Category Archives: EcoShizzle

When environment meets policy & business

“I’ve been to a few protests back in my day!” – shit the FBI says…

Courtesy of Will Potter at the anti-greenscare blog Green Is The New Red

Green Scare book – sample chapter now available!

Will Potter has been following with interest and writing about the ‘Green Scare’ – by which governments, police agencies and corporations characterise non-violent environmental direct action as ‘eco-terrorism’ or similar – for several years now, and in April his book about the subject, ‘Green Is The New Red’, will be published.

If you are in the Washington, DC area on either Tuesday 19th or Saturday 23rd April, then you may want to crash a reading event or the launch party – more details on Will’s blog.

For the rest of us, there’s a sample chapter available for free

If you’re not quite sure what this ‘Green Scare’ really is – or suspect that it’s a hullabaloo about nothing, then you’d be as well to check out Will’s intro to the subject:

“The No. 1 domestic terrorism threat,” says John Lewis, a top FBI official, “is the eco-terrorism, animal-rights movement.”

The animal rights and environmental movements, like every other social movement throughout history, have both legal and illegal elements. There are people who leaflet, write letters, and lobby. There are people who protest and engage in non-violent civil disobedience. And there are people, like the Animal Liberation Front and Earth Liberation Front, who go out at night with black masks and break windows, burn SUVs, and release animals from fur farms.

Animal rights and environmental advocates have not flown planes into buildings, taken hostages, or sent Anthrax through the mail. They have never even injured anyone. In fact, the only act of attempted murder in the history of the U.S. animal rights movement was coordinated by corporate provocateurs. Yet the FBI ranks these activists as the top domestic terrorism threat. And the Department of Homeland Security lists them on its roster of national security threats, while ignoring right-wing extremists who have bombed the Oklahoma City federal building, murdered doctors, and admittedly created weapons of mass destruction.

…Fear. It’s all about fear. The point is to protect corporate profits by instilling fear in the mainstream animal rights and environmental movements—and every other social movement paying attention—and make people think twice about using their First Amendment rights.

Industry groups say “this is just the starting gun” for the Green Scare. But this could be the starting gun for activists as well. I’ve talked with hundreds of activists around the country over the years. There’s a lot of fear. But there’s also a lot of rage. And that’s a very good thing.

Because today’s repression may mimic many of the tactics of the Red Scare, but today’s response cannot. It’s not enough to cowardly distance ourselves from anyone branded a communist, I mean, terrorist. Naming names and making loyalty oaths didn’t protect activists then, and it won’t protect activists now.

The only way activists, and the First Amendment, are going to get through this is by coming out and confronting it head-on. That means reaching out to mainstream Americans and telling them that labeling activists as terrorists wastes valuable anti-terrorism resources and is an insult to everyone who died in the twin towers. That means reaching out to other activists and saying loud and clear that these activists are just the canaries in the mine.

Together, we can stop they cycle of history repeating itself.

A Week In Film #032: Solstice stylings

A Time Comes title screen

A Time Comes
Dull documentary-cum-corporate-video about the Greenpeace Kingsnorth climate change protesters, with talking head segments directed by Nick Broomfield.

Better Off Dead title screen

Better Off Dead
Another Savage Steve Holland coming-of-age teen comedy with John Cusack stuck in American suburbia.

Oxford Blues title screen

Oxford Blues
Really rather terrible retooling of A Yank At Oxford, with Vegas valet Rob Lowe stalking Princess Diana-type Amanda Pays to Oxford University, where he learns Important Lessons about Being A Team Player, and falls for fellow rowing club member Ally Sheedy. Grim.

Von Ryan's Express title screen

Von Ryan’s Express
Ol’ Blue Eyes takes on Thee Nazis in steam train/POW escape hybrid.

The Bourne Supremacy title screen

The Bourne Supremacy
Matt Damon returns as amnesiac superagent Jason Bourne, with documentary/verité specialist Paul Greengrass taking over direction.

Some great sequences – the escape from custody at Naples airport; the fight in the Munich apartment of Treadstone operative Jarda; the extended Moscow car chase. Brian Cox is a welcome addition tot he rep company, as shady CIA boss Abbott.

The Bourne Ultimatum title screen

The Bourne Ultimatum
More Bourneness, again directed with vim by Paul Greengrass.

Paddy Considine is not well cast as a Guardian journalist caught up in the Treadstone treadmill, but the extraordinary rendition sequences around Waterloo Station are superb, as is the Tangier rooftop foot pursuit.

Two Mules For Sister Sara title screen

Two Mules For Sister Sara
Not the best Eastwood/Siegel Western, but watchable. Shirley Maclaine is a nun who ain’t all she seems, and there’s Mexican revolutionaries and stuff

Sustainable gravy transport

Ooh Mr Grimshaw!

