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Environmentalism and Democracy in the Age of Nationalism & Corporate Capitalism

December 14, 2017

by Clive Spash

 

 

Recently my masters’ students and I watched the film Carbon Rush. This reveals how numerous carbon offset projects – under the Kyoto Protocol’s emissions trading related Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) – are devastating the lives of some of the poorest and most vulnerable people in the world, and simultaneously destroying the environment on which they depend for their survival. CDM projects (such as dams, waste incinerators, wind farms, commercial forestry and oil palm plantations) suffer from dubious or no additionality and may as easily increase as reduce net greenhouse gas emissions. Yet, the international climate community commonly regards offsetting as central to climate change policy. Such schemes have proliferated due to the desire for making money out of environmental crises and a total disregard for exploitation of the poor and weak, the very groups that ‘development’ (clean or dirty) was supposed to help. In the neoliberal era the rule of the banking and finance sector and multi-national corporations means prioritising making profits by shifting costs onto others; something that has long been recognised as the modus operandi of the business enterprise (Kapp, 1978).

Environmental commodification, trading and offsetting are business as usual approaches to  environmental policy. Whether converting wetlands into bankable assets as in the USA or greenhouse gases into tradable permits as in Europe, the justification is that the preservation of the capital accumulating growth economy requires mechanisms that institutionalise the ‘right’ to undertake environmental degradation. There is also consensus across political divides about the need for economic growth. In the UK, neither Corbyn (Labour) nor May (Conservative) had any meaningful environmental agenda, and both their parties remain totally committed to a growth economy. Diverse nation states are similarly united in promotion of environmental crises as growth opportunities. For example, the European Union and China are pushing the rhetoric of ‘Green Growth’. This combines increasing domestic greenhouse gas emissions through the extension of market based mechanisms and offsets with the promise of new future technologies as the ultimate ‘solution’ to address those same emissions. Faith in markets and technology remains core to international climate policy and unaffected by whether the USA is in or out of the Paris Agreement. Similarly, faith in markets and technology as environmental saviour would have remained the same regardless of having Trump or Clinton in the White House.

In actual fact, the USA has never been a leader in greenhouse gas emissions reduction or climate policy, and both Democrat and Republican administrations have contributed to weakening international treaties. The Paris Agreement was watered down at the behest of the Obama administration compared to a more rigorous treaty, with common base year and targets, recommended by the European Commission (Spash, 2016a). Obama made clear his commitment to protect American jobs over the environment and specifically over any need to address human induced climate change. In this logic, environmental policy is justified if it creates jobs and growth, which always come first despite the inevitable contradictions. Obama’s administration massively expanded domestic oil and gas exploration to make the USA the worlds largest oil exporter (Spash, 2016a: 70). Non-conventional oil has been part of this strategy, despite the world already having over 6 times the reserves it could possibly burn and still have a ‘likely chance’ of the 2°C target (Spash, 2016b). Obama boasted that under his administration enough oil and gas pipelines had been built to ‘encircle the Earth and then some’ (see full quotation in Spash, 2016a). He ignored the associated ecological and social harm, not least that to indigenous communities. In 2016, Native American protestors at Standing Rock opposing construction work on the Dakota Pipeline that, now operational, transports fracked oil, were brutally suppressed by the combined efforts of the construction corporation’s security forces, riot police and the national guard. All that was before the election of a climate denialist with personal investments in fossil fuels.

The USA is one amongst many nations putting their own interests before the common good, and with a record of saying one thing and doing another. Modern development is allied to a military-industrial complex that ensures nation states work to secure, maintain and expand their fossil fuel resource supplies at all costs. Current fossil fuel and infrastructure polices totally contradict the supposed  commitment of nations to the Paris Agreement, and its already exceeded, scientifically unhinged, target for a potentially catastrophic 2°C average global temperature increase (Spash, 2016a). Meanwhile, the
United Nations, the European Commission, the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund and similar international bodies have continuously pushed market approaches that fail to address  biophysical reality, permitting exploration for and exploitation of fossil fuels leading to emissions that should never have been allowed. Thus, there is no surprise that recent moves by the airline industry to justify its plans for 700% expansion by 2050 rely on carbon offsetting, while numerous governments (e.g. Austrian, British, French, Turkish) support airport expansion as an economic necessity to create domestic jobs and growth.

Sadly, over the last two decades, in the midst of our ongoing ecological and associated geo-political crises, a range of environmental non-governmental organisations (ENGOs), rather than opposing such schemes, have formed alliances with some of the worst corporate polluters and resource extractors in the world and now actually promote them (Spash, 2015a). Greenwashing has become a major occupation for ENGOs. Many have become apologists for corporate self-regulation, market mechanisms, carbon pricing/trading and biodiversity offsetting/banking, while themselves commercialising species ‘protection’ as eco-tourism. Foremost amongst the neoliberal ENGOs is The Nature Conservancy (TNC). Its President and CEO is Mark Tercek, previously a managing director at Goldman Sachs. Its Vice President until recently was Peter Kareiva, a key player in the Stanford University flagship ‘natural capital’ project with its mission to convert ecosystems into environmental services that can be traded off. Together Tercek and Kareiva have promoted capitalism as natural and berated conservation biologists for not allying with corporations. In a revival of social Darwinism, Kareiva has even claimed that corporations are a keystone species!

ENGOs have been deliberately targeted by corporate strategists and in several cases they have been captured at management level. For example, Holmes (2011) reports on some of the boards of American ENGOs that include large numbers of current or former directors of major transnational corporations:

TNC 15 out of 26; Conservation International 26 out of 36; WWF-USA 13 out of 21. In addition, ‘these NGOs each have a business council, made exclusively from corporate directors, to advise the board of directors’ (Holmes, 2011: 9). Besides TNC, Conservation International and WWF, Hari (2010) cites the National Wildlife Federation, Sierra Club, and the Natural Resources Defense Council as all suffering from corporate capture and conformity to the basic tenets of neoliberalism. This is the spread of what I have referred to as new environmental pragmatism (Spash, 2009). The inroads into conservation by corporate interests are deep. Recently, Adams (2017) has analysed the pragmatic reasons behind this alliance, terming it ‘sleeping with the enemy’ and a ‘Faustian bargain’, that is sold as promoting the mythical Green and growing economy. There is, then, much to concern environmentalists about the role of environmentalism today and whether it can help or will hinder the achievement of a more just, ethical and equitable future.

In this issue of Environmental Values the state and direction of the environmental movement are at the fore. The extent to which conformity to current institutions and their values is regarded as pragmatic is the topic addressed by D’Amato et al. They contrast such pragmatism with the need for revolutionary change and consider which will achieve social ecological transformation. That ‘business as usual’ might no longer be an option leaves open what that implies for the existing political economy (from high-tech competitive corporate growth to low-tech cooperative community degrowth). However, as mentioned above, the hegemonic approach is techno-market optimism with the promise of preserving and  protecting the current capital accumulating economic system.

Productivist rhetoric is dominant in government circles and provides an imaginary that can fit with liberal, neoliberal, social democratic welfarist, socialist and centrally planned political systems. While some things must change the utopian vision of a ‘sustainable growth economy’ will not be surrendered.

The sustainable development agenda, from Norwegian premier Gro Bruntland onwards, has seen no conflict between achieving social and ecological goals and maintaining the growth economy. The United Nations has spent decades pushing various brands of ‘sustainable development’ as economic growth, with the Green Economy its latest incarnation (Spash, 2012). The basic aim is to make capital accumulation resilient, whether in the West or East, under democracy or despotism, whether state or corporate owned and run. How then should the environmentally concerned address this hegemony?

D’Amato et al. provide a new classification of the debate based upon qualitative interviews and a focus group with twenty young researchers working in the area of social ecological transformation. They  contrast perceptions of the role of research as extending from promoting a simple form of pragmatism through to radical change based on strong value commitments. The mode of social change regarded as necessary is described as extending from a gradual evolution to a radical revolution. The concept of the Green Economy was classified by respondents as falling within the pragmatic and evolutionary. The  majority (60%) of respondents themselves held the pragmatic revolutionary position, followed by those classified as radical revolutionary (25%) and pragmatic evolutionary (15%). Thus, while 85% of these young researchers felt revolutionary social change was necessary, 75% believed research should be  pragmatic. While qualified by this being a small convenience sample, the findings do indicate the   potential prevalence of new environmental pragmatism and supports previous work indicating that this  is a wider phenomenon amongst researchers (Spash and Ryan, 2012). More generally, D’Amato et al.’s work raises some serious questions over the general direction of environmental research and how far researchers are prepared to make their work conform to hegemonic values, norms and practices, including those they in principle oppose.

Yet, those who stick to their principles are often described as fundamentalists or uncompromising radicals who deny democratic process. Amongst environmentalists, animal activists have typically been painted as such extremists with their claims based on contentious rights based arguments. In some (supposed) democracies they are even regarded and treated as terrorists. Parry raises the issue of how animal activists should operate within an idealised deliberative democracy and what they could then legitimately justify doing to further their cause. The arguments for and against the use of different campaigning tactics are raised with specific attention given to the example of using video footage showing animal suffering. Such tactics are described in terms of creating a moral shock. Can this be legitimate in a democracy?

Parry makes the case that deliberative democracy offers a justification for representing animals in decision making, but that this does not require appeals to claims about moral worth. Instead existing democratic political principles and institutions are invoked. Three principles are then given, namely that deliberative democracy should be inclusive, authentic and consequential. Parry’s article evaluates animal activism on these grounds.

Inclusion refers to the right of representation in a decision on the basis of having interests that are subject to being affected by that decision. Political theorists have criticised animal rights activists for using undemocractic/deliberative approaches, which they claim are unjustified because these activists are just another group of humans seeking to promote their own interests. Such theorists believe animal activism should be undertaken through ‘normal’ democratic processes. However, as Parry points out, this is a conversion of human to non-human relations into a human to human relationship. Central to the politics of non-human Nature is the representation of silent voices (O’Neill, 2001). How the non-human get a voice in the human world is the central question here.

One aspect of the problem is the tension between attribution of value on the basis of possessing human-like qualities and possessing value despite clearly being non-human like (see for example Coyne, 2017; Vetlesen, 2015). The value basis of interests is then a core concern. Contra Parry, the application of deliberative democratic principles does not then seem to avoid the need for adopting a value basis, nor the need for moral reasoning. Notions of value are employed both in arguments for moral standing and rights of political representation.

A common approach in determining such attributions is to appeal to sentience and the ability for non- humans to suffer pain like humans. One reason is the search for generalisable and common interests, which are regarded as constituting authentic deliberation. Here there is an implicit appeal to Kantian moral criteria for establishing a valid moral argument, so once again contention over moral positions appear unavoidable.

Parry’s second concept, authentic deliberation, aims to encapsulate the desired qualities of democratic deliberation, namely: truthfulness, mutual respect, non-coercive persuasion, constructively seeking acceptable outcomes, reflexivity and prioritisation of generalisable interests. Parry then explores how far different tactics of animal activists match such qualities, and the same is undertaken for the third concept, that requires deliberative democratic criteria be consequential. The latter entails identification of discernible impacts of tactics on decisions, where the consequences are evaluated at a systemic level (i.e. taking into account various aspects of repercussions). Put more crudely this is an assessment of ends justifying means.

The question Parry debates is the extent to which the tactics of animal activists are non-democratic and yet still might be justified. Two tactics classified as non-democratic are imposing costs on others and the rhetorical exaggeration of moral disagreement. The former covers the making of an action (unwanted by activists) financially more costly for the actor, but is also extended by Parry to include imposing psychological costs on such actors. The latter concerns highlighting moral differences to emphasise what is deemed unethical. Such tactics are problematic for deliberative democrats – being termed exaggeration’ and ‘rhetoric’ – because of their commitment to political process as a consensus-seeking compromise. As Parry notes, in passing, there are those arguing that the worth of democracy lies in allowing for contestation over values, and that would involve the recognition of differences held as moral principles rather than seeking compromise and reasons to justify why everyone make trade-offs. A possibly related issue (not addressed) is the apparent contradiction involved in evaluating a social movement that emphasises deontology, community responsibility and duties on the basis of consequences and individual action.

Parry concludes that some of the non-democratic tactics of animal activists may have a role, but should be employed with reflection and moderation. In reaching this conclusion some aspects are only briefly mentioned, but seem central to any justification for radical action within the social reality in which we live today. Perhaps most important are the inequity in power relationships in society and the undemocratic state of the institutions empowered by the idea of a neoliberal economy. Such things as corporate power, greed and the capital accumulating economy lie behind the prevalence of threats to the nonhuman world. The associated institutions perpetuate and legitimise a range of practices against the interests of both non-human and human animals. In the struggles of indigenous communities, who are on the frontline of the extractivist economy and its accumulation by dispossession and land grabbing, there are few signs of legitimate democracy let alone the deliberative democratic ideal. How to live up to the ideals of deliberative democracy, in seeking to right some wrongs, seems of lesser relevance than asking how and by what means can the transformation of such an undemocratic system be achieved? Related to this is the question: what are the legitimate grounds for the institutionally powerless to fight institutionalised power?

Quist and Rinne are concerned with the challenges that disenfranchised groups face in building shared agendas and expressing themselves in their struggles to protect the environment and their ways of life. Their particular context is the conflict between different forms of resource exploitation and specifically fisheries versus oil extraction. They present a case study from Mexico that investigates media (two regional newspapers) representation of the conflict over access to the sea after Pemex, the eleventh largest oil corporation in the world, was empowered by the Mexican State to create marine exclusion zones. They reveal how the media operates with implicit rules of newsworthiness that play to the dominant moral discourses promoted by political and economic elites. In addition, they expose how this has played up divisions within the fisher community (e.g., between licence holders and other fishers working for them or independently).

The central concept in their case study is ‘patrimony’, or regarding natural resources as an intergenerational heritage that creates a community understanding and sense of common purpose. Under patrimony the community is typically the nation state, with patrimony operating as national heritage, but the study identifies how the concept is also applied at the fisher community level by its leaders. However, rather than being empowered, the fishers appear to be captured by the discourse of patrimony, while their own discourse, expressing ecological values that include their way of life, is excluded. Fisher leaders are shown to adopt the patrimony discourse against the interests of the wider fisher community, even to the extent that the prospect of fishers becoming oil workers is considered. Oil is judged superior in patrimonial value and for the national collective compared to the value of fishing for the local community. In this discourse, there is no questioning of the oil industries right to exploit the resource. There is a clear underlying productivist logic that excludes environmental concerns and narrowly frames the social as national.

How natural resource extraction issues are framed by the media is also the concern of Davies et al. Their particular case study is Greenland, where the population of 57,000 live in the twelfth largest country by land area. That 90 per cent of the people claim Inuit ethnicity adds to the distinct character of the society, as does having 80 per cent of the country under ice. In this last respect, climate change has been presented by some as an opportunity for opening-up territory for resource extraction. Indeed, this forms one of the major discourses revealed by Davies et al. in their analysis of 1000 English language media articles about Greenland. The potential for extracting oil, gas and rare Earth metals to supply the fossil fuel economy and its high-tech industries means climate change is not denied but accepted as an actual phenomenon by corporate fossil fuel and resource extracting interests. Rather than being a problem, climate change is seen as an opportunity. The media being reported here seems clearly focused on serving the speculations of corporations, bankers and financiers over where to make money. Such media coverage regards risk purely in financial terms of returns on investment (not strong uncertainty over climate change), and on the same basis the potential for oil spills due to new extraction is addressed as a risk to corporate investors’ returns, not the environment.

Other aspects of the media coverage over extracting Greenland’s resources relate to the geo-politics of a small Inuit led country facing the likes of China and the European Union, and multi-national corporations. The vulnerability of Inuit culture is also raised, including the potential impact on the relatively small existing national population being swamped by incoming labour. Yet, somewhat paralleling the case of Mexico, coverage also regards investment in resource extraction as a necessity for ‘development’ that promises jobs and the eradication of social problems through material wealth.

The idea of wilderness, so antithetical to advocates of the anthropocene (Baskin, 2015), appears in the media in both its positive form as pristine and untouched, as well as its negative form of waste land. The absence of human use is bemoaned by the latter as resources going to waste, while for the former this is where the environmental value lies. However, what is interesting in the reported media coverage presented by Davies et al. is how human–nature interactions are so easily turned into, and exclusively discussed as, human to human value relationships (e.g. human induced climate change having consequences for humans). Nature then has no voice in this media coverage.

Therein lies the failure of the environmental movement in its pragmatic neoliberalism. That the mainstream media is obsessed by framing its reportage in terms of financial and economic consequences is hardly a secret (see Chalmers, 2012). What is less readily admitted is the extent to which ENGOs have done likewise and so lost their connection to the non-human world that environmentalism aimed to represent in the first place. In the appeasement of presumed state and corporate economic interests, the language of environmental values is commonly reformulated to actually deny the existence of value in nature, non-human to non-human value and even the importance of human to non-human relationships. There is only the human-to-human relationship and associated values, and clearly some humans are more equal than others.

Issues of power, inclusion and representation in the environmental movement also concern the paper by Fenney, but from a different perspective. The argument is made that the disabled are subject to both oppression (disablism) and also the assumption of a non-disabled norm as valid and desirable (ableism). Evidence from interviews with disabled people in the UK is presented to illustrate the issues. In particular, Fenney highlights discourses on cycling and self-sufficiency as problematic. The former is criticised as specifically focussed on the able bodied, while the latter is seen as promoting a form of independence that is unavailable to many disabled people. Both are then loosely associated by Fenney with a neoliberal agenda in environmentalism.

The broader concern raised by Fenney is where in the environmental movement’s vision of the future will the disabled find themselves, how will their voice achieve inclusion and their concerns over social justice be met? Implicitly, alternative systems and their conceptualisations of freedom underlie this discussion. The modern (neo)liberal model of ‘freedom’ might be characterised as the individual holding others at a distance with dependency on high technology, machines, biotech and chemicals. The environmental movement has traditionally rejected this in preference for a low technology world based on community and explicitly recognising interdependence, where labour substitutes for capital. There are clearly many questions left unanswered by the environmental movement concerning diverging visions of the future, including the absence of implications for the disabled. However, environmentalism, especially eco-feminism, has strongly advocated a caring society in which issues of dependency and interdependency are made explicit, rather than hidden by production chains, technology and patriarchy.

In addition, the case made by Fenny does not establish any necessary link between environmentalism and abelism/disablism. For example, why does cycling need to be regarded as so exclusionary? Whether two, three, four or more wheeled there are many forms of locomotion that can be powered by humans singly or in numbers and be inclusive of different (dis)abilities as well as passengers. Perhaps the UK remains unfamiliar with the variety of machines available, but the idea that recommending cycling need necessarily be problematic and discriminatory appears to be in part based upon a limited conception of the options. The structural limits in the current infrastructure that favour cars also affects the imagination of what is possible and creates dependencies. That cars are part of our environmental problems is indisputable.

I take Fenny’s point as being that too little thought is given to the implications of getting rid of cars in terms of the implications for disabled people who have lives currently dependent upon cars. Their concerns need to be voiced and addressed when cars are targeted or bikes promoted, but such polices should alsonot simply be equated with discrimination per se.

Fenny notes that there is a growing (physically and mentally) disabled population and states that it is already approximately one-fifth of the UK population. Clearly the able do become the disabled as population ages, and there is an element of denial of this basic fact in Western society with its emphasis on health and beauty as youth. While Fenny presents the case for why transformation to environmental futures is inadequately addressing the issue, there is also a more general problem for the environmental movement here.

Social ecological transformation is discussed as requiring major systemic change, and for many that means changing away from modernist utopias (Spash, 2015b). The scale of change required in removing fossil fuels from the economy is far-reaching and involves major distributive impacts. All those with dependencies on the structures of modernity, its technologies, energy and material intensive devices are vulnerable. The environmental movement needs to seriously consider and address the implications rather than pretending everything can be substituted and energy transition will be straightforward. Environmental policy is no more a win-win than any other policy; different polices change winners and losers. For the environmental movement, some specific groups, practices and ways of life are deliberately the target of change because they are deemed exploitative, unjust and unethical. Societal change is an inherently value laden and political issue.

Currently major societal change occurs through undemocratic imposition of technology and infrastructure at the behest of minority interests, while the majority are just along for the ride, whether they like it or not. The rise of nationalism accompanied by militarisation and securitisation justifies exploitation of others who must be outcompeted in the fight for resources to maintain national and corporate economic growth. The depoliticising pragmatism of the environmental movement means loss of both direction and voice. The central issue, which was the reason for an environmental movement in the first place, is: how can different people live together and find meaning in their lives without engaging in the environmental degradation and mistreatment of others, both human and non-human, that is central to the currently dominant economic system?

Download the paper:

2017 Spash Env_Nationalism_Corporate_Capitalism EV_24_4

References

Adams, B. 2017. ‘Sleeping with the enemy? Biodiversity conservation, corporations
and the green economy. Journal of Political Ecology 24: 243–257.

Baskin, J. 2015. ‘Paradigm dressed as epoch: The ideology of the anthropocene’.
Environmental Values 24(1): 9–29. Crossref

Chalmers, P. 2012. Fraudcast News: How Bad Journalism Supports Our Bogus
Democracies. Milton Keynes: Lightning Source Ltd.

Coyne, L. 2017. ‘Phenomenology and teleology: Hans Jonas’s philosophy of life’.
Environmental Values 26(3): 297–315. Crossref

D’Amato, D., N. Droste, S. Chan and A. Hofer. 2017. ‘The green economy: Pragmatism
or revolution? Perceptions of young researchers on social ecological transformation’.

Environmental Values 24(4): 413–435.

Davies, W., S. Wright and J. Van Alstine. 2017. ‘Framing a “climate
change frontier”: International news media coverage surrounding
natural resource development in Greenland’. Environmental Values 24(4): 481–502.

Fenney, D. 2017. ‘Ableism and disablism in the UK environmental movement’.
Environmental Values 24(4): 503–522.

Hari, J. 2010. ‘The wrong kind of Green’. The Nation. https://www.thenation.com/
article/wrong-kind-green-2/.

Holmes, G. 2011. ‘Conservation’s friends in high places: Neoliberalism, networks, and
the transnational conservation elite’. Global Environmental Politics 11(4): 1–21.

Crossref
Kapp, K.W. 1978. ‘The Social Costs of Business Enterprise. Nottingham: Spokesman.
O’Neill, J.F. 2001. ‘Representing people, representing nature, representing the world’.
Environment & Planning C: Government & Policy 9(4): 483–500. Crossref
Parry, L.J. 2017. ‘Don’t put all your speech-acts in one basket: Situating animal activism
in the deliberative system’. Environmental Values 24(4): 437–455.
Quist, L.-M. and P. Rinne. 2017. ‘The politics of justification: Newspaper representations
of environmental conflict between fishers and the oil industry in Mexico’.
Environmental Values 24(4): 457–479.
Spash, C.L. 2009. ‘The new environmental pragmatists, pluralism and sustainability’.
Environmental Values 18(3): 253–256. Crossref
Spash, C.L. 2012. ‘Green economy, red herring’. Environmental Values 21(2): 95–99.
Crossref
Spash, C.L. 2015a. ‘The dying planet index: Life, death and man’s domination of
Nature’. Environmental Values 24(1): 1–7. Crossref
Spash, C.L. 2015b. ‘Tackling climate change, breaking the frame of modernity’.
Environmental Values 24(4): 437–444. Crossref
Spash, C.L. 2016a. ‘The political economy of the Paris Agreement on human induced
climate change: A brief guide’. Real World Economics Review 75(June): 67–75.
Spash, C.L. 2016b. ‘This changes nothing: The Paris Agreement to ignore reality’.
Globalizations 13(6): 928–933. Crossref
Spash, C.L. and Ryan, A. 2012. ‘Economic schools of thought on the environment:
Investigating unity and division’. Cambridge Journal of Economics 36(5): 1091–
1121. Crossref
Vetlesen, A.J. 2015. The Denial of Nature: Environmental Philosophy in the Era of
Capitalism. Abindgdon and New York: Routledge.

Wreckreation Oligarchs

Counterpunch

December 16, 2016

by Chris Zinda

 

sierra-club-hrc

“We believe that stopping the global extinction crisis and achieving true ecological sustainability will require rethinking our values as a society. Present assumptions about economics, development, and the place of human beings in the natural order must be reevaluated. Nature can no longer be viewed merely as a commodity—a storehouse of “resources” for human use and profit. It must be seen as a partner and model in all human enterprise.”

— Our Mission; Foundation for Deep Ecology

Big Green spent $100 million of funds donated to them supporting the Democratic Party and their establishment candidate Hillary Clinton. With smug displeasure on their 1% faces at a D.C. National Press Club event, I watched with my own smug glee as the Sierra Club, NRDC, and League of Conservation Voters among others doubled down on both their fund raising pitches and need for more failed collaboration within the current political system, an indication that nothing will change and that none of us should waste our money financially supporting any of them.

Like George Soros and the Democracy Alliance oligarchs with the Democratic Party, let their Wreckreation industry and Foundation for Deep Ecology oligarchs continue to pour their money down that rat hole.

Deep Ecology as an organized spiritual endeavor has become immoral bastardized horseshit, run by guilty oligarchs with spiritual rot complaining about motorized wreckreation or cattle, never calling for carrying capacities for the consumptive recreational uses their businesses and shared elite pursuits promote. They instead delude their moral dilemma through the use of their cash to, in part, solve the consumptive problems the Thompkins clan and their ilk have created with their North Face, Patagucci and Esprit derived financial empire to begin. Arne Naess should be rolling in his grave but, maybe, he was co-opted, too.

north-face-3

Supreme x The North Face® “By Any Means Necessary” | Highsnobiety website: “Supreme’s ever-popular collaboration with The North Face rolls on into FW15, with a set of heavy-duty outerwear decked out in a “By Any Means Necessary” slogan, a phrase invented by French philosopher Jean-Paul Sartre and brought into pop culture lexicon via Civil Rights icon Malcolm X.” [“La capsule Supreme x The North Face® “By Any Means Necessary” sera disponible à partir du jeudi 19 novembre à 12H00 (heure de Paris) sur www.supremenewyork.com ainsi que dans les boutiques de New York, Los Angles et Londres. Disponible au Japon à compter du 21 novembre prochain.” Nupste Jacket: $368, Mountain Pullover: $298, Base Camp Crimp Backpack: $148, Base Camp Travel Canister: $32, Winter Runners Gloves: $58

Their conservation is like any other, the biblical Garden to be cultivated and managed, one that seldom defers to natural processes unless those processes are deemed beneficial for our extractive use. A sheen of secular humanism means they create and selectively use science to justify their conservation positions, with forest practices and wildland fire being some of the best examples. Cult of the Red Pine-like forests are being fully realized officially, cooperatively, placatingly crisscrossed with heads and trails for wheels, hooves, and feet, having seemingly either sprung up or been hardened everywhere that is neither first mined or grazed. Very few places, even in our wildlife refuges, are off limits to all humans.  In this sense, they are rationally no better than the working class manifest destiny, prosperity doctrine evangelicals they scorn and, soon, all of the lower-48 will look and feel like the tamed European continent.

