Stop Monsanto and other multinationals from growing genetically modified (GM) corn that will force all farmers to grow GM corn, will harm biodiversity, and ultimately puts Mexican cultural heritage and way of life at risk.
Join us in supporting this case
We've raised €15,267.33 of the €17,500.00 we are trying to raise for this case!
The Crowd vs. GM Corn in Mexico
Stop Monsanto and other multinationals from growing genetically modified (GM) corn that will force all farmers to grow GM corn, will harm biodiversity, and ultimately puts Mexican cultural heritage and way of life at risk. Read more…
GM corn already has been found in native maize. Maize is the precursor to corn and only found in Mexico, the country of origin for this food. The presence of GMO corn represents a very real danger, and its presence will damage biodiversity rights. Therefore GM permits should not be granted on any and all types of corn crops.
Notwithstanding the dozens of legal challenges filed by the GMO multinationals*, the temporary injunction granted in September 2013 to halt all permitting of GM corn crops countrywide was upheld by each and every court of appeals called to review it. This order was granted even before the defendants were served on the lawsuit.
After serving the defendants, on March 7th, 2016, a federal court of appeals ruled the injunction should remain firm until a final decision on the merits of the case. This will remain in effect unless a federal circuit court or the Supreme Court rules otherwise. The injunction halts commercial and pre-commercial GM corn crops countrywide.
Although this decision also ruled that GM corn crops for experimental and scientific research purposes may be authorized, the Mexican Agriculture and Environment agencies have stated to the federal court that no experimental or scientific research GM corn crop permits will be granted until a final and firm ruling on this issue by the Mexican courts.
* Monsanto, Syngenta, SAGARPA, SEMARNAT, PHI (Pioneer-DuPont) and Dow.
Next Legal Action
After 36 months of litigation, the plaintiffs who The Crowd Versus support have been certified and the evidentiary period has begun. In this period each party files their evidence. Discovery motions should be completed some time this year.
Background of Case and Nonprofit
Corn has always been part of the daily lives of all Mexicans. Corn is not only the staple food of Mexico, but also has immense cultural value. Over a period of 8,000 years, Mexicans have cultivated over a thousand types of corn that originated in this country only. If GM corn is authorized, the diversity of native Mexican corn is at risk through contamination. Farmers risk being gradually forced to grow GMO corn or have their native corn contaminated. Mexicans risk losing their cultural heritage and way of life. The crowd risks that in the end their daily food will be patented, and companies like Monsanto will have the monopoly on food and on pesticides. The crowd also risks that there will be no other choice than GM corn. In this way GM corn will also harm all of our biodiversity. The big GMO companies have already spent estimated millions on 102 legal challenges in court and are fiercely lobbying to pave their way into Mexico to grow GM corn at a commercial level. The coalition of users and consumers of corn biodiversity in Mexico are represented by Alternativas y Procesos de Participación Social A.C. (Alternativas), a nonprofit organization based in Tehuacán, Puebla, Mexico.
Stop tarsands mining, protect the world’s most important carbon sinks, and hold Canada accountable for breaking their constitutional promise to the Beaver Lake Cree Nation.
Join us in supporting this case
We've raised €1,181.18 of the €2,500.00 we are trying to raise for this case!
The Crowd vs. Tarsands Mining in Canada
Beaver Lake Cree Nation is challenging the governments of Canada and Alberta for breaking their treaty promises by allowing 19,000 permits for mineral developments (mostly tar sands mining) on their territory. For more information, check here.
Beaver Lake Cree Nation is accusing the governments of Canada and Alberta for breaking their treaty promises by allowing 19,000 permits for mineral developments (mostly tarsands) on their territory. In their legal challenge, the First Nation claims that the more than 19,000 fossil fuel projects in their traditional territory threaten to destroy their way of life – by polluting and fragmenting the land and water that have sustained them for centuries. If you drink water, or you breathe air, you are affected. The efforts of the Beaver Lake Cree to protect their traditional lands and waters are supported by those who see the massive destruction of the boreal forest as an environmental crime. They are supported by caring people around the globe who fear that the carbon released by heavy oil projects will take our planet to the point of no return in terms of global warming. This is a critical case, and a critical moment.
