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Katrina Plus Ten: Climate Justice in Action

How time flies.  It is hard to believe it has already been ten years since Hurricane Katrina made devastating landfall on the Gulf Coast. When Katrina hit and devastated the region, New Orleans’ poorly maintained levees broke and flooded the city. The privileged few were able to flee the disaster while thousands more were left in flooded streets and on the rooftops of their homes.  As soon as the storm hit, my friend, mentor and longtime organizing comrade scott crow traveled to New Orleans to rescue a friend who’d lost contact during the storm. Out of that rescue mission emerged...

Sara Lee and the Problem with Palm Oil

When I’m explaining the problems with palm oil to folks who are new to the issue, I often say that I am almost impressed at how many things this industry has managed to get wrong.  The palm oil industry is enslaving workers and children, destroying forests that are some of the most biodiverse ecosystems on the planet, and the climate pollution that comes from clearing the peatland rainforests that are replaced with palm oil plantations is greater than the entire US transportation sector. I’m proud to say that this issue is getting more and more of the attention...

What Climate Justice Means to Me

“With the support of good people and the resilience of brave people, it seems like anything can be accomplished. Sustain the Nine.” — the late Pamela Dashiell, climate justice leader based in New Orleans’ Lower Ninth Ward With the tenth anniversary of Hurricane Katrina around the corner — August 29th — I’ve been thinking about justice. What do environmental justice, and climate justice, mean to me? Who are my environmental justice and climate justice (s)heroes?    When I think about justice, I think about communities living on...

Shutting down a coal mine on the road through Paris

By Morten Thaysen. Cross-posted from the Global Justice Now blog. Pictures by 350.org.  The view is breath-taking and strangely beautiful as we reach the edge of the giant open cast coal mine. The surrounding landscape has turned from fertile cabbage fields to a gaping wound in the ground with no signs of life. In that moment as hundreds of my fellow activists dressed in white boiler suits storm down the slopes towards the giant machines carving out the mine, I know we are achieving something great. We’re shutting down one of the biggest coal mines on Earth. Last weekend I took time off work to blockade a giant coal mine along with...

Chicago Activists call on Hillshire Brands to Cut Conflict Palm Oil.

For over 2 years, RAN has exposed Hillshire Brands, and 19 other snack food giants, as companies at risk of using Conflict Palm Oil in their products. Hillshire Brands is one of the companies lagging farthest behind in the Snack Food 20 group of companies and has refused to take action while its peers have begun reforming their palm oil supply chains. Despite thousands of phone calls and emails, we’ve gotten little-to-no response from Hillshire (which has recently been acquired by Tyson Foods) representatives. Hillshire Brands is the producer of Sara Lee cakes and pies, products that are laden with Conflict Palm Oil, yet it is clear that the company is not yet taking the rainforest destruction and violations of human rights in its products seriously. Activists held a banner and images of destroyed rainforests...

I didn’t used to think about the future

Image: Youth of Oceti Sakowin calling on President Barrack Obama to reject the Keystone Pipeline in March 2015.   August 29th marks 10 years since Hurricane Katrina's first landfall. Change the Course is dedicating the month of August to climate justice, highlighting the disproportionate impacts climate change has on front line communities. To learn about Change the Course and learn how you can envision a just and climate stable future, visit ChangeTheCourse.org   Honestly, I didn’t used to think about the future much. The future seemed like a luxury afforded only to those who could survive the present. It’s not that I was especially pessimistic, but when faced with the cold...

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Sara Lee and the Problem with Palm Oil

When I’m explaining the problems with palm oil to folks who are new to the issue, I often say that I am almost impressed at how many things this industry has managed to get wrong.  The palm oil industry is enslaving workers and children, destroying forests that are some of the most biodiverse ecosystems on the planet, and the climate pollution that comes from clearing the peatland rainforests that are replaced with palm oil plantations is greater than the entire US transportation sector. I’m proud to say that this issue is getting more and more of the attention...

Chicago Activists call on Hillshire Brands to Cut Conflict Palm Oil.

For over 2 years, RAN has exposed Hillshire Brands, and 19 other snack food giants, as companies at risk of using Conflict Palm Oil in their products. Hillshire Brands is one of the companies lagging farthest behind in the Snack Food 20 group of companies and has refused to take action while its peers have begun reforming their palm oil supply chains. Despite thousands of phone calls and emails, we’ve gotten little-to-no response from Hillshire (which has recently been acquired by Tyson Foods) representatives. Hillshire Brands is the producer of Sara Lee cakes and pies, products that are laden with...

