Are Recent Hurricanes Fueled By Climate Change?

Tensions Rising With Tides and Temperatures

Hurricanes Harvey, Irma and Maria have poured new fuel on the debate over man-made climate change. It’s unfortunate that there is even a debate at all. We are wasting critical time and resources as we seek to justify our overconsumption and our fascination with capitalizing on the misfortunes of others.

Houston will never be the same. Islands across the Florida Keys have been reduced to rubble. Puerto Rico is largely uninhabitable with lack of power, water and food. Residents of New York and New Jersey still haven’t recovered from hurricane Sandy. New Orleans is still suffering from the impacts of Katrina in 2005. Meanwhile, in the wake of each disaster comes the fraud and fleecing of innocent citizens in the danger zone and beyond.

hurricane and climate change

Since global warming and climate change are beyond the grasp of the special interests and their disciples, let’s dissect the issue from a different perspective.

The issue really boils down to energy waste and air pollution. Those who deny global warming are blowing smoke up your skirt. They want you to think that air pollution is fertilizer. Without taxpayer subsidies of billions of dollars annually, free-market capitalism would drive energy policies and innovation vs. costly policies that promote inefficiency and waste (not to mention favoritism/fascism, which isn’t capitalism). Does that waste and market manipulation contribute to global warming?

Conduct an experiment. Turn on your car and close the garage. CO2 builds up in the atmosphere just like it does in your garage. CO2 kills people and the planet.

Add global deforestation to the equation and we are staring at an ecological disaster and a public health disaster (deforestation is like turning off the exhaust fan in your garage). So, is it a good idea to waste energy and our only God-given home?

Reprinted with permission from Greener Cities.

public relations firm and public affairs firm Denver and Phoenix

Crossbow Communications specializes in issue management and public affairs. It specializes in health and environmental issues, including sustainable cities and communities. Please contact Gary Chandler at gary@crossbow1.com to join our network.

PR Firm Launches Campaign To Defend Biodiversity, Stop Deforestation

Deforestation Promoting Climate Change, Loss Of Biodiversity

Deforestation generates about 20 percent of greenhouse gasses and cripples our planet’s ability to filter carbon dioxide from our air. Unfortunately, deforestation also threatens entire watersheds, endangered species and endangered cultures around the world. An international PR firm based in Phoenix, Arizona has launched a program to help reverse deforestation, while defending entire ecosystems.

If all CO2 emissions stopped today, climate change will still intensify because of existing carbon in the atmosphere. Energy conservation, renewable energy and sustainable agriculture are vital, but we need proven carbon capture strategies to help restore balance to our atmosphere. Forest conservation is more important than ever.

deforestation and endangered species

“Thousands of community stakeholders across East Africa are ready to act now,” said Gary Chandler founder of both Crossbow Communications and its subsidiary Sacred Seedlings. “They can help us all fight global climate change, while defending critical ecosystems in Tanzania, Kenya and beyond. We’re launching a campaign to help them secure the resources to succeed.”

According to Chandler, several NGOs, including the Mellowswan Foundation Africa-Tanzania have plans to save remaining forests in the region, while promoting reforestation, sustainable agriculture and wildlife conservation. The program will plant more than 10 million new seedlings just in the Kilimanjaro ecosystem.

A new report by the United Nations Environment Programme says that protecting East Africa’s mountain ecosystems would safeguard the region’s $7 billion tourism industry, not to mention the lives of millions of people and iconic endangered species.

“Across the continent, the damage done to these ecosystems is depriving people of the basic building blocks of life,” said Erik Solheim, head of UN Environment agency.

Save Kilimanjaro ecosystem

He said Mt. Kilimanjaro was an example of how climate change was severely damaging Africa’s mountains and the people who depend on them. Mt. Kilimanjaro, the highest in Africa, contributes to more than a third of Tanzania’s revenue from tourism but is facing several problems, ranging from shrinking glaciers to rampant wild fires. As climate change intensifies, it is essential that governments act swiftly to prevent more harm and more downward momentum. The report urges Tanzania to protect the mountain’s water catchment area by reforestation, investing in early warning systems and making climate adaptation a top priority.

Forests are critical to the way Earth functions. They lock up vast amounts of carbon and release oxygen. They influence rainfall, filter fresh water and prevent flooding and soil erosion. They produce wild foods, fuel wood and medicines for the people who live in and around them. They are storehouses of potential future crop varieties and genetic materials with untapped healing qualities. Wood and other fibre grown in forests can be used as a renewable fuel or as raw material for paper, packaging, furniture or housing.

While the pressures on forests vary across regions, the biggest cause of deforestation is expanding agriculture – including commercial livestock and major crops such as palm oil and soy. According to Chandler, Sacred Seedlings is a global initiative to support forest conservation, carbon capture, reforestation, urban forestry,sustainable agriculture and wildlife conservation. Sustainable land management and land use are critical to the survival of entire ecosystems, including millions of people who live in the region.

Tanzania lion conservation

Loss of forests isn’t the only problem in East Africa. Tanzania may have lost half its elephant population since 2007. It could be wiped out entirely in just seven years. Kenya’s wildlife also is under assault like never before. Adding to the crisis, there has been loss of wildlife habitat and biodiversity as a result of fragmentation and loss of critical ecosystem linkages and over-exploitation of the natural habitats. This loss of habitat brings humans and wildlife into more and more conflict over food, water and space–which means more bloodshed.

