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Paid to Lose | The Progressive Movement is a PR Front for Rich Democrats

Paid to Lose | The Progressive Movement is a PR Front for Rich Democrats

Counterpunch

Weekend Edition March 15-17, 2013

by John Stauber

There is good news in the Boston Globe today for the managers, development directors, visionaries, political hacks and propaganda flacks who run “the Progressive Movement.”   More easy-to-earn and easy-to-hide soft money, millions of dollars,  will be flowing to them from super rich Democrats and business corporations.  It will come clean, pressed and laundered through Organizing for Action, the latest incarnation of the Obama Money Machine which has recently morphed into a “nonpartisan non-profit corporation” that will  ‘‘strengthen the progressive movement and train our next generation of leaders.’’

FLASHBACK | 350.org: Environmental Corporatism

The following excerpts from the article Harnessing People Power Continued – The 99% Spring and the “Professional Left” are written by Edmund Berger. The article,  in its entirety, can be read on Swans Commentary where it was published May 21, 2012.

 (Swans – May 21, 2012)   “Astroturfing” is a term that has entered the popular lexicon of the politically educated, referring to the ability of largely unseen actors to mold and direct grassroots social movement. Awareness of this phenomenon is a direct fallout from the ascendancy of the Tea Party, as it became rapidly apparent that its transition from a protest movement to a legislative powerhouse was guided with the help of the now-renowned Koch brothers. These conservative-minded billionaire philanthropists, working through their interlocking family foundations, had invested vast sums of money into intermediary organizations that helped plan, facilitate, and execute successful protests, rallies, and political campaigns. Yet those who flaunt the term “astroturfing” — namely, those on the left of the spectrum — have shown a certain reluctance to acknowledge the fact that this same method is being applied to progressive grassroots movements as well, re-concentrating disenfranchisement with the dominant institutions of power into a manageable opposition capable of acting as a voting base. This is not a recent development; it dates back to the “Progressive Era” of American political history, and it forms a central apparatus of US foreign policy abroad under the non-descript diplomacy of “democracy promotion.”

350.org: Environmental Corporatism

How Environmental Groups Gone Bad Greenwash Logging Earth’s Last Primary Old Forests

The Great Rainforest Heist

April 16, 2012

by Dr. Glen Barry | Rainforest Portal

The world’s pre-eminent environmental organizations, widely perceived as the leading advocates for rainforests and old growth, have for decades been actively promoting primary forest logging [search]. Groups like Greenpeace, Rainforest Action Network (RAN), The Nature Conservancy, Conservation International, World Wide Fund for Nature/World Wildlife Fund (WWF) and the Environmental Defense Fund actively promote industrially logging Earth’s last old forests. Through their support of the existing “Forest Stewardship Council” (FSC), and/or planned compromised “Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation” (REDD), they are at the forefront of destroying ancient forests for disposable consumer items – claiming it is “sustainable forest management” and “carbon forestry”.

Rainforest movement corruption is rampant as these big bureaucratic, corporatist NGOs conspire to log Earth’s last primary rainforests and other old growth forests. Collectively the “NGO Old Forest Sell-Outs” are greenwashing FSC’s destruction of over 300,000,000 acres of old forests, destroying an area of primary rainforests and other old forests the size of South Africa (two times the size of Texas)! FSC and its members have built a massive market for continued business as usual industrially harvested primary forest timbers – with minor, cosmetic changes – certifying as acceptable murdering old forests and their life for consumption of products ranging from toilet paper to lawn furniture. Some 70% of FSC products contain primary forest timbers, and as little as 10% of any product must be from certified sources.

FSC has become a major driver of primary forest destruction and forest ecological diminishment. Despite certifying less than 10% of the world’s forest lands, their rhetoric and marketing legitimizes the entire tropical and old growth timber trade, and a host of even worse certifiers of old forest logging. It is expecting far too much for consumers to differentiate between the variety of competing and false claims that old growth timbers are green and environmentally sustainable – when in fact none are. While other certification schemes may be even worse, this is not the issue, as industrial first-time primary forest logging cannot be done ecologically sustainably and should not be happening at all. FSC’s claims to being the best destroyer of primary forests is like murdering someone most humanely, treating your slaves the best while rejecting emancipation, or being half pregnant.

To varying degrees, most of the NGO Old Forest Sell-Outs also support the United Nations’ new “Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation” program (UNREDD, REDD, or REDD+), originally intended to protect Earth’s remaining and rapidly diminishing primary rainforests and other old forests, by making “avoided deforestation” payments to local forest peoples as an international climate and deforestation solution. Large areas of primary and old-growth forests were to be fully protected from industrial development, local communities were to both receive cash payments while continuing to benefit from standing old forests, and existing and new carbon was to be sequestered.

After years of industry, government and NGO forest sell-out pressure, REDD+ will now fund first time industrial primary rainforest logging and destruction under the veil of “sustainable forest management” and “carbon forestry”. REDD+ is trying to be all things to everybody – forest logging, protection, plantations, carbon, growth – when all we need is local funding to preserve standing forests for local advancement, and local and global ecology; and assurances provided REDD+ would not steal indigenous lands, or be funded by carbon markets, allowing the rich to shirk their own emissions reductions.

Sustainable forest management in old forests is a myth and meaningless catchphrase to allow continued western market access to primary rainforest logs. Both FSC and now REDD+ enable destruction of ancient naturally evolved ecosystems – that are priceless and sacred – for throw away consumption. Increasingly both FSC and REDD+ are moving towards certifying and funding the conversion of natural primary forests to be cleared and replanted as plantations. They call it carbon forestry and claim it is a climate good. Even selective logging destroys primary forests, and what remains is so greatly ecologically reduced from first time industrial logging, that they are on their way to being plantations.

Naturally evolved ancient forests are sacred and primeval life giving shrines, and standing and intact, large and contiguous primary rainforest and other old forests are a requirement for sustaining global ecology and achieving local advancement. Old forests are a vital part of the biosphere’s ecological infrastructure – and have a prominent, central role in making the Earth habitable through their cycling of carbon, energy, water, and nutrients. Planetary boundaries have been exceeded, we have already lost too many intact terrestrial ecosystems, and what remains is in adequate to sustain global ecology.

Primary rainforests cannot be logged in an ecologically sustainable manner; once logged – selectively, certified, legally or not – for throw-away consumer crap, their primary nature is destroyed, and ecological composition and dynamics are lost forever. What remains is permanently ecologically diminished in terms of composition, structure, function, dynamics, and evolutionary potential. Logged primary forests’ carbon stores, biodiversity and ecosystems will never be the same in any reasonable time-span. Selective, industrially logged primary rainforests become fragmented, burn more and are prone to outright deforestation.

Primary forest logging is a crime against Earth, the human family and all life – and those doing the logging, profiting and greenwashing the ecocide are dangerous criminals – who must be stopped and brought to justice. There is a zero chance of protecting and ending first time industrial logging of primary rainforests when the NGO Old Forest Sell-Outs say it is sustainable, even desirable, and continue to greenwash FSC old growth timber markets – now to be expanded with potential REDD funding – providing crucial political cover and PR for forest ecocide through their presence in the organizations.

Each of the named organizations’ forest campaigns are a corrupt shell of their former selves – acting unethically and corruptly – destroying global ecology and local options for advancement, for their own benefit. The rainforest logging apologists have chosen power, prestige and money coming from sitting at the old forest logging mafia’s table, gathering the crumbs fallen from the table to enrich their empires, rather than the difficult yet necessary job of working to fully protect rainforests and other primary forests from industrial development.

WWF, Greenpeace, and RAN are particularly culpable. With rainforests threatened as never before, RAN targets the Girl Scouts, Greenpeace supports Kleenex’s clearcut of Canadian old growth boreal forests for toilet paper, and WWF runs a bad-boy logger club who pay $50,000 to use the panda logo while continuing to destroy primary forests.

The only way this NGO old forest greenwash logging machine will be stopped is to make doing so too expensive to their corporate bureaucracies in terms of lost donations, grants, and other support – whose sources are usually unaware of the great rainforest heist. Ecological Internet – the rainforest campaign organization I head – and others feel strongly, based upon the urgency of emerging ecological science, and our closeness to global ecological collapse, that it is better to fight like hell in any way we can to fully protect and restore standing old forests as the most desirable forest protection outcome. Greenwash of first time industrial primary forest logging must be called out wherever it is occurring, and resisted by those in the global ecology movement committed to sustaining local advancement and ecosystems from standing old forests. There is no value in unity around such dangerous, ecocidal policy.

Despite tens of thousands of people from around the world asking these pro-logging NGOs to stop their old forest logging greenwash, none of the organizations (who routinely campaign against other forest destroyers, making similar demands for transparency and accountability) feel obligated to explain in detail – including based upon ecological-science – how logging primary forests protects them. Nor can they provide any detailed justification – or otherwise defend – the ecology, strategy and tactics of continued prominent involvement in FSC and REDD primary forest logging. They clearly have not been following ecological science over the past few years, which has made it clear there is no such thing as ecologically sustainable primary forest logging, and that large, old, contiguous, un-fragmented and fully ecologically intact natural forests are critical to biodiversity, ecosystems, and environmental sustainability.

We must end primary and other old forest logging for full community protection and restoration. The human family must protect and restore old forests – starting by ending industrial-scale primary forest logging – as a keystone response to biodiversity, ecosystem, climate, food, water, poverty and rights crises that are pounding humanity, ecosystems, plants and animals. There is no such thing as well-managed, sustainable primary forest logging – first time industrial harvest always destroys naturally evolved and intact ecosystems.

Humanity can, must and will – if it wishes to survive – meet wood product demand from certified regenerating and aging secondary growth and non-toxic, native species plantations. Humanity must meet market demand for well-managed forest timbers by certifying only 1) small-scale community eco-forestry practiced by local peoples in their primary forests (at very low volumes for special purposes and mostly local consumption), 2) regenerating and aging secondary forests regaining old-growth characteristics, and 3) non-toxic and mixed species plantations under local control. Further, reducing demand for all timber and paper products is key to living ecologically sustainably with old forests.

Local community development based upon standing old forests including small scale eco-forestry is fine. Small scale community eco-forestry has intact primary forests as its context for seed and animal sources, and management that mimics natural disturbance and gap species establishment. It is the industrial first time logging – selective logging, defined as selecting all merchantable, mature trees and logging them– turning primary forests into plantations, that is problematic. The goal must remain to maximize the extent, size, and connectivity of core primary forest ecosystems, to maximize global and local ecosystem processes, and local advancement and maintained well-being from standing old forests.

By dragging out the forest protection fight on a forest by forest basis, until ecological collapse becomes publicly acknowledged and society mobilizes, we can hold onto more ecosystems, biodiversity, and carbon than logging them a tiny bit better now. Soon – as abrupt climate change and global ecosystem collapse become even more self-evident – the human family will catch up with the ecological science and realize old forest destruction and diminishment must end as we ramp up natural regeneration and ecological restoration of large, connected natural forests adequate to power the global ecosystem. As society awakens to the need to sustain the biosphere, having as many intact ecosystems for models and seed sources for restoration as possible will be key to any sort of ecology and human recovery.

Rainforest protection groups engaged in greenwashing primary forest logging (an oxymoron misnomer if ever there was one), particularly while offering no defense of doing so, while raising enormous sums for rainforest “protection”, must be stopped. We must continue to call upon all big NGOs to resign from FSC and REDD, and join us in consistently working to end primary forest logging, and protect and restore old forests. Until they do, they must be boycotted and their funding cut off – even if this impacts other good works they may do, as old forests are such a fundamental ecological issue – until they stop greenwashing the final destruction of primary forests. And it is past time for their supporters to end their memberships as ultimately these big NGO businesses are more concerned with their image and money than achieving global forest policy that is ecologically sufficient, truthful, and successful.

As a rainforest movement, we must return to the goal of a ban on industrially harvested primary forest timbers. This means continuing to resist and obstruct old forest harvest, businesses (including NGO corporate sell-outs) involved, timber marketing, transportation, storage, milling, product construction, product marketing, and consumption. The entire supply chain for ecocidal primary forest timbers must be destroyed. More of us must return to the forests to work with local communities to build on-the-ground desire and capacity for ecologically inspired advancement from standing old forests, and physically obstructing old forest logging. We must make stolen, ill-gotten old wood from life-giving ecosystems an unacceptable taboo, like gorilla hand ash-trays, only worse. Together we must make old forest revolution.

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Join and follow the End Old Forest Logging campaign at http://facebook.com/ecointernet

 

Eyes Wide Shut | The Tar Sands Action Protest & The Paralysis of a Movement – Excerpt

Eyes Wide Shut | The Tar Sands Action Protest & The Paralysis of a Movement – Excerpt

Eyes Wide Shut | The Tar Sands Action Protest & The Paralysis of a Movement

August 30th, 2011

Cory Morningstar

Following is an excerpt from Ward Churchill’s Pacifism as Pathology, first published in 1986. For anyone interested in mitigating the global collapse of all ecosystems and deterring planet-wide and species-wide genocide, this is essential reading.

For anyone wishing to take a critical look at the Tar Sands protests by groups funded (in some cases created) by the Rockefellers and other corporate foundations – who will stop at absolutely nothing to keep the current power structures intact – the excerpt from this essay is sure to wake one from the paralysis trapping and constraining movements and societies to the status quo.  The parallels of Churchill’s essay and events in Washington DC being celebrated and endorsed, while the planet rests on the precipice, are nothing less than Orwellian.

The question central to the emergence and maintenance of nonviolence as the oppositional foundation of American activism has not been the truly pacifist formulation, “How can we forge a revolutionary politics within which we can avoid inflicting violence on others?” On the contrary, a more accurate guiding question has been, “What sort of politics might I engage in which will both allow me to posture as a progressive and allow me to avoid incurring harm to myself?” Hence, the trappings of pacifism have been subverted to establish a sort of “politics of the comfort zone,” not only akin to what Bettelheim termed “the philosophy of business as usual” and devoid of perceived risk to its advocates, but minus any conceivable revolutionary impetus as well.[55] The intended revolutionary content of true pacifist activism — the sort practiced by the Gandhian movement, the Berrigans, and Norman Morrison – is thus isolated and subsumed in the United States, even among the ranks of self-professing participants.