Conflict Palm Oil Culprits: Who is Destroying the Lowland Rainforests?

Imagine a place where some of the world’s most unique animals—like tigers, elephants, and sun bears—roam side by side. Where towering trees, lush ferns and an abundance of tropical plants grow forming a vibrant green landscape as far as the eye can see. Where the forest is so full of life that at times the orchestra of all the different insects, primates, and birds can seem deafening. Although this sounds like a place straight out of an imaginative fairytale, this place is real. It’s called the Leuser Ecosystem—6.5 million acres of lush, verdant tropical rainforests located on the...

Breaking: Sara Lee’s Not-So-Sweet Dessert

Around the globe, Sara Lee is known for its ready-to-bake pies and cakes. But for those of us fighting for forests, it’s known for something much more sinister - Conflict Palm Oil. Earlier this summer, Hillshire Brands Company — maker of Sara Lee frozen pies and cakes — was identified as one of the Conflict Palm Oil laggards. These are companies which have not done nearly enough to ensure that the products they sell are not linked to human rights abuses, rainforest destruction, land grabs, and child and forced labor. That’s why this morning, Chicago activists took action with RAN at the Hillshire Brands headquarters to demand that it adopt a global responsible palm oil policy that eliminates deforestation from its supply chain. Will you support these activists by sending a message to Sara Lee on Facebook? Thousands have written and called,...

Why We Were at Ralph Lauren’s AGM today

This morning, activists took to the streets of New York for the second time this summer, calling on Ralph Lauren to be a leader for communities and the forests they depend on. As Ralph Lauren shareholders gathered at the swanky St. Regis Hotel in midtown Manhattan for the company’s annual general meeting, they were greeted by activists handing out copies of RAN’s latest report, “Lessons from the Incense Forest” and asking them to bring this important issues to the leadership inside the meeting. “Lessons from the Incense Forest” details the struggles of the people of Pandumaan-Sipituhuta in North Sumatra, on the frontlines of human rights abuses and forest destruction for rayon, viscose and other wood-based fabrics. For over 13 generations, these communities have relied on the sustainable harvest of the resin from the benzoin...

RSPO responds to Modern Day Slavery Findings on RSPO Member Felda Global Venture’s Plantations

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Monday, August 4, 2015 CONTACT: Laurel Sutherlin, laurel@ran.org RSPO responds to Modern Day Slavery Findings on RSPO Member Felda Global Venture’s Plantations Coalition of NGOs continues call for an open investigation into The Wall Street Journal’s findings August 4, 2015 (San Francisco, CA) - On the heels of a major investigative article from The Wall Street Journal exposing serious human rights and labor abuses in Malaysian grower Felda Global Venture’s plantations, a coalition of civil society groups issued a statement calling on the Roundtable for Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) for an open investigation into the abuses. Conditions including human trafficking, forced labor, and withholding of wages were documented, all of which are violations of the RSPO’s Principles and Criteria, as well as basic human rights.  

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Katrina Plus Ten: Climate Justice in Action

How time flies.  It is hard to believe it has already been ten years since Hurricane Katrina made devastating landfall on the Gulf Coast. When Katrina hit and devastated the region, New Orleans’ poorly maintained levees broke and flooded the city. The privileged few were able to flee the disaster while thousands more were left in flooded streets and on the rooftops of their homes.  As soon as the storm hit, my friend, mentor and longtime organizing comrade scott crow traveled to New Orleans to rescue a friend who’d lost contact during the storm. Out of that rescue mission emerged...

What Climate Justice Means to Me

“With the support of good people and the resilience of brave people, it seems like anything can be accomplished. Sustain the Nine.” — the late Pamela Dashiell, climate justice leader based in New Orleans’ Lower Ninth Ward With the tenth anniversary of Hurricane Katrina around the corner — August 29th — I’ve been thinking about justice. What do environmental justice, and climate justice, mean to me? Who are my environmental justice and climate justice (s)heroes?    When I think about justice, I think about communities living on...

Shutting down a coal mine on the road through Paris

By Morten Thaysen. Cross-posted from the Global Justice Now blog. Pictures by 350.org.  The view is breath-taking and strangely beautiful as we reach the edge of the giant open cast coal mine. The surrounding landscape has turned from fertile cabbage fields to a gaping wound in the ground with no signs of life. In that moment as hundreds of my fellow activists...

