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Feb 16, 2012

Denouncing violent evictions in Colombia

by PhilLee — last modified Feb 16, 2012 05:49 PM

Friends of the Earth International condemns the violent evictions carried out this week in Colombia to make way for the construction of the El Quimbo hydroelectric dam.

magdalena river colombia 2
The Magdalena River, Colombia. Credit: RitaCuba

Police forces carried out a violent eviction of fishermen families from a non-violent sit-in on the shores of Magdalena river in front of the construction site of the hydroelectric project 'El Quimbo'.

They left three people wounded, amongst them a young man who lost his eye due to one of the gas-canisters used by the police. The construction has seriously affected the local way of life and has has a negative impact on women and men farmers, day labourers, fishermen, traditional miners that have constructed their culture around the Magdalena river.

It has come to our attention through declarations of Asoquimbo, the local organization that represents the people affected by the project and our national organization CENSAT 'Agua Viva', that the fishermen and farmers have appealed to all legal actions available to them in the framework of the Political Constitution and legislation of Colombia to stop the project, due to the permanent non-compliance and irregularities of the environmental license given by the Ministry of Environment and Sustainable Development.

 

Moreover, they have requested a Public Environmental Audience, as present in the Colombian legal framework, as a means for participation, where communities can make their demands public to entities of control, government, companies and the public in general. Up until today their request has been denied.

We strongly denounce the fact that during the eviction independent media were prevented from entering the area, amongst them our correspondent of Real World Radio, medium of communication for the Federation of Friends of the Earth.

Friends of the Earth International declares:

  • Its unconditional support to the women and men affected by the hydroelectric project 'El Quimbo' in defence of their territory and their traditional ways of life.
  • Its rejection of the violent answers towards the communities that ignore the roads of dialogue Asoquimbo and local organizations have promoted during the four years of resistance against the hydroelectric project.
  • To the Colombian government to urgently attend the recommendations of the World Commission on Dams, that recognised the multiple environmental impacts, and on the life and means of subsistence of communities closely tied to rivers; Approve the realisation of the Public environmental Audience requested by the local communities and guarantee the protection of the rights of the local population, directly or indirectly affected y the hydroelectric project 'El Quimbo'.
  • To the international community the importance to accompany Asoquimbo and local organizations in their valiant resistance and to support their proposal to declare the area of 'El Quimbo' a Rural and Agro-food Reserve.

Take action

Call on Colombia's government to halt the diversion of the magdalena river

Jan 04, 2012

Indonesian police fire on gold mine protesters

by PhilLee — last modified Jan 04, 2012 01:50 PM

Friends of the Earth International is shocked to learn of an attack by the Australian mining company Arc Exploration and the Indonesian security forces on 24 December against members of the Anti-Mining People’s Front (FRAT) during a peaceful protest at the Sape Harbour, Sumbawa, Indonesia.

The civilians involved are opposed to the presence of a gold mine, majority owned by Australian mining corporation Arc Exploration.

 

We have learned that the Indonesian government deployed troops and riot equipment which shot at the protesters killing three people critically injuring 19 others.

 

FRAT is opposed to the mining operation because it threatens to endanger the livelihoods of civilians, farmers and fisher folk. It believes that the mine will destroy land and disrupt water resources which will affect residents’ agricultural lands.

 

Throughout 2011 people have peacefully expressed their opposition to the mining project and each time they have been met with a violent response from government agencies and the police force.

 

Walhi, the Indonesian member of the Friends of the Earth International, recorded 103 cases of conflicts over natural resources sectors in Indonesia.


This latest fatal attach on 24 December 2011 is a clear violation of human rights and the documented cases of violence against farmers over natural resources show a troubling pattern of widespread human rights violations against the Indonesian people.

 

Friends of the Earth International has written to the Indonesian President demanding justice for the victims of the recent attack calling for him to:

 

  • revoke the Mining Permit of PT. Sumber Mineral Nusantara (SMN),
  • investigate the role of the foreign owned company in the killing of Indonesia nationals,
  • withdraw and evaluate all forces of Indonesian National Police and Military at the location of natural resource conflicts.
  • immediately stop the mentioned company’s activities which created and potentially create conflicts until the certainty of settlement is structurally created by establishing the National Committee for Resolution of Agrarian Conflicts and Natural Resources and
  • ensure legal protection for the victims.

 

Update

As a result of media work carried out by our colleagues at Friends of the Earth Australia, Arc Exploration said it has suspended operations and will report to the Australian companies regulator over the killings. In addition an Australian Senator has requested an investigation and will seek that Australian companies be held accountable to Australian law for activities overseas.

 

Further information

 

Nov 04, 2011

Lands and Rights in Troubled Waters

by PhilLee — last modified Nov 04, 2011 01:27 PM
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Friends of the Earth Colombia (CENSAT), civil society organisations and universities have got together to work on a joint project to address conflicts over natural resources, human rights and land rights.

