Tagged ‘Indigenous Rights‘

Media Conspiracy of Silence While Colombia’s Largest Indigenous Group is Dying

 United World Revolutionary Front in Defense of Life and Humanity

August 5, 2016

By Dan Kovalik


Earlier this week, on August 1, the Supreme Court of Colombia orderedPresident Manuel Santos and other individuals and entities to take all appropriate and necessary measures, in an efficient and coordinated manner, to ensure that children and adolescents of The Wayuu indigenous community receive access to clean drinking water, food, health care, housing and other basic amenities necessary for their survival.
PHOTO: Daniel Kovalik, July 24, 2016
Wayuu Children, La Guajira, Colombia

This order follows the December 11, 2015 decision of the Inter-American Commission of Human Rights (IACHR) which directed the Colombian government to take similar immediate “precautionary measures”  to ensure the lives and personal safety of Wayuu children in La Guajira, Colombia.  The IACHR decision was prompted by the documented deaths of 4770 Wayuu children during the past 8 years as a result of thirst, malnutrition and preventable disease.   For their part, The Wayuu claim that over 14,000 children have died.  In any case, these numbers are staggering for the 100,000 Wayuu who live in the communities covered by the IAHCHR decision.

The biggest threat to The Wayuu and their children comes from the lack of drinkable water – a fact which I witnessed on a recent trip I made to La Guajira with the Washington Office on Latin America (WOLA).   The water that The Wayuu once had has been stolen from them – both by climate change which they had no part in creating, and by the damming of The Rancheria River which once fed their communities but which is now being used for the private benefit of coal mining giant Cerrejon.   Cerrejon uses 17 million liters of water a day while each resident of La Guajira is left with an average of 0.7 liters per day to live on.

PHOTO: Daniel Kovalik, July 24, 2016
Wayuu Leader & Human Rights Defender, Matilde López Arpushana,
looks out upon The Rancheria River — nearly dry as a bone.

Despite the IAHCR ruling nearly 9 months ago, the Colombian authorities have done next to nothing to alleviate the suffering and untimely death of The Wayuu children, thus precipitating the August 1 Supreme Court decision which again orders the government to take urgent measures to address this crisis.   In the meantime, as the IAHCR itself explains, the chief advocate on behalf of The Wayuu in these cases, Javier Rojas Uriana, has received death threats by right-wing paramilitaries trying to pressure him into halting his legal actions to protect The Wayuu.

Just as remarkable as the dire situation facing The Wayuu is the almost total lack of press coverage regarding their situation.   Thus, while the press covers the shortages in Venezuela nearly every day, and in a quite histrionic fashion which ignores the complexities and subtleties of the situation there, there is almost a total blackout of the real famine confronting The Wayuu of Colombia just over the border.   And, it is this media blackout, even in the face of major rulings by both the IACHR and Colombia’s high court, which of course allows this famine to continue without pause.

La Guajira, Colombia. (Photos: Dan Kovalik, Slideshow: Ryin Gaines)



[Dan Kovalik is a human rights, labor rights lawyer and peace activist. He has contributed to articles CounterPunch and TeleSUR. He currently teaches International Human Rights at the University of Pittsburgh School of Law.]


Further reading: Gold and Misery in Colombia: The Sad Case of Segovia



Earth Economics

Running with Bad Company

Public Good Project

May 6, 2016

By Jay Taber


Earth Economics–founded by Greenpeace USA Executive Director Annie Leonard–is a partner with the Coalition for Environmentally Responsible Economies (CERES), which is in turn a partner of the World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD). CERES funders are associated with Goldman Sachs, JPMorgan Chase, Citigroup, Morgan Stanley and Bank of America. WBCSD is part of a Wall Street strategy to dislodge the United Nations Center on Transnational Corporations, and prevent enforceable rules governing the operations of multinational corporations.

Ceres Sachs Blood Mckibben

May, 2013: “CalSTRS CEO Jack Ehnes, Generation Investment Management Co-Founder David Blood (formerly of Goldman Sachs) and’s Bill McKibben have a lively conversation about how investors can influence the transition to a low-carbon economy.” Ehnes also serves on the Ceres board of directors.

As noted in The Social Capitalists–Part VIII of an investigative report documenting the corruption of the non-profit industrial complex by Wall Street–researcher Cory Morningstar revealed that one third of the CERES network companies are in the Fortune 500, and that since 2001, CERES has received millions from Wall Street corporations and foundations. Further, she observed that CERES president Mindy Lubber is a promoter of so-called “sustainable capitalism” at Forbes. Bill McKibben (founder of 350) was an esteemed guest of CERES conferences in both 2007 and 2013.

1Sky, which merged with 350 in 2011, was created by the Clinton Foundation and the Rockefeller Brothers Fund. Betsy Taylor of 1Sky/350 is on the CERES board of directors. In 2012, Bill McKibben and Peter Buffett (oil train tycoon Warren Buffet’s son) headlined the Strategies for a New Economy conference. Between 2003 and 2011, NoVo (Buffet’s foundation) donated $26 million to TIDES Foundation, which in turn funds CERES and 350. Suzanne Nossel, former Deputy Assistant Secretary of State under Hillary Clinton, is on the TIDES board of directors.

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As reported in Axis of Evil, the 2016 Investor Summit on Climate Risk—co-hosted by CERES, the United Nations Foundation and the United Nations Office for Partnerships—focused on the ‘New Economy’ unveiled by the financial elite at COP21. The ‘New Economy’–promoted by CERES and the Wall Street-funded social media marketing agencies Avaaz, Purpose and 350—forms the core of the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) promoted by Bill Gates, Jeremy Heimans (Avaaz & Purpose), and Bill McKibben (350). The ultimate target of the SDGs is the privatization of Indigenous and public resources worldwide.


In Building Acquiescence for the Commodification of the Commons under the Banner of a “New Economy”—Part XII of Morningstar’s investigative report—she says, the goal to commodify the commons under what has come to be known as ‘payment for ecosystem services’ and ‘Natural Capital’ will look to the private sector for investment. “The scheme,” she remarks, “promises corporations, private investors and the world’s most powerful financial institutions both ownership and control (i.e. expansion of power) of Earth’s natural resources.”

Litovsky_ PES

“The implementation of payment for ecosystem services,” Morningstar observes, “will create the most spectacular opportunities that the financial sector has ever witnessed.” This new mechanism for generating profits for the wealthy, she says, represents “the commodification of most everything sacred,” and “the privatization and objectification of all biodiversity and living things that are immeasurable, above and beyond monetary measure”—a mechanism that, “will be unparalleled, irreversible and inescapable.”

Money Can Buy You Nature

In Hijacking the Environmental Movement, I wrote that the ‘New Economy’ privatization cheerleaders, i.e. 350, Avaaz and CERES, all have fundamental ties to Wall Street moguls and finance sector criminals, and are “currently pressing for changes in international law that would give the finance sector carte blanche in privatizing all of nature.” What this so-called ‘sustainable capitalism’ is in reality sustaining, I observed, “is totalitarian corporate control of world governance and human survival.” Earth Economics, initially founded by TIDES, is a key player in promoting this scheme.

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Earth Economics: “We Take Nature Into Account”

As I noted in Architects of the Final Solution, “For ubercapitalists like Bill Gates and their sycophants like William Jefferson Clinton, who promote the false hope of neoliberal globalization, terminating the collective ownership of indigenous nations in exchange for totalitarian corporate control of the planet’s resources is a dream coming true.”

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[Jay Thomas Taber is an associate scholar of the Center for World Indigenous Studies 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 journalists defending democracy. As a consultant, he has assisted Indigenous peoples in the European Court of Human Rights and at the United Nations.]

Netwar at Cherry Point

White Power on the Salish Sea

By Jay Taber


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In Drumming Up Resentment: The Anti-Indian Movement in Montana, a special report published by Montana Human Rights Network in 2000, author Ken Toole made the following remarks:

“The context in which most people place words like racism, prejudice, and discrimination is the civil rights movement of the 1950s and 1960s. In that context, an oppressed minority, African Americans, sought inclusion, a piece of the pie, equal opportunity and integration.


The struggle for civil rights in Indian country is different. It rests more on sovereignty and autonomy than on inclusion and integration. The legal framework created by the civil rights activists of the 1950s and 1960s sought to secure equal treatment within existing institutions and law. Indian rights activists, by and large, seek recognition of their right to develop their own law. Basically, they seek recognition of a right to self-determination. This difference is confusing and gives the anti-Indian movement an advantage in the rhetorical arena.


Taken at face value, the anti-Indian movement is a systematic effort to deny legally established rights to a group of people who are identified on the basis of their shared culture, history, religion and tradition. That makes it racist by definition.”

Writing further, Mr. Toole examined the organizational infrastructure of the Anti-Indian Movement:

“Over the last thirty years, tribal governments have become more sophisticated about asserting themselves through treaty rights. This evolution has often created controversy. Those who have opposed tribes, fearing Indian governance, have coalesced themselves into the anti-Indian movement. Groups like the Interstate Congress for Equal Rights and Responsibilities (ICERR), Totally Equal Americans (TEA), and the Citizens Equal Rights Alliance (CERA) have served as national umbrella organizations for groups that have grown out of local and state controversies. These national groups have focused on federal policy by lobbying in Congress and litigating in the federal courts. However, the power and effectiveness of these national groups is linked to the local anti-Indian groups.


In addition to “vertical integration” from local to state to national organizations, the anti-Indian movement also developed “horizontal integration,” or ally relationships with groups and activists in other political and social movements. The anti-Indian movement is allied with the anti-environmental “wise use movement.” There is extensive cooperation between anti-Indian groups like CERA and wise use groups like the Alliance for America. Loose affiliation between anti-Indian groups and the Religious Right is also evident primarily in the electoral arena and state legislature. Finally, despite their best efforts, anti-Indian activists often stumble into the overt white supremacist movement. It is not a surprising stumble since both movements have racist ideas at the core.”

In the conclusion of Drumming Up Resentment, Ken Toole remarked that the public education system is doing a woefully inadequate job of providing information to students on Indian issues. The result, he says, is that citizens are increasingly ignorant about treaty rights and tribal sovereignty. This, he warns, makes them far more vulnerable to the politics of resentment offered up by the Anti-Indian Movement.

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2015 Tsleil-Waututh Blessing Stop. Photo: Paul Anderson

Givers and Takers

On April 6, 2013, I received a request from the editor of the Cascadia Weekly for background on Citizens Equal Rights Alliance (CERA), which had held an anti-Indian conference earlier that day in Bellingham, Washington. On April 10, my article Anti-Indian Conference was published at IC Magazine.

On April 17, the Cascadia Weekly editor published a column titled A history of violence. On page 4 of the April 17 Earth Day issue of Cascadia Weekly, he published my letter to the editor, “Givers and Takers”, which connected the organized racism promoted by CERA to propaganda by the Gateway Pacific Terminal (GPT) coal export developers. Responding to my letter, Craig Cole, the PR spokesman for the proposed Gateway Pacific Terminal — located next to the Lummi Indian reservation — phoned the editor expressing his displeasure with my op-ed.

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On April 26, 2013, the Institute for Research and Education on Human Rights (IREHR) in Seattle published a special report by Charles Tanner Jr titled “Take These Tribes Down” The Anti-Indian Movement Comes To Washington State.

As an associate scholar of the Center for World Indigenous Studies (CWIS) in Olympia, Washington, and communications director at Public Good Project, based in San Francisco, I have access to quite a lot of material on this topic. Most notably, Anti-Indian Movement on the Tribal Frontier by CWIS chair Dr. Rudolph C. Ryser, and Wise Use in Northern Puget Sound by former Public Good research director, Paul de Armond.

On May 13, 2013, it came to my attention that Skip Richards – one of the two organizers of the April 6, 2013 CERA conference, and a strategist of anti-Indian campaigns in the 1990s — was scheduled to speak at a May 24 luncheon for the Republican Women of Whatcom County, at the Bellingham Golf and Country Club. In response to this information, I added the following background on Skip Richards as an appendix to my April 10 article at IC Magazine.

For background on Skip Richards, readers might find the following Public Good Project special reports useful.


Some news articles about Skip Richards’ collaboration with Christian Patriot militia:


After sending my updated article to the Whatcom League of Women Voters, with a note about the likelihood of Richards leading a hate campaign against tribal sovereignty by appealing to the Tea Party wing of the GOP, I informed my Public Good colleagues that Richards and other entrepreneurial merchants of fear were apparently “hovering around the treaty rights/water rights/GPT conflicts probing for an opportunity to recreate the climate of fear that twenty years ago allowed them to capture the Whatcom County Council”. Additionally, I noted that “The PACs and non-profits the property rights network established back then for political power later spawned the anti-Indian, militia organizing”.

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photo: Lummi Nation Sovereignty and Treaty Protection Office

On May 16, 2013, IC Magazine published a follow-up to my April 10 article, titled Anti-Indian Sociopath Skip Richards At The Country Club: Is Media Complicity And Public Amnesia Enough?, and I sent the following message to the Public Good network:

In addition to lacking a moral compass, Richards apparently believes that simply denying proven collaboration with militias, and overwhelming evidence of his having built a career on malicious harassment is sufficient to absolve him from accountability for his actions. It is truly astounding he ran for senate at the same time his militia pals were arrested by the FBI.


His recent appearance as a guest speaker at a blatantly racist conference — alongside his cohort of bigots from twenty years ago — at which he pretends to know nothing about the anti-Indian movement is mindboggling. His present posturing as an innocent water consultant, when his record shows he actively engaged in water resource conflicts with anti-Indian activists throughout the 1990s, indicates he is astonishingly adept at self-delusion.”

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“I was a witness to the journey and can say with deep conviction that this journey mattered. It mattered to those assembled, to the travelers, to the multitudes that read about it in the paper, heard about it on the radio, or saw it on TV, to landscapes and their lifeforms, and (in my mind), to the unseen forces within and around us that ask of us only our steadfast faith. This is a coming together.” —Kurt Russo, Sovereignty and Treaty Protection Office, Lummi Nation

Horizontal Integration

On June 4, 2013, I came across a link to YouTube videos from the Gateway Pacific Terminal panel forum, featuring Washington State Senator Doug Ericksen, Dave Warren of Northwest Jobs Alliance, Whatcom County Realtors Association lobbyist Perry Eskridge, and realtor Mike Kent, whom I knew to be the brother of former KGMI radio host Jeff Kent—noted in the Profits of Prejudice PDF, attached to my April 10 IC Magazine article. As a KGMI radio host in September 1995, Jeff Kent led Fee Land Owners Association (FLOA) representatives Jeff McKay and Linnea Smith in an hour-long diatribe against the Lummi Indians.

In August 2013, Whatcom Watch monthly included a supplement by Jewell Praying Wolf James of the Lummi Indian Tribe titled The Search for Integrity in the Conflict over Cherry Point as a Coal Export Terminal. In the October-November 2013 issue of Whatcom Watch, Sandra Robson’s article How Property Rights Can Become Property Wrongs was the cover story. In the article, Robson recounts the violent history of property rights groups in Whatcom county, and notes that the co-organizer of the April 6 CERA conference was Tom Williams, a Minuteman militia member, and CERA board member. Paul de Armond’s 2005 Public Good Project report Racist Origins of Border Militias sheds light on what these white supremacists are all about.

On October 9, 2013, the Whatcom Tea Party sponsored a Gateway Pacific Terminal Debate at the Building Industry Association of Whatcom County (BIAWC). As reported by Paul de Armond in the 1995 Public Good Project special report Wise Use in Northern Puget Sound, the BIAWC had been an active supporter of Wise Use terrorism against environmentalists and Native Americans in 14 Washington counties, including Whatcom, where Skip Richards was a paid BIAWC agent provocateur.

