Pages tagged "activism"


Alternet: Fabulously Dressed San Francisco Activists Confront Big Fashion Over Its Role in Deforestation

"Earlier Thursday morning, activists staged a protest in downtown San Francisco to call attention to forest destruction for fabric. Activists are visiting Fashion 15 companies throughout the city, demanding that companies get forest destruction out of their fabric."

READ FULL ARTICLE HERE


Communities Speak Out Against Coal Plants

This morning, the EPA announced limits on carbon pollution from power plants. That's a welcome step in fighting climate change—and it wouldn't have happened without communities speaking out against coal plants. Here at RAN, we're proud of the role our network of friends and activists has played in building pressure over the last several years.

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Stop TXU! Activists stage protests against financial institutions linked to Texas utility company TXU’s controversial plans to build 11 new coal-fired power plants as part of an expansion strategy that would make it the single largest corporate greenhouse gas emitter in the Unites States. Winter 2007. Photo: Andrew Stern.

 

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University of Kentucky Fossil Fools Day. Students raise a wind turbine atop a coal mound as part of an action for Fossil Fools Day at University of Kentucky. April 1, 2008.

 

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Wise Coal Action. Virginia residents and anti-coal activists form a blockade to disrupt the construction of Dominion's Wise County Coal-Fired Power Plant. September 2008.

 

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Capitol Climate Action. Thousands of activists surround the Capitol Coal Plant in Washington DC to demand its retirement. March 2009.

 

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Duke Energy's Cliffside Coal Plant. RAN activists holding a banner in front of Duke Energy's Cliffside coal plant in Cliffside, North Carolina. The banner action coincided with the release a new report, The Principle Matter: Banks, Climate & The Carbon Principles. January 2011.

 

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Crawford Coal Plant Banner. Six activists with the Little Village Environmental Justice Organization (LVEJO), Rising Tide North America, Rainforest Action Network (RAN) and the Backbone Campaign climbed the fence to Midwest Generation’s controversial Crawford coal plant in Little Village. The activists unfurled a 7' x 30' banner atop a 20-foot tall sprawling coal pile that feeds the power plant, which reads: "Close Chicago's Toxic Coal Plants." April 2011.

 

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Stand with Pat: Tell BofA to Stop Funding Coal. Grandmothers Pat Moore and Beth Henry and seven others were arrested outside of four different Bank of America branches in Charlotte, NC delivering a simple yet urgent message to the bank: they must STOP funding coal. November 2012. Photo: © Paul Corbit Brown.


APRIL Misses the Mark with New Forest Management Policy

insetOn Tuesday, Indonesia's second largest pulp and paper company, Asia Pacific Resources International Limited (APRIL), released an updated Sustainable Forest Management Policy. While this policy is notable, especially given APRIL’s recent suspension from the World Business Council on Sustainable Development (WBCSD), it falls far short of what is needed for APRIL to clean up its act. It should also be noted that over the years, APRIL has repeatedly failed to meet similar commitments, raising the possibility that this is simply another PR move to alleviate pressure and scrutiny from consumers and NGO’s.

For years, APRIL has been the subject of controversy related to deforestation and human rights violations, due to ethically dubious business practices on the part of both APRIL and its owner Sukanto Tanoto.

Sukanto Tanoto, an Indonesian business tycoon, is also the head of Royal Golden Eagle International (RGE), and has dealings in palm oil and viscose staples fiber (dissolving pulp) as well. This new commitment is rife with policy gaps and, in fact, could allow the continued pulping of rainforests for paper until 2020. APRIL has not committed to stop natural forest conversion until the end of this year, and is continuing to feed its 2 million ton-capacity mill with rainforest fiber. Furthermore, the commitment does not address the fact that April and suppliers have cleared and converted vast areas of high conservation value and natural rainforest, despite these areas being identified as HCVs in need of protection.