The wreckreation industry instead talks of the Tragedy of the Commons, of the loss of biologic habitat and diversity, that we need to protect places round the nation and world from overuse, to sustainable use, while screaming like stuck pigs when agencies actually institute what biological and social science tells them to do, which is to stop freeloaders, set quotas, and shut the gates, measures that would reduce their access to profits and pursuits and better protect the flora and fauna that need their own solitude to flourish.

Secretary of the Department of the Interior Sally Jewell is indicative of the incest, the revolving door wreckreation industry insider having been the CEO of outdoor retailer Recreational Equipment Inc. Given past Secretaries usually came from fuels, mining or agriculture, Jewell can be seen as the apex of wreckreation industry political influence.  And, you could see it on the ground during her tenure, as there was never talk of carrying capacities or appropriate uses, always talk and action of compromise for the sake of multiple abuse everywhere, never meaningful or direct action for environmental preservation or to address climate change.

rei-seattle-yoga

Like the land management and environmental regulatory agencies no matter where they lie in our levels of government, Big Green and the outdoor wreckreation industry work for and with the faces of those who regulate them: largely white, upper middle class, and come from urban areas.  These are people who are economically and socially insulated from the majority of the citizens of the planet, scorned by the American working class as elite.

You could see it in both her and Big Green’s response to the armed takeover of the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge, as both were conspicuously absent on the ground, not wanting to upset the delicate apple cart they built collaborating across the west with the ranchers and their corporations whose locusts do more damage to public lands than any but humans themselves.

Conservation vs. Preservation. An old argument that always favors human use. And, Big Greens and their Deep Ecology 1%, by definition of their social class and financial empires, are not preservationists, as preservation provides a conflict between indoctrinated spiritual and economic positions. Progressive oligarchs and meritarchs, like their Garden of Eden prosperity doctrine counterparts, prefer a comfortable delusion to an uncomfortable truth in regard to their impacts on both the continuance of paradigms that destroy our planet and the aims to protect it. Irrational.

They believe in “sustainable“, implying to conserve a finite resource. Tell me, how do we conserve the climate of the planet and the ripple effect to our food supply with the reality of an ever increasing population based on an ever increasing market?

I’d like to ask these fake Greens who make their money helping to wreck the planet: Do you ever think of the ethics/morals of the results of your corporate (non-profit can also be corporate) endeavors? Do you think of the opportunity costs of money spent on the meritocratic establishment? Instead of collaborating with the enemy and pontificating, how about spending that money fighting without compromise?

*  *  *

These faces of failure – 350, Sierra Club, NRDC, League of Conservation Voters, the Wilderness Society – are people who are not acting like they are on the front lines of survival like their working class brothers and sisters. Wreckreating on high, they protect their bureaucracies, incomes, and self righteous, indignant, compromise with the extractive enemies that have always included Hillary and the Neo-liberal Machine.

Working class Dakota Access Pipeline activists are acting on the front lines, some recreating by crawling into pipes bored under the Des Moines River to serve the Bakken crude.  Mississippi Stand’s Alex Cohen sums it up, “I firmly believe that we’ve tried every other political process, from protesting to petitioning, and that stuff hasn’t worked, and our mother doesn’t have time. The only thing, I truly believe, that’s gonna stop this pipeline is direct action and civil disobedience.”

These are poor indigenous people and their working class cohorts, mostly millennials, who understand the plight of their past and future.

While I can’t imagine a Big Green crawling into a pipe to shut the line down, I can imagine the opportunity cost of $100 million spent engaging in electoral politics rather than with people on the front lines of the Climate Change movement, including a few hundred, maybe soon thousands, who need the money of the progressive oligarchs this every moment for legal fees and survival expenses as they engage in battle.

These are the “grassroots activists” who are largely working class Not In My BackYard people from everywhere who need your financial and legal support more so than a non-profit Big Green bureaucrat with a six figure income and an eight figure campaign run from Washington, New York or San Francisco. NIMBYs are not rat holes nor can they afford insider luncheons and donations to a corrupt two party system. They are largely apolitical people effectively acting locally and thinking globally, usually with everything they have. They are the people who carry the weight of #NoDAPL while Big Green comes in to muck with them, claim credit and fundraise on their backs.

In short, myopic Big Green and their progressive (lower case “p”) oligarchs should not only be reevaluating their failed $100 million 2016 electoral investment but their ethical core, as their collaborative political and financial institutional relationships at this crossroads for climate change and humanity are incongruent, devoid of moral leadership.

*  *  *

Big Green and their 1% should not be so bummed out with people asking for a carrying capacity on their ethics, morals and profits. Cynically, perhaps the sadness on their faces at the D.C. presser was all for the funding show alone.

No doubt Industrial Wreckreation still ranks high on a Trump’s list regardless of political persuasion, as business is business and all will still make money as they collaborate to extract their profits from you with joint, slick, marketing campaigns in Outside Magazine.

Only in small part funded by your working class donations (as there aren’t many working class members) the Sierra Club will still have their High Sierra Camp cities serviced and traversed by their shit carrying mules that are cherry stemmed in the Yosemite wilderness.

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Jose Manuel Martinez Gutierrez, chief executive of Esprit, speaks during the company’s first-half earnings briefing in Hong Kong in China in 2014.

In large part, REI will still sell the latest lightweight tech gear to those shitting on the glaciers at Mount Rainier and slacklining like monkeys flinging across red rock canyons.

Of course, Patagucci will take the high road and continue to sell vile capitalist apologist environmental doublespeak in its award winning catalogues while promoting its form of Deep Ecology.

And, the grey haired heirs at the NRDC and League of Conservation Voters will continue work with Democracy Alliance and donate money to placate their class and moral guilt, now combating the “anti-environmental” policies of a Trump nouveau riche government.

Indications are they will again later lament the loss of $100 million of their incestuous wealth spent on 2018/20 candidates, their parties and candidates will be as ineffectual as their elite selves in speaking out against climate change and actually acting to save the planet for our working class children.

*  *  *

When you shop at REI and buy North Face or Patagucci, contribute to the Sierra Club, NRDC or other Big Green, you are supporting industries that makes money off of the continued unlimited development and use federal lands. The Wreckreation Industry shares a social class with those who regulate our public lands, has captured the govt organizations and use them to their own benefit, akin to the traditional mining, mineral, timber extractive industries of the past and probable Trump future. It is an industry that unethically claims credit for solving a problem they created – and we sustain this symbiotic for them, parasitic for the planet, paradigm.

You guilty conscience 1% oligarchs interested in environmental causes: now is the time to put your $100+ million in places motivating and enabling people without compromise. The Empire is in ashes and the time is ripe for a new paradigm to be forged during a most critical time of great consequence.

 

[Chris Zinda is an activist and writer living in Oregon.]

Standing Rock: Profusion, Collusion & Big Money Profits [Part 6 | Conclusion]

Wrong Kind of Green

December 14, 2016

Part six of an investigative report by Cory Morningstar with Forrest Palmer

Standing Rock Investigative Report Series [Further Reading]:  Part 1Part 2Part 3Part 4Part 5Part 6Addendum

 

To conclude the series, Cory Morningstar and Forrest Palmer wrap up their deep and thorough analysis of the detour and smokescreens the current and carefully engineered, “clean energy revolution” has traversed. The mass movement meant to corral “millennials” and well-intentioned citizens to get in step with the 21st century is not meant to end the reliance on fossil fuel, only to transform the package. Profits are still reaped but at who’s expense? Manufactured activism thrives at the NGO, corporate and individual level in order to sustain the wolves in sheep clothing who are the Executive Directors, Hedge Fund managers, Philanthropists and private Investors….all profiteers in one sense or another. Corporate warfare is being waged via the most gentle form of soft power. The non-profit industrial complex is the clearinghouse for the distribution of these soft power mechanisms. Collectively, Western society has been conditioned to believe that anthropocentrism is environmentalism and anthropocentrists are environmental activists. It is quite possible that this may be one of the best examples of successful social engineering to date, as financed by the world’s most powerful oligarchs.

 

Coloured Devolutions

Environmentalism is dead. Today we bear witness to 21st century anthropocentrism.  The goal is no longer to protect nature and all living things. In stark contrast, the goal is to now propel technology at the expense of nature and all living things. A “clean energy revolution”, at the expense of what little remains of nature and non-human life, for the gratification of human desires. In this sense western societies have collectively devolved to the most contemptible depths imaginable. Yet, as a conditioned society, few notice. As always, youth are targeted and groomed, the sacrificial lambs for continued capitalism. [Further reading: From Stable to Starr-The Making of North American Climate Heroes]#HerdingSheep

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Wear blue. Wear red. Wear yellow. Photos-ops. Branding. Playful gimmicks for the bored, privileged masses. Those with the highest social metrics receive the most funding. It’s a race. A race to the bottom.

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Flood Wall Street marketing: Wear blue. #Other98

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Flood Wall Street marketing: Wear blue. #Other98

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Flood Wall Street marketing: Wear blue. #Other98

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Climate March Delhi India, September 2014. Wear blue.

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Standing Rock marketing. Wear blue. #Other98

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Wear Red: Red Lines for Climate Actions Manual, COP21, Paris. [No matter what action you do, please also share your action on social media so the rest of the world can see it. Take a photo or video and post on Twitter, Instagram or Facebook (if it’s on Facebook, please make sure it’s public)  and then use make sure you add #D12 or #redlines. You can also send an email to socialmedia@350.org”][Source]

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COP21. The above photograph appears in an article titled “Indigenous Peoples Take Lead at D12 Day of Action in Paris – Official response to COP21 agreement”. 350.org’s “red” campaign is interwoven into the statement. [Source] The reality is that Indigenous Peoples are used as photo-ops by NGOs to advance an elite and patriarchal agenda that only propels further Indigenous genocide.

 “The process of influencing a mass audience to respond reflexively to induced prompts — like marching in parades or flooding financial districts wearing the color blue — requires looking beyond the civil society fad of I-pad revolution, and examining modern social “movements” as cults. Icons like Klein are as interchangeable as Hollywood starlets, but mass hypnosis of social activists by Wall Street titans using foundation-funded NGO is a troubling development.”— HIJACKING THE ENVIRONMENTAL MOVEMENT, April 25, 2016

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The Bishnoi: Eco Warriors Since the 15th Century (India)  – In 1730, 363 Bishnoi men, women and children gave their lives to protect trees from being lumbered to build Maharajah Abhay Singh of Jodhpur’s new palace.

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Solar Technology  | Marketing in 21st century anthropocentrism

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To prevent the king’s men from cutting down their forest, Bishnoi men, women and children gathered around the trees and hugged them.

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Wind turbine technology | Marketing in 21st century anthropocentrism

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This tragic event, known as the Khejarli Massacre, is also the first recorded event of the Chipko movement (hugging trees to prevent destruction, or just to love them) in history… long before the 1970s. [Source] Today we chop trees down for “green” biomass, solar and wind projects.

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The new environmentalism created by the NPIC. Climate March Delhi India, September 2014. Wear yellow.

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Avaaz climate campaign

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The above image captures the dreams and aspirations of 21st century anthropocentrism: solar, wind, wealth. Nature is virtually non-existent in the “climate factory” poster. It floats in the background as an afterthought.

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Above: 350.org style guide: “Focus on people. Whenever possible, use visuals to emphasize that climate is a real, tangible human problem – not an abstract ecological issue.”

Collectively, Western society has been conditioned to believe that anthropocentrism is environmentalism and anthropocentrists are environmental activists. It is quite possible that this may be one of the best examples of successful social engineering to date, as financed by the world’s most powerful oligarchs.

Storytelling has always served as an integral, influential and dynamic component of human development and evolution. Today our stories are being scripted by those in power and used as subtly persuasive but powerful weapons – against ourselves. Whereas in the past environmentalism was the fight to protect nature and non-human life, today’s anthropocentrism serves to protect first world privilege, human life (Anglo) – at the EXPENSE of nature and non-human life (as well as non-Anglo human life). Today storytelling is a key component of behavioural change experts, marketing executives and NGOs who employ effective storytelling to sell us anything they wish, inclusive of death and war. [SYRIA: Avaaz, Purpose & the Art of Selling Hate for Empire] Yet, in this sense, we could categorize these soft-power “movements” as those that fall in the category of “colour revolutions”.

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Greenpeace and Tcktcktck volunteers raise a wind turbine on the beach at dawn in Durban, South Africa. To send a message of hope for the latest round of UN climate change talks opening here on Monday. Campaigners say Durban must be a new dawn for the international negotiations to agree a fair, ambitious and legally binding treaty to avert climate chaos. They are demanding that politicians stop listening to the polluting corporations and listen to the people who want an end to our dependence on fossil fuels. Africa is on the front line of dangerous climate change, with millions already suffering the impacts through increased drought and extreme weather events, threatening lives and food security.

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CONCLUSION: Manufactured Activism & Rebranding Control of Dissent

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Militarism and Genocide in Exchange for the Maintaining of Privilege – An Agreed Upon Alibi

Collectively, American citizens have been most tolerant of a buildup of fascism and militarism over the past years and decades. Providing this is carried out in a somewhat covert manner with a charismatic veneer (The Obama administration/democrats) it is not only acceptable, but has resulted in a pro-war “left” that has cheered on (or been silent on) illegal invasions, occupations and coups throughout the middle east and global south. However when the same blatant racism, classism and fascism is carried out by an openly fascist leader (who lacks the political correctness that the imperial-liberal left demands) the same imperial-liberal left brigade cries a river of crocodile tears.

In this same way, American citizens have been most tolerant of the Bakken genocide that feeds their oil addiction and ensures their highly consumptive lifestyle, and most importantly, ensures their privilege remains intact. This is an unspoken known. How many Americans  actually recoiled at the words of Madeline Albright “we think the price is worth it” in response to the deaths of 500,000 Iraqi children? The ugly truth is, we are willing to participate, to stay silent, provided we are guaranteed the right to pretend otherwise. As just one example consider the ongoing and endless Congo holocaust to service our tech desires. The response is silence. Collectively it is understood and agreed upon that “we think the price is worth it.” We want our technology. New cell phones, computers, renewable energies, electric cars. Like the Obama charisma that created a veneer of fabricated  innocence and American exceptionalism, giving imperial-left liberals full license to ignore the millions that have suffered and died under his murderous administration, the NODAPL gives license to imperial-left liberals to appropriate a similar alibi. We can brand ourselves as moral citizens standing in unity with Indigenous nations, all while we maintain and propel a system that promises further genocide to Indigenous people in the Bakken and throughout the globe.

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Win! Credit: Solar Mosaic and US Department of Defense | “The US military knows better than anyone the importance of energy independence,” Mosaic president Billy Parish was quoted in a company press release. “Mosaic is pleased to offer more Americans the opportunity to tangibly support this by investing in rooftop solar energy for military families. As a father, I’m working everyday to create a secure home, nation, and planet for my children.” [Source]

Once again, the NPIC is succeeding at sanitizing a critical discussion that should be centered on Indigenous peoples and an ongoing Indigenous genocide due to colonization, assimilation and industrialization (which NGOs will only further via global campaigns for “clean” energy). Instead of focusing on these issues as well the key issue of sovereignty, the NPIC works to ensure the masses focus on a singular pipeline, a subterfuge to marginalize and reframe all systemic issues. We focus on the transportation method of oil (in this case, again, a pipeline) rather than what is the driving force of oil itself. What we do not touch upon and what is never discussed is the question of who benefits – at the expense of what groups and nations of people are sacrificed. Nor does non-human life enter the discussion, let alone the thought-process whatsoever. This is due to the fact the environmental movement that materialized decades ago is now obsolete. Via the conditioning of our societies and the non-profit industrial complex who work at the bequest of their elite financiers, cultivated “activists” are in truth anthropocentrists. Manufactured “activism” today must be re-defined as full blown anthropocentrism en masse. Today’s 21st century “activism” (anthropocentrism), has nothing to do with the protection of nature, of Earth, or her non-human inhabitants. Further, this “green” anthropocentrism, born of European-American ideologies shaped, molded, and nurtured by elite power structures, is an anthropocentrism that believes in, and caters to white supremacy, even if this belief is subconscious or subtle (aversive racism).

Today’s 21st century anthropocentrism is given more credence when barely an eyebrow is raised by the fact that NGOs now partner with and aid militarism [October 14, 2016: A Cynical Environmentalism: Protecting Nature to Prepare for War] and even produce terrorist factions under the guise of humanitarian assistance. One key question is this: why do we remain blind to the fact that NGOs who push for a new global infrastructure of “clean” energy are financed to further advance imperialism?

October 14, 2016 from the article: A Cynical Environmentalism: Protecting Nature to Prepare for War:

 “Altendorf was speaking on September 5 in Honolulu, Hawaii, at a panel discussion hosted by the US State Department entitled “Department of Defense Conservation: A Good News Story.” The event was held at the US Pavilion of the World Conservation Congress (WCC), a gathering organized by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN). This year’s WCC, attended by over 10,000 conservationists, scientists, government leaders, NGOs and members of civil society from 192 countries, also included representatives of the Army, Navy and Air Force who were eager to talk about caring for the natural world.” — A Cynical Environmentalism: Protecting Nature to Prepare for War, October 14, 2016

“By rebranding itself as a guardian of nature, the military improves its own public image and achieves a veneer of unassailability while bolstering its primary mission, which is, of course, the ability to wage war. In reality, war’s brutal and merciless goal of domination and control is the furthest thing imaginable from nurturing or preservation.” [Source]

Remix: : “By rebranding itself as a guardian of Indigenous sovereignty, the non-profit industrial complex improves its own public image and achieves a veneer of unassailability while bolstering its primary mission, which is, of course, the ability to protect current power structures. In reality, the oligarchies merciless goal of domination and control is the furthest thing imaginable from nurturing or preservation.”

+++

Revolution doesn’t always come in the form of a gun nor does enslavement always come by way of man. The 21st century version of colonialism has found a new weapon in NGOs.

The last word goes to Assata Shakur: “Nobody in the world, nobody in history, has ever gotten their freedom by appealing to the moral sense of people who oppressing them.”

 

Epilogue

The Army Corps Of Engineers having announced a pause in the development of the Dakota Access Pipeline has prompted 350.org’s Bill McKibben to declare a “a smashing victory” for Indigenous activists, “one that shows what nonviolent unity can accomplish.” This sentence alone, which further romanticizes “nonviolent direct action” (the key talking point of the entire campaign), prompts critical questions deserving of critical analysis.

On the surface, this appears to be a victory for Indigenous sovereignty (albeit if only temporary). However, a rerouting of the final segment of this particular pipeline (87% completed) is not a victory to the Earth in any way, shape or form. The chair of the Standing Rock tribe was clear in his statement that the rerouting of the pipeline was all that was required to make the situation go away (Oct 28, 2016: “Reroute this pipeline, and this will all go away.”) So why did NGOs – that have never shown any meaningful interest in the welfare or land rights of Indigenous peoples nor their sovereignty, worm their way into this particular Indigenous struggle?

Many questions arise. Was this decision made simply to completely disperse the growing crowds that took many months to mobilize, in order to commence construction at a later date with no remaining resistance? Will the application simply be resubmitted in a few weeks time to be approved under the Trump administration?  Will the protest be utilized to stall the pipeline, protecting the interests of Warren Buffett’s BNSF (crude via rail)? A few thing are certain. One: In a global economy close to stall speed, amidst a world swimming in excess oil, there is no urgency for the completion of this pipeline. Two: Warren Buffett’s BNSF profits are already taking a hit. The completion of the Dakota Access (like KXL) would further impact BNSF profits in a slowing economy. Three: Buffett has funneled well over 30 million dollars through his family’s foundation (NoVo) into the Tides Foundation which then disperses the funds amongst selected NGOs carrying out anti-pipeline campaigns.

Regardless, elite powers including the Clinton Global Initiative, Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors, and the Bush Foundation have a new billion dollar model for rolling out the third industrial revolution under the guise of “clean energy”. The tribes are key. A model for the continued pillaging of the planet, under a protective, if not scared, Indigenous veneer. The capitalists have finally found a use for the Indigenous nations. Continued patriarchy and imperialism repackaged as matriarchal self-reliance. Reflect upon the fact that 90 trillion dollars are required to build the “new economy” infrastructure. The fact that this very industrialization (from 1740 to today) has brought us to the precipice of our own extinction is altogether lost. The race for what little remains of our ruthlessly plundered planet accelerates.

We have entered the 21st century where social engineering via behavioural change expertise has become paramount in shaping whole societies to the desires of global hegemony. Corporate warfare is being waged via the most gentle form of soft power. The non-profit industrial complex is the clearinghouse for the distribution of these soft power mechanisms. The Standing Rock protests have undoubtedly served as an experiment in the study of manipulation, conformity, obedience,  assimilation and neocolonialism. Consider the organizing surrounding the Standing Rock protest has been referred to as “a template” for the future by 350.org executive director May Boeve.

This is not to suggest that this campaign was engineered (or co-opted) from inception exclusively for experimental/observational purposes (although this too is possible).  Rather, it is more probable, that once underway it was recognized as a prime opportunity for the NGOs (extensions of elite power) that comprise the non-profit industrial complex, to apply, test and observe methods of manipulation and exploitation following their initial engagement. Although this hypothesis may sound implausible to some, the fact that the NPIC has begun its foray into training programs across the globe, makes such speculation both sound and rational.

Can citizens of other cultures, in other countries, many/most of non-Anglo descent, be coerced to disregard and ultimately disband their own traditions, customs, beliefs, by their own will, in exchange for American ideologies? To achieve this, without force, surely is a most effective method. What better way to observe the successes and failures of such a mission than Standing Rock. A separate and distinct culture, right here on (stolen) American soil.

Akin to the global contagion of both Christianity and Catholicism, can a global belief in “the new economy” as constructed and desired by elite powers also be pounded into the masses? Can the masses be conditioned to live and breathe this ideology like are we breathe – without notice? Can a pathology of pacifism be reconstructed as sacrosanct – where non-obedience to the pacifist dogma would be paramount to the seven deadly sins?

This is sought occupation, not physical, but of hearts and minds. Which will undoubtedly prove far more powerful than physical occupation of lands and citizens via force. Obedience and subservience are in fact the pathway to the “new economy”.  This series has attempted to give readers a glimpse into how this is to be achieved and for what purpose. 

 

 

 

 

Cory Morningstar is an independent investigative journalist, writer and environmental activist, focusing on global ecological collapse and political analysis of the non-profit industrial complex. She resides in Canada. Her recent writings can be found on Wrong Kind of Green, The Art of Annihilation, and Counterpunch. Her writing has also been published by Bolivia Rising and Cambio, the official newspaper of the Plurinational State of Bolivia. You can follow her on twitter @elleprovocateur]

[Forrest Palmer is an electrical engineer residing in Texas.  He is a part-time blogger and writer and can be found on Facebook. You may reach him at forrest_palmer@yahoo.com.]

 

Standing Rock: Profusion, Collusion & Big Money Profits [Part 1]

Standing Rock: Profusion, Collusion & Big Money Profits [Part 2]

Standing Rock: Profusion, Collusion & Big Money Profits [Part 3]

Standing Rock: Profusion, Collusion & Big Money Profits [Part 4]

Standing Rock: Profusion, Collusion & Big Money Profits [Part 5]

The Beautiful People

Medium

December 12, 2016

by Jay Taber

 

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Naomi Klein. Photo: Tim Bauer | Klein recently flew to Australia to accept the 2016 Sydney Peace Prize for “exposing the structural causes and responsibility for the climate crisis.” … “Sponsored by the Sydney Peace Foundation and Greenpeace, the event was meant to be a happy one, a mini Woodstock for local progressives, a chance to celebrate hard-won victories and explore future strategies.” [Source]

Like his compatriot Naomi Klein, Tom Goldtooth was once a principled and articulate spokesman in opposition to Wall Street, until he was seduced by the dark money flowing from the oil industry into the non-profit industrial complex. Now, like Klein, he is a caricature of his former self, hobnobbing with the elite of the NGO champagne circuit. Reduced in his role to the status of token indigenous front for the pseudo left?—?living out their psychodrama as Wall Street dependents in the toy revolution entertainment sector?—?Goldtooth has become co-opted, or as Chief George Manuel described the phenomenon?—?assimilated.

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“The Club’s top award, the John Muir Award, was presented to Tom Goldtooth of Bemidji, Minnesota. That’s Goldtooth above, second from left, flanked by Sierra Club Environmental Justice Program Director Leslie Fields, Sierra Club President Aaron Mair, and Sierra Club Executive Director Michael Brune.” [Source: Sierra Club]

Always present in media events where Fourth World nations are fighting Wall Street, Goldtooth and Klein bolster the credibility of Wall Street-funded con artists like Bill McKibben, thus leading social media followers astray. Although Goldtooth is a charming speaker, he only speaks half-truths, otherwise known as whole lies. Having accepted more than half a million dollars over the years from the Tides Foundation oil industry money laundry, his organization Indigenous Environmental Network?—?like its partner 350?—?promotes consumerism as activism. This, in turn, inhibits recruitment by authentic and more effective grassroots organizations.

Instead of taking on the formidable tasks of stopping fracking of the Bakken Shale formation in North Dakota, or ending the laying waste to the Athabaskan watershed at the Alberta Tar Sands, ‘the beautiful people’ merely travel from one photo-op to the next?—?between pit-stops where they replenish their coffers with ill-gotten gains from the financial elite. Vanity arrests and airtime on ‘toy Che’ media like Democracy Now! help to maintain their celebrity status; as Cory Morningstar and Forrest Palmer observe, “There is no better way to launder corporate multinational largesse than giving it to the movement that is protecting it.”

Standing Rock: Profusion, Collusion & Big Money Profits [Part 4]

Wrong Kind of Green

December 11, 2016

Part four of an investigative report by Cory Morningstar with Forrest Palmer

Standing Rock Investigative Report Series [Further Reading]:  Part 1Part 2Part 3Part 4Part 5Part 6Addendum

 

 In Part 4, Cory Morningstar and Forest Palmer demystify the funding and soft power behind this seemingly organic “grassroots” movement. The veil is lifted as to the price and profits behind the actions and the movement. They examine in detail how this work has been funded for decades and how the “big green” NGOs and non-violent trainers utilize the power of the people and the “youth-led” paradigm and photo ops to win our hearts… and our donations.