Tanzania’s elephant population declined from an estimated 109,000 elephants in 2009 to around 70,000 in 2012. Approximately 30 elephants are killed for their ivory every day.

Sacred Seedlings is a global initiative to support forest conservation, reforestation, urban forestry, carbon capture, sustainable agriculture and wildlife conservation. Sustainable land management and land use are critical to the survival of entire ecosystems. Thanks to the leadership of NGOs and stakeholders in East Africa, we now have 14 comprehensive plans that can fight global climate change, while defending cultures, communities and entire ecosystems. We need your help.

Read More About Deforestation and Loss of Biodiversity at http://crossbowcommunications.com/deforestation-contributing-to-climate-change-loss-of-biodiversity/

public relations firm and public affairs firm Denver and Phoenix

Crossbow Communications is a full-service advertising agency and public relations firm in Denver, Colorado and Phoenix, Arizona. The PR firm specializes in issue management and public affairs.

Deforestation Contributing To Climate Change, Extinction

Forest Conservation Critical To Life

Forest conservation is critical to life as we know it. Forests sequester carbon and release oxygen. They influence rainfall, filter fresh water and prevent flooding and soil erosion. They produce wild foods, fuelwood and medicines. While the pressures on our vanishing forests vary around the world, the biggest cause of deforestation is expanding agriculture – including commercial livestock and major crops such as palm oil and soy.

Small-scale farmers also play a role as they often slash and burn land every year just to survive. Mining, hydroelectricity and new roads add to the pressure on vanishing forests around the globe.

Save Kilimanjaro ecosystem

Deforestation has caused about 20 percent of the rise in greenhouse gases in the atmosphere. The rise in greenhouse gases, both human caused and natural, is contributing to unprecedented levels of carbon dioxide in our atmosphere, which contributes to climate change, extreme weather and threats to life as we know it.

Deforestation also cripples our planet’s capacity to capture carbon from the atmosphere, while contributing to the loss of endangered species, including orangutans, tigers, elephants and many others.

Trees and forests can capture carbon dioxide (CO2) from the air, return the oxygen to the atmosphere and store the carbon for centuries. Deforestation is disrupting this vital system, while contributing to global warming and climate change.

Forests can absorb some of the carbon dioxide that we all produce in our daily lives. Unfortunately, our remaining forests are under siege. We can reverse the trend now by demanding forest conservation and reforesting as much land as possible.

If we could stop tropical deforestation today, allow damaged forests to grow back, and protect mature forests, the resulting reduction in emissions and removal of carbon from the atmosphere could equal up to one-third of current global emissions from all sources. Reforestation is a critical part of the solution to many of our most pressing sustainability challenges.

Many developing countries have indicated that they would be willing to reduce emissions further in return for international financial support. Rich countries could do more to fight climate change at lower cost by financing tropical forest conservation in addition to their own domestic emission cuts. The few REDD+ agreements already in place have priced avoided CO2 emissions at only $5 per ton, truly a bargain compared to most other options.

In both Brazil and Indonesia, national efforts to reduce deforestation have been associated with greater transparency, increased law enforcement targeted at forest-related crime and corruption and steps to strengthen the land rights of indigenous peoples. A broad coalition of governments, multinational corporations, non-governmental organizations and indigenous groups recognized these potential benefits in the September 2014 New York Declaration on Forests.

wildlife conservation Africa

Stakeholders across East Africa are ready to act now. They can help us all fight global climate change, while defending critical ecosystems in Tanzania, Kenya and beyond.

We have approved plans to plant more than 110 million new trees on millions of hectares in Tanzania and Kenya alone. We’re developing more reforestation and agroforestry projects around the world, which will:

  • Absorb carbon dioxide to battle climate change;
  • Defend ecosystems and biodiversity;
  • Preserve watersheds and control flooding;
  • Preserve and create habitat for wildlife;
  • Preserve local lifestyles and cultures, while promoting sustainability; and
  • Create jobs for men and women that can help defend endangered ecosystems.

A new report by the United Nations Environment Programme says that protecting East Africa’s mountain ecosystems would safeguard the region’s $7 billion tourism industry, not to mention the lives of millions of people and iconic endangered species.

“Across the continent, the damage done to these ecosystems is depriving people of the basic building blocks of life,” said Erik Solheim, head of UN Environment agency.

He said Mt. Kilimanjaro was an example of how climate change was severely damaging Africa’s mountains and the people who depend on them. Mount Kilimanjaro, the highest in Africa, contributes to more than a third of Tanzania’s revenue from tourism but is facing several problems, ranging from shrinking glacier to rampant wild fires. As climate change intensifies, it is essential that governments act swiftly to prevent more harm and more downward momentum. The report urges Tanzania to protect the mountain’s water catchment area by reforestation, investing in early warning systems and making climate adaptation a top priority.

Read The Full Story

public relations firm and public affairs firm Denver and Phoenix

Crossbow Communications is a full-service advertising agency and public relations firm in Denver, Colorado and Phoenix, Arizona. The firm specializes in issue management and public affairs.

Palm Oil Casts Dark Shadow Over Corporate Buyers

Sustainability Claims Riddled With Fraud, Abuse

Today Amnesty International has published a damning new report into the practices of major consumer goods multinationals. The human rights NGO unpicks the palm oil supply chain and finds evidence of forced labor, child employment and dangerous working conditions within the palm oil supply chain.

