Tag Archives | Natural Resources

For a Future that Won’t Destroy Life on Earth, Look to the Global Indigenous Uprising

Picture: Melina Laboucan Massimo (C)

Picture: Melina Laboucan Massimo (C)

Kristin Moe writes at YES! Magazine:

There’s a remote part of northern Alberta where the Lubicon Cree have lived, it is said, since time immemorial. The Cree called the vast, pine-covered region niyanan askiy, “our land.” When white settlers first carved up this country, they made treaties with most of its original inhabitants—but for reasons unclear, the Lubicon Cree were left out. Two hundred years later, the Lubicon’s right to their traditional territory is still unrecognized. In the last four decades, industry has tapped the vast resource wealth that lies deep beneath the pines; today, 2,600 oil and gas wells stretch to the horizon. This is tar sands country.

In 2012 testimony before the U.S. Congress, Lubicon Cree organizer Melina Laboucan-Massimo, then 30, described witnessing the devastation of her family’s ancestral land caused by one of the largest oil spills in Alberta’s history. “What I saw was a landscape forever changed by oil that had consumed a vast stretch of the traditional territory where my family had hunted, trapped, and picked berries and medicines for generations.”

“When we’re at home, we feel really isolated,” says Laboucan-Massimo, who has spent her adult life defending her people’s land from an industry that has rendered it increasingly polluted and impoverished.

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‘Spaceballs’ Is Now: Air, Water And The Monetization of Human Life

perri-airImagine going for a walk in the park with your family, your child runs up to the water fountain and presses the button for some a bit of refreshment.  Nothing comes out.  At first she’s confused, but sees the coin slot/card swipe that will sell you 15 second of flowing water for just 50 cents.  You as a loving dad, pull out your card and swipe it so she can have a drink.  Think this image is impossible?  Do you imagine this to be something only a mad man would think of, to deprive humans of the right to water?  Unfortunately there are interests buying up rights to all clean water sources.  People like oil baron, T. Boone Pickens and Nestle chairman, Peter Brabeck see water as a commodity like any other, not a right.  The Nestle chairman explains his stance in light of his goal to treat water as a foodstuff and the outrage his views have caused:

 “The fact is they [activists] are talking first of all only about the smallest part of the water usage,” he says.

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U.S. Will Be World’s Top Oil Producer In 5 Years

Red Rock Derricks, all flowing Well, by W. L. SuttonThat might sound like good news, but in reality “it’s complicated”…. Elisabeth Rosenthal reports for the New York Times:

The United States will overtake Saudi Arabia as the world’s leading oil producer by about 2017 and will become a net oil exporter by 2030, the International Energy Agency said Monday.

That increased oil production, combined with new American policies to improve energy efficiency, means that the United States will become “all but self-sufficient” in meeting its energy needs in about two decades — a “dramatic reversal of the trend” in most developed countries, a new report released by the agency says.

“The foundations of the global energy systems are shifting,” Fatih Birol, chief economist at the Paris-based organization, which produces the annual World Energy Outlook, said in an interview before the release. The agency, which advises industrialized nations on energy issues, had previously predicted that Saudi Arabia would be the leading producer until 2035.

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As Ice Cap Melts, Militaries Vie for Arctic Edge

KV Svalbard

Photo: Marcusroos (CC)

Via Common Dreams:

While the corporate media continues to keep alive a false narrative that the world’s scientists are still divided over global climate change — new reports show the military has moved beyond that debate. The Associated Press reports today that “to the world’s military leaders, the debate over climate change is long over.”

Instead, military planners from a number of nations that border the Arctic are gearing up for a new cold war – a battle for control of the vast treasure of mineral and oil resources and control of new, strategic sea lanes. As the ice cap melts, the war for the North Pole is heating up.

Greenpeace reported last year: “WikiLeaks releases … have shown the Arctic oil rush is not just a threat to the environment and our climate, but also to peace.”

“The documents show how deadly serious the scramble for Arctic resources has become.

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U.S. Marines Dispatched to Five African Countries

AfricomVia Global Research:

The hidden agenda in Uganda, Central Africa and the Horn of Africa is the conquest of oil and strategic mineral resources. Going after Joseph Kony and protecting Ugandan children is a cynical smokescreen, a pretext for a “humanitarian intervention” in a region where US sponsored  “civil wars” (Sudan, Rwanda, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Somalia, Ethiopia) have in the course of the last 20 years resulted in more than eight million deaths:

“Through AFRICOM, the United States is seeking a foothold in the incredibly resource rich central African block in a further maneuver to aggregate regional hegemony over China. The Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) is one of the world’s largest regions without an effectively functioning government. It contains vast deposits of diamonds, cobalt, copper, uranium, magnesium, and tin while producing over $1 billion in gold each year. It is entirely feasible that the US can considerably increase its presence in the DRC under the pretext of capturing Joseph Kony.” (Nile Bowie, Merchandising and Branding Support for US Military Intervention in Central Africa, Global research, March 14, 2012)

In a recent decision, the Pentagon confirms the sending in of Marine Special Forces to train Ugandan troops in the fight not only against Joseph Kony’s Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) but also against Al Shabab in Somalia.