This integrated project will study the conditions, nature and effects of land-use change in the Cauca (Colombia) and Tapajós (Brazil) basins. Land-use change in these areas is related to different processes of exploitation of natural resources, such as the rapid expansion of  sugar cane and soy monocultures, deforestation, large-scale industrial mining of minerals and the development of mega-projects using water resources such as hydroelectric power plants. In both cases these changes come along with different forms of conflict, social and environmental harm and human rights violations.

The project tackles the cases from a multidisciplinary perspective with a team of biologists, anthropologists, geographers, criminologists, social workers and activists.

The team realizes a wide range of activities in the field of research and knowledge sharing, capacity building and policy development in their respective countries. They apply innovative methodologies, such as participative action research, ethnography and social cartography as well as critical perspectives from green criminology, political ecology and human rights. Presentation and Poster LAR project.

‘Lands and Rights’ seeks to promote a right-based approach to development, strengthening organizations and communities in their claim for rights and environmental justice. The aim is to learn from the conflicts, to reduce them and to contribute to the rule of law by improving (the implementation of ) public policies regarding natural resource management.

The LAR project is part of the programme CoCooN (Conflict and Cooperation over Natural Resources in Developing Countries) of the Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research (NWO).


Further information

The communications and publications of this project are posted on this blog

Oct 31, 2011

Hundreds Occupy Belo Monte Dam Site in Brazilian Amazon

by PhilLee — last modified Oct 31, 2011 02:38 PM

A statement from our friends at Amazon Watch about a recent demonstration opposing the Belo Monte dam.

Altamira, Brazil – Hundreds of indigenous leaders, fishermen and riverine people from the Xingu River basin have gathered to occupy the Belo Monte Dam construction site in a peaceful protest to stop its construction in Altamira, located in the state of Pará in the heart of the Brazilian Amazon. They have vowed to permanently occupy the site and are calling on allied organizations and movements to join them.

The Trans-Amazon Highway (BR-230) has been blocked around the Santo Antônio village, where it passes the proposed construction site. Groups are demanding the presence of a Brazilian government high-level official at the site to initiate a new round of negotiations that are transparent, inclusive and respectful of the rights of local people affected by the dam.

"Belo Monte will only succeed if we do nothing about it. We will not be silent. We will shout out loud and we will do it now," said Juma Xipaia, a local indigenous leader. "We only demand what our Constitution already ensures us: our rights. Our ancestors fought so we could be here now. Many documents and meetings have already transpired and nothing has changed. The machinery continues to arrive to destroy our region."

The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) of the Organization of American States (OAS) has requested explanation as to why the Brazilian Government did not act to ensure the rights of indigenous peoples affected by the dam, as requested by the IAHCR in April. According to the OAS, the Brazilian Government has an obligation of consulting and informing indigenous peoples who will be affected by the dam prior to construction.

Yesterday, the government of Brazil refused to attend a closed hearing convened by the IAHCR intended to foster dialogue toward resolving conflict and discuss failures in protecting the rights of indigenous peoples threatened by the proposed Belo Monte Dam. Plans for the project ignore international protections such as the right to free, prior and informed consent, and jeopardize the health, livelihood and ancestral lands of thousands of indigenous peoples.

Last Monday, a federal judge in Brazil voted that the environmental licensing of the controversial Belo Monte Dam is illegal given the lack of consultations with affected indigenous communities.

 

Find out more here

Aug 17, 2011

Stop the Belo Monte Monster Dam!

by PhilLee — last modified Aug 17, 2011 04:27 PM

Saturday 20 and Monday 22 August are International Days of Action to defend the Brazilian Amazon. Several demonstrations are taking place around the world. Find out how you can get involved.

Belo Monte Monster Dam day of actionOver the last two months, Brazilians have witnessed an alarming assault on the Amazon and the people who live there.

 

  • The government approved construction of the disastrous Belo Monte Dam, allowing heavy machinery to break ground on the banks of the Xingu River.
  • The Brazilian Congress is on the verge of approving a major rollback of the Brazilian Forestry Code, already causing a huge spike in deforestation.
  • Leading forest guardians have been victims of murder and intimidation.


This is one of the defining environmental struggles of our times; the assault on the Amazon must stop!

We, the international community, need to stand in solidarity with the growing numbers of Brazilians calling for environmental sanity and respect for human rights in the Amazon. Together, we can make a difference.

You can help protect the Amazon!

Saturday 20 August will be massive day of action in at least 22 Brazilian cities. Antonia Melo, a key leader of the movement to stop the Belo Monte Dam, has asked people to join her by organising protests around the world on Monday August 22 in front of their local Brazilian Embassy or Consulate.

Take action

Find out where the events are taking place
Download resources for the event you are attending and find out more about the dam
Call on the Brazilian President stop the Belo Monte Dam

Jul 29, 2011

Move the Commonwealth Games Out Of Sri Lanka Wilderness

by PhilLee — last modified Jul 29, 2011 10:25 AM
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Sri Lanka is bidding to host the Commonwealth Games in 2018 yet the area they propose to build the stadia is currently home to several species of endangered wildlife. Call on the government to withdraw their disastrous bid.

Sri Lanka is set to be on the receiving end of more un-sustainable development due to the Hambantota 2018 Commonwealth games proposal. 

