This is the point that is so instructive: the entire operations were so expensive that it did not make economic sense to invest so much resource on it. In other words, it was cheaper to import the zinc, lead and copper that this mine offered than to keep tunneling here. On account of this, and although there is still copper, zinc and lead underground, the mines are shut dues to economic exigencies. On result of this is that the huge labour force that was once employed in the mines were suddenly thrown into the labour market and the towns that grew around the mines are now a shadow of the ebullient selves they must have been in the hey days of hard helmets, picks and hammers.

 

Lesson learned: just because you have a resource does not mean that you must extract it. Thinking about crude oil: if the true cost of oil were paid, everyone would have left the resource in the soil! But because the crude is extracted from communities of the voiceless, the environmental costs, human rights abuses and the works are conveniently ignored and the world remains stuck on model of civilization that has dragged humanity into a blind corner.

Leave the oil in the soil, the coal in the hole and the tar sand in the land! The day ended with an opening event at the centre of Carbonia, a carbon town or a city built to service coal mines that have also been shut. Leaders of the municipal authorities who also welcomed all to the G8 Underground attended the opening event. This was followed by denunciations of the G8 and a condemnation of the subversion of the democratic systems of Honduras.

3rd July and the G8 Underground is set to focus on oil, gas and mining. We just concluded two interview panels...the first featured Ivonne Yanez of Accion Ecologica, Ecuador  while the second had me on the hot seat and I was interviewed by Nick of the Corner House ... More to come…

 

Jun 16, 2009

Bonn wrap up: "Plugged in"

by PhilLee — last modified Jun 16, 2009 03:09 PM
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Delegates from 182 countries have been in Bonn discussing key negotiating texts which can serve as the basis for critical climate talks in Copenhagen this December. Sam fleet from Friends of the Earth Europe and also a member of the Young Friends of the Earth Europe movement (Young FoEE) was there.

Bonn report card poseAlmost a week has passed since I returned from Bonn; the dust has settled and hopefully the majority of the FoEI delegation, like myself, have returned to a normal working schedule – although I know a few who travelled directly to the FoEE AGM in Lenzen, Germany.

The weekend provided an opportunity to process and evaluate everything that had happened in Bonn, and I remain impressed and inspired by the FoEI presence.

 

On returning to the office a colleague informed me that a friend who had been to the talks had asked her “how much money do Friends of the Earth have!? You were everywhere.” And I agreed, although not because of money, but due to fantastic coordination, dedication and hard work from the FoEI and Young FoEE delegations.

 

Asad Rehman, Senior Campaigner from Friends of the Earth England Wales and Northern Ireland summed it up perfectly:

 

“We were plugged in at every level, from government delegations to NGO and movement groupings. It was a real example of what an inside and outside strategy can accomplish.” And, the strategy looks set to develop and continue in Bangkok, Barcelona and finally Copenhagen.

The evaluation of the talks themselves: industrialised countries are still not showing leadership. The Climate Justice Network! And FoEI press conference can be watched here:


In short, US, Japan and the EU put forward inadequate reductions targets, continued to push offsetting, and ignored historical responsibility and calls to pay back their ‘climate debt’ – to compensate for the damage that pollution from excessive greenhouse gas pollution over the past 200 years has and will cause in developing countries.

 

The Alliance of Small Island States called on developed countries to commit to higher greenhouse gas reduction targets, Bolivia demanded repayment of the developed world's climate debt and El Salvador and Paraguay stood strong to
protect Indigenous Peoples rights.

 

For a more detailed overview go to:


Thanks for following, and thanks to all those who were in Bonn, look forward to seeing you all in Copenhagen at the latest.

Jun 11, 2009

Inside the Maritim bubble

by PhilLee — last modified Jun 11, 2009 05:52 PM

Delegates from 182 countries are in Bonn discussing key negotiating texts which can serve as the basis for critical climate talks in Copenhagen this December. Sam fleet from Friends of the Earth Europe and also a member of the Young Friends of the Earth Europe movement (Young FoEE) is there.