 

Rainforest Action Network

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Ruckus was born out of Rainforest Action Network, Greenpeace, and Earth First! Co-founders, staff and affiliates (Mike Roselle and recently deceased Howard Cannon/”Twilly” ). Here it should be noted that when Greenpeace originated (founded in 1971), it was legitimately radical in nature bearing no resemblance to the corporate appendage we see today. Rainforest Action Network came later, founded in 1985. Ruckus was founded in 1995 (see following excerpt).

The following excerpt is from the 2009 essay Saving Trees and Capitalism Too which deconstructs Rainforest Action Network’s role (inclusive of Ruckus) in both conserving and rebranding capitalism:

“Capitalism is yet again undergoing a miraculous rebranding, and the robber barons of old are now the saviours of the planet, now being widely touted as the Eco Barons. By reviewing the activities of leading tree protectors, the Rainforest Action Network, this essay will demonstrate how the activism promoted by eco barons though such groups ultimately works to conserve capitalism and create the powerful illusion of progressive social change….

 

Here it is important to recall that the Ruckus Society (which was cofounded by RAN’s Mike Roselle) ‘provided the first physical forum for the Direct Action Network which coordinated the [Battle of Seattle] demonstrations, and itself trained many of the participants.’ Moreover as John Sellers, the former Greenpeace activist and former head of the Ruckus Society points out: ‘When we first started, it was almost entirely folks from Greenpeace or Rainforest Action Network, with a few EarthFirsters.’ (Greenpeace having disbanded its direct-action office in 1991.) According to Sellers, after Ruckus was founded in 1995, the former CNN boss cum eco baron, Ted Turner, ‘carried Ruckus on his back’ for their first few years. Thus Sellers who is well-known for saying: ‘F–k that s–t! You’re corporate sellouts!’ to journalists ‘just to gauge their reaction,’ evidently does not see how ironic his litmus test of corporate cooption really is. Likewise greenwash guru, Kenny Bruno, who currently acts as the media and strategic campaigning trainer for the Ruckus Society, appears to see no contradiction in working for an organization whose former long serving trustee is corporate greenwasher extraordinaire, the late Anita Roddick….”

The author summarizes that “the Rainforest Action Network and its related cohorts have been highly profitable investments for the world’s leading capitalists.”

“Shan calls it a ‘holistic’ approach; Sellers reckons that the goal is ‘to feed the entire activist spirit and mind.’ Call it what you will, it ain’t cheap. Shan estimates the total bill for action camp at between $40,000 and $50,000, and Sellers puts Ruckus’ annual operating budget up around $800,000. (Participants are asked for a $75 donation to attend.) Which explains why Sellers disappears for a couple days mid-week, long enough to pay a visit to Ben Cohen, of Ben & Jerry’s fame, one of Ruckus’ several wealthy backers. Other Ruckus supporters have included Body Shop founder Anita Roddick, Doors drummer John Densmore and Hollywood’s go-to progressives, Tim Robbins and Susan Sarandon. Ted Turner’s foundation gave until last year, when the multi-bazillionaire began to take issue with some of Ruckus’ targets. ‘As it turns out, Ted is a pretty big free trade fan,’ says Sellers with a smile.” — Camp Ruckus, April 30, 2001

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RAN on Flickr

From the RAN website: “How to Support Standing Rock: A Personal FAQ” (November 2, 2016) :

Q: Are there petitions I can sign? Which ones would be most effective? 

A: Here are a few suggestions, from Stand with Standing Rock’s website , MoveOn, and Change.org. These have already gained significant traction and would be boosted by the support of you and your community.

Q: Are there actions in my area that I can join? 

A: Yes! There are actions happening all over the country to challenge the banks trying to profit off this terrible project. You can get good information here and here. You can also connect with local organizations in your area, as well as national organizations like RAN350.orgRising Tide, and others.

Rather than encouraging people to read about the sovereignty issues regarding Standing Rock Sioux Tribe and Indigenous nations, the history of colonization, land theft, genocide, etc. RAN subtly reabsorbs those interested back into the jaws of the NPIC.

Note that Change.org. is a for-profit NGO Avaaz co-founder Paul Hilder is Vice President of Global Campaigns for Change.org, a for-profit social venture started in 2006 by Stanford University graduates Ben Rattray and Mark Dimas. Ben Wikler (Avaaz Chief Operating Officer) is Executive Vice President of Change.org.

From the Rainforest Action Network 2015 Annual Report:

“Indigenous People’s Power Project (IP3) $2,500 to support IP3’s Training for Indigenous Trainers bringing together Indigenous activists and organizers from the frontlines of challenging fossil fuel extraction and combating the climate crisis to support and build their capacity to carry out self-determined acts of resistance for their lands and communities.”

For a mere pittance (community grants are rarely more than 5,000.00 while annual budgets of NGOs such as RAN are in the millions), the establishment has its finger on the pulse of most everything happening at the grassroots level. In reality, no campaign tied to the NPIC is challenging fossil fuel extraction, only fossil fuel transportation. And to be even more specific, only 2 pipelines that would negatively impact BNSF profits.

Meanwhile, in the real world that is far away from social media wishful thinking, there is no way to “combat” the climate crisis – which must be now understood as a predicament (for in fact, it cannot be combated nor solved, only mitigated, which is not happening regardless).

The Ruckus Society

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The Ruckus Society’s leading partners and allies include but are not limited to: 350.org, Indigenous People’s Power Project (a project of RAN/Ruckus), Indigenous Environmental Network,  U.S. Social Forum, Forest Ethics, Rising Tide North America, Black Lives Matter, PatagoniaGreenpeace, Rainforest Action NetworkEnergy Action Coalition, GIFT – Grassroots Institute for Fundraising Training and many others. [Full list of allies and partners] Recently Ruckus co-launched the Combahee Alliance convening a 2-year direct action training series that began in 2016 “for People of Color committed to the movement for Black Lives.” [Source] Tzeporah Berman (discussed earlier in this report) is identified as a former Ruckus Board member.

Ruckus Society funders include but are not limited to Open Society Foundations (Soros) (100,000.00 in both 2008 and 2010), Patagonia, the Ben & Jerry’s Foundation, the Tides Foundation, Rainforest Action Network, the Turner Foundation, Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors , the Compton Foundation, the Foundation for Deep Ecology, the Liberty Hill Foundation, the Threshold Foundation, the Agape Foundation, the Mailman Charitable Trust and the Lambent Foundation. (The extensive list commenced in 1995).

The Ruckus Society booklet “Action Strategy, a how-to guide” has incorporated the work of Gene Sharp, who is also  credited in the acknowledgments: “Writers, compilers and editors: Jessica Bell, Joshua Kahn Russell, Megan Swoboda, Sharon Lungo, the Ruckus Society, Training for Change, Beyond the Choir, Smart Meme, Gene Sharp, and many others. Design by Cam Fenton.” The “Action Strategy, a how-to guide” was developed by Beyond the Choir and adapted by Ruckus contributors.

Here is it is important to note that the core values and principles of Ruckus trainings have been vetted/written by Euro-Americans tied to the NPIC and even those serving the US State Department, that of Gene Sharp. Sharp’s work and his NGO, the Albert Einstein Institute, has played in an integral role in “coloured revolutions” sought and financed by USAID.

The work of Sharp served as the framework for Canvas (formerly known as Otpor), the “go-to” NGO called upon by imperial states for regime change under the guise of “coloured revolutions”. It is significant to note that 350.org has organized lectures for the Otpor founders during Occupy Wall Street. In December of 2013, “the Pathways to Peace series” would bring the Executive Director of the Albert Einstein Institution and assistant to Dr. Gene Sharp, to Salt Lake City for a series of talks as part of the “Pathways to Peace series”. [“The Pathways to Peace series is sponsored By: Gandhi Alliance for Peace, Peaceful Uprising, Salt Lake City Public Library, SLCC School of Humanities and Social Sciences, UVU Peace and Justice Studies, Utahns for a Just Peace in the Holy Land, Wasatch Coalition for Peace and Justice, Westminster College; U of U Middle East Center, J. Willard Marriott Library, Religious Studies Program.”][ Source]

The aforementioned Joshua Kahn Russell is the Global Trainings Manager for 350.org (his former title with 350.org was US Actions Coordinator), while also being an action coordinator, facilitator and trainer with the Ruckus Society, and a co-editor of Organizing Cools the Planet. In addition, Russell was previously an organizer for Tar Sands Action (now 350.org).

The irony is that few, if any of these trainers/citizens have any authority on, nor any real-life experience in life or death struggles. Instead, these are young adults that have been conditioned to obey and submit to authority since birth. If the world was based on decisions grounded in common sense, it would be Indigenous Nations such as the Mohawks, a shining example of a warrior culture, educating and training white youth. The paradox is as follows: The structure of colonialism is meant to exhaust, debilitate, dominate and exterminate the colonized subjects. The vast majority of the trainers provided by Greenpeace, Rainforest Action Network, Ruckus, Beautiful Trouble all benefit from the systems of oppression at any given moment. It’s a situational structural relationship. Not a choice. [Further reading into understanding systems of oppression: indigenousaction.org]

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Guerrilleras of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia – People’s Army (FARC-EP )[ Celebrate the 100th International Women’s Day! Source]

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Mohawk warriors man a barricade on the highway. “First Nations of Canada reached a flash point around the Kanesatake Mohawk reservation 30 miles west of Montreal.” Image: Christopher J. Morris/CORBIS/Corbis via Getty Images. [Source: July 11-Sept. 26, 1990, The Oka Crisis: The Mohawk protest that became an armed seige]

In 2006, Ruckus teamed up with Credo Working Assets for an “Election Protection” project. “We have partnered with Working Assets Mobile Response Team so they can text you on election day…”  [Working Assets was founded in 1985 to give people an easy way to make a difference in the world just by doing things they do every day. Each time our members use one of our services—mobile, long distance or credit card—we automatically send a donation to progressive nonprofit groups. To date we’ve raised over $80 million for groups like Planned Parenthood, Rainforest Action Network and Oxfam America. But we’re not just raising donations for progressive causes, we’re making change. Our CREDO Action website plugs you into a network of like-minded citizen activists and provides easy and effective ways to take action on the issues you care about.][Source]

As with MoveOn (co-founder of Avaaz) which was created to essentially function as a front-group for the US democratic Party, 350, Credo, Ruckus, Agit-Pop/Other98, and most, if not all of the most influential US NGOs, are closely aligned with the Democratic Party. Most of these organizations serve as an interlocking functioning apparatus that successfully and collectively conditions citizens to believe in the electoral system designed to fail the vast majority in servitude to the elite minority. A full-blown corporatocracy that cannot be reformed.

The Ruckus Society Elitism

The power of conformity creates a powerful shield that protects whatever exists at that moment as the most widely held belief.

One of the key tools that elite power (the very power that funnels funds to NGO via foundations) employs is the invitation for blossoming activists to partake in and intermingle with the very elites circles that benefit enormously from the current economic system. In a very strategic sense, this is the art of seduction. This is an exercise in exploiting human vulnerabilities. Vulnerabilities that sow loyalties which are nurtured through acts of generosity, the exploitation of ego, the desire to belong and a rare passage to the upper echelon of elite society – the envy of many. One is allowed a taste, a glimpse, a touch, the exceptional and exclusive privilege to coalesce with “the beautiful people”. Any desires for the dismantling of the suicidal system slowly dissipate. Slowly replaced with even stronger desires to be accepted and called upon to move freely within ascension to the highest levels of Euro-American status. The very power structures an emerging activist was perhaps once bent on destroying must now only be gently shaken with a velvet glove. To be celebrated afterward with press, social media, and cocktails.

An example of this dynamic is Ruckus ally and Code Pink Founder Medea Benjamin mingling amongst millionaires such as Heather Podesta  at LaMagna’s co-founder Backbone Campaign book launch (2010) [Source]. (LaMagna is the  co-founder of the Backbone Campaign which is the fiscal sponsor of Beautiful Trouble, discussed earlier in this series).

The higher the social metrics – the more successful the action, having absolutely nothing to do with the whether the stated goal (such as the protection of ecology, or the destruction of corporate power), was actually achieved.

“So when I agreed to be on the Host committee of The Ruckus Society’s ten year anniversary dinner and dancing extravaganza I did not hesitate because I knew the back story to the dinner… And last night I was there, as a host, to not only just the Ruckus ten year and celebration of the history but also a warm welcoming of the future and now. Sellers ceremoniously handed over the reigns to Ms. Brown in style and with a sleek fashion rarely enjoyed by a collection of tree huggers, alternative media miners, big hearted donor donors, fresh faced volunteers, and the echoing crash of the ocean just yards away. It was an exemplary display of leadership because not only was the white man stepping down handing the mic, and the power, over to a black woman, but also because it was a marriage of movements and generations… and we there… just part of the crowd… witnessed healing and the beginning of a brand new day. Cheers to the Change-Makers!” — Ruckus Society Turns to Adrienne Marie Brown at ten years! June 9, 2006

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“Long-time RAN Friends Harold Linde, John Quigley, Celia Alario, And John Sellers . Credit: Rainforest Action Network, Flickr

Caption:

“On Friday, May 11, 2007 Lawrence Bender, co-producer of An Inconvenient Truth, hosted a powerful and inspirational evening to benefit Rainforest Action Network at his Bel Air, CA home. The evening included organic, savory nibbles and sweet treats, earth-friendly wines, juices and innovative cocktails by VeeV, an eco gift bag, and the chance to hear firsthand about RAN’s strategies to protect our climate and the planet’s most unique ecosystems. Renowned author/journalist Mark Hertsgaard, regular contributor to Vanity Fair, Time and The Nation magazines, was a featured guest speaker.

The fabulous party was hosted by Lawrence Bender, Daryl Hannah, John Densmore, Ed Begley, Jr., Vanessa Williams, Q’Orianka Kilcher, Stuart Townsend, Ed & Cindy Asner, Fran Pavley, Sharon Lawrence, Cole Frates, Chris Paine, Jodie Evans & Max Palevsky, John Schreiber, Julie Bergman Sender & Stuart Sender, Matt Petersen, Lora O’Connor, Marianne Manilov, Laurie & Bill Benenson, Suzanne Biegel, Sara Nichols, Courtney & Carter Reum, John Quigley, Chelsea Sexton, Sarah Ingersoll, Jeff Reichert, Linda Nicholes & Howard Stein, Laurie Kaufman, Atossa Soltani & Thomas Cavanagh, Tamar Hurwitz, Celia Alario and many others. “

At this juncture, it is appropriate to dissect the complexities of scenes such as this by referencing the 2014 paper Accomplices not Allies : Abolishing The Ally Industrial Complex: “The ally industrial complex has been established by activists whose careers depend on the “issues” they work to address. These nonprofit capitalists advance their careers off the struggles they ostensibly support. They often work in the guise of “grassroots” or “community-based” and are not necessarily tied to any organization. They build organizational or individual capacity and power, establishing themselves comfortably among the top ranks in their hierarchy of oppression as they strive to become the ally “champions” of the most oppressed. While the exploitation of solidarity and support is nothing new, the commodification and exploitation of allyship is a growing trend in the activism industry.”

Indigenous People’s Power Project (IP3)

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IP3 was formally formed in 2004 as a project of the Ruckus Society. The IP3 is a non-violent direct action training and support network.

“Since our first action camp in 2005, IP3 has skilled up over 150 Indigenous direct action leaders with the ability to engage in, train and coordinate non-violent direct action. We’ve hosted 3 direct action training camps and over 50 community action trainings throughout North America, as well as coordinated and supported actions here and around the world.” – June 4, 2015, The Ruckus Society

The Indigenous People’s Power Project (IP3) website is essentially an incubated NGO of Ruckus/Rainforest Action Network. From the Rainforest Network Website:

“IP3’s Training for indigenous Trainers were able to bring Indigenous activists and organizers together from the frontlines of challenging fossil fuel extraction and combating the climate crisis to support and build their capacity to carry out self-determined acts of resistance for their lands and communities.”

From the Indigenous People’s Power Project (IP3) website:

“The Indigenous People’s Power Project (IP3) is a nonviolent direct action training and support network advancing Indigenous communities’ ability to exercise their inherent rights to environmental justice, cultural livelihood, and self-determination. Formed in 2004 as a project of the Ruckus Society, IP3 works across Turtle Island with communities that are most vulnerable to threats of ecological devastation and resource exploitation, and most poised to lead solution-oriented action.

 

“Expert and culturally-sensitive trainings are needed now more than ever, as the Governor is using increased bail and increased charges (including felony charges) to scare people away from peaceful protests and their constitutional rights. Intimidation, surveillance, and state repression are escalating, and as Indigenous peoples are most at risk, it is imperative to have Indigenous trainers steering the action.”

 

“While on the ground, the IP3 team became a vital core of the camps, and we are requesting support to continue that work in Standing Rock. IP3 has been working in concert with Greenpeace and Indigenous Environmental Network coordinating camp infrastructure needs, including bringing in solar power, medics, and communications support. IP3 has also been working with the legal team to develop structure and shared principles for legal defense, jail support, and the bail fund. [Source]

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“[Sierra Club president] Aaron Mair with (left to right): unidentified activist; Tom Goldtooth, director of the Indigenous Environmental Network; Bill McKibben, co-founder of 350.org; and Ladonna Bravebull Allard, founder of Camp Sacred Stone.” Credit: Sierra Club

Indigenous Environmental Network (IEN) is the token Indigenous NGO for the far more powerful entities such as 350.org, Greenpeace, Sierra Club, etc. IEN’s assimilation into the non-profit industrial complex serves as a reminder of its once powerful campaign slogan: “Shut down the tar sands.” Today we focus on singular pipelines ( a mere two pipelines in almost seven years) all while Buffett expands and protects his 21st century rail dynasty. Today, IEN serves as the “go to” NGO for Indigenous related photo-ops and pre-approved sound bites that reframe critical sovereignty issues into broader topics that appeal to the liberal middle class demographic, such as climate change. To create a dynamic where Indigenous NGOs are forced to acquiesce to the wishes and demands of white power, Indigenous organizations are thrown bread crumbs by empire (via foundations) while Euro-American NGOs are funded by millions. Hence an average salary for an individual in a position of power within an organization such as 350 or Avaaz is six-figures, while a high-level job within an Indigenous organization is, in many instances, approaching levels of poverty. In this way, empire, via foundations utilizes the NPIC to keep current power structures (white power) intact as well ensuring an uneven playing field, thereby reinforcing the existing systems of oppression.

“A friend of mine who used to work for indigenous land councils as a researcher/mediator against big mining companies says ‘The pattern is always the same. The green groups pick an indigenous group as their spear tip, and the rest can go hang.'” — Activist Michael Swifte, Australia

To avoid accusations of colonization, assimilation or paternalism, NGOs understand that all forms of public work with Indigenous nations/peoples must always be publicly carried out at arm’s length. As an example of this behavior, in the IP3 description it is noted that “as Indigenous peoples are most at risk, it is imperative to have Indigenous trainers steering the action.” But the real question that must be asked is who is training the Indigenous trainers, based on whose concepts and whose ideologies/beliefs, and perhaps even more importantly, who exactly benefits.

“Are you a future IP3 direct action trainer?: Do you identify as Indigenous or of Indigenous Heritage? Are you organizing or engaging in organizing in your community or with your organization? Have you participated in or led non-violent direct actions? Apply to the TNT! Participant Fees: Needs based sliding scale $0 – $1500 – More info? ip3@ruckus.org” [Source]

IP3 is in essence the medium that allows for Rainforest Action Network, Ruckus, et al to oversee, manage and shape Indigenous resistance under the guise of self determination via philanthropic nobility. In reality, self-determination is ultimately dictated by those at the top of the networked hegemony these NGOs are woven into. Further, the fee of $U.S.1,500.00 as cited above is a fee that can only be afforded by very few. This in itself demonstrates the Ruckus Society’s key clients: partner NGOs.

“This week, the Indigenous Peoples’ Power Project (IP3) – The Ruckus Society’s ongoing commitment to supporting the fight of Native communities for Environmental Justice, Human Rights, and Self Determination, will be sending Indigenous direct action trainers to continue to stand in solidarity with the Standing Rock Sioux Nation against the DAPL. Funds are needed.” — Osprey Orielle Lake

With respect to the “funds are needed” request in the above paragraph link to where one can donate to The Ruckus Society for its IP3 project, this is where things once again become interesting. Whereas Boyd’s address for Agit-Pop is the Avaaz Foundation, an associated name that appears when searching the address provided for The Ruckus Society is that of multi-million dollar Patagonia. The address (PO Box 28741, Oakland, CA 94604) no longer appears on the Patagonia website (store locator), however, Patagonia does continue to provide funding to Ruckus.

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Sept 29, 2016 event: “NON VIOLENCE AND DIRECT ACTION TRAINING WORKSHOP” – “There will be a Non Violence and Direct Action Workshop in support of the water protectors at Standing Rock, North Dakota.” [Source]

Ruckus’s John Sellers once said “There is no better way to launder corporate multinational largesse than giving it to the movement that is confronting it.” Today that quote is in dire need of correction. Remix: “There is no better way to launder corporate multinational largesse than giving it to the movement that is protecting it.”

 “The key distinction in this struggle is that it’s being done in the name of tradition but in fact isn’t traditional at all.” — Anthony Choice-Diaz

21st Century Subjugation

subjugation

noun

  1. the act, fact, or process of subjugating, or bringing under control; enslavement: The subjugation of the American Indians happened across the country.

“In the last decade or so, I have seen a distortion of our warrior culture by some Natives that seek to portray warriors as—above all—peaceful and non-violent protagonists. This tendency has increased in the last few years with the infiltration of Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs, with their fetish for nonviolent activities) into Indigenous communities, as well as the Idle No More mobilization of last year, which introduced pacifist ideology on a mass scale to Native grassroots movements in Canada.” — The Myth of the ‘Peaceful’ Warrior, Dec 13, 2013

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Above: “Robert Chanate (Kiowa), with the Indigenous Peoples Power Project (IP3)- Ruckus Society and one of the IEN Action Trainers getting arrested.” This photograph was taken September 11, 2011, (Censored News).

Take a few minutes to look at Chanate’s beautiful yet forlorn face and body language. One must ask oneself– does this man look empowered?  How is a state-sanctioned protest (carried out on a Sunday when no one of “authority” is even working inside) and a state-negotiated arrest considered to be one of the “self-determining acts of resistance” RAN claims in their annual report? How is a state-negotiated arrest by those loyal and in servitude of your oppressor, organized by the non-profit industrial complex founded on white power, also loyal and in servitude to your oppressor, empowering in any way?  Standing on the land (now covered in cement) that has been stolen from your people, land that once carried the footsteps of your ancestors, to be arrested for a theatrical branding exercise that benefits the very groups that protect current power structures, inflicts humiliation, even if only on a subconscious level.

Do those in servitude to the NPIC care? No they do not. This man serves as a photo-op to lend credibility and legitimacy to NGOs that deserve none. This is continued exploitation, clear and simple.

Let’s juxtapose that image with these images:

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Daryl Hannah arrest, KXL Protest, Whitehouse (2013)

Upon an expedited release, Hannah will fly away to a luxurious eco hideaway, McKibben will fly back to his wood-fired hot tub, Klein will fly back to her million-dollar book sales, non-profit CEOs will fly back to 6-figure salaries. All of the aforementioned have, or have had at one time, at minimum, two separate homes. Privileged youth will go back to class at college or university, where they will excitedly upload their photos of themselves from their shiny mobiles to social media. Those with hefty retirement savings will drive back to a beautiful home where they will watch television on their flat screen, hoping to catch a glimpse of themselves on the news. The hipsters will go to a cafe for a latte and afterwards smoke a joint. None of them feel bad. None of them feel guilt. Rather, they are rejuvenated. They see themselves as born-again saviors. No one questions the system when your status has you soaring so far above you can no longer see it.

Those on the frontlines – those marginalized and oppressed – those whose stolen lands we stand upon while basking in our unspoken superiority, they will go back to the reservations where the rightful caretakers of this land live in abject poverty.

The last word in this segment goes to the Red Warrior Society: [Excerpts from the “December 2016 Official Red Warrior Camp Communique“]

    “One of the lessons we have learned that has inspired us is the very real need for a mobile resistance movement that is ready and willing to dismantle the capitalist regime that is destroying our planet. The mobilization of resistance is key to shattering the oppressive illegal military occupation of the so called ‘Amerikkkas’, for too long we have lived with broken treaties, genocide, racism and colonization. In order to best honor our ancestors and the future generations we are living our principles by forming a Warrior Society rooted in combatting the indoctrination of our minds, bodies, and spirits. We do not need Standing Rock to exist, but we did however require it to put us all in the same place at the same time. We realize now that all we need is each other, our Red Warrior family has undertaken the responsibility and role to uphold not only Mother Earth but Indigenous Rights. It is with this duty in mind we must rise up and move on…

 

We cannot stay and fight a battle for land and water that is heavily invested in neo-colonialism. We are so grateful to the grassroots people who have supported us while we have been here. It is not easy to say goodbye, we are deeply tied to this struggle and are not abandoning our post. This fight is not over yet, the pipeline is still being built, Energy Transfer Partners will push this pipe through unless there is a diversity of tactics that include direct action and no court ruling or legal manoeuvring will prevent that from happening alone; and Standing Rock Sioux Tribe is heavily engaged in praying away a pipeline without action, this is in direct opposition to who we are as Warriors.

 

We are in a war to fight the greedy corporate whores who are pimping out our Mother for blood money and we say no more. Enough is enough, for over 500 years we have been brutalized and robbed, we are not victims looking for surcease we are Warriors fighting for our lives and the future. We cannot afford to allow our own corrupt leaders aid and abet this process, too many of our people are working for industry, too many of our people are selling out, we must remember the warrior blood that runs through our veins. We do a great disservice to ourselves and the People when we allow the values of white supremacist society to overshadow the knowledge of what it means to be a true human being.”

 

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LITTLE BIGHORN, 1876. Crazy Horse and Sitting Bull mounted before their warriors at the Little Bighorn, June 25, 1876. Pictograph by Amos Bad Heart Bull, an Oglala Sioux from Pine Ridge Reservation

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A Mohawk Warrior stands atop a makeshift barricade, 1990.” Image: Christopher J. Morris/CORBIS/Corbis via Getty Images [Source]

 

Next: Part 5

 

Standing Rock: Profusion, Collusion & Big Money Profits [Part 1]

Standing Rock: Profusion, Collusion & Big Money Profits [Part 2]

Standing Rock: Profusion, Collusion & Big Money Profits [Part 3]

Standing Rock: Profusion, Collusion & Big Money Profits [Part 1]

Wrong Kind of Green

December 5, 2016

Part one of an investigative report by Cory Morningstar with Forrest Palmer

Standing Rock Investigative Report Series [Further Reading]:  Part 1Part 2Part 3Part 4Part 5Part 6Addendum

 

While the world celebrates from the pause the Army Corps Of Engineers has forced in the development of the Dakota Access Pipeline, Cory Morningstar and Forrest Palmer string together an important and critical history of the environmental and climate change movement. The funders of this nonviolent, peaceful, prayerful resistance are the exact individuals who profit from an oil-railroad-transport industry that can only survive when pipeline projects are defeated. Solar power projects and “coal-free” investment portfolios rise in value as indigenous youth are arrested and maced. The recent history is a pattern minimally documented via alternative news and with relatively little critical oversight. This is part one of an investigative series to be published over the next few days. 