 

The area the authorities propose to develop the games' infrastructure is one of the last remaining strong holds for the endangered Leopard, Elephant and Sloth Bear, as well as countless other endangered flora and fauna that plays a crucial role in Sri Lanka's rich but declining bio-diversity. 

 

Over the last few years, the once lush green Island of Sri Lanka has gradually started to become a concrete jungle. Once the bio-diversity is lost, Sri Lanka will loose it's popularity with eco tourists, and it's people and tourism will suffer. 

 

Hence, we urge you to take immediate action to stop amending the flora and fauna act to permit buildings near nature reserves and move the Commonwealth games out of Sri Lanka's wilderness.

 

Take action


This action has been initiated by Rainforest Protectors, Sri Lanka

Jul 27, 2011

Environmental activists concerned over escalation of crimes against social leaders in Latin America

by PhilLee — last modified Jul 27, 2011 11:00 AM
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Friends of the Earth Latin America and the Caribbean (ATALC) expresses its solidarity with the family of Marlon Lozano Yulan, a youth leader of the Ecuadorian organisation Tierra y Vida (Land and Life), who was murdered on 20 July in Guayaquil, Ecuador.

Marlon Lozano Yulan
Marlon Lozano Yulan, courtesy of Twitter. 
We, as members of ATALC, are seriously concerned about the wave of persecutions and murders of social leaders in Latin America.

 

We expresses solidarity with Marlon Lozano Yulan's family and repudiate this new assault against the life of a social leader, something which, unfortunately happens too often and with total impunity in Latin America.

 

Meanwhile, we express our most heartfelt solidarity with all the comrades of Tierra y Vida, and other Ecuadorian organizations that go through similar atrocities on a regular basis.

 

On July 20, two hired hooded assassins fatally shot Marlon Lozano Yulan in downtown Guayaquil. Tierra y Vida's acting Secretary, Raquel Silva, told Friends of the Earth's Real World Radio that the deadly attack was addressed at the organisation's legal advisor, Milton Yulan, who is related to Marlon.

 

Tierra y Vida focused its work on defending the right to ownership of the peasants in Guayas province over lands that used to belong to estate owners and bankers until the 2000 banking crisis, when they were confiscated.

 

Tierra y Vida suspects that sectors opposed to land distribution, which defend land concentration in the hands of corporations and economic groups were involved in the murder of the young activist.

 

In response to these incidents we call on the social movements and grassroots organizations of the region to strengthen their solidarity. We also demand the Ecuadorian authorities carry out the necessary investigations into the murder of Marlon Lozano Yulan, and  punish those who are responsible.

 

An alarming trend

We also call on the Ecuadorian and regional authorities in charge of enforcing human rights, the judiciary and human rights organisations to implement the necessary mechanisms to prevent acts like this, which go against the right to peaceful protest.

 

On May 24, producer Jose Claudio Ribeiro da Silva and his wife, Maria do Espirito Santo, were murdered. They were known in Para state for their struggle for land and defense of the Amazon forest. 

 

Three days later, in Rondonia state, Adelino Ramos was also killed while he was selling vegetables in the state's capital. He had exposed the actions of big wood corporations in the border between the states of Acre, Amazonia and Rondonia. Hundreds of Brazilian environmental activists have received death threats according to the Land Pastoral Commission.

 

In Central America, the death threats and persecution of social leaders have become part of the daily reality. The case of Honduras, with a government that succeeded the dictatorship, is the most concerning one.

 

On July 14, Nery Jeremias Orellana was murdered. He was a 26 year-old journalist who worked with social movements and who was a member of the Broad Front of Popular Resistance. In 2010, 14 people working in the media were murdered in Honduras.

 

We are on alert over the current violence against social movements in Ecuador and the region and will continue to speak out against abuses whenever we hear of them.

 

further information

Find out more on the case of Marion Lozano Yulan on the Real World Radio website

Jul 20, 2011

Heroic Malaysian campaigner passes away

by PhilLee — last modified Jul 20, 2011 11:32 AM

Friends of the Earth International learned today about the death of Bato Bagi, a passionate campaigner against the controversial Bakun Dam and a friend of our colleagues in Malaysia. Below is their statement.

Bapa Bato BagiIt is with great sadness that we at Friends of the Earth Malaysia wish to inform you that our long time comrade, warrior and friend, Bato Bagi, one of the main crusaders in the Bakun Dam case passed away peacefully yesterday evening after a short fight against leukaemia.

 

We are extremely saddened by this sudden turn of events, especially when the Bakun legal action, which he has brought forward fearlessly, will probably be determined by the federal court this coming August. Bapa Bato never lost hope that justice will one day be served for the Bakun-affected communities. 

 

Bapa Bato Bagi, as known by all – is made of extraordinary strength, courage, kindness and generosity. Of course there is also that unforgettable wit, spoken with his distinct, booming voice. We have all been touched and inspired by him in so many different ways. To have been allowed to work with and for him is the sort of sacred privilege that one can only receive with humility and gratitude.

 

May his good soul rest in peace.