APRIL has also omitted any safeguards to prevent ongoing land-grabs and human rights abuses by Toba Pulp Lestari (an RGE-affiliated company) perpetrated on Indigenous people in areas under development. As recently as last week, new protests over land-grabs have broken out near PT RAPP, where APRIL’s massive pulp mill is located.  Local community members are blocking logging trucks to the mill and organizing to resist APRIL encroachment, highlighting the continued non-cooperation with local people impacted by APRIL’s operation.

In order to translate to change on the ground, the commitment must extend to all of RGE and APRIL’s sister companies and suppliers, and must close loopholes on the critical issues of human rights, peatland development and high conservation value forests. Even the commitment itself is murky, as APRIL fails to disclose the most basic information needed to understand what is being promised and assess the company's performance. Transparency and reporting on progress are necessary to ensure that commitments are met.

While, this is a positive commitment, APRIL has yet to undertake a path to true reform. Pulp and paper customers must demand more before considering doing business with any of Sukanto Tanoto's vast network of companies, which still remain entirely unaccountable for the consequences of their actions. In the meantime, the WBCSD should continue high level scrutiny of APRIL's actions until APRIL has proven that it can fully turn its practices around.


Banking on Coal: New BankTrack Report Highlights Bank Complicity in Global Coal Mining Boom

banking on coal “Most innovative investment bank for climate change.” – Citigroup “Mak(ing) your life greener and help(ing) tackle climate change.” – Morgan Stanley “Financing a low carbon economy.” – Bank of America When banks tout slogans such as these, you might expect them to mean that they plan to phase out financing for coal, the single largest source of global climate emissions. Unfortunately, these and other banks are doing the opposite, as a new report from the BankTrack network and RAN found. Since 2005, the year the Kyoto Protocol came into force, bank financing for coal mining companies increased by 397 percent. This surge in bank financing for coal is not just hypocritical, it’s also insane: Leading scientific, policy, and civil society institutions around the world have concluded that burning more than 20% of existing global coal reserves would lock in catastrophic climate change. The BankTrack report, entitled "Banking on Coal," was released at the COP 19 climate conference in Warsaw, Poland and also found that global coal production has grown by 69 percent since 2000 and has now reached 7.9 billion tons annually. The future of coal was a front-and-center issue at COP 19 and at a simultaneous coal industry conference held in Warsaw this month. In a speech at the World Coal Conference, Christiana Figueres, the chair of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, told attendees that any responsible future for the global coal industry must involve “leav(ing) most existing reserves in the ground.” The finance industry has played a key role in the recent global coal boom: In the past eight years, 89 commercial banks provided $158 billion in financing to the world’s largest and most destructive mining companies. Citigroup, Morgan Stanley, and Bank of America—the very same banks that mouth the sustainability slogans mentioned above—topped the list of coal-financing banks, providing $9.76 billion, $9.69 billion, and $8.79 billion, respectively. The report also highlights coal production “hot spots” on six continents where coal extraction has had especially devastating impacts on communities, ecosystems, or human health. Building on research from BankTrack member organizations around the globe, the report highlights the destructive impacts that coal mining is having on India’s last tiger forests, on Appalachian communities in the U.S., and on scarce water resources in South Africa. Banks are not alone in their climate hypocrisy. For example, the Government of Poland touted its commitment to powering the country with coal even as it played host to the COP 19 climate conference. But despite stiff competition from governments of Poland and other emissions-intensive countries, the degree to which major global banks are complicit in the worst coal mining projects around the world is staggering. Fortunately, bank hypocrisy on coal doesn’t work like it used to. Students certainly aren’t fooled, as campus groups across the U.S. have disrupted over 50 Bank of America and Citigroup recruitment sessions this fall over the leading role these banks play in financing the coal industry. Globally, the climate movement is becoming stronger by the day and has attracted growing support from within the financial industry, leaving the banks highlighted in the report increasingly isolated in their support for a coal-fired future.

An Urgent Request from Indonesian Conservationists

The following post is a guest blog from Indonesian conservationist and RAN ally Tezar Pahlevie. Please watch the brief following video of Tezar speaking to RAN staff from his home province of Aceh in Sumatra, Indonesia from November 2013.