Also on October 9, 2013, Cascadia Weekly ran an editorial titled Polar Chill, noting the editor is “dismayed to see coal export interests laundering large amounts of campaign contributions” suggesting that “the early promise of coal export interests to be good corporate citizens was a lie”. The following three paragraphs of the editorial are worth reading in its entirety:

As noted by Western Washington University Professor Todd Donovan, and detailed by local political blogger Riley Sweeney and Seattle media, Pacific International Terminals donated $30,000 to the state Republican Party. Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railroad donated another $10,000. These contributions were turned over to state party vice-chair Luanne Van Werven, who also heads the Whatcom County Republicans. Van Werven then distributed $1,500 to each selected candidate, along with $17,000 to Whatcom Republicans. Whatcom Republicans in turn funneled $17,000 to Republican-endorsed Whatcom County Council candidates. The transfers, Donovan noted, are not typical for local elections. The transfers both exceed the cap on contributions an individual may make and disguise the contributions’ origins. Coal interests do not appear on these candidates’ disclosures, but the laundered funds are available for candidates’ use in the election.


“It appears that Pacific International Terminals and the Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railroad have earmarked campaign funds given to the state Republican Party such that these funds exclusively benefit candidates in Whatcom County,” Donovan wrote to the state Public Disclosure Commission, which investigates alleged campaign finance irregularities. Donovan is a political scientist and elections expert.


“This practice allows Pacific International and BNSF to disguise the fact that they are a primary source of campaign funds for these candidates and for the Whatcom County Republican Party,” Donovan wrote to the PDC. “This practice allows Pacific International and BNSF to spend money on Whatcom County candidate races in excess of what is allowable under state law.”

The Politics of Resentment

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The Northern Cheyenne Reservation (Bob Zellar, Billings Gazette)

On October 16, 2013, I became aware of a new PAC called SaveWhatcom, registered by KGMI radio host Kris Halterman and Lorraine Newman. Halterman is noted in my Anti-Indian Conference article at IC Magazine, having interviewed CERA celebrity Elaine Willman at the April 6, 2013 CERA gathering. Halterman had Willman on her March 30, 2013 show Saturday Morning Live, saying the April 6 conference would teach local officials and citizens how to take on tribal governments. On Halterman’s November 3, 2012 show, Willman called for an end to tribal sovereignty, stating, “Tribalism is socialism, and has no place in our country!”

In August and September, 2013 — as I soon learned — the Gateway Pacific Terminal consortium had funneled $149,000 into the SaveWhatcom and WhatcomFirst PACs, run by KGMI radio hosts Kris Halterman and Dick Donohue—both of whom I had noted in my May 5, 2013 IC Magazine article, White Power on the Salish Sea: The Wall Street/Tea Party Convergence. In this article, I noted the following about Donohue and Halterman:

On March 30, 2013, Donohue interviewed CERA board member and Minuteman Tom Williams, who promoted the untrue idea that Indians have citizenship privileges without paying taxes, and noted that CERA was currently mounting a national offensive to terminate tribal sovereignty. On April 6, Donohue and Halterman interviewed Willman and Phillip Brendale live from the Anti-Indian Conference, who declared that the purpose of the regional gathering was to “Take these Tribes Down.”

On November 3, 2013, Kris Halterman posted a Breaking News story on her KGMI blog titled Whatcom County Council Appeals GMHB Ruling on Rural Element: a decision to affect Your Water Rights. In Halterman’s story, she notes that on the previous day’s KGMI show Radio Real Estate, host Mike Kent invited experts to talk about Whatcom County’s water rights, including Skip Richards. As noted at Whatcom Watch, a November 19, 2013 letter to Sandra Robson from Perry Eskridge, Government Affairs Director for Whatcom County Association of Realtors, Eskridge stated the following:

“I have been provided a copy of your recent article, How Property Rights Can Become Property Wrongs, published in the Whatcom Watch. I was asked to explain your apparent effort to tie several violent racial events in the past to current efforts by Whatcom County property rights organizations, including the Whatcom County Association of Realtors, advocating for property rights protections in our county.


While the article does not directly accuse the Realtors of some of the more heinous acts you describe, you do state “Powerful political forces masked in seemingly constructive organizations like the … Washington Realtors [sic] Association (including each group’s local level organizations), fund and interact with property rights groups.” Whatcom Watch, October-November 2013, pg. 8. You continue by alleging that these groups, including the Realtors, use these groups “to do much of their work for them.” Id. These statements are not accurate.”

The reference cited in the article by Ms. Robson that disturbed Mr. Eskridge is from Wise Use in Northern Puget Sound, Appendix II, paragraph 7, which states, “These groups, such as the Master Builders Association, the various county chapters of the Affordable Housing Council, the local Chambers of Commerce, and realtor’s associations, provide the leadership and funding for creating front groups like the Property Rights Alliance, SNOCO PRA, Whatcom CLUE and other so-called grass-roots groups.”

In Appendix VIII, source number 167, the Seattle Times notes the financial contribution from the Washington Association of Realtors to Initiative 164, the property rights initiative. As noted in source number 170, the Seattle Times quotes Secretary of State Ralph Munro, who ordered an investigation by the State Patrol regarding thousands of fake Initiative 164 signatures.

On November 21, 2013, in an article at the Seattle Times titled On Behalf of North Dakota and Montana, McKenna calls Washington coal study unconstitutional, former Washington Attorney General Rob McKenna wrote a letter to Washington State that questioned the constitutionality of Washington’s Department of Ecology review of the proposed coal-export terminal at Cherry Point. In his unsuccessful 2012 bid for governor against Jay Inslee, McKenna made his support for coal-export terminals a major issue.

In Trampling on the Treaties: Rob McKenna and the Politics of Anti-Indianism, a 2012 report by Chuck Tanner and Leah Henry-Tanner, the authors examined Washington gubernatorial candidate McKenna via his career as a public official opposed to treaty rights, as well as his working relationship with Anti-Indian activists and organizations. As the Tanners note:

“McKenna’s Anti-Indian policies and ideas, and his willingness to ally his public office with opponents of tribal rights, should raise a large red flag for all people in Washington state who support respectful relations with Indian Nations.”

The Tanners observed that as Washington Attorney General, McKenna’s legal briefs “provide a political framework for backlash against Indian Nations”…His actions as Attorney General, “point to a pattern of disrespect for the basic rights of indigenous nations”…When McKenna perceives a state interest at issue, “he will oppose the fundamental rights of Indian Nations and ally with anti-Indian activists to achieve his goals”.

Educating the Public

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2015 Tsleil-Waututh Blessing Stop. Photo: Paul Anderson

In a November 24, 2013 story at EarthFix titled Documents Reveal Coal Exporter Disturbed Native American Archeological Site at Cherry Point, the first installment of a two-part series, KUOW reporter Ashley Ahearn wrote the following about Gateway Pacific Terminal parent company Pacific International Terminals:

Three summers ago the company that wants to build the largest coal export terminal in North America failed to obtain the environmental permits it needed before bulldozing more than four miles of roads and clearing more than nine acres of land, including some wetlands.


Pacific International Terminals also failed to meet a requirement to consult first with local Native American tribes, the Lummi and Nooksack tribes, about the potential archaeological impacts of the work. Sidestepping tribal consultation meant avoiding potential delays and roadblocks for the project’s development.


It also led to the disturbance of a site from which 3,000-year-old human remains had previously been removed — and where archeologists and tribal members suspect more are buried.


Pacific International Terminals and its parent corporation, SSA Marine, subsequently settled for $1.6 million for violations under the Clean Water Act.


According to company documents obtained by EarthFix after the lawsuit made them public, Pacific International Terminals drilled 37 boreholes throughout the site, ranging from 15 feet to 130 feet in depth, without following procedures required by the Army Corps of Engineers under the National Historic Preservation Act.

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On November 26, 2013, IC Magazine published my editorial Cherry Point Ownership, in which I noted that the August 2013 Whatcom Watch insert by Jewell Praying Wolf James revealed that the Lummi people did not sign away Cherry Point in the 1855 Treaty of Point Elliot. As Mr. James wrote, Cherry Point was part of the original Lummi Reservation, not part of the lands ceded under duress to the U.S. Government. Only in 1872 was Cherry Point illegally removed from the Lummi Reservation by Presidential Executive Order, in order for the Bureau of Indian Affairs to unlawfully sell the property to white squatters. As one of the most important ancient Lummi village sites, Cherry Point ownership, in 2013, had been in dispute for 141 years.

In January 2014, Whatcom Watch published What Would Corporations Do? Native American Rights and the Gateway Pacific Terminal, Sandra Robson’s detailed account of money-laundering by the coal export consortium into the hands of CERA-supporting, Tea Party-led PACs. The footnotes of her cover story include a link to my IC Magazine article White Power on the Salish Sea: The Wall Street/Tea Party Convergence, as well as the referenced April 26, 2013 IREHR report “Take These Tribes Down” by Charles Tanner Jr.

On January 15, 2014, Indian Country Today published an article by Winona LaDuke titled Crow and Lummi, Dirty Coal & Clean Fishing, in which she notes that Cherry Point, home of the ancient Lummi village of XweChiexen, was the first site in Washington State to be listed on the Washington Heritage Register. As a 3,500-year-old site, she said, “It is sacred to the Lummi.”

As one of the most prominent American Indian intellectual celebrities, Winona works a lot with Native American environmental activists that are trying to change their tribal governments to be less dependent on Wall Street, so they can make better choices. She has done many good things for tribes, including her own, to get back on a more sustainable track. This April 17, 2010 talk by Winona is a particularly good one.

On page 12 of the January 15, 2014 issue of Cascadia Weekly, in an article titled Draw the Line by Tim Johnson, he noted that the waters at Cherry Point are home to one of the best crab fisheries along the coast, and that this fishery sustains many tribal families. In the article, he quotes Jeremiah “Jay” Julius, secretary of the Lummi Nation Governing Council, a fisherman and crabber descended from tribesmen who have fished the waters off Cherry Point for centuries. Featured in a KCTS documentary and related PBS News Hour piece about the proposed Northwest coal terminals, Julius stated, “The sacred must be protected.”

A Free Press

On February 5, 2014, Gateway Pacific Terminal spokesman Craig Cole threatened Whatcom Watch with a SLAPP suit, which I covered for IC magazine in my February 8 article Gateway Pacific Terminal Consultant Threatens Journalists. In the four page letter sent to Whatcom Watch, Cole accused Robson and myself of libel, threatening that Robson and Whatcom Watch are “put on notice”. In a February 19 article Craig Cole Threatens Libel Suit at Northwest Citizen, editor John Servais made the following remarks:

 “We have seen the effects of big money on politics and corporate media, and now those long arms are reaching into our local media – using lawsuits to intimidate or bully local citizen journalists away from vigorously reporting what is happening.  Indeed, it has been working!   The folks at the Whatcom Watch are stuck in a defensive crouch over this threat.  The Watch has no money and Mr. Cole has some of the largest corporations in the country behind him.  It seems unlikely Cole would send such a letter without the backing and encouragement of his corporate clients.

If large corporations are trying to silence local reporting, citizens should know.  My thinking is that Ms Robson and the Whatcom Watch were getting close to the truth of what is going on and this is a classic corporate effort to silence them.”

On February 14, 2014, in my IC Magazine editorial The Politics of Land and Bigotry, I recounted the March 8, 1996 conference I attended, hosted by the Center for World Indigenous Studies and the Affiliated Tribes of Northwest Indians, to dialogue about “the portentous movements in America intent on promoting interracial discord and a growing politics of fear.”

Reading Robson’s January article at Whatcom Watch, I was reminded of meeting Jay Inslee in 1996, when he first ran for governor of Washington. Then State Senator Harriet Spanel had invited me and Inslee to dinner, where I talked with her about property rights convulsions influencing her reelection campaign, in which she was challenged by Skip Richards, who made anti-Indian racism the cornerstone of his campaign. When the Anacortes American exposed Richards as a militia host, his campaign went down in flames.

On February 17, 2014, in an Indian Country Today article titled Coast Salish Nations Unite to Protect Salish Sea, the Lummi, Swinomish, Suquamish and Tulalip tribes of Washington joined the Tsleil-Waututh, Squamish and Musqueam Nations in British Columbia in opposing Kinder Morgan’s proposed TransMountain pipeline and other energy-expansion and export projects that “pose a threat to the environmental integrity of our sacred homelands and waters, our treaty and aboriginal rights, and our cultures and life ways.” In December 2013, Kinder Morgan, the third largest energy producer in North America, filed an application with the National Energy Board of Canada (NEB) to build a new pipeline to transport crude oil from the Alberta Tar Sands to Vancouver, British Columbia, that if approved, would result in a 200% increase in oil tanker traffic through the Salish Sea. On February 11, 2014, these tribes and nations collectively filed for official intervener status with the NEB.

On February 25, 2014, Northwest Citizen (NWC) posted Relevant Documents to Libel Threat, including Craig Cole’s letter threatening a libel lawsuit against Whatcom Watch (WW), as well as a link to my article at IC Magazine, noting that “It is interesting that Cole has not threatened to sue Taber or Taber’s publisher.” NWC editor John Servais observes it is legitimate for WW to seek connections between the anti-Indian groups and the corporations seeking permits to build the coal terminal, saying, “It is called journalism and the exercise of a free press.”

A Terrible Insult


A ceremony held at Cherry Point, a part of the Lummi anti-coal totem pole journey. 09/30/2013 Photo: Ryan Hasert

On March 10, 2014, writing at the SaveWhatcom blog, Tea Party leader and KGMI radio host Kris Halterman defended Citizens Equal Rights Alliance (CERA), as well as Craig Cole’s threat against Whatcom Watch. On March 12, 2014, in an editorial titled Tone Deaf, Cascadia Weekly excoriated Pacific International Terminals for its unpermitted destruction of the ancestral burial grounds of the Lummi Nation at Cherry Point, saying it “is a terrible insult to the Lummi people.”

On March 28, 2014, Indian Country Today published a feature story titled Anti-Indian CERA Doesn’t Like the Law of the Land, or Us, Apparently, by Terri Hansen, in which CERA is described as “The Ku Klux Klan of Indian Country.” On April 2, 2014, federal Indian law attorney Dave Lundgren wrote in his Indian Country Today op-ed Expose Hate Groups Like CERA that, “They disguise their fear and hatred with bogus legal arguments designed to rile up local resentment.”

On April 4, 2014, my Public Good Project editorial Liberal Elite Versus Democracy discussed the collapse of Whatcom Watch under its new president Terry Wechsler, who began blaming the messenger Sandra Robson for the paper’s troubles. In a communication to this author, Wechsler said my advice to expose, confront and reject organized racism is “counterproductive.”

Astonishingly, Wechsler actually suggested to me that Skip Richards’ racist organizing in the 1990s is a thing of the past, because he told her he no longer does that. I reminded her that Richards was one of the two people who organized the April 6, 2013 CERA anti-Indian conference, a fact reported in my IC Magazine article Anti-Indian Conference.

On June 27, 2014, the Bellingham Herald article Craig Cole’s legal threat against Whatcom Watch ‘resolved’ claimed the SLAPP suit issue had been amicably resolved, saying “What bothered Cole more than Robson’s piece was a follow up by blogger Jay Taber that contorted Robson’s hypothetical scenario into flat-out reality.” Had the reporter Ralph Schwartz bothered to closely read Sandra Robson’s extensively-sourced article and mine, he would have discovered that my accusation of Cole promoting racism was based on documented facts.

On June 30, 2014, my article Capitalizing on Fear at IC Magazine explained how Gateway Pacific Terminal funding enabled Tea Party-led PACs and KGMI radio to drum up resentment against Lummi Nation. On December 23, 2014, in my IC Magazine post White Power vs Northwest Indians, I included two posters from Public Good Project—Gateway Pacific Terminal Hall of Shame, and White Power on the Salish Sea.

In January 2015, Sandra Robson was one of four journalists to receive a Public Good Correspondent Award for 2014. On March 27, 2015, Robson’s article A Sovereign Nation Stands Tall was published at IC Magazine. On April 10, 2015, my article Railroading Racism: Warren Buffett vs Northwest Indians ran there as well.