 

Find out more about the Bakun Dam case

Jun 30, 2011

Creating a Nuclear Power Free Asia Pacific

by PhilLee — last modified Jun 30, 2011 02:11 PM
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Members of Friends of the Earth Asia Pacific, currently holding their annual general meeting in Seoul, South Korea, have issued a declaration for a nuclear free future.

Several months after the Fukushima nuclear disaster, we are beginning to get a sense of the likely long-term impacts.

Radiation has spread across much of the northern hemisphere and parts of the southern hemisphere. Japan's Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency estimates the radioactive release at 770,000 terabecquerels in the first week of the crisis. Total radiation releases will probably fall somewhere between 10−40% of those from the 1986 Chernobyl disaster. Radiation releases have not been stopped and will continue for some months.

The long-term cancer death toll will probably be somewhere between several hundred and several thousand. For comparison, a reasonable estimate of the Chernobyl death toll is 30,000.

Allowable radiation dose limits in Japan have been thrown out the window, both for emergency workers and for the general public.

Estimates of the economic costs of the disaster range from $50 billion to $130 billion − but it wouldn't be surprising if the true costs are considerably greater.

Between 100,000 and 150,000 people cannot return to their homes because of radioactive contamination. Some may be able to return before the end of this year but permanent relocation is a likely outcome for those who lived in the most contaminated regions. Legal and political battles will take decades to play out.

Globally, the nuclear power 'renaissance' has taken a big hit. Germany, Italy and Switzerland have decided to abandon nuclear power in favour of renewable energy sources. Plans to introduce or expand nuclear power in many other countries have taken a big backwards step.

Nuclear power has no part in building a climate-friendly and sustainable future.

A large and growing number of scientific studies have detailed the wide range of energy supply and energy efficiency options that can be deployed to meet energy demand while sharply reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

The claim that nuclear power is a necessary or desirable part of the fight against climate change must be rejected. Nuclear power is at most a very partial and problematic response and presents unresolved and unacceptable problems.

Uranium is the first link in the toxic nuclear fuel chain, and is the primary source of radioactive materials used in nuclear reactors and nuclear weapons. Many uranium mines have had serious adverse impacts on the environment and the communities that live near them.

Nuclear power plants around the world have already experienced many problems caused by natural and man-made disasters which are likely to become more frequent and more severe as a result of climate change − as seen in Japan. The nuclear industry has been very slow to address these problems. Meanwhile the nuclear power industry continues to survive because of huge taxpayer subsidies.

Hazardous radioactive wastes are generated at every stage of the nuclear fuel cycle. There is not a single permanent repository for spent fuel or high-level nuclear waste anywhere in the world.

In addition to the risk of accidents, nuclear power reactors are vulnerable to disasters from sabotage, terrorism, or the use of conventional forces to attack nuclear facilities during war.

Nuclear power is the one and only energy source with a direct and repeatedly-demonstrated connection to the proliferation of Weapons of Mass Destruction. Doubling nuclear output by the middle of the century would require the construction of 800-900 reactors to replace most of the existing cohort of reactors and to build as many again. These reactors would produce over one million tonnes of nuclear waste (in the form of spent fuel) containing enough plutonium to build over one million nuclear weapons.

These are some of the very clear reasons why we MUST reject the nuclear industry.

A clean energy future, based primarily on renewable energy and energy efficiency and conservation measures, is viable, safe and affordable.

Friends of the Earth Asia Pacific is calling for Government's in our region like Korea, Japan, Malaysia, Sri Lanka and Australia to transition into nuclear free societies.

Friends of the Earth Asia Pacific region will pursue a nuclear free world as a region and in our individual countries.

We urge the citizens of Asian Pacific region to join us in taking action to build a nuclear free world.

Friends of the Earth Asia Pacific
Thursday 30 June 2011
Seoul, Korea

Jun 21, 2011

Solidarity for Greenpeace Arctic activists

by PhilLee — last modified Jun 21, 2011 11:40 AM

On Friday 17 June, 2011, Kumi Naidoo, the head of Greenpeace international, and fellow activist Ulvar Arnkvaern, were arrested as he climbed an Arctic oil rig operated by Cairn Energy. He was following in the footsteps of 20 other Greenpeace activists who had gone before him in the past two weeks.

Kumi and Ulvar climbed the oil rig, situated 120 km off Greenland coast line, with the aim of handing over a petition signed by 50,000 people from all over the world demanding Cairn publish their oil spill response plan.

They wanted to personally call on Cairn to leave the Arctic.

Speaking moments prior to his arrest Kumi said:

"I did this because Arctic oil drilling is one of the defining environmental battles of our age. I'm an African but I care deeply about what’s happening up here. The rapidly melting cap of Arctic sea ice is a grave warning to all of us."


Friends of the Earth International stands in solidarity with Kumi Naidoo and all the activists arrested during the action. We extend our solidarity to all those who take a stand against against unsustainable practices. We support the right of local communities to reject and resist extractive industry operations that threaten their health and livelihoods. 

 

We challenge the world's governments to redirect their support towards economic alternatives that could take us towards equitable and sustainable societies. At the same time, we call upon people everywhere to think critically and creatively about what they really need to consume and produce.