Such a situation must abort whatever limited utility pacifist tactics might have, absent other and concurrent forms of struggle, as a socially transformative method. Yet the history of the American Left over the past decade shows too clearly that the more diluted the substance embodied in “pacifist practice,” the louder the insistence of its subscribers that nonviolence is the only mode of action “appropriate and acceptable within the context of North America,” and the greater the effort to ostracize, or even stifle divergent types of actions.[56] Such strategic hegemony exerted by proponents of this truncated range of tactical options has done much to foreclose on what ever revolutionary potential may be said to exist in modern America.

Is such an assessment too harsh? One need only attend a mass demonstration (ostensibly directed against the policies of the state) in any U.S. city to discover the answer. One will find hundreds, sometimes thousands, assembled in orderly fashion, listening to selected speakers calling for an end to this or that aspect of lethal state activity, carrying signs “demanding” the same thing, welcoming singers who enunciate lyrically on the worthiness of the demonstrators’ agenda as well as the plight of the various victims they are there to “defend,” and – typically – the whole thing is quietly disbanded with exhortations to the assembled to “keep working” on the matter and to please sign a petition and/or write letters to congress people requesting that they alter or abandon offending undertakings.

Throughout the whole charade it will be noticed that the state is represented by a uniformed police presence keeping a discreet distance and not interfering with the activities. And why should they? The organizers of the demonstration will have gone through “proper channels” to obtain permits required by the state and instructions as to where they will be allowed to assemble, how long they will be allowed to stay and, should a march be involved in the demonstration, along which routes they will be allowed to walk. Surrounding the larger mass of demonstrators can be seen others — an elite. Adorned with green (or white, or powder blue) armbands, their function is to ensure that demonstrators remain “responsible,” not deviating from the state-arm banded sanctioned plan of protest. Individuals or small groups who attempt to spin off from the main body, entering areas to which the state has denied access (or some other unapproved activity) are headed off by these arm-banded “marshals” who argue — pointing to the nearby police – that “troublemaking” will only “exacerbate an already tense situation” and “provoke violence,” thereby “alienating those we are attempting to reach.”[57] In some ways, the voice of the “good Jews” can be heard to echo plainly over the years.

At this juncture, the confluence of interests between the state and the mass nonviolent movement could not be clearer. The role of the police, whose function is to support state policy by minimizing disruption of its procedures, should be in natural conflict with that of a movement purporting to challenge these same policies and, indeed, to transform the state itself.[58] However, with apparent perverseness, the police find themselves serving as mere backups (or props) to self-policing (now euphemistically termed “peace-keeping” rather than the more accurate “marshaling”) efforts of the alleged opposition’s own membership. Both sides of the “contestation” concur that the smooth functioning of state processes must not be physically disturbed, at least not in any significant way.[59] All of this is within the letter and spirit of cooptive forms of sophisticated self-preservation appearing as an integral aspect of the later phases of bourgeois democracy.[60] It dovetails well with more shopworn methods such as the electoral process and has been used by the state as an innovative means of conducting public opinion polls, which better hide rather than eliminate controversial policies.[61] Even the movement’s own sloganeering tends to bear this out from time to time, as when Students for a Democratic Society (SDS) coined the catch-phrase of its alternative to the polling place: “Vote with your feet, vote in the street.”[62]

Of course, any movement seeking to project a credible self-image as something other than just one more variation of accommodation to state power must ultimately establish its “militant” oppositional credentials through the media in a manner more compelling than rhetorical speechifying and the holding of impolite placards (“Fuck the War” was always a good one) at rallies.[63] Here, the time-honored pacifist notion of “civil disobedience” is given a new twist by the adherents of nonviolence in America. Rather than pursuing Gandhi’s (or, to a much lesser extent, King’s) method of using passive bodies to literally clog the functioning of the state apparatus — regardless of the cost to those doing the clogging — the American nonviolent movement has increasingly opted for “symbolic actions.”[64]

The centerpiece of such activity usually involves an arrest, either of a token figurehead of the movement (or a small, selected group of them) or a mass arrest of some sort. In the latter event, “arrest training” is generally provided – and lately has become “required” by movement organizers – by the same marshals who will later ensure that crowd control police units will be left with little or nothing to do. This is to ensure that “no one gets hurt” in the process of being arrested, and that the police are not inconvenienced by disorganized arrest procedures. [65]

The event which activates the arrests is typically preplanned, well publicized in advance, and, more often than not, literally coordinated with the police — often including estimates by organizers concerning how many arrestees will likely be involved. Generally speaking, such “extreme statements” will be scheduled to coincide with larger-scale peaceful demonstrations so that a considerable audience of “committed” bystanders (and, hopefully, NBC/CBS/ABC/CNN) will be on hand to applaud the bravery and sacrifice of those arrested; most of the bystanders will, of course, have considered reasons why they themselves are unprepared to “go so far” as to be arrested.[66] The specific sort of action designed to precipitate the arrests themselves usually involves one of the following: (a) sitting down in a restricted area and refusing to leave when ordered; (b) stepping across an imaginary line drawn on the ground by a police representative; (c) refusing to disperse at the appointed time; or (d) chaining or padlocking the doors to a public building. When things really get heavy, those seeking to be arrested may pour blood (real or ersatz) on something of “symbolic value.”[67]

As a rule, those arrested are cooperative in the extreme, meekly allowing police to lead them to waiting vans or buses for transportation to whatever station house or temporary facility has been designated as the processing point. In especially “militant” actions, arrestees go limp, undoubtedly severely taxing the states repressive resources by forcing the police to carry them bodily to the vans or buses (monitored all the while by volunteer attorneys who are there to ensure that such “police brutality” as pushing, shoving, or dropping an arrestee does not occur). In either event, the arrestees sit quietly in their assigned vehicles – or sing “We Shall Overcome” and other favorites — as they are driven away for booking. The typical charges levied will be trespassing, creating a public disturbance, or being a public nuisance.

Purchase the book: http://www.akpress.org/2007/items/pacifismaspathologyakpress

Read the full essay online (original): http://zinelibrary.info/files/pap_imposed.pdf

Read the updated version online (2007): http://bit.ly/qujy8b

The Great Rainforest Heist: Greenpeace, WWF, RAN, FSC and REDD+ Conspiracy to Log Earth’s Last Primary Forests for Their Protection

August 10, 2011

By Earth Meanders, a project of Ecological Internet

CONTACT: Dr. Glen Barry, glenbarry

WHEN GOOD RAINFOREST GROUPS GO BAD you get monoculture and secondary forest plantations where ancient intact primary rainforests once stood, called sustainable forest management and carbon forestry, by BINGO’s (big NGOs) and United Nations greenwashers, paid for with your membership fees and taxes. Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) is primary forest logging greenwash by money-sucking environmental bureaucracies. Rainforests and other old forest must be protected and restored for local and global ecology and local eco-development from standing forests.

Please donate now to Ecological Internet’s “End Primary Forest Logging Campaign” at http://www.rainforestportal.org/shared/donate/end_primary_forest_logging/ in order to help turn this draft document into a polished, photogenic, researched and footnoted report on BINGO’s Increased Old Forest Greenwash. Relax, there are typos, but wanted to get this out right now in draft.

INTRODUCTION

What would you say to me if I told you the world’s pre-eminent environmental organizations, widely perceived as the leading advocates for rainforests and old growth, have for decades been actively, indeed intimately, involved in logging the world’s last old forests. Would you call me a liar? Tell me I am mentally ill? Or because of the cognitive dissonance would you simply ignore me, thinking it impossible? Well here goes nothing…

There is a global conspiracy to log the Earth’s last primary forests – destroying ancient forests for disposable consumer items – while claiming it is “sustainable forest management” and “carbon forestry”. A number of public forest advocacy groups are going so far as to actually claim that industrial first-time primary forest logging is good for climate, ecosystems and local peoples.

This essay is not the result of top secret research – it is all public record. For three years of campaigning and this essay, Ecological Internet, the organization I head, has been simply connecting pieces of public record information to see just how big NGOs (BINGOs), and the United Nations have been selling out old forests under the radar. They have been selling out primary rainforests and other old growth in broad-daylight, the perfect crime, for decades – and things are getting much, much worse as moves to allow primary rainforests to be cleared for toxic monoculture plantations gain strength.

If you are a Greenpeace, Rainforest Action Network (RAN), or World Wide Fund for Nature/World Wildlife Fund (WWF) member – you are funding the greenwash destruction of 320,000,000 acres of primary rainforest and other old forest logging. These groups co-founded and have been active members in the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) for two decades, an organization that exists to build markets for primary and other old growth forest timbers. Some 70% of FSC forest products – supposedly the best of forest certification – come with primary forest timbers in them, destroying an area of primary rainforests and other old forests across an area the size of South Africa (or two times the size of Texas)!

Primary rainforests cannot be logged in an ecologically sustainable manner – or for that matter even acceptably. Primary forests logged industrially for the first time – FSC certified or otherwise – are destroyed. What remains is permanently ecologically diminished in terms of composition, structure, function, dynamics, and evolutionary potential. Logged primary forests’ carbon stores, biodiversity and ecosystems will never be the same in any reasonable time-span. Selective, industrially logged primary rainforests become fragmented, burn more and are prone to outright deforestation.

FSC certified forestry destroys ancient naturally evolved ecosystems that are priceless and sacred. Old forests have a prominent role in making the Earth habitable through their cycling of energy, water, and nutrients. The Forest Stewardship Council is a non-democratic, unaccountable, unrepresentative organization that exists solely to greenwash the final first-time industrial logging and marketing of Earth’s original, naturally evolved, and last primary rainforests and other old forests – in order to turn them into tree plantations.

Increasingly both FSC and REDD+ are moving towards certifying and funding the conversion of natural primary forests to be cleared and replanted as plantations. They call it carbon forestry and claim it is a climate good. We ecologists know this destroys primary forests when they become greatly ecologically reduced from first time industrial logging, and are on their way to being plantations. Toxic mono-cultures of trees are not forests, much less when planted on cleared primary rainforests. There is far more carbon stably stored in old forests than toxic monocrop tree plantations, most of whose timbers are in the landfill decomposing within months of harvest.

There is no doubt that these groups – Rainforest Action Network, Greenpeace and WWF – are involved in this primary forest logging. Five minutes on Google can confirm this for anyone interested, as each of the old forest logging apologists takes credit for founding and supporting the FSC publicly on their websites. Despite claiming credit, there is little justification for doing so. The logging apologists are closed-mouth regarding their justifications for doing so – but presumably they believe that by industrially logging primary forests they are ending deforestation, and claim that their rules for doing so make it acceptable and superior to other ways of murdering primary forest ecosystems.

But being the best ecocidal rainforest destroyer is nothing of which to be proud. All such deadly old forest certification schemes must stop in order to ensure enough intact terrestrial ecosystems exist to power Earth’s biosphere. For nearly 20 years the FSC has certified as “well-managed” and “sustainable” primary old forest logging on a massive scale. Competing certifiers make similar claims, as do old school non-certified primary forest loggers. FSC legitimatizes this larger trade in old forest timber products, and a false market for green products from the destruction of ancient trees.

FSC is primary forest logging with Greenpeace, RAN and WWF greenwash, corruption, conflicts of interest, bad ecology, and ecocide. 500 year old trees in 60 million year old primary rainforests and other old forests are chopped for toilet paper, lawn furniture and other such “necessities” with these groups’ greenwash and marketing clout. The rainforest logging apologists – with little or no accountability, transparency, or openness are killing Earth’s last old forests. They – particularly WWF – boast they are creating markets for ancient trees industrially pillaged from primary forests, and such market forest logging campaigns are thus little better than illegal logging, which at least is honest that it is about the money for old forest timbers.

After 20 years of working prominently with various stakeholders in the rainforest movement, I have seen a whole generation of promising activists and groups sell out for good paying jobs, saying logging old forests protects them. None have fallen as dramatically or treacherously as Greenpeace and RAN and their staff (you sort of expect this corporate greenwash bullshit from WWF and the United Nations) who suckle on the teat of rainforest logging everyday for decades. The UN’s “Avoided Deforestation” work – which is now known as REDD+ – is to pay to marketizes rainforests claiming “sustainable forest management” of primary forests – turning them into secondary forests and always ultimately into tree plantations – is a public good and helps ecology.

Ecological Internet and others feel strongly based upon the urgency of emerging ecological science and our closeness to global ecological collapse that it is better to fight like hell in any way we can to fully protect and return to native tenure standing old forests as the most desirable forest protection outcome. The Earth is already undergoing global ecological collapse and it is deeply irresponsible for organizations committed to the environment to carelessly make false old forest logging prescriptions that worsen the problem.

The BINGO old forest greenwashers sound just like get-out-the-cut forest managers – we need these resources, better to log them legally than legally, primary forests exist to be logged. Where is their former channeling of the spirit of Edward Abbey, John Muir and the other conservation greats upon whose back they stand? Somewhere along the line these groups lost sight of ecology truth, didn’t keep up with the science, had no metrics or systems to identify, monitor and handle their failed forest policy, perhaps didn’t think it mattered because it was win-win and economical.

So the rainforest logging apologist lent their names and logos to those murdering rainforests, ecosystems, their plants and animals, to wipe our asses. They turned to the dark side, using business and PR techniques to market ill-gotten old forest timbers as sustainable. They sold their souls. They have bullied critics, censored and stonewalled their brothers’ and sisters’ forest protection. They have lost their souls and legitimacy as old rainforest protection voices. And they must be stopped from doing so any longer with public monies.

BINGO COMPLICITY IN FSC LED PRIMARY RAINFOREST ECOCIDE

FSC was created in 1993 to “promote responsible management of the world’s forests”, yet has failed miserably. FSC certifies as “sustainable” the logging of over a hundred million hectares of primary and old-growth forests – hundreds of year old trees in millions of year old naturally evolved ecosystems – for lawn furniture, toilet paper and other throw-away consumer items. Many environmentalists initially supported FSC, expecting it would reduce logging of primary and old growth forests, and result in more community based eco-forestry. Instead, FSC and members have built a massive market for continued business as usual industrial primary forest timbers – with minor, cosmetic changes – in order to certify as acceptable murdering old forests for consumption.

FSC has become a major driver of primary forest destruction and forest ecological diminishment. Despite certifying less than 10% of the world’s forest lands, their rhetoric and marketing legitimizes the host of other ghastly certifiers like PEFC, SFI and others, as well as traditional non-certified ancient forest timber. It is expecting far too much of consumers to expect them to differentiate between the variety of competing claims to being green and environmental sustainability – when in fact none are as they all include old growth forest timbers.

