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You are here: Home / Resources / publications / annual report / archive / 2004 / groupsucces

groupsucces

member group victories in 2004

blow to philippines mining act
In January 2004, the Supreme Court of the Philippines declared unconstitutional provisions of the Philippines Mining Act that allow the operation of 100% foreignowned mining corporations, an unexpected victory for the indigenous peoples and community partners of LRCKSK/ Friends of the Earth Philippines who filed the lawsuit in 1997. Friends of the Earth International's cyberaction alert on the issue resulted in some 250 letters being sent to the Philippine government. Although the ruling was reversed in December following political and corporate pressure, this has only strengthened the resistance against large-scale transnational mining in the Philippines .

public rejects south korean nuclear dumpsite
In February, residents of Buan county in South Korea held a referendum to decide whether or not a proposed nuclear dumpsite should go ahead. Ultimately, 72% of eligible voters participated in the referendum, with 91% of them voting against the dumpsite. The referendum was preceded by more than 200 nights of candlelight vigils, a 41-day strike by young students, highway blockades by local people, and demonstrations with more than 20,000 participants. Although the government claimed it would not accept the referendum results, the project ultimately fell through due to lack of interest from local municipalities.

british supermarket expansion curbed
In early 2004, Friends of the Earth England, Wales and Northern Ireland 's legal expert identified a loophole in UK planning law which allowed large retailers to install mezzanine floors in their stores, often doubling their size, without the need for planning permission. Further research showed that the uncontrolled expansion of stores in this way was a serious threat to small shops and local suppliers, and that it increased pollution levels due to additional traffic. Friends of the Earth's suggested amendments to the Planning Bill were successfully taken through Parliament in a brilliant break for local shops, local economies and people without cars.

victory against fumigation in colombia
In March, CENSAT/Friends of the Earth Colombia and others in the “Grupo Defensa Parques” coalition demonstrated in front of the Ministry of Environment against the environmentally and socially dangerous fumigation of coca, which is considered illegal although it is a traditional crop for indigenous communities. In response, the government announced a halt to fumigation in national parks, although non-protected tropical forests continue to be sprayed.

military school in costa rica defeated
Friends of the Earth Costa Rica won their campaign to stop the United States government from setting up a military academy in the country in March. A national alliance against the militarization of Costa Rica carried out strong local resistance and lobby work in order to achieve this important victory.

scottish superquarry saga finally ends
In April 2004, Friends of the Earth Scotland's longest running campaign of ten years came to an end as global aggregate company Lafarge Aggregates announced that it would withdraw its plans to establish what would have been Britain 's biggest quarry on Harris in the Western Isles. Friends of the Earth Scotland, supported by many groups in the international network, participated in the campaign by providing evidence in Scotland 's longest-ever planning inquiry, supporting community action, and carrying out 13 years of media and lobbying work.

italian butterfly project wins award
The Padua Butterfly ARC, an initiative of Friends of the Earth Italy, won the 2004 Romeo and Juliet award for creativity in May. The ARC is a space for the public to view living butterflies and learn about sustainable economies. As butterflies provide a subtle indicator of an area's natural balance, declining in numbers as pollution increases, Friends of the Earth Italy is promoting the establishment of Clockwise more butterfly preserves to encourage local sustainable development. Many of the butterflies in the ARC are cultivated by indigenous women in Latin America , providing them with environmentally and socially sustainable incomes.

maltese temples prevail over waste dump
In June 2004, the Maltese government withdrew its plans for two polluting and potentially hazardous landfill sites just 300 meters away from the world's oldest freestanding Neolithic temples, relics of a matriarchal society that existed some 4,000 years ago. Friends of the Earth Malta had warned that the limestone temples would be seriously damaged by the leaking of corrosive gases, including sulphur dioxide, from waste delivery trucks and bulldozers.

bayer drops court case against foe in the uk
In June, Bayer CropScience, the multinational agro-chemical and biotech corporation, dropped its court action against Friends of the Earth England, Wales and Northern Ireland . The company had tried to prevent Friends of the Earth from telling the public how to access safety data on pesticides, including a weedkiller for use on GM herbicidetolerant crops in the UK

australian nuclear dump trashed
Following a six-year campaign by Friends of the Earth, other environmental groups and indigenous organizations, the Australian government abandoned its plans for a national nuclear waste dump in the desert region of South Australia in August 2004. In particular, this was a sweet victory for the Kupa Piti Kungka Tjuta, a group of senior Aboriginal women who have tirelessly traveled the continent to resist the proposal.

keep your waste, say czechs
Following a public campaign and lobbying by Friends of the Earth Czech Republic, the national parliament voted against a proposal to amend the Waste Act in order to allow the import of foreign waste for incineration. The amendment would have brought enormous amounts of waste to be burned in the country and heavily damaged the country's developing recycling sector.

tough gmo law in germany
In 2004, Friends of the Earth Germany won its fight for a tough liability law that holds GMO farmers and operators financially liable when their crops contaminate non- GMO crops. As the law is under continuous pressure from political opponents, the group also ran a parallel campaign for GMO-free regions. The result by the end of 2004: 12,000 farmers, most of them conventional, agreed not to grow GMOs on 430,000 hectares in more than 60 regions.