 

Find out more about our work on resisting mining, oil and gas.

Jun 20, 2011

Japan earthquake and tsunami appeal update

by PhilLee — last modified Jun 20, 2011 03:38 PM
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Just over three months since the earthquake and tsunami that rocked Japan, our group in the country have been reporting back on how the money you donated has been spent.

Peace Boat would like to express our appreciation for the donation of JPY 938,000 received from Friends of the Earth International for its Earthquake & Tsunami Relief Efforts in the city of Ishinomaki, Miyagi Prefecture.

The donation has been utilized to support our purchase of mud cleaning equipment for our volunteer Tsunami Mud & Small Debris Clearance initiative. Since March 16, this project has resulted in the clearance of over 500 homes and other buildings, including schools, retirement homes and shops, and miles of streets and drains.

 

The activity has directly impacted over 2500 people (those whose home and businesses were cleared) and thousands more in the wider community who have benefited from the improved environment and the re-opening of local shops and public buildings.

Speaking about the work of Peace Boat, local resident Sakuma Ikuko said:

"I have nightmares about the tsunami every night. I get swallowed up by the waves and the moment that I think I’m going to die, I wake up. When I do wake up, all I see out of the window are the endless mountains of debris. A darkness was beginning to consume me and I didn’t think I could make it through. But then, I saw the young Peace Boat volunteers, with their boundless energy, partaking in sludge and debris removal. They gave me courage and the drive not to give up. That is what Peace Boat gave me."

 

Find out more about the recovery work

Peace Boat Japan
The Japan Chernobyl Foundation

Jun 13, 2011

YFOE is joining the worldwide actions against nuclear power

by PhilLee — last modified Jun 13, 2011 09:46 PM
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On 11th June 2011, 3 months after the tsunami in Japan, the Fukushima power plant hasn’t been fixed and there is still 90,000 people living in temporary shelters. Marco Cadena from Friends of the Earth England, Wales and Northern Ireland, blogs from the UN climate talks in Bonn.

yfoee action bonnOrganisations around the world joined the day of action, and there were thousands of people on the streets of Tokyo and many more solidarity actions around the world.

 

Participants at Young Friends of the Earth Europe climate justice seminar also took action in Bonn during the UN climate talks. The seminar’s aim is to inform and inspire youth around Europe about the issues surrounding the efforts to tackle climate change.

Part of the issues in the big web of problems is false solutions. Many proposals are out there that are trying to solve the climate crisis but for different reasons many of them have not proven, and in some cases there is the possibility that they would cause more damage than help.

One of the false solutions is nuclear energy

Rich countries are using the argument that if we need to switch to non-emitting energy sources, nuclear is the only way to keep providing the electricity needed for our societies. However, events like the recent disaster in Japan show how vulnerable and fragile is the security of nuclear energy.

Even without earthquakes, nuclear waste has incredibly long decay time, meaning that it will be very difficult for future societies to deal with nuclear waste. We just simply don’t know how much trouble we cause in a long run.

There are good solutions that sometimes get ignored by the nuclear and oil lobby. Renewable energy, such as wind and solar power are clean, harmless and infinite source of energy that could solve the current crisis if we act quickly.

However, rich countries are already consuming way too much energy and natural resources with excessive and irresponsible lifestyle. Developed countries need to reduce their carbon dioxide emissions, their natural resource consumption, and their energy consumption.

Instead of emphasising on promoting business as usual, it is time for people, the private sector and governments to realise that we need a great change in a way we live and the way we treat our planet.

We have only one planet we share amongst all living things, and we cannot gamble with false solutions that could threaten our entire survival.

yfoee action no nukesSolidarity action

The solidarity action on 11th June by participants on the YFOE climate justice seminar sends the message to governments that young people demand true solutions to the climate crisis.

Investing in nuclear is essentially a gamble with the future and with the lives of young people, who are representing the next generation. They are the most vulnerable, as they will have to deal with the problems what nuclear power will cause in few decades.

YFOEE also took action in December, during the COP16 Climate Talks in Cancun.

New era of energy use

We do have the technology and knowledge to leave behind the old fossil and nuclear age and shift it into a renewable age, where people live in harmony with nature and each other.

There is a long and difficult way to get there, as governments and companies are not necessarily willing to share these technologies with vulnerable countries.

Therefore, youth around the world need to be actively involved in all these debates, and information and knowledge sharing is essential for their empowerment. In fact, it’s the first step on the way of forming active networks, where people connect and self organise in order to take active role in shaping our and the planet’s future.

May 18, 2011

Amigos da Terra Amazonia Brasileira is not a member of Friends of the Earth International

by PhilLee — last modified May 18, 2011 05:05 PM

A group in Brazil called Amazonia Brasileira also uses the name Friends of the Earth Brazilian Amazonia. This could imply that they are a member of our federation. They are not a member and their ethos is contrary to ours. This blog post aims to set the record straight.