Bank of America’s Coal Policy: A Bold Challenge to U.S. Banks on Climate

Last month, Bank of America published its 2014 Corporate Social Responsibility Report, which addressed the bank’s financing policies and practices in detail. This blog post looks back on the bank’s release of its updated coal policy in May, and looks at the strengths and weaknesses of the policy update and what it means for the banking sector’s financing of coal more broadly. Overall: Bank of America’s new coal policy is both groundbreaking and imperfect. It acknowledges that the bank has a responsibility not only to finance the transition to low-carbon energy but also to cut financing for high-carbon energy sources. The policy goes well beyond comparable policies at the bank’s U.S. peers by committing to a broad cutback to BofA’s lending for coal mining both in the U.S. and internationally. However, this commitment lacks public-facing detail in terms of targets and deadlines, and fails to address the bank’s...

Coal Finance Case Study: Putting Communities and a World Heritage Site at Risk for a New Power Plant

    As part of RAN's work to call on banks to commit to the Paris Pledge and end financing for coal and coal-fired power prior to the Paris climate summit this year, we'll be highlighting case studies of destructive coal projects around the world. This case study, authored by Greig Aitken from BankTrack highlights the Rampal coal plant planned for Bangladesh, which would have devastating impacts on communities, a World Heritage-listed mangrove forest, and the climate. Just last month, three of France’s largest banks (BNP Paribas, Crédit Agricole, and Société Génerale) committed to refrain from financing the project.   Bangladesh is extremely vulnerable to climate change. When powerful storm surges hit this low lying country, the world’s largest mangrove forest, the Sundarbans, provides a natural barrier which protects hundreds of thousands of lives. But this could change if a joint venture between India’s National Thermal Power...

Systems Change, Rainforests, and Racism

“What Does ______ Have to Do with Rainforests?!”This week, RAN posted a message of support on Facebook about the courageous civil disobedience by Bree Newsome in South Carolina. And, as a testament to the social justice leanings of our community, our post was met with predominant support. Post by rainforestactionnetwork.However, there was also the de rigeur Internet Indignance. “Why is an environmental group talking about ____?” “What does this have to do with rainforests?!!” “You no longer have my support!” We always expect these responses. Yet when we touch on issues involving race in the United States, those responses always seem a little louder. And a lot uglier.Systems Change: It’s What We DoOf course, Rainforest Action Network is no stranger to civil disobedience or controversy. For 30 years, one of RAN’s core advocacy strategies has been to challenge corporate power and systems...

BREAKING: Bank of America dumps coal mining

After years of pressure on Bank of America, they just announced a new coal mining policy: “Our new policy … reflects our decision to continue to reduce our credit exposure over time to the coal mining sector globally.”1 Translation: Bank of America...

Bank of America Campaign Timeline

Bank of America has gone from being the top bankroller of coal to having the strongest global coal mining policy of any major global bank. That's the result of years of hard-hitting campaigning by Rainforest Action Network (RAN), our many front-line allies — and...

Earth Day is About Action

Did you know today is Earth Day?Did you know that because you’ve been swamped with “Go Green” commercials?Is your TV and Facebook suddenly filled with polar bears and pollution stats?That’s not what Earth Day is about. Earth Day was born out of action -- not...

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Katrina Plus Ten: Climate Justice in Action

Posted by 08/28/15

How time flies.  It is hard to believe it has already been ten years since Hurricane Katrina made devastating landfall on the Gulf Coast. When Katrina hit and devastated the region, New Orleans’ poorly maintained levees broke and flooded the city. The privileged few were able to flee the disaster while thousands more were left in flooded streets and on the rooftops of their homes.  As soon as the storm hit, my friend, mentor and longtime organizing comrade scott crow traveled to New Orleans to rescue a friend who’d lost contact during the storm. Out of that rescue mission emerged the largest anarchist-inspired organization in recent U.S. history—Common Ground Relief Effort. When the "state" collapsed and was unable to provide relief, scott, former Black Panther Malik Rahim, and others from the informal network of radicals and anarchists that had emerged from the anti-corporate globalization and anti-war movements stepped...   Read more

Sara Lee and the Problem with Palm Oil

Posted by 08/26/15

When I’m explaining the problems with palm oil to folks who are new to the issue, I often say that I am almost impressed at how many things this industry has managed to get wrong.  The palm oil industry is enslaving workers and children, destroying forests that are some of the most biodiverse ecosystems on the planet, and the climate pollution that comes from clearing the peatland rainforests that are replaced with palm oil plantations is greater than the entire US transportation sector. I’m proud to say that this issue is getting more and more of the attention it deserves and that the RAN Conflict Palm Oil campaign is driving unprecedented changes in this awful industry. Slowly but surely change is happening, but there are still a lot of folks, including the decision makers at Snack Food 20 laggard company Hillshire Brands, that aren’t taking the threats of...   Read more