Preparation for trial is moving steadily forward with the retention of several experts to produce reports ranging from socio-cultural impact assessments and ethno-historical data gathering to the effect of the mineral developments.
Next Legal Action
Preparation for the 3-day hearing on 19 February 2019 the Amended Amended Statement of Trial, to help cover the expenses of going to trial. To cover the ongoing costs for this legal step in this winnable landmark case, the crowd needs US $2,000 (1.500 euro) per month.
Background and Nonprofit
In 1876, the Canadian Crown promised the First Nations, including the Beaver Lake Cree Nation, that in exchange for sharing their lands and keeping the peace, they could keep their way of life, culture and the right to “hunt, fish, trap in perpetuity”. Canada has not kept its part of the bargain by approving some 19,000 fossil fuel extraction projects which have had devastating impacts on indigenous peoples’ ability to maintain their culture and way of life. To fish or to hunt is quite difficult where the ground has been plowed under more than 30 feet. The caribou in the region are on the verge of extinction. Tarsands mining is the most inefficient oil extraction (it requires the energy-equivalent of three barrels of oil to produce only one) and produces around five times more greenhouse gasses than normal oil extraction. The tarsands in Canada represent the largest industrial area in the world, the size of a small Switzerland. On top of that, the tarsands have already destroyed big parts of the Canadian taiga, the world’s largest boreal forest. Many scientists warn that the massive destruction by tarsands mining may irreversibly push our planet past the tipping point of climate change. The 900 Cree people live in an area of the taiga, and their homeland is under threat on the front lines of destructive tarsands mining. In order to protect one of the world’s most important carbon sinks, with caribou habitats, and dotted with hundreds of freshwater lakes and rivers, this First Nation is in the process of taking the Canadian government and the province of Alberta to court.
RAVEN (Respecting Aboriginal Values and Environmental Needs) is the NGO/nonprofit that The Crowd Versus works together with for this case. The people of the Beaver Lake Cree Nation are supported by RAVEN, a nonprofit organization based in Victoria, British Columbia, Canada.
The lawsuit against Chevron by the Amazon people raises two fundamental questions for the Canadian court to decide:
(1) Should justice prioritize human rights over the interests of transnational corporations?
(2) Should justice require the polluter to pay for damage to the environment and the people?
If your answer is positive, then please support the struggle of these Ecuadorian communities by helping them achieve access to the Supreme Court of Canada.
Their victory will be your victory.
Join us in supporting this case
We've raised €13,251.70 of the €15,000.00 we are trying to raise for this case!
The Crowd vs. Chevron Oil Spill in Ecuador
Amazon people want access to justice in the Supreme Court of Canada for the reparation of their lands. Read more…
In 2013, the National Court of Justice of Ecuador ordered Chevron Corp. to pay US $9.5 billion in order to restore the 1,850 square miles (4,800 sq. km.) of polluted ground and waters in the Amazon rainforest and to establish an extensive health program for the more than 30,000 indigenous people affected. The highest court in Ecuador thereby confirmed the two previous state court decisions from 2011 and 2012. The restitution judgment found that pollution was caused due to the use of inadequate and obsolete oil extraction methods by Texaco between 1964 and 1990, including the deliberate disposal of toxic waste and crude oil in the Ecuadorian rainforest. This environmental disaster is one of the most important in the world. The lands, the waters, and the entire ecosystem were severely damaged. In the years since, the local Amazon people have had to deal with serious diseases, some leading to deaths, at a much higher rate than the rest of the country. They organized themselves into a community-based organization called UDAPT, for the Spanish acronym of la Unión de Afectados y Afectadas por las Operaciones Petroleras de Texaco, or those affected by the oil extraction methods of Chevron-Texaco. This oil giant Chevron, formerly Texaco, promised to submit to the judgments of the Ecuadorian courts. However, after lengthy trial and appeals processes, Chevron-Texaco refused to pay for damages from the Ecuador judgment. Instead, the transnational threatened UDAPT people with pursuing them until “hell freezes over.”