Lummi Image 5

On July 27, 2015, my article Crowing Jesus: Four Square Gospel vs A Sacred Trust at IC Magazine noted that in a July 21 article at the Los Angeles Times, Crow Tribe Chairman Darrin Old Coyote called Lummi Nation leaders “ignorant” pawns of Seattle environmental groups. A supplier of coal, the Crow are in bed with Gateway Pacific Terminal. As a Pentecostal Christian tribe, the Crow are challenging Lummi Nation’s “sacred trust” to protect the Salish Sea—a holy mandate that Earth Ministry, Resources, Unitarian Universalists, and Sierra Club support.

On March 12, 2016, Northwest Citizen named Sandra Robson the Paul deArmond Citizen Journalist of the year, saying, “If there were a Pulitzer Prize for citizen journalism, Sandra Robson would win it.”


Further reading:

Wall Street v. Coast Salish: Cherry Point conflict enters electoral arena

Coal’s dark alliance defames Lummi Nation

Dire Warnings





[Jay Thomas Taber 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 journalists engaged in defending democracy. As a consultant, he has assisted indigenous peoples in the European Court of Human Rights and at the United Nations.]


WATCH: Recognition Politics | A Lecture on Resurgence by Taiaiake Alfred

Video Published December 12, 2015


Taiaiake Alfred:

7:50 “The essence of being part of a resurgence movement comes out of that kind of feeling; it’s rooted, it’s accountable, and it’s transformative. […] Those are the three things that I think define the difference between resurgence and the other alternatives out there for what decolonization and colonization [are]; basically recognition politics, and, hate to say it, reconciliation….”

10:03 “Recognition politics is basically the idea that is driving Aboriginal rights, land claims and so forth. It didn’t start out that way. It started out as a strong nationhood movement to get our land back, to have our nations, our laws recognized, and to have them enlivened again and to have them govern our people and govern the lives of our people.”

“But through process of politics and so forth it’s come to be a process of recognizing Indigenous peoples only to the extent that they conform to the basic ideas of the colonial society. And so what you have is an idea that when you have a land claim, or a self-government claim, or you’re negotiating some kind of agreement, or the Supreme Court is considering our presence here and our rights, it’s more a recognition of the fact that we are now a part of Canada, and a recognition of our fact being here, but not any substantial transformative importance to that decision.

And so Glen Coulthard does a really good job of elaborating the problems with this and also I think builds on the notion of this idea of co-optation. About how Canada has structured the whole relationship, the decolonizing relationship in Canada to make it very enticing for people to want to follow that pathway rather than to stand on the strong principles that our ancestors defended our nations on. And so it’s not only intellectually seductive to think that … to be offered the idea of inclusion, recognition, validation, and so forth, but it’s also financially motivated as well in the sense that there’s a lot of programming dollars and a lot of money behind the whole process structured into the negotiation of these recognitions. That’s one element. I’m not going to focus too much on it. Just in jist that’s what it is.

The reconciliation. I think everybody is becoming very familiar with that. I mean when we talk about reconciliation, it kind of builds on recognition, on that whole structure of recognition and Aboriginal rights and so forth. It’s oriented towards inclusion too but in my reading of reconciliation too, it’s Canada’s effort to assuage the guilt of colonization. It’s Canada’s effort to turn the page on Canadian history. It’s Canada’s effort to make the suffering of residential schools the centrepiece of an effort to make us forget that our existence is rooted on the land, in nations and that we are collectivities and that there is a vast injustice still present.

Whether or not individuals are compensated or healed from the experiences and the horrible experiences they had in residential school, it’s Canada’s attempt to make it about cultural survival and healing, which are two things which no one is going to complain about and say shouldn’t happen, but when you stop there and you don’t talk about the land and you only talk about cultural revitalization and healing, it’s a further injustice. Because the root of all of our problems as Indigenous people, as we’ve experienced them growing up in our communities and even in the urban context, is dispossession.

I remember when I worked, I’ve said this many times in public but I always will every time I talk about this and give credit to Rosalee Tizya, a Yukon elder from Old Crow, who used to tell all of us who worked at the Royal Commission on Aboriginal Peoples, the young people at that time in the nineties, that it’s all about the land. It’s all about the land. So we were talking then about Aboriginal rights, self-government, the origins basically: the nascent idea of reconciliation was hatched in the Royal Commission in all the discussion forums that we had there and recommendations that were put forward. She would always remind us that it’s all about the land. Don’t forget that.

Don’t let them convince you that social justice is a substitute for land justice. Don’t let them convince you that programming dollars and being accepted and being allowed to dress and sing and do your ceremonies and all that is a substitute for your nation’s laws being the laws that govern your territory again. Don’t let that happen.

And not many of us paid attention at that time and I think that now is the time where if we don’t pay attention to that message, everything could be lost for our nations. It’s getting to that crucial point where there’s so little left of our nationhood as it manifests in reality on the ground, on the land, and there’s so much of an overwhelming threat of assimilation through laws and being overwhelmed culturally and all of these things happening to our people and our future generations that if we don’t pay attention to our connection to the land and our rootedness in it intellectually, spiritually and physically, we may not be talking about indigenous nationhood a generation from now. We may not be able to talk about it because it might be a memory for our nations, for our people, for the next generations coming up. So it’s imperative of us younger people, especially younger people, to understand how important and then to begin to live that in a very serious way.”



[Taiaiake Alfred (Gerald R. Alfred), born and raised in the Kahnawake Mohawk Territory, is a faculty member at the University of Victoria, and is also the Program Director of the Indigenous Governance Program at the University. His scholarly work focuses particularly on Native nationalism, Iroquois history, and indigenous traditions of government.]

Fourth World Eye | Public Relations Puppets

Beautiful Children

Mar 20, 2012 by Jay Taber

Source: Center for World Indigenous Studies

In Poznan, Poland in 2008, the UN excluded indigenous nations delegates from participating in climate change talks, insinuating that only UN member states are legitimate governing authorities. The motivation for the United Nations exclusionary policy on indigenous peoples participation was that the UN was meeting to hatch a new scheme for transnational corporations and investment banks to control the world: it was called REDD, a Ponzi scheme for carbon-market trading that would make the Wall Street heists of today look like chicken feed. Indigenous nations sent delegates to protest this life-threatening fraud by the UN and its agencies like the IMF, World Bank, and WTO. Civil society groups spoke in support of the indigenous peoples, UN officials closed them out, and the world never knew.

In the runup to the 2009 UN conference on climate change in Copenhagen, I wrote about the news ruse perpetrated by the UN to undermine the Indigenous Peoples Forum on Climate Change. True to their past practices, they repeated this trickery with an added twist, stating indigenous peoples could only participate through UN-recognized non-governmental organizations.

This privileged participatory posture of the UN was repeated in 2010 in Cancun, where the Indigenous Caucus spokesman Tom Goldtooth had his credentials revoked for calling the conference a trade show for promoting false solutions. Goldtooth and others were ejected by the UN for drawing media attention to the fact that a major agenda item of the international discussion in Cancun, as in Copenhagen, was to silence indigenous peoples. I later wrote about the NGO ambassadors of greed fronting for the UN scheme, noting commentary by Goldtooth that he had never witnessed the intensity of deception as unleashed by the UN in Copenhagen and Cancun.

Now, in the runup to the UN Conference on Sustainable Development, to be held in Rio de Janeiro in June 2012, the UN has preselected indigenous representation — already compromised by bribery from UN agencies and transnational corporations — as those that will be permitted to participate. As cheerleaders funded by such entities as Ford Foundation, these supplicants amount to little more than public relations puppets.

Unravelling the Deception of a False Movement

Part III of an Investigative Report into Tar Sands Action & the Paralysis of a Movement

Published September 23, 2011 by Political Context: and Canadians for Action on Climate Change:

by Cory Morningstar

Unravelling the Deception of a False Movement


 “The masses have never thirsted after truth. They turn aside from evidence that is not to their taste, preferring to deify error, if error seduce them. Whoever can supply them with illusions is easily their master; whoever attempts to destroy their illusions is always their victim” – Gustave Le Bon, 1895

In 2007 Pembina Institute submitted their infamous tar sands Carbon Neutral by 2020 report to the federal government for hearings on energy and greenhouse gas emissions regulations. This report is a most valuable asset to industry as it portrays the false illusion that it is possible for the tar sands to become “sustainable”. Further, it is an environmental “leader” making the claim as opposed to industry – a gift to the industrial capitalists. The false solutions used to perpetuate such a myth are clearly defined under the Pembina “key conclusions” such as:Carbon neutrality can be achieved by combining on-site GHG reductions using measures such as energy efficiency and/or fuel switching (to lower carbon fuels), carbon capture and storage, and/or purchasing offsets.” On November 14, 2010, Globe and Mail Business reported that Pembina (while standing as a lead ENGO in Climate Action Network [1]) essentially supports the continuation of the tar sands. In the article, Jennifer Grant, oil sands program director with the Pembina Institute, was quoted as saying: “The government needs to identify what the environmental limits are in a cumulative sense for oil sands development to proceed responsibly….”

“We can only hope that the last vestiges of manifest destiny don’t kill us off completely. Poisoning our earth in the name of profits and billionaire well-being, this is what our capitalist society stands for. Everyone wants their name at the top of the marquee in this play of the grand delusion.” — Harold One Feather

On February 25, 2010, a Globe and Mail article titled “What the forestry industry is teaching the oil sands” is most revealing. In 1996, Tom Stephens was named chief executive officer of MacMillan Bloedel Corporation, whose clearcutting of old-growth forests had provoked rage, as well as the single-largest act of civil disobedience in Canadian history at Clayoquot Sound in B.C. Caught up in a public relations nightmare, MacMillan Bloedel had the insight that it would be far wiser to engage with specific leaders: “Rather than continuing to fight the protesters, they decided to engage with them, setting in motion a transformation of forest practices that not only assuaged opponents, but also led to more profits.” One such young protester who made up the “Women of Clayoquot” was today’s “green capitalist” Tzeporah Berman, who now works for Greenpeace International. (Berman is also an endorser of the Ottawa Tar Sands Action) Janet Annesley, who campaigned for Greenpeace on the Clayoquot Sound issue, is now vice-president of communications for the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers. Today, Stephens finds himself in a new environmental battle: “He is a director of TransCanada Corp., whose pipelines serve the oil sands and whose fortunes ride on their success. He knows the value of an industry confronting its environmental demons.” [Emphasis added]

That’s an understatement.

Video: Paul Watson speaks on Greenpeace (Running Time: 7:20)



“Political language is designed to make lies sound truthful and murder respectable …” George Orwell

Over the past years the original campaign phrase/message of “shut down the tar sands!” has slowly dissolved into much more passive language and verbal communication such as “there must be no more exploration of the tar sands until it can be done without destroying the environment.” On September 15, 2011 Council of Canadians announced the Canadian version of the tar sands civil obedience action to occur on Parliament Hill, Ottawa on September 26, 2011. The announcement calls for “an end to the destruction caused by the tar sands.”

The end of destruction caused by the tar sands is much different then calling for the shutting down of the tar sands. What constitutes destruction is not the same as ending production.

Further, even if it were possible – to extract tar sands without exploiting the Earth (which it is not), the end result is that the refined fossil fuels are burned. Burning equals CO2. Burning equals pollution.

On August 1, 2011 the following excerpt is taken from an article featured on the Indigenous Environmental Network website (quote originates from Chief Allan Adam of the Athabasca Chipewyan First Nation):

“Until Alberta makes meaningful efforts to protect land, regulate industry and ensure that First Nations are at the table as full partners to develop solutions to the serious environmental challenges that government and industry are creating, they can count on our opposition to further development within the region.” [emphasis added]


Above image: The 2010 Boreal Award was presented to Chief Allan Adam by Boreal Leadership Council member Bob Walker, of Northwest and Ethical Investments. 2009 nominees in attendance included Kimberly-Clark, Suncor Energy Inc. Stephen Harper’s henchman, John Baird was presented with an award in 2008. The 2009 and 2010 gala was sponsored by Nexen, Al-Pac, Domtar and Suncor.

The Inner Workings of Corporate Environmentalism

“Reformers who are always compromising, have not yet grasped the idea that truth is the only safe ground to stand upon.” – Elizabeth Stanton

From “The Decline of Big Green, Part One Shaky Foundations: Toxic Sources, Tainted Money” by Jeffrey St. Clair:

Philanthropy and its purposes haven’t changed much since Rockefeller millions were dispensed to winch the family name out of the mud, particularly after the Ludlow massacre when Rockefeller minions broke a strike by spraying with oil and then igniting tents filled with women and children.

…Nearly a century later, the environmental movement, supposedly big oil’s implacable foe, found itself on the receiving end of about $50 million a year from three oil conglomerates, operating through front groups politely described as private foundations. [2]

…In 1948 the family set up the Pew Charitable Trust, based in Philadelphia, with an endowment totalling nearly $4 billion in the year 2000. [3] …The utility of buying the loyalty of liberals impressed itself on the family rather late, in the 1980s. But since then they have more than made up for lost time. By the beginning of the second Clinton term, the Pew Charitable Trusts represented one of the largest donors to the environmental movement, with about $250 million a year invested. [4] …Pew rarely went it alone. It preferred to work in coalitions with those other foundations, which meant almost no radical opposition to their cautious environmental policies can get any money. [5]

…But this did not tell the full story of coercion through money. One of the conditions attached to the receipt of Pew grant money was that attention be focused on government actions. Corporate wrongdoers were not to be pursued. With Pew money rolling their way, the environmental opposition became muted, judicious and finally disappeared. As long-time New Mexico environmentalist Sam Hitt put it: “Pew comes into a region like a Death Star, creating organizations that are all hype and no substance, run by those whose primary aim is merely to maintain access to foundation funding.”

Meanwhile, the endowed money held by these trusts was carefully invested in the very corporations that a vigorous environmental movement would be adamantly opposing. An examination of Pew’s portfolio in 1995 revealed that its money was invested in timber firms, mining companies, oil companies, arms manufacturers and chemical companies. The annual yield from these investments far exceeded the dispensations to environmental groups. [6]

…In the crucial Clinton years, Alton Jones [another oil company that funds environmental groups] maintained an endowment of $220 million and in 1994 handed out $15.8 million in grants. [7]

…The last of the three big environmental foundations is the Rockefeller Family Fund. [8] …The Rockefeller Family Fund, in its 1993 IRS filing, held $3.5 million in oil and gas stocks, including Amerada Hess (one of the first companies to drill on Alaska’s North Slope and company convicted of price fixing) … and extensive holdings in the Ten Worst Corporations. [9] …The Rockefeller Family Fund also maintained hefty investments in mining companies, including ASARCO, an outfit with a distinctly noxious environmental rap sheet. Its activities have laid waste to western Montana, easily overwhelming the yelps of the Mineral Policy Center, which conducted a futile campaign against the company, partially funding by the RFF.

The Ross-run fund also invested money in FMC and Freeport-McMoRan, whose worldwide depredations were on the cutting edge not only of ecocide but – in Indonesia – of genocide as well. The Rockefeller Funds’ mineral and chemical companies holdings exceeded a million dollars in 1993.

In that same year, the RFF had a strong position in timber giant Weyerhaeuser, the largest private landowning company in North America. The potential for conflicts of interests endemic to all foundations with the ability to influence federal policy is sharply illustrated here. The Rockefeller Family Fund was one of the lead architects of the foundation-funded campaign to protect ancient forests on federal lands in the Pacific Northwest. Any reduction, actual or prospective, of timber available for logging on public lands drives up the value of privately-held timber tracts. The Fund was in a position to make a killing by buying Weyerhaeuser stock low and selling it high, before large-scale logging resumed on public lands.

The Family Fund was nicely covered because it also had holdings of $237,000 in Boise-Cascade, which at the time was the largest purchaser of federal timber sales in the Northwest. Indeed, in 1993 Boise-Cascade bought the rights to log the controversial Sugarloaf tract of 800-year-old Douglas fir trees in southern Oregon’s Siskiyou National Forest, courtesy of a released injunction engineered by a deal between the Clinton administration and environmental groups funded and closely supervised Ross’s organization. Ross also played a key role in the hiring of Democratic Party hack Bob Chlopak (another former Naderite) to oversee the conversion of a tough national grassroots movement to fight Clinton to the death over the permanent protection of old-growth forests into a supine national coalition that swiftly draped itself in the white flag of surrender.

