The ‘green new deal’ supported by Ocasio-Cortez and Corbyn is just a new form of colonialism

The ‘green new deal’ supported by Ocasio-Cortez and Corbyn is just a new form of colonialism

SOURCE: The Independent DATE: May 4, 2019 SNIP: Scratch the surface of the current plans to decarbonise the economy and replace it with renewable energies and beneath it lays the same logic that has made the UK the 6th richest country in the world. Britain is planning to go green through a new phase of resource and wealth extraction of countries in the global south. At the heart of our economic system fuelled by the City of London is a belief that the UK and other rich countries are entitled to a greater share of the world’s finite resources irrespective of who we impoverish in doing so, or the destruction we cause. This green colonialism will be delivered by the very same entrenched economic interests, who have willingly sacrificed both people and the climate in the pursuit of profit. But this time, the mining giants and dirty energy companies will be waving the flag of climate emergency to justify the same deathly business model. In this new energy revolution, it is cobalt, lithium, silver and copper that will replace oil, gas and coal as the new frontline of our corporate destruction. The metals and minerals needed to build our wind turbines, our solar panels and electric batteries will be ripped out of the earth so that the UK continues to enjoy “lifeboat ethics”: temporary sustainability to save us, but at the cost of the poor. The scale of new extraction needed will come to dwarf the current relentless drive for resources that capitalism is built upon. The OECD’s Global Resources Outlook to 2060, modelled on an annual 2.8 per...
It’s only a matter of time before deep-sea mining comes to Canada. We’re not ready.

It’s only a matter of time before deep-sea mining comes to Canada. We’re not ready.

SOURCE: The Narwhal DATE: March 26, 2019 SNIP: The deep sea, broadly considered the area of ocean below 200 metres, encompasses half of the world’s total ocean estate. To this day, just 5 per cent of the ocean abyss has been explored. It is only in the last decade that major advances in ocean-exploring technology, growing demand for metals used for tech gadgets, and the diminishing availability of these metals on land has created the burgeoning industry of deep sea mining. This year, Canadian-registered company Nautilus Minerals Inc. is slated to begin Solwara 1, an operation in Papua New Guinea that will extract seafloor massive sulphides from hydrothermal vent ecosystems in the deep sea. Each year, this operation plans to extract 1.3 million tonnes of vent and seabed material high in copper, zinc, gold and silver. Extraction requires a process of directly drilling, removing, and flattening down the vents and chimneys, essentially leaving a pile of rubble in its place. “All deep sea mining removes material from the seafloor,” says Dr. Kirsten Thompson, a marine mammal scientist and ecology lecturer at the University of Exeter in Devon, United Kingdom. “In removing this material, the habitat and species that are associated with the ecosystem are destroyed.” “For some types of mining, this destruction is irreversible on a local scale and recovery is not expected within our lifetimes,” says Thompson. Before long, Canadian and international mining companies alike may start turning their attention towards Canadian waters — that is, if they haven’t already. The Offshore Pacific Area of Interest off the west coast of Vancouver Island is of particular concern to...
Deep-sea ecosystems under threat from an emerging ocean industry