Given that Chevron-Texaco withdrew all of its assets from Ecuador, the UDAPT-plaintiffs have sought enforcement of the Ecuadorian verdict in other countries such as Argentina, Brazil, and Canada, where the oil company has assets. Chevron forced the affected communities to engage in endless judicial battles. Twenty-five years of litigation have passed while poisons continue to spread in Amazonian lands and rivers causing disease and worse among its inhabitants. Additionally, Chevron Corporation started a legal action for protection with the Constitutional Court of Ecuador in order to have the Ecuadorian verdict nullified. After four years of waiting, this demand has finally been dismissed on 10 July 2018. This ends any other possibility of an appeal by Chevron in Ecuador. Chevron can no longer pretend that the judgment is not executable in other countries, such as Canada, on the ground that the process in Ecuador is not terminated.
Legal Progress 1
During the appeal proceedings, several elements worthy of legal note were asserted: In 2015, the seven judges of the Supreme Court of Canada unanimously agreed that the Ecuadorian plaintiffs may seek recognition and enforcement of the Chevron judgment in Canada. Another important element in this decision was that the judges found that this case brings up new legal approaches: “There is no doubt that the legal arguments asserted by the appellants are innovative and untested, especially with regard to piercing the corporate veil.” In particular, in the decision of 31 October 2017, the judges of the Court of Appeal of Ontario acknowledged that the case represents public interest litigation, as the UDAPT-plaintiffs are not seeking direct economic compensation and will proceed with the collective repair of lands and rivers through a trust. They also found that damage from the oil pollution has seriously harmed the ability of the Amazon indigenous people to earn their livelihood. However, in the decision of May 2018, other interpretations were reviewed. Some differences of interpretation of case law were revealed: while some judges declared that the subsidiaries are not legally part of the heritage of the parent company, another judge found this ownership “crystal clear” according to economic realities.
Legal Progress 2
Finally, this essential question remains of paramount importance: whether the interpretation of the jurisprudence should focus on the issue of efficiency or equity, which in layman’s terms means that either corporate interests or human rights will take precedence over the other. Therefore, the current debate turns on the question of whether the veil of the corporate personality that protects a corporation’s impunity should be lifted. This is a fundamental question about a transnational’s obligations to respect human rights and the environment in the Amazon and other parts of the world. These are the reasons why the Chevron case has become emblematic for the fight against transnational impunity. More than 230,000 pages of legal documents from the twenty-five plus years of litigation illustrate almost all the obstacles set up by transnational corporations in order not to be held accountable for their environmental crimes and human rights violations. Back in 2015, these Supreme Court of Canada judges considered this case to deserve a more generous and liberal approach, perhaps to adapt more to the present economic realities and corporate structures. This position makes it possible to hope that this court may issue a historic judgment, lifting the veil protecting transnational corporations and preventing them from polluting the planet and its inhabitants with impunity. However, the Court of Appeal has ordered the affected indigenous people and peasants to pay CAD $350,000 (230,000 euros) to access the highest court of law in Canada. It would be unacceptable for the trial to end for lack of financial means. And while Chevron has spent several hundreds of millions of US dollars not to pay for remediation, the Amazon people are still struggling to sustain themselves. This asymmetry clearly constitutes an obstacle to access to justice and illustrates its basic lack of equity. Otherwise, the trial of the UDAPT will end in Canada, even though they have good prospects for collecting the entire amount of the award in this country to begin the reparation of their lands.
Next Legal Action
The UDAPT people do not seek personal economic compensation; they seek collective reparation for their people’s health and lands. They wish to enforce the Ecuadorian judgment in Canada and seize Chevron Canada’s assets by successfully having the court recognize that Chevron Canada’s shares and assets are wholly owned by Chevron Corporation and, therefore, that Chevron Canada can (and should) be held liable for the parent company’s debts to the Amazonian communities of Ecuador. On 23 May 2018, after 6 years of litigation in Canada, the Court of Appeal of Ontario dismissed the Ecuadorian claim and ordered the UDAPT-plaintiffs to pay Canadian $350,000 (about 230,000 euros) in order to appeal to the Supreme Court of Canada. The outcome of this trial at the Supreme Court level will be a landmark decision at the international level in the fight against corporate impunity. In order to enforce a judgment against a transnational corporation, it is crucial for the victims to be able to access the assets of a transnational company, including those of its subsidiaries. If the UDAPT-plaintiffs cannot pay, their lawsuit in Canada will end. Although they have good prospects for collecting the entire amount of the award in this country to begin the reparation of the social, cultural, and environmental damages caused by Chevron, this is your chance to step in and help the UDAPT-plaintiffs pay for the legal fees to access justice.