Even after Donald Ross left the Rockefeller Family he continued to stride between two worlds. Ross formed a lobby / PR shop called M + R Strategic Services, where his clients, according to SourceWatch, included both environmental groups (the Nature Conservancy, NRD.C., the National Wildlife Federation and Earth Justice) and environmental foundations (Hewlitt Foundation, Patagonia, Lazar Foundation, and Wilberforce – as well as the Rockefeller Family Fund). He didn’t forget the corporations either. In 2009, Ross became chairman of the board of a defanged Greenpeace.

All of these foundations had their bets nicely covered, both politically and financially. The once unruly grassroots green movement was brought under tight control through annual disbursements of funds, rewarded on the condition that these groups follow the dictates of the funders. At times this meant giving up hard-won legal injunctions. In other instances, it meant refraining from filing politically sensitive lawsuits to stop timber sales or gold mines and muting its public criticism of Democratic politicians.

With court injunctions lifted, there was only one way for environmentalists to confront illegal and ecologically destructive operations: civil disobedience. And that was a tactic the big foundations would never underwrite. Disobey these conditions and a group risked the annual renewal of its funding. Precious few did.”

That is, until now. The web of deceit has grown much more sophisticated.

The Precedent for the Tar Sands Sell-Out Has Already Been Set – Junk Environmentalism

This is nothing new and we’ve seen it before.

It is imperative that citizens and grassroots recognize that many of the big greens behind The Tar Sands Action campaign (including RAN, Greenpeace, and the David Suzuki Foundation) are the same organizations that sold out the Boreal Forest in 2008 and 2010. Not all the groups sold out. There were exceptions. Most recently Greenpeace, WWF, and RAN are all under fire for what Dr. Glen Barry calls The Great Rainforest Heist: The FSC and REDD + conspiracy to log Earth’s last primary forests.

Daniel Kessler, the communications person for Tar Sands Action Group, now works for RAN as their Energy & Finance Communications Manager. RAN played an integral role in the sell-out of the Boreal Forest referred to in the above article. Prior to RAN Kessler worked as Manager of Communications at Greenpeace International. Kessler’s view of an environmental “success” mirrors his belief in the false illusion that green capitalism will save us. Kessler: “For Apple to go green would be a tremendous symbolic move for the green industry.”

Video: The Canadian Boreal Forest Agreement (Corporate Environmentalism in a Nutshell) (Running time: 61 seconds) Posted by The Forest Products Association Canada: The Canadian Boreal Forest Agreement – Toronto News Conference highlights, with Avrim Lazar (FPAC) and Richard Brooks (Greenpeace).

Secret Agreement in the Works Between ENGOs and Tar Sands Industry

November 9, 2010: In the article titled “Secret Agreement in the Works Between ENGOs and Tar Sands Industry,” journalist Dru Oja Jay writes:

Will environmentalists continue to allow foundation funding to dictate to the movement? A slew of recent articles have pointed to the likelihood that some foundation-funded environmental groups and the tar sands extraction industry are getting ready to make peace and sign a deal. The precedent, these reports note, has been set with the Canadian Boreal Forest Agreement and the Great Bear Rainforest Agreement. What the media coverage doesn’t mention is the actual character of these previous deals, and the unprecedented consolidation of funder influence in the hands of one man that is driving environmental groups toward such an agreement. [10] [11]

…On October 21, John Spears of the Toronto Star interviewed FPAC’s Avrim Lazar, who told Spears of the calls he was fielding from oil company executives curious about the logging companies’ experience finding common ground with environmental groups. Lazar said that an important precursor to an agreement is for both parties to recognize that tar sands operations have an environmental impact, but for environmentalists to ‘stop calling oil sands extraction an abomination that has to be stopped.’

…Oil companies left no doubt about their interest in an agreement. What about their ENGO partners?

They waited until October 23 to express interest. Ross McMillan, CEO of Tides Canada Foundation, wrote a letter to the Financial Post in response to a right wing attack on foundation funding for anti-tar sands work published on October 15.

“At Tides Canada we are working to bridge these two polarized camps,” wrote McMillan, referring to environmentalists and oil companies. McMillan, who was also slated to attend the aborted “fireside chat” [see 9] in April, went on to cite Tides’ role in the 2001 Great Bear Rainforest Agreement, which dealt with a massive area of BC’s central coast. When that agreement was signed, ForestEthics negotiators emerged from secret negotiations with logging companies to announce that they had signed a deal for 20 percent protection. That was less than half of what scientists said was the minimum area that would need to be preserved to avoid damaging biodiversity, and it violated protocol agreements they had signed with local ENGOs and First Nations. None of that mattered to the signatories, who proclaimed themselves victorious.

There are two key differences between agreements signed ten years ago, and those anticipated today.

First, deals have become even more transparently meaningless. Greenpeace and company literally declared that they had ‘saved the Boreal forest’ by signing an agreement that actually makes no net change in the amount of logging. No CBFA signatory can say with a straight face that they have protected an area the size of Germany, though press releases on their site still make that claim. Even the Great Bear Rainforest Agreement completely preserved 20 percent of the vast forest. Though some activists say that ENGOs subsequently turned a blind eye to clearcutting on Vancouver Island, negating even those gains.

Second, and most crucially, funders have consolidated control of funding for anti-tar sands campaigns to an unprecedented extent. Anyone who wants foundation funding (which most ENGOs rely on) for their campaigns has to talk to Corporate Ethics founder Michael Marx. Marx and his coordinators set funding priorities through the “Tar Sands Coalition,” a structure that, according to internal documents, is supposed to remain “invisible to the outside.”

All of the money for the Tar Sands Coalition comes through Tides Canada Foundation. We know little about where it originates, though the bulk of it comes from U.S. mega-foundations like the Pew Charitable Trusts, which outed itself as the architect of the CBFA after giving millions to environmental groups doing Boreal forest work. Other big donors include the Rockefeller Brothers Fund, the Gordon & Betty Moore Foundation, William & Flora Hewlett Foundation, and the David & Lucile Packard Foundation.

Together, they have given at least $4.3 million to tar sands campaigns since 2000. Together, they hold vast power to decide the fate of those campaigns.

Control over the vast majority of ENGO funding for tar sands work is firmly in the hands of Michael Marx, on behalf of foundations with a taste for collaborative agreements. Journalists seem willing to print claims about “saving the Boreal forest” or “protecting an area the size of Germany” without seeing any actual agreement. [12] Quietly Infiltrates Canada


3 March 2011, as found on The Pearson College website: “Dear Friends, Something exciting is brewing in Canada right now. is working with a new political organization called Leadnow, spearheaded by our friend Jamie Biggar, and we wanted you to be on the ground floor of this exciting initiative.”

Jamie Biggar is the co-founder and executive director of Biggar is an endorser and likely key organizer of, the Tar Sands Action in Ottawa. Adam Shedletzky is founding director and board representative of LeadNow modeled after (USA) and Shedletsky was the Canadian coordinator for the 10/10/10 global work party and a former management consultant. His background/education is global strategy and finance. In 2005 he co-founded It’s Getting Hot In Here (asdiscussed in the article Rockefellers’ 1Sky Unveils the New | More $ – More Delusion).

In the 2 September 2011 article, Leadership or Sabotage?, the author states “ is yet another unfocused, fuzzy, unprovocative and unimaginative organization dedicated to all the good things liberals crave. They are a perfect fit for our group, detached as they are from political reality and dedicated to distracting and detaching the rest of us from meaningful, forceful action on global warming and the environment.”

Big Oil Funds the “Opposition”

“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.” – David Rockefeller, current patriarch of the Rockefeller family and only surviving grandchild of oil tycoon John D. Rockefeller, founder of Standard Oil

Another big green “leading the opposition” to the Keystone expansion is the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC). The largest donors to the NRDC include the Pew Foundation (Sun Oil/Sunoco), the W. Alton Jones Foundation (Citgo), and the Rockefeller Brothers Fund (Standard Oil/Exxon Mobil). The Rockefeller family initiated the Environmental Grantmakers’ Association. The British Royals (BP) as well as Prince Bernhard (Shell) and the Rockefellers were principal actors in initiating the World Wildlife Federation (WWF) as well as the World Wildlife Fund for Nature (WWFN). The International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) NGO partners with corporations such as Shell and boasts “corporate green” members such as NRDC. The IUCN has funding of approximately $100 million in 2010 with funding from the private sector increasing considerably. The three largest conservation organizations worldwide – The Nature Conservancy, WWF, and Conservation International combined revenues exceed $2 billion (2007), more than double their revenues in 2000. Of this, the three groups received at least $35 million more from their corporate partnerships in 2010 than in 2003, although their annual reports do not clarify all sources of corporate funding. Nature Conservancy’s president and CEO is former Goldman Sachs Group executive Mark Tercek. Former Nature Conservancy presidentHenry Paulson also made his rounds through the revolving doors of Goldman Sachs. Nature Conservancy board member, Muneer Satter, also originated from Goldman Sachs.

Access and control over the environmental movement ensures the ability of capitalism to shape and control the movement. This is why the corporations initiate and fund NGOs, co-opting militant environmentalism, and diminishing possible dissent. Funding NGOs, via tax-exempt foundations, is a good business investment. As an example, the Packard Foundation currently has approximately one billion dollars invested in the false illusion of successfully drilling methane hydrates.

“ $1,661,440.00. 1Sky: $3,425,549.00. The plutocracy owning and controlling the movement? Priceless.”

Since 2000, U.S. foundations have provided approximately $300 million to Canadian organizations to undertake Canadian conservation initiatives and “reform” of Canadian resource-based industries. At minimum $210 million came from five U.S. foundations: the Rockefeller Brothers Fund, the Pew Charitable Trusts, the William & Flora Hewlett Foundation, the David & Lucile Packard Foundation, and the Gordon & Betty Moore Foundation. Over $120 million in U.S. foundations’ money was designated to the Great Bear Rainforest Initiative on the coast of British Columbia and the Boreal Forest Initiative.

Since 2002, The Pew Charitable Trusts has spent $44 million on the Boreal Forest Initiative in Canada. Canada’s forests cover some of the planet’s largest deposits of minerals and energy resources. Two of Pew’s grants for the Boreal Forest Initiative are audaciously titled “British Columbia Mining.”

Many U.S. foundations have made grants that explicitly spell out over-reliance on fossil fuels as a matter of national security.

National security is an understatement.

Burn Your Obama Buttons

“The amount of blood thirst in this country is fucking barbaric.” – Nathaniel St. Clair, Counterpunch


Like victims of abuse, the liberal Left call upon our abusers for a kinder, gentler, more “ethical” abuse. They stand by and support those who continue to tell us to wear our buttons to demonstrate our unwavering support of, and steadfast belief in, our abusers. They work hard to convince us that we, such moral citizens, can appeal to and thus change the abusers. Such illusion will sentence most all life on Earth to certain death.

In a July 2011 article, McKibben told us: “Bring Your Obama Buttons – Momentum Builds for White House Tar Sands Action.”

From the Bill McKibben article appearing July 10 2011, The Great American Carbon Bomb:

If you want to sign up to be part of it, here’s the place to go … Two weeks ago, for instance, a few veteran environmentalists, myself included, issued a call for protest against Canada’s plans to massively expand oil imports from the tar sands regions of Alberta. We set up a new website,, and judging from the early response, it could result in the largest civil disobedience actions in the climate-change movement’s history on this continent, as hundreds, possibly thousands, of concerned activists converge on the White House in August. They’ll risk arrest to demand something simple and concrete from President Obama: that he refuse to grant a license for Keystone XL, a new pipeline from Alberta to the Gulf of Mexico that would vastly increase the flow of tar sands oil through the U.S., ensuring that the exploitation of Alberta’s tar sands will only increase.

Lecture by John Pilger: “Obama Is A Corporate Marketing Creation” (Running Time: 5:28). John Pilger is an Australian journalist and documentary maker. He has twice won Britain’s Journalist of the Year Award, and his documentaries have received awards in Britain and the U.S..

And the Oscar goes to Barack Obama, for his portrayal of an African American president …

And anyone to wear an Obama button in 2011 – as U.S. led occupations escalate, as the bombs fall on the citizens of Iraq, Afghanistan, and now Libya, while covert wars are underway in Yemen, Somalia and Pakistan – and as corporatism eats us alive – must seriously consider hiding their face in shame.

“If you tremble with indignation at every injustice, then you are a comrade of mine.” — Ernesto “Che” Guevara

If we wish to live in a world free of war, exploitation, oppression and ecological devastation, then we must embrace the reality that the global capitalist industrialized economic system – which serves the small ruling class – must be dismantled. There is no other way. And this is the unabated truth that McKibben and his disciples (think Greenpeace, RAN, NRDC, and on and on the list goes) choose to ignore. These groups, funded by the industrial machine itself, believe in the system; therefore they support the atrocities being committed in the name of profit. Ironically, the very groups that bask in the halo of non-violent civil disobedience are the very ones who constitute the authoritarian social relationships that prop up and defend violence.

Grassroots groups have been co-opted, marginalized, drowned out and made essentially irrelevant, if not invisible, by the institutional Left and their funders. Their symbolic campaigns and “efforts” to convey essential information regarding our ecological crisis have succeeded in ensuring that any attempt to convey the truth of the severity of our crisis is framed, thus perceived by the public at large, as “radical” and “fear-mongering.” (Radical is another term co-opted by the Right and now perceived by the public as a negative trait rather than its true meaning; to get to the root of the problem.) Any real movement to prevent the eradication of all life, from what is now aptly termed by scientists as “the sixth mass extinction,” must insist that all decisions be based on real-life circumstances and not on arbitrary ideologies that allow us to remain aloof.

Essential Reading

Essay: Pacifism as Pathology by Ward Churchill; 1984:

Pacifism as Pathology

Revised 2007 Version

How Non-Violence Protects the State by Peter Gelderloos:


[1] The founding of the Climate Action Network (CAN) in 1988 can be traced back to the early players in the ENGO community, including Michael Oppenheimer of the corporate NGO, Environmental Defense Fund. CAN is a global network of over 700 nongovernmental organizations (NGOs). The stated goal of CAN is to promote government and individual action to limit human-induced climate change to ecologically sustainable levels. This goal is severely problematic in (at minimum) 2 fundamental ways: 1) There is no such thing as “ecologically sustainable levels” of climate change, and 2) as opposed to states having to respond to approximately 300 groups demanding action on climate change, states instead bask in the comfort of having to deal with only one (that of CAN), which essentially demands little to nothing. CAN has seven regional coordinating offices that coordinate these efforts in Africa, Central and Eastern Europe, Europe, Latin America, North America, South Asia, and Southeast Asia. Members include organizations from around the globe, including the largest corporate greens such as World Wildlife Fund [WWF], Greenpeace and Friends of the Earth.

[2] through [9] Source: Jeffrey St. Clair is the author of Been Brown So Long It Looked Like Green to Me: the Politics of Nature and Grand Theft Pentagon. His newest book, Born Under a Bad Sky, is published by AK Press / CounterPunch books.

[2] According to an analysis of financial reports from the Clinton years, the top givers were the Sun Oil Company (Sunoco) and Oryx Energy, which controlled vast holdings of natural gas in Arkansas and across the oil patch. The Pew family once entirely controlled both Sunoco and Oryx, maintained large holdings in both, and was, in fact, sued for insider trading by Oryx shareholders. Excerpted from Green Scare: the New War on Environmentalism by Jeffrey St. Clair and Joshua Frank.

[3] In its early days the foundation (a collection of seven separate trusts) was vociferously rightwing, with money going to the John Birch Society, to Billy Graham. Excerpted from Green Scare: the New War on Environmentalism by Jeffrey St. Clair and Joshua Frank.