Although the company primarily under investigation is Wilmar, the world’s largest palm oil producer, it is the brand names that this firm suppliers that faces the charity’s opprobrium. Colgate, Nestlé and Unilever all come under heavy criticism for allowing conditions to emerge in their supply chains that many would regard as shocking.

palm oil deforestation

Amnesty International interviewed 120 workers within Wilmar’s plantations, as well as digging deeper into their  suppliers in Indonesia.

“Corporate giants like Colgate, Nestlé and Unilever assure consumers that their products use sustainable palm oil, but our findings reveal that the palm oil is anything but,”noted Meghna Abraham, Senior Investigator at Amnesty International.

“Companies are turning a blind eye to exploitation of workers in their supply chain. Despite promising customers that there will be no exploitation in their palm oil supply chains, big brands continue to profit from appalling abuses.”

Palm oil is a highly versatile product that is estimated to be in half of all consumer products, ranging from toothpaste to shampoo. It is mostly produced in Indonesia, which services over half of global demand.

The palm oil sector is rife with corporate social responsibility issues and is linked to deforestation, where its land-intensive farms denude the Indonesian jungle and deny rare species, such as orangutans, of habitation. It also is an area of alleged worker exploitation.

palm oil deforestation

The Amnesty International report describes a punishing work regime with demanding performance targets. Failure to meet objectives can yield financial deductions. Penalties are levied at the manager’s discretion.

Many laborers, the reporters find, feel compelled to work 10-11 hour-long days, accumulating to exceed the legal maximum of 40-hours per week in Indonesia. Despite this grueling schedule many claim they are paid beneath the legal minimum wage.

The report finds that, such are the pressures under which workers are placed, they enlist their spouses and children to toil unpaid to avoid penalties from the employer. The charity found children as young as eight in employment, many of whom dropped out of school to meet their quota.

“I get the premi [bonus] from the loose fruit that’s why my kids help me<” said a plantation worker. “I wouldn’t be able to meet the target otherwise. The foreman sees my children helping me. The foreman says it is good that my child is helping me.”

Indonesia bans child labor.

Amnesty International also finds evidence of using paraquat, highly dangerous herbicide. The chemical is banned in the European Union and Wilmar itself has made commitments to phase out its use. The report finds that suppliers are still routinely making use of the chemical.

forest conservation

The investigators  found one instance of a worker that was splashed in the face by the chemical, leading to severe injuries.  “I can’t see through the eye. I get headaches in part of my head, when I do, my eye feels really swollen. I still get a bit dizzy.”

These allegations are obviously serious and, if true, highly damaging to the brands concerned. Wilmar acknowledge the report’s findings, and urged many within the industry to help combat these issues.

Read The Full Story About Palm Oil Abuses at http://www.forbes.com/sites/jwebb/2016/11/30/amnesty-international-slams-colgate-nestle-and-unilever-for-palm-oil-supply-chain-abuses/2/#456cd1564161

Tanzania Loses More Than Half Of Elephants In Past Decade

Proposed Program Will Defend Ecosystems, Wildlife

The Kilimanjaro region of East Africa is one of the most threatened ecosystems on earth. Millions of people and several endangered species depend on the snows and rains of Kilimanjaro for survival. As land use encroaches further into local forests, water flows are changing and conflicts with wildlife are rising. A nonprofit organization in Tanzania hopes to reverse those trends with a comprehensive forest conservation, reforestation and community-engagement program.

Save Kilimanjar

The Mellowswan Foundation Africa-Tanzania will defend the greater Kilimanjaro ecosystem with more than 10 million new seedlings, community engagement, wildlife conservation strategies and more. They will educate local stakeholders about sustainable forestry, sustainable agriculture and wildlife management. Unlike past reforestation efforts in the region, it will focus on local needs and long-term sustainability. The seedlings are indigenous species that can help restore and protect the integrity of the ecosystem, while helping rural communities thrive as stewards of the land.

Save Kilimanjaro

Unfortunately, forests across the region are retreating under the pressures of agriculture and communities that depend on firewood.

Climate change is impacting every continent. Deforestation and intensive agriculture are contributing to the problem. Fortunately, forest conservationreforestation, and sustainable agriculture are part of the solution.

The foundation plans to save wildlife, capture carbon and reduce deforestation on a massive scale. This investment will benefit the entire planet, while preserving a world treasure.

wildlife conservation Tanzania

Tanzania lost more than half of its elephants to poachers over the past decade. They could be wiped out entirely in just five or six years. Adding to the crisis, there has been loss of wildlife habitat and biodiversity as a result of fragmentation and loss of critical ecosystem linkages and over-exploitation of the natural habitats. This loss of habitat brings humans and wildlife into more and more conflict over food, water and space–which means more bloodshed.

“We have some powerful sponsorship packages,” said Crossbow President Gary Chandler. “We also have some very unique rewards for donors. Please help spread the word to your friends, families and favorite companies. This is a very important program to the entire world.”

elephant conservation Tanzania

Please Help Save Kilimanjaro and beyond https://www.gofundme.com/SaveKilimanjaro

Tanzania lion conservation

Climate Change Impacting Endangered Cultures, Species

Plans To Fight Defend Ecosystems

Forests in East Africa are still vanishing due to agriculture and the need for fuel wood and charcoal. This deforestation threatens ecosystems that support millions of people and endangered species.

wildlife conservation Tanzania

To help stop this growing crisis, dozens of NGOs and thousands of stakeholders across five nations have united to develop plans that can make this entire region more sustainable and resilient. These plans include:

  • forest conservation,
  • reforestation,
  • agroforestry,
  • sustainable agriculture/aquaculture,
  • solar energy,
  • wildlife conservation,
  • ecotourism and more.