The first signs of exhaustion set in on Tuesday morning: I jumped on the bus, which I maintain left from the same bus stop, with the same number, at the same time, and failed to notice for several stops that I was going in completely the wrong direction.

 

Needless to say I was late for the 8am FoEI meeting. I arrived half way through the updates from the previous day. We discussed collecting all the blogs from various FoEI members during the two weeks in Bonn.

Here are a couple of links to those that I have not previously mentioned:

Video blogs from Friends of the Earth US:

 

Linda’s blog, Friends of the Earth Netherlands:


I popped outside to photograph the Anti-nuclear action, protesting against the possible inclusion of nuclear activities under the clean development mechanisms, before joining the remaining Young FoEE in discussion over a further action – an end of week school report, and continuation of the previous detention action’s theme.

The evening was spent at the Secretariat’s reception, where after again being fooled by public transport we found ourselves 30 minutes late. We missed the speeches, but thankfully not the free dinner and wine, of which I suspect the majority of the punctual attendees were deeply jealous.

I spent some time doing my best to mingle, but too tired to speak decided instead to stand and observe lobbying in its informal setting. I was slightly disgruntled that after 20 minutes nobody tried to lobby me, but figured my green t-shirt with a bicycle logo betrayed my NGO status.
 
It also struck me that I recognised the majority of people, and that we had all been sharing such a small space for what felt like weeks: the Maritim bubble (the conference venue). I realised that the talks offered a really fantastic opportunity for NGOs to influence the direction that countries would take to tackle climate change in the future, and ultimately a fantastic opportunity to influence the future full-stop – through lobbying and action.

I mentally congratulated the FoEI and Young FoEE team for their dedicated work over the last days. Ready for bed, I accompanied a genuinely lost and confused member of the Secretariat to the train station. At one point during the walk she remarked “oh, what is this lovely place?” to which I responded, “Bonn”.

Jun 08, 2009

Video: Have you done your homework?

by PhilLee — last modified Jun 08, 2009 12:13 PM
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Delegates from 182 countries are in Bonn discussing key negotiating texts which can serve as the basis for critical climate talks in Copenhagen this December. Young Friends of the Earth Europe (Young FoEE) are there asking world leaders if they're going to cut their emissions by 40% by 2020.

Jun 05, 2009

Bingo and beach parties in Bonn

by PhilLee — last modified Jun 05, 2009 11:15 PM
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Delegates from 182 countries are in Bonn discussing key negotiating texts which can serve as the basis for critical climate talks in Copenhagen this December. Sam fleet from Friends of the Earth Europe and also a member of the Young Friends of the Earth Europe movement (Young FoEE) is there.

Young FoEE-Bonn-Merkel cutoutI took a second to reassess the situation after the detention action, and was shocked to find that it was only 10:30am. Some rushed discussions about further press work interrupted my sleepy ponderings, and then I had to dash to meet the policy group, who were badgering me to photograph their meeting with the German delegation, which I was more than happy to do.

 

The debate seemed lively, although I must admit I had no idea what they were talking about. I was unsure whether I found it inspiring or troubling that so many of the participants, who were clearly much younger than myself, seemed so knowledgeable about policy, and knew so many acronyms: I was still mulling over the sign outside the Maritim Hotel which appeared to point to BINGO.

 

After lunch and a swift media group meeting, it was time to join BUND Jugend, the German Young FoEE group, preparing a beach party outside the Maritim, with cut-out cartoons of Merkel and climate refugees. Having been refused permission to present either the cut-out figures or the accompanying film inside the Maritim, they used portable laptops to show passers-by the clip, and collected signed postcards.

 

Discussions with Yvo de Boer, Executive Secretary of the UNFCCC, followed concerning the vague action policy surrounding the event, resulting in permission for the entry of Merkel and company into the Maritim.