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Please take action now to protect the extraordinary Leuser Ecosystem forever! You can read more from Tezar below: Hello, RAG_Tezar_Cropped_500My name is Tezar Pahlevie. This year I was honored by winning the 2013 GRASP Conservation award for my team’s work restoring rainforests damaged by illegal palm oil plantations, but now, a dangerous push from palm oil companies could see all our hard work undone. I write from my home in Aceh, on the Indonesian island of Sumatra, because the people and the place I love most are in danger and I urgently need support from people around the world to save them. Please join me in asking the governor of Aceh to protect the world class Leuser Ecosystem by nominating it as a new UNESCO World Heritage site. This is a really scary time for me, because the governor of Aceh has on his desk a disastrous plan that would remove crucial protections from the Leuser Ecosystem, opening up huge areas of some of the world’s most biologically diverse forests to major industrial development. This new plan could be signed by the governor at any time. The six million acre Leuser Ecosystem is home to the densest population of orangutans remaining anywhere and it is the only place where orangutans, tigers, elephants, rhinos and sun bears live in the same forest together.Nearly four million people depend on the rainforests of the Leuser Ecosytem to provide them with clean water for drinking, irrigation and food production. I am really sad and frustrated because every day and every month I see the destruction of the forests around my home. We in Aceh have experienced the dangerous floods that come after the logging and destroy people’s homes, livelihoods and in some cases, takes the lives of our friends or family. Witnessing all this destruction breaks my heart. We have a different vision for Aceh. We must protect the Leuser Ecosystem and the people who rely on it. The Aceh people have long fought to protect these forests because they provide us with clean water, food and are important for the next generation. It is urgent that the governor of Aceh hears from you now. Just recently, the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) identified the Leuser Ecosystem as one of the world’s foremost “irreplaceable areas” that must be protected to preserve biodiversity. I stand with scientists from across the world who are right now calling on the governor of Aceh to protect our forests by nominating the region to become a new UNESCO World Heritage site. It gives me hope that by people across the world calling on the governor, he will listen to the people instead of the companies that want to destroy our forests, and work to find a balance that will protect the forests and the livelihoods of Aceh’s people. Please take action today to automatically send a fax to Governor Dr. Zaini Abdullah asking him to listen to the traditional wisdom of Aceh’s people by supporting the nomination of the Leuser Ecosystem as a new UNESCO World Heritage site. Semangat - keep the spirit, Tezar Pahlevie Conservationist and 2013 GRASP Conservation Award Winner RAG_Leuser_PH_500x500

Conflict Palm Oil Case Study – Cargill and Snack Food 20 At Risk!

A Bumitama clearcut underway. Photo: The Centre for Orangutan ProtectionClearance of forest for a new Bumitama palm oil plantation. Photo: The Centre for Orangutan Protection[/caption]

[TRIGGER WARNING] This article documents rainforest destruction and incidents of orangutan fatalities in relation to the production of Conflict Palm Oil which is regularly used by Cargill and the Snack Food 20 companies. Pictures in this article and in the full report are disturbing.

"Conflict Palm Oil" is now one of the leading causes of rainforest and peatland destruction and a leading driver of global warming. If this wasn’t bad enough, Conflict Palm Oil production is responsible for widespread human rights violations and the use of child labor and modern day slavery. But what does it look like on the ground in Indonesia and Malaysia? And who is at risk of buying Conflict Palm Oil tied to rainforest destruction and orangutan deaths?

When thinking of how to describe Conflict Palm Oil, one company comes to mind: Bumitama Agri Ltd. Bumitama is a palm oil company that owns and controls a number of subsidiaries that operate 198,000 hectares of palm oil plantations and processing plants in Borneo and Sumatra. 133,000 hectares of its concessions are already planted with palm oil, and the company is currently planting new areas at an aggressive rate of 15,000 hectares a year with a target of 200,000 hectares in plantations by 2017. In its rampant expansion, Bumitama has even endangered Indonesian national parks and forest reserves, including one concession that is impacting Tanjung Puting National Park in Borneo. Bumitama's plans to establish palm oil plantations within the Tanjung Puting National Park and its buffer zone will further degrade the ecological integrity of this critical protected area and threaten the survival of the orangutans that live in it. Draining of peatland, seen here on a Bumitama land concession, is a major contributor to global warming.