It has come to our attention that Mr. Roberto Smeraldi of Amigos da Terra Amazonia Brasileira (Friends of the Earth Brazilian Amazonia) continues to use the name of Friends of the Earth domestically and internationally to promote projects that undermine the work of our Brazilian member group, the name of the federation, and the relationship with our allies.

 

We have received a request from our Brazilian member group Núcleo Amigos da Terra Brasil (FoE Brazil) to communicate widely the distinction between these two organizations in order that the general public, the media and the people of Brazil are aware of this important issue.

 

This request comes at a very important moment in Brazil as our member group is campaigning to prevent any changes to Brazil's most important forest protection code, which is currently under attack by the agribusiness lobby and is due to be voted on in the national congress. Friends of the Earth Brazil is undertaking this important work with our strategic ally, La Vía Campesina, several local groups and national networks.

 

Smeraldi´s organization, Amigos da Terra Amazonia Brasileira is currently promoting a joint proposal between the pulp/paper sector and various NGOs dubbed ¨the Forest Dialogue¨, which is proposing market-based mechanisms to forest protection and changes in the forest protection law.

 

Amigos da Terra Amazonia Brazileira is neither a member nor an ally of Friends of the Earth International (FoEI) and his organization is undermining the important work of FoEI´s Brazilian member, Núcleo Amigos da Terra, the work of our strategic allies, as well as the compromising the integrity of FoEI´s name.

May 17, 2011

The Second Nuclear Emergency in Japan

by PhilLee — last modified May 17, 2011 03:03 PM
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Friends of the Earth Japan are calling on you to sign their petition calling on the government to roll back reckless radiation limits and protect hundreds of thousands of Japanese children from a lifetime of cancer fear.

Japan's people desperately need help to ensure their children are safe from radiation exposure. Please support them by taking action now!

 

http://www.foejapan.org/en/news/110517.html

 

After you sign the petition, you will receive a confirmation email. To complete your action, click the link in the email to confirm your signature.

 

Thank you

Apr 29, 2011

Cleaning up after the tsunami

by PhilLee — last modified Apr 29, 2011 01:50 PM
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Our colleagues at Friends of the Earth Japan are writing a blog on life after the earthquake and tsunami. They will be documenting how they, and fellow citizens, are rebuilding their lives and addressing some of the issues that have arisen as the country recovers from its biggest crisis since World War II.

April 19, 2011

japan clean up 1I joined the volunteer groups, composed of around 200 people, organised by the Peace Boat last weekend and went to Ishinomaki, around 15 km from Sindai City. What we found there was still the misery sight that should have been gone already, as it has been more than one month since when the earthquake and the tsunami had happened. But the situation still needed more and more support to remove debris and sludge, or the very first-step for revival.

japan clean up 2japan clean up 3One of the main activities we engaged in was to scrape sludge out of the houses affected by tsunami. After being equipped with helmets, dust-proof masks, safety boots, and so on, we left for one shopping arcade in Ishinomaki. They said that the black muddy stream had swallowed up to the height of the 1st floor ceiling in the area only  within 20 minutes after the strong earthquake.

My group helped a coffee shop and a dental office over the weekend. We devoted ourselves to our work, having blessed them to start their work again as a master of the cafe and a dentist as early as possible. After removing the sludge into many sandbags, carrying out the muddy furniture, electrical appliances, and child toys etc., and wiping mud away, we could finally saw the surface of the floor after all two days.

“Arigatou ne (“Thank you very much” in Japanese)!” “Hontou ni Tasukatta yo (“You really helped us a lot” in Japanese)!” said the local people in the shopping arcade to us when we were about to leave there. Tears welled up in my eyes. I strongly believed again that each of us could do something even in a small way, which could piled up and became the big support for the local people to reconstruct their lives and communities.

HH

Apr 26, 2011

Say no to increase in 'safe' levels of radiation for children

by PhilLee — last modified Apr 26, 2011 11:05 AM
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Join Friends of the Earth Japan and other civil society organisations in calling on the Japanese government to reverse a decision to increase the level of 'safe' radiation exposure to children.

On April 19, the Japanese government announced that it would be increasing the level of radiation deemed safe for children to 20 mSv/y. This is comparable to the maximum dose allowed for nuclear power plant workers in Germany.

 
 
We urgently demand the withdrawal of the Japanese Government's inhumane decision to force 20millisieverts per year (mSv/y) radiation exposure onto children
 
On April 19th, the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology (MEXT) notified the Board of Education and related institutions in Fukushima Prefecture the level of 20 millisieverts per
year (mSv/y) as a Radiation Safety Standard for schools in Fukushima Prefecture. This is the standard to be used for school grounds and buildings. The Government has indicated that 20mSv/y is equivalent to
3.8 microSv per hour measured outdoors.
 
3.8 microSv/h is roughly 6 times [the 0.6 microSv/h] of "Radiation Controlled Areas" (0.6 microSv/h or more). The Labour Standards Act prohibits those under the age of 18 from working under these conditions.
Forcing children to be exposed to such radiation doses is an exceedingly inhumane decision. Therefore, we condemn this in the strongest terms.
 