What Climate Justice Means to Me

Posted by 08/21/15

“With the support of good people and the resilience of brave people, it seems like anything can be accomplished. Sustain the Nine.” — the late Pamela Dashiell, climate justice leader based in New Orleans’ Lower Ninth Ward With the tenth anniversary of Hurricane Katrina around the corner — August 29th — I’ve been thinking about justice. What do environmental justice, and climate justice, mean to me? Who are my environmental justice and climate justice (s)heroes?    When I think about justice, I think about communities living on the front lines. People living on the Gulf Coast from New Orleans to Miami. People living near industrial facilities — mines, refineries, and power plants. Too many of these people are sick. They are physically ill with diseases like asthma, COPD, cancer, reproductive and neurological challenges. As weather patterns drastically change,...   Read more

Shutting down a coal mine on the road through Paris

Posted by 08/21/15

By Morten Thaysen. Cross-posted from the Global Justice Now blog. Pictures by 350.org.  The view is breath-taking and strangely beautiful as we reach the edge of the giant open cast coal mine. The surrounding landscape has turned from fertile cabbage fields to a gaping wound in the ground with no signs of life. In that moment as hundreds of my fellow activists dressed in white boiler suits storm down the slopes towards the giant machines carving out the mine, I know we are achieving something great. We’re shutting down one of the biggest coal mines on Earth. Last weekend I took time off work to blockade a giant coal mine along with...  Read more

Katrina Plus Ten: Climate Justice in Action

Posted by 08/28/15

How time flies.  It is hard to believe it has already been ten years since Hurricane Katrina made devastating landfall on the Gulf Coast. When Katrina hit and devastated the region, New Orleans’ poorly maintained levees broke and flooded the city. The privileged few were able to flee the disaster while thousands more were left in flooded streets and on the rooftops of their homes.  As soon as the storm hit, my friend, mentor and longtime organizing comrade scott crow traveled to New Orleans to rescue a friend who’d lost contact during the storm. Out of that rescue mission emerged the largest anarchist-inspired organization in recent U.S. history—Common Ground Relief Effort. When the "state" collapsed and was unable to provide relief, scott, former Black Panther Malik Rahim, and others from the informal network of radicals and anarchists that had emerged from the anti-corporate globalization and anti-war movements stepped...   Read more

Sara Lee and the Problem with Palm Oil

Posted by 08/26/15

When I’m explaining the problems with palm oil to folks who are new to the issue, I often say that I am almost impressed at how many things this industry has managed to get wrong.  The palm oil industry is enslaving workers and children, destroying forests that are some of the most biodiverse ecosystems on the planet, and the climate pollution that comes from clearing the peatland rainforests that are replaced with palm oil plantations is greater than the entire US transportation sector. I’m proud to say that this issue is getting more and more of the attention it deserves and that the RAN Conflict Palm Oil campaign is driving unprecedented changes in this awful industry. Slowly but surely change is happening, but there are still a lot of folks, including the decision makers at Snack Food 20 laggard company Hillshire Brands, that aren’t taking the threats of...   Read more

What Climate Justice Means to Me

Posted by 08/21/15

“With the support of good people and the resilience of brave people, it seems like anything can be accomplished. Sustain the Nine.” — the late Pamela Dashiell, climate justice leader based in New Orleans’ Lower Ninth Ward With the tenth anniversary of Hurricane Katrina around the corner — August 29th — I’ve been thinking about justice. What do environmental justice, and climate justice, mean to me? Who are my environmental justice and climate justice (s)heroes?    When I think about justice, I think about communities living on the front lines. People living on the Gulf Coast from New Orleans to Miami. People living near industrial facilities — mines, refineries, and power plants. Too many of these people are sick. They are physically ill with diseases like asthma, COPD, cancer, reproductive and neurological challenges. As weather patterns drastically change,...   Read more

Shutting down a coal mine on the road through Paris

Posted by 08/21/15

By Morten Thaysen. Cross-posted from the Global Justice Now blog. Pictures by 350.org.  The view is breath-taking and strangely beautiful as we reach the edge of the giant open cast coal mine. The surrounding landscape has turned from fertile cabbage fields to a gaping wound in the ground with no signs of life. In that moment as hundreds of my fellow activists dressed in white boiler suits storm down the slopes towards the giant machines carving out the mine, I know we are achieving something great. We’re shutting down one of the biggest coal mines on Earth. Last weekend I took time off work to blockade a giant coal mine along with...  Read more

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