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Brazil’s Biggest Bank Sued For Funding Amazon Deforestation

DeforestationBBC News recently reported:

Brazil’s biggest bank — the state-run Banco do Brasil — is being sued for allegedly funding deforestation in the Amazon.

Public prosecutors say the bank lent money to companies that illegally cleared the rainforest and used labour practices bordering on slavery. The smaller state-owned Banco da Amazonia is also being sued.

Brazil says it has drastically reduced the rate of deforestation in the Amazon in recent years.

Prosecutors in the state of Para said they had uncovered 55 loans worth nearly $5m (£3m) that the Banco do Brasil approved to farms that had broken environmental and employment laws. They also said they had uncovered 37 loans worth $11m given to farms with similar violations by the Banco da Amazonia.

The loans violated Brazil’s constitution, environmental laws, banking regulations and international agreements signed by Brazil, the independent prosecutors at the Public Ministry said.

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Less than 50 Years of Oil Left, HSBC Warns

Mad MaxRecently John Collins Rudolf reported in the New York Times:

The world may have no more than half a century of oil left at current rates of consumption, while surging demand from the developing world threatens to create “very significant price rises” before substitutes like biofuels can serve as viable alternatives, the British bank HSBC warns in a new report.

“We’re confident that there are around 50 years of oil left,” Karen Ward, the bank’s senior global economist, said in an interview on CNBC.

The bank, the world’s second largest in assets, further cautioned that growth trends in developing countries like China could put as many as one billion more cars on the road by midcentury. “That’s tremendous pressure on oil to power all those resources,” Ms. Ward said.

Substitutes, such as biofuels and synthetic oil from coal, could fill the gap if conventional supplies fall short, but only if average oil prices exceed $150 per barrel, the report notes.

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Wikileaks Cables Show Race To Carve Up Arctic

ArcticBBC News reports:

Secret US embassy cables released by Wikileaks show nations are racing to “carve up” Arctic resources — oil, gas and even rubies — as the ice retreats.

They suggest that Arctic states, including the US and Russia, are all pushing to stake a claim.

The opportunity to exploit resources has come because of a dramatic fall in the amount of ice in the Arctic.

The US Geological Survey estimates oil reserves off Greenland are as big as those in the North Sea.

The cables were released by the Wikileaks whistleblower website as foreign ministers from the eight Arctic Council member states – Russia, the United States, Canada, Denmark, Norway, Finland, Sweden and Iceland – met in Nuuk, Greenland on Thursday to sign a treaty on international search-and-rescue in the Arctic and discuss the region’s future challenges.

The cables claim the Danish Foreign Minister Per Stig Moeller joked with the Americans saying “if you stay out, then the rest of us will have more to carve up in the Arctic”.

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The Search For Alien Space Miners

Dune SandwormRay Villard writes on Discovery News:

Rather than looking for aliens who use interstellar radio signals to say “hi,” an alternative search strategy is simply to spy on any mega-engineering projects that an advanced civilization might be undertaking. Veteran SETI astronomer Jill Tarter calls this strategy “SETT” — the Search for Extraterrestrial Technology.

A new science paper by Duncan Forgan at the University of Edinburgh in Scotland and Martin Elvis at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics in Cambridge, Mass., suggests we look for evidence of a very ambitious macro-engineering project: the wholesale mining of an asteroid belt. The asteroid material may be mined to build space colonies, solar power satellites or maybe even an entire “ringworld,” as imagined by sci-fi writer Larry Niven.

What’s more, precious metals are in high demand for technologies such as computers, high-speed networks and mobile phones. So-called “green technologies” of the future, such as hydrogen fuel cells, will also place a demand on rare resources.

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OPEC Could Reap $1 Trillion This Year

OPEC Member Countries

OPEC Member Countries

Olga Belogolova writes in the National Journal:

The Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) is set to make a record-breaking $1 trillion in export revenues this year if crude oil prices remain above $100 a barrel, an the International Energy Agency official told the Financial Times.

“It would be the first time in the history of OPEC that oil revenues have reached a trillion dollars,” Chief IAEA Economist Fatih Birol told the Financial Times. “It’s mainly because of higher prices and higher production.”

The possibility of a record-breaking year comes as continued unrest in the Middle East and North Africa, engagement in Libya, and signs of an economic recovery renew debate among policymakers over how to deal with rising global oil prices and their ties to national security.

President Obama will weigh in on the issue [on 30 March] when he speaks about his new four-part “Plan for America’s Energy Security” at Georgetown University.

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