Background and Nonprofit
The UDAPT is an Ecuadorian community-based organization that works with The Crowd Versus to secure funding for this case. The UDAPT represents more than 30,000 farmers (paisanos) and indigenous people of six nations (Ai’Cofan, Kichwa, Huarani, Shuar, Siekopai, and Siona) affected by the environmental disaster caused by Chevron-Texaco and legally represents them in their lawsuit against the oil giant.
Coal companies and the South African government have to stop with coal mining that puts Zululand and its people in danger and threatens the world’s greatest concentration of rhinos in the wilderness area of the Hluhluwe-iMfolozi Game Reserve.
Join us in supporting this case
We've raised €10,167.33 of the €12,500.00 we are trying to raise for this case!
The Crowd vs. Destructive Mining in Zululand
Coal companies and the South African government have to stop with coal mining that puts Zululand and its people in danger and threatens the world’s greatest concentration of rhinos in the wilderness area of the Hluhluwe-iMfolozi Game Reserve. Read more …
Around the Hluhluwe-iMfolozi Game Reserve, with the greatest concentration of rhinos in the world, is current and proposed open cast coal mining. The mining causes irreparable environmental damage and hazardous living conditions for the people who have water shortages, health issues, cracked houses, loss of land and livestock, and ongoing dust and noise. The light and noise pollution already negatively affects the Game Reserve, a place where thousands of visitors go to enjoy the peace of the bush. Permitting mining to continue unabated will put the health and daily food of the surrounding communities under further threat. Many people are forced to leave their homeland. Their lives are mined away. For just a few there will be work for a couple of months or years in a coal mining industry that is destroying their own land.
At the same time the legal team is working on bringing claims for compensation for the hundreds of people who have already suffered as a result of being relocated by the mine or suffering as a result of living so close to it. Meanwhile, in the Fuleni Reserve to the south of the wilderness area, a new mining rights application is imminent. We successfully fought Ibutho Coal’s previous application and will do so again.
Next Legal Action
Preparation for interdicting Tendele Coal (Pty) Ltd and appealing the Mining Right granted by the Department of Mineral Resources. Taking decisions made by Department of Mineral Resources and/or Environmental Affairs on review. Bringing claims for compensation for people on the border of the mining activities. These are scheduled for 2019.
Background and Nonprofit
January 2014 Ibutho Coal applied for mining rights to construct an open cast coal mine. The iMfolozi Wilderness lies within the oldest proclaimed nature reserve in Africa, home to a vast array of wildlife, including the Big Five. The area currently supports the greatest concentration of rhinoceros in the world. It also has a strong cultural heritage, dating back to the Stone Age with a strong connection to Zulu people, including King Shaka. Two other mining operations are already working nearby, with devastating effects on nature and people, not to forget the water shortage for everyone. Targeted legal action can push Ibutho Coal back and will help put an end to mining in South Africa at the expense of people, their cultural heritage, and nature in the form of animals like rhinos. The Tendele coal mine at Somkhele has been operating since 2004 without environmental authorizations or compliance with cultural heritage legislation and planning laws. The beautiful rural landscape and the peace and tranquility of the area is ruined. The trucks can be heard up to 15km away 24 hours a day, seven days a week. In surrounding communities people wake up in the middle of the night from the noise. People suffer as a result of loss of their grazing and agricultural land, no water, and loss of livestock. Their houses are cracked from the blasting and they suffer from respiratory illnesses. Targeted legal action can push Tendele and Ibutho Coal back and will help put an end to unscrupulous mining in South Africa at the expense of people, their cultural heritage, and nature in the form of highly threatened animals, like rhinos. The Crowd Versus works together with Save Our iMfolozi Wilderness (SOW), which assists communities in areas of environmental significance affected by bad planning and unscrupulous environmental practices.