FSC and old forest logging apologist pals policies seeking to prevent primary forests from being deforested, by allowing them to be heavily industrially and selectively logged for the first time, becoming either secondary forest or toxic mono-crop tree plantations, is not old forest protection. Deforestation and ecosystem diminishment of forests are both of profound concern ecologically – much of great importance is lost when primary forests are logged for the first time.

Standing old forests are a requirement for global ecological sustainability and local advancement. Yet, FSC is about getting out the primary forest cut – recall best estimated as 70% FSC timber and fiber from planned and past logging of 320,000,000 acres (120,000,000 hectares) – and is particularly threatening now as FSC and old forest logging apologist friends claim carbon forestry (logging primary forests to plant new plantations) is a climate change solution.

FSC’s relatively minor improvements upon the murdering of old rainforests legitimate the entire trade, FSC certified or not. While other certification schemes may be even worse, this is not the issue, as industrial first-time primary forest logging cannot be done ecologically sustainably and should not be happening at all. FSC’s claims to being the best destroyer of primary forests is like killing someone more humanely, treating your slaves better but refusing to release them, or being half pregnant. Like past battles to end monarchy and slavery before them, and continuing efforts to resist their recent forms found in fascism and human trafficking, the task before us is to fully END the stripping of Earth of its protective covering. Not doing it marginally better.

These independent estimates of FSC’s dependence upon old forest logging, one published in German already and the other by myself in publication, were able to make reasonable estimates from FSC’s own national certification data which is collate and released, and what is known about each country’s forest types and industry. If they are wrong after three years of complaint, they would have trotted out the figures and shown us. Conveniently, none of the culprits say they collect information regarding whether any particular FSC certified forest that was logged was primary, old growth or other old forests.

After years of campaigning against Greenpeace, Rainforest Action Network – two key co-founders and supporters of FSC’s primary forest logging – and FSC itself; Ecological Internet’s genuine forest ecology concerns have been met with nothing but stonewalling, censoring and vilification. No one within FSC will say how many hectares of primary forests FSC has certified for industrial logging, how much more is planned, and explained in detail how logging primary forest protects them.

Despite tens of thousands of people from around the world asking, none of the organizations who routinely campaign against other close-lipped forest destroyers, feel obligated to explain how logging primary forests protects them. Nor can they provide any other reason to justify, or to otherwise defend, the ecology, strategy and tactics of continued prominent membership in FSC primary forest logging.

WWF, Greenpeace, and RAN’s forest campaigns have been perhaps mortally compromised. Their forest advocacy efforts are a corrupt shell of their former selves. The rainforest logging apologists have chosen power, prestige and money coming from sitting at the old forest logging mafia’s table, rather than and over protecting rainforest and other primary forests. With rainforests threatened as never before, RAN targets Disney and the Girl Scouts, Greenpeace Barbie dolls, and WWF runs a bad-boy logger club which they call the Global Forest & Trade Network (GFTN). Posers like Greenpeace and RAN don’t get it because by and large they are marketers and accountants, elite liberal arts grads, and not ecologists.

WWF forest campaign is composed of resource managers, not deep ecologists, and it shows. Not only is WWF perhaps the most power BINGO totally enmeshed with FSC, it also partners with the World Bank and companies that destroy rainforests, and threaten endangered species. Some 20% of the timber industry has lined up to pay WWF $50K, for which they can use the panda logo and continue to log as they were. This is unethical, corrupt and destroying global ecology and local options for advancement.

Greenpeace’s forest protection campaign is all over the place, full of contradictions, and it is nearly impossible to see the strategy of divergent and countervailing forest protection campaign tactics. Greenpeace not only co-founded the Forest Stewardship Council, until recently Greenpeace held the international chairman of the board position for FSC for six years! Greenpeace’s quirky new rainforest campaign says Ken is leaving Barbie (Mattel’s dolls) because of rainforest destruction, yet they leave the door open for “certified” primary rainforest paper pulp for toy packaging. Two years ago Greenpeace openly embraced Kleenex’s clearcut of Canadian old growth forests for toilet paper. Now they condemn Barbie doll for tiny amounts of packaging from primary forests!

The Rainforest Action Network is the smallest of the lot, yet they are a well-known rainforest protector organization in the United States, soaking up most of the money for doing so. RAN similarly says is against primary forest logging, yet promotes FSC paper – full of old-growth – for Disney’s children books. The group is ridiculously under-qualified to be determining global rainforest policy. Their staff is mostly liberal arts grads and accountants that wouldn’t know a rainforest if it bit them in the ass. They are great at raising money, throwing lavish parties, being seen with the right celebrities, trashing opponents, and working to end coal – but their rainforest campaign is in shambles. For the first decade they worked strongly against old forest logging, but now target the Girl Scouts and Disney for relatively small amounts of rainforest destruction, as global stores of ancient rainforest temples burn and require a much larger, more urgent response.

Greenpeace, RAN and WWF must continue to be encouraged to resign from FSC greenwash; and work to end primary forest logging, protect and restore standing old forests, for local and global advancement and ecology. These groups’ vision of sustainable rainforests is logging, turning them into both secondary diminished forest (essentially plantations) and fully replanted mono-crop tree plantations, rather than working to fully protect and restore as much as possible. The rest of the grassroots global rainforest protection movement thinks we need to implement proven ways to keep old forests standing intact for local advancement and global ecology (and vice versa).

Rainforest Action Network continues to censor – and along with Greenpeace stonewall – legitimate global protest by tens of thousands of grassroots forest activists regarding their greenwash complicity in logging 320,000,000 acres of primary old forest for such necessities as toilet paper. I really don’t think young adults with liberal arts degrees should be seeking to discredit PhD professionals on the question of whether primary forests should be logged or fully protected for local community development.

At FSC recent tri-annual General Assembly in Malaysia – the “sustainable” old forest logging greenwash worsened, as FSC voted (seconded by Greenpeace) to start the process to begin certifying plantation timbers from land cleared of primary rainforests as being “sustainable”. FSC Motion 18 which was approved furthers the process of industrial toxic plantations being established on rainforests cleared since 1994, to be certified as sustainable by the Forest Stewardship Council.

Just before the vote Ecological Internet’s global network’s carried out a large email protest, which led to the motion’s wording going from essentially preparing to certify plantations on cleared rainforests, to studying it, to the latest revisionary history of completing an unnamed earlier report. Despite how it is packaged, FSC decided last month to begin trying to certify monocrop plantations on land cleared of primary rainforest since 1994.

By crossing the rubric, FSC’s embrace without merit the ideas of carbon forestry – that it is better to log well stored and carbon rich old forests, in order to plant fast growing carbon removal species – they have gone from being misguided on forest policy to being downright dangerous. FSC has already lost European NGO FERN on the issue of carbon forestry – which sees the potential peril of essentially geo-engineering the world’s old forests upon community and ecology – one of the last mighty naturally evolved ecosystems.

FSC plantations on cleared primary rainforest had rightly been excluded since FSC inception in order to not promote primary rainforest being converted specifically for later planting of depauperate plantations, but now the flood gate is wide open. FSC is continually changing the wording of Motion and downplaying its importance, and as usual Greenpeace and RAN aren’t talking, but I reckon they think tree plantations –are better than outright deforestation of primary and old growth forests. So they are trading away ecological jewels – primary forests – to become managed forests and plantations, thinking slowing outright deforestation justifies destroying wild forests.

REDD+, FSC and other certifiers, sustainable forest management, and carbon forestry are all myths and meaningless catchphrases to allow continued western market access to primary rainforest logs. Standing and intact primary rainforest and other old forests are a requirement for sustaining global ecology and achieving local advancement. We must end their logging for full protection and restoration. REDD+ has become all things to everybody – forest logging, protection, plantations, carbon, growth – when all we need is funding to preserve local old standing forests.

These organizations believe their own PR that they are so special – so hip and groovy – they can establish and avidly support with impunity an organization that facilitates the logging of rainforests and other old forests. They don’t have to answer questions about their role in rainforest destruction like others supporting logging do. It is really an abuse of power and trust. The old forest logging greenwashers all follow the same playbook and personally attack the messenger (me!). Shameful, as more old forests and terrestrial ecosystems have been lost than the biosphere can absorb and continue to make Earth habitable. This dispute is about ecological science and not personalities.

Rainforest Action Network, Greenpeace and WWF are engaged in a con game for money and influence at the expense of old forests that must remain standing for local peoples and global ecology. Global ecosystem collapse is being abetted by these so called protectors. These organizations’ policies are a carefully calibrated effort to be seen as reasonable by the growing logging industry machine and benefit in donations for doing so. None make a decision without thinking how it affects their bottom line. The only way this old forest greenwash logging machine will be stopped is to make doing so too expensive to them in terms of lost donations, grants, and other support – whose sources are usually unaware of the great rainforest heist.

WHY FSC AND OLD FOREST LOGGING MUST END FOR A NEW FOREST PROTECTION VISION

Here is the honest to Gaia old forest ecology science narrative. The human family must protect and restore old forests – starting by ending industrial-scale primary forest logging – as one keystone response to biodiversity, ecosystem, climate, food, water, poverty and rights crises that are pounding humanity, ecosystems and plants and animals. When naturally evolved old forest ecosystems are logged in any manner other than appropriately small-scaled local community traditional uses and eco-forestry – their ecological function, structure, dynamics, and composition are destroyed forever.

Protecting and restoring old forests – which means ending their industrial harvest – are a keystone response to climate, biodiversity, food, water ecology crises. You can’t take a bulldozer for a rumble through intact natural rainforests, cutting all the big merchantable timbers, and causing huge amounts of collateral damage – and not rip the hell out of ecosystems, plant communities, wildlife populations, species biodiversity, local forest dependent communities advancement potential, and carbon holding potential.

Old forests are a vital part of the biosphere’s eco-infrastructure. Along with other terrestrial, water, ocean, and atmospheric ecosystems, old forests makes Earth habitable and ensure it is fed and watered.
Old forests are perhaps the most important global ecosystem as intact primary, old growth, and regenerating old forests are at the hub of the nutrient, energy, heat, and water transfers and fluxes which power global ecosystems. It is clearly past time for an end to primary forest logging to protect these global ecological processes and local advancement potential from standing old forests.

Industrial old forest logging must end in order to protect and restore ancient forest ecosystems necessary for a habitable Earth. Primary rainforests that have been logged for the first time are on their way to being scraggly secondary forests that are in fact tree plantations, and might as well have been deforested, as their full natural ecological patterns and processes have been destroyed. When primary forests become secondary must is lost and diminished and many local and region ecological processes fail. The impacts of seeing primary forests only as resources to be whacked down has impacted a large enough area globally, with over 80% of old forests being gone or logged for the first time, that old forest logging’s impact is aggregating to diminish, damage and destroyed our one shared biosphere. Old forest logging is one of a handful of ill-advised industrial processes leading to global ecosystem collapse.

There is no such thing as well-managed, sustainable primary forest logging – first time industrial harvest always destroys natural evolution and intact ecosystems. Humanity can, must and will meet wood product demand from certified regenerating and aging secondary growth and non-toxic, native species plantations. Any lesser vision that includes “sustainable forest management” of primary forests is worthy of virulent opposition, as such greenwash destroys local livelihoods and global ecosystem services associated with standing old forests, for throw-away consumer items.

FSC should meet market demand for well-managed forest timbers by certifying only 1) small scale community eco-forestry practiced by local peoples in primary forests, 2) regenerating and aging secondary forests, and 3) non-toxic and mixed species plantations. Further, reducing demand for all timber and paper products is key to living ecologically sustainably with old forests. Only 10% of any given FSC certified product’s content need come from a certified source anyway, this is mixed with conventional fiber sources, and the 10% that is certified content is mostly murdered primary forest.

In light of current and emerging ecosystem, biodiversity and climate science; it is clear that FSC certification for industrial primary and old-growth logging is antiquated and dangerous. By logging old forests and now moving to certifying plantations established on cleared rainforests as being “sustainable”, the Forest Stewardship Council and allies are no longer a force for good, and like all primary forest logging apologists, must disband and be forcefully encouraged and assisted in doing so.

Industrial primary forest logging must end to herald in era of old forest protection and restoration based upon standing forests for local advancement and global ecological sustainability. Logging and otherwise destroying ecosystems is an 8,000 year old disease upon Gaia now perfected and terminal with RAN, Greenpeace, FSC, WWF, and REDD+ greenwash. Like slavery, industrial old forest logging for throw away consumption is a global evil that must end, not be slightly reformed. Old forest diminishment when first industrially logged is nearly as ecologically damaging as outright deforestation, as naturally evolved ecosystems that make Earth habitable are on the path to becoming tree plantations.

There is a zero chance of protecting and ending first time industrial logging of primary rainforests when RAN, Greenpeace and WWF say it is sustainable, even desirable, and continue to greenwash FSC markets for old forest timbers through their presence in the organization. Old forests must be protected and restored in order to sustain global ecology and local well-being. This NGO complicity with rainforest murder must end in order to collapse FSC and all other old forest certifiers, and move onto stopping old forest timber producers and consumers from continuing to do so using whatever means are necessary.

From the perspective of a 60 million year old primary rainforest with 500+ year old trees, it does not matter if being destroyed by illegal or legal logging, certified or not, the Asian timber mafia or WWF, Greenpeace and RAN. There is no such thing as well-managed, sustainable primary forest logging – as first time industrial harvest destroys natural evolution and intact ecosystems. Humanity can and must and will meet wood product demand from certified regenerating and aging secondary growth and non-toxic, native species plantations. If all BINGOs greenwashing FSC withdrew, old logging may well collapse as ratchet up pressure together on even lesser certifiers and old forest logging industry in general.

Together we must end primary forest logging, protecting and restoring old forests. The unholy trinity of REDD+ finance, FSC and BINGO pals for greenwash and “sustainable forest management” are clearing the biosphere’s last old forests. Please Greenpeace, RAN, WWF, and REDD+ tell us how your FSC’s logging of 500 year old trees in 60 million year old rainforests is sustainable and offers any real protection. You tout this as ending deforestation. Yet, are you aware of the tremendous damage and, by definition, ultimate destruction of primary forests that are heavily industrially and “selectively” logged for the first time?