The projects include Burundi, Kenya,RwandaTanzania and Uganda. They represent one of the largest, proven carbon-capture opportunities available today.

Save Kilimanjaro ecosystem

“These projects are all planned by the stakeholders who depend on their success,” said Gary Chandler, founder and executive director of Sacred Seedlings. “They are large enough and comprehensive enough to make a significant impact across East Africa and around the world.”

Chandler hopes that these plans will serve as models and motivation for similar projects around the world. As he explains deforestation generates about 20 percent of greenhouse gasses, which contribute to global warming and climate change.

Deforestation cripples our planet’s ability to filter carbon dioxide from our air. Deforestation also threatens endangered species and endangered cultures around the world.

Tanzania lion conservation

NGOs behind the visionary plans include Mellowswan Foundation Africa-Tanzania, Megabridge Foundation, Youth Link, Earth Keepers Centre, and many others. The plans to fight climate change will conserve forests, while restoring ecosystems and watersheds with more than 100 million new trees just in Tanzania. The projects are ready to proceed once funded.

Save Kilimanjaro

Sacred Seedlings is a global initiative to support forest conservation, reforestation, urban forestry, sustainable agriculture and wildlife conservation. Sustainable land management and land use are critical to the survival of entire ecosystems. Sacred Seedlings is a U.S.-based program that supports the vision of local stakeholders. We have projects ready across Africa. We seek additional projects elsewhere around the world. We also seek volunteers, sponsors and donors of cash and in-kind support.

forest conservation and reforestation

For more information about these projects, visit http://sacredseedlings.com/deforestation-and-climate-change/ 

Sustainable Palm Oil A Fraud

Sustainable Palm Oil A Label Bought Not Earned

The sustainable palm oil industry is destroying biodiversity at the speed of light. In a rush to greenwash the industry, biodiversity is being crushed and pushed toward extinction. The culprits then offset the death and destruction with a token green project somewhere else around the world.

palm oil deforestation

Companies like Unilever, PepsiCo, Coca-Cola, General Mills, Kellogg’s, Kraft and hundreds of others use tons of vegetable oil every year. Most of it is palm oil, which is 50 percent saturated fat. Palm oil is clogging arteries and killing biodiversity at the speed of light.

Most palm oil is grown on land that was once pristine rainforest and habitat for orangutans, tigers and Asian elephants. Even so-called “sustainable” palm oil is driving deforestation and the death of endangered species today. That’s because the industry embraces a practice where companies can buy green certificates to pay for their irreversible sins in the rainforest.

Sustainable palm oil today is a myth. Destroying the pristine habitat of Sumatra and Borneo (and now South America and Africa) under the label of Sustainable Palm Oil only adds fuel to a very ugly fire. Instead of propagating lies and smokescreens, the industry should put its energies toward different models, including urban plantations.

palm oil deforestation

Killing orangutans and tigers under the name “Sustainable” Palm Oil is fraud, a crime against nature, and a crime against humanity. Sustainable Palm Oil is a label bought not earned, which is a very deadly form of fraud. You can’t destroy peatland and endangered species on Sumatra and then offset it with a eucalyptus plantation in Costa Rica. That is far from sustainability and corporate leadership. It’s organized crime.

Palm-oil bashing at times is extreme. I understand the temptation to fight fire with fire given the industries blatant lies and schemes. I do my best to stay neutral, but factual. I have offered suggestions and resources to palm oil companies in an attempt to be constructive and productive, while saving forests, wildlife and cultures. My attempts at constructive dialogue have been ignored.

Indonesia deforestation and endangered species

Unfortunately, I see a massive rush to a scheme called Sustainable Palm Oil. That BS unfortunately, and intentionally, fails to account for biodiversity. With enough Sustainable Palm Oil, we will soon have no orangutans, tigers, and other valuable species that belong to the people and the planet. Selling these nations and species down the river for mass destruction and private profits is industrial terrorism. Following in the footsteps of other industrial nations is hardly an excuse. That’s how sheep are led to slaughter.

I offer my input out of my respect for Indonesia and Malaysia in particular. However, I hope that the emerging palm oil plantation zones in South America and Africa will resist the temptation to embrace the agricultural cancer known as palm oil. Future generations are being robbed and their planet is at extreme risk thanks to palm oil.

Palm Oil News via http://crossbowcommunications.com/sustainable-palm-oil-fraud/

public relations firm and public affairs firm Denver and Phoenix

Crossbow Communications specializes in issue management and public affairs. It’s also promoting forest conservation, reforestation, sustainable agriculture, and wildlife conservation through its subsidiary–Sacred Seedlings. Please contact Gary Chandler at gary@crossbow1.com to join our network.

China Grabbing Latin America’s Vanishing Resources

China Trashing Latin America To Fuel Growth

In January 1997, Panama awarded concessions to a Chinese company to operate port facilities on the Atlantic and Pacific coasts at both ends of the Panama Canal, just after having obtained control of it from the US.