Draining of peatland, seen here on Bumitama's concession that includes land inside and adjacent to the Tanjung Puting National Park, is a major contributor to global warming. 

The Evidence

Independent field investigations have documented the destruction of forests in three of Bumitama’s subsidiaries plantations that were the home to some of the last Borneo orangutans that remain in the wild. One of the investigations was done by the orangutan rescue organization called The Centre for Orangutan Protection (COP). A young orangutan was rescued from within a Bumitama plantation in August which, sadly, died in the care of a worker. Two weeks ago today, COP were called in to rescue another juvenile orangutan from the same area that was being cleared for a new Bumitama plantation.

 

There are multiple instances where Bumitama have cleared critically important forests and endangered orangutan habitat. You can see more of the evidence on this bad actor’s actions in our full report.

 

With their forests destroyed, orangutans are left to fend for themselves. Photo: The Centre for Orangutan Protection

 With their forests destroyed, orangutans are left to fend for themselves. Photo: The Centre for Orangutan Protection

 

Some orangutans are rescued by the COP.

Some orangutans are rescued by the COP. Photo: The Centre for Orangutan ProtectionBut even rescued orangutans are harmed, like this one who has had its hands mutilated by plantation workers. Photo: The Centre for Orangutan Protection

 

 

But even rescued orangutans are harmed, like this one who has had its hands mutilated by plantation workers. Photo: The Centre for Orangutan Protection

 

The Snack Food 20 and Cargill

So how does Conflict Palm Oil from producers like Bumitama make its way into American snack foods? Our report shows that both the Snack Food 20 and Cargill are at risk of buying Conflict Palm Oil from Bumitama. The global agribusiness traders who purchase Conflict Palm Oil from Bumitama blend it into palm oil supply chains that feed into the global market. Cargill is a major supplier that does not require the origin of most of the palm oil it buys and trades for global markets to be known and tracked.

Simply put, Cargill has no way of knowing whether it has Conflict Palm Oil that has been produced by Bumitama in its palm oil mix. Despite years of pressuring Cargill to do the right thing, it has refused to implement safeguards that would allow it to prevent Conflict Palm Oil from contaminating its global supply chain.

Cargill's is a major supplier of palm oil to consumer companies like the Snack Food 20. Cargill needs to put fully traceable supply chain systems in place so it knows the sources of all the palm oil it handles and profits from, and can eliminate Conflict Palm Oil palm from its supply chains. Cargill should adopt a “No Trade” list and publicly list the companies, including Bumitama, that it will not buy Conflict Palm Oil from. Until Cargill implements these safeguards on its global supply chain, Bumitama can not be ruled out as a source of Conflict Palm Oil contaminating Cargill’s palm oil supply and the products of the Snack Food 20.


For some, rescue comes too late. Photo: The Centre for Orangutan ProtectionSome orangutans don't survive after losing their forest home. Photo: The Centre for Orangutan ProtectionA rescued orangutan is rehabilitated by The Centre for Orangutan Protection after being found mutilated on a Bumitama plantation. 

A rescued orangutan is rehabilitated by The Centre for Orangutan Protection after being found mutilated on a Bumitama plantation.

 

The Solution

There is a solution, and it starts with the Snack Food 20. The Snack Food 20 companies can use their purchasing power and influence to drive changes by adopting global responsible palm oil procurement policies and demanding that their suppliers, like Cargill, eliminate Conflict Palm Oil from their supply chain. (Read more about the Snack Food 20 and Conflict Palm Oil at conflictpalmoil.org.)

If the Snack Food 20 companies take these steps, and succeed in convincing traders to address the lack of transparency and traceability in palm oil supply chains, the demand for responsible palm oil will grow and provide a significant incentive for palm oil producers to fundamentally change their practices and stop destroying rainforests, worsening climate change, and violating human and labor rights.