 

All Eyes Off the Sacagawea Pipeline

In the article “All Eyes On Dakota Access – All Eyes Off Bakken Genocide” published September 13, 2016 by Wrong Kind of Green, a pipeline was highlighted that the non-profit industrial complex (NPIC) has absolutely no interest in discussing: The *Sacagawea Pipeline (*Hidatsa, North Dakota spelling) which will carry Bakken crude under Lake Sakakawea – the source of drinking water for several western North Dakota cities.

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Lake Sakakawea: Credit: North Dakota Tourism Departmentlake-s

Above: Lake Sakakawea

Consider the August 5, 2016 article, “Former Worker Says Lake at Risk of Oil Leak, Pipeline Contractor Defends Workmanship”:

“A former crew member on an oil pipeline under construction in North Dakota claims that pipe installed under Lake Sakakawea was not properly inspected and he fears the lake could be at risk… Pipeline contractor Kenny Crase writes in a sworn statement filed with the PSC and federal regulators that he was ordered to skip a final coating inspection on a section of the Sacagawea Pipeline before another contractor installed the pipe under Lake Sakakawea in July. External coating protects the steel pipe from corrosion. To me, it’s an accident waiting to happen.” — Pipeline contractor and whistleblower, Kenny Crase

Crase, a pipeline contractor with 34 years of experience (including five years as a pipeline inspector) was fired by contractor Boyd & Co. for exposing the “defects in the pipe coating that could cause oil to spill in the reservoir”.  It is worth repeating that this reservoir serves as the source of drinking water for several western North Dakota cities.

According to Crase, “the coating crew was not allowed to complete their work. In addition, the crew was told to stay in their trucks and not allowed to do a final inspection of the coating as another contractor installed the pipe under the lake.”

“I cringed when they hooked to it and pulled it because we never made a single run through there when we didn’t find holidays, which is bare metal. If I was a betting man, I’d bet there’s bare metal spots.”— Kenny Crase

 

“It’s frightening to think that pipe could have been pulled under Lake Sakakawea without being properly inspected.” — Kevin Pranis, spokesman for the Laborers Union

So, why was there no interest by Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) in a pipeline that even evoked fear in the Labourers Union? We summarized as follows: “What is absolute is that it is those who own the media (not coincidentally, the same elites that own the Non-Profit Industrial Complex) that decide on who and what the media spotlight will shine upon. Native land defenders are essentially ignored, unless it furthers elite interests.

But it’s actually much simpler than that. The NGOs that comprise the Non-Profit Industrial Complex (NPIC) have no interest in this pipeline – or the water source they proclaim to care so deeply about – not simply because the tribes (Grey Wolf Midstream) have a financial stake in the project (a mere 12%). Rather, it is because the Sakakawea serves Warren Buffett’s interests via the expansion of rail infrastructure and terminals.

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Sierra Club banner presented to Standing Rock

To be clear, NGOs that comprise the NPIC do not care about native sovereignty issues, as demonstrated by Sierra Club representing Standing Sioux Rock Nation as legal Counsel (via Earth Justice). Native tribal law is a very sensitive and specialized area, usually comprised/represented of native attorneys or tribal law experts for this very reason.

Most recently (November 15, 2016) seven environmental groups including the Sierra Club and National Resources Defense Council settled with BNSF (Warren Buffet’s railroad line) for coal train violations: “BNSF does not admit to any violations of the Clean Water Act, but has agreed to pay one million for environmental projects in Washington state.”  [“The $1 million that BNSF will pay is a small fraction of the penalties it might have incurred if found in violation of the Clean Water Act, which Wallace said could have been in the trillions. ] The article notes that “whereas violation fees would have gone to the U.S. Treasury, these payments will be spent locally.” Whose bank account the one million dollar funds are deposited into and to which environmental projects they are distributed AND at whose discretion the one million dollars is spent is not disclosed. Yet it is safe to assume it is at the discretion of the seven NGOs who brought the suit forward. The seven NGOs agreed not to bring any similar litigation against BNSF for 5 years.

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Tuesday, Sept. 6, 2016: Jan Hasselman, left, representing Standing Rock Sioux Tribe, and Phillip Ellis, right, press secretary for EarthJustice, walk together before speaking to members of the media outside U.S. District Court in Washington, DC. Members of the tribe had petitioned a federal judge to temporarily stop work on parts of the Dakota Access Pipeline to prevent the destruction of sacred and culturally significant sites near Lake Oahe. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais) [Source]

In what is essentially a rinse, lather, repeat performance of Stop the Keystone XL – again, all eyes are now on #NODAPL. At the same time, Buffett is expanding the rail infrastructure for more Bakken crude to move across North America with absolutely zero dissent. More crude means the ongoing genocide of Indigenous people and nations in the Bakken will only accelerate.

The difference in the two campaigns (NOKXL vs. NODAPL) is the presence of Indigenous leadership in the latter, which continues to be undermined by NGOs within the Non-Profit Industrial Complex. However, as the indigenous are out front in regards to this movement, any critical analysis, such as this one, makes one subject to being framed as “anti-Indian” or “anti-solidarity” when that is not the case. The presence of Indigenous leadership, that is always strategically kept at arm’s length within the NGO hierarchy, makes this movement almost bullet-proof from any/all investigation or critical analysis.

With that being said, should we be surprised that the resistance to this pipeline by an Indigenous nation was brought to the mainstream by Bold Nebraska – an organization created with start-up money connected to Buffett money? The media’s compliance is creating the snow-ball effect that we witness today and demonstrates a carefully orchestrated strategy. [Further reading on Jane Kleeb’s Bold Nebraska: All Eyes On Dakota Access – All Eyes Off Bakken Genocide, Subsection, Hero Worship in Death Cult]

Seed money for Kleeb’s organization was provided by the late Richard Holland…. Holland, ‘the Nebraska advertising executive who helped link up one of the great partnerships in business history, the one between Berkshire Hathaway Inc. Chairman Warren Buffett and his deputy, Charles Munger.'” All Eyes On Dakota Access – All Eyes Off Bakken Genocide

August 12, 2016, from the article Big Dakota pipeline to upend oil delivery in U.S.:

“BNSF Railway declined to discuss future freight movements, but said that at its peak, it transported as many as 12 trains daily filled with crude, primarily from the Bakken. Today, it is moving less than half of that….

 

It may seem odd that the opening of one pipeline crossing through four U.S. Midwest states could upend the rail-based movement of oil throughout the country, but the Dakota Access line may do just that.

 

Currently, crude oil moving out of North Dakota’s prolific Bakken shale to ‘refinery row’ in the U.S. Gulf must travel a circuitous route through the Rocky Mountains or the Midwest and into Oklahoma, before heading south to the Gulf of Mexico.

 

The 450,000 barrel-per-day Dakota Access line, when it opens in the fourth quarter, will change that by providing U.S. Gulf refiners another option for crude supply.

 

Gulf Coast refiners and North Dakota oil producers will reap the benefits. Losers will include the struggling oil-by-rail industry which now brings crude to the coasts.

 

Moving crude by pipeline is generally cheaper than using railcars. The flagging U.S. crude-by-rail industry already is moving only half as much oil as it did two years ago: volumes peaked at 944,000 bpd in October 2014, but were around just 400,000 bpd in May, according to the U.S. Energy Department.

 

Ponderosa Advisors estimated that the start-up of the pipeline could reroute an additional 150,000 to 200,000 bpd currently carried by rail to the U.S. East Coast and Gulf Coast…

bnsf-profits

May 6, 2016, Bloomberg: “More recently, BNSF has been cutting staff after low oil prices and a nationwide shift away from coal have depressed demand for shipping.” [Source]

Due to “a global economy near stall speed” (Larry Summers, October 7, 2015) there is a massive surplus of oil that has resulted in a more than 50% decline in crude shipments via rail. This decrease in rail revenue would be compounded by the loss of an additional 150,000 to 200,000 barrels per day (bpd) currently carried by rail that would be lost to the Dakota pipeline once in operation. This is not a scenario Buffett nor his BNSF shareholders would likely be happy with since the 750 rail cars currently used to transport this oil would disappear into thin air. This would reflect negatively on the BNSF balance sheet and, most importantly, the stock price.  [Source]

February 4, 2016, the article “U.S. Crude By Rail Industry Slows Down After Six Years of Rapid Growth,” declares that “the loading of crude oil at more than a dozen North Dakota rail terminals now faces a financial squeeze.”

And confirming more of the same:

The delay of the Dakota Access pipeline could help stabilize crude-via-rail:

“Erika Coombs, energy analyst for BTU Analytics in Lakewood, Colo., said the Sandpiper delay and potential delay in another proposed Bakken pipeline though Iowa could help stabilize the crude-by-rail industry. ‘If both pipelines are delayed or don’t get built, those are volumes that need to continue to move by rail,’ Coombs said.”

But it’s more than that since the intricate nature of the fossil fuel industry and bringing foul, dirty energy to market can make one pipeline a foe and another one a friend. Hence, whereas the delay of the Dakota Access serves the interests of BNSF via feigning off unwanted competition in harsh economic conditions, the expedient completion of the Sacagawea Pipeline (under Lake Sakakawea) serves BNSF’s interests. This is why NGOs are not highlighting or assisting Indigenous resistance to it, even when they have ample evidence (provided by the aforementioned courageous whistleblower Kenny Crase and the Labourers union) to hinder the project which could never be more in their favor and gain the support of public opinion due to the current political climate at the grassroots level. The Sacagawea Pipeline pipeline is an immense benefit to BNSF.

buffet-photo

Gloat Like Rockefeller When Watching Trains: Keystone XL: The Art of NGO Discourse | Part I

“On September 16, 2016 Federal Judge Daniel Hovland has struck down a restraining order from the Three Affiliated Tribes and Chairman Mark Fox against Paradigm Energy Partners, LLC drilling two pipelines, one for natural gas and the other for oil, underneath Lake Sakakawea, allowing the project to continue. Paradigm Energy Partners is building the pipeline for Sacagawea Pipeline Company, a joint venture owned 50 percent by Phillips 66 Partners. Fox and the Three Affiliated Tribes filed for the restraining order against Paradigm Energy Partners, LLC, on August 19 for their construction of the Sacagawea Pipeline.” [Source]

Two years earlier…on November 21, 2014, from the article Phillips 66 Partners Teams Up to Move Bakken Crude:

The Sacagawea pipeline will connect to a 710-acre rail terminal in Palermo, which is expected to provide access to the East and West coasts through the BNSF railway. Designs call for the Palermo Rail Terminal to have an initial capacity of 100,000 barrels per day, with the flexibility to expand to 200,000 barrels per day. The two companies will share construction costs and Phillips 66 will own and operate the terminal.”

The Sacagawea Pipeline Company is developing the Sacagawea pipeline to deliver crude from points in McKenzie and Dunn Counties south of the river to points north of Lake Sacagawea. “Sacagawea Pipeline Company is a joint venture between Paradigm Energy Partners, *Phillips 66 Partners, and Grey Wolf Midstream. Grey Wolf Midstream is an affiliate of Missouri River Resources, a Three Affiliated Tribes chartered energy company in North Dakota.” The Three Affiliated Tribes are the Mandan, Hidatsa, and Sahnish (Arikara) (MHA). [*Buffett’s firm Berkshire Hathaway now owns 14% of Phillips 66 shares, making it Berkshire’s sixth largest holding. Source: Warren Buffett’s $1 billion bet on oil, February 5, 2016][“Joint partner” Grey Wolf Midstream owns a mere 12%.]

“In statements and in meetings with surface transportation authorities, railroads such as Warren Buffett’s BNSF Railway Co. have denied putting crude oil on the fast track over grains… BNSF is on track to invest a record $6 billion in its domestic track network this year to help relieve the stress, and other railroads have followed suit with their own multibillion-dollar pledges.” — Farm group sees oil pipelines easing everyone’s rail congestion, July 27, 2015

 

“Paradigm’s Bakken efforts are focused on creating integrated crude gathering, storage, transportation and rail solutions that provide producers with economic outbound optionality and premium multi-market access.” — Paradigm Energy Partners website

March 9, 2016, from the article Paradigm Midstream Services to build new crude gathering system:

“‘Our game plan is to connect to all the downstream markets and help facilitate more competition for the producers…It’s furthering our strategy of adding more gathering assets to our larger system, which adds a lot of storage and transportation to a lot of the different markets within the Bakken.’

 

Under the agreement—secured through an acreage dedication—the 23-mile-long gathering system will deliver approximately 17,000 acres of production from the Ross Field in northern Mountrail County to Paradigm Energy’s joint venture rail terminal in Palermo, North Dakota.

 

From Palermo, producers will have access to East and West Coast markets via the BNSF Railway, as well as downstream markets near Stanley where Paradigm Energy has other pipeline connections…

 

In January, the North Dakota Public Service Commission approved a siting permit for a $125 million pipeline to be built by Sacagawea Pipeline Co. that will carry Bakken crude under Lake Sakakawea. The Sacagawea Pipeline Project is a new 70-mile long, 16-inch diameter pipeline and associated facilities in McKenzie and Mountrail counties.”

dapl-lake-s-paradigm

Image: Paradigm North Dakota System: The 710 acre Palermo Rail Terminal will serve the BNSF line and has initial plans to include 100 MBbl/d loading capacity and 300 MBbl of operational storage. Rail Facility Detail:710 Acre footprint with 2.5 miles of rail frontage, initial design for up to 100 MBbl/d, six truck off loading lanes with room for expansion 14 high-speed loading arms, capable of loading a full train in 13 hours (expandable to 28 arms on second loop), and three loop track design allows for expansion to 2+ unit trains per day. Provides adequate staging off BNSF Main Line. 2 x 103 MBbl tanks, with two additional tanks planned. [Source]

The Sacagawea Pipeline and Palermo Rail Terminal are designed to enhance logistical options for crude oil transportation in the Bakken region. Phillips 66 Partners and Paradigm will each own a 50 percent interest in the Sacagawea Pipeline. The Palermo Rail Terminal is owned 70 percent by Phillips 66 Partners, with Paradigm owning the remaining 30 percent interest.

[At this point, it’s important to keep in mind that aside from Buffett’s Berkshire owning BNSF, Phillips 66 is Berkshire’s sixth largest holding.][Further reading: Keystone XL: The Art of NGO Discourse | Part I, April 12, 2013]

In summary:

“The Sacagawea Pipeline will own an 88 percent interest in Sacagawea Pipeline Company, LLC, the owner of the Sacagawea Pipeline with the remaining 12 percent interest owned by Grey Wolf Midstream, LLC. Additionally, the Sacagawea Pipeline will construct and own a crude oil storage terminal and central delivery point for various crude gathering systems located in Keene, North Dakota (the “Keene CDP”). The Sacagawea Pipeline project is a 91-mile pipeline being developed to deliver crude oil from various points in and around Johnson’s Corner and the Paradigm CDP, located in McKenzie County, North Dakota, to destinations with take away options for both rail and pipeline in Palermo and Stanley, North Dakota. Paradigm is constructing the pipeline and Phillips 66 Partners will be the operator (of Keene CDP, Sacagawea Pipeline, and the Palermo Rail Terminal). The pipeline is anticipated to commence operations in the third quarter of 2016.” [Source]

“The Palermo Rail Terminal consists of a crude oil rail-loading facility currently under construction on a 710-acre site near Palermo, North Dakota. The terminal will have an initial capacity of 100,000 barrels per day, with the flexibility to be expanded to 200,000 barrels per day. It is located on a railway main line with two mainline switches, allowing east- and west-bound rail traffic. The terminal is anticipated to include a pipeline delivery and receipt connection to the Sacagawea Pipeline, allowing the terminal to receive crude oil from areas in Dunn and McKenzie County, North Dakota, and deliver it to terminals and pipelines located in Stanley, North Dakota. The terminal will also include adequate space for up to 12 truck unloading facilities and approximately 300,000 barrels of operational storage, with permits allowing total storage capacity of up to 2.4 million barrels. The terminal is anticipated to be completed and in service in the fourth quarter of 2015.” [Source]

“The boom would not be as big, nor would it have happened as fast, without BNSF, owned by Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway Inc. Because of limited pipeline capacity in the region, there would be no place for much of the oil to go. BNSF says it is transporting more than half of the oil produced in the North Dakota and Montana regions of the Bakken. Pipelines and a rail competitor, Canadian Pacific, get much of the rest. Most of the oil comes from North Dakota…” Without BNSF, the Great North Dakota Oil Boom Wouldn’t Be As Big, June 8, 2013

When analyzing the Dakota Access pipeline campaign whereby a key slogan for the resistance is the expression “water is life”, one might ask: which water? which life? Is it that all lakes are equal, but some lakes are more equal than others? Such appears to be the case for Lake Sakakawea.

The production and infrastructure for Bakken crude continues to expand. The genocide and ecological devastation it propels also expands simultaneously. Grey Wolf Midstream holds a 12 percent interest with the Indigenous  having to endure 100% of the devastating impacts.

+++

Can a Rich Culture Rooted in Warrior Ideology be Tamed through Nonviolent Direct Action Training?

oka-three-armed-warriors

Photo: Mohawk Warriors, Oka Crisis, Canada, 1990. Photograph: Armed warriors at Kanesatake during the 1990 “Oka Crisis.” / Gazette John Mahoney (CTY).

In the summer of 1990 the Kanesatake Mohawks erected a protest camp and barricades on the road to the proposed development site of a members-only golf course and luxury condo development on a pine grove and cemetery where many Mohawk families’ ancestors were buried. A standoff with the state ensued. “The army had tanks, armored personnel carriers, helicopters and surveillance planes. The Mohawk warriors had a few hundred weapons, including AK-47s, hunting rifles and shotguns. With some clever psychological warfare, however, they projected a much more intimidating presence.” The golf course/development which triggered the 78-day crisis was never built. [Source]

“The Mohawks used a variety of homemade devices to imitate the high-powered weapons the army thought they had. A circular cutting tool used in ironworking became an imitation M72 rocket launcher. An ordinary black plumbing tube was placed in the back of a pick-up truck and camouflaged so that it resembled an anti-tank missile launcher…. They wandered around an empty field, looking at a map, to pretend they were picking their way through a minefield. It was all part of a deliberate strategy to keep their enemies off guard and confused.” — Geoffrey York & Loreen Pindera, “People of the Pines: The Warriors & the Legacy of Oka,” 1992

At this juncture it remains unclear if the interest in Standing Rock by the NPIC is exclusively  to protect Warren Buffett’s rail investments (BNSF) in an already weak economy … or, if it is that the NGOs that comprise the NPIC (functioning on a foundation of white supremacist ideology) simply cannot resist the opportunity to colonize the remaining Indigenous nations/peoples that have not yet been assimilated by the church[1]  or if this is simply an experiment. Perhaps this is a large scale experiment to study whether methods of nonviolent direct action (NVDA) as the only acceptable means to confront state violence and/or oppression can be successfully applied to the only remaining group of people the state still fears: Indigenous nations. Perhaps this is an experiment in creating a passive citizenry via framing and training in NVDA.

By using the same isolation tactics, reward system, and revisionist history/story-telling carried out again and again over the past few decades via the NGOs and media that comprise the NPIC (intensifying after 1999 WTO Seattle protests), has the hegemonic system reached its maximum potential in the pacification and obedience of the liberal masses in the face of chaos as we head into a far more chaotic, increasingly fascist and uncertain planet in great peril?

Can the same behavior modification, social engineering, societal conditioning and religious indoctrination of whole societies be applied to control and tame Indigenous peoples who embody a deep-rooted (and enviable) warrior ideology? Can the first group influence the latter? Perhaps the best answer is that Standing Rock is the killing of three birds with one stone. [1) Protection of BNSF profits, 2) Continued colonization of Indigenous Peoples, 3) An integral observation lab to study NVDA training impacts/results on non-Anglo cultures in recognition that NGOs are now rolling out NVDA training “programs” across the globe.

One thing is certain. The 2011 observation of a collective “pacifism as pathology” syndrome-like conformity continues to surpass all expectations:

“During the November 2 briefing in the Cannon Ball Community Center, Floberg reminded participants that they signed a pledge to keep the Standing Rock events of November 3 prayerful, peaceful, nonviolent and lawful. There were some who called for a more aggressive front-line approach elsewhere.” —  Nov 4, 2016, Peaceful, Prayerful, Nonviolent Stand of Solidarity With the Standing Rock Sioux

To illustrate how religion is used for indoctrination and mitigation purposes regarding the disenfranchised, note that Rev. John Floberg “is the supervising priest of the three Episcopal missions on the North Dakota side of the Standing Rock Reservation; there are six more mission churches on the reservation in South Dakota.”

Not surprising, 350.org founder Bill McKibben (a lay-Methodist) has a tight relationship with the Episcopal Church. [2] Colonization and assimilation via residential schools – where physical and psychological abuse was rampant – is considered by most today a horrific and shameful part of our collective history, although it came to a close not even a single lifetime ago. Yet, when these same ideals are repackaged as solidarity and dispersed via the NPIC, the only response is a silent adoration from those who believe their own cultural belief system upholds a moral superiority.

 

+++

Next: Part 2

 

 

End Notes:

[1] “Morse further wrote in his report: “The complete title to their [the Indians’] lands, rests in the government of the United States” (original emphasis). Notice that Morse’s use of “complete” contrasts with what he had written about the Indian title to the soil being “imperfect,” meaning “incomplete.” The title of the nations of Christendom, which Judge Catron called “every Christian power,” was regarded as “complete” or perfect (as in “perfect dominion”), whereas the title and independence of non-Christian “heathen-infidel” nations was regarded by the Christian powers as “imperfect” and incomplete.

So far as the U.S. government, including the Army Corps of Engineers, is concerned, the “heathen-infidel” Standing Rock Sioux Tribe and the Oceti Sakowin(“Great Sioux Nation”) may not contradict what the United States wants to do with the treaty-recognized territory of the Oceti Sakowin. This is because, based on the ideas of U.S. federal Indian law traced to Christendom’s law of nations, the original title of any “heathen-infidel” Indian nation is only an “imperfect title” of “mere occupancy” in the soil to which the U.S. claims a Christian “ultimate dominion.” [The Dakota Access Pipeline and ‘the Law of Christendom, August 26, 2016]

[2] April 24, 2012: “Episcopalians join religious voices at climate change conference” – “After opening calls to action from James Hansen, a scientist credited with bringing global warming to the world’s attention, and Bill McKibben, founder of the grassroots climate campaign 350.org, participants attended break-out sessions in three focus areas: science, religion and culture.” [http://episcopaldigitalnetwork.com/ens/2012/04/24/episcopalians-join-religious-voice-at-climate-change-conference/]

May 4, 2012: “Diocese of Vermont dedicates 35-panel solar installation” – “Environmentalist Bill McKibben, Congressman Peter Welch, Burlington Mayor Miro Weinberger were among the featured speakers at the celebration and formal dedication on April 30.” [http://episcopaldigitalnetwork.com/ens/2012/05/04/diocese-of-vermont-dedicates-35-panel-solar-installation/]

April 29, 2013: “Presiding bishop preaches at ‘climate revival’ – “In addition to Jefferts Schori, the event was lead by the Rev. Geoffrey Black, general minister and president of the United Church of Christ, and included video messages from Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu and Bill McKibben, an author, environmentalist and the founder of 350.org, a global grassroots movement aimed at solving the crisis of climate change.” [http://episcopaldigitalnetwork.com/ens/2013/04/29/presiding-bishop-preaches-at-climate-revival/]

May 8, 2013: “Rising with Christ: Confronting climate change” – “On April 27, 2013, the Climate Revival in downtown Boston gathered clergy and hundreds of Christians from across New England to participate in a morning and afternoon worship service in two historic churches – Old South Church and Trinity Church. Billed as “an ecumenical festival to embolden the renewal of Creation,” the Climate Revival traced the arc of the story of Lazarus as we listened for God’s consoling, chastening, and encouraging Word in relation to the climate crisis. Bill McKibben and Archbishop Desmond Tutu joined us by recorded video, and Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori preached an extraordinary sermon about the raising of Lazarus.” [http://episcopaldigitalnetwork.com/ens/2013/05/08/rising-with-christ-confronting-climate-change/]

 

Cory Morningstar is an independent investigative journalist, writer and environmental activist, focusing on global ecological collapse and political analysis of the non-profit industrial complex. She resides in Canada. Her recent writings can be found on Wrong Kind of Green, The Art of Annihilation, and Counterpunch. Her writing has also been published by Bolivia Rising and Cambio, the official newspaper of the Plurinational State of Bolivia. You can follow her on twitter @elleprovocateur]

[Forrest Palmer is an electrical engineer residing in Texas.  He is a part-time blogger and writer and can be found on Facebook. You may reach him at forrest_palmer@yahoo.com.]
FURTHER READING:

 

Keystone XL: The Art of NGO Discourse | Part I

Keystone XL: The Art of NGO Discourse – Part II

Keystone XL: The Art of NGO Discourse – Part III | Beholden to Buffett

Keystone XL: The Art of NGO Discourse – Part 1V | Buffett Acquires the Non-Profit Industrial Complex

KXL Rejection: The Real Story

All Eyes On Dakota Access – All Eyes Off Bakken Genocide

Tar Sands Action & the Paralysis of a Movement | Part I

Obedience – A New Requirement for the “Revolution”

Unravelling the Deception of a False Movement

From Stable to Star – The Making of North American “Climate Heroes”

August 16, 2016

By Cory Morningstar

 

manipulated youth 2

50 Million Shades of Grey

Fifteen years ago, Phil Radforth, former Executive Director of Greenpeace USA founded Powershift to which he served as Executive Director of Power Shift. Powershift was to be “a non-governmental organization dedicated to driving clean energy market breakthroughs and building the grassroots base to stop global warming.” [Emphasis added. Source: Phil Radforth’s Wikipedia profile.] The year was 2001.