When did Latin America and the Caribbean wake up to its dramatically expanding new relationship with China? November 2004, when the then Chinese president Hu Jintao visited Argentina, Brazil, Chile and Cuba and apparently spoke of the possibility of investing US$100 billion in the region – although the Chinese government later claimed it had been mistranslated and the US$100 billion referred to bilateral trade.

deforestation and endangered species

That, at least, is what Evan Ellis, a researcher at the U.S. Army War College and considered by some to be a leading expert on China-Latin America relations, states in his new book China on the Ground in Latin America: Challenges for the Chinese and Impacts on the Region. Ellis’s main argument is that in the last few years the Chinese have started to establish a new, “significant” physical presence in Latin America and the Caribbean – following trade deals, acquisitions, loans and loan-backed construction projects, among other things. As a result, Ellis argues that China now finds itself, for the first time in its 5,000 year history, connected to however many million non-Chinese people in other countries and dependent on the “success and well-being of its commercial representatives in distant parts of the world.”

While the focus of his book is Chinese acquisitions, loans, other commercial dealings and the challenges these pose for the Chinese government, companies and Chinese people living in Latin America, Ellis has various things to say about the environment.

Chinese companies have focused on developing their physical presence in Latin America in the sectors that are most likely to generate environmental impacts and concerns: petroleum, mining and agriculture. The Chinese presence in petroleum is most significant in Venezuela, Ecuador and Argentina, and in mining in Ecuador and Peru.

Resistance from “environmentalists and local communities” is one of the major challenges facing Chinese companies trying to make acquisitions and win contracts in Latin America. To date, projects involving Chinese investors have “often” been “opposed on environmental grounds, or because of their impact on local communities and indigenous groups,” writes Ellis, citing the Chone dam project and Mirador mine in Ecuador, the Belo Monte dam in Brazil, the Rio Blanco mine in Peru, the Lupe mine in Mexico, a soy processing facility in Rio Negro in Argentina, the Agua Zarca dam project in Honduras, and the River Magdalena in Colombia as examples.

deforestation is taking Latin America's biodiversity with it.

Opposition to Chinese projects on environmental grounds is “likely to expand in the future because of the number of potential projects. . . that involve environmentally sensitive areas.” These include plans to develop Goat Island, Jamaica, into an “international shipping hub” and the exploitation of the Ishpingo, Tambococha and Tiputini (ITT) oil fields in the far east of the Yasuní National Park in Ecuador where Ellis says the “Chinese corporations who have already done the exploratory drilling are the leading contenders” to win contracts.

Indeed, Ellis states that although “no official link” exists between ITT and the construction of a new refinery on Ecuador’s Pacific coast, “a senior Ecuadorian source speaking off-the-record suggested that the granting of the rights for ITT may be a condition pursued by the Chinese for the funding of the Refinery. . . which would be fed by the petroleum extracted there.”

Environmental concerns are a major challenge for Chinese companies not because they are “inherently less respectful of the environment” than others, but “because of a confluence of factors” including the high environmental impacts of the sectors they are focusing on, a “cultural distance” between Chinese and Latin American people, and Chinese companies’ lack of experience in the region. One example: “Chinese executives and managers often presume that local authorities will be able to force local residents to comply with decisions to relocate their homes. . . and may mistakenly presume that, as long as they have reached an agreement with the appropriate government authorities, the local communities and other actors will comply with the decisions.”

deforestation and indigenous tribes in Amazon

“Environmental complaints” have already been made about various ongoing Chinese projects. These include the Marcona mine in Peru run by the company Shougang, the Cerro Maimon mine in the Dominican Republic, and the Sierra Grande mine in Argentina.

Chinese companies “have made efforts to improve their environmental practices where they have felt it necessary to do so, in order to avoid problems with governments and communities.” Ellis cites new technology by company Bosai to address dust problems caused by bauxite mining in Guyana as one example, and ten “environmental protection projects oriented toward wastewater, dust and air pollution” at the Marcona mine in Peru as another.

Offshore drilling by Chinese companies in Latin America and the Caribbean is particularly risky in terms of environmental impacts because “they are relatively new to producing and using deepwater drilling technology.” Ellis argues that Chinese operations are “arguably even more vulnerable to such risks” than was BP before the Deepwater Horizon Gulf of Mexico blowout in 2010.

Although “many Chinese companies in Latin America do behave badly” – either “due to a combination of willful imposition of Chinese norms and practices that do not function well in the new context, or accidentally, due to a lack of knowledge regarding local norms” – they “do not inherently behave worse than their Western counterparts” (Ellis’s italics).

A “significant portion” of the new Chinese presence in Latin America is in the renewable energy sector where companies “have been a key force in the “green revolution” transforming the energy generation mix” and “slowly moving the electricity infrastructure of the region away from fossil fuels.” Ellis states that “of the many projects and acquisitions by Chinese firms in the electricity generation sector. . . only a very small number have involved traditional fossil fuel power generation facilities”, with a focus instead on hydroelectric and what Ellis calls a “wave of new solar and wind power projects” across Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Costa Rica, Ecuador and Mexico.

What better way to end than with one particularly emblematic example and startling claim? Despite a January 2014 announcement that work would begin on a canal through Nicaragua by the end of this year or early 2015, “as this book went to press, a public announcement regarding the route to be taken by the canal had not been made, nor had any information been made public regarding environmental impact” (my italics, this time). Indeed, a report published in September by the Alexander von Humboldt Studies Centre in Nicaragua states that “technical information of environmental character generated during the design, construction and operation of the Great Canal and associated projects will remain confidential,” under the terms of the concession agreement. Von Humboldt calls the canal – due to be built by the Hong Kong-based HK Nicaragua Canal Development Investment Company – and associated infrastructure the biggest environmental threat to the country in its history.