What can traders like Cargill do?

Traders like Cargill buy massive volumes of palm oil from the companies that grow, mill, and refine palm oil. Traders are the linchpin in the international palm oil supply chain and they have uniquely influential leverage to drive a transformation in the way palm oil is produced. By failing to adopt their own global responsible palm oil procurement policy and address the lack of transparency and traceability in palm oil supply chains, traders like Cargill are placing their customers brands at risk by continuing to supply them with Conflict Palm Oil. Traders must use their influence to drive changes in the way palm oil is produced by adopting global responsible palm oil procurement policies that insist that the palm oil they buy from refineries, mills and growers is fully traceable and not associated with deforestation, expansion onto carbon-rich peatlands or human and labor rights violations.

 

Volunteers on the ground are working to undo the damage Bumitama has done.Volunteers on the ground are working to undo the damage Bumitama has done.


RAN Crashes Hershey's Halloween Party

When Americans think Halloween, we think chocolate and treats, often from Hershey’s. That all changed today In Hershey, PA, when Strawberry the orangutan and RAN exposed the link between Hershey's halloween treats and the plight of the world's last wild orangutans. Hershey's won’t guarantee that its products are Conflict Palm Oil free, so we took action today to drive home the message that Americans don't want to drive orangutans towards extinction for something as trivial as chocolate.

Take action now to tell Hershey’s you won’t accept Conflict Palm Oil in your snack foods.

Picture this: A black limousine pulls up outside Chocolate World in HersheyPark, the doors open and a group of dancing orangutans emerge and attract the attention of the crowd. They begin to roll out a red carpet in preparation for the appearance of the one, the only Strawberry the orangutan. Strawberry recently shot to fame after a video of her plea for help went viral two weeks ago. The dancing orangutans told the fans and paparazzi that Hershey's had been so touched by Strawberry's story they had decided to adopt a responsible palm oil policy and plan that would remove Conflict Palm Oil from Hershey's products. They told the crowd that Strawberry was invited by Hershey's very own CEO to make a grand appearance at the biggest event of the year, Hershey’s annual Halloween extravaganza. RAG_HersheyCrash You can imagine people's disappointment when Hershey security showed up and asked Strawberry to get back into her limo and leave HersheyPark. Strawberry and friends forced Hershey to admit that this was a stunt pulled off by Rainforest Action Network and that Hershey still has not taken action to protect the world's last orangutans.

Unbeknownst to Hershey, this morning RAN also issued a fake press release from Hershey that announced a new commitment to adopt a global responsible palm oil policy and remove Conflict Palm Oil from Hershey's products. The story was even picked up by the Patriot News, Hershey's hometown newspaper. By forcing a public rebuttal of our statement and blocking Strawberry, Hershey's is in the embarrassing position of publicly announcing that they have no plans to cut Conflict Palm Oil from their products.

This morning’s action was great but this day of action is not over yet -- now it’s your turn to make sure that Hershey's knows that there are thousands of people who care worldwide looking to them for leadership. Join us right now to tell Hershey's to cut Conflict Palm Oil:

  • 1. Post on Hershey’s Facebook wall: Hey Hershey's, I’m standing with orangutans, and I can’t stand by brands that use Conflict Palm Oil. Demand responsible palm oil from your suppliers and eliminate Conflict Palm Oil from your products. The power is #InYourPalm.
  • 2. Call Hershey at (717) 534-4200. Here's a sample call script you can use: “Hi, my name is [your name] from [your city]. I’m a [student, mom, dad...] and one of your valued customers! It concerns me that your company cannot guarantee that it is not using Conflict Palm Oil in its products. Hershey's must demand responsible palm oil from its suppliers and eliminate Conflict Palm Oil from its products. I encourage you to secure a new global responsible palm oil procurement policy and implementation plan that ensures that the palm oil in your company’s supply chain is fully traceable, legally grown, and sourced from verified responsible palm oil producers not associated with deforestation, expansion onto carbon-rich peatlands or human and labor rights violations. Thank You!”
  • 3. Send a photo petition to Hershey's and the other Snack Food 20 companies demanding Conflict Palm Oil free snacks and candy.
  • 4. Tweet at Hershey: Hey @HersheysKisses, I can’t stand by brands that use Conflict #PalmOil. The power is #InYourPalm. As the biggest candy-consuming holiday of the year, this is the best time of year to tell the Snack Food 20 to cut Conflict Palm Oil from their snack foods, chocolates and candies.

