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Sep 27, 2012

RWR: Unsettling - Interview with Ayman Rabi about the Friends of the Earth International Mission to Palestine

by admin — last modified Sep 27, 2012 11:00 AM

For two days Bobby Peek of Friends of the Earth South Africa and Eurig Scandrett of Friends of the Earth Scotland, spoke with people from local communities of the West Bank and witnessed the environmental damage caused by Israeli industrial, commercial and settlement activity. Real World Radio interviewed Pengon campaigner Ayman Rabi about the FoEI mission in Palestine.


Listen to the interview on Real World Radio


Two representatives of Friends of the Earth International, an environmental federation with groups in almost 80 countries, traveled to Palestine on the invitation of PENGON-Friends of the Earth Palestine to see the environmental consequences of the Israeli occupation.


PENGON is a member group of Friends of the Earth International that campaigns mainly on access to land and water, as well as climate change and some issues related with community empowerment through fostering the existing of the local communities.


Ayman explained that the FoEI mission aimed to “eye witness on the current environmental violations caused mainly by the Israeli occupation to Palestinian territory”. It was also aimed to “show them the current discriminatory practices against Palestinian farmers”.


The mission visited different communities in the West Bank that suffer from water scarcity and from settler violations. Ayman said those communities suffer “pollution problems created by the waste water disposal of (Israeli) settlements existing in that area (...) and also restrictions imposed on Palestinian farmers from using the land caused by the separation wall created” by the Israeli government.


The construction of the wall began in 2002 under the then Prime Minister Ariel Sharon in order to “avoid the infiltration of Palestinian suicide bombers in Israel”. The International Court of Justice of The Hague (The Netherlands) declared the wall illegal in 2004, since it cuts across Palestinian lands in the West Bank. The United Nations also condemned its construction. As a result of the building of the wall, nearly 500,000 Palestinians are separared from their lands and work places.

After the mission, PENGON aims to disseminate the conclusions as wide as possible in order to do advocacy work and to have an impartial view of the situation in Palestine.


Listen to the interview on Real World Radio


Photo: PENGON – Friends of the Earth Palestine.

Sep 20, 2012

Friends of the Earth Europe: Shale gas: unconventional and unwanted

by Denis Burke — last modified Sep 20, 2012 11:52 AM

New report highlights dangers of unconventional fuel to environment and health

Brussels, September 20 – Europe risks side-lining its vision for a more sustainable, low-carbon energy future, according to a new report from Friends of the Earth Europe [1], unless it permanently closes its doors to unconventional and unwanted fossil fuels like shale gas [2].

In the week of two European parliamentary votes on shale gas [3], the report, ‘Unconventional and unwanted’ says that shale gas could lock Europe into continued dependency on fossil fuels, at the expense of renewable energy, energy savings and significant reductions in climate-changing emissions.

Increasing evidence shows ‘fracking’, the process used to extract shale gas, is an unambiguously high-risk activity that threatens human health and the wider environment. The high risk of water contamination, and air pollution with hazardous chemicals, are both recognised in a recent European Commission study [4].

Antoine Simon, shale gas campaigner for Friends of the Earth Europe said: “Fossil fuels like shale gas are unconventional and unwanted – they threaten the health of local communities, and the environment. They also threaten to lock Europe into fossil fuel dependency, side-lining renewable energy developments, energy savings and Europe’s commitment to a low-carbon future."

The environmental impacts of shale gas and other unconventional fuels (such as coal bed methane) are being underplayed in the debate on Europe’s energy future [5], and rely upon unproven technologies like Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS), and gaps in current European legislation to make them attractive to investors and decision makers, the report finds.

Local opposition to the threat of shale gas continues across Europe, with a global day of action against fracking this Saturday (September 22) [6]. Bans on fracking are already in place in France and Bulgaria, and there are moratoria in regions of Germany and Czech Republic, and in the Netherlands.

Antoine Simon continued: “Concerned communities and organisations across Europe are taking action against shale gas development. People see what’s happening in the US and don’t want to see the same dangerous experiment on health and the environment conducted in Europe.”

Friends of the Earth Europe is campaigning for European member states to suspend on-going activities, retract permits, and place bans on any new projects, whether exploration or exploitation. Europe must embrace a low-carbon energy model, based on renewable energy and improved energy savings – the only genuine path towards an environmentally sustainable and healthy future.