Source: http://www.theguardian.com/environment/andes-to-the-amazon/2014/dec/20/10-china-latin-america-environment?CMP=share_btn_tw

public relations firm and public affairs firm Denver and Phoenix

Crossbow Communications specializes in issue management and public affairs. It’s also promoting forest conservation, reforestation, sustainable agriculture, and wildlife conservation through its subsidiary–Sacred Seedlings. Please contact Gary Chandler at gary@crossbow1.com to join our network.

Sustainable Palm Oil A Myth

Tropical Deforestation and Palm Oil

Deforestation is directly responsible for about 20 percent of greenhouse gas emissions. In addition to the carbon released when forests are burned, deforestation impairs the planet’s capacity to absorb harmful CO2 from our air, which compounds the greenhouse effect, global warming and climate change.

palm oil deforestation

Because of deforestation, ecosystems in some regions of the world are on the verge of collapse right now. Balancing record human populations with diminishing natural resources is getting more challenging by the day.

The palm oil industry has been one of the greatest drivers of deforestation over the past 20+ years. Most of us have products in our kitchens and bathrooms that contain palm oil. It’s found in thousands of products, including cookies, shampoo, lotions and shaving cream. Most of us have no idea that these products promote tropical deforestation and wildlife extinction.

Palm oil is a multibillion-dollar industry—and it’s still growing rapidly at the expense of our rainforests. The World Wildlife Fund says palm oil is the most widely used vegetable oil on the planet, (65 percent of all vegetable oil). While it isn’t always clearly labeled on consumer products, the environmental impact has been devastating.

palm oil deforestation

Most recently, Singapore, home to some of the largest palm companies in the world, warned citizens about the health costs of using palm oil, which is 50 percent saturated fat.

In most cases, owners of the palm oil plantation (or their sister companies in pulp and paper) are responsible for slashing and/or burning the land to clear large swaths for palm tree production. If not, they often rely on a shell game called “sustainable” palm oil to hide their connection to the deforestation.

Endangered species, including Sumatra tigers, orangutans and elephants are displaced, if not killed as part of this bungle in the jungle. Those that survive cannot ever return. It’s definitely not a sustainable practice.

These palm plantations proceed to disrupt entire ecosystems because they are based on the concept of monoculture versus biodiversity. Even a so-called “sustainable” plantation often sits on thousands of acres of former wildlife habitat within a critical watershed. The Roundtable On Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) appears to be just a shell game where offenders can purchase offsets or credits to cover their misdeeds. Companies with blood on their hands (directly or indirectly through suppliers) simply buy credits and claim to be sustainability leaders.

Sustainable palm oil needs to defend biodiversity and endangered species. Sustainable palm oil needs to be responsible in the battle against climate change. Stalling, green washing and outright lies are not leadership tactics.

At the moment, most sustainable palm oil is merely a cheap label that anyone can buy. If RSPO is bought not earned, it’s meaningless. A “sustainability leader” can kill ecosystems and endangered species and buy credits to cover its tracks. That’s fraud not sustainability.

It’s time to force biodiversity and endangered species into every conversation about palm oil (and other industries). It’s time to defend ecosystems, not just corporate reputations. If tigers, orangutans, elephants and rhinos go extinct at the hands of RSPO, we don’t have our values in order.

We have a model for a sustainable pilot plan that can expand palm oil’s footprint, while fighting poverty and climate change. It also could lower production costs. This model involves urban forestry in cities throughout the tropics. In these locations, millions of trees can make neighborhoods more livable, resilient and more productive.

Indonesia deforestation and endangered species

Entire neighborhoods serve as the caretakers and harvesters. Palm companies merely develop collection centers that pay neighbors for their harvest, while funneling the supply onward for processing. Meanwhile, these urban trees can make communities more resilient, while sheltering buildings from the weather (which can save energy and cut CO2 emissions). No deforestation or displacement involved and every city has millions of spaces for trees. These trees also can help control surface water runoff in cities and protect them from floods.

We urge palm oil producers and stakeholders to work with us on this model and others. We have stakeholders around the world ready to help. It’s time for a new paradigm and new partnerships on forest conservation.

Read more about the myths associated with sustainable palm oil. http://crossbowcommunications.com/sustainable-palm-oil-label-bought-not-earned/

public relations firm and public affairs firm Denver and Phoenix

Crossbow Communications specializes in issue management and public affairs. It’s also promoting forest conservation, reforestation, sustainable agriculture, and wildlife conservation through its subsidiary–Sacred Seedlings. Please contact Gary Chandler at gary@crossbow1.com to join our network.

Palm Oil Industry Pushing Wildlife Into Extinction

Editor’s Note: Unfortunately, most of the talk about sustainability in the palm oil industry is just smoke and mirrors. This is an immediate battle for the survival of critical species in our fragile web of life. To be more precise, this is about the survival of the Sumatran tiger and the orangutans of Sumatra and Borneo.

palm oil plantations and deforestation

Of course, palm oil’s footprint is much greater than that, but these iconic creatures are on the front lines as they are being pushed closer and closer to the brink of extinction every day. Meanwhile governments and corporations stall progress and talk about their nonsense commitments to sustainable palm oil–a label that producers buy instead of earn. Even sustainable palm oil is fueling deforestation and pushing orangutans and Sumatran tigers into extinction. They destroy one forest and plant a tree somewhere else in its honor. That isn’t sustainable. That is fraud.Unfortunately, there also is the pressure from other special interests who hope to privatize the genetics of endangered species. These interests are fanning the flames of deforestation from behind the scenes. These are all crimes against nature and it’s time to put private agendas aside. We all need more than palm oil and concrete to survive.