There are others like EI that understand we have already lost more intact terrestrial ecosystems including old forests than the biosphere can bear. We will fight for each old forest and their peoples as resources and people allow, understanding when ecosystem collapse comes, having as many intact ecosystems for restoration as possible will be key to any sort of ecology and human recovery. We ecologists know that primary forests are destroyed when greatly ecologically reduced from first time industrial logging, and that plantations are not forests, much less when planted on cleared primary rainforests.

As Earth burns, any groups engaged in greenwashing primary forest logging and offering no defense of doing so are seriously misguided and in crisis themselves. If you are a RAN, Greenpeace or WWF member your donations support participation in logging primary forests and converting to plantations! Greenpeace, RAN and others’ PR stunts and market campaigns have become old, stale, ineffective and even dangerous. They are inadequate to the ecological crises on hand, and do not use these organizations’ resources and organization well. Campaigning groups need an overall ecology vision of how to achieve global ecological sustainability, to campaign more on sufficient ecological policies (whether initially photogenic or not), and work more to mobilize people protest – and less on quirky, token stunts to raise awareness and funds for themselves.

Local community development based upon standing old forests including small scale eco-forestry is fine. Small scale community eco-forestry has a context of intact primary forests as its context for seed and animal sources, and management mimics natural disturbance and gap species establishment. It is the industrial first time logging – selective logging defined as selecting all merchantable, mature trees – turning primary forests into plantations that is problematic. Ruling elite and their bought shills will not manage, invest, certify or greenwash their way to global ecological sustainability. There is no way other to global ecological sustainability than people power ecology, protecting old forests, powering down, and returning to the land.

The human family – if need be as part of a people’s power Earth revolution – must end primary forest logging, and protect and restore rainforests and all old forests, as a keystone response to biodiversity, climate, ecosystem and poverty crises. Together we will end primary forest logging, herald in an era of old forest protection and restoration, to benefit local people and sustain global ecology. We will fight for each old forest and their peoples, saving and delaying old forest industrial destruction and diminishment, and understanding when ecosystem collapse comes, having as many intact ecosystems for models and seed sources for restoration as possible will be key to any sort of ecology and human recovery. Ecological Internet puts our faith in truth and ecological science over looking good and PR greenwash.

WHAT NEXT TO SUSTAIN OLD FORESTS AND THEIR ECOLOGY

Ending primary forest logging is Ecological Internet’s number one commitment to sustaining global ecology. We will not rest until dead or an end to trade in ill-gotten forest timbers by murdering natural evolved forest ecosystems for trinkets, curios, and ass wiping. Please join with Ecological Internet and others to oppose all forces working to industrially cut or otherwise develop rainforests and other old forests, laying bare the illogical, greedy and lying rhetoric for doing so. Doing so is crucial to our and many species’ survival including Gaia, the Earth System.

As a movement, we must return to the goal of a ban on industrially harvested primary forest timbers. This means continuing to resist and obstruct old forest harvest, businesses involve, timber marketing, purchase, storage, milling, product construction and marketing. The entire supply chain for ecocidal primary forest timbers must be destroyed. More of us must return to the forests to work with local communities to build on-the-ground desire for ecologically inspired advancement from standing old forests, and blockading and physically obstructing the practice of old forest logging.

We must make ill-gotten old wood from life-giving ecosystems to become an unacceptable taboo, like gorilla hand ash-trays only worse. Ending primary forest logging further requires greater international affinity made possible by transnational advocacy networks on the Internet. There is a long proven track-record of using the boomerang effect – whereby local forest protection advocacy efforts that are being stonewalled are expressed simultaneously by the international community. The dual voices make the concern hard to ignore, the first step to ending old forest logging.

The rainforest movement has become split between those logging primary rainforests and others working to fully protect and restore for local and global benefit. I’m old enough to remember when the rainforest movement worked to protect ancient forests and ban their logging, not abet their ‘sustainable’ destruction. What these rainforest logging apologist groups are doing is every bit as alarming as loggers and governments, and they will not be given free rein to continue in their not thoughtful, self-aggrandizing manner any longer. The rainforest, forest, and ecological protection movements must unite behind effort to end primary forest logging for full protection and restoration.

And to those that say these concerns are splitting the movement, just shove it. There is no benefit to Earth from unity in support of ecocidal rainforest policy. Just as working to better the conditions of slaves is no substitute for working for total emancipation, we cannot log and have our old forests too. Even as we protest the loggers and government policies, we must continue to confront our wayward brethren that think that logging primary forests protects them – or risk becoming irrelevant as global ecosystems collapse. Rallying around a false and ecologically destructive global forest policy of logging primary forests for plantations is a must.

Rather than participating in old forest logging, it is better for the rainforest movement to fight to work to protect each old forest and their peoples, understanding that when ecosystem collapse comes, having as many intact ecosystems for restoration as possible will be key to any sort of ecology and human recovery. The grassroots global forest protection movement has to commit to fully protecting and restoring old carbon, species and ecosystem service rich forests as a keystone response to achieve global ecological sustainability.

The goal must remain to maximize the extent, size, connectivity of core terrestrial ecological areas –largely but not exclusively forested – to maximize global and local ecosystem processes, and local material and other advancement from standing old forests. By dragging out the forest protection fight on a forest by forest basis, until ecological collapse becomes publicly acknowledged, we can hold onto more ecosystems, biodiversity, and carbon than logging them now. Soon the human family will catch up with the ecological science and realize old forest destruction and diminishment must end as we ramp upreforestation and ecological restoration for large, connected natural forests adequate to power the global ecosystem.

We must continue to call upon all BINGO FSC members to reject the certification of primary forests by resigning immediately, as many others have recently done. We must continue to call upon Greenpeace, WWF, and RAN to resign from FSC, to fully account for its founding and 20 years of membership, including detailing expenditures and benefits received for greenwashing old forest logging. Further, we must demand FSC immediately stop certifying primary forest logging or disband itself.

Greenpeace, WWF and RAN have been revealed as corrupt greenwashers of the final harvest of Earth primary rainforests and other old forests, and must be stopped for global ecological sustainability and local benefits from greenwashing the destruction of standing old growth forests. This means boycotting these organizations, even their other work as what to do with old forests is such a fundamental ecological issue, until they stop greenwashing the final loss of old forests. And it is past time for the groups’ members to end their memberships as ultimately these big NGO businesses are more concerned with their image and money than having global forest policy that is ecologically valid and correct.

The worst part regarding Rainforest Action Network, Greenpeace and WWF greenwash membership in Forest Stewardship Council is their secrecy, lack of transparency, censorship, stonewalling, vilifying critics. Who do they think are? What are they hiding? What benefits are they receiving from old forest logging? Their stonewalling is reprehensible and alarming. Like all public entities they have a responsibility to defend your public positions.

Despite best attempts to portray Ecological Internet campaign and ecological science concerns as being personal and political motivated, this essay and continued growing global protest demonstrates in fact efforts to resist those supporting primary forest logging is a reasonable ecology dispute that must be redressed. We have had bad experiences with the head of RAN’s forest campaign for years, before he worked for RAN and this campaign started, so this is immaterial and we deal with his debilities. There have been a series of personal attacks coming from the other side which refuses to have a specific debate, or even provide any justification, in defense of this ecological travesty known as FSC.

Given RAN and Greenpeace’s irresponsible behavior when questioned on their rainforest ‘protection’ policy that is of global ecological importance how can they be trusted? These liberal arts under-grads and accountants think they are qualified to set policy because they have money and influential friends, but are making dreadful mistakes. Despite founding and actively supporting, they can’t say how much primary forests are being destroyed by FSC. This is ignorance, duplicity, or corruption. These groups are dangerous enemies to old forests and biosphere, profiting from their demise, while acting like and being paid well as the publicly viewed good forest protection groups.

This old forest logging corruption will not stand, it must and will be fully investigated, and end with widespread resignations. Ecological Internet calls upon Greenpeace, WWF and RAN staff to protest their organizations’ greenwash of primary forest logging from within, and resign immediately if they are not heard and NGO primary rainforest ecocide continues. It is time to investigate all three organizations’ involvement with FSC and other activities to support primary forest logging with the timber industry. Until then the awareness building and resistance to greenwash of BINGO old forest logging must continue, tarnishing the not good old forest protection names. EI remains willing to negotiate terms of their resignation from FSC and debate the importance of doing so in a public arena at any time.

In the meantime, Ecological Internet is writing a grant to do a report on the matter based loosely upon this essay. We have a good lead on a funder to investigate BINGO complicity in FSC old growth logging, but need a couple thousand dollars to prepare and do the initial research. We would really appreciate your help turning this document into a fully referenced report based upon FSC logging site visits and full of pictures by donating to our “Ending Primary Forest Logging” campaign at http://www.rainforestportal.org/shared/donate/end_primary_forest_logging . This is a draft document, put out hurriedly in draft form, before I go to vacation and decide upon Ecological Internet’s future.

Ecological Internet challenges Rainforest Action Network and/or Greenpeace to debate any time and any place of their choosing (which can afford to get to) regarding the efficacy and ecological sustainability of first time industrial logging of primary forests for toilet paper and other consumer items. From dialogue comes truth, reduction in conflict and hate, and right action. Their greenwash of old forest logging will not stand. The secret of their having been compromised is out and nothing can save their policy of logging old rainforests for their protection.

No excuse for Greenpeace, RAN and FSC for not having answered a three year global protest demanding details regarding how their forest campaign policies see logging primary forest as benefiting ecology.
Hundreds of thousands of protest emails and a dozen protests have been ignored simply because the guilty organization are bigger and think they can get away with ignoring us. Even as we protest and demand they resign, let’s hold out our hands to help rehabilitate our fallen brethren. WE have truth, ecology, old forests, Gaia and Internet on our side. Forward!

Greenpeace International and Rainforest Action Network in particular would rightly never accept rainforest or other environmental destroyers unwilling to defend their policies, they would protest until they got answers and it ended. The same is true with the more grassroots, transparent rainforest protection movement regarding RAN and Greenpeace’s failure to defend in detail their support and membership in FSC, which greenwashes the destruction of massive tracts of primary rainforests, old growth and other old forests for consumer products.

The Greenpeace and RAN Out of FSC Primary Forest Logging Now! campaign on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/oldforests/ has been going on for nearly 3 years with picketing and online protests. We will protest there and elsewhere at the time and place of our choosing – as the old forest logging apologists do against the orders of magnitude smaller rainforest destruction by Barbie, Disney and Girl Scouts – until old forest logging apologists unconditionally resign from FSC greenwash of ancient primary forest logging.

ANY continued deforestation or diminishment of old forests – legal or illegal, certified or not – are not ecologically or socially acceptable. At risk is Earth’s continued habitability if old forests continue to be lost and are not restored. Old forest logging certification schemes are ecocidal certified madness as these standing old forests are needed for global ecology and local advancement. BINGO’s will resign from FSC and forest certification of primary forest logging end or protests continue against the greenwashers and all perpetrators of these ecocidal practices. For Earth, we must end old forest logging now.

http://www.rainforestportal.org/issues/2011/08/earth_meanders_the_great_rainf.asp

Tar Sands development edging closer in Trinidad and Tobago? | Rainforest Action Network

Tar Sands development edging closer in Trinidad and Tobago?

RBC appears at Trinidad government forum extolling their record in Canada’s tar sands

by Macdonald Stainsby

In December of 2010, Rainforest Action Network [RAN], issued a press release that was full of praise for the Royal Bank of Canada adopting a new framework around investments in companies involved in tar sands production.

RBC was coming under increasing pressure to end their investments in tar sands extraction, and on December 22nd of 2010 RAN announced an end to the campaign to force RBC to divest from tar sands production, citing a ‘victory’ when RBC announced their intentions to use Free Prior and Informed Consent [FPIC] in evaluating future investments in energy and related projects.

FPIC means many things, but the core component of the concept is the ‘right to say no’ to development on the part of an affected community. RBC uses many words to describe how they interpret FPIC– but the absolute right of a veto is nowhere in their description. “The policy also recognizes the importance of community relations, and in particular aboriginal community relations, in operating and growing a business, and we look at how our clients consult and meaningfully accommodate these communities,” said Gordon Nixon, the CEO of RBC in their announcement.

This is the same exact language used by the Federal government of Canada: the language of consultation and accommodation, which is different from Free, Prior and Informed Consent. That RBC wants to end the public pressure and remake their image as one of friendly to indigenous and frontline communities is of no surprise– but why would an organization like RAN want to help in this endeavor, and even go so far as to counsel other activists to “lay off for awhile”?1

This question of the impacts of RBC’s new policy was urgent from the get go of the RAN announcement– but is made even more urgent by the recent moves of RBC in Trinidad and Tobago– where the government has recently begun advertising for possible tar sands mining.

(The glossy advertisement from the current Ministry of Energy and Energy Affairs for Trinidad and Tobago is available here.)

RBC involvement in Canadian tar sands has not abated, nor has there been any actual commitment to removing any level of investment, but RBC can now publicly state they have been given “applause” from the Rainforest Action Network in Canada. “RBC is raising the bar for the financial sector and signaling to oil and gas corporations that it is time to take environmental and human rights seriously,” said Brant Olson, campaign director of RAN, in a release applauding the policy.

RAN’s involvement in such a climb down has no small implications. Not only have many of the activists opposed to RBC tar sands investment become dormant, confusion about what exactly is Free, Prior and Informed Consent has been sewn. FPIC means the right to say no, something that the communities near tar sands in T&T have already done through social struggle to developments such as smelter plants and steel mills.

In Trinidad and Tobago, it was in 2009 (during the annual Carnival) that then Minister of Energy and Energy affairs Conrad Enil announced that the People’s National Movement [PNM] government would be opening tar sands mining to exploration. Previous work on deposit evaluation came from a joint venture consisting of Canadian based Western Oil Sands alongside T&T’s own Petrotrin in the early 2000s. After Marathon Energy of the US bought out Western Oil Sands the arrangement with Petrotrin was abandoned in 2008.

On February 13 of 2009, Enil announced exploration blocks of pilot projects extracting bitumen for synthetic petroleum production. During the announcement of licenses for the Parrylands and Guapo Field, Enil also stated that T&T was trying to follow the Canadian model, a model that people of all stripes across North America have labelled the most destructive industrial development on earth today.