polluting gold mine in indonesia shut down
In August, Indonesian police suspended the operations of US mining giant Newmont's Minahasa Raya gold mine after tests confirmed that the company had dumped millions of tons of mercury and arsenic-laced mining waste into Buyat Bay since 1996. WALHI/Friends of the Earth Indonesia has long campaigned against the mine in collaboration with local community members, who are suffering from a range of health problems including neurological and skin complaints. Newmont is now being sued by the Indonesian ministry of environment.

farmers send golf course in malta soaring
In September, a proposal for an 18-hole golf course and country club on prime agricultural land in Malta was refused. This was an important victory for Friends of the Earth Malta and the 150 farming families that depend on the land for their livelihoods. The golf course consumed 1.8 million cubic meters of water each year and required massive inputs of fertilizers and pesticides.

jordan river in the spotlight
In 2004, Friends of the Earth Middle East released a report revealing that the Jordan River will cease to flow by 2005 if all of the planned water diversion plans go ahead. The Jordan 's critical state also received widespread international media attention at a Friends of the Earth Middle East conference held on Peace Island in March, where Israeli, Palestinian and Jordanian mayors agreed to cooperate in restoring the river and improving the livelihoods of local residents

clearing up the dutch skies
In October 2004, Milieudefensie/Friends of the Earth Netherlands erected a huge banner with a satellite image of air pollution in Europe along a major motorway. The image, which showed enormous concentrations of NO2 over the Netherlands , was in protest of the Dutch government's plans to build more roads. During the course of the year Friends of the Earth succeeded in reducing the official speed limit on roads through densely populated areas, and geared up for a high-profile court case against the Dutch government for its violation of European clean air legislation.

new zealand rejects nuked mangoes
At the end of 2004, Friends of the Earth New Zealand discovered that the big black blotches covering mangoes imported from Australia were likely caused by irradiation in their country of origin. Working together with Friends of the Earth Australia, they exposed the dangers of irradiation and published photos of the damaged mangoes in the media, causing consumer outrage and statements by major supermarkets that they would not import or sell irradiated Australian mangoes.

norwegian rivers protected
Throughout 2004, Friends of the Earth Norway campaigned hard to protect the country's last relatively untouched rivers, a unique part of the world's natural heritage. Two out of three Norwegian rivers are already dammed and exploited for hydroelectric power production. In cooperation with local action groups and other environmental organizations and supported by a FoEI cyberaction alert, Friends of the Earth Norway managed to have 53 rivers protected under the new River Protection Act.

slovakians protect wolf and lynx
In 2004, after nearly five years of campaigning, Friends of the Earth Slovakia succeeded in establishing two private reserves: Wolf Private Nature Reserve and Lynx Private Nature Reserve. These are the first strict forest reserves in Central and Eastern Europe , with all human intervention banned. Funds for buying the land for the Wolf Reserve were raised through a “buy your own tree” campaign, which brought in donations from people in 19 countries.

famous spaniards for the environment
Friends of the Earth Spain worked to engage high-profile people in their activities in 2004. For example, the Minister of Environment, a famous television presenter and the writer Salomé Ortega joined 8,000 others in putting their handprints on a painted forest to symbolize leaves and their commitment to fighting climate change. The artwork was then sent to the European Energy Commissioner as a plea to make the transition towards sustainable energy.

water as a human right in uruguay
In a major victory against the privatization of public services, more than 60% of the Uruguayan people supported the October referendum to include water as a human right in the national constitution. REDES/Friends of the Earth Uruguay was a leading member of the coalition that called for the referendum. The outcome ensured a halt to the privatization of drinking water services and guarantees the public, participatory and sustainable management of the country's water resources.

chemicals out of cosmetics in the united states
In 2004, Friends of the Earth United States worked with women's health, environmental justice, labour and faith groups to educate corporations and the public about the toxic chemicals used in cosmetics and personal care products. More than 100 cosmetics companies committed to removing chemicals linked to cancer, birth defects and other health harms from their products by signing the Compact for Safe Cosmetics (www.safecosmetics.org). Since the launch of the campaign, four of the world's largest cosmetics companies – L'Oreal, Revlon, Unilever and Estée Lauder – have agreed to reformulate their products globally to meet new EU standards.

climate justice tour through australia
Friends of the Earth Australia organized a Climate Justice Tour through the country in April and May 2004. International guests from Nigeria , Samoa and Tuvalu talked to the Australian people about climate change, oil, equity and the small island states of the Pacific. Tour participants spoke at public fora, met with politicians and indigenous traditional custodians, and talked to the media.

czech wilderness prevails
Friends of the Earth Czech Republic 's campaign to persuade the Ministry of Environment not to chop down trees infested with bark beetle in the Sumava National Park was victorious in 2004. The long-running campaign, which included a blockade in 1999, was precedent-setting in that the government accepted the purpose of national parks as the preservation of wilderness rather than the management of nature.

 

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