 

I finally found time to collect my thoughts, and it was still only 4 pm...

Jun 04, 2009

Like a festival without the fun

by PhilLee — last modified Jun 04, 2009 01:00 PM
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Delegates from 182 countries are in Bonn discussing key negotiating texts which can serve as the basis for critical climate talks in Copenhagen this December. Sam fleet from Friends of the Earth Europe and also a member of the Young Friends of the Earth Europe movement (Young FoEE) is there.

Young FoEE - BonnThe Young FoEE day began earlier than any would have liked, especially after the late night spent banner painting in preparation for Friday, but everyone was keen to get their first look inside Hotel Maritim where the climate talks were taking place.

 

After final rushed meetings in the bus and tram we arrived at the rather soulless area around the hotel, and after a brief stroll along the footpath, adjacent to a motorway, 35 of us congregated in the front entrance of the hotel for the first group shot. Young FoEE had arrived, and we were hard to miss.


After passing security it was like being thrown into a sea of suits, and as my first experience at this kind of event I was relieved to find that it wasn’t as scary as I’d expected. A rather small venue, considering the importance of the talks, and a disturbing number of smiling delegates… was this a reflection on the progress of the talks? Not if the FoEI delegation were to be believed.

 

The atmosphere inside the hotel was a surreal cross between music festival and boardroom meeting: all the freneticism, energy and legions of sleep-deprived people that you’d find in a festival, but with all the music and fun removed.

 

The hotel was full of surreal juxtapositions and the rhythm strangely hypnotic: I would later find myself signing off a press release for Friday’s action with a snoring delegate on the sofa opposite, a destitute polar bear below, and calls of “Fossil of the day” echoing through the corridors.

 

But, to work! The Young FoEE groups split again into three, and continued from yesterday’s sessions. Action locations were scoped out, and plans refined. Policy differences were ironed out and the media potential was explored. It was clear there remains plenty of room for the Young FoEE/FoEI message.


Jan 28, 2009

World Social Forum 2009

by PhilLee — last modified Jan 28, 2009 05:17 PM
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Social movements and civil society organizations opposed to a world dominated by capital are gathering in Belem, Brazil to debate just and sustainable alternatives.

Friends of the Earth International are at the event and will be reporting back with media releases, blogs, audio reports and photographs.

 

Watch this space for all the updates.

Jan 12, 2009

stop gas flaring in nigeria

by PhilLee — last modified Jan 12, 2009 05:55 PM

Today we launched a cyberaction (online petition) against the government of Nigeria urging them to put a stop to the illegal and harmful practice of gas flaring. Please join us by adding your name to cyberaction.

gas-flare-tnFriends of the Earth International is calling for an immediate end to the destruction of the environment and the lives of the people living in the Niger Delta. Please join us in calling on the President of Nigeria to end gas flaring in all Niger Delta communities.

 

 

 

 

Gas is often found mixed with crude oil and must be separated. Burning the gas is the cheapest way to do this yet also the most environmentally destructive. Regardless, this is what the major oil producers in the Niger Delta have been doing for decades despite it being illegal in Nigeria since 1984.

Nigeria is the world’s second largest flarer of gas associated with crude oil extraction. The country burns 23 billion cubic meters annually. This practice, which costs $2.5 billion in annual revenue losses has led to a myriad of social, health and environmental costs, and is also a major factor in the tension and conflicts raging in the Niger Delta region.

In 2005 a Federal High court sitting in Benin ordered Shell to stop gas flaring in Iwhrekan, saying it violates the people’s fundamental right to life and dignity of human person. The judge ruled that gas flaring is a "gross violation" of the constitutionally-guaranteed rights to life and dignity, which include the right to a "clean poison-free, pollution-free healthy environment".

There can be no more excuses. We must act in large numbers and demand the government of Nigeria brings about an end to gas flaring once and for all.

 

Take action now!

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