20 mSv/y is comparable to the [legally] recognized dose for inducing leukemia in nuclear power plant workers. It is also comparable to the maximum dose allowed for nuclear power plant workers in Germany.
 
In addition, this 20mSv standard [for Japanese children] does not take into account the fact children have higher sensitivity to radiation than adults, nor does it take into account any internal radiation exposure.
 
Currently, according to the radiation monitoring conducted at elementary and middle schools within Fukushima Prefecture, more than 75% of these schools have contamination levels comparable to "Radiation Controlled Areas" (0.6 microSv/h or more). Further, roughly 20% of the schools fall within "Individual Exposure Controlled Areas" (2.3 microSv/h or more) and are in an extremely dangerous situation.
 
The level set by the Japanese Government at this time amounts to coercion of this dangerous situation upon children, and, can interfere with voluntary measures by schools to minimize exposure.
 
MEXT states that 20mSv/y is based on the recommendation Pub.109 by the International Commission on Radiological Protection (ICRP) as well as on the reference levels in the band of 1 to 20 mSv/y as "Post Emergency Situation" Standards from the ICRP statement released on March 21st. The latter means MEXT has adopted the maximum level.
 
As of April 21st, there has been no substantive information disclosure by the Japanese Government on the decision-making process for establishing these standards. Moreover, no explanation has been given
concerning why the Government has neither taken the sensitivity of children into consideration nor internal radiation exposure into account. The contents of the consultation held between MEXT and the Nuclear Safety Commission (NSC) are not disclosed, and the situation remains extremely opaque. 
 
 
We demand the following of the Japanese Government:
 
-Retraction of the "20mSv/y" standard for children.
-Disclosure of the names of experts, who deemed "20mSv/y" for children to be safe.
 

Note

At the governmental negotiation held on April 21st, it became evident that the Nuclear Safety Commission (NSC) concluded the 20mSv/y standard for children as "Permissible" without undertaking any formal consultation. Moreover, on April 22nd, the Commission reported to the office of Mizuho FUKUSHIMA, member of the Japanese Diet, House of Councillors that no minutes (records) exist of the 5 Nuclear Safety Commission members’ deliberation leading to the 20mSv/year standard.  
 

References

Expert comments cited from the articles on the establishment of the 20mSv/y standard ("Fukushima-Katastrophe - Japan legt hohe Strahlengrenzwerte fur Kinder fest" or “Japan's MEXT sets High Exposure
Limits for Children”), Der Spiegel, April 21st, 2011.
(See comparison to German workers.)
http://www.spiegel.de/wissenschaft/mensch/0,1518,758410,00.html
 
Edmund Lengfelder (Otto Hug Radiation Institute), "The cancer risk will visibly rise in the future. By setting these standards, the government will steer clear of any liability legally, however not morally."
 
This petition is being organized by: Green Action, Greenpeace Japan, Citizens' Nuclear Information Center, Citizens Against Fukushima Aging Nuclear Power Plants (Fukuro-no-Kai), Osaka Citizens Against the Mihama, Oi, and Takahama Nuclear Power Plants (Mihama-no-Kai), Friends of the Earth Japan
 

further information  

Green Action
Suite 103, 22-75 Tanaka Sekiden-cho
Sakyo-ku, Kyoto 606-8203 Japan
Tel: +81-75-701-7223  
info@greenaction-japan.org
 
Friends of the Earth Japan
3-30-8-1F Ikebukuro Toshima-ku Tokyo 171-0014, Japan
TEL: +81-3-6907-7217
finance@foejapan.org
 
English translation of Japanese original: FoE Japan / Green Action

Thoughts from a Fukushima resident

by PhilLee — last modified Apr 26, 2011 10:36 AM
Filed Under:

Our colleagues at Friends of the Earth Japan are writing a blog on life after the earthquake and tsunami. They will be documenting how they, and fellow citizens, are rebuilding their lives and addressing some of the issues that have arisen as the country recovers from its biggest crisis since World War II.

Nuclear power is unwanted and unnecessary.  Life within our means!
We do not need to make life more convenient.  Life without damaging someone!
There's not enough to use energy unlimitedly.  Life that children are not frightened!

The triple blow of the large earthquake, tsunami and nuclear accident are now depriving the people of Fukushima, my home town, of foundation for living.  There are villages that decided to evacuate pregnant women, toddlers and babies. Vulnerable people who cannot line up for gasoline at a gas station are being forced to endure difficult living conditions with growing anxiety.

The nuclear accident is a man-made disaster. It is thought that Tokyo Electric Power Co. (TEPCO), pro-nuclear politicians and academics are to blame for the accident, but that is not all.

The fact is that fifty years ago Fukushima Prefecture invited the electric power company to build nuclear power plants in order to promote regional development. The local anti-nuclear energy movement requested countermeasures against tsunamis but this did not happen. This is totally different from what happens in the United States. 

It may be a consequence of our choice and giving our silent approval. We should not only blame TEPCO and the government without understanding the point. It may be said that we made this disaster ourselves as we believed everything the politicians said.

What's the solution?