[4] During Clinton’s time, the Pew environmental sector was headed by Joshua Reichert. Reichert and his subordinates, Tom Wathen and John Gilroy, not only allocated money to individual Pew projects, such as the Endangered Species Coalition, but they also helped direct the donations of other foundations mustered in the Environmental Grantmakers’ Association. Excerpted from Green Scare: the New War on Environmentalism by Jeffrey St. Clair and Joshua Frank.

[5] There were some notable foundations that objected to Pew’s leveraged buyouts of environmental campaigns, notably the Levinson, Patagonia, and Turner Foundations. Excerpted from Green Scare: the New War on Environmentalism by Jeffrey St. Clair and Joshua Frank.

[6] Take just one of the seven Pew trust funds: the Pew Memorial Trust. This enterprise made $205 million in “investment income” in 1993 from such stocks as Weyerhaeuser ($16 million), the mining concern Phelps-Dodge ($3.7 million), International Paper ($4.56 million), and Atlantic Richfield, which was pushing hard to open even more of the Arctic to oil drilling ($6.1 million). The annual income yield from rape-and-pillage companies accruing to Pew in this single trust was twice as large as its total grants, and six times as large as all of Pew’s environmental dispensations that year (about $20 million in 1993). Excerpted from Green Scare: the New War on Environmentalism by Jeffrey St. Clair and Joshua Frank.

[7] Next of the big three in environmental funding was an oil company known as Cities Services, which endowed the W. Alton Jones Foundation, based in Charlottesville, Virginia. (In the merger frenzy of the 1980s, Cities was ultimately taken over by Occidental Petroleum, in a move that saved Ivan Boesky from financial ruin. It was later parceled off to the Southland Corporation, owners of Seven Eleven; then finally, in 1990, it was sold to Petroleos de Venezuela). According to the charity’s charter, the purpose of the foundation was two-fold: preservation of biological diversity and elimination of the threat of nuclear war. Although, Alton Jones doled out about $14 million a year to environmental causes during the Clinton years with the same engulf-and-neuter tactic of Pew, this apostle of peace maintained very large holdings in arms manufacturers, including Martin-Marietta ($3.26 million), Raytheon ($1.32 million), Boeing ($1.38 million), and GE ($1.4 million). Alton Jones’ portfolio was also enhanced by income from bonds floated by Charles Hurwitz’s Scotia-Pacific Holdings Company, a subsidiary of Maxxam, which was at that very moment trying to cut down the Headwaters Grove, the largest patch of privately owned redwoods in the world. The charity’s annual statement to the Internal Revenue Service also disclosed a $1.4 million stake in Louisiana-Pacific, then the large purchaser of timber from publicly-owned federal forests. The company had been convicted of felony violations of federal environmental laws at its pulp mill in Ketchikan, Alaska, where L-P was butchering its way through the Tongass National Forest. At the same time, Alton Jones maintained a position (just under $1 million in stock) in FMC, the big gold mining enterprise, whose dousing of endangered salmon habitat in Idaho with cyanide at the Beartrack Mine was greased by Clinton’s Commerce Secretary Ron Brown. Picking up revenue from FMC’s salmon destruction with one hand, in 1993 the foundation gave about $600,000 with the other hand to supposedly protect salmon habitat in the same area. The grants went to the compliant and docile groups in the region, such as the Pacific Rivers Council. At a crucial moment in January 1994, Pacific Rivers Council and the Wilderness Society – another recipient of W. Alton Jones cash – demanded that a federal judge suspend an injunction the groups had – to their great alarm – just won. The injunction had shut down FMC’s Beartrack Gold Mine, from which the company expected to make $300 million courtesy of the 1872 Mining Act, whose reform the Clinton administration carefully avoided. When the Wilderness Society’s attorneys asked Judge David Ezra to rescind the injunction, he was outraged, but had no alternative but to comply. FMC’s stock promptly soared, yielding extra earning for Alton Jones’ holdings in the mining concern. Excerpted from Green Scare: the New War on Environmentalism by Jeffrey St. Clair and Joshua Frank.

[8] “In the Clinton era, the RFF was run by ex-Naderite Donald Ross, who pulled down, according to IRS filings, $130,000 a year, plus another $23,000 in benefits. The relationship of the Family Fund to Rockefeller oil money scarcely needs stating. Though, the Fund dispensed a relatively puny $2 million a year in grants, it exercises great influence by dint of the foundation’s leadership of the Environmental Grantmaker’s Association. The Fund also functioned as a kind of staff college for foundation executives. Pew’s John Gilroy and Tom Wathen both learned their trade under Ross’s tutelage. In the 1980s, when the Multinational Monitor revealed that the ten largest foundations in America owned billions in stock in companies doing business in South Africa, Donald Ross lamented that many foundations “simply turn their portfolios over to a bank trust department or to outside managers and that’s the last they see of it.” Excerpted from Green Scare: the New War on Environmentalism by Jeffrey St. Clair and Joshua Frank.

[9] “… as listed by Multinational Monitor …” Excerpted from Green Scare: the New War on Environmentalism by Jeffrey St. Clair and Joshua Frank.

[10] Things got started back in April, when a secret “fireside chat” was planned between oil industry executives and ENGO leaders, including former Great Bear Rainforest Agreement negotiators Tzeporah Berman and Merran Smith, and representatives from Tides Canada, World Wildlife Fund, Pembina Institute, and others. After word circulated about the “informal, beer-in-hand” discussions, the meeting was called off – temporarily. Excerpt from the “Secret Agreement in the Works Between ENGOs and Tar Sands Industry” by journalist DruOja Jay.

[11] The idea hit the corporate media in September 2010, with reports that Syncrude Chairman Marcel Coutu had solicited David Suzuki to broker an agreement between environmentalists and tar sands operators. Suzuki rebuffed him, saying that a dialogue was not possible while oil companies were funding lies about their environmental impact. But the idea didn’t die – and neither did the lies. In October 2010, during a major ad campaign from the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers that compared tar sands tailings to yogurt, the Edmonton Journal and Calgary Herald published a report by Sheila Pratt titled “Is an oilsands [sic] truce possible?” Pratt interviews Avrim Lazar, CEO of the Forest Products Association of Canada (FPAC), the group of logging companies that signed an accord with Greenpeace, the David Suzuki Foundation, and several other Environmental Non-Governmental Organizations (ENGOs). That was the “Canadian Boreal Forest Agreement” (CBFA). Pratt repeats the false claim that the agreement preserves 72 million hectares of forest. In fact, the CBFA maintains the current rate of logging, simply shifting a small portion (about the size of metro Toronto) to areas outside of the Caribou Range. Furthermore, it requires ENGOs to defend the logging companies that signed against criticism and help them market their products. Of all of Pratt’s interviewees, only Greenpeace’s Mike Hudema states the obvious: it is not possible to green the tar sands. Excerpt from the “Secret Agreement in the Works Between ENGOs and Tar Sands Industry” by journalist DruOja Jay.

[12] “Our future hinges on the tar sands. Will any level of environmental destruction, loss of human life, or climate change be considered an acceptable cost to continue consumption of fossil fuels? Or is there a limit to the amount of destruction we will accept? If a secret agreement is allowed to go forward, then those who cannot accept ever-escalating destruction will have to fight other ENGOs in addition to fighting the oil companies. Will the Tar Sands Greenwashing Accord continue as planned?” Excerpt from the “Secret Agreement in the Works Between ENGOs and Tar Sands Industry” by journalist DruOja Jay. For more about ENGOs and the collaborative model, read the 2009 report “Offsetting Resistance: The effects of foundation funding from the Great Bear Rainforest to the Athabasca River,” by Macdonald Stainsby and DruOja Jay.

How Many ‘Big Greens’ Endorsed the People’s Agreement of Cochabamba?

How Many ‘Big Greens’ Endorsed the People’s Agreement of Cochabamba?

Answer: None.

From April 19th – 22nd 2010 the first World People’s Conference on Climate Change and the Rights of Mother Earth, was in held in Cochabamba, Bolivia. It brought more than 35,000 people from around the world, the majority of them being Indigenous. In the first democratically written agreement on climate change, written by the people themselves, proposals for real solutions to climate were unveiled to the world under the document titled the Cochabamba Accord. It is also known as The People’s Agreement of Cochabamba.

It must be remembered that, WWF, Sierra Club, NRDC and most all other “big greens” have rejected the People’s Agreement of Cochabamba rather than unite behind it, in favour of the false illusion of “green” capitalism. Because of this, even although the document was finally recognized by the United Nations, due in most part to the efforts of Pablo Salon (Bolivia’s former ambassador to the United Nations), this agreement has been ignored, marginalized and disregarded by the most powerful voices in the faux environmental movement. Instead of the movement and world uniting behind this agreement – in an attempt to mitigate a 6th extinction – this agreement has been buried and essentially forgotten so the champagne circuit can continue to relish in delusion.

The agreement follows the organizations listed below.

The partners, listed below, can be found on the People’s Agreement website. (It must be noted that some of the larger organizations, listed as partners, did not endorse the final document.)

  1. Via Campesina (Austria)
  2. JS-APMDD – Jubilee south – Asia /Pacific Movement on Debt and Development
  3. FOCO – Foro Ciudadano de Participación por la Justicia y los Derechos Humanos (Argentina)
  4. Human Nature (U.S.)
  5. Climate Change Study Program?Society for Wetland Biodiversity Conservation (?Nepal)
  6. Global Exchange (U.S.)
  7. Canadians for Action on Climate Change (Canada)
  8. PMCC – The Peoples Movement on Climate Change
  9. CDP – Coastal Development Partnership – (Bangladesh)
  10. GreenHearth Education (Canada)
  11. Society for Wetland Biodiversity Conservation (Nepal)
  12. Climate Change Emergency Medical Response
  13. Jubilee Debt Campaign (UK)
  14. Living Green, Living Well (Canada)
  15. The Corner House (UK)
  16. A World to Win (UK)
  17. Ethiopian Society for Consumer Protection (Ethiopia)
  18. APC – Asian Peasant Coalition (Asia)
  19. JVE – Jeunes Volontaires pour l’Environnement (Togo)
  20. O.W.N. – Organic Wellness News (Canada)
  21. Movimiento Patriótico Manuel Rodriguez (Chile)
  22. ADAY – Asociación por los Derechos de los Animales en Yucatán A.C. (México)
  23. ATTAC España
  24. Tibet Justice Center (U.S.)
  25. Coopera TV Asturias (España)
  26. O’Dam ONGD – Cooperación Asturiana para el Desarrollo (España)
  27. Ecoportal.Net (Argentina)
  28. APWLD – Asia Pacific Forum on Women, Law and Development (Tailandia)
  29. AEADO – Asociación de Escritores y Artistas del Orbe (España)
  30. GAIA – Alianza Global Anti-Incineración (Filipinas)
  31. Rainforest Action Network (U.S.)
  32. ONG Social Indigena (Chile)
  33. Cooperativa de Provisión de Servicios “Reciclando Sueños” (Argentina)
  34. ATTAC (Chile)
  35. ABIDES – Associação Brasileira de Integração e Desenvolvimento Sustentável (Brasil)
  36. WRM – Movimiento Mundial por los Bosques Tropicales (Uruguay)
  37. Fundación Armonía Global (Venezuela)
  38. Movimiento Ecologista CANTO VIVO (Perú)
  39. Central de Trabajadores de la Argentina
  40. CISAS – Centro de Información y Servicios de Asesoría en Salud (Nicaragua)
  41. Energy Ethics (Denmark)
  42. JCI Empresarios La Paz (Bolivia)
  43. Kallawayas Sin Fronteras (Bolivia)
  44. STP – Society for Threatened Peoples (U.S.)
  45. ICEPH – Instituto Cordillerano de Estudios y Promoción Humana (Argentina)
  46. APMM – L’association des Populations des Montagnes du Monde – Paris (France)
  47. Amigos de la Tierra Internacional (Holland)
  48. ATTAC (Argentina)
  49. Organización Autolibre (Uruguay)
  50. Iniciativa Cuba Socialista (Belgium)
  51. CSCIB – Confederación Sindical de Comunidades Interculturales de Bolivia
  52. CSUTCB – Confederación Sindical Única de Trabajadores Campesinos de Bolivia
  53. CONAMAQ – Consejo Nacional de Ayllus y Markas del Qullasuyu
  54. CNMCIOB “BS” – Confederación Nacional de Mujeres Campesinas Indígenas Originarias de Bolivia “Bartolina Sisa”
  55. CIDOB – Confederación de Pueblos Indígenas del Oriente, Chaco y Amazonía de Bolivia
  56. Portal (Germany)
  57. Foro de Ecología Política (Argentina)
  58. Proyecto Tierra, ONG “Por una Cultura Ecológica” (Argentina)
  59. Fundación Mundo Puro (Bolivia)
  60. Re@l Bolivia Nodo Cochabamba
  61. Plataforma Boliviana Frente al Cambio Climático
  62. Jubileo Sur
  63. 350.0rg – Campaña Internacional frente el Cambio Climático (UK)
  64. MOCICC – Movimiento Ciudadano frente al Cambio Climático (Perú)
  65. CoC – Council of Canadians (Canada)
  66. Belarusian Party of Greens (Belarus)
  67. Asociación Inti Illimani (Bolivia)
  68. Agua Sustentable – Centro de Apoyo a la Gestión Sustentable del Agua y Medio Ambiente (Bolivia)
  69. Fundación PACHAMAMA – (Ecuador)
  70. Frente de Lucha Mapuche y Campesino (Argentina)
  71. Fundación Kawsay – Lucha por la Vida
  72. Noam Chomski (U.S.)
  73. Ala Plástica (Argentina)
  74. AMAR – Asociación Amigos del Arbol (El Salvador)
  75. ECOCULTURA – Centro para la Promoción de la Cultura, el Patrimonio y el Desarrollo Local (Argentina)
  76. ANA – Acción por los Niños de los Ande (France)
  77. ANROS – Asociación Nacional de Redes y Organizaciones Sociales (Venezuela)
  78. CIPSI – Solidaridad y Cooperacion (Italy)
  79. Consejo Regional de Desarrollo Sustentable de Tarapacá
  80. Radio El Arka (Argentina)
  81. PAU ER – Public Academic University “Evolution of Reason”
  82. DP – Dialogo de los Pueblos (Africa – Latin America)
  83. IBASE – Instituto Brasileiro de Análises Socais e Econômica (Brazil)
  84. Forum Social d’AUBERVILLIERS (France)
  85. Centro Bolivariano de Residentes Extranjeros de Latinoamérica y el Caribe (Argentina)
  86. LIDEMA – Liga de Defensa del Medio Ambiente (Bolivia)
  87. REDNAVA – Red Nacional de Voluntarios Ambientales (Bolivia)
  88. Centro para el Desarrollo Sostenible Molle (Bolivia)
  89. Abuelas de Plaza de Mayo (Argentina)
  90. Action Solidarité Tiers Monde
  91. ANEEJ – Africa Network for Environment and Economic Justice (Nigeria)
  92. Africa Trade Network
  93. African Biodiversity Network (Kenia)
  94. African Women’s Economic Policy Network (Uganda)
  95. Alba Sud (España)
  96. AMAN – Aliansi Masyarakat Adat Nusantara – Indigenous Peoples’ Alliance of the Archipelago (Indonesia)
  97. Alianza Mexicana por la Autodeterminación de los Pueblos (México)
  98. Amigos de la Tierra (España)
  99. ANND – Arab NGO Network for Development
  100. AIPP – Asia Indigenous Peoples Pact (Tailandia)
  101. Asia Pacific Research Network
  102. AIWN – Asian Indigenous Women’s Network (Filipinas)
  103. Asian Network of Indigenous Lawyers (Filipinas)
  104. Asociación de Desarrollo Integral San Miguelense (Guatemala)
  105. Asociación Jalisciense de Apoyo a los Grupos Indígenas
  106. Asociación Solidaria de Artesanas Pachamama (Bolivia)
  107. ATTAC Hungary (Hungría)
  108. Bia´lii, Asesoría e Investigación, A.C (México)
  109. Both ENDS
  110. BMP – Bukluran ng Manggagawang Pilipino (Filipinas)
  111. Campagna per la Riforma della Banca Mondiale
  112. Campaña Ningún Hogar Pobre en Argentina
  113. Canadian Union of Postal Workers
  114. CEE Bankwatch Network Central and Eastern Europe
  115. Center for a World in Balance
  116. CWIS – Center for World Indigenous Studies (Estados Unidos)
  117. CAMV – Centre d’Accompagnement des Autochtones Pygmées et Minoritaires Vulnérables (Congo)
  118. Centro de Estudios Sociales y Culturales
  119. Centro de Iniciativas para el Desarrollo
  120. CADPI – Centro para la autonomía y desarrollo de los pueblos indígenas (Nicaragua)
  121. China Youth Climate Action Network
  122. Christian Aid
  123. CCDD – Citizens Concern for Dams and Development (India)
  124. Coastal Development Partnership (Bangladesh)
  125. Colectivo Voces Ecológicas
  126. Comercializadora Agroforestal del Istmo SPR
  127. Comisión de Apoyo a la Unidad y Reconciliación Comunitaria (México)
  128. Comisión Ecológica Ituzaingo
  129. Comité Nacional para la Justicia climática
  130. Community Development Fund (Bangladesh)
  131. Community Empowerment and Development Association (Namibia)
  133. Consumers Association of Penang (Malasia)
  134. Convergencia de Movimientos Populares de América Latina
  135. Coordinadora Civil (Nicaragua)
  136. COPEVI
  137. Cordillera Peoples’ Alliance (Filipinas)
  138. Council of Swaziland Churches
  139. Diálogo 2000
  140. ESAFF – Eastern and Southern Africa Farmers Forum (Tanzania)
  141. Ecological Alert and Recovery (Tailandia)
  142. Ecological Society of the Filipinas (Filipinas)
  143. Ecologistas en Acción
  144. Economic Justice Network (Sudáfrica)
  145. Ecos, voces y acciones, A.C.
  146. ECOT – Ecumenical Coalition on Tourism
  147. EED Task Force Indigenous Peoples (Filipinas)
  148. EQUATIONS (India)
  149. Equity and Justice Working Group (Bangladesh)
  150. Farmer’s Legal Action Group (Sudáfrica)
  151. Flemish Centre for Indigenous Peoples (Bélgica)
  152. Forum for Indigenous Perspectives and Action (India)
  153. Forum maghrébin pour l’environnement et le développement
  154. Foundation for Grassroots Initiatives in Africa – Grassroots Africa (Ghana)
  155. Freedom from Debt Coalition (Filipinas)
  156. Friends of the Earth England, Wales and N. Ireland
  157. Friends of the Earth International
  158. Friends of the Earth (Malasia)
  159. Fundacion IEPALA (España)
  160. Fundación Solon (Bolivia)
  161. Global Anti-Incinerator Alliance
  162. Global Exchange
  163. Grupo Tacuba, A. C.
  164. INSAF – Indian Social Action Forum (India)
  165. INESC
  166. AAI – Iniciativa contra los Agronegocios (Centroamérica)
  167. Iniciativa Radial
  168. Iniciativa Radial (Argentina)
  169. Institute for Sustainable Development (Etiopia)
  170. Instituto de Investigación y Desarrollo NITLAPAN-UCA (Nicaragua)
  171. IFG – International Forum on Globalization
  172. INFID – International NGO Forum on Indonesian Development (Indonesia)
  173. International Rivers Network
  174. ITEM – Instituto del Tercer Mundo (Uruguay)
  175. JSAPMDD – JS-Asia/Pacific Movement on Debt and Development (Asia-Pacífico)
  176. Jubilee South
  177. Jubileo Perú (Perú)
  178. Jubileu 2000
  179. Jubileu 2000 Angola (Angola)
  180. KALAYAAN (Filipinas)
  181. Kanak Agency for Development (Nueva Caledonia)
  182. KOALISI ANTI-UTANG (Indonesia)
  183. KPML – Kongreso ng Pinagkaisang Maralitang Tagalunsod (Filipinas)
  184. KRUHA Water Coalition (Indonesia)
  185. Labour, Health and Human Rights Development Centre (Nigeria)
  186. Land for Peace SA
  187. Least Developed Countries Watch
  188. Lelewal Foundation (Camerún)
  190. Marea Creciente
  191. Media Bebas
  192. Missionnaires Xavériens
  193. MOCICC – Movimiento Ciudadano frente al Cambio Climático (Perú)
  194. Movimiento Social Nicaragüense Otro Mundo es Posible (Nicaragua)
  195. Nadi Ghati Morcha (India)
  196. National Civic Forum (Sudan)
  197. National Forum of Forest Peoples and Forest Workers (India)
  198. NUBE – National Union of Bank Employees (Malasia)
  199. Nepal Federation of Indigenous Nationalities
  200. Observatorio Politicas Sociales y Ambientales (Argentina)
  201. Office of the People’s Committee of Ha Giang (Vietnam)
  202. OLSSI – Ole Siosiomaga Society Incorporated (Samoa)
  203. Otros Mundos Chiapas
  204. Pakistan Fisherfolk Forum (Pakistán)
  205. PACJA – Pan African Climate Justice Alliance
  206. Pasumai Thaayagam – Green Motherland (India)
  207. GARPU – People’s Alliance for Debt Cancellation (Indonesia)
  208. PAPDA – Plateforme Haïtienne de Plaidoyer pour un Développement Alternatif (Haiti)
  209. Prensa Ambiental (Argentina)
  210. PRRM – Philippine Rural Reconstruction Movement (Filipinas)
  211. Rainforest Action Network
  212. Red Costarricense de agendas locales de mujeres
  213. RMALC – Red Mexicana de Accion frente al Libre Comercio (México)
  214. Red Sinti Techan – Costa Rica (Costa Rica)
  215. Research Foundation for Science, Technology and Ecology
  216. River Basin Friends (India)
  217. RRN – Rural Reconstruction Nepal
  218. SANLAKAS (Filipinas)
  219. SSM – Secretariado Social Mexicano (México)
  220. Solidaritas Perempuan (Indonesia)
  221. Solidarity Workshop (Bangladesh)
  222. SOCDA – Somali Org. for Community Dev. Activities (Somalia)
  223. SAAPE – South Asia Alliance for Poverty Eradication (Nepal)
  224. SUPRO (Bangladesh)
  225. Tebtebba Foundation (Filipinas)
  226. Thai Working Group for Climate Justice (Tailandia)
  227. Third World Network
  228. Titlalli – Grupo Ecologista (México)
  229. Tourism Investigation & Monitoring Team (Tailandia)
  230. Uganda Coalition for Sustainable Development (Uganda)
  231. UNES – Unida Ecológica Salvadoreña (El Salvador)
  232. Unión Popular Valle Gómez (México)
  233. Unnayan Onneshan (Bangladesh)
  234. VOICE Bangladesh
  235. WALHI – Friends of The Earth Indonesia (Indonesia)
  236. Women Environmental Conservation Project (Uganda)
  237. Women for Change
  238. World Development Movement
  239. Xiamen Greencross Association (China)
  240. Yonge Nawe – Friends of the Earth Swaziland (Suazilandia)
  241. Young Green Woman (Sierra Leona)