Having seriously slowed down the campaign against them without divesting a single penny, RBC has moved on to other sources of energy revenue. Having bought the Royal Bank of Trinidad & Tobago [RBTT], RBC recently attended a “Green Business Forum” held by the T&T Environmental Management Authority [EMA] in Port of Spain (the capital of the Twin Island Nation).

RBC sent their “Director of Corporate Environmental Affairs” Sandra Odendahl to the forum, to tout their socially and environmentally responsible policies as potentially large investors in Trinidad and Tobago (one of 58 countries in which RBC operates).

As reported in the T&T Newsday on March 31, 2011 “Now that RBTT is part of the RBC umbrella, Odendahl would like to introduce RBC’s Capital Markets Policy (CMP) to TT, once the integration process has been completed. [….] It was developed after extensive stakeholder consultation, much of it headed by Odendahl, on Canada’s oil sands energy sector.”

The Royal Bank of Canada has received further publicity help from environmental organizations as well, with Odendahl recently appearing on panels held in Canadian cities alongside well-known environmental organizers to ostensibly debate whether bank funding for major industrial developments can be made socially responsible. Given the small attendance at such events, the appearance of environmental organizers along side Ms Odendahl will further help the RBC spokeswoman shore up the image of the bank that only months ago was in dire straits.

In the months right prior to the 2009 announcement around possible tar sands development in Trinidad’s South there was a major turning point in the so-called battle over tar sands in Canada. A campaign was launched by grassroots groups and environmental Non-Governmental Organizations [ENGOs] alike to force the hand of RBC out of their tar sands investments.

The campaign was effective, and RBC took serious hits to their credibility thanks to RAN and grassroots organizers– even going so far as to target the ostensibly green sensibilities of RBC chairman Gordon Nixon’s wife, Janet. In recent months RAN has ended their participation in the activist campaign against the Royal Bank of Canada.

Like Canada, in Trinidad and Tobago companies that wish to develop are required to go through a hearing process with affected communities. In the recent past Trinidad has seen such hearings into a now cancelled plan to construct an aluminium smelter in Southern Trinidad, the same region where bitumen deposits exist at a depth suitable to the energy industry for mining.

From Canada, with neither divestment nor the right to say no established for indigenous and frontline communities, RBC may attempt to start investments in Petrotrin for the development of tar sands in the south of the island. If such were to happen, RBC may try to use such applauded policy at the Trinidadian Environmental Management Authority [EMA].

In environmental struggles against industrial development in Trinidad the Rights Action Group has been front and centre as a part of the resistance. “The EMA said you had to have consultation, but really didn’t define what consultation was. So they would do something and say they had consultation,” said Rights Action Group executive Burton Sankeralli.

Regarding the piecemeal approach to approvals, Sankeralli says that the EMA would give licensees a certificate to clear, and a separate certificate to build, so they can clear without disclosing they will put there. This approach scattered the permitting process. “It would be like you were getting one certificate for the first project you were planning, another certificate for the port, another certificate for the power plant so it was like a jigsaw puzzle,” he said. “There was no overall assessment on cumulative impacts and all that, it was a mess.”

How the EMA holds such hearings would fit RBC fairly well.

“The environmental impact assessment [EIA] is done by a company hired by the corporation or the government agency who want the land cleared or who is putting up the structure. So they do the EIA and they anticipate the ending. And then they do the consultation. With this whole farce of consultations when the decision has been made and no clear things on all these consultations has been done,” said Sankeralli.

According to Attilah Springer, journalist at Gayelle TV in Trinidad,

“There was one extra consultation that happened which the head of the EMA attended. This meeting went on for about four hours and at some point somebody came up and said ‘Can you tell me what I said at 3:05pm?’, then it was discovered that nobody was taking notes. So there was this long meeting going on that was not being properly documented or recorded. At that point people had no more faith in the consultation process and realized that it was completely flawed.”

This breakdown led to more determined resistance to the Smelter outside of the consultation process.

“After the consultation began a new phase, outside the process that started with a replanting of areas cleared for the proposed smelter, in a buffer zone on the edge of the proposed site,” explained Springer. Also important in the resistance was community level cultural activities and gatherings.

“Culture played a huge role in everything that we did and we used a lot of things in our cultural landscape to drive the point home.”

When permits were granted resistance did not stop, but increased. Springer explains in this quote:

“It was soon after that it was announced that the CEC had been granted and that’s when the shit really hit the fan and things went into high gear and there were protests and general wildness that I don’t think it’s appropriate to talk about considering some of the parties involved are still alive.

People would go on the site, you know, and liberate things… a lot of the stuff that happened we didn’t share information on.”

“What started happening was that the government of the day started to accuse some of the more prominent environmental activists of being outsiders, when the case was that these communities had asked for help. Here you had two communities that absolutely and unequivocally said to Hell with Y’all and Hell no.

Nobody was ever convinced that the EMA was concerned with protecting the interests of communities.”

The EMA is now getting ready to help the RBC use their recently applauded “policy” developed around tar sands for effected communities in Trinidad. Despite the retreat of RAN, and the greenwashing of tar sands projects in Canada, perhaps the first victory against tar sands developments will take place in the Caribbean– which would not only protect dwindling water supplies and the forests themselves near La Brea, it may indeed help Canada reverse course on the tar sands gigaproject right from the global ground zero of Alberta, where a global fate tied to locking into the worst fossil fuel developments around the planet has begun to export.

Macdonald Stainsby is a freelance journalist, social justice activist and the coordinator of http://oilsandstruth.org. He can be reached at mstainsby@resist.ca

1 http://understory.ran.org/2010/12/22/rbc-takes-a-step-away-from-tar-sands/ (note comment below article, also written by Brant Olson)

http://www.mediacoop.ca/story/tar-sands-development-edging-closer-trinidad-and-tobago/7003

Saving Trees and Capitalism Too

By Michael Barker

“Describing a group funded by the world’s leading capitalist elites as grassroots demonstrates how desperately well-meaning environmentalists cling to the illusion that by working with capitalists (not the grassroots) they will be able to counter the destruction wrought on the planet by capitalists (evidently for the benefit of the grassroots).”

Capitalism requires trees, but trees do not need capitalism. Following this logic, one can opt to save trees by promoting a thoughtful capitalism that protects limited parts of the natural environment to ensure sustained economic growth, or one can promote an alternative to capitalism adopting an ideology not premised on endless economic growth. The former approach conserves capitalism (and some trees), while the latter envisages the creation of an alternative political system that counters the present environmental catastrophe posed by capitalism. Applying the same idea to a related matter; capitalism requires workers, but workers do not need capitalism. Consequently, during the Progressive Era longsighted robber barons recognized that the most effective way to save workers for capitalism would be to encourage the growth of work-place rights via their support of corporate-backed unions and the like. Capitalists still of course waged direct attacks on organized labor (most especially anti-capitalist radicals), [1] much in the same way that capitalists ostensibly concerned with saving trees simultaneously destroy many more trees than they protect. Sadly the historical lessons that should have been learned from the Progressive Era have not penetrated popular consciousness, and so many overworked citizens who are concerned with the destruction of the environment have ended up supporting proponents of neoliberal environmentalism. Capitalism is yet again undergoing a miraculous rebranding, and the robber barons of old are now the saviours of the planet, now being widely touted as the Eco Barons. [2] By reviewing the activities of leading tree protectors, the Rainforest Action Network, this essay will demonstrate how the activism promoted by eco barons though such groups ultimately works to conserve capitalism and create the powerful illusion of progressive social change.

Formed in 1986, the Rainforest Action Network (RAN) was the brainchild of environmental activists Randall (Randy) Hayes and Mike Roselle who created it to “protect rainforests and the human rights of those living in and around those forests.” Of the group’s two founders, Roselle was the more experienced environmentalist having previously cofounded Earth First! in 1979; Hayes on the other hand was a relative latecomer to environmentalism, bursting onto the scene to establishment acclaim in 1983 when as a student of environmental planning he co-produced the award-winning documentary The Four Corners. [3] Informed by the consumer activism of the 1970s, and emulating the muckraking journalism of the Progressive Era, from their outset RAN adopted a reformist position by choosing to focus public attention on individual corporate malfeasance. In a recent interview when asked to explain RAN’s interest in targeting corporations not governments, Roselle noted how:

The government has not been willing to do anything. They are so big and bureaucratic and so political that they are often hard or impossible to move. Corporations on the other hand have customer bases, they have advertising they invest a lot in burnishing their brand. So what we try to do is take the luster off of it, affect their bottom line, and then we can get them to the bargaining table. [4]

Roselle has long been a vocal critic of corporate environmentalism, most especially the activists of the “Big Green” groups, so it is perhaps a sign of the times that an ostensibly radical group like RAN should now be working in partnership with the very groups they once critiqued so vehemently. For instance, one of RAN’s first actions “highlight[ed] the destructive lending practices of the World Bank, International Monetary Fund, and global ‘free trade’ agreements.” This is significant because Hayes now serves on the board of directors of a free-market group called Forest Trends, whose staff includes many World Bank representatives (including not least their current president and CEO). Another curious example of RAN’s “success story” (taken from their Web site) occurred in 1998, as they point out how years of campaigning resulted in “Mitsubishi Motor Sales America and Mitsubishi Electric America pledging to end use of old-growth forest products and phase out use of tree-based paper and packaging products in favor of alternative fibers.” [5] One might assume that Mitsubishi has now improved their environmental credentials, especially given their representation on the board of directors of Forest Trends, but unfortunately only two American Mitsubishi subsidiaries were forced into making environmental concessions. As Boris Holzer observes…

the American subsidiaries are probably two companies with only minor involvement in timber activities. Their positive approach is basically in line with their long-standing efforts to improve their environmental records. Thus, the agreement did not necessarily hit the most destructive parts of the Mitsubishi Group. [6]

This example provides an elegant illustration of the problems associated with single issue, media-driven campaigns that target individual “bad” corporations. [7] Indeed while similar RAN campaigns have regularly come under criticism from conservative think tanks, among less rabidly free-market friendly liberal elites such activism is popular precisely because it does not pose a serious threat to capitalism. In this respect RAN is akin to many of the big green corporate environmentalists that it rhetorically sets itself apart from. One need only delve into their latest annual report to see their major donors include the Roddick Foundation and the Sandler Family Supporting Foundation, and minor funders like the Tides Foundation, with 74 per cent of their $4.4 million annual budget derived from such grants, and only 18 per cent supplied via public support and membership. [8]

Other notable major funders of RAN – that is philanthropic bodies that have given them more than $100,000 in any given year – include the Ford Foundation, the Rockefeller Brothers Fund, the Wallace Global Fund, and the Rudolf Steiner Foundation. Money talks, as RAN activists well understand; although RAN activists are perhaps not quite as conversant with the cooptive influence of liberal philanthropy as that of conservative foundations. As Joan Roelofs observes “almost all civil rights, social justice, and environmental organizations” are dependent on “corporate and foundation funding.” While the various recipients of corporate monies may not feel pressured to conform to elite priorities, all the same “funders are anxious to help radical protesters and oppressed minorities while transforming their goals and removing any threat to corporate wealth and power.” On this point Roelofs notes that when former Ford Foundation president, McGeorge Bundy (1966-79), was testifying before Congress in 1969, he was asked why Ford supported radicals, he replied:

There is a very important proposition here that for institutions and organizations which are young and which are not fully shaped as to their direction it can make a great deal of difference as to the degree and way in which they develop if when they have a responsible and constructive proposal they can find support for it. If they cannot find such support, those within the organization who may be tempted to move in paths of disruption, discord and even violence, may be confirmed in their view that American society doesn’t care about their needs. On the other hand, if they do have a good project constructively put forward, and they run it responsibly and they get help for it and it works, then those who feel that that kind of activity makes sense may be encouraged. [9]

To be fair, many environmental activists are not aware of, or choose to ignore, the deradicalizing influence of liberal philanthropy, and a good example is provided by popular environmental writer George Monbiot. [10] Thus it is ironic that many of the groups that RAN has pressured into adopting socially responsible practices are intimately connected to such liberal philanthropists. So in 2004 RAN “declare[d] victory after a four-year campaign” when Citigroup announced “its ‘New Environmental Initiatives’, the most far-reaching set of environmental commitments of any bank in the world.” This activist victory is particularly intriguing as in the same year Citigroup recruited the president of the Rockefeller Foundation, Judith Rodin, to their board of directors. Likewise Alain Belda, who has served as a board member of Citigroup since 1997 and had acted as a trustee of the Ford Foundation board member from 1997 until 2009; while longstanding Citibank board member Franklin Thomas was the president of the Ford Foundation from 1979 until 1996. More recently, in 2009, Thomas retired from Citibank’s board of directors, and their new board chair was none other than Richard Parsons, an individual who presently serves as an advisory trustee of the Rockefeller Brothers Fund.

Similarly, in 2005 RAN took credit for JPMorgan Chase releasing a “comprehensive environmental policy that takes significant steps forward on climate change, forest protection, and Indigenous rights.” Yet from 1969 until 1980 David Rockefeller – liberal philanthropist extraordinaire – had served as the CEO of Chase Manhattan Bank, a bank that was merged with J.P. Morgan & Co. in 2000 to form JPMorgan Chase. These examples are not meant to imply that most RAN activists were not sincerely engaged in vigorous efforts to encourage financial giants like JPMorgan Chase and Citibank to support green capitalist ideologies, but the fact of the matter is that some of the liberal elites managing these corporations were the same people who have expressed a longstanding commitment to coopting the environmental movement to serve capitalist interests. Viewed in this light it should come as no surprise that in 2005 RAN boasted that by “[w]orking closely” with Goldman Sachs it became “the first global investment bank to adopt a comprehensive environmental policy”.