In 2007, Bill McKibben launched the national ‘Step It Up’ campaign (Clinton Global Initiative Commitment 2007) targeting members of the U.S. congress to be ‘real leaders’ on climate change. Presidential candidates including then senators Barack Obama, Joe Biden, and Hillary Clinton attended Step It Up events and issued statements of support for the goals put forward by the newly developed NGO 1Sky. Step it Up then morphed into 1Sky. 1Sky was an incubator project of the Rockefeller Foundation at its inception. [Further reading: Rockefellers’ 1Sky Unveils the New 350.org | More $ – More Delusion] At the 2007 Clinton Global Initiative, then President Bill Clinton announced the 1Sky campaign. [Video, September 29, 2007: 1Sky at Clinton Global Initiative published by Step It Up]

“Working with partners 1Sky will raise $50 million to advocate for a simple set of goals and policy proposals to improve the federal government’s policies on climate change.” — Clinton Foundation Press Release, Sept 27, 2007

 

“In 2007, Power Shift 2007 committed to bring thousands of young people to Capitol Hill for the largest-ever climate lobby day and equip them with the tools and trainings to increase youth voter turn-out and pressure politicians to offer bold climate solutions.” — Clinton Global Initiative website [Emphasis added]

Prior to the Clinton Global Initiative’s lucrative injection of financing into the Rockefeller incubator 1Sky (which would later merge with 350.org in 2011) also previous to the launch of Step It Up in 2007, there was another predecessor: The Energy Action Coalition.  (“Power Shift 2007-Commitment by Energy Action Coalition | Launched: 2007, Est. Duration: 1 year, Estimated Total Value: $3,000,000.00.”) [ Source: Clinton Global Initiative website]

Power Shift 2007 Clinton Foundation

Manufacturing Pragmatism

Founded June 6, 2004, the Energy Action Coalition was created as an umbrella group for approx. 20-30 NGOs (in the familiar vein of Climate Action Network, TckTckTck/GCCA, and scores of other NGOs). To illustrate its importance as the largest youth advocacy group concerned with environmental issues, Energy Action Coalition co-founder, Billy Parish was cited by the annual ceremony honoring  environmental leaders under 23-year-old ceremony entitled the Brower Youth Awards website as the founder and director of “Earth Island’s first project led by a BYA winner.” [Emphasis added]

Preceding his cofounding of Energy Action Coalition in 2004, Parish founded the Climate Campaign, an umbrella group comprised of 10 student organizations representing about 125 college campuses with the pursuit of “clean energy” as the shared common goal:

“So in 2003, he founded the Climate Campaign, an umbrella group of 10 student organizations representing about 125 college campuses throughout the Northeast. Though these groups may disagree about strategy and philosophy, they’ve settled on a common goal: greater use of wind power and other clean-energy sources on their home campuses.” — Grist, A Spotlight on Young  Enviro  Activists,  August 11, 2004

Parish’s 2003 “Climate Campaign” and personal bio (in addition, a not so subtle personification as white saviour) is also documented on the Ashoka website (Parish is an Ashoka fellow) founded by “social entrepreneur” Bill Drayton.

“Billy and his sister grew up in New York City, where their parents practiced law. He started out at a Montessori school, then went to a small private boys’ school from first grade through high school. He was “a golden child”—teachers loved him. He was a leader and moral compass in school, sports, and social groups. With a strong social conscience, he always stuck up for the underdog. His best friend Jawn was the only black student in his first grade class. The school kept the boys together year after year, because Billy always protected Jawn…

 

He founded The Climate Campaign to bring existing student networks together. Four hundred students from 100 schools attended the first conference. In 2004 Billy founded Energy Action Coalition, which is fiscally sponsored by the Earth Island Institute, an environmental projects incubator.” — Ashoka website  (“This profile below was prepared when William Parish was elected to the Ashoka Fellowship in 2007.”)

In 2002 Parish left his studies at Yale to pursue his campaigns full time. No time was wasted in the grooming of the oligarchy’s up and coming superstar.  By November of 2005 Parish was featured in Rolling Stone magazine’s issue as their “#1 Climate Hero of the 21st Century” for his work in organizing environmental activism across the country. [Source] Other “climate heroes” chosen by Rolling Stone for this particular feature included CEO of General Electric, Jeff Immelt (“The Profiteer”), Jonathan Lash of World Resources Institute (“The Go-between”, aligning industry with green groups), Amory Lovins (“The Visionary”, key player today for the implementation of payments for ecosystems services), Tony Blair, Al Gore, James Hansen and  Arnold Schwarzenegger among others.

“Anya Kamenetz argues that Millennials are working toward small and achievable goals, rather than pursuing radical, systemic change. She describes the efforts of Billy Parish, the 23-year-old leader of Energy Action, who co-founded the nation’s largest youth environmental coalition as a Yale junior in 2003. Energy Actions conducts national campaigns on clean energy and global warming and claims an email list of 30 000 and member organizations on 1500 campuses. ‘”The next generation of advocates are solution-oriented,” says Parish. “They’re interested in things like biodiesel, etc.” – instead of radical ecology of the ’70s. This pragmatism may seem alien with those that equate youth with uncompromising zeal,” (Kamenetz, 2005: B3) [Source: Dissent and the Failure of Leadership, 2008] [Emphasis added]

Taking the very privileged Parish’s belief system into consideration (as outlined by Kamenetz above), it is little wonder that 50 million dollars would be sought to promote (and more importantly guarantee) pragmatism (and the expansion of capitalism) over radical ecology.  It is little wonder Parish was embraced, coddled and made famous by the oligarchs that funnel billions into the non-profit industrial complex.

In 2006 “Energy Action” was cited as having over 30,000 members. A decade later, Parish cites membership at 300,000, a tenfold increase (Parish “Founded and grew the Energy Action Coalition into the world’s largest youth clean energy organization (300k members)”. [Source]

“By the age of 21, Billy Parish was managing a $5 million coalition of college-aged environmentalists… By the time he was a junior, he had 80 employees and was working with the White House on promoting green jobs.” — Environmental Watch Website, Profile Billy Parish

 

“The coalition, which operates on a $5 million annual budget, is funded primarily by foundations, including George Soros’ Open Society Institute, the Rockefeller Brothers Fund and the Surdna Foundation.” — Journal Sentinel, May 16, 2009

Bill McKibben who partnered with Parish in the Clinton-backed campaign Step It Up ‘07 (2007), cites that he first met Parish in 2002: “When I first met him, he’d just dropped out of Yale. Not because he couldn’t hack it. Because he didn’t think it was as important as fighting climate change. And so he built the Energy Action Coalition, the nationwide student mobilization against global warming.” [Source] (Side note: While at Yale Parish studied sustainable economic development.)

In the January 7, 2006 Grist (not coincidentally, an online website for which McKibben serves on the Board of Directors) article, it was noted that “over 150 activists send letter asking Robert F. Kennedy Jr. to reconsider position” regarding his support of a wind farm off the coast of Cape Cod.  Of those activists, both Parish (identified as Coordinator, Energy Action) and McKibben (identified as author of End of Nature) are listed as 2 of the 150 signatories demanding Kennedy reconsider his decision. Of interest regarding the individual participation of members involved in the NGO complex is that 350.org’s Jamie Henn is also a signatory representing Energy Action. 350’s Jon Warnow (who glaringly has no affiliation listed) and 350.org’s May Boeve (who is listed in affiliation with The Climate Campaign/Middlebury College) are listed as also signatories.

“A diverse coalition of Americans, including forward-thinking CEOs, evangelical leaders, and college students, is building a hopeful future of clean-energy sources, cutting-edge technologies, and rewarding and high-paying jobs. The installation of the Cape Wind farm will be an important turning-point for this new grassroots movement.”— January 7, 2007, Grist [Emphasis added]

The focus of Parish’s Energy Action Coalition conceptualized in 2003-2004 would become the mobilization of students into a force utilized to implement the annual campaign Power Shift: “the first-ever national youth summit to address the climate crisis” (November 2007). This would be achieved working in partnership with Step It Up, and a cash injection of millions (this is according to the Clinton Global Initiative that announced “working with partners 1Sky will raise $50 million”):

“On November 2, 2007, this commitment hosted thousands of young adults converging on Washington, DC for Power Shift 2007, the first-ever national youth summit to solve the climate crisis…Power Shift 2007 will occur in coordination with over 1,000 actions in communities across the country for Step it Up 2, as well as the first major public launch of the 1Sky campaign, calling for a major governmental mobilization to address global warming.”

step-it-up 2007 poster _240t

The focus on electoral politics (as well as loyalty and obvious ties to the democratic party) is demonstrated in the following paragraph as found on the Clinton Foundation website:

“Provide each participant with comprehensive training and tools to develop campus-wide youth voter coalitions and mechanisms for running large-scale voter registration and mobilization programs around the 2008 elections… For Power Shift, Clinton Global Initiative is an opportunity to think even bigger and expand the scope of its planning, and a platform to tell the world that young people are rising to the climate challenge in new and unprecedented ways and will be a critical force in the 2008 election cycle… Over 200 Workshops and Trainings: Conference attendees will learn best practices for organizing, including: campaign and event planning, voter registration, recruitment, communications and media, public speaking, lobbying, leadership development, and coalition building.” [Source ]

 

“Financial Support for Power Shift 2007 focused on a 2008 strategy [to] allow for the opportunity to work collectively with Rock the Vote, The League of Young Voters, The Student Pirgs New Voters Project, Campus Camp Wellstone, Black Youth Vote, and the Hip Hop Caucus amongst other groups to help expand and grow the power of the youth vote.”

Financial support from unidentified private entities (as suggested in the unspoken, generalized source of the aforementioned $50 million dollars) would fully fund “Power Shift 07”.

“For the last five years, Powershift has been organized by a consortium of large and medium sized environmental organizations. Looking through the list of attendees gives you an idea: WWF, NWF, EDF, NRDC, Common Cause. All of the PIRG’s represented (WISPIRG, WashPIRG, CalPIRG, NJPIRG, MassPIRG) are regional chapters of USPIRG, which by way of the Fund for the Public Interest is connected to the various Sierra Club chapters.” — The Intent of Powershift, 2011

powershift 2007

Above: 2007 Power Shift poster

jessie tolkan clinton

Above: Billy Parrish and Jessy Tolkan (far right) on stage at Clinton Global Initiative in 2008. Tolkan has been featured in Time, Glamour, and Vanity Fair Magazine. Rolling Stone Magazine named her one of the 100 agents of change in America in 2008. She is the former Executive Director for the Energy Action Coalition (having helped organize Power Shift 2007 and subsequent Power Shifts) and State Director of the New Voters Project (“where she helped register more than 130,000 young voters… providing the foundation for the historic youth strategies employed in the 2008 presidential election.” Source: Purpose). Tolkan also held the title of Global Director of Electric Vehicle Infrastructure Development for two multi-national automakers. Today she serves on the 350.org board of directors, as well as serving as “Head of Labs & Executive Director” of Here Now, a project of Purpose. [Further reading on Purpose: Under One Bad Sky]

global power shift flyer-en

“Global Power Shift was initiated and is being led by 350.org, a youth-led network co-founded by environmental writer Bill McKibben. We teamed up with a wide range of friends and allies (listed below) from across the international youth climate movement and climate movement more broadly to prepare for the global kickoff event in Istanbul, Turkey in June of 2013, and also to spark rolling national Power Shift events and new campaign mobilizations around the world throughout 2013 and 2014.” [Source

Here it should be noted that the 350.org (also established in 2007) website domain belongs to that of a Jay R. Halfon. Halfon, who serves on the 350.org board of directors, was executive director of the New York Public Interest Research Group (NYPIRG), with over 25 offices throughout New York State, for a decade ending in 1997. [1] An associate of Rockefeller, Jay R. Halfon is also listed as the executive and Director & General Counsel of Sustainable Markets Foundation (SMF). SMF would go on in 2011 and 2012 to help finance the book and film project The Message (now know as “This Changes Everything).

“The Energy Action Coalition comprises 44 member organizations and almost 400 allied organizations and companies.” — Clinton Global Initiative Press Release, September 28, 2007

The Energy Action Coalition (EAC) is said to be comprised of 44 member organizations and almost 400 allied organizations and corporations (2007). Yet, who these members organizations and corporations actually are must be considered unknown by most, as only 18 coalition partners are identified/disclosed on the EAC website. Included are Greenpeace, Green for All, Groundswell, Generation Progress and Responsible Endowments Coalition. [Full list]

In the 2005 document “New Energy for Campuses”, EAC coalition members are identified as: Black Mesa Water Coalition, California Student Sustainability Coalition, Chesapeake Climate Action Network, Climate Campaign, Dakota Resource Council, Education for Sustainability Western Network, Energy Justice Network, Envirocitizen, Environmental Justice and Climate Change Initiative, Free The Planet!, Global Exchange, Greenpeace, Indigenous Environmental Network, League of Conservation Voters Education Fund: Project Democracy, National Association of Environmental Law Societies, National Wildlife Federation’s Campus Ecology Program, the student PIRGS, Rainforest Action Network, Sierra Student Coalition, Sierra Youth Coalition, Southern Alliance for Clean Energy, Southern Energy Network, Student Environmental Action Coalition, Students United for a Responsible Global Environment, Sustainable Endowments Institute, and Youth Environmental Network.

EAC, an incubator project of Earth Island Institute would be classified as an independent501(c)(3) as of July 2014.

“Activist” Clearing Houses

Green Corps:

Many activists will be fully indoctrinated long before they have a chance to fully develop their own thought processes, ideologies and identities. The Green Corps Field School for Environmental Organizing” is where non-profits send their recruits to groom them for “a career in environmental organizing”.  Launched in 1992 by U.S. Public Interest Research Group (PIRG), which is funded in part by the Tides Foundation, Alumni/alumna includes Bill McKibben (350), Phil Radford (Greenpeace), Lisa Archer (Friends of the Earth, an NGO which has been represented on the Ceres Board of Directors since inception) and even Ceres senior associates such as Eleanor Fort. Green Corps is explicitly for “college seniors and recent graduates.” Seasoned activists need not apply. It is of interest to note that the aforementioned founder of Power Shift, and Green Corps Alumni, Phil Radforth, serves as a board member of Green Corps.

“No older, more mature people–who might ask questions, or who might know more than their trainers–need apply. Green Corps has become the de facto frat house for millennial enviro-staffers.  There’s an interesting story to be told here, in terms of understanding where the movement is today and where it’s headed.” David Orr, long-time environmental organizer

Tides: The Opportunity Agenda:

Another example of a well-established grooming institution is The Opportunity Agenda (“Building the National Will to Expand Opportunity in America”), another project of Tides Center. “Moving Hearts, Minds, and Policy for Lasting Change” is polished linguistics for what amounts to behavioral change/modification projects:

To advance the impact of the social justice community, we shape compelling narratives and messages; build the communication capacity of social justice leaders through training and resources; and engage with artists, creatives, and culture makers as powerful storytellers to shift the public discourse. We believe in the power of communication and collaboration to drive lasting change. Let’s work together to move hearts and minds to drive lasting policy and culture change, and to expand opportunity for all.” – The Opportunity Agenda: “Building the National Will to Expand Opportunity in America”[Emphasis added]

The “Creative Change Alumni” of The Opportunity Agenda (through 2014) includes those such as Jamie Henn, 350.org (2013), Eli Pariser, Upworthy, MoveOn.org, Avaaz (2009) and Open Society Foundations Advisory Board Member, Andrew Boyd, Beautiful Trouble (2011, 2012 and 2014). The process is akin to gold panning with prospective recruits representing “material” and those cherry-picked as the gold: “The process basically consists of placing the material that you want to process into your pan and shaking it in a left to right motion underwater to cause the gold, which is heavy, to work its way down toward the bottom of your pan. At the same time, the lighter materials, which are worthless, are worked up to the surface of the gold pan where they can be swept away. The process of shaking and sweeping is repeated until only the heaviest of materials are left-namely the gold and heaviest black sand.” Artists and those with interest in social or environmental justice who may exude charismatic appeal to the mainstream are discovered and molded by programs and training created/financed by our dominating oligarchs. The “Creative Change Alumni” is comprised of those who it is believed can be successfully developed, nurtured and fostered by those at the helm of the non-profit industrial complex. The strategic cultivating of neoliberal ideologies is carried out under the guise of empowering tomorrow’s leaders.

“The Opportunity Agenda is pleased to recognize the philanthropic and volunteer contributions of foundations, corporations, and individuals who have helped us during our launch phase.  We also want to thank the many communications and media consultants, social justice leaders, and nonprofit organizations who have agreed to partner with us as we advance our mission to build the national will to expand opportunity for all.”

The Opportunity Agendas’ Foundation and Institutional Supporter list is extensive. This demonstrates the vital importance (thus ongoing extensive commitment) in overseeing the development of “activism” and said “movements”.  Institutions who finance this particular clearing house include Carnegie Corporation of New York, Ford Foundation and Open Society Foundations. [Full List]

Bower Youth Awards:

Another “activist” clearing house venue is The New Leaders Initiative (NLI) home to the aforementioned Bower Youth Awards (“the premier North American awards honoring bold young environmental leaders”) created by the Earth Island Institute in honour of David Brower (“NLI honors the legacy of David Brower – firebrand environmentalist, community activist, and founder of Earth Island Institute.”) As of 2010, Earth Island Institute’s total net assets were $7.1 million. Previous selection committees have included Bill McKibben and Thao Pham, executive director of the Clif Bar Family Foundation.

“The New Leaders Initiative (NLI) grows environmental leadership by raising the profile of young emerging environmental leaders in North America, celebrating their achievements, and providing them with the skills, resources, and relationships to lead effective campaigns and projects.” — Brower Youth Awards Website

 

In addition to a $3,000 cash award and an all expenses paid trip to the San Francisco Bay Area to attend the awards ceremony, winners receive ongoing support and mentoring from Earth Island Institute  staff and other environmental leaders.” — National Education Foundation Grants and Awards

 

“Since 2000, the Brower Youth Awards has recognized 86 exceptional leaders with a cash prize, a high-energy week of activities in San Francisco, and ongoing leadership support. NLI also offers mentoring and project sponsorship to rising young leaders.” — Brower Youth Awards Website

Past Bower Youth Award winners include 350.org’s most recognized staff members, such as previously mentioned Billy Parish (2004, age 22) who would go on to serve on 1Sky’s Board of Directors as well as 350.org’s U.S. Advisory Council, John Warnow (2007), 350.org Web Director and Co-Founder, and May Boeve (2006), 350.org political strategy and partnerships coordinator, as well as a co-founder and current executive director.

May Boeve Vouge

Above: Boeve follows in the footsteps of her 350.org counterpart Naomi Klein, appearing in the November 3, 2015 issue of Vogue. Incidentally, Mindy Lubber, president and founding board member of Ceres (350 divestment partner) is also featured in the same issue. “But what appears as a natural property of the charismatic celebrity is actually produced by discourses of celebrity. (Matt Hills, 2005:151) The capitalist system uses celebrities to promote individualism and illusions of democracy (the ‘anyone can do it’ myth) […] capitalism retains its hold on society, by reducing all human activity to private ‘personalities’ and the inner life of the individual.” (Giles, 2000:19 and 72) [Further reading: McKibben’s Divestment Tour – Brought to You by Wall Street [Part XIII of an Investigative Report] [The Increasing Vogue for Capitalist-Friendly Climate Discourse]

Generated by IJG JPEG Library

Above: Actor Leonardo DiCaprio (C) poses for a photo with May Boeve, executive director of 350.org (L) and Rev. Lennox Yearwood, Jr. (R) following a Divest-Invest new conference on September 22, 2015 in New York City. “In this, these markets of emotion and care come into their own: celebritis politicus is used to sell causes, contributions, concerns and socially responsible consumerism through a competitive market for poverty and enviro-tainment designed to develop, capture, and ‘use’ the fans of this poverty and enviro-tainment towards progressive ends.” — Commodity Activism: Cultural Resistance in Neoliberal Times, 2013 [Further reading: McKibben’s Divestment Tour – Brought to You by Wall Street [Part XIII of an Investigative Report] [The Increasing Vogue for Capitalist-Friendly Climate Discourse]

Past Brower Youth Award recipients demonstrate the transition from “discovered” activist to paid professional. Examples of this trend include 2000 award winner Ariana Katovich who went on to become Director of Operations at Cutting Edge Capital and Director of Restoration Initiatives at the Earth Island Institute; 2000 award winner Dave Karpf who went on to become an “advocacy expert”; 2000 award winner Matt Ewing who went on to become National Field Director for MoveOn.org.; 2001 award winner Jared Duval who would go on to become a 350.org advocate and author of the book Next Generation Democracy. On and on it goes. The nurtured youth of today’s clearing houses for 21st century environmentalism, which is merely a guise for full-blown anthropocentrism, are the well-intentioned albeit naïve foot soldiers for today’s most powerful oligarchs.

This is not empowerment. This is exploitation, manipulation, social engineering and co-optation – at its best.

Wall Street, Mosaics & The Era of “Enlightened Self-interest”

Parish & Rosen

Photo: Mosaic co-founders Billy Parish (L) and Dan Rosen (R).

The divestment series has demonstrated that more than often the very “activists” hell-bent on the destruction of more nature in pursuit of so-called “100% clean energy” have also set themselves up to be the very benefactors of the “climate wealth opportunities” that the “green energy revolution” promises. Many of the “leading activists”, as manufactured by Rolling Stone and other “alternative” media (also a vital component of the non-profit industrial complex) have ties to the financial sector. Therefore, Parish’s extensive privilege is not an exception, but rather it is the rule which has become normalized as par for the course via neoliberal media.

Billy Parish is son of Michael Parish, “a cum laude graduate of Princeton University and of Yale Law School”. Michael Parish has more than 35 years experience as a partner in several large Wall Street law firms:

“Although the work he has been involved in crosses the range of venture capital, intellectual property and advisory work for major financial institutions, his principal focus has been in the field of corporate and securities law with specialization in finance, mergers & acquisitions, public utility and energy law. He currently serves as the non-executive chairman of the board of Forum Funds, a group of 35 mutual funds headquartered in Portland, Maine managing more than $5 billion in assets… He has written extensively for business and legal publications on Sarbanes/Oxley, energy deregulation, and corporate governance.”   [Full bio]

In 2012 Billy Parish released the book Making Good: Finding Meaning, Money and Community in a Changing World. (“Making Good was co-written with Dev Aujla, prominent social entrepreneur, and outlines a plan for young people to become problem solvers and capitalize on the opportunities that come from today’s global challenges.” Source)

The Green Game

“Our highest priority is to return capital with interest to our investors, so we only put projects up that we think are great investments.” — Billy Parish, March 26, 2013

Parish Ruffalo Green Game

“Getting into the Green Game”: March 23, 2014: Multi-millionaire and over-utilized “celebrity activist” Mark Ruffalo (yawn) & Billy Parish make guest appearances on Fox Business

“[Because] corporations must have physically impossible ‘endless growth’ in order to survive, corporate social responsibility is a myth. The only socially responsible act that corporations can take is to dissolve.” — Adam D. Sacks

Solar Mosaic (now known simply as Mosaic) was founded in May of 2009. It is situated in Oakland, California. The four co-founders are Billy Parish, Arthur Coulston (present at founding meeting of EAC in the summer of 2004, taking on role as Internet Director for EAC), Steve Richmond and Danny Rosen. Richmond, the former Mosaic chief financial officer has created software companies in the past, one of which was sold to Oracle. Richmond previously co-founded @SelectMinds and @DebtGoal. He has a background in strategy consulting and banking. The other partner Rosen is a “clean energy” entrepreneur working in Israel and rural native communities in the Southwest. He was recognized twice by Forbes as “30 under-30” for energy. Further, Rosen is the former VP of Solar Finance at Union Bank and fund manager for Citi Bank, with fourteen years of solar finance experience.

On Dec 30, 2011 Forbes published an article suggesting ” New Financing Models Could Make Solar the Facebook of the Energy Industry” highlighting Solar Mosaic‘s crowd-funding approach to solar.

In 2012, Solar Mosaic raised $3.4 million from venture capital investors and received a $2 million grant from the Department of Energy’s SunShot Incubator Program.

On January 7, 2013, Mosaic made its public launch. Subsequently, Mosaic has been named a top-ten most innovative energy company by Fast Company in 2013 and 2014 and has received two Department of Energy SunShot grants, the Sierra Club’s Trailblazer Award and Verizon Wireless’ Powerful Answers Award. [Mosaic Wikipedia page]

The shift from fossil fuels to clean energy represents one of the largest wealth-creation opportunities of our time… — Billy Parish, Fast Money, April 12, 2014

Mosaic’s Green Game Players

Bruce Ledesma is Mosaic’s Chief Operating Officer. Ledesma is the Former EVP/General Counsel at publicly traded global solar company (SunPower Corp which was sold to Total South Africa) and financial services company (Barra which was sold to Morgan Stanley).

Olaf Janke is Mosaic’s Chief Financial Officer. Janke is the former CFO of Aequitas Capital Management and Fairway America. Investment banker at GE Capital, JP Morgan and Credit Suisse. [Source: Mosaic Executive Team]

More recently, former SolarCity CFO Robert D. Kelly has been named a member of Mosaic’s Board of Directors. Interestingly as the company proposes that it is a socially responsible financial endeavor, SolarCity Corp, the top U.S. rooftop solar installer, purchases Suniva panels, which was discovered to be produced using prison labour. June 10, 2015: “It’s a good product,” SolarCity spokesman Jonathan Bass said in an email. “Suniva’s relationship with Unicor has never been a factor in our decision to use the modules… the mission to provide job training to prepare inmates for successful re-entry to the workforce is admirable.”

As the effort of Mosaic is seen as an environmental boon for the masses, if you peel back the layers, it is seemingly a windfall for the investors by way of institutional subterfuge. In the December 2013 article USA, Power to the People the author writes: “Upon signing the Act in April 2012, President Obama said, “For the first time, ordinary Americans will be able to go online and invest in entrepreneurs that they believe in.”  But the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has still not adopted rules to implement the crowdfunding provisions of the JOBS Act. Until then, Mosaic is working with state regulators to allow the offer of securities to the general public.  Currently, “accredited” investors (i.e., millionaires and institutions) from all over the country can invest with Mosaic, but its projects can be offered to “non-accredited” investors only in California and New York.” [Emphasis added]

This is not likely neither here nor there, and of little concern to Mosaic seeing as 1) Billy Parish’s father, Michael Parish, served for many years as outside Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) counsel to several large public utility corporations and as counsel to the board of those companies, and 2) this rule keeps energy/investment profits primarily in the hands of the wealthy few while “community owned” is the main thrust behind the marketing. The very crux of the venture is holistic branding in the era of “enlightened self-interest” where holistic linguistics frame our parasitic financial systems as new age ecosystems. (Parish: “If we want to see community owned clean energy, we’re going to need a new kind of financial system. We’re going to need to see a system that looks more like an ecosystem.”)

