Los Angeles Review of Books: On the Front Lines of Climate Change

I reviewed Todd Miller’s new book Storming the Wall for the Los Angeles Review of Books. “In 2015, as European nations repelled African and Middle Eastern migrants arriving on their shores, the United States was engaged in its own naval operations to ward off mass migration from the Caribbean. With current White House Chief of Staff John Kelly then at the helm of US Southern Command, more than 500 members of the joint military and homeland security task force ran a simulation designed to “prevent…Continue Reading “Los Angeles Review of Books: On the Front Lines of Climate Change”

Protesters Red-Line Climate Change at Close of Paris Talks

My final report for CIP America’s Program on COP21 in Paris was publsihed Sunday. Please follow this link to see photos and coverage of the final march in Paris on Saturday. “On December 12, the final day of the Paris climate talks, an international group of protesters filled the streets of the French capital to mark their ‘red lines’ for climate justice. The Red Lines Coalition, which includes Attac France, 350.org, Climate Games, Avaaz and Confédération Paysenne, described the action as a way to, ‘honor…Continue Reading “Protesters Red-Line Climate Change at Close of Paris Talks”

In Paris, Activists Challenge COP Inaction and Propose Solutions

My second dispatch from Paris at COP21 has been published on The Americas Program. “The Juarés Plaza in Montreuil, a small city to the east of Paris, is thronged with people, dancing, chanting and carrying bulky chairs above their heads. The procession winds out of the square to the applause of the audience. If I’d had time to count, it would have been 196 chair—all ‘requisitioned’ from area banks—to represent the 196 countries at the COP21 negotiations.” Read on to learn what requisitioned chairs, colonial…Continue Reading “In Paris, Activists Challenge COP Inaction and Propose Solutions”

Social Movements at Paris Climate Talks Refuse to be Collateral Damage to Security Measures

My first report for the America’s Program from the Paris Climate Talks, COP21, is up. “Critics have pointed out that marches during the climate talks were banned under security pretexts, yet other large public gatherings such as soccer matches and concerts have continued. The timing indicates the protest ban is a convenient pretext to quell social protest during the summit.” Check out my commentary and photos here.

New Colors of Capitalism: REDD+ and the Green Economy

The PopDev program, where I am a Political Research Fellow, recently published my DifferenTakes issue paper, “Is This the Future We Want? The Green Economy vs. Climate Justice.”  This blog post announced the publication on the Black Sheep Journal. Negotiators, big NGOs, and companies In U.N. environmental summits are promoting the “Green Economy” as a win-win-win for people, the environment and business interests.  Yet global South social movements denounce the Green Economy for serving the interests of transnational corporations and wealthy nations, and for stomping on…Continue Reading “New Colors of Capitalism: REDD+ and the Green Economy”

Pipeline Politics: Indigenous Solidarity and the Climate Crisis

Originally published in The Black Sheep Journal.

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The Keystone XL pipeline struggle has created new alliances between environmental NGOs opposing the pipeline, and indigenous peoples whose lands it would cross, which the strong presence of indigenous speakers at the recent Forward on Climate rally in DC illustrated . For environmentalists Keystone represents “game over” for climate change. For indigenous peoples it is another development project imposed without Free, Prior and Informed Consent, which will not benefit their communities. For these alliances to last beyond the limelight of the Keystone fight, grassroots activists of non-native backgrounds must ground their solidarity in a commitment to supporting long-standing indigenous struggles.

My involvement began on August 31, 2011 when I joined the first major tar sands action in Washington, DC, and was arrested for taking part in non-violent civil disobedience in front of the White House, calling on President Obama to reject the Keystone XL pipeline. Despite protests, the southern leg of the pipeline is already under construction as are numerous pipeline projects in Canada, including Pacific Trails and Northern Gateway. Near where I live in New England, the Enbridge Trailbreaker is proposed to bring tar sands oil from Ontario to Portland, Maine. Even if we strike down Keystone, it is just one arm of the strategy of energy companies to transport tar sands oil and fracked natural gas to the coasts. The struggle against Keystone is quickly expanding to join with efforts against other pipelines.

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Land grabs and Green Grabs: New Forms of Capitalist Accumulation

By Martha Pskowski (originally published on the Hampshire Political Writing Intern blog) Narratives of scarcity and impending crisis, be it climate change, food insecurity or political conflict, are fueling corporations and nation states to “grab” land around the world to secure their economic interests.  Land grabbing isn’t new, it was the basis of colonialism, but it appears to be spiking in recent years and changing in form.  Among these changes are blurring lines between corporations and the state, the role of finance capital and speculation,…Continue Reading “Land grabs and Green Grabs: New Forms of Capitalist Accumulation”

Oil and Natural Gas Frontlines: First Nations Lead the Way

This post originally appeared on the blog of the Population and Development Program, based in Amherst, MA, which works at the intersection of reproductive freedom, environmental justice and peace. (However since then it’s made the rounds to Common Dreams, It’s Getting Hot in Here, and WeArePowershift.org. Perhaps my most cross-posted blog yet. I’m gratified to see this under-reported aspect of the tar sands issue getting some attention.) American environmentalists are declaring victory over the announcement that the United States will research alternate routes for the…Continue Reading “Oil and Natural Gas Frontlines: First Nations Lead the Way”

My post just went up on the Population and Development Program’s blog  about their recent convening, “Bridging Movements to Build Climate Justice,” which I attended in Tarrytown, NY.  The convening brought together grassroots and non-profit leaders in the environmental and climate justice movements with the reproductive justice movement. Here’s a peak at my reflection, then go on over to PopDev to read the full post: “As the Occupy movement continues to spread, the convening also gave me tools to bring my values and perspectives into other…Continue Reading “Bridging Movements to Build Climate Justice”

This semester at Hampshire College I’m blogging with the Population and Development Program, which works at the intersection of environmental justice and reproductive justice to counter ideas about overpopulation.  This post builds off my September 1st post on the Tar Sands action in Washington, DC to explore the resistance which indigenous communities have mounted against pipelines for many years, and paths forward from the Keystone XL decision. Here’s a peak at the post, and a powerful video, then head over to the PopDev blog to…Continue Reading “Resisting the Tar Sands: Bridging Communities and Struggles”