Goldman Sachs’ commitment to capitalist conservation was clearly not entirely due to RAN activism, as the former chairman and CEO of Goldman Sachs (1999-2006), and subsequent Secretary of the US Department of the Treasury, Henry Paulson, served as the chair of the Nature Conservancy’s board of directors from 2004 until 2006 (a noted member of the “Big Green”). [11] In addition, Paulson had served as the chair of the Peregrine Fund, an environmental group he had been connected to since 1990. The close working relationship between Goldman Sachs and the Nature Conservancy continues to this day, and since 2008 former Goldman Sachs managing director, Mark Tercek, has served as the president of the Nature Conservancy. Likewise, Tercek’s commitment to free-market environmentalism means that he presently sits on the steering group of the Prince of Wales Rainforest Project, on the board of directors of Resources for the Future, and serves on the Wildlife Conservation Society’s Chilean advisory council. [12] Tercek’s latter service, with regard to Chile, is particularly noteworthy as prior to heading up the Nature Conservancy he had headed the Goldman Sachs Center for Environmental Markets and its Environmental Strategy Group. This is significant because in late 2004 Goldman Sachs donated a sizable chunk of Chile to the Wildlife Conservation Society – using land which it had obtained by purchasing defaulted bonds from US forestry company Trillium Corporation. On these Chilean conservation efforts Tercek would have worked closely with the current chair of Resources for the Future, Lawrence Linden, who while based at Goldman Sachs worked in collaboration with the Wildlife Conservation Society to create a massive 735,500 acre nature preserve on the island of Tierra del Fuego, Chile.

Here it is appropriate to introduce American multimillionaire Douglas Tompkins, as this key bankroller of environmental activism (and the “dean” of the new eco barons) has similarly bought hundreds of thousands of acres of forest land in southern Chile though his Conservation Land Trust to create a reserve called Parque Pumalin. Over the years Tompkins’ Foundation for Deep Ecology (which was formed in 1989) has been an important funder of forest activism including, to name just a few, the work of RAN, Earth First!, and Amazon Watch. Indeed, in 2008 at RAN’s 14th annual World Rainforest Awards Ceremony, Tompkins and his wife Kristine were honoured as environmental heroes. Consequently it is of more than passing interesting that an influential critic of deep ecology, the late Murray Bookchin, was of the opinion that with regards to deep ecology, “no other ‘radical’ ecology philosophy could be more congenial to the ruling elites of our time.” [13] To take just one example, the interest of leading “humanitarian” capitalists in deep ecology was illustrated when Tom Brokaw penned the foreword for Tom Butler’s book Wild Earth: Wild Ideas for a World out of Balance (Milkweed Editions, 2002). [14]

Wild Earth author, Tom Butler, presently serves as the editorial projects director for the Foundation for Deep Ecology, but had formerly been the editor of Wild Earth magazine (1997-2005). Launched in 1990 Wild Earth magazine was set up by Earth First! founder Dave Foreman, former Earth First! journal editor John Davis (1986-89), Reed Noss, David Johns, and Mary Byrd Davis. [15] John Davis served as the founding editor of Wild Earth until he passed the reigns to his life-long friend Tom Butler (in 1997), so John could serve as the biodiversity and wildness program officer for the Foundation for Deep Ecology. Not surprisingly John has served on the board of directors of Tompkins’ Conservation Land Trust; a group who’s most notable current board member is Peter Buckley, who is the chair of the David Brower Center – a center whose other board members includes RAN cofounder, Randall Hayes. While for many progressive activists the environmental career of the late David Brower (1912-2000) is beyond criticism, it is worrisome that like his deep ecologist counterparts he apparently became fixated on Malthusian analyses that blame procreation, not capitalism, for environmental devastation. I say this because Brower was a former member of the advisory board for a controversial group called Californians for Population Stabilization. [16] The current president of Californians for Population Stabilization, Diana Hull, serves on the advisory board of two more openly racist groups, NumbersUSA and Federation for American Immigration Reform. [17]

Deep ecology is of course an important ideology that has helped popularize concern with human population growth, so it should come as no surprise that RAN’s advisory board has been host to a host of leading environmental Malthusians. Two particularly noted individuals are Norman Myers, who is a patron of Optimum Population Trust, and former Sierra Club treasurer (1999-2000) Anne Ehrlich, who is married to Optimum Population Trust patron Paul Ehrlich, the author of the book The Population Bomb (Sierra Club, 1968).

Such Malthusian (mis)reasoning has long been popular within the environmental movement and is exemplified by a recent statement by Paul Watson, the founder and president of the Tomkins backed Sea Shepherd Conservation Society. (Tompkins is an avid supporter of the Sea Shepherd work having recently spent Christmas and New Year on the Antarctic high seas, as their vessels acting quartermaster.) Returning to Watson’s comment: writing in 2005, in response to the famous essay ‘The Death of Environmentalism’, Watson wrote that while global warming “will certainly be a major contributor to this mass global extinction [facing the Earth] … it is a problem caused by the first major threat and that is escalating human population growth.” [18] While certainly problematic, this capitalist-friendly argument sounds eerily reminiscent of the populationist views of the Sea Shepherd’s land-based counterpart, Earth First!; opinions that Watson and Foreman no doubt internalized during their “environmental” forays with the Sierra Club during the 1970s. Like their radical environmental “offspring” the Sierra Club to this day remains embroiled in immigration controversies stemming from their long-term commitment to Malthus. Watson himself played an important role in this propagating such Malthusianism as he served a board member of the Sierra Club from 2003 until 2006, and was the endorsed candidate of anti-immigration body, Sierrans United for US Population Stability. [19]

As one might expect the Shepherd Conservation Society and RAN share more in common than the eco baron and social engineer Douglas Tompkins, as Watson and Randall Hayes both sit on the advisory board of a philanthropic body known as the Fund for Wild Nature. This Fund’s president, Marnie Gaede, is a former director of the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society, while other notable Fund for Wild Nature board members include Mary Anne Hitt (who is the deputy director of the Sierra Club’s national ‘Move Beyond Coal’ campaign), and former Fund president Dave Parks (who has been involved in political campaigns with both Earth First! and RAN). Other interesting Fund for Wild Nature advisors include Louise Leakey, who additionally serves as a Sea Shepherd advisor, and Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger’s (Republican-California) environmental appointee, Terry Tamminen. [20] Incidentally, Tamminen served for five years as executive director of the Environment Now, a group whose four key staff members include two former Foundation for Deep Ecology employees, Caryn Mandelbaum and Fund for Wild Nature board member Douglas Bevington. The latter individual’s backgrounds emphasize the cognitive dissonance that resonates within many of the staffers of the organizations that have been discussed in this article as Bevington recently completed a PhD in sociology for a dissertation titled ‘The Rebirth of Environmentalism: Grassroots Activism and the New Conservation Movement, 1989-2004? (University of California, Santa Cruz, 2007). Thus although Bevington cites the current literature that demonstrates how liberal philanthropists regularly co-opt social change agents via funding, he writes in his study that the grassroots organizations he examined “relied primarily on grants from philanthropic foundations.” [21] (Bevington’s thesis was published in September as The Rebirth of Environmentalism: Grassroots Activism from the Spotted Owl to the Polar Bear (Island Press, 2009).)

One of the primary groups examined in Bevington’s study was the Center for Biological Diversity (formed in 1989), [22] and which in 2008 received support from elite philanthropic bodies that included the Foundation for Deep Ecology, the Environment Now Foundation, Tides Foundation, ExxonMobil Foundation, The New York Times Company Foundation, and even the “big green” environmental outfit, The Wilderness Society. Corporate funders of the “grassroots” Center for Biological Diversity included the likes of Goldman Sachs, the Bank of America, and Microsoft. [23] The fact that Bevington describes a group funded by the world’s leading capitalist elites as grassroots demonstrates how desperately well-meaning environmentalists cling to the illusion that by working with capitalists (not the grassroots) they will be able to counter the destruction wrought on the planet by capitalists (evidently for the benefit of the grassroots). [24] Needless to say it is hardly surprising that the Center for Biological Diversity was pleased by the fact that Edward Humes’ “devot[ed] a fourth of his book” Eco Barons to their history and achievements. [25]

Considering the depths of elite intrusion into the heart of US-based activism it is critical to ask: how has this situation been ignored by so many critical and progressive intellectuals and researchers for so long? The answer cannot simply be that progressive historians are too busy to undertake research into the influence of liberal philanthropy on the processes of social change, as no historian in their right mind could accidentally forget to examine so big a topic. There is no doubt that critical researchers have been correct to focus on the influence of for-profit corporations on society, producing research which is necessary to undergird any successful attempts to hold corporations accountable to the public. However, although writers have noted the powerful influence wielded by conservative not-for-profit corporations (like the John M. Olin Foundation), they have totally neglected the equally important liberal side of the philanthropic equation. Thus, leaving aside conservative commentators, who have provided what seems like an endless volume of criticisms of liberal philanthropy, critiques of liberal philanthropy from the political Left are almost invisible. For instance, there have been no critical investigations of the background of one of the Left’s most important coordinating and funding bodies, the RAN connected International Forum on Globalization.

The International Forum on Globalization is a particularly important group to study within the confines of this article as it was formerly headed by RAN cofounder Randall Hayes, who now presently serves as their senior strategist. Furthermore, the International Forum on Globalization has been heavily supported by Douglas Tompkins’ eco-philanthropy, and former Foundation for Deep Ecology staffer, Victor Menotti, presently serves as their executive director. Formed in 1994, the Forum’s Web site notes that it was set up because of a “shared concern that the world’s corporate and political leadership was rapidly restructuring global politics and economics on a level that was as historically significant as any period since the Industrial Revolution.” The key person involved in establishing this critical Forum was Jerry Mander, a former president of a major San Francisco advertising company and ‘Grateful Dead’ promoter who decided to turn his talents at manipulating symbols and images to protecting the environment in the late 1960s (initially working with David Brower while he was based at the Sierra Club). In addition to Mander’s work at the International Forum on Globalization, he also found the time to briefly serve as a program director for the Foundation for Deep Ecology. Perhaps Mander’s most influential book, vis-à-vis the alter-globalization movement was his co authorship with Edward Goldsmith of the edited volume, The Case Against the Global Economy and For a Turn Toward the Local (Sierra Club Books, 1996) – some of the many contributors to this book included Maude Barlow, Richard Barnet, Wendell Berry, John Cavanagh, William Grieder, David Korten, Ralph Nader, Helena Norberg-Hodge, Jeremy Rifkin, Kirkpatrick Sale, and Vandana Shiva.

The year following Mander and Goldsmith’s edited collection, Sierra Club Books published another powerful and widely read book, Joshua Karliner’s The Corporate Planet: Ecology and Politics in the Age of Globalization (Sierra Club Books, 1997), which contains radical criticisms of liberal elites like Maurice Strong, whom Karliner writes insists that business, not environmentalists, must act to “redefine environmentalism in its own way if the world is to resolve the immense problems it faces.” However, while Karliner is opposed to “top-down, technocratic, managerial solu¬tion[s]” he is not opposed to top-down funding of activist organizations. [26] Indeed, Karliner’s work on this book catalysed the formation (in 1996) of CorpWatch – a group that he headed from 1996 until 2002 – that has, with the strong support of elite funders, steadfastly refused to submit not-for-profit corporations to the same critical scrutiny that they apply to their for-profit counterparts. [27] Thus it is hardly surprising that two CorpWatch advisory board members, Andre Carothers and Allan Hunt-Badiner, both sit on RAN’s board of directors (the former as RAN’s board chair).

Carothers is also a board member of International Rivers, a group whose Latin America campaigns are directed by Glenn Switkes, the former coordinator of RAN’s Western Amazon oil campaign. International Rivers board is chaired by Martha Belcher (who directed the recent creation of the David Brower Center), but their most intriguing board member is David Pellow, co-editor with Robert Brulle of the book Power, Justice, the Environment: A Critical Appraisal of the Environmental Justice Movement (MIT Press, 2005). This is because Pellow and Brulle’s book contains powerful warnings about the cooption of radical environmental groups: for example, within the book Robert Benford writes:

On the one hand, the problems diagnosed and attributions proffered by the environmental justice movement represent a radical critique of entire social systems at the local, regional, national, and global levels. On the other hand, by framing solutions primarily in terms of “justice” the [Environmental Justice Movement] places its faith in the efficacy of using extant legislative and judicial systems to remedy problems – an ironic commitment to, and reaffirmation of, the systemic status quo. Audre Lorde, a famous black feminist, eloquently outlined the pitfalls of seeking to transform such a corrupt system from within: “For the master’s tools will never dismantle the master’s house. They may allow us temporarily to beat him at his own game, but they will never enable us to bring about genuine change.” [28]

International Rivers’ even includes Drummond Pike, the treasurer of one of the master’s leading democracy-manipulating tools known as the Democracy Alliance, on their US advisory board. Finally, it is interesting that former International Rivers executive director, Juliette Majot, presently serves with Josh Karliner on the steering committee of Environmentalists against War, alongside others like International Forum on Globalization staffer, Claire Greensfelder, and the RAN’s executive director Michael Brune.

Somewhere along the line progressive activists seem to have forgotten that to undertake radical analyses one needs to dig to the root of the sinews of power that comprise the capitalist system. Thus the limited reformist agenda of supposedly radical activists like those based at RAN and International Rivers has been adequately vocalized by RAN’s executive director Michael Brune, who observed in 2007:

I sometimes like to think of RAN as “hopeful skeptics”; we believe that corporations and governments can transform themselves, and can actually play an important role in slowing down climate change and protecting forests and the rights of their inhabitants. At the same time, we won’t be fooled by double-speak and false promises of future action. This attitude is the motivation behind much of our work. [29]

The sad irony is that many activists, like Brune, are already being fooled by the double-speak and false promises of not-for-profit corporations. So while Kenny Bruno – who co-authored two books with Joshua Karliner (in 1999 and 2002) – is well-known in progressive circles for producing the seminal critique of corporate greenwashing, the tables have turned and he is now acting as corporate greenwasher in his capacity as the campaign director for Corporate Ethics International. [30] The executive director of this greenwashing initiative is none other than former RAN board member Michael Marx (see footnote #6), an elite conservationist who was recently critiqued in Macdonald Stainsby and Dru Oja Jay’s excellent self-published report, “Offsetting Resistance: The Effects of Foundation Funding and Corporate Fronts,” (July 2009). [31] Marx’s organization Corporate Ethics International, ties many of the groups examined so far together through its project known as the Business Ethics Network, which includes Amazon Watch, CorpWatch, and RAN.