Of course having friends with in high places with manufactured celebrity status and extensive outreach does not hurt one’s aims either. In 2011 350.org partnered with Mosaic Solar for the November 20 “Day of Action”. ” Greenpeace, Bill McKibben, Bloomberg, Forbes, CNN, San Francisco Chronicle, New York Times, Atlantic, USA Today, CNBC, The Wall Street Journal, The Daily Beast, Upworthy, etc. all lend to building Mosaic’s brand and sales. June 17, 2014:

“Among others, 350.org, The Climate Reality Project, Green For All, National Wildlife Federation, Reverb, The Sierra Club, The Solutions Project and World Wildlife Fund will be joining the launch to share Mosaic Places with their communities.” [Source: National organizations join to launch product for the first national #PutSolarOnIt Day of Action]

put-solar-on-it- Mosaic

In April of 2013, Parish would again be given hero status by Rolling Stone in the feature “The Fossil Fuel Resistance: Meet the New Green Heroes” with an introduction written by Bill McKibben. Other “heroes” as named by Rolling Stone include the “who’s who” of the environmental industry: James Hansen, Tom Steyer (“Daddy Greenbucks”), Rev. Lennox Yearwood Jr. (“The Minister”,  divestment partner), Jane Kleeb (“The Keystone Killer”, founder of Bold Nebraska), Michael Brune (“The Insider”) and Jeremy Grantham (“The Financial Crusader”). And of course no venture that sells the green economy new economy  would be complete without the blessing of Avaaz/Purpose co-founder Jeremy Heimans:

“Community renewables projects are also being put together. Heimans cites the case of Solar Mosaic, a US group that attracts investors to invest in a community, and similar organisations are emerging in Australia. Heimans calls it “crowd funding,” and it is the sort of activity he is up to at his new venture Purpose.com. “Not everyone has a roof you can put solar panels on. But you can have a stake in solar without having it on your own roof – it can go on the library or the community centre. And you can get a financial return.” — Why Green is Such a Dirty Word,  May 29, 2012 [Further reading: The “Purpose” of “Consumer Activism” & COP21 – “We Mean Business”]

Parish has outlined (March 26, 2013) that the decision to rename/rebrand Solar Mosaic simply as Mosaic is based on the decision to expand beyond solar projects alone citing wind and electric vehicle infrastructure projects to be considered/sought within the next few years. He adds that the name too has meaning: “It takes lots of different, small pieces together to make something beautiful. And that’s what we’re doing with Mosaic. Enable people to be part of something that can change the world and heal the planet.”

Unfortunately, green energy projects that predominantly serve the North are and always will be dependent upon exploiting those in the global south. The “100% clean energy” revolution (to save the capitalist system now flying “close to stall speed”) cannot and never will “heal” the planet, but only further decimate it. All the good intentions and wishful thinking in the world will not make this fact any less so.
Lithium Mine Australia

Talison Lithium’s Greenbushes Lithium Operations, Australia

“Globally, the investment required to build out this clean energy capacity is $100 trillion….And that doesn’t even include the additional trillions we need to spend to build out our electric car infrastructure, and build out our public transit systems, and rebuild our grid. Simply put, building a new clean energy infrastructure is the biggest business opportunity on the planet.” — Billy Parish, Mosaic Blog, April 12, 2013

lithium mining chile 2

The brine pools and processing areas of the Soquimich lithium mine on the Atacama salt flat. This is the planet’s second largest salt flat, located in the Atacama desert of northern Chile

“In this generation we can shift to clean energy, and we can do it in a way that makes all of us richer, healthier, and happier.” — Billy Parish, Mosaic Blog, April 12, 2013

Business As Usual Photo Gallery

“2013 was the year that solar really became mainstream and the future looks primed for more growth.  Across the globe solar panels have sprouted up on rooftops from New York to Fiji as people realize that not only are solar photovoltaic (PV) panels good for the environment, but one’s bottomline as well.  From established companies like Wal-Mart down to the off-the-grid villager in Kenya or the nomadic herder in Mongolia, the promise of solar is an opportunity that no one wants to squander.” — The Mosaic blog

 Parish & McKibben 2013

MoneyShift.” a live online discussion between Billy Parish (Mosaic’s Co-Founder and President), Bill McKibben (Founder of 350.org), and Phaedra Ellis-Lamkins, (CEO of Green For All). [Source]

“To create solutions at the scale needed to stop climate change we need everyone to move their money out of fossil fuels and into clean energy. Mosaic is truly helping to make that possible.” —  Bill McKibben, Founder, 350.org

Mosaic McDonalds

Mosaic Solar installation on the roof of the Ronald McDonald House in San Diego – Courtesy Mosaic

Mosaic Militarism

Militarism? No problem: October 2, 2013: “Joining with solar project crowd funding pioneer Mosaic, the US Army, Navy and Air Force aim to fund 12.3 megawatts (MW) of residential rooftop solar photovoltaic (PV) power across 547 homes at Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst in New Jersey, the first joint Army, Navy and Air Force base in the country…  Tonya Johnson, who lives with her family on the base, commented on Mosaic’s partnership with the US Armed Forces: ‘Our nation’s energy sources and our national security go hand in hand. The military is at the forefront of developing and deploying clean energy technologies that support troop readiness and energy independence. I love having solar on my rooftop.'” Image: Credit: Mosaic, US Department of Defense

 

Addendum

On a personal note, there is a direct correlation between spending money and global greenhouse gas emissions resulting in rapidly accelerating climate change. This is why 1% of the planet’s population (meaning anyone who can afford to get on a plane) is responsible for 50% of the global greenhouse gas emissions (as noted by Professor Kevin Anderson, Deputy Director of the Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research) while the poorest 99% emit essentially nothing (Stephen Pacala). (In 2007, Stephen Pacala, the director of the Princeton Environmental Institute stated “The world’s 500 million richest people were responsible for a breathtaking 50 percent of all greenhouse gas emissions.”). Under the industrialized economic system and the resulting civilization, the more money (backed by nothing) we spend, the more we tear up the Earth and turn her natural resources into products/capital. Unfortunately, as documentary filmmaker Jeff Gibbs has stated, “the only way to use less oil, is to use less oil.” This elephant in the room is documented in a 2009 paper by professor of Atmospheric Studies at the University of Utah, Tim Garrett. Nov. 22, 2009: ” In a provocative new study, a University of Utah scientist argues that rising carbon dioxide emissions – the major cause of global warming – cannot be stabilized unless the world’s economy collapses….”. Lastly, to put this into perspective, how many people are even aware of the fact that only 5% of the world’s population has ever flown? [Source] (And of course sentient animals, insects, tress, plants, etc. have no use for solar whatsoever, nor have they contributed to the environmental crisis, nor are they placed at the forefront of what is most vital to protect. The most effective but obviously unpopular solution to mitigating the climate crisis would be the eradication of the 1% creating the crisis.)

Mosaic Savings

Above: Mosaic marketing advert. “Not only can you save on your electricity bill for the next 30 years, but you can also increase the value of your home $15,000. The average Mosaic customer saves $67,083 over the life of their solar system without even considering this increase in home value, or the 30% Federal Solar Tax Credit. Add on the increase in home value and the average savings goes up to $82,083! Add on the Federal Solar Tax Credit and it goes up even further. It’s important to act quickly to maximize your savings, as the tax credit is due to expire in 2016.”

Mosaic’s business model is dependent on the borrower making payments, which in turn depends on the power produced and sold. Most solar business models offer no money down, up-front financing with low interest rates for loans as much as 50,000 – for up to 25 years.  The truth is that a 25-year home equity loan (or even ten) at 3% could easily result in one losing their entire home if they hit a rough patch. And sooner or later (likely sooner considering the current economic situation), most average citizens are bound to do so. Further, it is highly unlikely this low rate would be locked in beyond a maximum of five years as a hike in interest rates could bankrupt the companies.

To illustrate the prevalence of these deceitful calculations on an industry wide basis, Sunpower advertises “you can save over $80,000 over the lifetime of your system-that’s almost 140 per month!*” (*Based on home in San Diego CA with $150 per month electrical bill. System financed with 25-year home equity loan at 3% interest.”) Mosaic advertises a similar calculation: “The average Mosaic customer saves $67,083 over the life of their solar system without even considering this increase in home value, or the 30% Federal Solar Tax Credit. Add on the increase in home value and the average savings goes up to $82,083!”

I am highly doubtful about these claims. This is not because I am sanctimonious, but because I personally have a 12 panel, 2.3kW solar installation I installed many years ago when I believed doing so was “the right thing to do”.  However, I’m not in California the sunshine state. I’m in Canada with cold winters and intermittent bouts of snow (proving solar is extremely ineffective in countries where sunshine is not all year around). However, I remain suspect of these “promises” in California and I will explain why.

First of all, consider that under the Ontario Green Energy Act, the contract I signed guaranteed my solar generated energy would be purchased at a rate of 80.2¢/kWh, for twenty years. I tied into the grid because the solar system itself, which cost well over C$20,000 would have cost an additional C$15,000 for batteries which I could not afford. The installation of panels alone was a financial burden I could not afford but went ahead stemming from the deep desire to start the green energy revolution, which was the principle the peers surrounding me at that time campaigned on. (Live and learn. As the old saying goes, hindsight is 20/20)

Now consider the average Utility-Scale Solar Price In US has fallen to 5¢/kWh (Clean Technica, September 30, 2015).

Even at 80.2¢/kWh, the highest amount I have ever received for the energy produced by my panels over the years was just under $400.00 (a sunny month of July if I recall correctly).  My recent payment recently arrived. It was C$27.17. The truth is I’ll be lucky if I ever make back my investment even over 20 years – even with the locked in high purchase rate per KWh. But what if I did have a climate like California with sun dominating my existence?  At $C400.00 per month over 20 years the return equates to C$96,000. But again, that’s at 80.2¢/kWh. At 5¢/kWh, even in the sunniest of states, the return shrinks massively. Based on this information alone, could solar investments that promise huge such returns create a financial bubble?

Enlighten Solar Report January 2016

My monthly report from January 2016.

Enlighten Solar Report July 2015

My monthly report for July of 2015.

But far worse than having a poor investment (my motivation for the solar system was never driven by the desire for profit anyway since the system paying for itself in ten years, as was the promise, was merely icing on the cake), is the realization of what and where all the elements of my panels came from (the fact they were locally made changes little) and the decimation done to the Earth and her inhabitants to do so. For what?  So we can watch Netflix for as long as we want? So we can Facebook 24/7? So my neighbours can plug in their electric leaf blowers to blow leaves off the lawn onto the street? So we can light the cityscape 24/7?  Welcome to the machine.  A machine loved and embraced by many, where people actually believe it is their “right” to pollute and freely consume without consequence. Also disheartening is the fact that every time I read my “monthly energy production report” stating “you have offset the equivalent of one tree” (2, 3, or 5 max…) all I can think of is why I didn’t plant 1-5 trees each month, while conserving my energy use as much as I possibly can, instead of installing a solar system. I should not have pummeled the Earth for more of her stripped away and declining resources. I am guilty. I regret.

The last thing I will say on my own solar installation experience is something of great importance to me that hovers over my every day thoughts. I live in a 1940s bungalow that, over the years, I have naturalized my property to create a fairy tale like forest (illusory or not) in an urban setting. I have rare endangered trees, fruit trees, frogs, toads, birds, and even some snakes as of last summer. It has been a labour of love. My trees (which I am humbled by) continue to interfere with the solar panels. Shade on one panel can result in the transformers (which are no doubt designed to become obsolete in twenty years time when new ones will be required, as will the panels) shutting down the entire system. For this reason, individual transformers were installed (more rare Earth minerals, etc.) But even so, a shaded solar panel is a complete waste of what was stolen/exploited in the making of the panel. So, continually… and ever so reluctantly, with much regret and sadness, I cut back my beautiful trees. I hate this. It makes no sense. Cutting back trees that absorb CO2, clean our air and provide shade, beauty and habitat – to produce solar to offset carbon- simply makes no sense whatsoever. My solution would be to envelop our houses with trees to provide shade that would render air conditioners useless. This is a solution that makes much more sense – but it will never be pursued at scale because it does not accelerate economic growth.

Nature will not negotiate regardless of our wants and desires. Movements built on collective anthropocentrism, privilege and insatiable western consumptive lifestyle will only drive us further, and faster, toward our own annihilation. We ignore our predicament, and attach ourselves to deadly illusions, at our own peril.

End.

 

Morningstar bungalow

 Morningstar Bungalow Circa 2014

 

Endnotes:

[1] The US Public Interest Research Group known as PIRG is a political lobby non-profit organization. The first PIRG was a public interest law firm started by Ralph Nader in Washington, D.C. and was far different from the modern conception of PIRG. The State PIRGs emerged in the early 1970s on college campuses across the country. After students organized on college campuses for nearly 10 years, the different State PIRGs established the D.C. arm, the US PIRG, to advocate for change on the national level. Nearly simultaneously, the PIRGs founded the Fund For Public Interest Research (FFPIR), the fundraising and citizen outreach arm of the PIRGs. Since the early 1990s, the fund has also canvassed for other groups, working very closely with the big green Sierra Club, and many others institutions within the non-profit industrial complex. In the book Activism, Inc: How the Outsourcing of Grassroots Campaigns Is Strangling Progressive Politics in America by Columbia University sociologist Dana Fisher, Fisher writes that the outsourcing of grassroots organizing by groups like the Sierra Club and Greenpeace to organizations like the Fund has led to the decay of grassroots infrastructure and opportunities for involvement on the left. In response to the criticisms by Fisher and others, the PIRG Fund created a website, Canvassing Works. The site includes testimony by former fund staff who have moved into leading roles in other institutions within the non-profit industrial complex and testimony of big greens within the elitist circles, such as Sierra Club Executive Director Carl Pope and Randy Hayes of the Rainforest Action Network. PIRG also receives Rockefeller foundation money while at the same time stating that they avoid any funding directly from corporations, stating that such funding would restrict their autonomy. No one is in a better position to tap into and influence the impressionable youth across North America than that of PIRG.

 

The Collaborative Model Takes Root in Alberta’s Tar Sands

Pictured above (May, 2015) is Tzeporah Berman (first row, third from right). Berman is one of many who contributed to the text of the “Leap Manifesto”, an initiative founded by Naomi Klein‘s “This Changes Everything” project. It is critical to note the almost non-existence of non-anglos in positions of power and decision making (with the exception being photo ops) within the foundation financed “movements”. This institutionalized racism has become so normalized that it goes almost unnoticed unless it is pointed out (as in this instance). The one exception is the only group of people that the state still fears – that of Indigenous peoples. The undermining of Indigenous people by the non-profit industrial complex (350.org, etc.) is well documented. The 2009 COP15 and the 2010 People’s Agreement in Cochabamba, Bolivia, are just two examples of Indigenous undermining, so egregious, that they could easily be considered crimes against humanity.

+++

A friend sent me an email note two days ago, with the intro line “The NGO’s finally did it!” which caused a moment of terrorized confusion. I didn’t realize it would relate to this, but for the first time ever last November, the province of Alberta has instituted a potential cap on tar sands development. However, this is not the achievement my colleague was referencing. It was more a statement of alarm than laudatory glee.

The cap was alongside several other notable achievements, such as a fairly rapid phasing out of coal (that currently supplies the bulk of the electrical grid across the province) and several economic measures, such as a carbon tax that scares the Ezras right out of your average Levant. All of these things and more were rushed and cobbled together in the short time since Notley took office. Timing was clearly a factor in order to take these proposals to Paris as a triumphal delegation to the UN Climate talks. In the short term, many of these things may seem very hopeful. But it has also been leaked that there was another part of how the tar sands portions of the plan were drawn up.

There were secret talks that involved some of the perhaps expected Big Green players (ForestEthics, Environmental Defense, Equiterre and the Pembina Institute) meeting with Big Oil. The reason it was leaked? Some oil companies are upset that the other oil companies negotiated without them. Small world, I guess.

Wait a minute, everybody.

Are we not noticing something far more troubling than previous backroom negotiated deals? This time around the deal was not to be public at all. Ever. It stands to good reason that since this one was not to be released specifically, perhaps there are others as well.

The corporations involved are among the biggest players in all of the tar sands: Suncor, Cenovus, CNRL and Shell Canada. Suncor is the largest Canadian energy company and has been a major backer of (among other green groups) the Pembina Institute for many years. Shell, always trying to play the greenwash game, has been targeted by Greenpeace direct actions in the past, yet collaborates with the WWF elsewhere, and hired James Hoggan as a consultant, despite (or rather, because of) his leading role with the David Suzuki Foundation.

As far as those groups and individuals who were previously embarrassed by leaks over potential tar sands “fireside chats” and politically eviscerated over concerns about the now-defunct Canadian Boreal Forest Agreement announcement, rather than learn a lesson to not engage in backroom talks they have instead learned to not tell the public at all.

The Alberta NDP, in a slight twist to the usual narrative, claimed the bulk of the credit (“the win”) at the presser– but the Orange Crush still had no fizzle and were a non-entity on the margins of Alberta’s political landscape when the bulk of these discussions took place.

The head of Shell Canada, president Lorraine Mitchelmore, sheds some serious light on how these talks happened, both in what she says and in what she clearly does not: Interviewed in Macleans (Canada) Magazine, she was asked by Jason Markusoff:

Q: It’s been reported that this work started quite a while ago, with dinners between environmentalists and energy executives. Who was there?

A: I don’t want to say who was there. I want to say that it was some members of industry, and it was some members of the environmental groups, and it was really progressive members in both camps […]

Even after the public realization that the “change in narrative” has been a backroom exercise, she dutifully plays well with others in the corporate sandbox and maintains the Greens anonymity (as best she can), but she does let us realize Big Oil and Big Green began these talks multiple years ago, as “[t]his was happening long before Keystone, so [she] wouldn’t put Keystone as the catalyst for this,” but it has the effect of reducing grassroots activist visibility– and that, too, is the point. When asked what would have happened without this deal?

“Continued conflict. It was going nowhere. What was it going to achieve for Canada, continued conflict? I think that us being on the stage was something that was symbolic for Canadians. I believe that collaboration is something that Canadians do well.”

Leaving aside how “Canadian” it is, collaboration agreements are an expanding, growing industry that is learning from past mistakes. Without collaborative models, there would indeed be far more resistance (“conflict”), more visible community led actions, and a primacy placed on grassroots organizing.

So we now know the lessons learned for energy corporations and for Big Green are essentially the same when it comes to pointed questions about said discussions, fireside beer chats and long table dinners between well-paid foundation-directed environmentalists and oil company executives.

Tired of the backlash from anti-democratic deals being announced? Stop announcing them, but simply cut them in a way that makes the funders happy and let someone else announce an entirely separate result.

Then, allies from other eNGO’s (often people who have worked for ostensibly conflicting organizations) can celebrate what was negotiated secretly without even truly allowing the public to know that negotiations happened in the first place. Big Oil is very good already at guarding market secrets, discussions with Big Green can simply fall under the trade secrets mentality.

There is a history to this new approach, a minor victory of sorts in fact. In April of 2010, Dru Oja Jay was the first to report on attempts to hold private talks with tar sands producers in the Dominion:

Ten representatives each from tar sands operators and high-profile environmental groups were invited to the “informal, beer in hand” gathering. The David Suzuki Foundation, Environmental Defence Canada, Forest Ethics, Pollution Probe and Tides Canada were among the invited environmental groups.

Merran Smith of ForestEthics was listed without affiliation, as was Tzeporah Berman, who worked to privatize BC’s rivers as director of PowerUp Canada, and who is slated to start work this month as Greenpeace International’s Climate Campaigner. Among invited oil companies were Shell, ConocoPhilips, Total and Statoil. Leading tar sands investor Royal Bank of Canada (RBC) was also on the guestlist.

The event would be, the invitation explained, “an opportunity for a few ENGOs and a few companies to share their thoughts on the current state of relations and explore ideas on how a deeper dialogue might occur.”

Three days later, Raynolds sent a second email, cancelling the gathering, owing to “the level of tension” between “a subset of companies and a subset of ENGOs.” The follow-up email specified a legal dispute. Sources in Albertan environmental circles suggested pressure to cancel came from threats to expose the meeting publicly. (emphasis added–MS)

“I personally believe we all need to find a way to create the space and conditions necessary for deeper and meaningful conversations to find some solutions,” wrote Raynolds, explaining the cancellation. “I do hope that in the coming months, we can work to create those conditions.”

…and create those conditions they did. In light of that prior result of such talks, it goes to further reason that these discussions have shown in part the expanding of the relationship in 2015 that began in 2010. Faced with the rejection and unpopularity of anti-democratic secret negotiations when announced, further secrecy was layered upon secret talks by these organizations. Sources from environmental struggles today allege a role played directly by Greenpeace in assessing these deals, to get a “victory” in Alberta.

We essentially now have reason to believe that modern capital-driven organizations will make concessions on issues as large as pipelines and caps and more without even telling the public that there was a process they were not involved in. ENGO’s acting with a distrust of the public that rivals the Harper administration.

ForestEthics itself began almost entirely as a vehicle to carve out such a collaborative agreement and lay the framework for this model in the Great Bear Rainforest of BC (accepting far less protection than grassroots groups and independent scientists wanted, shunting aside indigenous nations in the process and eliminating democratic oversight all in one fell swoop). One of the other signatories to the GBR deal and also apparently a non-signatory observer to the new tar sands deal was Greenpeace. The organization still has an official position calling for the “phasing out” of the tar sands and as such cannot publicly be seen to pledge no resistance to export (or any) pipelines, but in the days following the Alberta climate plan?

Mike Hudema of Greenpeace was talking up the plan thusly:

This announcement is a major victory for people and communities that have long raised concerns about growing tar sands emissions. With the announced cap the government has finally set a limit on tar sands extraction. The days of the infinite growth of the tar sands are over and investors should take note.

So what part of the deal are investors told to take note of, exactly? Well, we do know some of the points. Total tar sands development can add more than another one million barrels per day of tar sands gunk to the grid. Put in perspective, tar sands were pumping at around 1.2 million barrels a day before Greenpeace parachuted into Alberta in mid 2007.

Slightly less than 2 million barrels are extracted from the various deposits of bitumen in Alberta today, meaning that in the last 8 years– 8 years of development with:

*Massive economic backing, some of the largest investments in human history all pulled together

*Federal and Provincial governments that facilitated every single project that came forward

*Record high global prices of crude, alongside one of the strongest Canadian dollars in history

*The global attention of nearly every major energy company from China to the Middle East to the UK

*In these 8 years Tar sands projects– mining and in-situ– added some 3/4 of a million barrels (roughly the equivalent of three of the giant mines at full operating capacity) to the global grid.

Since that time of the tar sands gold rush we have seen:

Peak in oil prices brought down by financial collapse spreading around the globe and Saudi Arabian oil reserve dumps

Massive development of other technologies such as fracking to take alternative investment dollars,

The removal of the most outwardly pro-oil governments at all major levels in North America,

The gutting of the loonie.

At the current rate of expansion, and the current level of resistance to further sprawl based on tar sands, the idea of getting to 3 million barrels a day would need major subsidization to make it even partially practical. It is not, and in a reminiscence of the Protected Areas Strategy in the Arctic North, what is announced to be a limit is actually a promise to investors to make things economical and operate business as usual for possibly another pair of decades.

While it is certainly of the best news that the Notley plan also includes the removal of coal fired electrical generation across Alberta, this combined with further de facto unbridled expansion of the tar sands themselves will mean two giant changes to the physical landscape are set to come about:

One: There will now be a massive introduction planned of nuclear energy. Even with the reports of the ongoing melting of Japan into the sea (Fukushima is still destroying the largest ocean on earth, we just stopped paying attention to it as it is happening) multiple nuclear reactors discussed during the first tar sands boom times of 2002-2008 will be revisited and pushed. Just ask James Hansen, a brilliant scientist who is being asked to be a sociologist when it comes to solving the climate crisis. His take is the same as Big Green: Never mention powering down or reducing consumption, that is a non-starter for “modern” capitalist Canada.

Two: this is a spectacular means to allow BC to expand the growing fracking footprint that is in the Northeast of the province, for shipment to Alberta as a “cleaner” source of the power needed to build up tar sands operations. And to produce the fracking gas means that the giant Site C dam on BC’s Peace River will provide the energy to frack to provide the energy to mine for tar sands.

Perhaps the key point is that this will mean a better situation for the investors than exists currently. Their DNA is still made up of seeing any regulation as a restriction on profit, but they have been granted at least another decade of developments at the rate of acceleration we have been accustomed to over the last several years. The Athabasca river and the forested areas of all four major tar sands regions in Alberta will continue to get poisoned or disappeared outright.

The tar sands free for all will continue but with the caveat that many will think it is now regulated. But the earth knows no law but natural law and climate markers know no future endeavour announcements. There is no savings account for the climate.

The collaborative model of developers (corporations), “stakeholders” (in particular First Nations governments subject to the Indian Act), “environmentalists” (NGO’s who receive foundation-directed money to achieve funder-driven objectives) and governments (provincial and federal) has been in place in Canada for a couple of decades now. In point of historical fact the birth of ForestEthics essentially took place to create a situation that has since become almost a template for social control and political license given to developments that prior to the agreements were unpalatable and unpopular in the extreme.

While sidelining indigenous representation either in whole or in part, such collaborative models gain little and surrender the kitchen sink. More importantly than their horrible ecological impacts, however, are the wholesale anti-democratic means of coming into being, and their quite conscious role in subverting, blunting and silencing resistance that exists. The President of Shell just announced that was why she was involved– like a linesman at a hockey game, just trying to contain conflict.

There have been many watershed moments on the advancement of the collaborative model in the past, starting in the 1980’s in the US (heavily funded by the Pew Foundation and later, Pew Charitable Trusts, et al) and advancing to cover not only BC, Alberta and many Canadian provinces, but the Arctic as well setting up similar collaborative models to effectively give away the mostly undeveloped giant lands of what get called the Northwest Territories, Nunavut and Yukon.

Perhaps most disastrously, the Canadian Boreal Forest Agreement was celebrated by 9 pro-development eNGO’s alongside multiple forestry companies, but was denounced as anti-democratic and an attack on sovereignty by most indigenous voices. It ultimately failed under its own weight.

At this late day when environmental discourse should be prominently louder and more uncompromising than ever, now collaboration is moving in to save capitalism from itself. And using silence to do so.

Don’t take my word for it. Ask Rachel Notley, Premier of Alberta.

“I’m hopeful that these policies, taken overall, will lead to a new collaborative conversation about Canada’s energy infrastructure on its merits, and to a significant de-escalation of conflict worldwide about the Alberta oilsands…”

Various tar sands pipelines, from Line 9 in Ontario to Kinder Morgan’s proposed expansion in greater Vancouver, have seen large grassroots opposition. With either fly-by-night, media grabbing appearances from Big Green with little to no support provided or the most deafening silence possible, people have gone to prison in many cases without seeing any help emerge from Big Green.