RAN Channels Small Grants to Two Major Indigenous Mobilizations in South America

Indigenous communities are mobilizing in Brazil and Ecuador, challenging the respective national governments’ plans to push large-scale expansion of oil development in the rainforest (Ecuador) and clear the way for roads, dams, agribusiness and development of other mega-projects (Brazil) that would devastate ecosystems and undermine the internationally recognized standard of Free, Prior, and Informed Consent (FPIC). In Brazil, the powerful ruralista voting bloc of Congress that represents the country’s burgeoning agribusiness sector is seeking to modify Article 231 of the constitution to reduce Indigenous autonomy over their traditional territory in cases of “relevant public interest,” while simultaneously attempting to roll back the demarcation of new Indigenous territories. In a related effort, President Dilma is trying to push through measures to unilaterally reduce the boundaries of protected areas and Indigenous lands in order to build 3 major dams on the Tapajós River, and a series of additional large and medium-sized dams on its tributaries. These dams together would flood 230,000 acres of conservation units and national parks. The Chacorão Dam would also flood 50,000 acres of the Munduruku Indigenous Lands. This is illegal under Brazilian law, but those protections are threatened by these dangerous proposals. In response, in the beginning of October, a National Indigenous Mobilization, perhaps the most significant in the last 25 years in Brazil, brought together 1,500 representatives of nearly 100 Indigenous ethnicities to Brasilia for a high-profile gathering and protest at the Brazilian Congress. RAN, working in coordination with Amazon Watch and Brazilian organization Socio-Environmental Fund CASA, channeled a $5,000 Protect-an-Acre grant to support the mobilization and the fight of Munduruku community members to stop the Tapajós dams. [caption id="attachment_22295" align="alignleft" width="403"]National Indigenous Mobilization in Brasilia, Photo by Maira Irigaray National Indigenous Mobilization in Brasilia, Photo by Maira Irigaray[/caption] As Amazon Watch’s Christain Poirer reported: Based steps away from Brazil’s congressional buildings, federal ministries, and the presidential palace, the mobilization encampment proved an ideal staging point for acts of steadfast Indigenous resistance. Days were punctuated with spirited protest marches that provoked an overwhelming police response, and congressional security indiscriminately pepper spraying peaceful protestors. Yet brutality and intimidation could not dampen a hunger for justice and for respect…Targeting the heart of the agribusiness lobby in Brasilia, hundreds of protestors occupied the headquarters of the National Confederation of Agriculture, singing and dancing in celebration of a symbolic victory against the ruralistsas. Legendary Kayapo leader, Chief Raoni Metuktire, stated: “We are here because Congress wants to take our rights and extinguish our people. This assembly is important because it aims to unite our peoples against this threat.” Two weeks later, in Ecuador, close to 150 Indigenous women began an 4 day, 150 mile walk from the Amazon city of Puyo, walking high into the Andes mountains to the capital city of Quito as part of a Mobilization for Life to demonstrate the unified resistance of all 7 Indigenous nationalities potentially impacted by the Ecuadorian government’s attempts to open up 16 new oil blocks in the southern Amazon to development, as well as to call for not drilling in Yasuni National Park. Hundreds of additional supporters joined the march along the way. RAN was also able to channel a $5,000 grant to this mobilization via Global Greengrants Fund and in coordination with Land is Life and the Association of Sapara Women. Gloria Ushigua, president of the Association of Sapara Women stated: “We are marching; we are going to arrive in Quito and we are going to speak to Mr. Rafael Correa. We don’t want oil, maybe there is another way of life. We are organized, we have been organized for years, and we don’t want oil.” These two videos (in Spanish) feature the Mobilization for Life, which arrived in Quito last week: http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=EN-LXCeBKLI http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=wj3PgqDbPeA

Dear Exxon, We're Sick of Your Spin Machine. With No Love, America.