Such connections should hardly be unexpected when one casts a quick eye over RAN’s board of directors, which includes Anna Hawken McKay (who is the wife of Rob McKay, the founder of eco baron hangout, the Democracy Alliance), and James Gollin (cofounder of the Social Venture Network, a group which is “committed to building a just and sustainable world through business”). Yet the most interesting RAN board member is Martha DiSario, who is the secretary of ActiveMusic, an activism marketing group with “ties to the music community [that] saw music as a means to draw people to the causes they were working with.” ActiveMusic’s cofounder, Richard Wegman, manages Global Green USA’s finances and administration, and in addition to this stellar connection to the eco barons, ActiveMusic’s vice chair, Brian Wesley Ames, is a division chief in the African department of the International Monetary Fund (yes that’s right the IMF!), while one of ActiveMusic’s advisory board members is none other than RAN cofounder, Randall Hayes. [32]

RAN’s connection to ActiveMusic is most appropriate given that RAN considers image manipulation to be a vital part of its activism, so their honorary board of directors draws upon the celebratory prestige of five well-known entertainers: former singer with the Grateful Dead, Bob Weir, American blues singer-songwriter Bonnie Raitt, former drummer for The Doors, John Densmore, actress and Yoga-guru Ali McGraw, and actor Woody Harrelson, who recently starred in the film Battle in Seattle (2007). Harrelson’s link to the latter film is important, as David Solnit, one of the organizers with the Direct Action Network that was involved with preparing for the real Battle of Seattle, observed that the film was hardly supportive of activism: and he wrote the “movie implies that the activists ‘won’ because police were caught by surprise, were too lenient, and waited too long to use violence and chemical weapons, and to make arrests.” [33]

Here it is important to recall that the Ruckus Society (which was cofounded by RAN’s Mike Roselle) “provided the first physical forum for the Direct Action Network which coordinated the [Battle of Seattle] demonstrations, and itself trained many of the participants.” [34] Moreover as John Sellers, the former Greenpeace activist and former head of the Ruckus Society points out: “When we first started, it was almost entirely folks from Greenpeace or Rainforest Action Network, with a few EarthFirsters.” (Greenpeace having disbanded its direct-action office in 1991.) According to Sellers, after Ruckus was founded in 1995, the former CNN boss cum eco baron, Ted Turner, “carried Ruckus on his back” for their first few years. Thus Sellers who is well-known for saying: “F–k that s–t! You’re corporate sellouts!” to journalists “just to gauge their reaction,” evidently does not see how ironic his litmus test of corporate cooption really is. Likewise greenwash guru, Kenny Bruno, who currently acts as the media and strategic campaigning trainer for the Ruckus Society, appears to see no contradiction in working for an organization whose former long serving trustee is corporate greenwasher extraordinaire, the late Anita Roddick.

In summary, the Rainforest Action Network and its related cohorts have been highly profitable investments for the world’s leading capitalists. Not only has their small financial commitment to the environment promoted the conservation of capitalism, it has also protected some trees, but only those it does not need. Perhaps more valuably though, this “radical” investment has helped sustain the illusion that capitalism can be green and good for the environment – a win-win-win scenario for capitalism, but not for us. Quite expectedly such good fortune has not been visited upon the environment, and capitalism has barely missed a beat in its profitable consumption of planet earth. That said we should be thankful that capitalism has so far only been able to conserve its ideological domination in the short-term, and with a little genuine grassroots funding alongside popular activism the tables can be turned all too easily. In this manner, it will be possible to expose the delusions that undergird capitalist conservation efforts so we can strive to render capitalists extinct. Such work will enable concerned citizens to protect the planet and the real living organizations that inhabit it, not the ideologies that are destroying it.

 

Michael Barker is an independent researcher who currently resides in Australia. His other articles can be accessed at michaeljamesbarker.wordpress.com.

 

Endnotes

1. Graham Adams, Jr., The Age of Industrial Violence, 1910-1915 (Columbia University Press, 1966); James Weinstein, The Corporate Ideal in the Liberal State, 1900-1918 (Beacon Press, 1968).

2. Edward Humes, Eco Barons: The Dreamers, Schemers, and Millionaires Who Are Saving Our Planet (HarperCollins, 2009).

3. The Four Corners (1983) was directed by Christopher McLeod, and produced by Christopher McLeod, Glenn Switkes and Randy Hayes.

4. Interview, ‘Radical Environmentalism with Mike Roselle and Josh Mahan’, GritTV (2009), see 4.01 min. http://vodpod.com/watch/2270716-radical-environmentalism-with-mike-roselle-and-josh-mahan Mike Roselle was being interviewed about his new book Tree Spiker: From Earth First! to Lowbagging: My Struggles in Radical Environmental Action (St Martin’s Press, 2009).

5. Rainforest Action Network, ‘Twenty Banner Years: Annual Report 2004-2005?, 5-6.
http://ran.org/fileadmin/materials/comms/mediacontent/annual_reports/RAN_AnnualReport2005.pdf
For a detailed critique of Forest Trends, see Michael Barker, ‘When Environmentalists Legitimize Plunder’, Swans Commentary, January 26, 2009.
http://www.swans.com/library/art15/barker12.html

6. Boris Holzer, ‘Transnational Protest and the Corporate Planet: The Case of Mitsubishi Corporation vs. The Rainforest Action Network’, In Leslie King and Deborah McCarthy, eds., Environmental Sociology: From Analysis to Action (The Scarecrow Press, 2005), 362; The International Boycott Mitsubishi Campaign was designed and then directed by Michael Marx.

7. Michael Barker, ‘Conform or Reform? Social Movements and the Mass Media’, Fifth-Estate-Online – International Journal of Radical Mass Media Criticism, February 2007.
http://www.fifth-estate-online.co.uk/criticsm/conformorreformsocialmovements.html

8. Rainforest Action Network, ’2008 Annual Report’; Recent annual reports also demonstrate that RAN’s total funding has been steadily increasing since at least 2004 when their total income was $1 million. The executive director of the Tides Foundation, Idelisse Malave, is a former RAN board member.

9. Joan Roelofs, ‘Networks and Democracy: It Ain’t Necessarily So’, American Behavioral Scientist, 52 (March 2009), 997.

10. Michael Barker, ‘George Monbiot and the Population Myth’, Swans Commentary, November 2, 2009.
http://www.swans.com/library/art15/barker34.html

11. Henry Paulson’s son, Merritt Paulson, is a trustee of the Wildlife Conservation Society. Exhibiting a similar commitment to free-market environmentalism, David Blood, the former CEO of Goldman Sachs Asset Management (1999-2003), serves on the four-person strong board of New Forests, a “forestry investment management and advisory firm currently managing $200 million in assets throughout Australia, New Zealand, the U.S. and the Asia Pacific region.” Chairman and founder of New Forests, David Brand, sits alongside Randall Hayes on the board of the aforementioned Forest Trends, and serves on the board of directors of Environment Business Australia – a “business think tank” that is chaired by the former president of WWF Australia (1999-2006).

12. For criticisms of all these influential free-market environmental outfits see:
http://michaeljamesbarker.wordpress.com/environment/

13. Dave Foreman and Murray Bookchin, Defending the Earth (South End Press, 1991), 129; For a summary of the differences between Foreman and Bookchin, see Michael Barker, ‘When Environmentalists Legitimize Plunder’, Swans Commentary, January 26, 2009.
http://www.swans.com/library/art15/barker12.html

14. Tom Brokaw is a board member of two groups that promote what has been referred to by critics as humanitarian imperialism; these are the International Crisis Group and International Rescue Committee. See Michael Barker, ‘Imperial Crusaders for Global Governance’, Swans Commentary, April 20, 2009.
http://www.swans.com/library/art15/barker18.html

15. Reed Noss is the consulting editor of the Society for Conservation Biology’s journal Conservation Biology, and it is significant to observe how after attending the 2007 annual meeting of the Society for Conservation Biology, Bram Buscher explained within the pages of the Society’s journal that “Conservation biology is actively reinventing itself to fit the neoliberal world order.” Bram Buscher, ‘Conservation, Neoliberalism, and Social Science: a Critical Reflection on the SCB 2007 Annual Meeting in South Africa’, Conservation Biology, 22 (2), 229; Writing for Save the Redwoods League, Reed Noss published The Redwood Forest: History, Ecology, and Conservation of the Coast Redwoods (Island Press, 2000); For criticisms of Save the Redwoods League, see Michael Barker, ‘Laurance Rockefeller and Capitalist Conservation’, Swans Commentary, October 19, 2009.
http://www.swans.com/library/art15/barker33.html

16. Other than David Brower the only two emeriti advisory board members of Californians for Population Stabilization are the late Garrett Hardin (1915-2003), and his co-author and wife Jane Hardin (1922-2003). Professor Eric Ross has undertaken a valuable task in tracing the evolution of Garrett Hardin’s work and suggests that when his work is considered in its entirety one can see how this book “embodies all the cardinal qualities of Cold War Malthusian thinking: it is anti-socialist, anti-democratic and eugenic.” Unfortunately, although the myth of the tragedy of the commons has now been discounted, it still remains popular, no doubt in part because of its compatibility with elitist concepts of environmental management. See Eric Ross, The Malthus Factor: Population, Poverty, and Politics in Capitalist Development (Zed Books, 1999), 73-78.

17. Alfredo Martin Bravo de Rueda Espejo, ‘The charming racism of NumbersUSA’, Daily Kos, June 6, 2009.
http://www.dailykos.com/story/2009/6/7/739587/-The-charming-racism-of-NumbersUSA

For a similarly exhaustive critique of the Federation for American Immigration Reform, see their Right Web profile:
http://www.rightweb.irc-online.org/profile/Federation_for_American_Immigration_Reform

18. Paul Watson, ‘Report on the Death of Environmentalism is Merely Wishful Thinking’, Lowbagger News, February 2005.
http://lowbagger.org/watson.html

19. Nicolas Rangel, Jr., ‘The Greening of Hate?: Rhetoric in Sierra Club’s Internal Division on Immigration Neutrality’, American Communication Journal, 2008.
http://www.acjournal.org/holdings/vol10/04_Winter/articles/rangel.php

20. Louise Leakey is the daughter of Richard Leakey – a pioneer of “coercive conservation” – thus it is appropriate that Louise’s husband, Emmanuel de Merode, is the chief executive of Wildlife Direct, a group who founder and chair is Richard Leakey and includes among their board members Walter Kansteiner III, the former US assistant secretary of state for African affairs. For a discussion of the principles of coercive conservation, see Nancy Lee Peluso, ‘Coercing Conservation’, In Ken Conca and Geoffrey Dabelko, eds., Green Planet Blues: Environmental Politics from Stockhold to Kyoto, 2nd edn. (Westview Press, 1998), 350-1.

Terry Tamminen is a trustee of Waterkeeper Alliance, a environmental group who board of directors is chaired by Robert F. Kennedy, Jr., who is in turn the vice chair of a New York-based environmental organization simply known as Riverkeeper – a group that works closely with the Natural Resources Defense Council. Incidentally, Alex Matthiessen, the president of Riverkeeper and board member of Waterkeeper Alliance, formerly served as RAN’s grassroots program director. So in keeping with RAN’s own tight connections to liberal philanthropists, Riverkeeper’s board is awash with elite conservationists, like for example, Jeff Resnick (who is a managing director at Goldman Sachs), Renee Rockefeller (who is a trustee of the Rockefeller Family Fund), Hamilton Fish (who currently serves as president of The Nation Institute, the foundation associated with The Nation magazine), and their board chair George Hornig (who is the chief operating officer of Credit Suisse First Boston Private Equity). Finally, Harrison Ford serves as the Riverkeeper’s first airborne watchdog: for a detailed critique of Ford’s environmental resume, see Michael Barker, ‘Hollywood’s Corporate Conservation Collaborators’, Swans Commentary, February 23, 2009.
http://www.swans.com/library/art15/barker14.html

21. Douglas Bevington, ‘The Rebirth of Environmentalism: Grassroots Activism and the New Conservation Movement, 1989-2004?, (PhD Thesis, University of California, Santa Cruz, 2007), 15. His advisors for this thesis were Andrew Szasz (Chair), Barbara Epstein, and Richard Flacks; The most critical book that Bevington cites with regard to the negative impacts of foundation funding is INCITE! Women of Color Against Violence, eds., The Revolution Will Not Be Funded: Beyond the Non-Profit Industrial Complex (South End Press, 2007).

22. Center for Biological Diversity cofounder, Todd Schulke, presently serves as their forest policy analyst, and also serves as a board member of the New Mexico Wilderness Alliance – a group on whose board Dave Foreman had formerly served.

23. Center for Biological Diversity 2008 Annual Report.
http://www.biologicaldiversity.org/publications/reports/AnnualRpt2008.pdf

24. Another illustration of the manner by which concerned activists trust that elite funders will fund revolutionary social change is provided by the Center for Biological Diversity’s climate campaign coordinator, Rose Braz. This is because Braz helped found and was the campaign and media director for Critical Resistance, a group seeking to bring an end to the Prison Industrial Complex with funding derived from George Soros’ Open Society Institute. This relationship shows exactly how underfunded and desperate such radical activists are, especially given that Critical Resistance regularly work with INCITE! Women of Color Against Violence (see note #21). For a deeper and more critical analysis of the same issues, see Joan Roelofs, Foundations and Public Policy: The Mask of Pluralism (State University of New York Press, 2003).

25. Eco Barons
http://www.biologicaldiversity.org/eco_barons/index.html

26. Joshua Karliner, The Corporate Planet: Ecology and Politics in the Age of Globalization (Sierra Club Books, 1997), 32; Karliner seeks to obtain “democratic control over corporations and economies” by utilizing a small proportion of their overall profits for activist purposes, not by working to abolish capitalism.

27. An unaffiliated British organization with the similar name Corporate Watch, although predominantly focused on for-profit corporations, recently devoted a special issue of their newsletter to a critical investigation of not-for-profit corporations. See Corporate Watch, ‘The Art of Funding’, Issue 43, June 2009.
http://www.corporatewatch.org.uk/?lid=3397

28. Robert Benford, ‘Diffusion, and Stagnation’, in David Pellow and Robert Brulle, eds., Power, Justice, the Environment (MIT Press, 2005), 51; More specifically, with reference to funding issue, Robert Brulle and Jonathan Essoka note that if environmental…

“movement organizations are not authentic community representatives, this limits and compromises the independence of these movement organizations. The mobilization of citizens to create political demand for change can easily he replaced in professional organizations to targeted advocacy activities. Members become seen as something to be managed and as a source of funds solicited via mass mailings. Foundation funding also becomes an appealing source of funding. As the source of fund¬ing shifts, the social movement organization is increasingly controlled by external organizations with their own agendas. So instead of serving as all authentic voice of the community, a social movement organization can become subordinated and controlled by external organizations. This can limit the civic capacity and political power of the organization.” (216)

Robert Brulle later worked with J. Craig Jenkins to co-author the book chapter, ‘Foundations and the Environmental Movement: Priorities, Strategies, and Impact’, in Faber, D., and McCarthy, D., eds., Foundations For Social Change: Critical Perspectives on Philanthropy and Popular Movements (Rowman & Littlefield, 2005).