‘Unconventional and unwanted: the case against shale gas’ is available to download here:


For more information please contact:

Antoine Simon, shale gas campaigner for Friends of the Earth Europe,
Tel: +32 (0) 2 893 10 18, Mob: +32 (0) 486 685 664, email:

Sam Fleet, communications officer, Friends of the Earth Europe, (EN)
Tel: +32 (0) 2893 1012, Mob: +32 (0) 470 072 049,




[2] Shale gas is a form of unconventional gas found in shale reservoirs. To extract the gas a process known as hydraulic fracturing, or 'fracking', is required. Fracking involves the injection of millions of litres of water, sand and chemicals – known as 'fracking fluid' – into the shale reservoir, at high pressure, to fracture the rock and release the gas.

[3] Two European Parliament committees – working on Industry, Research and Energy (ITRE) and Environment (ENVI) – voted this week on their respective reports on the impacts of shale gas development in Europe. The outcomes of the votes are ambiguous: on the one hand recognising the serious risks shale gas poses to health and the environment while still promoting it as “necessary fuel for our energy security”.

Friends of the Earth Europe’s reaction to the vote on the ITRE Report, September 18th:

[4] The DG Environment risk assessment of shale gas operations can be found here:

[5] A short video from the European Greens, in collaboration with Fiends of the Earth Europe, explaining the environmental and health impacts of shale gas:

[6] Friends of the Earth groups in France, Spain, Belgium, the Netherlands, Ireland, England, Wales and Northern Ireland will organise events this Saturday, September 22nd, as part of Global Frackdown day. For more information:

Sep 19, 2012

Defend life (Jmaktik buch’utik sk’anik spojik jkuxlejaltik) - a poem about Plantations

by Denis Burke — last modified Sep 19, 2012 10:21 AM

Jmaktik buch’utik sk’anik spojik jkuxlejaltik (Defend life)

by Jose Manuel Martín Pérez (translated from Tzotzil - original below)


What does the forest mean for a local community?
building materials
safe space for animals
the forest means life
And what happens with a plantation?
The water runs out
there is no food
nor safe spaces
nor medicine
nor pollinators
nor firewood
nor honey
nor respite
there is no life
What is there to do?
Stop the plantations!


Jmaktik buch’utik sk’anik spojik jkuxlejaltik

¿K’uyun lek k’alal oy a’mal te ta jlumatik?
Mi oy a’mal, oy ve’lil
Oy o’
Xu’ jva’antik jnatik xchi’uk k’usi oy ku’untik te ta a’mal
Oy svayeb chon-bolometik
Oy vomol-poxil
Oy epal mutetik
Oy si’
Oy pom
Oy bu’ lek nichim ko’ontontik jkotoltik
Me oy a’mal oy jkuxlekatik
¿Mi ech xa na’ k’alal sts’unik yansba ko’ol te’tik?
Mo’o, mauk ech sjam. Chlaj o’
Chlaj te ve’lile
Ch’ay batel svayeb chon-bolometik
Chlaj vomol-poxil
Chlaj ch’ul-balamil
Chlaj si’
Chlaj snichimal ko’ontontik
Solel chlaj jkuxlejaltik
¿K’usi xu’ chapas o’ote yu’un mu chlaj skotol?

What some Friends of the Earth Groups are planning for The International Day Against Monoculture Tree Plantations on September 21

by Denis Burke — last modified Sep 19, 2012 10:10 AM

Friends of the Earth groups around the world will commemorate the International Day against Monoculture Tree Plantations in a variety of creative ways. We are working to get the word out across the world. We hope you will join us and get some inspiration from these examples of Friends of the Earth actions below.

In the Czech Republic an information campaign will buzz around Middle Europe through facebook and email campaigns. Want to help out? Find Friends of the Earth Czech Republic on Facebook

In Mexico, the Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation Governors Climate and Forest Task Force (REDD - GCF) will meet in San Cristobal de las Casas in Chiapas between 25 – 27 September. Amigos de la Tierra Mexico is conducting parallel activites, including a press conference, daily forums for public debate, guests from FoE USA (Jeff Conant) and AdT Brasil (Lucia Ortiz), and representatives of the Lacandon jungle who are fighting REDD and oil palm plantations. The period around September 21 will be covered in a blog

Amigos de Terra Brasil  will be at the University de Espirito Santo for a book launch (La Ambientalizacion de los Bancos y La Finacerizacion de la Natureleza) with Red Alerta Contra el Desierto Verde and the Brasilian Network of IFIs. They also plan community visits.