World People’s Conference on Climate Change

and the Rights of Mother Earth

April 22nd, Cochabamba, Bolivia


Today, our Mother Earth is wounded and the future of humanity is in danger.

If global warming increases by more than 2 degrees Celsius, a situation that the “Copenhagen Accord” could lead to, there is a 50% probability that the damages caused to our Mother Earth will be completely irreversible. Between 20% and 30% of species would be in danger of disappearing. Large extensions of forest would be affected, droughts and floods would affect different regions of the planet, deserts would expand, and the melting of the polar ice caps and the glaciers in the Andes and Himalayas would worsen. Many island states would disappear, and Africa would suffer an increase in temperature of more than 3 degrees Celsius. Likewise, the production of food would diminish in the world, causing catastrophic impact on the survival of inhabitants from vast regions in the planet, and the number of people in the world suffering from hunger would increase dramatically, a figure that already exceeds 1.02 billion people. The corporations and governments of the so-called “developed” countries, in complicity with a segment of the scientific community, have led us to discuss climate change as a problem limited to the rise in temperature without questioning the cause, which is the capitalist system.

We confront the terminal crisis of a civilizing model that is patriarchal and based on the submission and destruction of human beings and nature that accelerated since the industrial revolution.

The capitalist system has imposed on us a logic of competition, progress and limitless growth. This regime of production and consumption seeks profit without limits, separating human beings from nature and imposing a logic of domination upon nature, transforming everything into commodities: water, earth, the human genome, ancestral cultures, biodiversity, justice, ethics, the rights of peoples, and life itself.

Under capitalism, Mother Earth is converted into a source of raw materials, and human beings into consumers and a means of production, into people that are seen as valuable only for what they own, and not for what they are.

Capitalism requires a powerful military industry for its processes of accumulation and imposition of control over territories and natural resources, suppressing the resistance of the peoples. It is an imperialist system of colonization of the planet.

Humanity confronts a great dilemma: to continue on the path of capitalism, depredation, and death, or to choose the path of harmony with nature and respect for life.

It is imperative that we forge a new system that restores harmony with nature and among human beings. And in order for there to be balance with nature, there must first be equity among human beings. We propose to the peoples of the world the recovery, revalorization, and strengthening of the knowledge, wisdom, and ancestral practices of Indigenous Peoples, which are affirmed in the thought and practices of “Living Well,” recognizing Mother Earth as a living being with which we have an indivisible, interdependent, complementary and spiritual relationship. To face climate change, we must recognize Mother Earth as the source of life and forge a new system based on the principles of:

  • harmony and balance among all and with all things;
  • complementarity, solidarity, and equality;
  • collective well-being and the satisfaction of the basic necessities of all;
  • people in harmony with nature;
  • recognition of human beings for what they are, not what they own;
  • elimination of all forms of colonialism, imperialism and interventionism;
  • peace among the peoples and with Mother Earth;

The model we support is not a model of limitless and destructive development. All countries need to produce the goods and services necessary to satisfy the fundamental needs of their populations, but by no means can they continue to follow the path of development that has led the richest countries to have an ecological footprint five times bigger than what the planet is able to support. Currently, the regenerative capacity of the planet has been already exceeded by more than 30 percent. If this pace of over-exploitation of our Mother Earth continues, we will need two planets by the year 2030. In an interdependent system in which human beings are only one component, it is not possible to recognize rights only to the human part without provoking an imbalance in the system as a whole. To guarantee human rights and to restore harmony with nature, it is necessary to effectively recognize and apply the rights of Mother Earth. For this purpose, we propose the attached project for the Universal Declaration on the Rights of Mother Earth, in which it’s recorded that:

  • The right to live and to exist;
  • The right to be respected;
  • The right to regenerate its bio-capacity and to continue it’s vital cycles and processes free of human alteration;
  • The right to maintain their identity and integrity as differentiated beings, self-regulated and interrelated;
  • The right to water as the source of life;
  • The right to clean air;
  • The right to comprehensive health;
  • The right to be free of contamination and pollution, free of toxic and radioactive waste;
  • The right to be free of alterations or modifications of it’s genetic structure in a manner that threatens it’s integrity or vital and healthy functioning;
  • The right to prompt and full restoration for violations to the rights acknowledged in this Declaration caused by human activities.

The “shared vision” seeks to stabilize the concentrations of greenhouse gases to make effective the Article 2 of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, which states that “the stabilization of greenhouse gases concentrations in the atmosphere to a level that prevents dangerous anthropogenic inferences for the climate system.” Our vision is based on the principle of historical common but differentiated responsibilities, to demand the developed countries to commit with quantifiable goals of emission reduction that will allow to return the concentrations of greenhouse gases to 300 ppm, therefore the increase in the average world temperature to a maximum of one degree Celsius.

Emphasizing the need for urgent action to achieve this vision, and with the support of peoples, movements and countries, developed countries should commit to ambitious targets for reducing emissions that permit the achievement of short-term objectives, while maintaining our vision in favor of balance in the Earth’s climate system, in agreement with the ultimate objective of the Convention.

The “shared vision for long-term cooperative action” in climate change negotiations should not be reduced to defining the limit on temperature increases and the concentration of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere, but must also incorporate in a balanced and integral manner measures regarding capacity building, production and consumption patterns, and other essential factors such as the acknowledging of the Rights of Mother Earth to establish harmony with nature.

Developed countries, as the main cause of climate change, in assuming their historical responsibility, must recognize and honor their climate debt in all of its dimensions as the basis for a just, effective, and scientific solution to climate change. In this context, we demand that developed countries:

• Restore to developing countries the atmospheric space that is occupied by their greenhouse gas emissions. This implies the decolonization of the atmosphere through the reduction and absorption of their emissions;

• Assume the costs and technology transfer needs of developing countries arising from the loss of development opportunities due to living in a restricted atmospheric space;

• Assume responsibility for the hundreds of millions of people that will be forced to migrate due to the climate change caused by these countries, and eliminate their restrictive immigration policies, offering migrants a decent life with full human rights guarantees in their countries;

• Assume adaptation debt related to the impacts of climate change on developing countries by providing the means to prevent, minimize, and deal with damages arising from their excessive emissions;

• Honor these debts as part of a broader debt to Mother Earth by adopting and implementing the United Nations Universal Declaration on the Rights of Mother Earth.

The focus must not be only on financial compensation, but also on restorative justice, understood as the restitution of integrity to our Mother Earth and all its beings.

We deplore attempts by countries to annul the Kyoto Protocol, which is the sole legally binding instrument specific to the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions by developed countries.

We inform the world that, despite their obligation to reduce emissions, developed countries have increased their emissions by 11.2% in the period from 1990 to 2007.

During that same period, due to unbridled consumption, the United States of America has increased its greenhouse gas emissions by 16.8%, reaching an average of 20 to 23 tons of CO2 per-person. This represents 9 times more than that of the average inhabitant of the “Third World,” and 20 times more than that of the average inhabitant of Sub-Saharan Africa.

We categorically reject the illegitimate “Copenhagen Accord” that allows developed countries to offer insufficient reductions in greenhouse gases based in voluntary and individual commitments, violating the environmental integrity of Mother Earth and leading us toward an increase in global temperatures of around 4°C.

The next Conference on Climate Change to be held at the end of 2010 in Mexico should approve an amendment to the Kyoto Protocol for the second commitment period from 2013 to 2017 under which developed countries must agree to significant domestic emissions reductions of at least 50% based on 1990 levels, excluding carbon markets or other offset mechanisms that mask the failure of actual reductions in greenhouse gas emissions.

We require first of all the establishment of a goal for the group of developed countries to achieve the assignment of individual commitments for each developed country under the framework of complementary efforts among each one, maintaining in this way Kyoto Protocol as the route to emissions reductions.

The United States, as the only Annex 1 country on Earth that did not ratify the Kyoto Protocol, has a significant responsibility toward all peoples of the world to ratify this document and commit itself to respecting and complying with emissions reduction targets on a scale appropriate to the total size of its economy.

We the peoples have the equal right to be protected from the adverse effects of climate change and reject the notion of adaptation to climate change as understood as a resignation to impacts provoked by the historical emissions of developed countries, which themselves must adapt their modes of life and consumption in the face of this global emergency. We see it as imperative to confront the adverse effects of climate change, and consider adaptation to be a process rather than an imposition, as well as a tool that can serve to help offset those effects, demonstrating that it is possible to achieve harmony with nature under a different model for living.

It is necessary to construct an Adaptation Fund exclusively for addressing climate change as part of a financial mechanism that is managed in a sovereign, transparent, and equitable manner for all States. This Fund should assess the impacts and costs of climate change in developing countries and needs deriving from these impacts, and monitor support on the part of developed countries. It should also include a mechanism for compensation for current and future damages, loss of opportunities due to extreme and gradual climactic events, and additional costs that could present themselves if our planet surpasses ecological thresholds, such as those impacts that present obstacles to “Living Well.”