Nothing Sustainable About Palm Oil

By Shelley Goldberg

Most people know that palm oil is one of the most widely used vegetable oils in the world. You can even find it in popular foods like pizza, ice cream, and chocolate. But not everyone realizes that the production of palm oil is also destructive.

palm oil deforestation

Indeed, since vast quantities of land and forests must be cleared for plantation development, the growth and development of palm oil is linked to major issues. Besides deforestation, there’s climate change, habitat degradation, animal cruelty, indigenous rights abuses – you name it.

According to the World Wildlife Fund, an area that’s the equivalent size of 300 football fields of rainforest is cleared to make way for palm oil production – every hour. Making matters worse, such large-scale deforestation is pushing many species to extinction.

If the situation continues, species such as the orangutan could become extinct within the next five to 10 years. The Sumatran tiger has even less time, with about three years until extinction.

Now, if you can stomach those statistics, there is an opportunity brewing in the sector. Oil palm is one of the least expensive crops in the world. And its yields are five to 10 times greater than the output of other vegetable oils.

The crop is known for production of two types of oils from its fruit. The first is the oil derived from the fruit’s flesh, which is used for cooking oil, shortening, margarines, milk fat replacements, and cocoa butter substitutes. The other oil, derived from the kernel, is used primarily in the manufacturing of soaps, detergents, lotions, cosmetics, and toiletries.

Of course, the demand for these products isn’t going to end. Demand for palm oil is also rising in the biofuel, agrifood, and oleo chemistry industries. To satisfy this demand, global palm oil production is anticipated to be on a continuous increase going forward. Already, over 60 million metric tons of palm oil are exported daily from Southeast Asia.

Now, that’s not to say producers are ignoring the problems with palm oil production. In fact, the industry is beginning to take action. A controversial new document entitled, “The Sustainable Palm Oil Manifesto” was released just weeks ago. It was signed by major palm oil producing and trading companies such as Sime Darby Plantation (SMEBF), IOI Corporation Berhad (IOIOF), and Kuala Lumpur Kepong Berhad (KLKBF).

deforestation and endangered species

At first, the manifesto appeared to be a major win for forest conservation. Yet organizations such as the Union of Concerned Scientists point to loopholes and vague language. They claim the document allows them to make only modest changes while continuing to destroy land (and push wildlife closer to extinction).

Now, in the spring, Procter & Gamble (PG) announced new goals to help ensure zero deforestation in its palm oil supply chain. Its goal is to trace supply chains of palm oil and palm kernel oil to supplier mills by December 31, 2015, and to plantations by 2020.

While P&G claims it’s already working with larger suppliers to improve tractability, small farmers in Malaysia and Indonesia account for 35% to 45% of the company’s palm oil production. So it has a ways to go.

More recently P&G announced that is conducting an in-field study to help small farmers improve their palm oil and palm kernel oil production. P&G is partnering with the Malaysia Institute for Supply Chain Innovation (MISI) to field this study.

deforestation and endangered species

Other companies have taken similar steps in this direction. Danone (BN.PA) has committed to sourcing traceable palm oil with no links to deforestation, setting a goal to map its palm oil supply chain by the end of 2015.  Its pledge is followed by a series of similar commitments by companies such as Colgate-Palmolive Co.(CL), General Mills Inc. (GIS), and Mars.

Demand for sustainable palm oil is anticipated to grow in the near future. Especially as the industry addresses the environmental concerns and develops new plantations on existing cleared land – while also conserving natural resources and addressing the needs of the indigenous people and wildlife.

Source: http://www.wallstreetdaily.com/2014/08/04/palm-oil-industry/

public relations firm and public affairs firm Denver and Phoenix

Crossbow Communications specializes in issue management and public affairs. It’s also promoting forest conservation, reforestation, sustainable agriculture, and wildlife conservation through its subsidiary–Sacred Seedlings. Please contact Gary Chandler at gary@crossbow1.com to join our network.

Palm Oil Executive Jailed For Illegal Deforestation

Crimes Against Nature Going To Court

The director of the Indonesian palm oil company PT Kallista Alam, Subianto Rusyid, has been found guilty of illegally clearing peat forest in Aceh, Sumatra, and has been sentenced to eight months in jail. The judges also fined him 150 million rupiah (about 13,000 US$), and said he would be imprisoned for a further three months if the fine was not paid.

palm oil deforestation

This follows on from a court ruling in a civil case in January in which Kallista Alam was ordered to pay 114.3 billion rupiah (about 9.7 million US$) in compensation and 251.7 billion rupiah (close to 21 million US$) to restore the 1,000 hectares it deforested illegally.

The company was convicted of illegally burning large swathes of the Tripa peat forest, which lies within Sumatra’s Leuser Ecosystem – the only place on earth where tigers, elephants, rhinos, and orangutans can be found living together in the wild. That case was brought against Kallista Alam by the Indonesian environment ministry.

The court also ordered the confiscation of 5,769 hectares of land managed by Kallista Alam and set a five million rupiah (about 426 US$) daily fine for each day the company delays paying the compensation and restoration costs.

palm oil deforestation

The judges heard evidence about how much damage the forest burning had caused to the soil structure in Tripa: peat layers 10 to 15 centimetres deep were destroyed. Gases triggered by the burning exceeded the permitted Threshold Limit Value. Judges at the Meulaboh District Court have also sentenced Kallista Alam’s development manager, Khamidin Yoesoef, to three years in prison and a fine of three billion rupiah (about 256,000 US$) or a further five months in prison. Kallista Alam is appealing against all three verdicts.