Josh Hart has written an interesting critique of Sustrans over at his On The Level blog:

There are an increasing number of concerns…but they centre around this: should a private charity with no accountability to the public or its membership (Sustrans calls them supporters) be given millions of taxpayer pounds every year without adequate consultation or oversight?

…It also turns out that very few Sustrans employees are personally involved in the Bristol Cycling Campaign-something I find very odd considering many of them live and cycle in Bristol. In fact, it sometimes seems that Sustrans goes out of its way to ignore Bristol, as if to prove to other areas of the country that the City that hosts their headquarters curries no special favour. When plans for a bus rapid transit route threatened the Bristol-Bath Railway Path (Sustrans’ flagship facility) they were sluggish in responding to the threat, terrified of offending the local council, actually going on record in the Evening Post saying essentially that they had “no comment” about the plans.

Though the beast finally woke from its bloated lottery-money induced slumber and opposed the plan with some force, the damage had been done. Thankfully, local activists stepped into the vacuum and formed Save the Railway Path, organised a 1000 strong march to the Council house that succeeded in getting the City Council to shelve the ill-conceived plans. We know that Sustrans knew about the BRT plan as early as July 2007 if not earlier, yet they did nothing to alert others and provoke opposition. They only jumped on the bandwagon when it was clear that their credibility was on the line if they did nothing…

Chris Hutt at Green Bristol Blog has provided some much needed (judging by some of the catty remarks already deposited on Josh’s comments section by College Green lycra-clad loyalists) back-covering; this one should run and run!

The Great Brutish Bobby: Politically-motivated, disingenuous and without conscience

Photojournalist Jason N Parkinson has posted up an excellent short documentary on the police harassment of media workers covering the Climate Camp at Kingsnorth last August:

In August 2008, environmental protestors set up camp in Kent, England, to protest the current and newly proposed E-On coal-fired power stations at Kingsnorth.

Part One of two films, Covering Climate Camp documents not the protest movement, but the journalists trying to cover the story for independent and mainstream news organisations.

In some of the worst scenes of police interference the press were subjected to stop-and-search, harassment, aggression and violence, which led to the National Union of Journalists and the industry media publically slamming the police on the grounds of press freedom restriction.

Part Two of two films, Covering Climate Camp continues to document the press coverage and subsequent press freedom restrictions. As the policing gets heavier, journalists trying to cover the story for independent and mainstream news organisations face surveillance, harassment, endless stop-and-searches and assault – they are even followed by a police unit to a McDonald’s restaurant.

Tip o’ the titfer: Marc Vallée

To recycle plastic & cardboard or not to recycle cardboard and plastic, that is the question

I’ve just had a note from my housing association (Knightstone) pushed through the letterbox:

Knightstone note about no plastics/cardboard recycling on-site

Hmmm, most interesting… Doesn’t mention what these “problems with recycling” are. Something of a companion piece to the whole farrago last September (as outlined in the comments section on The Bristol Blogger) when Resource Futures – they whom apparently manage Bristol’s ‘waste strategy’ – leafletted us to tell us that contrary to the fact that our estate has (well – had, I guess) cardboard and plastic facilities, we should lug it all down to the Malcolm X.

In that instance, after a bit of prodding I managed to convince RF that I wasn’t making it up, they admitted their mistake, and, well, ran up another printjob to tell us residents what we already knew – that *ahem* we could recycle our cardboard and plastics at our estate waste point!

So… Is this some kind of indicator that penny-pinching and number-shuffling is afoot at either the council, RF or at KHA?

PS After a scoot around the interweb, I discover that my estate is involved with a Resource Futures scheme called ‘RIFE‘, which, apparently,

encourages Bristol’s 27,000 residents of flats who are not served by the kerbside collection scheme to recycle more. There are over 190 mini recycling centres (MRCs) across the city, where they can recycle their paper, cans and glass. The RIFE project provides support, advice and encouragement to residents of flats to use their MRCs – many of which currently produce less than 85 kilos per household in a year (equivalent to a wine bottle, a food can and one newspaper per week).

Can’t say RIFE is a name I’ve ever noticed around my estate, and the only indication of any RF involvement around here I ever noticed was their glossy leaflet telling us we couldn’t recycle things we did in fact have facilities for.

Indeed, looking at the RF webpage outlining all the ‘technical consultancy’ services they provide to local authorities and organisations maintaining ‘multi-occupancy dwellings’ (so that would be blocks of flats, then), there’s very little at all that I would recognise. The pointless little bag, for instance.

But hey ho. I’m sure their heart is in the right place. Close to the wallet, I should imagine. Our wallet.