Is anyone else paying attention to the tweets that Exxon-Mobil have posted following the aftermath of the Mayflower, Arkansas oil spill? Frustratingly—and not surprisingly—Exxon has issued a hollow apology "for the inconvenience" to the town of Mayflower for spilling over 80,000 gallons of oil that cascaded through the streets of this small town last Friday:   Screen Shot 2013-04-04 at 5.31.49 PM This apology consisting of less than 140 characters does not seem to cover the immeasurable scope of how the oil spill has impacted—and will continue to impact—this Arkansas community. Even Exxon's own Cleanup Operations Progress page on their website has almost two dozen bullet points detailing the devastating range of this disaster. And it appears Exxon is getting a little defensive. After other environmental organizations and activists jumped in to add their reaction to the mess, Exxon wrote a series of seemingly over-reactive tweets. The real kicker? They all seem to center around this notion of "telling the truth": Screen Shot 2013-04-04 at 5.53.47 PM     Screen Shot 2013-04-04 at 5.55.50 PM     Screen Shot 2013-04-04 at 5.57.09 PM   The list goes on and on. Check it out for yourself at Exxon's Twitter account: @exxonmobil We all know the real truth: our people and planet are the ones who are paying for these oil spills, and no amount of PR spin can change this gravely sad, undeniable fact. Really, the Arkansas oil spill is an enormous wake-up call we cannot ignore—foreshadowing a huge battle in our midst. As pressure ramps up in the Keystone XL debate, we cannot stand silently on the sidelines. Whether it's getting in on the social media conversation on Facebook or Twitter, educating your friends and family about what these pipelines really mean for America, and/or getting out there in the streets and resisting—we need you to be heard. The short and long-term future depend on it. And that's the honest truth. Without the spin machine.

Bostonians Uniquely Positioned to Accelerate Clean Energy Transition

Boston540x195Did you hear? Rainforest Action Network is focused on the Bay State now. Massachusetts is home to several of Bank of America’s top executives, and if the company took a leadership role in addressing its financed emissions, other institutions would follow suit. Big banks are instead keeping the most polluting energy companies afloat – and so far, these banks have prevented the least polluting alternatives from growing to meaningful scale. As both popular and political discussions in the U.S. finally move away from whether or not climate change is happening to which climate policies to adopt, the economics of climate change must remain front and central. Anyone claiming to be a responsible public servant will need to do just that. By working across the public and private sector, lawmakers and financial institutions can speed up the transition. We have no time to waste. When it comes to taking to bold actions to shift our economy away from fossil fuels, we need leaders who can support solutions to keep the largest banks in check and end the legacy of propping up old energy infrastructure that poses threats to our communities. We need leaders who are willing to commit to the most difficult tasks, deliver truth and invite solidarity. Constituents are certainly giving their blessing. Americans across generations are volunteering for campaigns, speaking out at rallies and sitting-in, all to demand climate accountability from our elected-leaders and corporate executives. With the prospect of shiny new Massachusetts leadership and an urgent need to move climate action forward in Washington, we all may be in luck. What if US Senators would lead? Imagine what can happen if Senator Warren (big bank watchdog) teams up with both an interim Senator Barney Frank (big bank insider) and a Senator-elect Ed Markey (climate champion), particularly around holding banks accountable for their climate-forcing role. And imagine what you can do to back them up. Bostonians at large have a role to play in the green economy expansion too. Over the next couple months in Boston, we are bringing together various local voices concerned about Bank of America's failure to act responsibly with respect to its direct climate and community impacts. A united Boston voice can accelerate the shift from fossil fuel-based energy to renewable alternatives. With Bank of America's customer satisfaction at an 11-year low, and 36 new coal-fired power plants in the national pipeline (and 1,200 proposed worldwide), the time is right for Bank of America to take the lead on financing America’s clean energy transition.

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