The NDP, once elected in Alberta, made achieving their climate deal one of the most important immediate goals. In order to go to Paris for UN COP discussions happening now– standing alongside the Federal Liberals saying “Canada is no longer obstructionist,” having a deal between greens and government as well as energy corporations in international venues is extremely important. For that, even with no tangible difference on the ground, Environmental Defence executive director Tim Gray (based in Toronto) explained their willingness to help: “We were more than happy to help them track toward something that could get support from elements of the environmental community as well as the business community, and that is what happened.”

But what else has happened? Tar sands operations elsewhere around the world must still be prevented from ever getting off of (or out of) the ground as well.

Operations of other tar sands projects around the planet will once again have the great example of “responsible tar sands developments” apparently requested by Notley. Some of the international projects have stalled and been shelved but nowhere have they yet been killed.

The shroud of secrecy around Ottawa has changed, even if that is mostly a public relations exercise that will lose the shine very quickly. Falsely or not, people hold a belief that far less secrecy is the order of the day. But in terms of the unaccountable results of foundation-directed eNGO’s, they have moved into new territory of deception, no longer telling after what used to only be hidden before.

And in this, a perfect refinement of the current administrations of progressiveness, done in time for Paris with Suncor hanging out with Environmental Defense to forge forward a brave new path—in France now are the signs of just what kind of administrations people living north of the 49th parallel on Turtle Island can expect: Of social control through farce, and democratic participation as a mass marketed phenomenon. With all the bells and whistles, but please turn off the lights on your way out.

[Macdonald Stainsby is an anti-tar sands and social justice activist, freelance writer and professional hitchhiker looking for a ride to the better world, currently based in Vancouver, Canada. He can be reached at mstainsby@resist.ca]

A Fixed Mentality

The San Franciscan

December 1, 2015

by Jay Taber

Gates Energy

US President Barack Obama, Microsoft CEO Bill Gates and heads of state attend the ‘Mission Innovation: Accelerating the Clean Energy Revolution’ meeting at COP21. The Breakthrough Energy Coalition includes Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates, Facebook co-founder Mark Zuckerberg and Virgin Group head Richard Branson [Photograph: Ian Langsdon/AFP/Getty Images][Source]

In 2014 the Energy Foundation/Fund in San Francisco (assets $100 Million) granted four million to Sierra Club Foundation, a couple million to Natural Resources Defense Council, as well as $665,000 to Earth Justice (Sierra Club), $565,000 to Environmental Defense Fund, and $335,000 to CERES. Smaller grants went to Seattle area groups: $30,000 to Washington Environmental Council, $15,000 to Sightline Institute (a climate think tank that promotes Bill Gates) and $7,500 to Re-Sources.

 

Laying the groundwork for a fixed mentality behind the ‘clean energy’ Ponzi scheme led by Gates, these beneficiaries become its cheerleaders. Spreading money around to media, environmental groups and think tanks that supply them with ideas ensures compliance with the Ponzi agenda.

Compromising celebrities with strong environmental creds ensures they will maintain silence about elite fraud. The hush money Ford, Rockefeller, Gates and Buffett invested in this is augmented by oil companies and financial institutions that benefit from the fraud.

Following the money is challenging, since they routinely launder it through private and public foundations, as well as brokerages that make small grants. This way, no one examines the source of the money or the agenda that controls its use, let alone the overall actual purpose, as opposed to the stated purpose.

The payoff for this financial elite investment is potentially well above the bank bailouts of 2008-2009, that devastated the US economy. The climate bail out funds from public treasuries worldwide could easily eclipse that.

 

 

 

[Jay Thomas Taber (O’Neal) derives from the most prominent tribe in Irish history, nEoghan Ua Niall, the chief family in Northern Ireland between the 4th and the 17th centuries. Jay’s ancestors were some of the last great leaders of Gaelic Ireland. His grandmother’s grandfather’s grandfather emigrated from Belfast to South Carolina in 1768. Jay is an associate scholar of the Center for World Indigenous Studies, a correspondent to Forum for Global Exchange, and a contributing editor of Fourth World Journal. Since 1994, he has served as communications director at Public Good Project, a volunteer network of researchers, analysts and activists engaged in defending democracy. As a consultant, he has assisted indigenous peoples in the European Court of Human Rights and at the United Nations. Email: tbarj [at] yahoo.com Website: www.jaytaber.com]

McKibben’s Divestment Tour – Brought to You by Wall Street [Part IX of an Investigative Report] [Mainstreaming Sustainable Capitalism]

The Art of Annihilation

April 30, 2015

Part nine of an investigative series by Cory Morningstar

Divestment Investigative Report Series [Further Reading]: Part IPart IIPart IIIPart IVPart VPart VIPart VIIPart VIIIPart IXPart XPart XIPart XIIPart XIII

 

“Sometimes people hold a core belief that is very strong. When they are presented with evidence that works against that belief, the new evidence cannot be accepted. It would create a feeling that is extremely uncomfortable, called cognitive dissonance. And because it is so important to protect the core belief, they will rationalize, ignore and even deny anything that doesn’t fit in with the core belief.” — Frantz Fanon, Black Skin, White Masks

 

Prologue: A Coup d’état of Nature – Led by the Non-Profit Industrial Complex

It is somewhat ironic that anti-REDD climate activists, faux green organizations (in contrast to legitimate grassroots organizations that do exist, although few and far between) and self-proclaimed environmentalists, who consider themselves progressive will speak out against the commodification of nature’s natural resources while simultaneously promoting the toothless divestment campaign promoted by the useless mainstream groups allegedly on the left. It’s ironic because the divestment campaign will result (succeed) in a colossal injection of money shifting over to the very portfolios heavily invested in, thus dependent upon, the intense commodification and privatization of Earth’s last remaining forests, (via REDD, environmental “markets” and the like). This tour de force will be executed with cunning precision under the guise of environmental stewardship and “internalizing negative externalities through appropriate pricing.” Thus, ironically (if in appearances only), the greatest surge in the ultimate corporate capture of Earth’s final remaining resources is being led, and will be accomplished, by the very environmentalists and environmental groups that claim to oppose such corporate domination and capture.

Beyond shelling out billions of tax-exempt dollars (i.e., investments) to those institutions most accommodating in the non-profit industrial complex (otherwise known as foundations), the corporations need not lift a finger to sell this pseudo green agenda to the people in the environmental movement; the feat is being carried out by a tag team comprised of the legitimate and the faux environmentalists. As the public is wholly ignorant and gullible, it almost has no comprehension of the following:

  1. the magnitude of our ecological crisis
  2. the root causes of the planetary crisis, or
  3. the non-profit industrial complex as an instrument of hegemony.

The commodification of the commons will represent the greatest, and most cunning, coup d’état in the history of corporate dominance – an extraordinary fait accompli of unparalleled scale, with unimaginable repercussions for humanity and all life.

Further, it matters little whether or not the money is moved from direct investments in fossil fuel corporations to so-called “socially responsible investments.” The fact of the matter is that all corporations on the planet (and therefore by extension, all investments on the planet) are dependent upon and will continue to require massive amounts of fossil fuels to continue to grow and expand ad infinitum – as required by the industrialized capitalist economic system.

The windmills and solar panels serve as beautiful (marketing) imagery as a panacea for our energy issues, yet they are illusory – the fake veneer for the commodification of the commons, which is the fundamental objective of Wall Street, the very advisers of the divestment campaign.

Thus we find ourselves unwilling to acknowledge the necessity to dismantle the industrialized capitalist economic system, choosing instead to embrace an illusion designed by corporate power.

+++

 

Al Gore and David Blood

Blood & Gore Generation: of Commodification, Privatization, and Indoctrination

“Between 2008 and 2011 the company had raised profits of nearly $218 million from institutions and wealthy investors. By 2008 Gore was able to put $35 million into hedge funds and private partnerships through the Capricorn Investment Group, a Palo Alto company founded by his Canadian billionaire buddy Jeffrey Skoll, the first president of eBay Inc.” — Forbes, November 3, 2013

 

“Civil society has a central role in accelerating the transition towards Sustainable Capitalism. NGOs must take a 360-degree approach to the process of mainstreaming Sustainable Capitalism, realising their ability to influence stakeholders in every part of the business ecosystem. NGOs must engage with investors, companies, regulators and policy makers to encourage the rapid and effective adoption of Sustainable Capitalism through campaigns, lobbying efforts and partnerships with the private sector.” — Sustainable Investment Paper, Generation, February 15, 2012

For an accurate grasp of the true objective behind a national/international marketing campaign (the Keystone Pipeline campaign is another fine example), one is wise to bypass the non-profit industrial complex (NPIC) in its entirety and go directly to researching the investment firms and corporations who are set to increase market share and reap billions in profits via such campaigns. Campaigns funded by foundations (set up by the oligarchs) serve and protect the system with well-oiled precision. Billions of dollars funnelled into the NPIC laundering machine, on which corporations would be taxed otherwise, have never been such a sound and secure investment.

Perhaps the most telling and revealing of the world the NPIC wishes us to embrace is the investment firm recommended by 350.org et al: Generation. [PDF: A Complete Guide to Reinvestment] Under the section “What types of reinvestment exist?, Mutual Funds,” the top two examples listed (four in total) are 1) Generation Investment Management Climate Solutions Fund II and 2) Generation Investment Management Credit Fund.

“We are advocates for Sustainable Capitalism…. The first, which is our principal platform for activity, is a partnership model whereby we collaborate with individuals, organizations, and institutions in our effort to accelerate the transition to a more sustainable form of capitalism. In addition, the Foundation also supports select grant-giving related to the field of Sustainable Capitalism, engagement with the local communities where we operate, and an employee gift-matching program.” — Generation Foundation

Generation is an independent, private, owner-managed partnership with offices in London and New York. The firm was co-founded in 2004 by Al Gore and David Blood. From 1985 to 1999, Blood served in various positions at Goldman Sachs Group, Inc. From 1999 to 2003, Blood served as a Co-Chief Executive Officer and Managing Director of Goldman Sachs Asset Management. Blood served as a director of Goldman Sachs International. Blood sits on many boards including his director position held at NewForests (“establishes US presence in May 2007 to capitalise on growing investment interest in environmental markets in the US”). Its investment strategies focus on forests, timberland, and environmental markets; “NewForests have a limited number of private accounts clients to develop particular project and policy expertise in reducing emissions from deforestation and degradation (REDD) in other countries.” (REDD and Biomass). Blood also holds a position as director of The Nature Conservancy, the revolving door for Goldman Sachs executives. [Blood’s full bio].

Mark Ferguson, Peter Harris, Peter Knight and Colin Mark Le Duc are also co-founders of Generation Investment. Both Ferguson and Harris held prestigious positions at Sachs. Al Gore is Co-Founder, Chairman, and Partner of The Climate Solutions Fund of which Marc Le Duk is also a co-founder.

Generation is largely an institutional investment management firm, operating at the wholesale level (major pension funds, foundations, etc). The corporatocracy and covertness behind such investing is apparent when one considers the fact that law restricts the amount of information that firms (that focus on institutional clients) can provide, to “ensure that the general public is not enticed into investing in unsuitable and overly complex products”. [1]

“Mainstreaming Sustainable Capitalism by *2020 will require independent, collaborative and voluntary action by companies, investors, government and civil society, which we hope to accelerate by advancing the discourse on the economic benefits of sustainability.” — Sustainable Investment Paper, Generation, February 15, 2012

[*David Blood: “…we say in our paper 2020, the truth is we have a view that it really needs to happen by 2015 – otherwise we are increasingly in trouble.” Breakthrough Capitalism Forum lecture, May 29, 2012]

A key area of focus is to ensure the capitalist system is kept intact; to establish the acceptable parameters of the “market revolution.” In particular, in concise language, Blood and Gore make it exceptionally clear that alternatives to the suicidal capitalist system need not, should not and will not be considered:

“Capitalism has great strengths and is fundamentally superior to any other system for organising economic activity. It is more efficient in allocating resources and in matching supply and demand. It is demonstrably effective in wealth creation. It is more congruent with higher levels of freedom and self-governance than any other system. It unlocks a higher fraction of the human potential with ubiquitous, organic incentives that reward hard work, ingenuity, and innovation. These strengths are why it is at the foundation of every successful economy.

 

“Critically, capitalism has proven itself to be adaptable and flexible enough to fit the specific needs of particular countries. Capitalism comes in many forms, from that practised in the US to the very different model that has been adopted within communist China. The causes and consequences of these variations are, of course, significant – but the more important fact remains: the mainstream debate is about how to practise capitalism not whether we should choose between capitalism and some other system.” [Emphasis added] [Source]

Generation Investment is acknowledged for its contribution in the May 2013 41-page document Institutional Pathways to Fossil-Free Investing in collaboration with Phil Aroneanu and Jamie Henn of 350.org, Bob Massie of the New Economics Institute and others interconnected within this campaign. The sponsors listed are 350.org, Responsible Endowments Coalition (REC), Sustainable Endowments Institute and Tellus Institute. [2]

“By Year Five of the simulation, the portfolio has become fossil free and its five-percent targeted reinvestment has been allocated, across a variety of asset classes, as shown in Figure 4. Half of the target (2.5 percent of the entire portfolio) can be re-allocated to sustainable, fossil-free domestic and international public equities, through existing strategies with investment managers such as Generation Investment Management, Impax Asset Management, Portfolio 21, and Trillium Asset Management, among others.” — Institutional Pathways to Fossil-Free Investing

Video: Ceres lecture featuring Bill McKibben with David Blood:

https://vimeo.com/66321774

Generation’s key action is “to accelerate mainstreaming Sustainable Capitalism.” Insight into the coming corporate capture / commodification of the commons via the global implementation of “payments for ecosystem services” (PES) is made clear under the Current Initiatives section where it is stated: “Until there are policies that establish a fair price for widely understood externalities, academics and financial professionals should strive to quantify the impact of stranded assets and analyze the subsequent implications for assessing investment opportunities.” [Emphasis added.]

The top three sectors of focus for Generation are key to how the 21st century is being shaped: 1) Agricultural and Forestry Solutions (think genetic engineering, biomass burning, land grabs, and commodification of forests/REDD 2); Behaviour Change (think Avaaz/Purpose); 3) Bio-based Fuels, Plastics and Chemicals. (See all key sectors of focus that have been publicly disclosed.) (Note that 350.org et al are now publicly campaigning on/promoting the false solution of biofuels.)

Three such partnerships (publicly disclosed) include World Resources Institute, Natural Resource Defense Council (both represented on the Ceres board of directors), and The Climate Reality Project (formerly identified as Alliance for Climate Protection). Under Memberships and Initiatives, we find Ceres, the Ceres Investor Network on Climate Risk (INCR), Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil, and many others.

“We provide business-building expertise, access to Generation’s investment, corporate, NGO and sustainability networks and a long term strategic perspective and commitment to our portfolio companies.” [Source]

And the icing on the cake:

“Five percent of the profitability of the firm is allocated to The Generation Foundation, which will support global non-profit sustainability initiatives.”

Gore and Blood identify five key imperatives that “have the potential to accelerate the transition to Sustainable Capitalism”. The first imperative identified is the need to identify and incorporate risks from stranded assets.

Enter Carbon Tracker.

Carbon Tracker

carbon-tracker-presentation-anthony-hobley-at-sitra-helsinki-21-may-2014-10-638

Ruse: noun 1. an action intended to mislead, deceive, or trick; stratagem

Utilizing research from the Potsdam Institute [3], Carbon Tracker made the case for “unburnable carbon” in the July 2011 seminal report “Unburnable Carbon: are the world’s financial markets carrying a carbon bubble?” The report suggested that the top 100 coal and 100 oil-and-gas companies had a combined value in 2011 of $7.42 trillion, much of it based on reserves that can never be used. Such reserves are one example considered by Tracker that have the potential to become stranded assets – thereby exposing investors to risk. The tracker employs (and supplies) the so-called “carbon budget” as a measure (and apparatus) as to how much more carbon the world can continue to “safely” burn.

“The concept of ‘stranded assets‘ gained prominence last year when another report by the Carbon Tracker Initiative calculated that 60-80% of the world’s coal, oil, and gas reserves would be ‘unburnable’ if the world leaders agreed to emissions reductions to limit warming to 2°C…. In essence, any price on carbon or emissions reduction policy could cut oil demand enough to strand any number of a company’s proven reserves.” — Desmog Blog, September 13, 2014

Carbon Tracker’s second “unburnable carbon” report (Unburnable Carbon 2013: Wasted Capital and Stranded Assets (PDF) is co-authored with LSE’s (London School of Economics) Grantham Research Institute. The Institute has been financed/supported in part by the Global Green Growth Institute (GGGI) through a grant for US$2.16 million (£1.35 million) to fund several research project areas from 2012 to 2014. LSE’s Grantham Research Institute membership includes (but is not limited to) Fred Krupp, president of Environmental Defense Fund; Vikram Singh Mehta, chairman of Shell Companies (India); Carter Roberts, president and CEO of WWF (US); and Sir Evelyn de Rothschild, chairman of EL Rothschild Ltd.

The aim of the Grantham Research Institute is to strengthen the analytical and empirical underpinnings of the ‘green growth’ concept in relation to both developing and developed countries.” [Source] [GGGI Partners] Yvo de Boer is the Director-General of GGGI [People]. Prior to joining the global accountancy firm KPMG in 2010, Mr. de Boer led the international process to respond to climate change in the role of Executive Secretary of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) from 2006 to 2010.

Carbon Tracker could very much be considered the key stratagem, foundation, glue and more importantly, a veil or even a shield for both the divestment campaign (global in scale), and the so-called carbon “budget.” Reports, data and papers released by this foundation-financed think tank are pumped through the channels of power, the result being the legitimization of concepts that have no basis in reality if it were not for the non-profit industrial complex, in tandem with media, ensuring no one states – or even notices – the obvious, that the emperor has no clothes.

“A vain Emperor who cares about nothing except wearing and displaying clothes hires two swindlers who promise him the finest, best suit of clothes from a fabric invisible to anyone who is unfit for his position or ‘hopelessly stupid.’ The Emperor’s ministers cannot see the clothing themselves, but pretend that they can for fear of appearing unfit for their positions and the Emperor does the same. Finally the swindlers report that the suit is finished, they mime dressing him and the Emperor marches in procession before his subjects. The townsfolk play along with the pretense, not wanting to appear unfit for their positions or stupid. Then a child in the crowd, too young to understand the desirability of keeping up the pretense, blurts out that the Emperor is wearing nothing at all and the cry is taken up by others. The Emperor cringes, suspects the assertion is true, but continues the procession.” [Source]

In this instance, the emperor is the oligarchy as a collective, the ministers are the sycophants that comprise the NPIC, and the townsfolk – not wanting to appear stupid or undeserving.

Reports such as Carbon Tracker’s serve to legitimate, normalize and thus sanction the already capitalist-sanctioned “activism” that deliberately assists in pushing forward particular policies and agendas already conceptualized (years and even decades in advance) by the funders and the elite.

carbon-tracker-presentation-anthony-hobley-at-sitra-helsinki-21-may-2014-3-1024

Consider who finances the work of the Carbon Tracker. “The work of Carbon Tracker has been made possible by the vision and openness to innovation shown by organisations such as the following”: The Rockefeller Brothers Fund, Bloomberg Philanthropies, The Tellus Mater Foundation, Generation Foundation, Wallace Global Fund, The European Climate Foundation, The Growald Family Fund, The Joseph Rowntree Charitable Trust ,The Polden Puckham Charitable Foundation, The Ashden Trust, Zennstrom Philanthropies, MAVA Foundation, The Velux Foundation, and The Grantham Foundation. After you consider the “who” behind the financing, consider “why” the financing.

Wallace Global Fund refers to its interest in funding Carbon Tracker as Support for a collaboration between climate activists and financial analysts seeking to align the action of world capital markets with the reality of global warming.”

“The ability to deal with people is as purchasable a commodity as sugar or coffee and I will pay more for that ability than for any other under the sun.” — John D. Rockefeller

Millions of dollars funnelled through foundations into institutions, who in turn churn out reports, serve a pivotal purpose. Slick reports, marketing and PR build security (and acceptance/acquiescence amongst the populace) for the investment strategies belonging to the endowments (as well as the trustees) of the very foundations such institutions/NGOs are funded by. This is nothing more than polished PR at arm’s length intended/financed to promote said investments – as well as divestments. The appearance of an independent think tank evokes trust in the public realm. The oligarchs know how to manage, shape and modify behavioural change amongst the public. We are a public of rampant consumption and continued devolution, by design. There is little doubt that the billions of dollars the elite have pumped into the NPIC must quantify as one of the best long-term investments they have ever made.

The concepts of carbon budget, stranded assets and carbon asset bubbles have indeed gained traction with many people. This is in part due to the repetitive messaging of familiar language and unthreatening implications (via a massive injection of funding; Rockefeller et al must be pleased), the précis being that a person of privilege and monetary wealth can simply move his/her money from coal or Exxon and re-invest it into “clean” investments such as massive solar projects in deliberately impoverished Africa that will export the energy to those who already have it in Europe, geothermal, biomass projects that burn the remaining Earth’s forests and whole cultures into ashes, or REDD, which commodifies Earth’s forests for the even further expansion of capital. Pick your poison wisely. In less than 30 minutes we have “saved the world” and we still retain our wealth and privilege. Yet in reality, nothing has changed, the system demands continued growth, clean energy demands fossil fuels and vast resources from an already depleted planet, and the world continues to warm. To divest and feel no consequences is far preferred (by the 1% creating 50% of all global GHG emissions) than actual/tangible divesting from vacations (flying), personal automobiles, clothes dryers, steaks, lawn-mowers, leaf-blowers, Starbucks, etc. etc. etc. – including iPhones, iPods, iEverthing, with emphasis on the word “I.”

“The investor effort, called the Carbon Asset Risk (CAR) initiative, is being coordinated by Ceres and the Carbon Tracker initiative, with support from the Global Investor Coalition on Climate Change.” — Ceres Press Release, October 24, 2013

The organizations behind the quickly-emerging “new” economy are all very much interwoven, as are the players and key people. James Leaton, Research Director for the Carbon Tracker Initiative (2010 onward), was recently featured at the May 1-2, 2013 Ceres conference with 350.org’s McKibben and Bob Massie (former president and CEO of the New Economy Coalition). Leaton was also featured at the INCR Annual Meeting at the Ceres conference titled The 21st Century Investor: Ceres Blueprint for Sustainable Investing conference which took place April 30, 2013.

Carbon Tracker is identified as one of the key NGOs engaged with the US Divest-Invest Coordinating Committee (USCC). The combination of a need to be both an environmentalist and a capitalist (definitely not in that order) in the organization is represented in the following job posting:

As You Sow job description, February 13, 2015: “Organizations in the Coalition: 350.org, Responsible Endowments Coalition, Intentional Endowments Network, Hip-Hop Caucus, Energy Action Coalition, Service Employees International Union (SEIU), Black Mesa Water Coalition, Carbon Tracker, California Student Sustainability Coalition, Divest-Invest Philanthropy, Divest-Invest Individual, Fenton Communications, Mayors Innovation Project, Coalition for Environmentally Responsible Economies (CERES), New Economy Coalition, GreenFaith, Healthcare without Harm, Sustainable Initiatives at Partners HealthCare, As You Sow, or other organizations engaged with Divest-Invest.”

Key staff at Carbon Tracker demonstrate that a vital prerequisite to being hired/chosen by the Tracker is vast experience in carbon markets.

Prior to his role at Carbon Tracker, Leaton was a sustainability and climate change consultant at PricewaterhouseCoopers, focusing on the financial sector, advising blue chip clients on risks and “opportunities.” Prior to PricewaterhouseCoopers, Leaton spent five years at WWF as a senior policy advisor, focusing on the links between energy and finance.

“‘Assets are already being written down due to increasing competition between energy sources, air quality standards being introduced to reduce health impacts, and measures to reduce carbon pollution combining to change the energy landscape,’ said James Leaton, Research Director at Carbon Tracker. ‘Avoiding high cost, high carbon projects which are failing to deliver a return on capital will improve shareholder returns.'” — Ceres Press Release, October 24, 2013

Mark Fulton is currently an adviser to the Carbon Tracker Initiative and Senior Fellow at Ceres. He is a recognized economist (of 35 years) and market strategist at leading financial institutions including Citigroup, Salomon Bros and County Natwest. Prior to this role, Fulton was head of research at Deutsche Bank Climate Change Advisors at Deutsche Bank (from 2007 to 2012). He is currently a member of the Capital Markets Climate Initiative, UK Department of Energy and Climate Change. From 2010 to 2012 he was co-chair of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) Finance Initiative Climate Change Working Group. In 2011 and 2012, Fulton served on the technical committee of the UN Secretary-General’s Sustainable Energy for All.

“‘Many of the responses investors have received from the companies thus far acknowledge that there is a legitimate risk issue around carbon reserves, and companies are open to continued engagement from the investor community to determine the scope,’ said Mark Fulton, a member of the Carbon Tracker’s Advisory Board and a Ceres adviser.” — Ceres Press Release, October 24, 2013

Anthony Hobley has been Chief Executive Officer of the Carbon Tracker Initiative since February 2014. Hobley played a key role in helping design the UK’s pilot emissions trading scheme and also in developing key aspects of the EU ETS (Emissions Trading System). Hobley was seconded to Norton Rose Fulbright’s Sydney office between 2010 and 2012 where he was heavily involved in the development of the emerging carbon and clean energy markets in Australia and Asia. He was a key figure behind the creation of the business advocacy group Businesses for a Clean Economy, a coalition of businesses arguing for a price on carbon. Anthony was also behind the creation of the business group Climate Markets & Investment Association where he is the current president. He also sits on the boards of the Verified Carbon Standards Association and on the Advisory Board to the Climate Bonds Initiative. [Source | Full Bio]

The Carbon Tracker advisory board is made up of representatives of carbon market institutions.

The board includes: Nick Robins (co-director of the UNEP Green Finance Enquiry), Lois Guthrie (CEO of the Carbon Disclosure Standards Board), Tessa Tennant (founder and board member, Association for Sustainable and Responsible Investment in Asia – ASrIA), Ben Caldecott (programme director, Smith School of Enterprise and the Environment, University of Oxford) Catherine Howarth (CEO at ShareAction), James Stacey (head of sustainable finance strategy at Earth Capital Partners), Jemma Green (previously VP of sustainable finance at JP Morgan), Meg Brown (previously director of climate and sustainability research at Citi Investment Research), Stanislas Dupré (founder & director at 2° Investing Initiative), Bevis Longstreth (previously commissioner of the United States Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), Laura Sandys (member of parliament for South Thanet), Mark Lewis (senior sustainability analyst and co-ordinator of energy transition & climate change research at Kepler Cheuvreux), and Neil Morisetti (director of strategy at UCL Science, Technology, Engineering and Public Policy Department, previously special representative for climate change at the UK Foreign Secretary.)