The “Copenhagen Accord” imposed on developing countries by a few States, beyond simply offering insufficient resources, attempts as well to divide and create confrontation between peoples and to extort developing countries by placing conditions on access to adaptation and mitigation resources. We also assert as unacceptable the attempt in processes of international negotiation to classify developing countries for their vulnerability to climate change, generating disputes, inequalities and segregation among them.

The immense challenge humanity faces of stopping global warming and cooling the planet can only be achieved through a profound shift in agricultural practices toward the sustainable model of production used by indigenous and rural farming peoples, as well as other ancestral models and practices that contribute to solving the problem of agriculture and food sovereignty. This is understood as the right of peoples to control their own seeds, lands, water, and food production, thereby guaranteeing, through forms of production that are in harmony with Mother Earth and appropriate to local cultural contexts, access to sufficient, varied and nutritious foods in complementarity with Mother Earth and deepening the autonomous (participatory, communal and shared) production of every nation and people.

Climate change is now producing profound impacts on agriculture and the ways of life of indigenous peoples and farmers throughout the world, and these impacts will worsen in the future.

Agribusiness, through its social, economic, and cultural model of global capitalist production and its logic of producing food for the market and not to fulfill the right to proper nutrition, is one of the principal causes of climate change. Its technological, commercial, and political approach only serves to deepen the climate change crisis and increase hunger in the world. For this reason, we reject Free Trade Agreements and Association Agreements and all forms of the application of Intellectual Property Rights to life, current technological packages (agrochemicals, genetic modification) and those that offer false solutions (biofuels, geo-engineering, nanotechnology, etc.) that only exacerbate the current crisis.

We similarly denounce the way in which the capitalist model imposes mega-infrastructure projects and invades territories with extractive projects, water privatization, and militarized territories, expelling indigenous peoples from their lands, inhibiting food sovereignty and deepening socio-environmental crisis.

We demand recognition of the right of all peoples, living beings, and Mother Earth to have access to water, and we support the proposal of the Government of Bolivia to recognize water as a Fundamental Human Right.

The definition of forests used in the negotiations of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, which includes plantations, is unacceptable. Monoculture plantations are not forests. Therefore, we require a definition for negotiation purposes that recognizes the native forests, jungles and the diverse ecosystems on Earth.

The United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples must be fully recognized, implemented and integrated in climate change negotiations. The best strategy and action to avoid deforestation and degradation and protect native forests and jungles is to recognize and guarantee collective rights to lands and territories, especially considering that most of the forests are located within the territories of indigenous peoples and nations and other traditional communities.

We condemn market mechanisms such as REDD (Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation) and its versions + and + +, which are violating the sovereignty of peoples and their right to prior free and informed consent as well as the sovereignty of national States, the customs of Peoples, and the Rights of Nature.

Polluting countries have an obligation to carry out direct transfers of the economic and technological resources needed to pay for the restoration and maintenance of forests in favor of the peoples and indigenous ancestral organic structures. Compensation must be direct and in addition to the sources of funding promised by developed countries outside of the carbon market, and never serve as carbon offsets. We demand that countries stop actions on local forests based on market mechanisms and propose non-existent and conditional results. We call on governments to create a global program to restore native forests and jungles, managed and administered by the peoples, implementing forest seeds, fruit trees, and native flora. Governments should eliminate forest concessions and support the conservation of petroleum deposits in the ground and urgently stop the exploitation of hydrocarbons in forestlands.

We call upon States to recognize, respect and guarantee the effective implementation of international human rights standards and the rights of indigenous peoples, including the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples under ILO Convention 169, among other relevant instruments in the negotiations, policies and measures used to meet the challenges posed by climate change. In particular, we call upon States to give legal recognition to claims over territories, lands and natural resources to enable and strengthen our traditional ways of life and contribute effectively to solving climate change.

We demand the full and effective implementation of the right to consultation, participation and prior, free and informed consent of indigenous peoples in all negotiation processes, and in the design and implementation of measures related to climate change.

Environmental degradation and climate change are currently reaching critical levels, and one of the main consequences of this is domestic and international migration. According to projections, there were already about 25 million climate migrants by 1995. Current estimates are around 50 million, and projections suggest that between 200 million and 1 billion people will become displaced by situations resulting from climate change by the year 2050.

Developed countries should assume responsibility for climate migrants, welcoming them into their territories and recognizing their fundamental rights through the signing of international conventions that provide for the definition of climate migrant and require all States to abide by abide by determinations.

Establish an International Tribunal of Conscience to denounce, make visible, document, judge and punish violations of the rights of migrants, refugees and displaced persons within countries of origin, transit and destination, clearly identifying the responsibilities of States, companies and other agents.

Current funding directed toward developing countries for climate change and the proposal of the Copenhagen Accord is insignificant. In addition to Official Development Assistance and public sources, developed countries must commit to a new annual funding of at least 6% of GDP to tackle climate change in developing countries. This is viable considering that a similar amount is spent on national defense, and that 5 times more have been put forth to rescue failing banks and speculators, which raises serious questions about global priorities and political will. This funding should be direct and free of conditions, and should not interfere with the national sovereignty or self-determination of the most affected communities and groups.

In view of the inefficiency of the current mechanism, a new funding mechanism should be established at the 2010 Climate Change Conference in Mexico, functioning under the authority of the Conference of the Parties (COP) under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change and held accountable to it, with significant representation of developing countries, to ensure compliance with the funding commitments of Annex 1 countries.

It has been stated that developed countries significantly increased their emissions in the period from 1990 to 2007, despite having stated that the reduction would be substantially supported by market mechanisms.

The carbon market has become a lucrative business, commodifying our Mother Earth. It is therefore not an alternative for tackle climate change, as it loots and ravages the land, water, and even life itself.

The recent financial crisis has demonstrated that the market is incapable of regulating the financial system, which is fragile and uncertain due to speculation and the emergence of intermediary brokers. Therefore, it would be totally irresponsible to leave in their hands the care and protection of human existence and of our Mother Earth.

We consider inadmissible that current negotiations propose the creation of new mechanisms that extend and promote the carbon market, for existing mechanisms have not resolved the problem of climate change nor led to real and direct actions to reduce greenhouse gases. It is necessary to demand fulfillment of the commitments assumed by developed countries under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change regarding development and technology transfer, and to reject the “technology showcase” proposed by developed countries that only markets technology. It is essential to establish guidelines in order to create a multilateral and multidisciplinary mechanism for participatory control, management, and evaluation of the exchange of technologies. These technologies must be useful, clean and socially sound. Likewise, it is fundamental to establish a fund for the financing and inventory of technologies that are appropriate and free of intellectual property rights. Patents, in particular, should move from the hands of private monopolies to the public domain in order to promote accessibility and low costs.

Knowledge is universal, and should for no reason be the object of private property or private use, nor should its application in the form of technology. Developed countries have a responsibility to share their technology with developing countries, to build research centers in developing countries for the creation of technologies and innovations, and defend and promote their development and application for “living well.” The world must recover and re-learn ancestral principles and approaches from native peoples to stop the destruction of the planet, as well as promote ancestral practices, knowledge and spirituality to recuperate the capacity for “living well” in harmony with Mother Earth.

Considering the lack of political will on the part of developed countries to effectively comply with commitments and obligations assumed under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change and the Kyoto Protocol, and given the lack of a legal international organism to guard against and sanction climate and environmental crimes that violate the Rights of Mother Earth and humanity, we demand the creation of an International Climate and Environmental Justice Tribunal that has the legal capacity to prevent, judge and penalize States, industries and people that by commission or omission contaminate and provoke climate change.

Supporting States that present claims at the International Climate and Environmental Justice Tribunal against developed countries that fail to comply with commitments under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change and the Kyoto Protocol including commitments to reduce greenhouse gases.

We urge peoples to propose and promote deep reform within the United Nations, so that all member States comply with the decisions of the International Climate and Environmental Justice Tribunal.

The future of humanity is in danger, and we cannot allow a group of leaders from developed countries to decide for all countries as they tried unsuccessfully to do at the Conference of the Parties in Copenhagen. This decision concerns us all. Thus, it is essential to carry out a global referendum or popular consultation on climate change in which all are consulted regarding the following issues; the level of emission reductions on the part of developed countries and transnational corporations, financing to be offered by developed countries, the creation of an International Climate Justice Tribunal, the need for a Universal Declaration of the Rights of Mother Earth, and the need to change the current capitalist system. The process of a global referendum or popular consultation will depend on process of preparation that ensures the successful development of the same.

In order to coordinate our international action and implement the results of this “Accord of the Peoples,” we call for the building of a Global People’s Movement for Mother Earth, which should be based on the principles of complementarity and respect for the diversity of origin and visions among its members, constituting a broad and democratic space for coordination and joint worldwide actions.

To this end, we adopt the attached global plan of action so that in Mexico, the developed countries listed in Annex 1 respect the existing legal framework and reduce their greenhouse gases emissions by 50%, and that the different proposals contained in this Agreement are adopted.

Finally, we agree to undertake a Second World People’s Conference on Climate Change and the Rights of Mother Earth in 2011 as part of this process of building the Global People’s Movement for Mother Earth and reacting to the outcomes of the Climate Change Conference to be held at the end of this year in Cancun, Mexico.

REDD ‘Opportunities’ | AMAN

“We want to change this threat to an opportunity”: Interview with Abdon Nababan and Mina Setra

By Chris Lang, 4th July 2010

Interview with Abdon Nababan, secretary general of the Aliansi Masyarakat Adat Nusantara (AMAN – The Indigenous Peoples Alliance of the Archipelago), and Mina Setra the head of international policy at AMAN. The interview took place in AMAN’s office in Jakarta on 9 June 2010.

REDD-Monitor: Please describe AMAN’s work and explain your position on REDD in general.

Abdon Nababan: AMAN was established in March 1999, in the first congress of Indonesian indigenous peoples. Our main mandate is to recover indigenous rights in all sectors of development, in our law, in our national policy. So if we talk about REDD, we talk about it in a way to reach that mandate: to recover indigenous rights on land, on territories, natural resources, on culture, on political sovereignty and so on. Because we have that objective or goal, nothing else. So we see REDD as either an opportunity or a threat to our goal. In AMAN we see REDD as an opportunity if the result is that before we talk about REDD we have first secured indigenous rights. That’s the meaning of “No Rights, No REDD”.

If we talk about REDD, we don’t talk about the carbon market. We talk about the traditional way that indigenous people protect their forest from deforestation and from forest degradation. They have that way, they have that knowledge. They have that customary right to do that. They don’t have the power to reject threats like forest concessions or mining concessions, that’s why they want the national law, the state law. That’s all they don’t have. In that sense, we believe that REDD is already there. REDD is not a new animal in their territories, because they already have a system to protect the forest.

But REDD as a market scheme, of course that is new. They don’t have any imagination of how carbon can be traded. So we need to clarify this, because this is very important for us. If we talk about REDD, we need to clarify which REDD are we talking about?

REDD-Monitor: Before this Norway-Indonesia deal appeared, what was AMAN’s work on REDD in Indonesia? What kind of work had you been doing on REDD?

Abdon Nababan: We advocate for the rights of indigenous peoples to their customary forest, such as within the national forestry law. That we consider as our work, to advocate the space for indigenous peoples to manage their own resources, their own territories, with their own knowledge, with their own strategies.

So we have been doing that since we were established. We have helped the people to map their community land. We empowered them with critical legal analysis, education and so on. That’s our main mission.

Mina Setra: We had training of trainers for community mapping, how to use GIS so that they can map their territories. We produced material, information about REDD. What is REDD? What is the threat? And we gave that to our community members. We organised training of trainers on carbon trade and REDD, with the communities to strengthen their capacity and knowledge on the issue so they can prepare themselves to deal with it when it comes to their territories

Abdon Nababan: The question is how to prepare our members, the communities, to respond this issue. Because the issue from REDD, for now, is a threat. We want to change this threat to an opportunity. But we need well-trained activists to do that, to change this threat to an opportunity. That’s what we are doing right now.

Mina Setra: One other thing. We just established an Ancestral Domain Registration Agency on 11 March this year. We want to establish a place for indigenous peoples to register their territories. Because for several years, many indigenous territories have been mapped, we have more than two million hectares of indigenous territories that have already been mapped.

Abdon Nababan: It is not recognised, but we want to put the data in the government office.

Mina Setra: The indigenous communities have started to register their territories in this Agency, we also have a website that you can look at (

REDD-Monitor: Coming on to the Norway-Indonesia billion dollar forest deal, how is AMAN involved in the negotiations? Could you say something about the meeting that you had at the President’s Office.

Abdon Nababan: Actually we are not involved in the negotiations. Of course, as an advocacy group, we try to intervene on both sides. We are not talking in the negotiations, because it’s not our negotiations. It’s the Norwegian government and the Indonesian government negotiating. Of course, Norway asked about our position, but I think we have our global position on REDD. We don’t need to respond to that, because the “No Rights, No REDD” position, is already there. I think, they already put that in their policy even. So we don’t need to do more, except to watch how Norway deals with that.

With the Government of Indonesia, of course, that’s a different intervention. Agus Purnomo, the President’s special staff on climate change, explained the negotiations and said that one of the issues about these negotiations is indigenous peoples rights. I said, it’s not, why? Because the Indonesian government has already done quite a lot about that. That will be the better position for the President to talk about it to Norway. I talked about what the Indonesian government has already produced or released. The Environmental law recognises and protects, respects indigenous peoples rights. The Indonesian government also produced the Coastal Zone and Small Islands Management in 2007, that also recognises, protects and respects indigenous peoples’ rights. So what’s the problem, I asked? We don’t have the definition [of indigenous people], Agus Purnomo said. I explained that the definition is in this law. And that definition is based on AMAN’s work. The government adopted AMAN’s congress decision about that. And the definition is very close to the ILO convention 169. So what is the problem? The problem is the national forestry law. But you can change that, I said. You talk with the President. Come on.

If can we recognise, protect and respect indigenous peoples’ rights in coastal zones and small islands management and environmental protection and management, why isn’t it the same in national forestry law? Because, of course, we understand that in the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIPs), there is no definition, but there is a bundle of rights. We can use that. Then I reminded them the comment of the Indonesian delegation when UNDRIPs was adopted. They said that we will have a terrible time in Indonesia to implement this declaration because we don’t have a national definition for indigenous people. But we already have the definition in the environmental law, so that is not the problem with implementing UNDRIPs.

But how do we define indigenous people? It’s easy. It’s a self identification. They map the territories, they show that they exist. At least for AMAN members, we have that information. And they already practise the traditional knowledge to protect their forests.

Agus Purnomo asked us to put all this in a letter to the President. Can you put our discussion in your letter? Of course, why not? No problem. Just to encourage the government – they did it already.

The government has accepted the issue of indigenous peoples, but not in the forestry sector. But the government is one. And the head of the government is the President, not the Ministry of Forestry, right? So AMAN has shown the way. In fact they are already there. If they can only use that in the negotiations.

What we need is commitment from the President to do two things: first to revise the national forestry laws, to be in compliance with international standards and so on; second to have a special national law on indigenous peoples’ rights, recognition and protection. It’s already there! There’s already the commitment in our law. So what’s the problem?

So, I said to Agus Purnomo, why don’t you say to Norway that we will continue our commitment, we will start the drafting of a law on indigenous people in 2011, for example? That’s exactly what’s in my letter to the President.

REDD-Monitor: I assume you’ve seen the article in Development Today, which says that Norway was trying to push Indonesia to include indigenous rights in the Letter of Intent and what the Indonesian government said was this is nothing to do with Norway, we are already in a process of discussion with local groups.

Abdon Nababan: The first thing I want to say is that our letter to the President is a letter from a civil society organisation of Indonesia to our President. This letter was not copied to Norway. I said to Hege [Karsti Ragnhildstveit, Counsellor for
Forest and Climate, Royal Norwegian Embassy, Jakarta], I just sent the letter to my President, from AMAN. She asked to see it. Of course! Because that’s the idea. Because these are the suggestions to my President about what he can do to recognise indigenous peoples through this negotiation.