29. Rhett Butler, ‘Savvy Environmentalists Challenge Corporations to Go Green: An Interview with Michael Brune, Executive Director of RAN’, Mongabay.com, January 29, 2007.
http://news.mongabay.com/2007/0130-ran.html

30. Kenny Bruno and Joshua Karliner, EarthSummit.Biz: The Corporate Takeover of Sustainable Development (Food First Books, 2002); Kenny Bruno, Joshua Karliner and China Brotsky, Greenhouse Gangsters vs. Climate Justice (TRAC-Transnational Resource & Action Center, 1999); Kenny Bruno and Jed Greer, Greenwash: The Reality Behind Corporate Environmentalism (Third World Network, 1996).

31. Macdonald Stainsby and Dru Oja Jay, ‘Offsetting Resistance: The Effects of Foundation Funding and Corporate Fronts’, July 2009.
http://s3.amazonaws.com/offsettingresistance/offsettingresistance.pdf

32. For a detailed critique of Global Green USA and the World Future Council – a group at which Randall Hayes has directed their US Liaison Office (since July 2008) – see Michael Barker, ‘Who Wants A One World Government?’, Swans Commentary, April 6, 2009.
http://www.swans.com/library/art15/barker17.html

33. David Solnit, ‘The battle for reality’, Yes! Magazine, Fall 2008.
http://www.yesmagazine.org/issues/purple-america/the-battle-for-reality
For an alternative activist-produced record of the Seattle protests, see This is What Democracy Looks Like (2000) – a film narrated by ‘actorvist’ Susan Sarandon.

34. John Sellers, ‘Raising a Ruckus’, New Left Review, July-August 2001.
http://newleftreview.org/A2334

http://www.stateofnature.org/savingTrees.html

Rainforest Action Network Expands Misleading Greenwashing of Primary Forest Logging

EI PRESS/SOCIAL MEDIA RELEASE
Rainforest Action Network Expands Misleading Greenwashing of Primary Forest Logging

RAN’s recent “rainforest safe” book and luxury shopping bag campaigns show they value greenwashing primary forest logging and sustaining old growth timber markets more than ecological science showing without primary forest logging ban biosphere collapses. Ecological Internet renews demand that RAN stops promoting primary forest logging as a false solution to rainforest loss and diminishment, and resigns from Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) immediately.

June 12, 2010
Contact: Dr. Glen Barry, glenbarry

Despite escalating international protest, Rainforest Action Network (RAN) continues to promote Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) certification of first time industrial logging of primary forests. RAN’s new “Rainforest Safe Summer Reading List” [1] and “Gucci Shopping Bag” [2] campaigns falsely claim FSC certified paper products are free of rainforest destruction. In fact, most FSC products come from the first time industrial logging of primary forests or from toxic, industrial monoculture plantations which displace old forests. Virtually all of FSC’s tropical timbers and fibers come from such sources.

“The world’s rainforests, biodiversity, ecosystems, climate and biosphere are in a state of severe crisis and are collapsing; and the best Rainforest Action Network can do is continue lying regarding where FSC certified products come from, and shilling for primary forest books and shopping bags? As America’s largest rainforest protection group, RAN raises and expends more monies on behalf of rainforests than any organization, yet continues to insist FSC logging of primary forests ‘protects’ rainforests. This old forest logging appeasement will continue to be challenged by biocentric ecologists. Unless this NGO greenwash ends, and we join forces to end primary forest logging, the future of Earth and all life are at stake,” states Dr. Glen Barry, Ecological Internet President.

After years of protest against RAN’s support of FSC, and several broken promises to address the matter, RAN is still unable to answer the question of how logging 500 year old trees in millions of year old ecosystem – in this case for children’s books and high-end Gucci shopping bags – meaningfully protects rainforests. RAN’s “market campaigns” completely miss the point that over-consumption in general and paper in particular is the problem. Having co-founded, been long-time active members, and being one of the leading radical supporters of FSC; RAN and FSC are unable or unwilling to state publicly the exact percentage or even an approximation of FSC certified products which come from primary and old growth forest loss and severe ecological diminishment when selectively logged for the first time.

“With FSC having certified over 133 million hectares, Ecological Internet stands by our analysis – using the national certification figures, the only information FSC provides on the matter, and what is known about forestry practices in each country – to estimate 60% of FSC timber comes from first time industrial primary forest logging. This means that FSC and RAN’s past and planned certification is destroying for throw-away consumption an area two times the massive state of Texas,” says Dr. Barry.

“This is greenwash of an unmatched immensity, and all RAN (and Greenpeace [3]) supporters are responsible for this destruction of the last primary forests to make Gucci bags, books and toilet paper. Ecological Internet understands this campaign makes some conservationists feel uneasy, yet this is ecological skullduggery of unimagined magnitude. This behavior by any other segment of society would be held to account as well. All environmental groups – and their members and donors – supporting FSC primary forest logging must stop their policy of promoting logging of 500 year old trees for throw away consumer items.”

### MORE ###

Primary rainforests have tremendous species numbers, carbon stores and provide ecosystem services – water, nutrient and energy cycling – required for a habitable Earth. When primary rainforests are lost or diminished through first time industrial harvest – be it outright deforestation or ‘selective’ first time logging – local ecological and social conditions deteriorate, regional weather and species distributions change, and the global biosphere and its ability to maintain conditions for life are weakened. Recent ecological science makes clear old forests continue to sequester new carbon, and that selectively logging primary forests leads to more forest fires.

All global ecological indicators show Earth and humanity have surpassed the amount of primary, old growth and other intact terrestrial ecosystems that can be lost and still maintain a habitable planet. RAN’s lack of primary forest protection vision and minor market campaign tinkering would be laughable if it wasn’t greenwashing industrial primary forest logging of the ecosystems necessary for humanity’s shared survival. These books and shopping bags promoted by RAN are likely from clearcut FSC certified primary boreal forests, or from industrial tropical tree plantations displacing native forests and peoples.

### ENDS ###

Please join Ecological Internet’s campaign to get “Greenpeace and RAN Out of FSC Primary Forest Logging Now!” on Facebook at: http://www.facebook.com/oldforests and Ecological Internet at http://www.facebook.com/ecointernet

[1] RAN’s “Rainforest Safe Summer Reading List” – http://ran.org/content/rainforest-safe-summer-reading-list . Falsely states” “FSC certified or recycled paper [allows] parents the assurance of knowing that their childrens’ books are not contributing to the loss of Indonesia’s or other endangered rainforests.”

[2] “Gucci’s Luxury Packaging Gets a Green(er) Makeover” http://www.treehugger.com/files/2010/06/gucci-luxury-packaging-gets-a-greener-makeover.php

[3] “RELEASE: Greenpeace Partners with Industry Logging Canadian Boreal Forests”
http://forests.org/blog/2010/05/release-greenpeace-partners-wi.asp

DISCUSS THIS RELEASE: http://www.rainforestportal.org/blog/ and http://www.facebook.com/ecointernet

FB ALERT & RELEASE: Protest Greenpeace and Rainforest Action Network’s Censoring of Facebook Criticism of Their Support for Primary Forest Logging

ECOLOGICAL INTERNET PRESS/SOCIAL MEDIA RELEASE and FACEBOOK ALERT!

Protest Greenpeace and Rainforest Action Network’s Censoring of Facebook

Criticism of Their Support for Primary Forest Logging

Genuine and growing concern with their ongoing, publicly undefended support

for Forest Stewardship Council “certified” primary forest logging –

destroying an area two times the size of Texas – deleted, blocked and

reported to Facebook as terms of use violations.

March 22, 2010

From Earth’s Newsdesk, a project of Ecological Internet (EI)

http://www.facebook.com/ecointernet

Greenpeace US and International, as well as Rainforest Action Network, are

censoring comments of concern regarding their support for “sustainable

forest management” of old forests including primary rainforests on Facebook

and their blogs. Ecological Internet has been at the vanguard of working to

protect and restore primary and old growth forests globally by ending their

industrial logging and other developments. Unfortunately this has required

campaigning to confront Greenpeace[1] and Rainforest Action Network[2] – two

of the strongest supporters of continued primary forest logging.

“As Greenpeace condemns censorship by Nestle[3] of a YouTube video showing

their use of oil palm at the expense of orangutans, and RAN blasts Facebook

censorship of its use of tar sands financier RBC Bank’s logo, both groups

are systematically removing criticism of their support for first time

industrial primary forest logging from their facebook pages and blogs. To

who are these groups accountable,” asks Dr. Glen Barry? “For years these

groups have inconsistently promoted logging primary forests – and have

gotten away with ignoring genuine widespread concern that such old forests

are key to solving the biodiversity and climate change crises.”

Global ecological sustainability depends upon a consistent, ecologically

credible position on protecting old forests. Please visit and become

temporary ‘fans’ of the following Greenpeace (GP) and Rainforest Action

Network (RAN) facebook and blog sites, demanding the censorship end, that

they please resign from the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) immediately,

and commit to ending industrial old forest logging. Please be polite yet

pointed that further censoring, stonewalling and vilification is

unacceptable.

RAN Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/rainforestactionnetwork

RAN Blog: http://understory.ran.org/

Greenpeace US Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/greenpeaceusa

Greenpeace International Facebook:

http://www.facebook.com/greenpeace.international

Please fan and post copies with EI at: http://www.facebook.com/ecointernet

Action Alert: Let Rainforest Action Network Know Global Ecological Sustainability Depends Upon Ending Old Forest Logging

Rainforest Action Network is a key supporter of failed Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) efforts to “sustainably” log tens of millions of hectares of primary and old-growth forests for lawn furniture, toilet paper and other throw-away consumer items. As RAN celebrates its 25th anniversary, let them know old forests will never be fully protected as long as they and others unquestioningly support “certified” yet ecologically unsustainable first-time industrial primary rainforest logging. Demand RAN vigorously defend their support for first-time primary forest logging over an area two times as large as Texas, or resign from FSC immediately. Encourage RAN to spend the next 25 years working to protect and expand old forests to maintain a habitable Earth.

By Rainforest Portal, a project of Ecological Internet – March 13, 2010

//

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NOTE: This is a protest, not a petition, sending emails to many real decision makers on matters vital to the Earth.

RAN supports old forest logging
Caption: RAN’s 25th anniversary celebration and hiring of new executive director provides excellent opportunity to re-examine support for FSC and first time industrial logging of old forests two times the size of Texas. (link)

Old forests including tropical rainforests are the ultimate expression of life, evolution and ecology. The term “old forests” is used to describe primary unlogged forests, regenerating late successional natural old-growth, and planted mixed-species forests regaining old-growth characteristics. Here untold co-evolved species and genetic diversity exist and interact with each other and their environment to provide ecosystem services – water, nutrient and energy cycling – required for a habitable Earth. Forests logged industrially for the first time are permanently ecologically damaged in terms of composition, structure, function and dynamics. When primary forests are lost or diminished, it is inevitable that local ecological and social conditions deteriorate, regional weather and species distributions deviate, and the global biosphere and its ability to maintain conditions for life are weakened.

The forest protection movement, like many social justice movements before it, is at a crossroads. The slavery abolitionists had to choose between improving conditions for slaves or pursuing their freedom. American revolutionaries chose between greater autonomy under continued British colonialism or to fight for full freedom and liberty. Similarly, the forest movement has to decide whether we want to work to fully protect and restore old carbon and species rich forests as a keystone response to achieve global ecological sustainability, or continue to log – in only a slightly better manner – 500 year old trees in 60 million year old ecosystems for disposable consumer products. By definition, primary forests are destroyed.

Since 1993 best estimates are the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) has sanctioned the logging of sixty million hectares of primary and old-growth forests, and an equal amount is threatened in coming years. But no one really knows the full extent of the problem as FSC does not compile how many old forests it certifies for first time heavy industrial logging. This means FSC and the Rainforest Action Network (RAN) — an FSC founding member and ardent supporter — are responsible for the past and threatened loss of about 460,000 square miles of primary and other old forests – an area the size of South Africa, or nearly two times the size of Texas. FSC has not responded to numerous requests to gather more accurate figures, when directly questioned FSC board members say they do not know, and even RAN who is a member was not provided this information.

In light of current and emerging ecosystem, biodiversity and climate science; as well as evident abrupt climate change and the ongoing biodiversity extinction crises, it is clear that FSC certification for primary and old-growth logging – except under specific circumstances such as small scale community eco-forestry practiced by local peoples – is one of the primary threats to old forests. This is particularly true when many other certification schemes and business as usual industrial rainforest logging make competing claims of sustainability. Internationally, forest carbon efforts – such as Reduced Emissions from Deforestation and Degradation (REDD) – build upon the falsehood that logging primary forests, even establishing plantations where they once stood, is a desired outcome. In most countries it is impossible to suggest old forest logging end and development be based upon standing old forests, as the response is they are to be “sustainably” logged. It is becoming abundantly clear that ending industrial diminishment and working for the full protection and restoration of old forests are keystone responses to the climate change, biodiversity, ecosystem, water and poverty crises.

If RAN can target others for damaging the environment, then clearly their own involvement in such massive and unexplained logging of ancient forests is worthy of a campaign and deserves a reasoned response. Past protests have been shrugged off and twice RAN reneged on promises to get FSC to address the problem. RAN’s former executive director – who never thought it necessary to publicly defend their position – now heads the Sierra Club, another FSC supporter, and the controversy follows him there. Both organizations are already taking a strong and successful ecological position on coal, why not old forests? Sierra Club founder John Muir – who long defended a preservationist ethic against utilitarian conservationist approaches – is assuredly rolling in his grave. There is no chance old forest logging will ever end until otherwise ecologically attuned groups like RAN and the Sierra Club discontinue their FSC membership. Please demand these leading organizations vigorously defend their positions and resign from FSC immediately.

http://www.rainforestportal.org/shared/alerts/send.aspx?id=ran_ancient_forest_logging

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