Author Archive: roman

US force feeds GM crops to African nations, says new report

OHANNESBURG, SOUTH AFRICA, 23 February, 2015 – US agencies, funders such as the Gates Foundation, and agribusiness giant Monsanto are trying to force unwilling African nations to accept expensive and insufficiently tested Genetically Modified (GM) foods and crops, according to a new report released today. [1]

“The US, the world’s top producer of GM crops, is seeking new markets for American GM crops in Africa. The US administration’s strategy consists of assisting African nations to produce biosafety laws that promote agribusiness interests instead of protecting Africans from the potential threats of GM crops,” said Haidee Swanby from the African Centre for Biosafety, which authored the report commissioned by Friends of the Earth International.

The new report also exposes how agribusiness giant Monsanto influences biosafety legislation in African countries, gains regulatory approval for its product, and clears the path for products such as GM maize (corn).

Read more >>

Divestment, Nukes and Royal Commissions

In a week in which the SA premier has announced a Royal Commission into Uranium Mining and Enrichment, it’s probably appropriate to talk about energy and the anti-nuclear movement. (Incidentally, has anyone else noted how unusual it is for the government to call a Royal Commission? They’re usually called when there’s suspicion of wrong-doing and corruption, requiring the extraordinary powers of a royal Commission to compel people to give evidence. It all depends, of course, on the terms of reference. Perhaps FoE needs to call a people’s Commission?)

If anyone’s inyerested in goping to  the national anti-nukes meeting in melbourne, please let robyn know ASAP.

If you have a moment, you might like to fill out the simple survey for the nuclear free movement (see below)… Read more >>

350.org notes re Global Divestment day

Some weeks it’s hard to keep up with how quickly the world is changing.

Yes, part of that is the climate crisis: we live in a world that’s been profoundly and dangerously altered. But the politics of climate change are changing too, and some weeks you can feel a tangible shift in what is possible and what is not.

This is one of those weeks, and Global Divestment Day is a chance to be part of that shift. Together, we’re changing the game and putting fossil fuels on the defensive.

Click here to register for Global Divestment Day which kicks off at the end of this week.

But if you really can’t make it or don’t live near an event, here are 3 important things you can do instead:

1. Divest your bank

Click here to see whether your bank is financing fossil fuels

Click here for a step-by-step guide on how to switch banks

Click here for a letter to send your current bank to explain why you’re leaving

Click here for a letter to send your new fossil free bank to explain why you’re joining them

2. Divest your super

Click here to see where your super fund stands on fossil fuels. Via Super Switch, you can contact your super fund to ask them to stop investing in fossil fuels or search for a fund that is fossil free.

3. Change your profile picture on social media to demand divestment

Call on your bank, super fund, favourite celebrity, local council, faith group, politicians, school, university or other local institution to stop financing climate destruction. Click here to change your profile pic today.

I can’t wait to see what we’ll do together for Global Divestment Day this Friday and Saturday across the country and around the world.

Thank you so much for being part of the movement,

Charlie for the 350.org team

PPS: Did you hear that the world’s largest sovereign wealth fund just divested from dozens of fossil fuel companies including 40 coal companies?… Read more >>

Nuclear Lessons Unlearned in Japan

On 11 March it will be four years since a huge earthquake and tsunami caused the meltdown of Tokyo Electric Power Company’s (TEPCO) Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant. There is still no end in sight for the suffering of the people of Fukushima, but now it seems that the government and the electric power industry are moving inexorably towards the restart of reactors which have been shut down for most of the time since the accident.

“How can this be?”, incredulous observers might wonder. There are a few key factors which make it possible for the government to ignore the wishes of the bulk of the Japanese population for a nuclear phase out.

First, the current government, led by the Liberal Democratic Party (LDP), came to power not because of its support for nuclear energy, but because of the incompetence of its predecessor. The Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ) enjoyed a brief three years in government, a period which happened to coincide with the nuclear accident. Responding to public opposition to nuclear power, it declared a goal of phasing out nuclear energy by 2039, but due to its many other failings it was decimated in December 2012 elections and has failed to recover since. The LDP has returned to the pre-eminent position it has occupied for most of the last 60 years as Japan’s leading party and, because it has no challengers, it is riding roughshod over the public will.… Read more >>

The Democracy Project

This book by activist, anarchist and author David Graeber (Debt: the first 5,000 years) is not just an insider view of Occupy Wall Street, but also a discussion on the nature of power and democrary.

He was there at the first gathering, where with support from friends from the Global Justice movement, he helped stop the protest being hijacked by the hierarchical WWP, who just wanted a march and list of demands. The OWS focus on a horizontal organisation, building the sort of activities we’d like to see, refusing to play the traditional protest games or issue a list of demands to the existing power structure are all important indicators of a deeper analysis of current power structures and the possibilities for change.

Here’s lots of interesting insider detail about what happened with the OWS movement which was not reported by mainstream media, coupled with an incisive and readable analysis of alternative political action.

The Chapter How change happens includes useful tips on consensus, dealing with police, and creating alternatives, complete with examples from Zuccotti Park and elsewhere.

An interesting analysis, compulsive reading. Highly recommended.

(Penguin, 2014)… Read more >>