REDD-Monitor: My understanding of the letter was that most of the first two pages were explaining the situation legally about indigenous peoples’ rights in Indonesia. Correct me if I’m wrong, but you were saying, these are the laws we have recognising indigenous peoples’ rights, so these are the laws you’ve got to follow. So why didn’t the Norwegian negotiators point out to the Indonesian government, you’ve already got these laws, let’s put in the Letter of Intent that you are going to uphold indigenous rights because you’ve got to. It’s already in Indonesian law.

Abdon Nababan: That’s right. It doesn’t make sense for Norway not to talk about this indigenous issue because AMAN has talked about that. Because the letter is all about the rights of indigenous peoples, it’s not about REDD.

Mina Setra: The article in Development Today says that AMAN’s letter might have contributed to the weakness of the Letter of Intent, but for us, Norway should have their own standards of what they demand on rights. We do our things here. But they have to have their own standards to put to the Indonesian government.

Abdon Nababan: It’s our job to advocate, it’s not Norway’s. We have already the commitment.

So what are the contents of the meeting? The meeting was with Agus Purnomo, the the President’s special staff on climate change, and he wanted us to write that directly to the President. That’s all. And the President said we have already met with AMAN. Of course, his staff did already meet with AMAN, officially.

So we wrote our letter in the context of advocacy not in the context of negotiations. There are no negotiations between AMAN and the President of Indonesia related to this.

Mina Setra: Or to Norway. Nothing to do with it. We are a bit surprised that actually we feel that AMAN is being blamed for the weakness of the agreement.

We had nothing to do with Norway-Indonesia negotiations. Norway has to deal with its own standards, to push for rights in the Letter of Intent. They have to take our letter as a support for them to push that.

Abdon Nababan: AMAN also wants a national law to make sure this is happening in Indonesia.

Mina Setra: Development Today didn’t ask me about our letter to the president when they interviewed me.

REDD-Monitor: What’s your opinion about the billion dollar forest deal, what do you think of the Letter of Intent?

Abdon Nababan: Firstly it’s not so surprising for Indonesia. For Indonesia it’s not a big money. Really.

REDD-Monitor: You mean in terms of the Indonesian economy?

Abdon Nababan: Yes, in terms of the Indonesian economy. For them it’s nothing. In terms of natural resources.

I said wow. Suddenly with one billion US dollars, the President of this huge country, Indonesia, signed. That I would appreciate, actually.

Because if you talk about real business, it’s nothing. We’ve had conversion of forest to oil palm plantations. But of course Indonesia is a huge country, with 17,000 islands and 20-30 per cent of the population is indigenous people. And if indigenous peoples’ rights recognised and protected, that’s maybe 60 to 70 per cent of Indonesian land. So for us, this indigenous rights struggle is not about 100,000 people. It’s about millions of people. It’s about maybe 60 to 70 per cent of our national asset.

Of course, for Norway it’s not a lot of money, actually. This is small step, but still it’s important for Indonesia. Not for Norway. This money compared to Indonesia’s natural resources that we have right now.

REDD-Monitor: But there’s no mention of indigenous peoples’ rights in the Letter of Intent.

Abdon Nababan: That’s true. That’s why I say this was very weak of Norway. I say that Norway lost the negotiations on that. What we get from this Letter of Intent though is participation, which is very important. And second, they talk about conflict resolution. A lot of the conflict is based right now on natural resource management, in the context of indigenous rights. That, is quite a big thing for us. We have to change this to be the opportunity. Because we already have our own agenda. We have to advocate for agenda, yes? Because we still talk about the basic rights. It’s very basic. That’s my point.

Mina Setra: It’s true that there have been concerns that there is no mention of indigenous rights. Only in one section it mentions the indigenous people and local communities, as part of the governance system in the implementation of the Letter of Intent.

REDD-Monitor: Have you seen a version of the Letter of Intent in Bahasa Indonesia?

Abdon Nababan: No.

Mina Setra: Not yet, no Bahasa version.

REDD-Monitor: Isn’t that a bit strange? This is an international agreement, for a billion dollars (you say it’s not that much money, but it’s the biggest deal of its kind anywhere, ever), yet the agreement is not available in the local language.

Abdon Nababan: Of course, I know my government. They ratify so many things in international settings. If we ask for an official version in bahasa Indonesian, they’ll just shrug their shoulders and say “Oh, what?”

REDD-Monitor: But it’s quite important to have an official translation, because it’s quite easy to mis-translate.

Mina Setra: Maybe we should ask.

Abdon Nababan: For example, we did not have an official translation of the UN Declaration of the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. So, we translated it and sent that to the government office and they used our translation.

REDD-Monitor: Could you say something more about the proposed Law on the Recognition and the Protection of the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, which is planned to be written and passed in 2011?

Abdon Nababan: Last year we had a series of meetings with the Regional Representative Council and also with the legislative body in the national parliament. Through this process, it will be one of the national legislative priorities for the period 2010 to 2014. So when we negotiate with the parliament, they asked whether AMAN already has a draft? Well, we haven’t got a draft yet, because we are now in the process of consultation with our members. If AMAN can prepare the draft in 2010, we will then have discussions with the parliament to ask the government to start the process in 2011. So that’s the current status. Now we are working on academic papers and also on the draft. So hopefully at the end of this year we can come to the national parliament for the discussions in the parliament with the government.

REDD-Monitor: If the Norway agreement is signed this year in October, and the indigenous law is signed next year, will the indigenous law also cover the Norway deal.

Abdon Nababan: Of course. That’s one of our purposes. That’s why we gave a copy of our letter to the President to Hege Ragnhildstveit at the Norwegian Embassy. The reason we endorse the deal is because it’s a small window of opportunity and good intentions.

REDD-Monitor: Let’s talk about the two-year moratorium. I have three concerns about this. One is that it doesn’t look like it’s going to affect existing concessions. The second is that it seems now that it may be going to start in January 2011, under the Letter of Intent it’s not clear at all when it’s going to start. And third, there’s an interview this week in the Jakarta Post with Zulkifli Hasan, the Minister of Forests, and he said, more or less, that there already is a moratorium, because he’s not issued any new land concessions that involve converting forests since he became the minister. He said that it is in effect a moratorium. The Letter of Intent is actually saying we’re going to continue for two years what is already happening.

So what’s your view on the moratorium?

Abdon Nababan: For us, now is the time to use this window. That’s going to be the main question for me. Who will be the main players in this one billion US dollar window. We will use that window whether it will be there for five years or ten years. How can we use this billion dollar window to make sure that there is a national law for indigenous people one or two years from now? That’s our main concern here. We know exactly, the one billion dollar window will not address the real problems. So the question is, who will get to that window?

Mina Setra: The Ministry of Forestry may have said that the Ministry of Forestry will not issue any new concessions for forest conversion. But the Ministry of Agriculture is issuing programmes, for example, the Merauke Integrated Food and Energy Estate (MIFEE) project in Papua which covers 1.6 million hectares of land and forest. So if they say we will not issue any concessions, what about the other ministries? That’s the big problem in Indonesia because there’s no interrelation between the ministries. There’s a lack of communication and coordination.

Abdon Nababan: That’s also one of the reasons why we work with the Ministry of the Environment. Because if we wait for the Ministry of Forestry, nothing will ever happen.

Our strategy is to strengthen the weakest in the government. That’s why we have our MoU with the Ministry of the Environment [on the Identification of Indigenous
Peoples’ Rights and their Traditional Knowledge] and also with the National Commission on Human Rights [on Mainstreaming Indigenous Peoples’ Rights in
Indonesia]. Because that helps to empower them. AMAN takes the leadership to put ourselves there. REDD is becoming a reason to hate AMAN. We are the main enemy in the whole discussion. But it’s not REDD. We talk about human rights, we talk about the traditional knowledge. We aim to get recognition, protection, respect of indigenous peoples’ rights.

Mina Setra: That’s also the reason for the statement AMAN made at the Oslo Climate Change Conference. We wanted to appreciate the government for its progress on indigenous peoples’ rights issues. We have to admit that there is some progress. Why did we do that? Because we want to encourage them to keep doing the right thing.

Abdon Nababan: Yes, we appreciate the Ministry of Culture, Ministry of Environment, National Commission on Human Rights, but not the Ministry of Forestry. We know that the Ministry of Forestry is the source of the problem. How can you solve the problem with the cause of the problem? Yet at the same time, basically we are talking about forests.

I think I need to say that at present in Indonesia, all over the country, the best forest that we have is mostly in indigenous territories, where the community strong enough to protect the forest. Without recognition and protection of indigenous peoples’ rights there will be no REDD in Indonesia. The real REDD.

We have documented that indigenous people are protecting 500,000 hectares of natural forests. This forest is ready to do REDD. Because the indigenous people have already protected that. They just have to put MRV [measuring, reporting and
verification] in place.

And the indigenous people are not doing REDD because of money. That’s a very important thing. They are doing it for their rights, for the sustainability of the community. Our members say let’s give the money to the government. If the communities report a logging company or an oil palm plantation the government can use the money to remove them. The money is for that. What indigenous peoples need is to have territorial rights. This is not about money for us.

Mina Setra: Why we have to say that, because there are some misunderstandings about our letter. In the letter to the President we have an attachment where we put one million hectares area of forest of indigenous peoples. We also put the name of the community where the forest is protected. Some people thought that we are trying to negotiate a REDD concession with the president. I want to say that that’s not true.

Abdon Nababan: What the attachment to the letter shows is that we are doing our homework. The president has to support what we have already done by reading this attachment.

We were trying to send a simple message to the President but we have realised it’s not a simple message to our side.

REDD-Monitor: There’s a rumour going around that AMAN is getting millions of dollars funding because you’ve signed on to REDD. Could comment on that, please?

Abdon Nababan: That’s not true. That’s really not true. We got money for advocacy and also to prepare our members to do that and the money comes from Norad [the Norwegian
Agency for Development Cooperation]. It’s about US$200,000. And it is not directly to us, the money goes via our own partners. That’s all the money we’ve had.

REDD-Monitor: One last question. What is AMAN’s position on carbon trading? You’ve mentioned it in passing, but what is your position on it?

Abdon Nababan: Actually, we don’t have a position on that. We don’t have an accepted position on that because we don’t know exactly how it works. Of course, we have encountered many resource people on the subject of carbon trading but we are not quite clear what exactly carbon trading is, actually in reality. So it’s difficult to say yes or no.

That’s why I said let’s use REDD to secure the rights of indigenous peoples to manage their resources – that’s our priority right now. There’s no real way that we can feel what the carbon market is. We have to focus our energy, because our energy here is limited here in AMAN. We are a very small office. We have to deal with many things. That’s one of our constraints.

Mina Setra: In our discussions we find that actually in carbon trading the commodity is being created. The market is still being established. We do not yet have the market. And the policy is still being negotiated. So actually, this thing does not yet exist, although people talk about it. What is the carbon market?

REDD-Monitor: But there is already a futures market in carbon. We’ve seen this in Papua New Guinea, where the government has no laws regulating the carbon trade, but the carbon trade started based on trading carbon derivatives. All it takes is someone willing to risk that carbon credits will be exist and be worth a lot of money in, say, 12 months’ time. Companies can start trading carbon derivatives – based on a gamble that carbon credits will be worth more than the paper they are written on. That’s perfectly legal, and happens all the time in commodities markets.

Abdon Nababan: But that’s what I said. How can AMAN, say to our members, community members, that we oppose this carbon market? Or that we agree? We cannot explain this exactly. We can talk about it to a journalist, but to our movement?

We have positions on REDD because we can explain this. Why? We can explain how our position relates to our struggle for our livelihoods. We can explain it well. But for carbon markets, there’s nothing. To understand exactly how it works, we can read books and reports and there’s good information, but can we say this to the communities who have the rights? They are the rights holders of the carbon if you link the carbon to the forest and REDD. And you’ve got to answer them. The rights holders. Not the journalists. That’s our challenge.

To put this in the context of Indonesia we already have some misleading information about the carbon market right now. Not misleading the people but with the head of the regency, head of district, the governors. The only way is to educate people to distribute this information that we already understand, exactly what the carbon market means, to the communities. We cannot go to positions on the carbon market because we don’t know how to communicate about that.

REDD-Monitor: Is there anything else that you want to say on the subject of REDD and Indonesia or indigenous rights in Indonesia?

Abdon Nababan: I think what happens right now is quite dangerous for Indonesia, for the peoples of Indonesia, because the negotiations are actually taking place at the national level. Really, the negotiations are at the international level, not even the national position. It’s only the positions of one of two negotiators. That, I think, is very dangerous.

That’s why in Indonesia right now we are fighting each other. Indigenous activists and environmentalists are fighting. Actually most of their energy right now just to say different things. That’s crazy. It’s dangerous.

Mina Setra: We were discussing this actually. That REDD will really change the situation. We just want to use the opportunity to do the best. If we can sense a little maybe that’s better, but with the government’s behaviour right now, it’s going to be very difficult. Because with other things it’s not changed. For example, mining concessions keep going even the mining concessions in protected forests.

Abdon Nababan: For me, I think of REDD as a strategy. We know that the President cannot change their own ministries, because ministry just has its own space in the state. But now we offer to the President that he can use indigenous peoples rights to change that. So we said why don’t you protect the people who protect the forests and use that to change? If you look at the Indonesian bureaucracy, they have their own space so to take that to have to work through indigenous peoples all the time. Internationally they know that, but they don’t quite fight for that, like Norway, for example. Indigenous rights are very critical to this REDD scheme.

Tags: Financing REDD, Indigenous Peoples, REDD and rights | Category: Indonesia, Norway |

2 comments to “We want to change this threat to an opportunity”: Interview with Abdon Nababan and Mina Setra

  • Clive Richardson

July 5th, 2010 at 6:21 pm

This discussion goes to the heart of issues that swirl around unresolved. There has to be direct solutions in terms of Indigenous peoples rights and solutions in terms of enterpise modeling that reflects these rights from grass roots to the International forums. Without this focus to deliver solutions the UNFCCC REDD and REDD + policies are conflict consolidation not resolution guidelines.

  • Rupert De Santos

July 5th, 2010 at 9:44 pm

very meaningful interview. It is amazing to realize that Abdon Nababan, Mina Setra, Agus Purnomo, and Hege Karsti Ragnhildstveit, have a completely different approach for REDD. Is obvious AMAN’s goal: No indigenous rights duly protected by domestic law, no support for REDD. Of course, the javanese strategy is never to play a straight forward role opposing to REDD. Is clear the opportunity for them is to trade some level of REDD voluntary offset in exchange of land rights recognition and funding. Mrs. Hege of Norway plays the Good Neighbor role, promising 1 billion to the Indonesian Government subject to unclear targets, commitments and obligations. The LoI text is very vague. What a lack of diplomatic touch of Mrs. Hege to do not have offered before a bilingual draft of the LoI to the Government as well as to Indonesian civil society, before the recent signature in Oslo.
In sum, is clear that Indonesia will not see any portion of the 1 billion offer, unless stakeholders really a common vision of the purpose of REDD as international mechanism to reduce GHG emissions.

First Nations excluded from world’s largest conservation agreement

First Nations excluded from world’s largest conservation agreement

Julius Melnitzer July 8, 2010

Twenty-one forestry companies and nine environmental organizations, including Greenpeace, have signed what purports to be the world’s largest conservation agreement. But Rosanne Van Schie, an economic development officer with Wolf Lake First Nation, says that The Canadian Boreal Forest Agreement, demarking logging and conservation activities, was developed without First Nations input and without regard to the rights and social realities of First Nations. This despite the fact that the territorial scope of the agreement covers land over which First Nations have negotiated historic and modern day treaties or have claims extant. The Canadian Boreal Initiative recognizes that more than 600 First Nations communities maintain traditional roots in the Boreal.

Read more:

GREENWASH | A special look at the Canadian Boreal Forest Agreement

A special look at the Canadian Boreal Forest Agreement

by Vancouver Media Co-op

The June 16-30 issue takes a hard look at the Canadian Boreal Forest Agreement and features wise words from environmental groups fighting corporate greenwashing.

Download the PDF of the 14th issue here

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