August 2020

Indigenous Peoples and Human Rights

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Goldtooth at Via Campesina: Beware of Carbon Cowboys

La Via Campesina Cancun, the Peoples Climate Movment: Tom Goldtooth (center) executive director of the Indigenous Environmental Network, speaks on a panel Sunday night at La Via Campesina in Cancun. Photo copyright Brenda Norrell.
By Brenda Norrell
Censored News
CANCUN, Mexico (Dec. 5) -- At La Via Campesina, the Peoples Climate Movement, Ofelia Rivas, O'odham, sang a sacred water song tonight, before a panel of Indigenous Peoples spoke on the theft of their natural resources and lands by corporations and capitalist governments.
A representative of the Zapateca community of northern Oaxaca said the governments of other countries do not need to meet in Cancun to tell them what to do.
"We have respect for our own land, we have our own customs, and we are not harming the environment."
Tom Goldtooth, executive director of the Indigenous Environmental Network, described the corporate scheme of REDD, which allows corporations and governments to continue polluting, and continue the genocide of Indigenous Peoples.
Goldtooth began by saying, "It is true what you hear, I live in occupied territories by the United States."
Speaking of Indigenous Peoples, he said, "We are the memory blood of Mother Earth." Goldtooth recognized Indigenous Peoples gathered under the large tent in downtown Cancun where caravan buses have been arriving from throughout Mexico.
Pointing out the need to fight deforestation, Goldtooth spoke on false carbon solutions, carbon credits and carbon trading, which targets Indigenous Peoples' territories.
REDD is the capitalization of the forests and the privatization of trees, he said.
Carbon is being produced from the burning of fossil fuels, such as coal in power plants, and adding to the greenhouse gases. Still, countries are not serious about trying to reduce this pollution.
Goldtooth explained the scheme of REDDs. The corporate scheme is this: They say they are going to plant trees, and protect the forests in the global south. Meanwhile, the corporate countries continue to poison Mother Earth. As they continue to poison the Earth, the corporate governments schemed and produced REDDs to allow them to get away with it.
As an example he explained how in Australia, Conoco Phillips said they would pay Indigenous Peoples to do what they always do, burn the waste debris of the trees and shrubs. It sounded good. But what the people did not know was that this money is "Blood Money."
Goldtooth asked Casey Camp, Ponca, to stand. Goldtooth pointed out that her people are dying from the fumes and pollution of Conoco Phillips oil and gas refineries in Oklahoma.
"Anyone who participates in REDDs is taking blood money," Goldtooth said.
"That is genocide."
"A lot of our Indigenous Peoples are not being told about this."
Indigenous Peoples are demanding "free, prior and informed consent," in the official documents. "We are demanding our rights," said Goldtooth, who has been inside the official UN negotiations this week in Cancun.
Conoco Phillips claims to be going "green," because they are investing in trees, and claim that new trees would offset the damage the company is doing.
"Don't sign these contracts," Goldtooth said, warning that these carbon cowboys will come knocking on their doors. He said there will be no safeguards in their contracts, no protections for the Indigenous Peoples or their forests. There will be no clarification of who owns those trees, who owns the forest.
"We must reject climate capitalism."
"We must reject the capitalization of our trees."
"No to REDD!"

Casey Camp at Via Campesina!

Now at Via Campesina Cancun: Casey Camp, (second from right) joins Ofelia Rivas, Robert Free, Sarah James and more climate heroes! PCheck Spellinghoto copyright Brenda Norrell.
At La Via Campesina, Ofelia Rivas, O'odham, sang a sacred water song tonight. Indigenous Peoples are now speaking on the theft of their natural resources by corporations. While speaking on the scam of carbon trading, Tom Goldtooth, executive director of the Indigenous Environmental Network, asked Casey Camp, Ponca, to stand. Goldtooth said because of the carbon credits of Conoco Phillips, the Ponca in Oklahoma continue to die from the pollution. Carbon trading is a means of allowing corporations to pollute and continue the genocide of Indigenous Peoples. Read more ...

VIA CAMPESINA: The Peoples Climate Movement

NOW at Via Campesina in Cancun. Photos by Brenda Norrell.


Greetings from Cancun: Sarah James and Ofelia Rivas

Greetings from Cancun! Ofelia Rivas, O'odham from the US/Mexico border, and Sarah James of the Gwich'in Steering Committee in Alaska, are among the grassroots Indigenous Peoples here at the Cancun Climate Summit today, Sunday, Dec. 5. Watch for interviews, live from Cancun, as Via Campesina is outside rallying to protect Mother Earth (outside the Radisson downtown.) Photo Brenda Norrell/Censored News.

Press statement from the movement for the Protection of Mother Earth, solidified in Bolivia at the World Peoples Conference on Climate Change and the Rights of Mother Earth:
Fate of Cancun Climate Summit is At Stake
ALBA Denounces Developed Country Attempts to Rupture Kyoto Protocol

CANCUN, Mexico (12/3/10) -- In his evaluation of the development of the Climate Summit held in the Mexican city of Cancun, the Ambassador of Bolivia to the United Nations Pablo Solon said in a press conference today: "Unfortunately, as of the fifth day, we have advanced very little on substantive issues. There was progress on issues that are not related to the core of this negotiation, which is the reduction of greenhouse gases emissions. What we have, after five days of work, is total uncertainty about the continuity of the second commitment period of the Kyoto Protocol."
"This is unacceptable, because we came here to discuss the amount of emission reductions for the second commitment period of the Kyoto Protocol, not just to discuss secondary issues," Solon said.
ALBA countries joined the press conference called for by the Plurinational State of Bolivia. The representative of Venezuela, Claudia Salerno, said: "We cannot give ourselves the luxury of failing. Our countries are suffering the consequences of climate change."
Bolivia’s ambassador also said that "there are countries that in an honest and transparent way have told us that there will not be a second commitment period of the Kyoto Protocol (which requires greater carbon emission reductions). But there are other countries that have proposed that in order to have a second commitment period of the Kyoto Protocol, they must first open the door to different protocol, which we could be part of in the future. "
Solon used an analogy to explain the problem with this proposal: "this is like telling someone, in order to stay married to you, I want first you let me open the door to having a second wife.”
When asked by journalists which countries were blocking the second period of Kyoto, the diplomats said they prefer not to mention names while negotiations are still in process, with the hope of reaching a common agreement. The representative of Nicaragua made it clear that the ALBA countries have the support of African and Arab nations, as well as important members of the BASIC.
Meanwhile, Venezuela’s Salerno was categorical in stating that "the world needs commitments." Salerno said: "We have been trying to make progress, while on the other side there are representatives saying they would rather to go to the beach because there is nothing to do here. So, they have the sense that, to stay here is politically a waste of time, even though this would mean guaranteeing a scenario that is a thousand times worse than what we have already seen."
The government delegates said that they will continue to work toward an agreement despite the lack of optimism. Salerno said, "we are extremely frustrated and we want to arrive at what could be a fateful December 10th. We need to use the remaining hours in the day to move forward and try to change the position of these [developed] countries before the text of the working group chairs is produced tomorrow.”
The Venezuelan representative was emphatic in stating that "the positions of our countries are not for sale. No money in the world can buy a decision of the ALBA countries that could mean the death of any human being on this planet."