Deep-sea ecosystems under threat from an emerging ocean industry

SOURCE: The Ecologist DATE: March 15, 2019 SNIP: It would probably surprise you to hear that there are rich, deep-sea ecosystems under threat from an emerging ocean industry… and virtually no-one knows about it. Within the next decade, the deep-sea mining industry plans to send 300-tonne vehicles to harvest tens of thousands km2 of deep seafloor for minerals considered vital to the future of green technology. But these hard mineral resources are also home to fragile and diverse ecosystems, some new to science and some yet to be found. Currently in its exploration phase, deep-sea mining is targeting three different types of mineral resources on the deep-ocean floor: potato-sized manganese nodules, also known as polymetallic nodules, that carpet vast areas of abyssal plains; cobalt crusts, also known as ferromanganese crusts, that form on the slopes of some undersea mountains; and seafloor massive sulfides, that form at undersea hot springs called hydrothermal vents. The nodules are rich minerals of economic interest such as Nickel, Copper, Cobalt, Lithium and Rare Earth Elements, a group of elements vital for green technology, such as neodymium magnets for wind turbines and hybrid cars. [A]t hydrothermal vents… hot fluids burst out of the crust, precipitating minerals to form the seafloor deposits. These can be formed subsurface, or on the seafloor where the “chimneys” of hydrothermal vents tower up to 30m tall, all enriched in minerals such as Iron, Zinc, Copper, Lead, Gold and Silver. Both resource types provide hard surfaces for many species to attach to and create biodiversity hotspots filled with organisms often new to science. However, low food availability, cold temperatures, and low...
Waste From Collapsed Dam Kills Aquatic Life in Brazil River

Waste From Collapsed Dam Kills Aquatic Life in Brazil River

SOURCE: New York Times and The Guardian DATE: February 28, 2019 SNIP: A Brazilian environmentalist group says that toxic waste from a mine dam collapse wiped out life in more than half the Paraopeba River that flows past the city where the disaster occurred. SOS Mata Atlantica said environmentalists traveled 305 of the river’s 510 kilometers (190 of 315 miles) and found that aquatic life was unsustainable. The report said heavy metals, such as manganese, copper and chromium, were detected at levels higher than recommended, and it added that mud destroyed 112 hectares (277 acres) of native forests. The dam holding back iron ore tailings at a mine owned by Vale SA burst Jan. 25 in the town of Brumadinho, killing at least 186 people. In this region, 64% of fish species are found nowhere else on Earth. Brazil has the most abundant water resources in the world, but they are tapped with often reckless abandon and inadequate regulation. Less than one in five of the country’s 24,092 dams come under the supervision of the 2010 dam safety law, 42 are unauthorised and 570 have no responsible operator, according to the Folha de São Paulo newspaper. With a mere 154 inspectors for such a vast country, only 3% of Brazil’s dams were inspected last year, it said. The problems date back decades, but the risks look set to grow. The new administration of the president, Jair Bolsonaro, has neutered the environment ministry and pledged to ease the licensing system for new...
Brazil’s Indigenous Peoples Suffer Wave of Invasions and Attacks

Brazil’s Indigenous Peoples Suffer Wave of Invasions and Attacks

SOURCE: Amazon Watch DATE: February 20, 2019 SNIP: Emboldened by the institutional assault upon indigenous rights being waged by the regime of Jair Bolsonaro, rural mafias are organizing an unprecedented wave of land invasions and attacks on native territories and communities. As Brazil’s indigenous agency FUNAI is systematically dismantled, with its mandate to title and monitor indigenous lands handed to agribusiness interests and religious zealots, vast Amazonian forests are becoming increasingly vulnerable to exploitation. According to a report by the Brazilian NGO Repórter Brasil, there are currently fourteen titled indigenous territories under attack. Indigenous leaders and their allies speak of a general abandonment of state protections over indigenous lands, as Bolsonaro’s dangerous rhetoric emboldens a range of criminal forces – from illegal loggers and miners to land grabbers and speculators – to act with apparent impunity. Karipuna indigenous territory in the Amazonian state of Rondônia has seen a spike in illegal logging of ancient hardwoods. “These invasions will get worse,” said Adriano Karipuna, a local indigenous leader who has suffered threats from the loggers. “Bolsonaro preaches that [indigenous people] do not need land, that they do not work, and that we are like animals in a zoo. Those who were already wicked enough to [invade our lands] are now receiving [the president’s] support. These people now have no fear of coming onto our lands.” Aside from Karipuna lands, those of the Uru-Eu-Wau-Wau and Karitiana in Rondônia also face invasions, as do the territories of the Guajajara and Ka’apor in Maranhão and the Arara and Xicrín of Pará, to cite a few flashpoints in the Amazon. The Pankararu of Pernambuco...