Amigos de la Tierra Costa Rica plans an action in front of the Constitutional Court, protesting the advance of monoculture pineapple plantations and their impacts on forests.


In Mozambique a workshop about the community forest project underway there will be taking place on the 20 and 21 of September. On the 21 they will release a short documentary about one of these projects and the invasion of plantations in the area. A petition to the national government to halt their plans to turn Mozambique into a mega plantation is also planned.


Argentina will conduct outreach activities and workshops.


Uganda will also mark the day with workshops and press releases.


Read a poem about Monoculture Tree Plantations by Jose Manuel Martín Pérez

Sep 18, 2012

Join the Global Frackdown for a Ban on Fracking!

by Denis Burke — last modified Sep 18, 2012 10:20 AM

Friends of the Earth International is supporting Global Frackdown, a mass global day of action on Saturday, September 22 demanding a ban on fracking around the world.

Frack Down

Fracking is a relatively new and highly destructive way of extracting oil or gas from the ground. It involves injecting millions of gallons of water mixed with sand and chemicals into hard shale rocks at high pressure to release the gas or oil that is trapped inside.


Gas from fracking (known as ‘shale gas’) is being promoted as ‘clean energy’, but the reality is very different. Fracking threatens our air, water, communities and climate. Fracking:


  • taps into a new and vast source of high carbon fossil fuels - one of the main causes of climate change and irreversible and catastrophic climate impacts
  • uses enormous quantities of water, an already scarce resource
  • involves highly toxic chemicals which can escape and pollute local drinking water supplies
  • will very likely lead to the forced displacement of communities and small farmers like other forms of fossil fuel extraction
  • releases dangerous levels of methane, another potent greenhouse gas that can also leak into nearby water supplies and cause explosions
  • can cause earth tremors


Fracking is just one aspect of the corporate-controlled global dirty energy system which we need to transform if we are to avert catastrophic climate change and improve the health, wellbeing and livelihoods of communities around the world. Dirty fossil fuels like oil, gas and coal, and other dirty energies like agrofuels and energy from destructive mega-dams and waste incineration harm communities and the environment whilst mostly serving the energy needs of corporations, not ordinary people.


We need to replace this unsustainable and exploitative energy model with energy systems based on appropriate, clean, renewable energy under real democratic and community control.


This transformation is already under way, and Friends of the Earth International is campaigning to help make it a reality. One of the first steps is stopping dirty energy, and that is why we are supporting Global Frackdown, an initiative of Food & Water Watch.


Around the world hundreds of communities are organising to protect their land and water and resist fracking. Communities and campaigners have managed to stop fracking in Bulgaria and France. Campaigners in South Africa won a temporary moratorium, but saw this lifted last week showing that more pressure and global solidarity is needed.


Global Frackdown will unite concerned citizens everywhere for a day of action on September 22, 2012.


Over 125 actions are being planned all over the world to demand that decision makers oppose fracking and send a message to governments that we want a future fueled by clean, renewable energy, not dirty, polluting fossil fuels. For more information



Some more information from Friends of the Earth Groups on Fracking

FoE England, Wales and Northern Ireland background information
FoE Ireland
recent community panel discussion
FoE Scotland

background information

FoE Europe






Sep 13, 2012

International Day against Monoculture Tree Plantations: September 21

by Denis Burke — last modified Sep 13, 2012 10:20 AM

Branding a plantation a 'forest' is like calling a big swimming pool a 'lake'

Edge of PlantationOn September 21 every year, environmental and social groups from all over the world mark the International Day against Monoculture Tree Plantations. While multilateral organisations persist in telling the world that plantations help the environment and the economy, the reality is that timber plantations almost always have a negative impact on communities, local economies and biodiversity. These plantations are not a solution to climate change nor to biodiversity loss.


Monoculture tree plantations have a serious impact on the communities and eco-systems around them. Many people who depend on forests for their livelihoods have been evicted or relocated to make way for plantations. The impact on biodiversity can be severe as plantations are not similar to forests in the diversity of life that they can host. Hydrological cycles are disrupted and ecosystems hurt by the widened use of pesticides.


That's why on September 21st -- the International Day Against Monoculture Tree Plantations-- Friends of the Earth groups plan various activities around the world, including calling attention to and challenging the expansion of palm oil tree plantations destined for agrofuel production, challenging eucalyptus and other monoculture tree plantations grown for export, and exposing over-consumption and consumerism.



Image: Edge of Plantation by Hanna Nikkanen. Used under CC License