The International Union for Conservation of Nature has identified Sumatra’s Leuser Ecosystem as one of the world’s “irreplaceable areas.”

Ian Singleton, director of the Sumatran Orangutan Conservation Programme, said the new judgement was a victory in terms of law enforcement, coming on top of the fine imposed on Kallista Alam in January.

Orangutan habitat and palm oil plantations

The public prosecutor had asked for a ten-month jail sentence for Subianto Rusyid, who was accused of negligence for failing to control his subordinates. In May, Fadila Ibra from the Coalition to Save Rawa Tripa was quoted by the Jakarta Globe as saying this demand was too lenient given the environmental damage caused, and was less than half the sentence the law stipulates. “This will not deter those who have destroyed the environment,” Fadila was quoted as saying.

Fadila has been quoted as saying Subianto could have been punished with five years in prison and a two billion rupiah fine.

The Aceh branch of Walhi (Friends of the Earth Indonesia) filed a lawsuit demanding that the 1,605 hectares in the Nagan Raya district that were allocated to Kallista Alam in August 2011 by the then governor of Aceh province, Irwandi Yusuf, should be taken over and managed by the local government. The area has again been declared a conservation area. As part of the Leuser Ecosystem, it should already have been protected.

After a large-scale international protest, the Indonesian environment ministry decided to investigate Irwandi Yusuf’s issuance of the permit. In September 2012, the new governor, Zaini Abdullah, revoked it in accordance with a ruling by the Administrative High Court in Medan, which said it was illegal.

PT Kallista Alam appealed and, in May 2013, the Banda Aceh Administrative Court ruled in the company’s favour and overturned the revoking of the permit, saying that it was not legally binding because the court decision was being challenged in the Supreme Court. The company’s Supreme Court appeal has since been rejected in a ruling that supersedes that of the Banda Aceh court.

There are criminal and civil prosecutions underway against four other oil palm companies with concessions in Tripa: PT Surya Panen Subur II, PT Dua Perkasa Lestari, PT Gelora Sawita Makmur, and PT Cemerlang Abadi.

Indonesia deforestation and endangered species

Destruction of Orangutan Habitat

Tripa is one of only three remaining peat swamp forests in Sumatra where orangutans can be found. There were some 2,000 to 3,000 orangutans in the area in the 1990s, but only a few hundred are left today.

Up to 100 orangutans are thought to have perished in forest clearing and peat burning in Tripa, and experts say they are now close to being exterminated in the area.

Orangutans are not the only animals in jeopardy in Tripa; the area has also been home to Sumatran tigers, Malayan sun bears and other endangered and protected wildlife.

Indonesia’s peatlands cover less than 0.1 per cent of the Earth’s surface, but their destruction is causing 4 percent of global greenhouse gas emissions every year. According to Greenpeace, the annual clearing of Indonesia’s peatlands releases some 1.8 billion tonnes of greenhouse gases and some put the figure at 2 billion.

Under Indonesian law, development on peat up to three meters deep is still legal, and the palm oil industry’s certification system, the RSPO, does not ban all development on peat.

Source: http://time2transcend.wordpress.com/2014/07/16/palm-oil-company-director-sentenced-to-jail-for-illegal-forest-clearance-in-indonesia/

public relations firm and public affairs firm Denver and Phoenix

Crossbow Communications specializes in issue management and public affairs. It’s also promoting forest conservation, reforestation, sustainable agriculture, and wildlife conservation through its subsidiary–Sacred Seedlings. Please contact Gary Chandler at gary@crossbow1.com to join our network.

Tanzania Planning Carbon Capture Project

Climate Change Solutions In The Forests

Reforestation is one of the few proven carbon capture solutions available today. Thanks to our partners in East Africa, we have one of the largest carbon capture opportunities in the world and it’s ready to begin immediately.

With the help of foundations, corporations, governments, NGOs and donors, we can conserve millions of hectares of existing forests and plant more than 100 million new trees. We will plant millions of more trees in Burundi, Kenya, Rwanda and Uganda.

forest conservation Tanzania and Kenya

According to very conservative estimates, the reforestation effort alone will capture 2.5 million tons of CO2 every year. The forest conservation (avoided deforestation) program will help even more.

We also have plans for smaller projects in Burundi, Kenya, Rwanda and Uganda that represent an opportunity to plant millions of additional trees and much more. It’s possibly the largest carbon-capture opportunity available today and one that we can’t afford to ignore. It’s large enough to help us all fight climate change, while promoting a sustainable watershed, ecosystem and economy for more than 100 million people across East Africa.

Save Kilimanjaro ecosystem

Please join us. We need volunteers, donations, grants, sponsors, and media coverage to kickstart this important program immediately. We also need more projects around the world. Forest conservation and reforestation can help capture carbon, defend ecosystems and the planet.

Save Kilimanjaro

We also offer voluntary carbon offsets to help organizations meet their carbon management objectives. We are working with the regulated carbon markets now to line up certifications. Learn more at http://sacredseedlings.com/east-africa-projects/

forest conservation and reforestation

Sacred Seedlings is a U.S.-based program that supports the vision of local stakeholders. We have projects ready across Africa. We seek additional projects elsewhere around the world. We also seek volunteers, sponsors and donors of cash and in-kind support. Write to Gary Chandler for more information gary@crossbow1.com