Ben Caldecott’s elite standing in the interlocking directorate is extensive. Identified as a British environmentalist, economist, and commentator, he serves on the advisory board of Carbon Tracker, and as a trustee of the Green Alliance think tank. He serves as head of government advisory for Bloomberg New Energy Finance, director of the Stranded Assets Programme at the Smith School of Enterprise and the Environment, adviser to The Prince of Wales’ International Sustainability Unit, academic visitor at the Bank of England, and visiting fellow at the University of Sydney. He is head of European Policy at Climate Change Capital, directing the CCC think tank and advising CCC funds and clients on the development of policy-driven markets. Caldecott has previously worked as research director for environment and energy at the think tank Policy Exchange. Caldecott serves on the advisory network of the Natural Capital Declaration, which is key (discussed at length further in this report). Caldecott has worked in parliament and for a number of different UK government departments and international organisations, including UNEP and the Foreign & Commonwealth Office (FCO).

Caldecott has been instrumental in building government support for “clean coal.” Thus, UK leaders are all calling for an end to unabated coal – code for carbon capture and sequestration/storage.

Ben C

Above: Business Summit on Climate Leadership 2011 Speakers. Ben Caldecott – Head of European Policy, Climate Change Capital, second in from far right (Flickr, Climate Group)

Carbon capture and sequestration (CSS) and enhanced oil recovery (EOR) (which uses the sequestered CO2 to recover more oil out of depleted oil fields) is a critical component of the “new economy.” CCS is to gain acceptance as a vital component of the new “low carbon” economy where societies can continue production/burning of both coal and oil under the guise of “emissions reduction measures.” In tandem with the quiet proliferation of biomass (supported by the NPIC) and other false solutions, this economy has already begun:

“In the Weyburn oil field in Saskatchewan, Canada – where CO2 from the Dakota Gasification Company’s coal gasification plant in Beulah, ND is piped north to pump into the oil field, buying 25 more years of oil production – 2.8 times more CO2 would be released from all of the extra oil they expect to produce than the amount they ‘sequester’ (ignoring reports of leakage). In the Permian Basin (TX/NM), 47% of the amount of CO2 pumped into the ground is re-released by burning the extra oil produced (that would otherwise stay in the ground).” [Source]

Stephen Tindale, former executive director of Greenpeace UK, is another “environmentalist” in support of carbon capture and storage. In a series on his website Climate Answers , the commentary CCS: What the EU Needs to Do – Part 1, with Nick Horler, chief executive of ScottishPower, is supported by Caldecott. Both Tindale and Caldecott have contributed significant language and concepts to the discourse on climate since this 2010 piece. Here we witness just one aspect of the many realms of genius behind the marketing/branding of the instrumental stranded/bubble/budget language that has “changed everything.” Coal in particular, has been identified and condemned by both the media and NPIC as a coming stranded asset. Thus coal is “saved” from stranded status when CCS is deployed; the “carbon bubble” refrains from bursting; and the amount of “unburnable carbon” in the “carbon budget” reduced.

As with all the shaping of our shared futures by the elite, the pathway to CCS is clear in the 2008 Green Alliance paper, A Last Chance for Coal, with contributions from Ben Caldecott while at the Policy Exchange think tank. The paper notes that it is critical Europe’s commitment to CCS be realized before 2020; 12 short years away from the paper’s publication date. The year 2020 is a critical date of vast significance – a recurring deadline for all environmental market solutions to be in place.

While the front figures in the “movement” such as 350’s Bill McKibben and Naomi Klein repeat and inflate the language of stranded assets, carbon bubbles, budgets, divestment and renewable energy, the issue of CCS is rarely mentioned or touched upon, while the most critical issue that has ever faced humanity, the financialization of nature, via the global implementation of “payments for ecosystem services,” receives no attention whatsoever. It’s not that these appointed “leaders” don’t understand the “this changes everything” world that the oligarchs have been working toward for decades. They do. Consider that Caldecott, as a key figure in the delivering/marketing of mainstream finance to “clean energy” partnered with 350.org for the 2014 “Stranded Down Under Tour” in Australia.

“It appears to us that divestment is the bait and engagement is the fishing rod – divestment is vital in hooking people’s attention, and the engagement tools and analysis is [sic] essential to reel the capex [capital expenditures] in. Investors and NGOs now need to have the patience to catch enough fish.” — Carbon Tracker Website

Most, if not all organizations and investment firms promoting or affiliated with the divestment campaign have vested interests in the expansion of false solutions such as CCS, biomass, carbon credits/trading and environmental markets – all clamouring to cash in on the promise of the most unparalleled wealth opportunity of the 21st century.

The Investor Expectations: Oil and Gas Companies was developed by the IIGCC with support from Ceres’ INCR, IGCC and AIGCC. It builds on the Carbon Asset Risk (CAR) Initiative, through which 75 investors managing more than $3 trillion in assets engaged with 45 of the world’s largest fossil fuel companies. The CAR initiative is coordinated by Ceres and Carbon Tracker, with support from IIGCC and IGCC, which lead engagement with fossil fuel companies in Europe and Australia/New Zealand respectively.

The Carbon Asset Risk (CAR) Initiative: “In the long term, investors want to see fossil fuel companies adapt, remaining successful by: Focusing on fewer projects at the low end of the cost curve; Returning capital to investors; and Diversifying business toward cleaner, lower-carbon energy sources, including renewables, energy efficiency and carbon capture and storage (CCS).”

Divest-Invest

“The transition to a low-carbon economy will be the most significant economic change in history. It will be deeper, more fundamental than the industrial revolution, and faster than the technology revolution. And it’s going to happen in the next five to 10 years…. The leadership of Divest-Invest is important, the leadership at 350.org.” — David Blood, Generation Investment, Divest-Invest Transcript, Fenton Communications, Wallace Global Fund, and Inst. for Policy Studies, September 22, 2014

 

The common definition of a Divest-Invest commitment is a pledge to divest from the top fossil fuel companies within five years and to move those assets into clean energy investments. As the movement has spread, participants have tailored the timing and sequence of commitments to their particular circumstances. The working group has recognized the variety of these circumstances and has designed this process to allow institutions to meet both their fiduciary and moral responsibilities. — Arabella Advisors, Measuring the Global Fossil Fuel Divestment Movement, September 19, 2014

The global divestment campaign targets 200 of the world’s largest publicly traded fossil-fuel corporations: 100 from oil and gas and 100 from coal. These are ranked according to the size of their proven reserves. The Measuring the Global Fossil Fuel Divestment Movement report (September 19, 2014) discloses the following:

“The working group relied upon self-reported data from individual commitments to determine the number and scope of divest-invest pledges. Individuals agreed to a standard pledge, and most completed a brief survey. The standard pledge (available at http://divestinvest.org/individual) states:

  1. I will make no new investments in the top 200 oil, gas, and coal companies [as defined by the Carbon Tracker 200].
  2. I will sell my existing assets tied to these oil, gas, and coal investments within three to five years.
  3. I will invest in the new energy economy.

It is critical to note the language and the framing of the divest-invest campaign (which isn’t necessarily the same as divestment at large). To begin, the term “new” (in #3) refers to both the “new economy” and, in this instance, the “new energy economy,” which is strategic. As discussed in 2014 by Avaaz/Purpose Inc. co-founder Jeremy Heimans, the former term “green” (as in “green economy”) is, for all marketing intents and purposes, dead. For clarity, individuals agree to not invest in the top 100 public coal, oil and gas companies listed by the “Carbon Tracker 200.” All other investments appear to be fair game: biofuel/biomass, nuclear, the military-industrial complex/weapons industry, the chemical industry, factory farming, aviation, BNSF, pornography… it’s all up for grabs. One can move their investments from Exxon over to Lockheed Martin & make a killing – both literally and figuratively. Not only is there a plethora of fuel-intensive stock options/investments, those divesting are given a full five years to follow through on their commitment “to meet both their fiduciary and moral responsibilities,” meaning that a corporation/entity can announce their “commitment,” have 350.org greenwash their persona, and then five years later, when staff positions, economic opportunities, etc. have changed, toss it out with the bath water if they wish to do so. Further, it is not enough to simply divest – one must agree, most importantly, to “invest in the new energy economy.” Thus, the idea of starving the corporate stranglehold, even if only in a limited way, is effectively out the window.

Oil services companies, pipeline companies, refiners, holding facility companies, etc. are all fair game for those wishing to divest. Yet the reality is that none of these industries/companies make their big money from shareholders or stock markets. These companies make the bulk of their profits by booking reserves and selling their product directly to market. Further, most of the capital for the shale gas and oil revolution comes from private equity. “Big oil” has not been at the centre of it. Rather, the centre is comprised of smaller independent and private companies. The more one understands the industries and the business, the more one comes to the realization of what a hoax the “divest-invest” campaign actually is.

Divest-Invest Philanthropy

Divest Invest Allies and Advisors

The Divest-Invest NGO is comprised of three pillars: 1) Divest-Invest Philanthropy [4], 2) Divest-Invest Individual and 3) the Divest-Invest Advisors and Allies.

In her role as CEO of Phoenix Global Impact, Jenna Nicholas is consulting with the World Bank on social impact bonds; she is coordinating the Divest-Invest: Philanthropy Initiative, appointed by the Wallace Global Fund as of March 2014. Nicholas is an associate to Calvert Special Equities and sits on the advisory groups of the Impact Hub DC, Nexus Global Youth Summit and High Water Women. [Full Bio]

Allies and advisors of the Divest-Invest campaign are to ensure success: “Advisors and allies keep core campaign staff informed on various financial, business, community and legal trends relevant to the pledge and/or steps for follow-through…. In collaboration with Divest-Invest Philanthropy and many other movement partners and allies, we are accelerating the transition to a sustainable and equitable economy. [Source]

Such groups are popping up everywhere. Whether there are dozens, hundreds or even thousands has yet to be ascertained. But one thing is certain. They have been tactically preparing for the “new economy” windfall.

Consider the 2° Investing Initiative [2°ii], a multi-stakeholder think tank working to align the financial sector with 2°C climate goals: “Our association consists of more than 30 member organizations and 60 individual members, most of whom are serving in financial institutions (banks, asset management, private equity, brokerage, etc.). Some other members are experts from different fields (consulting, accounting, extra-financial analysis, etc.), either researchers (economy, climate economics), or public servants. Two of our members are Members of the European Parliament (former Ministers of Environment in their respective countries).”

Members:

2C Investing Members

Peers and links within this particular interlocking directorate include the Carbon Tracker Initiative (which coined the term “carbon bubble”), Long Finance, Finance Watch, OECD, Climate Change Capital, UNEP-FI (a partnership between the United Nations Environment Programme and financial institutions), Asset Owners Disclosure Project, Climate Policy Initiative, E3G (Third Generation Environmentalism), CDC Climat, McKinsey Global Institute, Climate Bonds Initiative, BNEF (Bloomberg), GABV (Global Alliance for Banking on Values), BankTrack and The Institutional Investors Group on Climate Change (IIGCC is a Ceres initiative).

Over and over again we witness (yet ignore) the interlocking directorate: NGOs, executive board members, advisors, fellows, CEOs, politicians, bankers and media – all working together for the expansion of capital markets. And although the divestment campaign appears fresh out of nowhere, the NGOs assigned to capture the public’s trust, waiting in the wings, did not simply fall from the summer sky. The organizing and deployment is precise, strategic, seductive and global in scale.

As one investigates the history and financing of the divestment campaign, one begins to recognize specific organizations that appear/overlap more frequently than others, for example, Ceres, Ceres entities, United Nations organizations, 350.org and Carbon Tracker. These groups lead in shaping the public opinion and providing the discourse required to implement already conceived/awaiting policies that serve hegemonic interests (expansion of capital markets), while simultaneously securing, strengthening and insulating capitalism itself.

Investment Terminology

In the July 7, 2014 article, Why the Fossil Fuel Divestment Movement is a Farce, the author sheds much needed light on investment terminologies and information that are little understood by the average citizen:

“Notice the words ‘publicly traded.’ In other words, fossil fuel divestment would target only major corporations that are listed on the stock market. But pension funds and endowments, the entities largely targeted by the 350.org campaign, invest hundreds of billions of dollars in privately traded securities, such as hedge funds and private equity – vehicles that are invested at all levels of the fossil fuel economy. (In particular, hedge funds and private equity have been found to be the key financial backers of the fracking boom.) Were the Massachusetts divestment bill to pass, state pension funds would invariably still be invested in the fossil fuel economy.”

The20billioncarbonbubble1

Graphic: Public companies represent a small piece of the pie; $7 trillion in fossil fuel reserves as opposed to private and national companies that represent three times this market size. Source

The cautionary reference to hedge funds is significant. Note that Blood & Gore’s Generation Investment is a hedge fund. Also note the tight relationship between 350.org founder Bill McKibben, hedge fund billionaire Tom Steyer, the US Democratic Party and the crème de la crème of the establishment Left (to be discussed later in this report). On May 6, 2014 CNN reported that the top 25 hedge fund managers took home $21 billion among them.

The author [Why the Fossil Fuel Divestment Movement is a Farce] continues:

“The divestment campaign argues that 200 publicly traded fossil fuel companies dominate the fossil fuel exploration market. But they ignore that such companies frequently depend on private equity and hedge funds for financing new investments when large banks are uninterested in taking on further risk. The public can rarely (if ever) verify that these types of arrangements take place, even if it is a teacher attempting to verify what her pension fund is doing with her money.

 

“The divestment campaign argues that 200 publicly traded fossil fuel companies dominate the fossil fuel exploration market. But they ignore that such companies frequently depend on private equity and hedge funds for financing new investments when large banks are uninterested in taking on further risk. The public can rarely (if ever) verify that these types of arrangements take place, even if it is a teacher attempting to verify what her pension fund is doing with her money.

 

“Pension funds and endowments have not always invested in the private market. In the 1980s and before, in fact, they were almost exclusively invested in publicly traded securities. Laws such as the Securities Act of 1933, the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 and the Investment Company Act of 1940 allowed the public to verify how the companies in which pension funds and endowments were investing used their funds and provided transparency to investors in order to prevent fraudulent activity.

 

“By focusing only on publicly traded securities, the fossil fuel divestment campaign ignores the corporate misdeeds of a sector that holds billions of dollars of investments in a dirty energy economy.

 

“The same is not possible with privately traded alternative investments, which have been on the rise since the early 1990s. (It is difficult to ascertain why exactly pension funds and endowments have funneled assets into private markets, as there is little evidence that they perform any better than stocks and bonds and a great deal of evidence that they are far riskier. Private market money managers are notorious as great salesmen, and a series of pay-to-play scandals have implicated some of the largest hedge funds and private equity firms.) Regardless, today pension funds and endowments are by far the largest investors in hedge funds and private equity.” [Emphasis added]

carbon-tracker-presentation-anthony-hobley-at-sitra-helsinki-21-may-2014-6-1024

Above: Private and institutional investors represent Carbon Tracker’s largest/key target audience.

The author continues, citing conflict of interest:

“Further compromising the campaign is its questionable line of funding. It has received at least $350,000 from Jeremy Grantham, a hedge fund manager who oversees more than $500 million in assets for public pension funds in Massachusetts. According to a report from Inside Philanthropy, 350.org also receives funding from billionaire hedge fund manager Tom Steyer. (The organization declined to state exactly how much money it has received from Steyer and Grantham.)

 

“Farallon Capital Management, which Steyer founded, has major investments at all levels of the fossil fuel economy. While he is no longer at the helm, during his leadership it pursued major deals in fossil fuels, as a recent report from Reuters showed. In fact, the firm had been a target of student activists before he began funding them.

“Grantham, for his part, argued in an interview with The Guardian that he felt that student activists should ‘stamp their feet’ to get their university endowments to divest from fossil fuels ‘because they can do that.’ With his firm’s significant investments in the fossil fuel economy – according to first quarter 2014 filings, $1.2 billion in Chevron, $570 million in ExxonMobil and $240 million in Monsanto – he, apparently, cannot.” [Emphasis added]

Jeremy Grantham apparently encourages others to stamp their feet and divest while his firm, decidedly, does not. He is not alone. Following the media saturation of September 22, 2014 that hailed the Rockefeller Brothers Fund (RBF) divestment as a historic world event, few reported that RBF had decided to hang on to their Exxon stocks. [This is discussed at length later in this report.]

Here it is important to recall that Carbon Tracker is affiliated with London School of Economics Grantham Research Institute. Jeremy Grantham co-founded the Grantham Foundation for the Protection of the Environment in 1997. Funding was given to both Imperial College London and London School of Economics to establish the Grantham Institute for Climate Change and the Grantham Research Institute on Climate Change and the Environment. In 2011, the Grantham Foundation for the Protection of the Environment donated $1 million to both the Sierra Club and Nature Conservancy, and $2 million to the Environmental Defense Fund. The Foundation has also provided support to Greenpeace, the WWF and the Smithsonian. [Source] As noted earlier in this report, London School of Economics Grantham Research Institute membership includes (but is not limited to) Fred Krupp, president of Environmental Defense Fund; Vikram Singh Mehta, chairman of Shell Companies (India); Carter Roberts, president and CEO of WWF (US); and Sir Evelyn de Rothschild, chairman of EL Rothschild Ltd.

In the July 10, 2014 rebuttal, Why a Movement is Never a Farce, the author frames the divestment campaign as a Gandhi-esque movement. Yet there are items that an astute citizen must consider distinct red flags: “Endorsements have come from such unexpected places as the World Bank, and even former Treasury Secretary and Goldman Sachs’ COO Henry Paulson this past week.” Given the references to Gandhi and endorsements that “have come from such unexpected places as the World Bank,” it is of interest to note that Martin Luther King’s first trip to India to study Gandhi was paid for by the RJ Reynolds (tobacco empire) family (funneled through Quaker group American Friends Service Committee.) In a letter, an AFSC official writes that the trip seems to have been designed as a photo-op to “build up King as a world figure, and to have this buildup recorded in the US.”

The author then writes: “It is a sign of divestment’s power that it has gained endorsements from the likes of Wall Street, but we shouldn’t fool ourselves into trusting either Wall Street or the White House to show us the way to a new economy. Accepting endorsement, however, is not the same as taking direction; fossil fuel divestment is a grassroots movement led by students, not billionaires, and is firmly committed to justice and solidarity. I know because myself and countless other students and recent alumni – with the vital support of nonprofits – have poured the last few years of our lives into building it. Call that misdirected, sure, but don’t call it Astroturf.”

Yet it’s not “a sign of divestment’s power that it has gained endorsements from the likes of Wall Street” – the divestment campaign is Wall Street. 350.org (with McKibben at the helm) developed the divestment campaign in consultation with Wall Street. The author is, however, correct that the purpose of the divestment campaign is very much “to show us the way to a new economy.” As 21st century lambs of the oligarch, well-intentioned students are utilized, used and misdirected via tactical manipulation.

Steyer, Bloomberg, Soros & the Democrats

McKibben and Steyer March-7

Photo: People’s Climate March, 2014. Bill McKibben (350.org founder) with Tom Steyer, hedge fund billionaire and founder of Generation Next

“It’s a big club, and you ain’t in it.” — George Carlin

An example of so-called progressive media amplifying Carbon Tracker’s disapproval of coal use in China (Carbon Tracker report: “Energy Access: why coal is not the way out of energy poverty”) appears straightforward. As does the slide presentation published October 29, 2014 by Carbon Tracker: Is Coal a Sinking Ship? Yet perhaps it isn’t.

Consider that the demand for coal in both China and India is going to do nothing but grow. Then consider this: In an effort to support its own mines and workers and economy, China is in the process of cutting all purchases of imported coal as rapidly as possible (April 14, 2015: “China’s coal imports decline by 42 percent during first quarter…. The international coal market is saddled with excessive supplies for the moment….”). India, still trying to provide basic power to citizens, is also rejecting further dependence on international coal. On November 12, 2014 the Power and Coal Minister of India, Piyush Goyal, stated “in the next two or three years we should be able to stop imports of thermal coal.” This position has been endorsed by India’s Prime Minister. This certainly puts a damper on U.S. plans to ship an additional 100 million tons of coal per year to Asia via three proposed coal ports – an aggravating deterrent that must also extend to Australia which plans to open mega coal mines in Queensland’s Galilee Basin, as well as the world’s largest port (at Abbot Point right in the middle of the Great Barrier Reef) for export to China. Not only does India have more coal than Australia, India has 57 times more labourers.

A “no coal for China” anthem as sung by the non-profit industrial complex can also be interpreted as de facto promotion of natural gas/fracking, nuclear, etc. Consider the Bloomberg media coverage (referencing Carbon Tracker) in the article covering China moving from coal to gas. As Bloomberg (Bloomberg Philanthropies being a financial backer of Carbon Tracker) has been financing the fracking boom, one might question if there is a coordinated effort between Michael Bloomberg and former Treasury Secretary Hank Paulson who, along with billionaire Tom Steyer’s Next Generation, have launched the Risky Business Project.

From the Risky Business website:

“Launched in October, 2013, the Risky Business Project focuses on quantifying and publicizing the economic risks from the impacts of a changing climate.

 

“Risky Business Project co-chairs Michael R. Bloomberg, Henry Paulson, and Tom Steyer tasked the Rhodium Group, an economic research firm that specializes in analyzing disruptive global trends, with an independent assessment of the economic risks posed by a changing climate in the U.S. Rhodium convened a research team co-led by climate scientist Dr. Robert Kopp of Rutgers University and economist Dr. Solomon Hsiang of the University of California, Berkeley. Rhodium also partnered with Risk Management Solutions (RMS), the world’s largest catastrophe-modeling company for insurance, reinsurance, and investment-management companies around the world. The team’s complete assessment, along with technical appendices, is available at Rhodium’s website, climateprospectus.rhg.com.”

The Risky Business Project is a joint partnership of Bloomberg Philanthropies, the Paulson Institute, and TomKat Charitable Trust (established in 2009 with funding from Tom Steyer and Kat Taylor), one of many financiers of 350.org (see image below). Additional support for the project has been provided by the Skoll Global Threats Fund, the Rockefeller Family Fund, the McKnight Foundation, the Joyce Foundation, John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, and the Heising-Simons Foundation. Staff support for the Risky Business Project is provided by Next Generation, also co-founded by Steyer.

350 Funders

Bloomberg Philanthropies also invests in oil and gas via Willet Advisors. Logic dictates that due to its holdings/investments in the gas/fracking industry, Bloomberg will therefore highlight any victories against dirty coal – including faux ones. Thus although the divestment campaign is successful in the stigmatization of coal corporations, the label of corporate pariah does not extend to carbon sequestration schemes, industrial biomass and a score of other false solutions that will comprise the bulk share of the “clean” economy. Rather, such false solutions are grossly labeled as victorious and sought after by the appointed “leaders” of the environmental “movement.” Consider the re-tweet of the article Shell’s Global Warming Strategy Is Psychopathic & Paranoid, Says Former UK Climate Envoy by Bill McKibben in which the gist of the argument is why Shell is dragging their feet on carbon capture and sequestration. Further consider that the Bureau of Land Management’s plan to convert Nevada’s Pinyon Forests to biomass that threatens ancient rituals is backed by partner organizations such as Sierra Club, in partnership with Barrick Gold and Barrick Corp. This is just one instance of biomass facilities planned or already in operation under the guise of “clean” energy and/or carbon neutrality.

Bill McKibben Tweet CCS Shell 2

Steyer must be considered king hedge fund bourgeois extraordinaire with close ties to those in power. Time magazine, May 22, 2014: “So when Barack Obama appeared at Tom Steyer’s San Francisco home for a fundraiser last year, the President had to know there would be an ask. The 56-year-old Steyer is a hedge-fund billionaire and a major-league Democratic donor.”

August 6, 2014, Politico:

Billionaire Tom Steyer joined fellow liberal billionaire George Soros for a lunchtime meeting with Obama adviser John Podesta at the White House on Feb. 20, according to White House visitor logs. That was just days after Steyer pledged to spend $100 million on the midterm elections. Steyer also met with Podesta on March 31, along with NextGen Climate Action COO Josh Fryday and Denver attorney Ted White, managing partner of Fahr LLC, an ‘umbrella entity’ for Steyer’s various organizations.

 

“According to records, Steyer has visited the White House on at least 12 occasions since 2009 for meetings with top-level administration officials including Rahm Emanuel, Bill Daley, Pete Rouse, Heather Zichal, Jon Carson and David Lane. Those records only cover through April, and Steyer is known to have attended a June 25 meeting with Podesta, John Holdren, Valerie Jarrett and others to discuss his ‘Risky Business’ report on climate change.”

Exploiting climate change destruction to garner votes for the Democrats is par for the course within the NPIC; exploiting climate change destruction to further unprecedented “climate wealth opportunities” is not only the best game in town – it’s the best game on the industrialized planet.

 

Next: Part X

 

[Cory Morningstar is an independent investigative journalist, writer and environmental activist, focusing on global ecological collapse and political analysis of the non-profit industrial complex. She resides in Canada. Her recent writings can be found on Wrong Kind of Green, The Art of Annihilation, Counterpunch, Political Context, Canadians for Action on Climate Change and Countercurrents. Her writing has also been published by Bolivia Rising and Cambio, the official newspaper of the Plurinational State of Bolivia. You can follow her on twitter @elleprovocateur]

 

EndNotes:

[1] Source: “M. Mills, personal communication, 2010.” In Howell, Robert. “The Challenge of Sustainability for the Financial Sector.” International Journal of Environmental, Cultural, Economic and Social Sustainability.

[2] The Forum for Sustainable and Responsible Investment (US) also serves to promote the divestment campaign in the “Education Center” where one finds “Fossil Fuels, Divestment & Reinvestment.” Within this section, under other resources, the link titled Institutional Pathways to Fossil Free Investing brings us back to the May 2013 41-page document Institutional Pathways to Fossil-Free Investing [emphasis added].

[3] “Thanks to the Carbon Bubble report, we now have some better numbers to help us grapple with that question. Based on research by the Potsdam Institute, the report suggests that if the world wants an 80% chance of staying within the 2ºC limit, we should avoid emitting more than 565 gigatonnes (GT) of CO2 by 2050. That equates to just one-fifth of the world’s total proven fossil fuel reserves, which contain enough carbon to produce a massive 2,795GT of CO2, the report estimates.”

[4] The DivestInvest Philanthropy steering committee and working group members include: Ellen Dorsey, Ellen Friedman, Richard Woo, Tom VanDyck, Melissa Beck, Jenna Nicholas, Farhad Ebrahimi, Vic de Luca, David Gordon, Florence Miller, Peter Martin, Anne Stetson, Jon Jensen, John Goldstein, Shally Shanker and Ginny Quick.