Often referred to as MTR, mountaintop removal is a horrendous practice that destroys mountains, poisons water supplies and hurts communities. That's why more than 19,000 Rainforest Action Members have sent messages to Barclays demanding the drop MTR financing and is one reason protests confronted the banks annual share holder meeting in London this week.
Barclays executives should take a good long look at these photos. Maybe then they'll stop investing in mountain destruction.
MTR uses explosives to literally blow off the tops of mountains and get the coal underneath.
Hundreds of thousands of acres of beautiful mountains and forest are being destroyed in central Appalachia by companies using MTR.
The rubble from mountaintop removal mining is then pushed into valleys where local streams and water sources are contaminated.
Hundreds of families have had their wells destroyed by nearby mining practices. Cancer, birth defects, heart and long disease and shortened life spans plague communities near MTR sites.
The difference between contaminated and clean water can be stark. It is time for Barclays to get on the right side of history and stop financing companies that poison water.
Photos by Paul Corbit Brown.
2013 went down as the driest year in California’s recorded history. A major reservoir outside of Sacramento has been reduced from 83% to 36% capacity in just over 2 years. In the Central Valley, 1,200 square miles of land is sinking at a rate of 11 inches a year from the drilling of groundwater. And the annual measure of the Sierra Nevada snowmelt done every April 1st indicates that the end isn’t in sight.
In this time of drought, we are often encouraged to reduce our water intake by taking fewer and shorter showers, and to not water our lawns and wash our cars. But is that where we Californians use a majority of our water? Surprisingly, an upwards of 80% of our developed water supply (water designated for human use) goes towards agriculture. Some of it to grow tomatoes, broccoli, potatoes… but most of it goes to alfalfa.
Why alfalfa? Because alfalfa is what we feed dairy cows and beef cattle. This crop drinks up more of our water than any other, and is used to sustain the 5.25 million cows that call California home. Alfalfa isn’t just used on factory farms and dairies, it’s also used as a filler on grass-fed, pastured cows.
So how much water do we use to produce a plant we don’t eat, to fatten cows for an environmentally destructive diet we don’t really need?
According to a study by Mekonnen and Hoekstra, it takes 1700 gallons of water to produce 1 pound of beef, 660 gallons of water for one pound of pork, and 264 gallons of water for one pound of chicken. The University of California Alfalfa Workgroup states it takes 683 gallons of water to produce one gallon of milk.
This isn’t an isolated incident here in California. As climate change increases and our water sources dry up, we are seeing this play out all over the world. However, we have an easy fix at our fingertips. By reducing our meat intake by half, we reduce our water footprint by 30%. But why stop there? Switch to a plant-based diet and you’ll be reducing it by over 60%.
In the spirit of Earth Day, let’s look for new innovative ways to sustain the planet and those we share it with - let’s cut the bull and eat a plant-based diet.
//www.youtube.com/embed/J7yt54MQleEClearWater began with a big goal: provide safe, sustainable access to clean water for every Indigenous family in the region, whose ancestral waterways have been poisoned by oil production and ensuing industrialization. In just two years, ClearWater has installed more than 500 family-sized rainwater harvesting and filtration systems that serve thousands of people in communities that have long suffered an epidemic of cancer, birth defects, and other illnesses that numerous health studies in the region blame on a lack of access to safe sources of water for drinking, bathing, and cooking. Our efforts have been able to make this impact because, from the beginning, ClearWater has been a collaborative partnership between the five indigenous nationalities here—the Cofan, Siona, Secoya, Kichwa, and Waorani—and international supporters, such as water engineers, humanitarians, activists, and philanthropists. ClearWater believes in collaborative, integrative, community-led solutions, where someone like Emergildo is coordinating amongst the different Indigenous nationalities to install new water systems, local youth are using GPS to map their biological and cultural resources, and frontline leaders are learning new media techniques to broadcast their concerns to the world. Clean water, health, and dignity. From this foundation, Emergildo and the Indigenous people of Ecuador's northern Amazon are building a movement for rainforest protection and cultural survival. I’m proud that Rainforest Action Network is a founding partner in this project, and I hope you’ll join us, too. Explore ClearWater's impact by navigating around this cutting-edge interactive map designed by another Amazon Watch family member, Gregor MacLennan, now Digital Democracy's Program Director. Learn more about ClearWater on our website or find us on Facebook and Twitter.
|Han Shan is an Amazon Watch Advisory Board Member.|
Chevron Corp.'s racketeering suit...is likely part of a wider strategy aimed at helping the oil giant reach a more favorable settlement, according to legal experts. A judge in Ecuador is close to issuing a decision in the long-running case there, and Chevron is becoming ever more desperate to undermine the plaintiffs in U.S. courts. The company could face billions of dollars in damages, potentially making the case the biggest environmental verdict of all time.Chevron is facing a multi-billion dollar lawsuit in Ecuador after failing to properly clean up billions of gallons of toxic oil waste the company dumped in the Amazon. The lawsuit has been ongoing for eighteen years, and during that time many have died from toxic exposure. What is at stake for the people in Ecuador is the cleanup and remediation of a fragile eco-system that the community depends on for their basic survival. What's at stake is justice. For Chevron the stakes include the billions of dollars in assessed damages, the company's self-ascribed do-gooder reputation, and a precedent for how corporations are held accountable for environmental and human rights crimes. The precedent this case will set for corporate accountability explains why it is the environmental lawsuit that scholars, advocates and the industry are closely watching. With so much on the line for Chevron, the company is ramping up its efforts to absolve itself of any liability, including prosecuting the very victims its actions have harmed. Ultimately, Chevron's executives and lawyers have shown that they are willing to do whatever it takes to avoid responsibility for cleaning up the oily mess left in the Amazon, a mess that is making people seriously sick. The RICO suit is the latest in a growing list of corporate bullying efforts aimed at discrediting the case and the affected communities. Chevron's aim: to shroud the case with enough suspicion and controversy that, should the court rule in favor of the Amazonian communities, a guilty judgment would be difficult to enforce in the U.S. or other countries where Chevron has assets. Basically, even if the company is found guilty, which its recent behavior seems to indicate is likely, the oil giant has positioned itself to avoid paying a cent. So, who's the real gangster here? The Chevron Godfathers with their team of fancy legal consiglieres and PR wise guys, engaged in a whole host of cons and intimidation tactics? Or the Ecuadorean plaintiffs, who are largely poor, forest villagers who have literally seen their families and neighbors poisoned? It's hopeful to remember that the movie Erin Brokovich was based on a real person and a real story. Dirty companies making people sick is not just a Hollywood phenomenon. Luckily, neither is justice.