Providing energy education to learn nuclear power objectively and knowledge and wisdom to protect life is necessary. Reviewing a monopoly system of electric power companies to divide them into a generation company, a transmission company and a distribution company, and establishing a territorially distributed system of electric power supply. 

Let people choose their energy. Using different heat sources for residences. An oil stove is useful in case of disaster. Full electrification is easily affected by power failures. Reviewing electricity payment methods for electric power at peak times.

I feel so sad that the sea and fields in my home town have been contaminated in return for a convenient and gorgeous life in the Tokyo metropolitan area. "I don’t mind darkened stores." "Stores do not have to open 365 days a year. Revive regular holidays."  "Until now, it was too convenient and too bright." I hear those words spoken earnestly.

The nuclear accident triggers us to look into our daily lives and change the structure.  I will take actions praying for the repose of disaster victims in my home town.

Apr 20, 2011

Anti-mining leader from El Salvador wins the Goldman Prize

by PhilLee — last modified Apr 20, 2011 12:00 AM

Francisco Pineda of the Environmental Committee of Cabañas, El Salvador has won the 2011 Goldman Prize for Francisco Pineda for his work in stopping a gold mine from destroying El Salvador’s dwindling water resources and the livelihoods of rural communities throughout the country.

Francisco Pineda - goldman prize winnerCESTA / Friends of the Earth El Salvador has worked closely with Francisco and the Environmental Committee of Cabañas.

 

Ricardo Navarro, the Director of CESTA, expressed his joy at Francisco's achievement and said that such recognition will strengthen the community and organisations' struggle to prevent mining exploitation in El Salvador. 

 

Find out more about Francisco Pineda

 

Apr 19, 2011

We really appreciate your big support

by PhilLee — last modified Apr 19, 2011 05:08 PM

Our colleagues at Friends of the Earth Japan are writing a blog on life after the earthquake and tsunami. They will be documenting how they, and fellow citizens, are rebuilding their lives and addressing some of the issues that have arisen as the country recovers from its biggest crisis since World War II.

Thanks to the people who made donations to Friends of the Earth's International's appeal, we have been able to forward 600,000 yen to the Japan Chernobyl Foundation (JCF).  The group are providing medical support to people in Minami Souma City, Fukushima Prefecture, who are suffering in the wake of the earthquake, tsunami and nuclear accident.

 

Below is the message by Ms. Sadako Kamiya of JCF, translated and edited by FoE Japan

 

We really appreciate your big support

japan evacuation centreThe Situation of Minami Souma City is changing very quickly. Since the beginning of April, many people who had moved to other prefectures (regions) are now coming back.

 

Some people have come back because they were exhausted by life as evacuee, some feel uncertainty about the future and are concerned about employment. And others have come back because they expected the schools to be open and daily life to have resumed.

 

The original shelters have become crowded with the new returnees and so new shelters have opened. There are many elders in the shelters. Some walk around in the night confused, so medical team and JCF staff watch over them. Staff at JCF listen carefully to them and prescribe medicines. As the weeks have passed life in the shelters has become tougher as people realise they have to stay longer than they initially thought.

 

While a part of Minami Souma City has been declared as the 'planned evacuation area' by the government last week, JCF continues to support the people who are staying in the city by providing physical check-ups.

 

Since the situation is not expected to improve any time soon, we will also call on people to evacuate to Nagano Prefecture (where JCF is located). We try to talk to the mayor, the head of the education and emergency measure centre but the city

officials were all very busy. So we will plan to make a guide informing people who will be accepted as residents.

 

We really hope that the situation of nuclear power plant will be stabilised as soon as possible.

Apr 15, 2011

"STOP Nuclear Power Plants!" say 15,000 Tokyo demonstrators

by PhilLee — last modified Apr 15, 2011 11:40 AM
Filed Under:

Our colleagues at Friends of the Earth Japan are writing a blog on life after the earthquake and tsunami. They will be documenting how they, and fellow citizens, are rebuilding their lives and addressing some of the issues that have arisen as the country recovers from its biggest crisis since World War II.

Shouting, singing, and dancing, the participants expressed their own opinion about the nuclear power plants in various passionate ways. Last Sunday, April 10, I joined one anti-nuclear power action at Kouenji, one of the towns in Tokyo. Around 15,000 people gathered for this, the biggest demonstration against nuclear power plants in Japan after the triple-disaster of March 11.

 

Most of the participants in the action were in their 20’s and 30’s, including some parents with their children. There were also many people who were taking part in their first demonstration.   

 

"When could we change this situation, if not now?” "We don’t want to leave

this kind of big risk and burden behind for our children." These were the thoughts that moved more and more people to join in the demonstration. Many people found out about it through Twitter and the internet.

 

There were anti-nuclear actions in other Japanese cities on that day. I have a feeling the demonstrations will spread across the country.

 

Coverage of the demonstrations

“STOP Nuclear Power”  Action @ Kouenji on April 10, 2011-part 2

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=81ljAs4LAzc

 

“STOP Nuclear Power”  Action @ Kouenji on April 10, 2011-part 1

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mt0paTkGGTU

 

http://410nonuke.tumblr.com/

 

HH

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